Femininity, Other Stuff We Read, Self-Image, Sweet Machine

Quick hit: Beauty by the dollar

I’ve been reading, thinking, and writing about feminist issues long enough that I usually think nothing beauty-related can floor me anymore. But holy cats, two recent posts on the economics of beauty Sociological Images made my jaw drop, especially given the current economic doldrums.

First, check out this photo essay by Lauren Greenfield (of THIN and Girl Culture fame) about six NY women and what they spend on their monthly beauty regimen. I know we’ve talked about this before, but it amazes me the amount of money some women spend (and some people expect women to spend) to look like attractive but fairly “normal” women (“normal” as in “women who have jobs that do not involve being beautiful as an explicit part of the job description“). There is an actress profiled, so I wouldn’t count her in that category—but she spends way way less than the hedge-fund manager pictured just below her.

Second, Sociological Images points to a Newsweek feature on the economics of beauty throughout the lifetime of a “modern diva,” whatever that means. The feature seems to have disappeared from the Newsweek site, but you can still see the graphic at the SI post. As beloved Shapeling OTM says in the comments, By using the term “Diva,” the report places the blame firmly on the woman and fails to allow for a more meaningful analysis. Weird, too, that they conflate teens and twentysomethings; my body, appearance, and habits are wildly different as a 29-year-old from what they were as a 15-year-old.

Basically, both of these posts remind us that there are people out there who think we should (or perhaps, that we do) spend more money on cosmetics than I do on rent. What’s your take on these posts? What’s the most expensive part of your most expensive beauty routine? What’s the thriftiest? What would you be least willing to give up?

209 thoughts on “Quick hit: Beauty by the dollar”

  1. I’m feeling cynical, so my take? It’s to stop us spending our money on things that might matter too much or make a difference, like much of the diet industry. If we spend all our disposable income on cosmetics and cosmetic procedures, we’re not using it politically, or to help each other out of society’s carefully placed rut.

    As for the most expensive part of my beauty routine… the answer is, what routine? Although admittedly I do pay a chiropodist once a month to deal with my toenails, but that’s because I’m a mutant and my toenails literally grow every direction except forward and down.

  2. I just realize how thrift I am… I cut my hair once every two months for $16, and my (cheap) cosmetics last for months… Including things like soap and shampoo (which for me are hygiene items, not cosmetics) I must spend $20 per month – maximum.
    And I still feel beautiful! That said, I would love to be able to pay to have my eyebrowns done by someone else – I hate doing the plucking thing!

  3. Probably $60/mo on hair, and negligible on cosmetics — some foundation and a compact, three or four lipsticks, two eye liner — $30-$40 at most; and the routine hasn’t changed in a decade. My paltry collection of makeup appalls my former model older sister, but in photos I look normal and she looks like a mannequin, and not in a good way.

  4. All the women being from NY skews the $$ a bit, I’d think, compared to much of the rest of the country. I probably go with the “normal” things – eyebrows, mani/pedi, shaving, makeup, cut/color. But I’d guess it averages out to $30 or $40 a month, since I do most of it myself and use mostly drug store products. It just doesn’t make any sense to me to spend more than that.

  5. I just totaled my beauty expenses. I think it’s around $10 a month for shampoo, conditioner, and the hair elastics Ioose constantly.

    Clothes, OTOH, are another story entirely.

  6. I suspect the point of the article has to be to make anyone who spends an order of magnitude less feel virtuous. $1700 a month? Srsly? I’d be curious to see what the average is, and I suspect the woman who spends $80 a month is closer to typical than not.

  7. The only things I buy every month are shampoo, shower gel and deodorant. Other stuff… uh, I think I got a new eyeliner sometime last autumn? And I had my hair cut a while back, but my fiance did it.

    Life’s too short. Mornings especially. I wash and go. I admit I should go to a professional and get my hair cut, because it’s pretty scruffy. And I sometimes like the idea of getting someone with a clue to shape my eyebrows. Other stuff doesn’t appeal.

  8. Now that I have a salary, I’ve been spending more on appearance. I still only wear some basic make-up, and not every day, so that’s a very occasional expense. But I’ve started getting the haircuts much more regularly (and with a short cut, that means pretty frequent – I push it to 6 weeks or 2 months between cuts), and at places that charge like $40-50 because they get the layers right and it looks a lot better as it grows out. I’ve also started occasionally getting my brows waxed, which is $10 at the cheapest place (but they don’t do a great job), and I might decide to shell out a bit more to have it done at my hair salon.

    Other toiletries, well, I’ve gone up in price and quality since deciding I wanted both things that worked and that didn’t test on animals* – not very cheap! But I tend to use small quantities of lotion and soap compared to I think a lot of people, so I don’t have to replace them all that often. Even if more and more of it is coming from Lush, so I have [nicely scented] sticker shock whenever I buy toiletries…

    *I make exceptions for skin products that don’t irritate my skin, because it’s so ridiculously sensitive that my options are really limited. I do have some guilt about that, though!

  9. I generally refuse to wear make-up on a daily basis, but I’m in law school and recognize that it is expected that women in the legal field wear make-up. It’s “professional.” I have no idea why that’s so, but I know that if I want to succeed, I’ll at the very least slap some mascara and lip gloss on. I did shell out a lot of money, ($60?) for bare essentials mineral foundation (I bought the starter kit) and it’s lasted me for months, because I only use it for special occassions and (mock) court appearances.

    Otherwise, to keep my skin clear I’m on Neutrogena Stress Relief Acne control and I was using a $20 product to reduce puffiness under my eyes, but I found one that’s half the price and while I don’t think either product works, it’s very much a psychosomatic thing.

    Frankly, the acne issue is for my own personal relief now and not because of what others think (like it was when I was 16). I have a nervous habit that causes me to pick at my skin and the less there is to be picked at the better.

  10. I guess what I wonder about is the “monthly” makeup purchases. I mean, I have bought a few lipsticks over the past year. So now I have a few lipsticks and I don’t need to buy any more. Why would I need to buy one every month? I get that for some people, makeup is a hobby, and that’s a different thing entirely.

  11. (My limit, btw, has generally been getting my hair colored by a professional. I’d love to do it a couple times a year for fun, but good god, i feel so guilty about the money.)

  12. Monthly make-up purchases baffle me, too. Once or twice a year I’ll buy some new makeup, like maybe a lipstick or a new blush or eyeshadow. And that feels like a splurge, because I generally haven’t run out of anything at home. But we are not so trendy, i guess!

  13. I generally refuse to wear make-up on a daily basis, but I’m in law school and recognize that it is expected that women in the legal field wear make-up. It’s “professional.” I have no idea why that’s so, but I know that if I want to succeed, I’ll at the very least slap some mascara and lip gloss on.

    The bright side is that that might be on the safe side for interviews, but there are definitely legal places of employment where many of the women don’t wear make-up and nobody cares, so maybe you’ll luck out. :-)

    I’m no good at calculating this stuff, but I suspect $85 is close to the maximum I spend when I’ve either gone on a cosmetics or LUSH run or gotten a nice haircut; most months, much less. I find $1,750 mindboggling. I’d love to see an itemized expense breakdown just to satisfy my own curiosity.

  14. SM and volcanista:

    I don’t understand monthly make-up purchases, but I know that make-up does go bad and some peoples’ needs change with the seasons, so I could forgive quarterly purchases, but monthly seems excessive to me as well.

  15. there are definitely legal places of employment where many of the women don’t wear make-up and nobody cares, so maybe you’ll luck out. :-)

    Fingers crossed!

  16. If I had both time, access, and money, I certainly would spend more money on haircuts. I generally get two good ones a year for about $60 each.

    As for self-done & non-hygiene parts of my beauty routine, I pluck my brows, bleach other facial hair, shave my armpits and legs, & occasionally colour my hair from the box.

    I always feel, however, like these things require way more attention than I have for them. It’s mainly hair stewardship, when it comes right to it, and my hair is almost always in its “natural” state before I get around to doing anything about it.

    Interestingly, I had zero beauty routines when I was younger. I wore Goth makeup to the club, that was it. I’d dye my hair but for beauty’s sake. The beauty routines started when I stopped wearing my clothing as a tribal costume.

  17. Somewhat OT, but on a similar note, is anyone else familiar with the term peacocking? My friends at school were bandying about and it’s when a man wears something that stands out as a sort of conversation starter with the ladies. It got me thinking. Birds totally have it right! I am the one who’s going to perpetuate your genetic line, you should be fighting to attract me, not the other way around!

    getting off of my box now.

  18. Lipsticks and mascaras and cream based eye shadows definitely go off, though you can make them last longerby keeping them in the fridge, apparently. I have never done this! Also, moisturiser totally goes off. I lost a tube of camomile handcream and found it in the bottom of a box 2 years later, squirted some on and OMIGOD it was disgusting – smelled like old socks!

  19. What makeup goes bad?? Other than nail polish, I mean.

    I’m pretty sure liquid foundation, if you let it sit like I do, and perfume, but I know that takes awhile. Ever stood too close to an older lady who hasn’t realized her perfume has gone bad? That is a bad time.

    Otherwise, I’m willing to bet it’s just a compulsive need to have newer, better cosmetices as propogated by the cosmetics industry.

  20. Holy crap, those figures are astronomically ridiculous, and on the extreme end of the curve, I don’t doubt.

    My beauty costs are miniscule in comparison: I believe I spend less than $200 a YEAR on hair and cosmetics. To break it down a bit; $45 every six months for a hair cut. $10 every six weeks for a brow waxing. And I rarely wear makeup (my job forbids it, as I work in a medical clean room) so I might buy $20 or $30 in makeup a year, AT MOST).

    I don’t get manicures or pedicures, as I think painted nails look ridiculous. I don’t tan, as I am a fairskinned redhead, and can’t tan to save my life. And a spray-tan would just look awful. I don’t color my hair because mÝ natural color is, quite frankly, gorgeous.

    If I had that kind of money to spend on “looking beautiful” I’d spend it on tooth whitening.

    In fact the vast majority of my “beauty regimen” is in hygiene and clothes. In the last six weeks I have spent over $300 upgrading my wardrobe to reflect my weight gain and newly single status.

    And I am fairly darn cute without having to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars!

  21. I suspect the point of the article has to be to make anyone who spends an order of magnitude less feel virtuous.

    Yes. And, this is something I have to watch myself with. I spend very little on clothes and beauty products. I can get away with that for a few reasons. I’ve been a stable size for years, so I have a pretty big collection of clothing that fits. And, I’m mainly an at-home mom, where make-up and nice clothing isn’t a requirement, and my out-of-the-house job is teaching writing courses, and there’s a lot of latitude in how I present myself, so I don’t need to get dressed up or wear make-up if I don’t want, and I only teach a couple of days a week, so I don’t need a full wardrobe of professional clothing even if I do get dressed up for most classes. So my lifestyle is very conducive to not spending much money on beauty products. If I were working full-time in a field where I was expected to meet a certain standard of professionalism in my appearance, I imagine my clothing and beauty product budget would be much different.

