Save. Spend. Splurge.

The cost to looking ‘pretty’ for a professional woman at work

So I came up with this little inforgraphic for my Instagram @saverspender. I’ve already talked about the price of beauty and why we buy,


Yes. There was a study out there, and it says that pretty people earn 20% more.


Because it works against you. People don’t trust you if you are too pretty.

Also, women have to look perpetually young even at 60. Men? Zero standards there, they can be handsome silver foxes with grey hair, but NOT WOMEN.

Now ain’t that about a b*tch!?

Here’s what my breakdown of my beauty costs for a BASIC ROUTINE costs:


This includes stuff that you don’t buy twice:

ANNUAL TOTAL: $1882.23

When I finally did the tally, I was not surprised. It is almost $2000 just for basic upkeep.

Skincare includes: $1090.70

And this is a CHEAP budget of what I used to spend.

I remember trying all of these different mainstream drugstore brands, tried to go natural at one point and broke out in a fit of acne, then really expensive, like ridiculously $$$$$$ skincare brands such as Skinceuticals, and it wasn’t until I finally went back to Paula’s Choice, I never looked back.

My skin is finally clear, smoothing out and the scars are fading.

I don’t even do anything to my hair other than wash and curl it.

I have no hairbrush, no styling aids, no hair products, and I even CUT MY OWN HAIR! I also don’t dye it. Yet.

Makeup includes: $791.53

I am not even talking about extras – extra lip colours or lipsticks, different blushes, etc.

I don’t even include facials in there or any skin / spa treatments I have tried because those are not necessary. I just do them and try it out, but I can’t say I really see a difference in my skin, so I will unlikely be trying them again.

If you want to know what other women spend, WSJ posted about the cost of 4 women’s beauty routines. Allure also says we spend $250K on beauty products in our lifetime.

I could rail against this..

But do I want to be the only one paying the price for this?

For looking less professional and therefore not taken as seriously at my job?

Do I want to take that $$ hit to stand up for it?

More importantly — would it do ANYTHING?

I can’t fight as a single person against ALL. OF. THE. MEDIA out there and advertising juggernauts pushing makeup as the STANDARD for women, and none set for men.

I just lose on all counts.

The good thing is that I enjoy all of this

The good thing about it, is I actually enjoy skincare and makeup. I like it. So I don’t feel so terrible about it because I think it’s fun.

I also don’t go out of the house only if my face is done – I’ll slap on some sunscreen after washing my face, and head out with not a lick of makeup on. I feel perfectly fine.

But I also enjoy doing my face, my eyelashes… and I have definitely, DEFINITELY noticed a warmer response from everyone (men and women). People are friendlier, you can even ask nicely for discounts, and people will try and help you more than if you don’t do a little bit of makeup / care.

It is such a double standard, to have to put on a bit of makeup to be at the same level of a man, isn’t it?

What do you think? Have you calculated what you spend?


  • C

    About $55-$65/month, not counting $90 monthly massage (would that fall under spa treatments?) but counting skincare, shampoo, makeup, haircuts, etc. I do Paula’s Choice skincare but use organic baby shampoo/bodywash for my face wash, and my foundation and concealer is everyday minerals which lasts me forever. I don’t do mascara, blush, or highlighter these days but my lipstick (face stockholm cranberry or eggplant) is much more expensive! I am growing my hair color out for several months now but used to do my own henna; though I do get basic Hair Cuttery haircuts every three-four months. I’m not sure what I’m going to do once my “real” color is fully grown out but it might involve professionally done purple streaks. I also have only had a pedicure once in my life. My feet are not pretty! I like makeup and such but just cannot stand having any kind of elaborate routine so that is a self-limiting factor.

  • BW

    Hi Sherry, I enjoy reading your blog. It is easy to read and understand. It is almost like listening to you talking.

    I find women who do not wear makeup attractive, natural, healthy and beautiful. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who is comfortable in her own skin.

    One-time total and makeup: None

    Skincare: I use soaps with olive oil and lye. It is estimated to cost USD5 a bar. I use a bar every month from top to bottom (yes, I am minimalist (or lazy) on that.). So it is about USD60 for a year.
    I use a lotion bar made with cocoa butter, olive oil, beeswax and essential oils like patchouli, lavender, rose geranium etc. It cost about USD10 in a 300g jar which will last me 3 months. It is USD40 in a year. I have a haircut every 3 months which costs USD4 each time or USD16 for a year. This will make a total of USD116 for a year.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      You do you. I completely support and find women who don’t wear makeup as beautiful. I don’t enjoy extreme makeup, my kind of makeup is just eyeliner and mascara with some blush. I’m a tired, old mother LOL! Once I went to work without some and someone asked me if I was sick. :-/

      • BW

        You will look good with your bare face although I have never seen your face. I deduced these from glimpses of your arms and legs via the pictures, your voice from one of the podcast some time ago, your writings and your diet of mainly vegetables. 🙂 You are a young and loving mom who spends time and take good care of Little Bun.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Also – thank you so much. I do aim for my posts to be like I’m talking to someone. I don’t like writing formally…

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