Save. Spend. Splurge.

The Price of Beauty: Why we buy

We women spend a lot of money on beauty to the tune of $7 BILLION dollars a year, or $100 a month on things like makeup and toiletries. (Source: YWCA Report “Beauty at any cost”).

That above $100 a month also includes things like surgery, Botox and so on, so it’s even more embarrassing if I were to post my personal spending numbers from previous years:

  • 2011 = $1385.57 or $115.46 a month
  • 2010 = $1287.40 or $107.28 a month
  • 2009 = $411.65 or $34.40 a month

I spend around and slightly MORE than the average, and I don’t get any surgery or injections whatsoever!

Obviously starting in 2010, I started to get more into makeup, and all of my eyeliners, eyeshadows, blushes and brushes can attest to that.

I also started buying higher end products that were more natural like Josie Maran, Tarte and Korres for my face.


But did I really need to spend all that money?

Not in the SLIGHTEST!

I could have easily done with just 4 eyeliners instead of the 15+ I own, 2 blushes and so on.

The problem arises from any of the following:

  • Wanting to try the newest products (new! improved! magical!)
  • Wanting to try new colours (how would this gel blush look on me?)
  • Wanting to switch and try all the options until you decide on your ‘Holy Grail’
  • Hearing recommendations from beauty bloggers
  • Your skin changing and requiring different things (my skin has gotten drier since I was a teen)

In the end, until I find what I really want to buy and use regularly, I will keep trying and buying different products, but it can be hard to wait until something totally disappears before buying something else to try.

I find makeup fun, but not something I have to do on a daily basis.

Au naturel Photoshopped beauty doesn’t really exist

Know how people (usually guys) say: “Oh but So-and-So looks so natural, she doesn’t need makeup! Why can’t you be like that?”

Yeah. Right. Unless they were born with perfect, pore-less, even-toned complexions, every girl wears just a smidgen of makeup, even if it’s concealer under the eyes.

I seriously DO look better with a bit of makeup on, and I am not afraid to say that, even if loved ones protest!

I am hearing even from the most fresh-faced girls I know, that they wear a ton of makeup!

At the very least, they pluck their eyebrows and shade them in before leaving the house.

That taken into account, I have no qualms with leaving the house with nothing but sunscreen on, even if I know I don’t look my best. It isn’t a kind of mental hang-up where I need to wear false eyelashes and a full face of makeup or else I feel like I’m hideous — on the contrary, I don’t feel ugly without makeup, I just know I look younger and less polished.

A little makeup can make you look more professional

I know concealer, eyeliner, mascara, sheer coloured lip balm and a smidgen of foundation on my dark spots, make me look 100% better. I know it makes me look more professional, and I even feel more professional with a little bit of makeup on and people respond better to me.

Surprisingly, it really does make a difference at work if you go truly barefaced or not, sad to say.

Nancy Etcoff, the study’s lead author and associate researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital told ABC news that […..]

‘The women were judged as more competent, likeable, attractive and trustworthy.’

[…..] but trustworthiness – or honesty – soon suffered as cosmetic looks became heavier.

‘When they got to the more dramatic make-up looks, people saw them as equally likeable and much more attractive and competent, but less trustworthy,’ comments Etcoff to the news site.

Source: Daily Mail – Wear Makeup and Look more Competent

So wear a little makeup to look polished but natural, and leave the super bright eyeshadows and eyeliners, thick concealer or foundation and huge false eyelashes at home.

You can also read Erotic Capital – Power in the Boardroom by Catherine Hakim, which I highly recommend because it tells the truth about having to look your best, because it matters when you work.

All in all, a little makeup helps, and you don’t need to own a lot to look more polished. I know it’s a double standard, but it also helps that I enjoy the act and idea of makeup as well.

What about you?



  • Cassie

    I spent a pretty penny on face care while I was battling acne. Now that it’s mostly under control, I’m branching out into the makeup side again. Having battled with my skin for so long I don’t mind spending a little extra for products that agree with my skin better. I like makeup, but by no means do I wear it every day. I get 100% why you would want to wear makeup in an office environment. My work straddles an office and a machine shop. The office would call for makeup, but if I was wearing it in the shop I would get more unnecessary attention than I want. Whether it’s right or wrong, in my line of work sometimes makeup is as much of a distraction as it is a tool. Most days I wear mascara and tinted lip balm, if that.

  • jeweliette23

    I usually spend alot on beauty too, but this year I’ve been good. I just checked my expense sheet and to date, I’ve spent roughly $250 on beauty and skincare. I guess maybe $400 if you count the one haircut and highlights job. I’m a HUGE beauty junkie though. I usually wait until Oct/Nov to make a big haul of re-purchasing products like foundation and buying products that I want to try – that’s the time of Sephora’s annual F&F sale, 20% off on everything.

  • sense

    have you discovered CVS yet? you can try products that you think you’ll like, and if you end up hating it, you can return it!

    • Mochi & Macarons

      They have that at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada too. I’m also doing samples at Sephora but it is more that I get carried away with new things.

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