    As it is, I’ve been going through two big bottles of conditioner (although yesterday I got my hair cut short–for free, because there was so much I could donate it–and so I’ll probably be going through much less) and about 1/2 a tube of hair gel a month. I swear by the tea tree oil facial soap from the Body Shop, and the bars last me about 4 or 5 months (at least). I have a moisturizer I really like, Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Face Lotion, which is pricey (for me), but I forget to use it most days and have had the same bottle for about a year. And, I also have one of those Bare Minerals make-up sets, which I’ve had for almost two years and still haven’t used half of. When I do want to wear make-up, that’s what I use. I’ll bleach or wax my upper lip at home once a month or so, and probably end up spending about $5 every two months on stuff for that. I think that’s about it for my beauty spending. Aside from conditioner, I can’t think of everything I end up buying every month.

    Now that my hair is short I’ll need to start getting haircuts regularly (it had been over two since since the last time I got one), but the place I go is only $11/cut, so I’m thinking it will end up being about $11 every 6-8 weeks.

    So that’s about it for my “beauty routine,” but, like I said, I’m fortunate (at least from my perspective ;)) to have a lifestyle that doesn’t require me to present a “professional” appearance very often. So I can get away with a very low-key beauty routine without reaping any negative social or professional consequences.

  22. Oh yes, perfume and maybe scented things go bad, totally. I’ve never had lipsticks turn bad in any way I could tell, though, and old mascaras dried out but didn’t spoil in any way I noticed.

    Nail polish sometimes separates so much that you can’t get it back into solution or suspension or whatever it is. People put it in the fridge or freezer to slow that down. But if you shake them up often enough, it might not happen.

  23. hmm… i purchase shampoo & conditioner when it’s on sale, and right now i have enough to last a year. (probably spent $10-15 for all of it.) deodorant is also purchased when on sale. one stick lasts for months. but i’m thinking of trying plain baking powder once all of this stuff is gone. i’ve heard good things about it. ^_^

    i don’t wear makeup, but i do wear chapstick. i also use “definer” for curly hair. one bottle lasts about 4 months and costs around $4. i also cut my own hair and use a pedegg if my feet need some help. toothpaste is also purchased on sale, and since i purchased a diva cup 4 years ago, my feminine hygiene cost has been $0. (i know that’s an aspect that no one else can see, but i truly feel that having products that make your period more comfortable should be considered important and valuable.)

    so, i guess my cost per month is about… $3. dang i’m cheap. @_@

  24. I suppose I’m an outlier on the bottom end. I cut my hair once a year, which takes off 3-4 inches. I shower once every other day using unperfumed castile soap (doesn’t give me UTIs or a rash), which I buy in bulk from the local grocery. I don’t wear makeup, perfume, or any hair stuff. I don’t shave my legs, so I don’t have to buy anything for that. I use non-alcohol face pad thingies if I feel like I’m breaking out. I have VERY sensitive skin… So it’s all a combination of laziness, principle, and necessity.

    I’d say I spend… $5?

  25. I’d just did a quick computation of my regular grooming routines and tried to come up with an average. I’m a southern woman who wears full makeup every day, colors my hair, gets brows waxed and wears perfume and deodorant. I don’t have a gym membership. I wear jewelry every day (each lobe is pierced twice, one nose stud and i wear a bracelet and watch each day.

    My average: $159.50 a month.

    That’s probably low.

  26. It’s funny, I keep forgetting my hair is so much shorter than many women’s—I think “wow, how do you go through shampoo so fast” at the same time as “wow, how do you go six months without getting a haircut” and only just now did I realize that those two are related. :-)

  27. Yeah, you know, I’ve bought the OTC tooth whitening, and the sensitivity is usually more than I can handle after 2 or 3 days, so I whiten a little and then they sit on the shelf. Then a few months later I do it again. It’s not enough to go a whole shade whiter to fully match my crown again, but it’s something.

    If I were rich, though, I’d spend $300 for my dentist to make me custom trays. One-time-whitening, minimal discomfort because they actually fit. I can dream…

  28. Waaah, this hits home!!! I’ve actually been having anxiety attacks about this precise thing for days. Because at the moment, for the first time, I find myself:

    a) being basically okay enough with my body to think that it *might* be possible to dress it in ways that make me feel like a million bucks (as opposed to most of my life where I dressed as though I wanted my clothing to become a hole in the floor that I could drop into and never come out again, worthless monster that I was) and

    and b) having a salary that’s about to quadruple, from my grad student stipend to lots more money than I’ve ever earned in my life.

    I think it is probably true that the most prudent thing to do, given my new circumstances, is to drop a lot of money “up front” (which I can do because we’ve been pretty thrifty in grad school) into a working wardrobe.

    There are good and bad reasons for this, ranging from boo-worthy ones like “I need to dress well to be taken seriously, especially as I’ll be teaching second-career student” to yay-worthy ones like “I’m comfortable enough in my skin to say screw you to trends and carefully buy things that look nice on THIS body,” plus a lot of ambiguous ones in between.

    There are serious, serious class issues as well. I think it also raises the specter of pleasing my parents by having how I look be appropriate to the social class they entered later in their lives (and over the course of my youth). I always felt like my body embarrassed my parents, and was one of the things gave away the fact that our family might have come into a lot of money but we didn’t really know the rules that my mom especially was focused on learning. (So the story I told the other day about my mom saying to me, “You ate as much as a high school boy!” with her cheeks burning with embarrassment… well, I think it was definitely a class anxiety thing, with my appetites and body being the giveaway that we were, as a family, faking it.)

    Long ago I basically gave up on earning their approval in that regard; and that was a good thing to do. But now that I could conceivably afford a few nice, serviceable items from Nordstroms? It kind of puts the possibility of that approval back on the table, which raises all kinds of anxiety for me because it’s a very shame-freighted issue I was happy never ever revisitng. (I know, I know, buying clothes from Nordstroms, cry me a river! Gah, sorry.)

    And I’m also scared of the disapproval from my husband’s very conservative religious family who think non-functional adornment is sinful and worldly.

    Anyway, I don’t know what to do. I’m buying some very very basic items from Nordstroms, having them tailored, and then begging an Etsy designer to make a few things that have some flair. She’s got an eye for proportion and fit, and I don’t; plus I like the idea of supporting artisans.

    I just wish I didn’t have to think about any of this. But when I do, I gotta say, reading Tim Gunn has helped a lot. I find him soothing. I don’t even know who he is, but I like his approach to style.

    Gah, sorry, y’all. Send me a bill, apparently I’ve made this into a therapy session.

  29. You know, makeup IS a hobby for me and I still don’t buy it every month. The idea of spending $1700 on any sort of beauty regimen just…. BUH?

    I don’t wash my hair very often so I don’t need to buy shampoo/conditioner very often.

    And, really, while I enjoy the products I use, there is no part of a “beauty regime” that I couldn’t give up. Because it’s OPTIONAL. ARGH!

    I mean, I’ve got close to 100 eyeshadows at this point. But COME ON.

  30. SM, I just got about 12 inches cut from my hair, and I was at the point where I was going through nearly a bottle of conditioner a week. But, my hair is really, really thick, and very curly, and I use conditioner to “wash” my hair and to condition it, so I think that’s still way more than most women with really long hair will use. Still, I was using A LOT of conditioner, and this morning it was so, so nice to be able to just use a little bit and be done.

    But I just generally think few things feel nicer than getting a short haircut after you’ve had really long hair for a while, so pretty much everything about short hair is making me happy right now. :)

  31. A Sarah, yes, do the new wardrobe thing. When I started my faculty job right out of grad school, one of the first things I did was a major wardrobe purge. I bought a bunch of new clothes. It’s been long enough that that first set is starting to wear out, and I’ve realized that to keep up a professional wardrobe I’ll have to buy clothes with some regularity – crazy! But it felt really good to make a clean change right off the bat.

    Tim Gunn is fabulous!

  32. Lori, my hair is also very thick and used to be fairly long, and one of the things that floored me when I first chopped it all off was how much less time I spent in the shower every day. This was years ago, and apparently I’ve gotten so used to short hair that I think of it as the default now. :-)

  33. Add me in to the “I don’t understand monthly makeup costs” group. My makeup lasts darned near forever – the only thing I replace regularly is my mascara, and that’s mostly because it dries out and gets clumpy and doesn’t apply right. But that’s not a major expense because I use a drugstore brand that’s under $5 and it’s every 6-8 months or so.

    What I wouldn’t do without is my haircuts. I finally found another hair stylist who can work with my curly but not too curly hair. When I find a gem like this, I stick with them – I had my last stylist for over 10 years and only left because we moved. Haircuts are worth it to me not just for looks, but because a good cut means I have to spend so much less time on my hair to get it to look the way I want it to, and I’m fundamentally lazy :).

    As for nail polish going bad, sometimes it’s unsalvageable, but they do sell nail polish thinner that can save a bottle that’s goopy but not solid. I used it on one of my all time favorite limited colors (Tropical Chrome!), and it worked great. Of course, then I found an exact duplicate of the color….

  34. I usually cut my hair once a year also and I don’t like to go too short, but if I have enough to donate, I’ll do it as short as I need to. However, I get my hair layered and neglecting it for a year doesn’t make the ends of my hair very desirable.

    I agree about cutting your hair short after its been long for a while. I love that light-headed feeling and it takes me days before I realize that I need less shampoo and conditioner.

  35. The most expensive beauty thing I do is my monthly Hair Club appointment. It seems wasteful but the scalp massage and treatment feel so good and I think it really makes a difference in my hair.

  36. My M-I-L is a beauty department manager at a high-end dept store so every birthday and Xmas she sends me a ton of samples, which means I spend very little on makeup. I prefer a specific type of moisturizer however– Aveno– so I buy a bottle of that at about $15 or so 3 or 4 times a year. I get one haircut a year, usually spend about $75 on that. I get probably 5 or 6 manicures and 3 or 4 pedicures a year. I would guess it works out to about $40 a month on beauty for me. This is all I can afford. I don’t look gorgeous but I don’t look hideous either, so I’m content.

  37. Granted, I do spend a lot of shampoo and conditioner from Lush, but I found a way to make it cheaper. My hair is down to my waist, and using the high-end stuff makes it look better than the bargain plan of “whatever is on sale at CVS.” Also, a little Lush shampoo goes a long ass way- 8 oz lasted 3 months.

    I also color my hiar once every three months, and will get it porfessionally done when I can afford it (See previous comment about waist length hair- color at that length doesn’t come cheap). I get a hair cut once every 6 months or so, and tha’ts $40 (I once won a high-end salon hair cut in a raffle, and haven’t gone back to Supercuts since. The $45 is sooooo worth it).

    I have makeup for stage productions, not every day wear. I wash my face, I brush my hair, I run out the door.

  38. Wait a second… I instantly recognized the name of the first woman pictured in that photo essay who “is so obsessed with makeup that she founded her own line of cosmetics, Ginger Luxe:” http://www.gingerluxe.com/

    That’s not just a hobby, that’s also a career – heck, that’s opposition research! I’d also argue that, like the actress, it *is* part of her job description to look impeccably made up.

  39. (lurker sez hi) A feminist blog that I read recently did some research on this: http://www.harpyness.com/2009/03/31/the-cost-of-beauty-part-2-the-numbers/

    After doing much number crunching, I realized that I spend an average of $60 per month when you average out the makeup I tend to go through over the course of a year, shampoo, hair products, etc. At first I thought $60 per month seemed like a lot, but seeing those totals in the photo essay makes me feel downright low-maintenance!

