How Much Do Women Really Spend On Beauty Products?

I wrote down my own beauty expenses and asked some fellow beauty writers to do the same.
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I wrote down my own beauty expenses and asked some fellow beauty writers to do the same.

Beauty equals time (application) and money (products). Time equals money. Beauty equals money and money. Therefore, help me. I’m poor. I hope that intro will make my eighth-grade math teacher, Mr. Rice, proud.

Anyway, the point is that it's expensive to be a woman, and creating a beauty budget is a real and important thing.

Here's my truth: On any given day it takes over $400 for me to maintain a very average beauty look. And I’m a drugstore gal, for the most part.

How did I get to that magic number? 

I wrote down products I use on a regularly basis.

Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, dry shampoo, face wash, Clarisonic, tea tree oil, shaving cream, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, Chi serum, rose water, glycerin, body lotion, face lotion, primer, foundation, blush, highlighter, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, lip gloss, eyebrow tint, hairspray, perfume, nail polish.

Then I added up how much these things cost.

$429.91

Granted, all of these products last more than a day. Some will last for years, some for a month, but let's remember that I'm not counting beauty tools (e.g., brushes, beautyblenders, curling irons, bobby pins), services (color, cuts, waxes, threadings) or things like tampons, toilet paper, and birth control

So--holy broke--it is outrageously expensive to be a woman. 

In 2013, InStyle reported that women spend upwards of $15,000 on beauty products in their lifetime, and in 2012, Jezebel noted that the cost of the average woman's health and personal hygiene upkeep totaled over $2000 per year. 

There are many ways to break down your beauty finances and take a look at where your money is going and how it’s benefiting you. I mean, that’s a huge part of why xoVain exists: We try things out, give informed opinions, and are here for your Qs in the comments.  

I asked other beauty writers (xoVain contributors, natch) about their beauty spending habits and here's what they said. 

Rachel has a strict budget, one that I am super envious of.

“I have a budget for “vanity/lady products,” which includes makeup, tampons, razors, bath products, birth control/condoms, and salon services, and it’s only $50/month. I’m crazy stingy. I let myself do a rollover, though, so if I only spend $25 in December, I can spend $75 in January. That’s how I save up for fancy stuff or haircuts.”

I don't. Know. How. Trista. Does. It. 

“I probably spend less than $10 a month on beauty stuff. Which MIGHT be depressing?”  

Kara narrowed in on her beauty services costs, which can be SO expensive. 

“I pay about $35 every three weeks to have my nails filled. Forty dollars with tip for Brazilians once every six weeks. Brows are $35 every couple months. My haircut is $80 but I only go twice a year. Color I probably spend around $300 for the year, depending. Occasional blowouts for $35.”

Tamara says she doesn’t have a firm beauty budget because...

“...I have a problem (lol). But I do try to be selective about higher end products. Like, if I want something that is $50 or more I have to really sit on it for a while to make sure I want it. Fragrance, for example, is something that I will measure over a long period of time. I'll get a baby sample from theperfumedcourt.com, try it for a few months, and then when it runs out I'll wait and see if I miss it. I own two high-end fragrances that I purchased on my own, and it took me six months to make the decision to buy the first one and almost a year for the other. One thing that I know I will shell out more for consistently is skin care, so I will always set aside money for that. I usually only have to worry about it every eight months or so.”

  • How much do you spend on beauty?
  • Are you the primary purchaser in your household?
  • Do you love logic problems like me?