    I was recently shocked to learn, after years of straightening and blow drying that my hair actually has a pretty decent natural texture, once I gave it a few days without heat-torture to get back to its equilibrium. And I have to say I love the 15 minutes of extra sleep I get now that I don’t have to battle my hair every morning!

  40. Oh yeah, I have a gym membership but it’s free because I work there part time as a group exercise instructor.

  41. $1700 a month seems like a lot, but if she’s getting facials at a dermo’s office, that’ll add a lot to the cost. Also, isn’t Botox $300 – $400 a pop?

    It makes me both sad and a little anxious that a 36 year old feels it necessary to get Botox.

  42. Hmm . . . I have my hair cut and colored once every other month or so. I do this because I enjoy it, not because I think I have to. I go to a beauty school, and it costs about $40 + tip. That’s my most expensive thing. I do like facials, but I don’t get them regularly.

  43. Not counting clothing, I spend very little. I’ve probably blown $100 on makeup in the past year, and that’s up from what I usually use. I have very long, curly hair (touches my hip bones) and I baby it. That means no styling products, obviously very very very few haircuts, very rarely will I dye it, etc. I’m lucky in that I have lots of features that require minimal maintenance to conform to the expected standard. For instance, you can’t tell I’ve never once plucked my eyebrows, my skin is pretty much blemish free, and my (very very part time) job makes doing anything with my nails really unfeasible.

    The one thing I do spend money on is clothes, and I think that does matter for a “beauty routine.” My clothing expenditure is probably 15-20x what my husband’s is because I’m sick of buying ill-fitting clothing. It’s also my hobby, as I’m getting really into sewing.


    I do use most of a bottle of conditioner a week, but I use the cheap stuff. Honestly, Suave Naturals is about the best thing that could have happened to my hair. It has no silicone derivatives, which has helped maintain my hair quality. I use cheapo soap and shampoo because I don’t care, the rosacea means I can’t use soap on my face much.

    A bonus point to having really long hair is that it takes FAR less time and money to look presentable. I can have my hair in a bun in 30 seconds, a braid in less than a minute. All I need to do each morning is comb it out. If I had it short (back when I did) I’d need to put some product in it, usually of the more expensive variety, to get it to not look totally limp, scraggly, and frizzy. For some people short hair is far less maintenance, but at least for me long hair is as lazy as I can get. Plus it’s a great conversation starter.

  44. since i purchased a diva cup 4 years ago, my feminine hygiene cost has been $0

    Dude, seriously. I bought mine about six months ago, and literally have no idea how I used to get along without it. I love not spending money on tampons, those fuckers cost like ten bucks a month. diva cup = best purchase I’ve made in a long time.

    Okay, that’s enough shilling, I guess.

    I think I spend around 15 bucks a month on hair stuff (I use a lot of shampoo…curly, long hair). I also use mousse, and anti-frizz serum. I don’t wear makeup, and I do all my hair removal via tweezers and an epilator I bought like four years ago. I dunno, sometimes I think I should pull it together, like, if I wore makeup and dressed more “feminine” (my outfit of choice? Black t shirt, jeans, converse or vans, black rimmed glasses) then people would take me more seriously. Well, it’s their problem, right? I just think that it’s bogus that society expects me to put twice as much effort into my morning regimen as a man, so that I can look a certain acceptable way.

    I don’t care, my time is valuable.


  45. I was spending ~$70 to get my hair cut every six weeks, so I decided to grow it out. Despite the 7 months of hideous-hair agony, totally worth it.
    Also, I have to say, I’m beginning to really cut down on shampooing my hair. This may sound gross, but I find my hair looks the oiliest the second day…but looks great on days 3-5 of not washing. My hair isn’t so dry anymore either.
    I bet my “beauty budget” is about $100 a month averaged out, because my cuts are expensive (if rare) and because I sometimes splurge on an expensive perfume or lotion…I see beauty products (not hygiene products) as COMPLETELY optional.

  46. Oooh, I’ve always wondered about the diva cup, but heard if you have an IUD you can’t use it. Anyone here have an IUD and use a diva cup?

  47. I’m glad for all the Diva Cup shilling going on here, because I had an IUD for four years and didn’t have enough of a period to warrant more than a pantyliner during that time, but now that it’s out and I’m having regular periods, I’ve been shocked at how many pads and tampons I go through each month, and how much they cost, and have been thinking about getting a Diva Cup. I think you’ve convinced me.

  48. The most I have ever spent on an item of makeup was $18 for a thing of eye shadow (5 years ago). Thriftiest find: $0.29 for tinted chapstick that was originally $18 (its packaging was sad and stained, and the chapstick itself was already used, but hey it was a bargain and at the time I had a shopping addiction). These days I tend to fork out some money, $0-$7 range, on products that will moisturize my skin and hair, and leave me smelling good. It is insane what good deals one can find on such products at Target in the clearance aisle, Goodwill, or T.J. Maxx.

    I generally don’t like to spend that much time on makeup- I usually only wear it once or twice a month. I much prefer smelling good and feeling soft, because those things directly benefit me and not just other people. Perfume is one step away from having a personal flower garden tailing you everywhere you go, and body scrubs and lotions keep me itch free so soft that I can barely keep my hands off myself…but, I mean, I try.

  49. Diva Cups are WONDERFUL, but there is a learning curve to it. I’ve also found that occasionally I have a day where I just can’t get it to go in right, and so I have a pack of pads lying around. But that means I go through 2 packs a year, rather than 12+ (I have light periods).

    Curly haired girls, try cutting back on your shampooing. It SERIOUSLY helps. Pre-pregnancy I only needed to shampoo once a week and my frizz was far more manageable. I also have very very very few split ends. (Of course pregnancy hormones have made my hair greasy, so I’m up to shampooing every other day). Also, only shampoo your scalp; you don’t need to scrub the length and that will only increase tangles and therefore damage.

  50. Get one. There’s a bit of a “learning curve” the first or second month you use it…but once you figure out the best way to get it in there, then it literally takes seconds, and is no messier or more difficult than a tampon. I don’t understand why this isn’t a mainstream feminine hygiene product.

    I think the secret is learning exactly where your cervix sits, and then figuring out how often to empty it out…but I dunno, maybe that’s just me.

  51. And for the record, I have heavy death periods, and this thing DOES NOT LEAK. It’s a menstrual miracle.

  52. 1. And I was feeling guilty because I have decided to have somebody else threading my upper lip and (occasionally) eyebrows…

    2. There is almost no escape from the shampoo/hair cut dilemma, I am afraid.

    3. I reckon that a manager must be taken seriously, and (alas) nobody takes seriously a woman that does not look in a certain way – ie, a woman whose hair are not coloured perfectly, or does not wear a bit of heels, or… A friend of a friend has done an internship for McKinsey, and she told me that the dress and make-up code were pretty strict. And she was just an intern!

    But still: 1700$/month is more than my mother’s salary. And my mother is not even a blue-collar worker.

    4. How glad I am that I work in a department (maths) in which nobody cares how you dress.

  53. I used to have really long hair and had my haircut every six months or so—but it took a lot of things (shampoo, electricity, hair accessories) and time washing, drying, getting it out of the way etc.

    Now have very short hair, so what I save on Shampoo (I sometimes borrow the kids’ stuff, as long as it doesn’t smell like fruit), I spend on monthly haircuts and a jar or product that lasts me six months. But it takes me less than ten minutes to fix in the morning, including washing, and no electricity, so the trade off is so worth it.

    I used to buy tons of moisturizing shower gels because my skin gets itchy, but now I’m getting a $5 bar of goat’s milk spice soap from the Farmer’s market about once a month. I use an off-brand of Noxema for my face, which works pretty well—though I’m intrigued by Sarah B’s Neutrogena Stress Relief stuff, since I have the same nervous habit.

    I replenish my makeup stash about once a year, which tells you how little I use it. When I do, it’s only cover-up, foundation, powder, and blush. I used to be a musician, so I never got used to lipstick, I have dark lashes anyway, and eyeliner tends to roam around on my eyelids. I can’t keep my hands away from my face, anyway.

    My six-year old is greatly disappointed that I don’t wear more makeup, but I just don’t have the time or inclination.

  54. Yeah, those costs are nuts, but I’m also not crazy about the other extreme I’m seeing here, the “I warsh my hair with rain water and use moose grease” school.

    I like feeling pretty and girly. And I do it on the cheap. I’m not ashamed of either of those things.

  55. ’ve also found that occasionally I have a day where I just can’t get it to go in right, and so I have a pack of pads lying around.

    Sorry for the TMI nature of this question, but is this monthly for you? Because if so, I have exactly that same problem one day of my cycle. Fascinating.

    I object on principle to considering tampons and pads and the like part of someone’s beauty expenses, any more than I would count tissues or toilet paper. (There are more expensive and less expensive options, of course, but it’s not a lipstick.)

    Curly haired girls, try cutting back on your shampooing. It SERIOUSLY helps.

    Agreed. I use an inexpensive condition to “wash” my hair.

  56. The most expensive part of my beauty routine? Sunscreen/Moisturizer, SPF 60, $10.99/30z every 6 months. Toner’s witch hazel, $2 bottle, face wash is the generic brand and it was $2.

    Shampoo and conditioner? There I splurge and spend $3 a bottle for the Suave faux-designer moisturizing brand. The bottles last me about four-five months.

  57. Spoonfork:

    I wear contacts and am constantly rubbing my eyes without thinking about it, so I usually have raccoon eyes after about an hour or two, regardless of the fact that my mascara is “waterproof.” Sucks!

    As for the Neutrogena, I was using Biore products for a long time, but it turns out my skin got used to it and it stopped being effective. The anti-stress stuff works really well for me and is pretty cheap (about $6 per product). I used to use an exfoliating face mask 2-3 times a week, but I simply don’t have the time or energy, but I seem to be okay without it.

  58. I often wonder if people who do this kind of beauty regime look at me and see me as ugly. I don’t pluck my eyebrows, I don’t wear makeup, I don’t color my hair — but I do buy into the belief that I should look attractive, and I try to make myself look attractive by my own lights. (@Cronopio, I do use a lot of homemade beauty products, and I think you would place me firmly in the rain water and moose grease school, but I wouldn’t do those things if they didn’t make me feel pretty and girly.)

    What I wonder is if people who get their eyebrows threaded look at me on the street and have to stifle a silent sneer at my ugliness, or if they just can’t tell the difference between them and me. In other words, do they worry about how anyone looks other than themselves, or is it all self-image?

  59. @spoonfork: I will admit that I haven’t had short hair since I was 9, and it was traumatic, (and I also don’t have the face to pull off short hair) but I honestly find that my waist length hair doesn’t take that much time to deal with. I don’t own a hairdryer (my roommate has one so we can shrink wrap the windows in the winter, and that’s the only reason), nor do I own any products other than the shampoo and the conditioner. I don’t even have any hairspray right now. I wash it at night, braid it, and it’s still damp when I wake up, so I twist it up in a clip that take all of 3 seconds. If I’m having a Bad Hair Day, all I need to do is use a clip or some hairsticks, and the problem is solved.

    With my friends who have short hair, they have to dry it or it’ll dry in a weird shpae, there’s product, there is styling, and consistent haircuts (And no real way to avoid the bad hair day, depending on the shape of the cut). I honestly think my hair is less work long than it would be short, even with the coloring.

  60. also I second everyone who says that curlyhaired people should stop shampooing. I have had strangers say “you are doing the no shampooing thing, aren’t you? I can tell because your hair looks so good.”

  61. philosopherkrista, you might not hear about that much because a lot of women with plastic IUDs barely get a period anymore, so we have no reason to consider a Diva cup. (But I know copper ones are still available and do tend to increase menstrual flow, and some women with plastic ones still get a period, so I can see why it might be a good thing to look into.)

    Some of us with really bizarre and hard-to-reach cervices (even for doctors) probably would not get along well with Diva cups. But they do sound great!

    Moose grease is my favorite!!

    I remember we had another no-poo conversation (and IIRC, I was accused of leading the sheeple because I am a fan of shampoo!), and honestly, it sounds like it works great for some people’s hair and not so great for others. My hair is wavy to mildly curly, and no-poo and I do not get along all that well. But I like shampoo and conditioner just fine, so this does not bother me. :)

  62. Also, sometimes I blow dry my hair, but usually I don’t. Often I now put products in it while it’s damp. It takes about 30 seconds to a minute most mornings, but I really kind of like spending the time and effort on it a little bit each day. So I don’t consider this a bad thing.

  63. Yeah, let’s please not turn this from a competition of who can be the most “feminine” by spending money on beauty products into a competition of who has the most morally upright/ecologically virtuous habits. No evangelizing, please.

  64. I recently blew $8 on hair color and I felt extremely guilty spending that much, especially since there was a $4 option I originally considered but passed over because I didn’t find the color “trashy” enough. (I like brassy orange dyes, and Garnier makes the orangiest!)

    Usually I might get a new bottle of nail polish every month, or a lipstick, or some eye liner, but I don’t spend over $3. Given unlimited funds, I’d probably go through the local Sephora like Sherman through Atlanta, then hit every hair salon in town until somebody got the cut right. Maybe. I certainly wouldn’t come out looking conventional.

    Then there are days I just shove my hair into a scarf, wash my face, and tell the world to go screw itself.

  65. I have relativ ely dry hair. I condition daily, but shampoo twice a week at the most.

    That cuts way down on shampoo. I think I buy maybe three bottles a year.

  66. @ Dana: It’s pretty much every other month. I can’t remember what day it was, but it’s usually pretty early in my bleeding (though not my heavy day). I’m 9 months pregnant and haven’t used my cup in, well, 10 months now. I do plan on buying a new one after I pop.

    Personally, I CAN”T dry my hair. If a blowdryer comes near my hair it sticks out 3 feet in either direction or turns into a giant poofball. I do occasionally get crap about leaving the house with soaking wet hair, but there’s really no alternative.

  67. My monthly cosmetics cost varies pretty radically.

    Maybe a base cost of $20/month or so for shampoo and conditioners… and then if I have any money left over, I’ll buy eyeshadow. I love doing eye makeup, but I can’t be arsed for foundation, concealer, blush, powders, lipsticks, etc etc.

    I get my hair cut to the tune of $60 a pop about 3 times a year.

    To all the people with the curly hairs: How do you keep your hair from getting greasy with the non-washing? I wash my curly hair (with shampoo), and by the next day, it’s stringy at the roots. What gives?

  68. I’ve had really good luck not shampooing, but it seems like it mainly depends on your hair type. I haven’t used shampoo at all in about a year and a half, and my hair was much more manageable than usual. I wish I’d known about not shampooing when I was younger, because as a child my hair always looked awful (my wavy-haired mother had absolutely no idea what to do with my extremely curly hair and would brush it out so it was just a mass of frizz) and as a teen and young adult I either spent tons of money on products to try to make it less frizzy or tons of time straightening it out. So, for me, not shampooing works great. My husband tried not shampooing after my good luck with it, and his very straight hair made it about 3 days before he decided it wasn’t for him.

  69. @ Anoif- I have really dry wavy/curly hair and found that when I shampooed daily or near daily my hair was much more greasy than if I cut down to once or twice a week. I found that if you dry out the scalp with shampoo (especially bad if you already have dry skin) then the oil producing thingys in your scalp will over-produce oil to combat the dryness.

    I’m no expert. I think I read one article on it after I tired of shampooing and being greasy. But cutting down does help the scalp and hair for me.

  70. I have read about those fish pedicures and I think I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I imagine it must tickle. Though the amount of callouses on my feet might mean I don’t feel the ticklishness of it.

  71. Final post: I second those who mention class expectations and spending on beauty maintenance.

    I was raised with a lot of privilege. My mother hasn’t washed or styled her own hair in about 20 years – she pays someone to do that. She spends a lot on her nails, too.

    Her sister routinely gets “a head job”: hair, brows, facial and mani-pedi. My aunt considers extra weight a mortal sin, too.

    In my family, women who don’t see to their appearance are women with unreasonably relaxed morals.

    This conditioning explains why I don’t even pop to the market without being “finished.”

  72. I would totally try the fish pedicure. I’ve read about them before and they sound interesting!

    A note on the shelf life of makeup: Liquid products, including mascara, average about six months. If the scent changes on you, throw it out. Powder based cosmetics, however, don’t really harbor bacteria the way wet stuff does. The scent rule still applies.

    Nailpolish does not actually go bad. Shaking it will not ruin it – however, shaking it and then immediately applying it can make it more likely to get bubbles in your polish. If you have nail polish that is too thick, do not add nail polish remover to it – there’s a product called Restore by Seche that will actually reconstitute your nail polish no matter how old and dried out it is.

  73. Totally off-topic, but a question for curly haired folks. I’d do the no-washing thing, but I have to get my hair wet in order to style it. Should I just wet it and not use anything?

    deborah: I get my eyebrows waxed now and then because I like the way I look. It makes me feel groomed. I don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone else does. I think folks who don’t get their eyebrows done look just fine, too!

    I buy expensive hair and skin care products. I’m addicted to Kiehl’s. I love to buy makeup and don’t much like wearing it. The packages are just so cute! Still, I’ll bet I don’t spend more than $500- a year on the way I look.

    (I keep having to revise my estimate upwards there. I spend about $300- a year on haircuts.)

    What could I give up? I could leave my eyebrows alone. I could buy less expensive shampoo and conditioner.

    You can have my Kiehl’s leave-in conditioner when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

  74. Dear God, no.

    But, I was traumatized by Piranha as a child, so the idea of allowing fish, even little teeny ones, bite at my feet is just completely unappealing.

  75. If not for the fact that I buy $8 shampoo and conditioner, I’d be another outlier at the low end. My hair is long enough that I actually just trim it myself once or twice a year, I don’t color it, and I don’t use any products in it. I don’t even know how to apply make-up, honestly, which means I never purchase it. So my beauty expenses probably top off at $30 a month, and only because I buy organic shower products.

  76. The haircut thing is my biggest expense; I love having short hair, but having fast-growing, mixed curly/wavy/straight hair means I have to get a haircut every six or eight weeks or look like an angry cocker spaniel!

    To be fair to the photog, she didn’t claim these women were representative. Obviously an actor, a cosmetics professional, and a fashion-designer spokesperson are going to be under different scrutiny than most women just because of their jobs; on the other hand, the hedge-fund person who spent $1700/month is wow! extreme!

    So I’m probably in the $70-80/month camp, with haircut and replacing shampoo/conditioner/skin cleanser/moisturizer/sunblock/makeup as it’s used up or gone off.

    But then there’s clothes. And eyeglasses. And SHOEZ.

  77. I feel weird now. My expenses amount to an average of something like Euro 2,- a month?

    My Kajal lasts about three years at a price of 2.50, the Mascara maybe a year at 5 bucks; aside from that I don’t use anything regularly.

    I sure realise that’s a priviledge on my part, having skin that is happy with Nivea cream about once a week (1,50, lasts me and my flat mate 3 years, according to the last package).

    Shampoo gets in at about 1,50, too, lasts a month for the both of us, and deo lasts years, too, I feel. And while I know I’m lucky, still passing as a “properly groomed woman” with that little effort, spending 1700 just sounds ridiculous! Even 80 does.

    PS: Never told you how much I love this blog and the comments and everything. You sure do rock!

  78. Okay, I’m one of those people who does buy makeup monthly, because it’s fun. I guess I kind of spend a lot on it (though not as much as any of these gals – I make a point to stick to a $250 budget for any “auxiliary” beauty products – things besides shampoo/conditioner, facewash, moisturizer – it’s pretty much only makeup). I have a lot of fun with it. I will never use up 90% of my colors (I mostly buy eyeshadow, though my need for new colors has been petering out recently). It’s only been going on a couple of months, and you know, I will probably get bored with this eventually and stop. And then I will have enough color cosmetics to last me the rest of my life.

    But it’s FUN. And that’s the thing. Once it feels less like fun and more like a necessity for people…that’s when I get disturbed. I wear substantial makeup maybe 2x/week, if I get up early enough (most days I wear concealer, blush, and some sort of lip color, because any more than that takes too much time!) and I have NO problem leaving the house without any on. I understand people who feel like they have to look professional and polished all the time, but I *still* don’t understand spending scores on spa treatments, hair coloration (honest to god, who came up with the idea that your hair had to be multicolored to look stylish? I’m so sick of being told to get highlights)., etc and feeling like you need too.

    Really, I think I only started getting really into makeup once I became more at peace with my appearance and seeing my natural beauty. I wore it a lot in high school, but petered out in college because it made me sort of uncomfortable as I became more of a feminist. I have realized that it was not because I feel makeup is antifeminist, but because wearing it because you think you look awful without it is…and for years I felt that way. I’ve had so much more fun with my appearance since I embraced fat acceptance and started to like how I look. It’s less about anxiety and omg life-and-death, and more about just enjoying different ways of feeling pretty :)

  79. I know I’m a little on the girly-girl side so I do make cosmetic purchases quite often and I don’t always go for the cheap stuff. However, I don’t go for the really high end things either and I get bargains where I can. If a drug store product is working effectively for me, then there’s no reason to buy the expensive stuff.

    Routine beauty maintenance:

    I get a pedicure every 3 weeks for reasons that go way beyond nail polish. My feet are awful! $20
    I get my eyebrows waxed every 6 months or so, tweezing in between. $10
    I get my hair cut once a month from my friend who does it for $10
    I get highlights about every 6 months or so $100
    Makeup- anywhere from $50- $150 at a time when I have the spare cash which is every few months… maybe
    Skin care products cost me about $60 when I have to replace it all – maybe every 6 months or so
    Shampoo/conditioner $30 each – fortunately I don’t shampoo every day so these last forever
    Then I have my splurge lotions, shower gels, philosophy products that I’m addicted to…

    But all of the above besides the shampoo and skin care, I could drop at any given moment if I have to. I’m happy to use drug store soaps and lotions when it’s just not in my budget. Even that list feels like a lot and sometimes I see all the products in my bathroom and it makes me want to scream. I just cannot imagine spending over $1000 a month on beauty.

  80. I would definitely try fish pedicures. Actually, I must go and get an ordinary pedicure. My feet have got rather scabby over the winter and I am sure a woman with a file could make them more comfortable.

    I am often slightly wary when people say “Oh, I don’t shave” or “You don’t need anti-perspirant, try this rock crystal” or “I don’t pluck my eyebrows”. I think these things are great. But I have thick black hair on white calves – I need to epilate my legs on occasion if I don’t want to be humiliated in public when wearing a skirt. I sweat, and anti-perspirant makes me more comfortable and smell less. I have a thick monobrow, and pluck the hairs from above my nose (and elsewhere on my face). It makes me look prettier. All of this is not actually very costly nor timeconsuming, and it certainly doesn’t get me to supermodel standards. It does however make me feel a lot happier about leaving the house and, because I am hardly immune to cultural aesthetics, that I look prettier. It doesn’t cost $1700 a month – in fact it costs very little – and it makes life easier.

  81. I have very short hair (pixie cut), and a hairstylist friend of my parents’ has been cutting it for the past 10 years. She’s fan-freaking-tastic! I don’t care if she charges more than the place down the street, she can tame my mane to the point where it’s literally wash and wear. Sometimes I ponder growing it out so I can play with it, but then I remember just how much hair I had as a kid. My hair is really, really thick. No scrunchie or ponytail holder could contain the mane for long. It would not fit under a swimming cap no matter what I did. I hated brushing my hair because the bristles couldn’t reach all the way through. My parents yelled at me for taking too long in the shower and using up too much shampoo and conditioner, when all I was doing in the shower was washing and conditioning my hair. The pixie cut was SUCH A RELIEF.

    Yeah, I have hair issues. Despite all that, I really like how it looks now. I shell out the bucks for Neutrogena T-Gel shampoo to keep my dandruff under control, use tiny dabs of lightweight conditioner, and that’s about it for hair management.

    Most of my face stuff would come under the realm of skin care. I have very fair, acne-prone skin. Pimples and sunburn hurt. So I buy good fragrance-and-dye-free acne treatment products, and my Holy Grail sunscreen. Shiseido SPF 55 Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion. I swear they made this with sunburn-prone acne sufferers in mind! Not only does it offer good UVA protection, this is the only sunscreen I’ve ever found that doesn’t make me feel and look even greasier than I am naturally. It’s expensive but awesome.

    Let’s see, body hair… I shave my pits and legs myself. Next.

    Makeup. I experimented with wearing makeup every day for a while, and while I liked playing with color, maintaining the appearance of matte, flawless skin with my oily, large-pored, pimply skin was just too much work. I still wear it for special occasions.

    Nail polish! I loooove doing my nails. Collecting, using, and admiring nail polish is a hobby for me. Blue, purple, green, glitter, bring it on! Eventually I will probably have to give up my beloved bright colors for office-appropriate nudes and pinks, but for now I am a college student and enjoying the freedom to wear sparkly bright blue nails. Oh, and nail polish really doesn’t go bad. If it’s become thick, add thinner and a couple BBs and shake. I still have and wear polishes that I bought with my allowance in middle school.

  82. Ah, yes, I didn’t mean that nail polishes literally spoil because of microbes. But after a decade or so of not being mixed, sometimes they won’t recombine, even with a lot of vigorous shaking. I consider those no longer usable! (And really, six months?? Man, I could never use up a thing of liquid foundation or mascara in 6 months. Though I haven’t noticed anything smelling off, so maybe stretching the 6 months a little has been okay so far… I’ll try to be more aware, though!)

    You guys just reminded me that I’m due for a haircut (I mean, I notice it in the mirror every day, but don’t usually remember at work when it’s business hours so I could book an appointment). And this time, in part because of this thread, I decided to go crazy and get it highlighted. It’s been years since I had it colored at all. Excited!!

  83. Fish pedicure? I read an article on that, it sounds awesome! Only if the salon practices good fish-icure hygiene, though. (Use a different set of fish for each customer, change the water after the customer is through, that sort of thing.) Which would be expensive. *sigh* I can dream, though.

  84. I purposely avoid buying makeup. It’s often given to me as a gift, which is kind of nice. I still have all that makeup because I don’t use it. :P
    A huge reason I don’t, besides expense, is that I’ve heard women say they feel “naked” or unattractive if they leave the house without makeup, and I don’t want to be that way. I’d rather feel *especially* beautiful with makeup, but not require it to feel just average.
    I probably spend the most on my hair. $40 haircut, and I’m still experimenting with conditioner and stuff. I have super thick, curly hair, so the cheap haircut thing I’m a little afraid to try because I have such good hair that it deserves a proper haircut. And my hair is one of the more noticeable things about me.
    I’ve been using lots of conditioner ala the Curly Girl Handbook, and I agree with comments above: you don’t need to wash it as much *with shampoo.* I’ve even had regular hair stylists tell me you only need to wash your hair a few times a week, not every day. So I spend a lot less on shampoo these days, but more on conditioner.
    I’m tempted to get the fancy salon products because they feel sooo nice and maybe dry my hair out less, but so far I seem to like Herbal Essences conditioner. I think volume might be more important than quality at this point.
    Everything else, I count as hygiene (deodorant, toothpaste). Oh, there is leg shaving. I try not to shave my legs – I live in a place where I can get away with that. I’m considering getting an electric shaver to make the legs easier. Razors for the underarms are expensive – like $11 for a pack of, five? Depends. It’s for the ones I like that don’t irritate me as much, but they seem to be phasing them out.
    Lotion I’ve been buying more as I’ve been itchy, so that’s for comfort, not beauty.
    Sunscreen, I hardly ever use around here, but I would be willing to spend more for the good quality stuff, especially for the face. Arms and legs, I can buy cheaper stuff. But I’ve been trying to get more sun to improve my mood anyway.

  85. I cut my own hair, and I’m addicted to really good perfume. I figure if I smell nice enough, people will ignore the fact that I’m walking around with my head tilted in order to make my hair look even.

    My favourite perfume right now is Bulgari Black, which smells like hot rubber, among other things. It shouldn’t work, but it completely does. It’s the first really clever perfume I’ve owned – there’s a whole language of smell that I’m just learning about.

  86. To all the people with the curly hairs: How do you keep your hair from getting greasy with the non-washing?

    I found personally that after about a week of adjustment, my scalp simply wasn’t that greasy. My hair type is thick ringlets and tends to run dry, though, so it might not be for everyone. Something else you could try: condition *before* you shampoo, and just wash your scalp. I get my hair wet in the shower and use conditioner on it daily.

  87. I buy shampoo that is not the cheapest brand in the store because it smells yummy.

    I buy all sorts of deodorants trying to find one that actually works, but that’s another story.

    Since I no longer have to interview for jobs, I don’t own makeup.

    When my hair gets halfway down my back I’ll cut it up to my shoulders again. I’ve had my husband do it, but I have enough money now that I paid someone to cut it properly last month.

    I like the concept of rainbow nail polish, but so rarely have anything to dress up for that it’s not worth owning any.

    I shave only occasionally. I like the way my legs look shaved, I just can’t generally be bothered to spend time on my appearance.

    I do occasionally tweeze my eyebrows a little bit, but I do that myself.

  88. Oh yeah, re: sunscreen… what Felicity said. My beloved Shiseido is for my face only, it would get waaay too expensive if I used it on my body too! Drugstore sunscreen is fine for everywhere else, I don’t mind the greasy look and feel as much on my cleavage or arms.

  89. Long curly hair over here.

    I get in the shower and condition my hair every day. If I don’t it’s utterly unmanageable. I only shampoo when it feels greasy. So, when I first started cutting back I’d skip the occasional shampoo, and then go 2 days between them, then 3 and so on. The less shampoo you use, the less your hair will feel greasy, though I can’t go without for more than 5 or 6 days.

    Also, I don’t use much conditioner on my scalp. I put a TON in my length and will rub my slightly conditiony hands on the top of my head, let it all sit for a few minutes while I do the rest of my shower, rinse it out, comb it out, and be done.

  90. I might consider a fish pedicure. Hmmm. I’m not sure. I think it would be cool just to put your feet in a fish pond; the knowledge that they’re eating bits of me might be a little too much like leeches, though, which freak me out.

    I don’t get my hair cut often enough and I buy makeup like once every couple of years. I have no idea what groomed eyebrows are supposed to look like! I think probably plenty of people think I look unkempt; well, actually, I think I mostly DO look unkempt! Mornings with the kids are so draining already, that I usually skip everything that doesn’t involve having my body decently covered and protected from the elements. I wish I had more time to have fun with beauty.

    I’ve no interest in most procedures like Botox, etc. except that I have considered a tummy tuck, actually — not for appearing thin, but because I completely lost abdominal strength from pregnancy and also have a lot of slack redundant belly skin, and the combination gives me back pain something fierce. I’ve heard abdominoplasty/panniculectomy really helps with that in a way that all the crunches in the world can’t.

  91. I get my hair cut every few months (less often than I should, I always get lectured about my ends) at Hair Cuttery and a bottle of Nice and Easy is about $40 all together. I like to get my eyebrows done but it’s not within my budget to do regularly so maybe twice a year I’ll have them done professionally and just tweeze the strays on my own in between. It actually works out fine, if I keep up with it. Skin care is St. Ives face scrub at maybe $6 a tube which lasts a few weeks and moisturizer that I can’t remember the name of at the moment but is probably about $12 a bottle at Whole Foods. My big splurge is on this awesome ginger salt scrub and its companion body cream at Origins. It smells soooooo good and makes me so soft. I think both run about $35-75 depending on which size. I’m big on buying cruelty free when I can, but sometimes that is pricey. Like Aveda-I love it but cannot afford it.

  92. I don’t spend much at all on anything that can remotely be considered a beauty routine. I get my hair cut maybe 4 times a year (usually when the back gets long enough to bug me) for $15 (and that includes the tip). I don’t do make-up, I don’t shave anything, I don’t have my eyebrows done, and I don’t color my hair (I’ve earned every one of those gray hairs and I’m proud of them). I’ve gone the no-poo route, so a box of baking soda last me a couple of months for washing my hair, and a quart of cider vinegar for a rinse lasts about the same amount of time. I also found out that if I use baking soda to clean my skin, it doesn’t get dry and flaky like it does when I use even the mildest of soaps. I probably spend less than $100 a year, but then, I’m probably pretty atypical when it comes right down to it. I also don’t get my hair set at a salon, and I don’t have to do it at home either. Since I’ve kept it short, I can wash, rinse, dry, & comb my hair and I’m ready to go (it’s got lots more body and wave when it’s short, it’s too thick to have much body when it’s long).

  93. Funny timing – I got lured into buying a $9 pair of Maybelline mineral! foundation powder and concealer (with mica!) at the store today, tried it, and hated it. That’ll teach me to go outside the things I know, hmpf.

    I do have one makeup vice – Aveda’s beautifying composition oil. I adore the smell. When I had long hair it was perfect for using on the ends of my hair at night, and it’s great for various dry skin issues. Costs a lot, but I make it last as long as possible. I also get haircuts at an Aveda salon which costs a little much ($35), but I really trust my hairdresser. I figure I didn’t get my hair cut for almost 5 years straight, so I have some backlog of haircut money to get through. OTOH, though, short hair has to get cut so often! I’m pushing it to go to 12 weeks between.
    I’m one who has to shampoo every day, too. My hair is deathly pale, straight, fine, and thin. (Found out from one hairdresser that “fine” and “thin” are not the same. She said “Fine means each hair individually is overly thin. Thin means there isn’t much density of hairs on the head. Yours is both.” Gee, thanks.) The slightest bit of grease/dirt makes it look like crap. I envy the thick dark hair people!

  94. Oh, and I know I don’t have PCOS, but I’ve found that in the last year or so (after hitting 35) I’m suddenly needing pluckage of more and more stray dark and/or wiry face hairs, which has never been a problem before. WTF? Am I the only one experiencing this as a function of age?

  95. I purposely avoid buying makeup. It’s often given to me as a gift, which is kind of nice. I still have all that makeup because I don’t use it. :P
    A huge reason I don’t, besides expense, is that I’ve heard women say they feel “naked” or unattractive if they leave the house without makeup, and I don’t want to be that way. I’d rather feel *especially* beautiful with makeup, but not require it to feel just average.

    Felicity – this is exactly how I feel about makeup, and I do use it, and like it :) Okay, I admit I don’t love going into work without at least some concealer on my dark circles (though anywhere else I have no problem going without), but in general, as I said above, I’ve started to like makeup because I’ve started to feel more beautiful in general…and makeup allows me to have fun with that feeling!

    I do respect your choice not to wear it for this reason, though, but hopefully you don’t want to wear it but feel like you shouldn’t ;) I think I dealt with that for a little while, and eventually just had to get comfortable with why I *wanted* to.

  96. Whenever I see articles like the originals of these, the first thing I think of is, why is it that women are always asked how much they spend on cosmetics or clothes or diets or gym memberships, but never, say, books, for which women account for most sales overall? Or, I don’t know, plants and gardening supplies — judging from I see at the nurseries, I’m thinking that’s mostly women too. But no — it’s always things that can be considered aspects of our beauty routines.

    As for fish pedicures, I worry about the fish — how healthy it is or isn’t, especially given that some of the stuff we put on our skin, like sunscreen, is toxic to them. But I do wonder, all the same. I keep fish, and over the years I’ve now and then had my fingers gently nibbled — it does tickle.

  97. I read that “Diva” article, and the idea of what the “average woman” spends, I almost read it as “This is how much, on average YOU should be spending.”

    I, for example, spend about $10 monthly on hair products (shampoo, conditioner) and maybe $50 every season on cosmetics.

    Maybe I’m not the fully evolved feminist I strive to be, because after reading the article, my first though was “Maybe I need to step it up a little bit in the beauty department.”

  98. Totally off-topic, but a question for curly haired folks. I’d do the no-washing thing, but I have to get my hair wet in order to style it. Should I just wet it and not use anything?

    I get my hair wet in the shower each morning, but just don’t shampoo it. I might conditioner on non-poo days, but only rarely.

  99. All this diva cup talk is making me insanely curious, but I pretty much know I won’t get on with it. Stupid cervix is sat so wonky that I can’t even use tampons comfortably.

    On the other hand, cloth pads are made of awesome. Little bit pricey to start out with, but I think by this time next year they’ll more than have paid for themselves. The only time they’re a bit of a pain in the butt is when I’m running.

  100. Oh, and I know I don’t have PCOS, but I’ve found that in the last year or so (after hitting 35) I’m suddenly needing pluckage of more and more stray dark and/or wiry face hairs, which has never been a problem before. WTF? Am I the only one experiencing this as a function of age?

    No, it’s a completely normal part of aging for many women. Female facial hair is so pathologized in many first-world societies that most people don’t have an accurate perception of what the average/normal/non-comorbid facial hair distribution among the female population really is.

  101. The amount of money I spend on beauty stuff is directly related to the number of weddings I am in in a year. Each wedding itself probably costs about 100 bucks by the time I pay for hair and makeup and get a mani pedi. So last year when I had 4 I probably spent about 700 bucks. This year I just have one so It’ll probably be closer to 300.

    Plus, I JUST (like this week) switched to those all natural shampoo bars that someone linked on this site. http://www.chagrinvalleysoapandcraft.com/shambar.htm

    They smell AMAZING, and are definetly going to be cheaper than my $40 shampooo conditioner stuff from Art & Science. (I hope my hair looks as nice, it still seems to be doing some transitional stuff. I may regret doing this right now as I am singing a wedding next week. oopsies.)

  102. Oh…and I’ve done the fish pedicute at Yvonne’s Salon in Alexandria, VA….out of the three pedicures I’ve had in my entire life, it was the best!
    You pay a certain amount to have your feet in the warm tank (these are tropical fish) and THEN you get a full pedicure.
    The fish feel like a hundred tiny emery boards on your feet at once. Kind of cool, actually.

    They do switch out the fish and water each time…it keeps the water clean and the fish hungry….which makes me wonder if its uncomfortable for the fish to be kept hungry?

    All in all a neat experience, and now that I’ve experienced it, I don’t need to go back.

  103. I get my hair cut about once every 18 months and never wear makeup. I do the baking-soda-and-vinegar routine on my hair, which costs next to nothing. I do use moderately nice soap, since I try to support the various local hippy soap makers, but a good bar of soap will last me two or three months. I do spend a fair amount on perfume periodically, but I think of that as portable aromatherapy rather than as something to make me smell good *to other people*. If other people can smell it when they’re not hugging me, I worry about setting off someone’s allergies.

    I sometimes do wish I knew how to wear makeup for those occasional times when I want to be a Pretty Princess as a semi-costumed level of formal. I should pester one of my more fashionable friends one of these days.

  104. oh yes, benefits of my own personal version of probably-PCOS is that I have basically no menstrual cycle. If I lose weight, it starts up again until I regain, but otherwise I get to avoid that problem entirely.

  105. My reaction to the fish pedicure is an imagined “EEEEEEEEEEE!” at the sensation and yes, I’d try it. :)

    It sounds like a lot of people have stable beauty routines. Mine’s not at all. When I have more money on hand, I’ll spend more on beauty — salon cut and color, eyebrow and other waxing, manis and pedis. I enjoy all of those things; I find them fun and I like the results. When I have less money, though — and/or less time — I go much longer between cuts (which means my hair gets thin and straggly at the ends), I color at home or not at all, my feet get callousy, my cuticles get overgrown (unlike with the hair, I’ve never cared enough to figure out how to do my own manis and pedis at home), I shave in the shower, I leave my eyebrows alone. Salons stop being a maintenance thing and become something I splurge on once in a great while before a special occasion — if I can find the time and money before that occasion, that is. (Or when I just can’t go any longer without a haircut.)

    As for my normal at-home routine, another curly hair infrequent shampoo-er here (satisfied with my routine, don’t feel the need to go totally no-poo at the moment). I don’t care enough to spend a lot of time, though I’d like the results if I did. Makeup I have patience for only on special occasions (and I’m thinking I should go through it and make sure none of its gone off). Only thing I’m super good about is sunblock.

    What I wonder, though, is how much would I spend if I had a LOT more to spend? If I could afford to maintain highlights (I like how they look, but they’re so expensive they’re still a once-in-a-blue-moon splurge even when I *do* have more money)? If I could afford the places where a mani pedi is $70 instead of $30 or $35? At least around here, some of the more expensive places do provide somewhat higher quality of service and the mani pedi definitely lasts a lot longer — although they’re not so much better as to be worth twice the price when I’m on a budget. But what if I had enough money that the $35 difference meant almost nothing and I just wanted the better service? I know that when I *don’t* have money, I spend relatively little on beauty, and it doesn’t matter enough to me to reliably make the time to do stuff at home instead. But how much would I spend if money weren’t an object? Hmmm, it’s a really interesting question…

    Thanks for the food for thought!

  106. What I always find interesting is the fact that we have one whole facet of the culture that tells us we need to buy beauty products to be accepted and another that says we’re vain and shallow if we get too into it. In other words, we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

    Myself, I spend very little on beauty products. I’m pretty crunchy and use olive oil for moisturizer, baking soda for exfoliant, vinegar for hair conditioner. I wear concealer and lipstick when I go to a work meeting (I primarily work from home) and eyeliner and mascara like once a year. I don’t even remember the last time I replaced any of my makeup, although it probably needs it.

    I feel sad if women feel like they HAVE to wear makeup, but if they just like to and enjoy it, that’s cool. I mostly don’t.

  107. I spend a ridiculously low amount of money on makeup per month. I’ve never calculated it, but the only makeup I wear is drugstore foundation and occasionally mascara, and I don’t wear much of it. I paint my own toenails, and gave up on my (extremely curly) hair several years ago by cutting it all off with an easy haircut, so all I have to do, other than use a little shampoo (conditioner now makes the hair greasy) is get it cut somewhere inexpensive every few months.

    I often feel the pressure that maybe I should be spending more on beauty products, but I’m so lazy that I’m afraid if I start, I’ll be disappointed if I no longer have the time or money to continue something that I currently don’t do. So my philosophy is, why start in the first place? (It helps that work in a field where women doing anything too….frilly, or girly, is considered strange. Which is a problem in itself, but not one that affects me personally.)

  108. “What I always find interesting is the fact that we have one whole facet of the culture that tells us we need to buy beauty products to be accepted and another that says we’re vain and shallow if we get too into it. In other words, we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t.”

    I know! It’s so frustrating. You just cannot win. When I was in my makeup phase, I got comments from my mom and other female relatives and acquaintances along the lines of ‘Don’t you think you have enough eyeshadow/lipgloss/whatever now, honey?’ ‘You really don’t need to wear eyeliner, that’s a bit much on you.’ Now that I’ve stopped wearing it except for special occasions, I get comments that I looked so pretty when I wore makeup. *headdesk*

  109. Figures that the day I read the internet is the day I’m name checked on Shapely Prose! I’m both flattered and totally embarrassed. So but:

    1. No fish pedicure. I’m kind of scared of fish in general because they are creepy. There, I said it.

    2. I would like to figure out how much I spend on beauty stuff. I gleefully drop $65 plus tip every six to eight weeks on a hair cut and whatever it costs on a pedicure three or four times a year, but then am pretty low pro when it comes to cosmetics. But then I just ponied up $70 at Ulta earlier this week. But that was a restock, plus I bought BROW POWDER because I became recently obsessed with eyebrows (mine and everybody else’s but mostly Keira Knightly’s) in part because Marianne made an off the cuff comment somewhere about brow powder being hot shit (and it is!!!). Anyway, I would like to spend as little as possible, on principle, but there’s no way I’m going to give up my Precious Stylist when there is still blood in my veins and money in my checking account.

    3. I definitely don’t think that deodorant or feminine hygiene products (disposable or otherwise) in this calculation.

  110. Frak the fraking frakity frak…

    3. I definitely don’t think that deodorant or feminine hygiene products (disposable or otherwise) SHOULD COUNT in this calculation.

  111. $1,750 is more than I make in… oh gosh, let’s do the math… 2.5 months. So yah.

    I have gone completely no-poo and I’m loving the results! The shampoo I used to use was awesome, but not washing has been awesomer. Not a word. I’m ok with that. But that shampoo was $26 a bottle, so I’m pretty happy with the savings. I scrub with conditioner really well every day. I alternate between two brands. One is $4 a bottle, the other is about $25 a bottle, but lasts literally 5 or 6 months when alternating with the other one. I buy foundation and mascara about once every 3 or 4 months. I only wear makeup a couple of days a week and those are the only two products I wear with any consistency.

    I buy razors maybe four times a year at about $5 a pop for a package of 6…. and I go through shaving cream REALLY slowly (I only shave my armpits about once a month, stopped shaving my legs entirely, but I shave my arms and my delicate lady parts every few days. Yes, I know I’m weird)… my boyfriend washes his hair with Dr Bronners hemp soap, which lasts us ages…. I use it as bodywash, but you barely need any to get that tingly peppermint feeling all over. I buy lotion a couple times a year, but we’re talking St Ives… el cheapo.

    I go every 6 to 8 weeks to get my hair cut and brows waxed… depending on which stylist is available it ranges from $32 to $45. Not too bad.

    I really groom on the cheap. I didn’t realize.

  112. Let’s see….this will be in UK pounds, but I have to get my head round translating into $$$ for most of the people on here. So.

    About the most expensive thing is, every few months or so, about $90 on having my hair colored. I have it foiled two or three (depending on my mood) shades of red. I know I have the odd grey hair under there, but it’s not a thing of primarily hiding the grey, it’s because I just wondered what I’d look like as anything other than a brunette, liked it much more, and stuck with it. Trims in between are, say, $15.

    Other than that, maybe $20 a month total on shampoo (there’s some bog-standard cheap brand, I can’t even remember what, that works excellently at keeping the color in), shower gel (any of several Lush varieties, because I like it – I’m gutted that they’re discontinuing Sonic Death Monkey, apparently! Sob!) and the very odd replacement for any of my standard makeup items – powder, lippy, eyeliner, eyeshadow and blush (and I often don’t bother with the last two, and it’s just powder and lippy on work days). I’ve never used mascara because when I tried it in my teens, I found it icky, and since I started wearing contact lenses I’m paranoid about it flaking off in my eyes. I don’t have anything that could be said to resemble a ‘skincare routine’.

    One other thing: I use a cream remover on my upper lip. I used to get badly teased about my upper lip hair at school, and used the stuff religiously for some years. I’m now less careful than I used to be, so some times of the month will find me with a light mustache. Oddly, the world has not yet fallen apart because of this. I shave my legs only when I absolutely can’t stand wearing my old faithful black cotton mix pantyhose, which is only in the hottest weather. My feet badly need attention, but I’m scared of even baring them to a chiropodist. As for manicures, I figure it’s hardly worth my while since anything fancy will be chipped in five seconds flat from guitar playing. (Not that that stops me occasionally putting on funky sparkly nail polish anyway.)

    Basically, I think the thing with me was that I was raised to see ‘grooming’ (meaning being neat, tidy and asexual, which was almost as damaging as the oversexualized beauty stereotype in some ways) as a) a woman’s absolute obligation at all times, and b) by definition not enjoyable. It took me a long time to see makeup and clothes as something I was free to have fun with, or just say ‘what the heck’ and ignore, as the mood took me. Which are the two poles I fluctuate between these days.

    Oh yes…I have a MoonCup languishing in its box in my bathroom. I have yet to get round to boiling it prior to trying the thing out…

  113. Oh, I’d totally go for the fish pedicure. I used to live by a lake that was so full of fish that you could sit on the edge of the dock and see hundreds of them swimming, from tiny minnows to enormous bottom-feeders. When I’d stick my feet in the water, the tiny little ones would come up and see if I was good to eat. It does tickle a little, but it was fun.

    As for beauty regimen costs, I’m probably on the very low end of the bell curve. That’s not because I’m so virtuous as to not need shower gel, but because I’m prone to both eczema AND non-facial acne and lots of beauty products cause flare-ups. So, I stick with what doesn’t irritate my skin: glycerin soap, Gold Bond Ultimate lotion (it both doesn’t cause my flare-ups and if I do get one, it helps it heal faster), baking soda and apple cider vinegar/honey rinses for my hair, and baby powder for deodorant. I wash my face with warm water and clean hands, and don’t generally need moisturizer except (sensitive skin) sunscreen. Lots and lots of inexpensive makeup is out of the question, and I don’t really feel like wasting my money experimenting with expensive brands to see what I can happily wear and what I can’t.

    I stopped shaving my body hair a during the winter when money was tight and I didn’t want to buy razors with my food budget. Now, in warm weather, when people freak out at my armpit hair, I tell them that I’m trying to grow it out so I can put it in cornrows.

    So, even if I include getting my hair cut, I probably only spend about $20/month on things that could be considered “beauty products”. If I went on a splurge rampage and bought a bunch of things I normally don’t (like, some henna, tea tree oil, lavender oil for my hair) I could probably stretch it to $40 in a month.

  114. “Cashmere Tampons” is the name of my all girl garage rock band, btw.

    Also, I have a cheap shaving tip for those of us who shave: old fashion safety razor and shaving soap. Replacement blades for a safety razor are sharper, cheaper, and last longer than blades for a multi-blade lady razor AND they are not gendered, nor do they purport to make you into a goddess. In fact, they come in very plain, almost medicinal packaging. You do have to go sloooooowwwwwww shaving at first until you get used to it.

    Shaving soap requires a larger initial outlay (for the soap, dish, and brush) but it lasts forever and creates much less trash.

  115. “What I always find interesting is the fact that we have one whole facet of the culture that tells us we need to buy beauty products to be accepted and another that says we’re vain and shallow if we get too into it. In other words, we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t.”

    Word. This is very frustrating!

    I have very fair, sensitive, acne-prone skin, and I am willing to spend extra money for products that don’t make me break out. My medicine cabinet contains a mix of inexpensive drug store items and expensive department store stuff…if it works, I’ll use it. I never really thought of this as a “beauty” expense. Acne and sunburn can be painful!

    I generally keep a little bit of nice department store makeup on hand for interviews and other times when I need to look more “polished” at work. I don’t think it necessarily makes me look prettier, but I do think it makes me look more put together, and in my field, that gets me more respect. On my own time, I stick to drugstore stuff. I think makeup is fun to wear, but I’m not about to spend a lot of money on my every day stuff.

  116. I forgot to mention that maybe my reluctance to spend on beauty products is because I’m poor and a student, part of the group of people whose parents said, (I’m stealing this quote from someone here, I swear) “You WILL go to college, and you WILL pay for it yourself!”

    I am evidently the kind of person who needs an edit button on her posts. ;)

  117. Now that I’m in my 40’s, I probably spend the same amount of money overall on cosmetics/hygiene products that I did in my 20’s. However, now I buy fewer, more specialized products that work for me rather than buying many, less expensive things to try to stay with the latest look or craze. My most expensive expenditures are a professional hairdresser that I allow to pick the cut and color based on my needs (fine hair, need to look professional and realistically I’m only willing to spend 5-10 minutes on it in the morning) and my ‘purminerals’ moisturizer. My least expensive purchases are my ‘dove’ soap and ‘burts bees’ lip gloss.

  118. The most expensive thing for me is definitely the haircut every six weeks (hello big expensive cities of mine, $100+, and I shopped around) and I wouldn’t do without it.

    I concur with the shopping for fun aspect some others have mentioned. For a long time I wished I was one of those “effortless” women who washed their face with Ivory and didn’t wear makeup and looked fresh and wholesome. But I am not one of those women by genetics, and I guess I’m not one by temperament, either.

    For me it’s just as often a package/design attraction or simple curiosity as a perceived need for the product or social mandate, and I’m fine with that for as much as my budget allows and as long as I have friends who’ll take the extras. And even for me, who loves products, morning primping is about ten minutes from out of the shower till out the door.

    Btw, since it sounds like a foreign world to many here : ), take a look at someplace like http://www.blissworld.com/ or http://www.beautyhabit.com/ and see how easy it would be to rack up $1700 even without invasive procedures.

  119. I don’t have a beauty routine.

    Occasionally I put on chapstick; occasionally I paint my fingernails or toenails; occasionally I dye my hair. I probably spend about $100 a year, tops, on all of this.

  120. I have acne (thanks, PCOS!), and I’m not willing to go out without it covered up to the best of my ability.

    I’d say I spend about $30 a month on powder–I buy a compact every 2 weeks or so at $15 a pop. My concealer costs $30 and lasts about 4 months, so I buy 3 tubes a year. Other makeup–mascara, eyeliner, lip gloss etc., lasts a lot longer, so I probably only spend about $50 a year on that. So that’s exactly $500 a year on makeup alone, haha…$360 of which is only on powder. Jesus christ.

    On the plus side, I don’t spend much money on other aspects of my routine. A bottle of oil-free moisturizer lasts me almost a year, and I buy typical drugstore brand shampoo, conditioner, face wash and deodorant. I live at home, so I use whatever soap, toothpaste, hairspray, razors, lotion etc is on hand—sometimes my mom buys it, sometimes I do, depending on who has the money at the time. I’d estimate that I spend about $150 a year on all of that junk.

    My hair grows really fast, so I trim my own bangs (otherwise I’d be at the salon every 2 weeks, LOL). I’m growing it out from a shorter cut so I won’t need to cut it more than twice this year, probably. That’s going to be about $50-75 a cut, I guess, but my mom might pay for one of those. I used to spend $10 every few months on hair dye, too, but I’m trying to go back to my natural color.

    My eyebrows are, thankfully, pretty well-shaped on their own, so I just tweeze them occasionally. When I’m in the mood I’ll do my own nails, so I guess I spend like $20 a year on nail stuff.

    Grand total: $820 a year, give or take a little.

    I’m not rich, either. I’m barely making it. But when it comes down to my concealer or my credit card bill, I typically choose my concealer. Money means nothing if I don’t feel confident because my acne is showing. It’s both funny and sad.

  121. I’m part of the crazy-sensitive oily skin with acne (at 31)group ( dear dermatoligist who told 16 year old me that i would grow out of it i hope you understand how wrong you were).

    I also have long thick fine oily hair. I tried for a whole summer when i was not working to switch to shampooing every other day and it never stopped being oily so i gave up.

    i shampoo and condition every day, get a trim every 8 weeks color or highlight it when i feel like it (which has been pretty steadily for the past two years it’s so fun!) get my monobrow waxed every 8 weeks or so and tweeze between.

    I wear make-up very rarely mostly for special occasions, clubbing or for fun. i shave my legs 2-4 times a month and my armpits about twice as much (cuz it ITCHES if i dont!)

    I have the mix of spendy and fancy products. I use a vegan shampoo and conditioner (Pureology) that i love and they cost about the same over time as drugstore brand used to cost me b/c i use so much less of the highly concentrated product, but per bottle cost 2 to 3 times more. my acne has overall improved since i switched too! i sometimes use anti-static/shine stuff in my hair when it is staticy, that’s about all i do aside from wash it.

    I use a lush product for my face (dreamwash) i break out less and my skin has gotten slightly less oily too. sometimes i splurge on their scrubs but one 21.00 tub of scrub lasted me 6 months. when i need moisturizer i use jojoba oil with a little tea tree oil added.

    i use physicians formula eyeliner and mascara cuz it doesnt make my eyes burn and the rest of my makeup is a mix of high end and drugstore. basically whatever doesn’t make me break out but i rarely wear anything but lip gloss and chapstick on a day to day basis so the stuff i have lasts.

    i get a manicure or pedicure once in a while for the fun of it ditto painting my nails.

    I do the “beauty” things i do because i like them and they make me feel good. i probably am somewhere around $70-80.00 a month all told, but if i stopped getting my hair colored/highlighted it would be about half that (which is what i do when money is tight). i’m pretty low key except for the everydamn thing makes me break out problem.

  122. Three things:

    1) I’m with Lucy in the “pale, sensitive skin” boat. I can’t just wash all over with plain soap. So I have to spend more money on pricier soaps, shampoos, lotions, sunscreens, etc (even though I’d love to get the less expensive stuff, because of the $ factor) just for the sake of my health. (Eyelid eczema — ’nuff said)

    2) I also have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and in addition to painful breakouts — sometimes necessitating doctor visits, it also causes what is euphemistically referred to as “male pattern hair growth” — which is code for beards and mustaches (and no, I’m really not exaggerating how hairy PCOS can make a women). In order to be professionally acceptable (and socially comfortable), I do get fairly frequent brow/lip/chin waxings. I do touchups myself with a pair of tweezers and a magnifying mirror, but there comes a point where I just need to suck it up and pay the money to get professional help. I know there are women with PCOS who are comfortable leaving their facial hair in its natural state — and more power to them, but I’m just not one of them. I’m sure I could get my waxing done more cheaply, but the waxer I see not only uses very gentle products (a total necessity for me) but is is the owner of her own business, so I think of my visits there as not only for “beauty purposes” but also as a way of stimulating the local economy and supporting a woman-run, LGBT-friendly business.

    3) I do shell out more than my husband does for his haircut. I think of it as deciding to invest money rather than time. My philosophy is this: The haircut should do most of the work. If I have to spend time, thought, product or energy to get my hair what it needs to do, then I think I have a bad haircut. I have found a very structured, angled bob that works well with my hair type and face shape, and I’m happy with it. I have been to Supercuts and the like, and my experiences have not been particularly good — they don’t pay enough attention to the details of my individual head of hair, so I end up with a kind of “sketched in” looking haircut, instead of the finished, polished version that takes my hairstyling work largely out of my hands on a morning-to-morning basis. I don’t get a “$300 haircut” or anything wacky, but I do pay more than my husband does because I’d rather give money to an expert (at a locally run, LGBT-friendly business), then spend time and frustration getting ready for work every morning.

    And Stickyis so right when she notes the “must look pretty, but you’re shallow if you do” dynamic at play around women’s grooming habits. Especially when you work in a “feminized-but-brainy” profession, there is this dynamic where you feel the need to look put-together so as to garner some respect, but nobody will cop to spending any time on it, for fear of seeming shallow.

  123. Ooh, I’m a spender…probably to the tune of $200 a month if we count the gym membership, which is $60.

    My hair is my biggest indulgence, probably $50/mo on average, but if you saw its “natural” state, you’d understand. It’s not like regular hair, more like a mutant hedge. The underneath is curly, and the top is sort of clumpy. I tried MANY cheaper salons, but only my current (expensive) stylist has ever made it look good enough to leave the house without a hat or ponytail.**

    Otherwise, I’m pretty middle-of-the-road – I use drugstore cosmetics/skincare and do my own nails, but I do enjoy variety (turquoise toenail polish is my current obsession, although that was only 99cents).

    **Okay, okay, leaving the house without a hat or ponytail is not an accomplishment on par with curing cancer. And I realize I should get more confident, skip the pricey stylist/products and tell people who hate my “natural” hair to eff off. AND it’s not exactly feminist to spend big bucks on shiny, straight, patriarchy approved hair. But it makes me feel so much better about myself, I’m having trouble breaking the habit.

  124. I just spent $13 on two Chagrin Valley Soap shampoo bars (Cafe Moreno and Mud & Clay), and I kind of felt guilty about it. So, uh, you can see what that means for my beauty routine. I get $12 haircuts every four months; before that, I was buying $4/jug shampoo and, admittedly, $6 bottle ‘natural’ conditioner. And, uh, that’s it, because I’m one of those women who looks effortlessly wholesome with Ivory (well, actually, $2 Soap Works soap, but still).

    Actually, if you want the truth, the only reason my skin is clear enough to use just soap is because I was on the Pill. Now that I’ve got an IUD, though, we’ll see.

    However, I’m going off to law school in the fall (Minnesota! they threw money at me! and I can become a legal writing expert! also, they’re not my safety school!) and I foresee more makeup in my future.

  125. The thing that got me is the woman who ONLY spends $80 a month on her appearance. thats what.. 50 ish GBP a month… even that is extravagant. Or it used to be. My spending is creeping higher. its all too easy to fall into the trap of spending so much…

    Put it this way, I try not to pay for my haircuts, I am blessed with wash n’ go hair (its usually acceptable even if i dont run a brush through it!), I dont go get waxed, spray tanned, or any kind of spa treatments ( i had a wax and a massage for my wedding for the first time ever) I don’t usually keep up my home regime of hair removal, even though i thought i would go all vigilante on my keratin after i got married. (bad habits die hard I guess, besides, the husband really couldnt care less!)

    my biggest splurge is on foundation and skincare. I get a bit panicky if i run low on my clinique skincare. I keep meaning to try alternatives, because its just SO expensive but i find my skin has looked so much better since using it for the last 6 months.. I am weak. so i buy. sob.

    Come to think of it $80 a month isnt really much at all, if you do all the things you’re ‘supposed’ to do to keep yourself acceptably groomed.

    The cheapest and most awesome part of my beauty regime is my honey and aspirin face mask. My skin loves it… Just dampen 3-4 uncoated aspirin tablets with water, squeeze on a dollop of honey (not too much) mix it together well so its a grainy mess, and slap it on your face for 10-15 mins. Wet hands, use aspirin grains as an exfoliator, rinse well and cleanse, tone, moisturise as usual, with emphasis on the moisturise. The aspirin calms down the skin, the honey moisturises and the whole shebang exfoliates the pores. The only thing to watch out for is the extra drying the aspirin can do, so be sure to moisturise well.

  126. BTW – for those people who don’t shampoo every day, or who don’t shampoo at all…how do you deal with sweat? I’d like to try it as I think it would cut down on the hedge-like weirdness of my hair, but I sweat enough during workouts that not shampooing after seems kind of…icky. Any advice?

  127. Okay, okay, leaving the house without a hat or ponytail is not an accomplishment on par with curing cancer. And I realize I should get more confident, skip the pricey stylist/products and tell people who hate my “natural” hair to eff off. AND it’s not exactly feminist to spend big bucks on shiny, straight, patriarchy approved hair. But it makes me feel so much better about myself, I’m having trouble breaking the habit.

    Seconded. I’m also not about to apologise for spending a ridiculous amont of money on my hair when, left in its natural state (which is somewhere between a 3B and a 3C on the naturallycurly scale), it *does* quite frequently cause people to make invasive/inappropriate comments (often to do with fingers in lightbulb sockets!) and generally makes my life slightly more miserable, and I hate being shamed for being overly ‘precious’ about my hair by the same people who are usually the first to laugh at it if I do leave it in its ‘wild’ state.

    Personally, I’m in the position of spending more money on my appearance than I really want to, but don’t know how to cut back on it without causing the problems outlined above. TBH, it’s mostly my hair that is an enormous money-suck — at the moment, I’m having it professionally lightened (because on top of the frizz, it’s also naturally jet-black and consipires with my pale-pale skin to make me look like an enormous Goth. I loved this look about ten years ago, but right now it’s not really ‘appropriate’ for a junior academic who’s getting sick of being mistaken for one of her own undergraduates!). This comes to about £65 every three months or so. Then I can easily burn through about £20 for a month’s worth of anti-frizz serum and curl spray (for the days when lovely English weather makes it truly un-straightenable), plus about £1 for very cheap shampoo that I only use once a week or so, and a bit more – maybe £3 – for a decent conditioner. Add a new foundation every six months or so at about £15, and sundry odds and ends of eyeshadow and eyeliner when I feel like getting them, the odd Rockstar soap from Lush, and I’m probably somewhere in the region of about £50 (about $70 USD) per month.

    Hmm – that isn’t actually as much as I thought it might be, but it’s still a decent chunk for someone on a fairly limited salary!

  128. Wait! *headsmacks* I forgot the facial wax, and the leg wax, which come in boxes from the drugstore — that’s another £16 per month, so revise my total to about £65/$98 USD per month!

  129. BTW – for those people who don’t shampoo every day, or who don’t shampoo at all…how do you deal with sweat? I’d like to try it as I think it would cut down on the hedge-like weirdness of my hair, but I sweat enough during workouts that not shampooing after seems kind of…icky. Any advice?

    My head gets pretty sweaty after I work out, especially in the summer, and I just use conditioner as if it were shampoo, scrubbing it into my scalp then rinsing it out. It seems to keep my hair clean and smelling fine.

  130. AnotherKate — I used to row college crew and got down to shampooing every other day. I had rather long hair at the time, too. I’d just get it really wet in the shower, run my fingers through it as if I was actually using shampoo, and then condition the bottom half. Seemed to work ok. And not washing hair every day, and it too me a long time to get to that point, does get easier as you get on with it. Hair seems to accept the change after a while.

  131. @AnotherKate: I don’t shampoo every day, but I do shower every day and rinse my hair out. Sometimes I rinse with a little vinegar, but mostly I just use plain water.

  132. I’m not that expensive when it comes to beauty products. I think total, it’s $50 for all I do, which includes haircuts and color (I color my own hair because I have short hair and all the salons want to pull my hair through a plastic cap and then apply color instead of simply brushing the color on. That shit HURTS).

    When I splurge, it’s on Bath & Body Works. I love their fragrance splashes, because they are light and they last a long time. I also work with two ladies who are very scent-sensitive, and it doesn’t bother them.

    I also use Avon products, especially their Glazwear lipstick and foot lotions. I also purchased for $4.99 on special Magix Face Perfector, which does a good job of stopping shine. I have that pesky T-zone and my nose can get shinier than a diamond, especially in these hot and humid Maryland late springs and summers.

  133. Oh, and I had wanted to add that I would personally not count a gym membership in the cost of beauty products. I don’t go to a gym, so my workout costs are pretty minimal (I work out to aerobics DVDs while listening to my iPod), but I don’t consider my time exercising as part of a morning “beauty routine.” To me it’s more along the lines of eating breakfast or taking a shower than putting on makeup or styling my hair. I guess I consider basic body maintenance (eating, sleeping, basic culturally-mandated hygiene, exercise, putting on clothing, etc.) as being different from a beauty regimen, which I guess I’d consider the “above and beyond” stuff. Although obviously, especially when you get to cultural expectations around hygiene, that’s a really fuzzy distinction.

  134. Thanks! I’d like to cut down, in part to save money and in part because dryness is a part of the hedge-hair dilemma. I had thought about not washing it at all, even with water, and that gave me way more of the icks than rinsing it (particularly with a little vinegar…I use cider vinegar sometimes as I’ve heard it clears out product and makes hair shinier, though I’m never sure I can tell the difference).

  135. Oh man, car, your comment made me want to mention that there is one lotion I will splurge on once in a while (like, every few years) just because it smells SO GOOD that I am madly in love with – the Alba Botanica kona coffee after sun lotion. Holy crap, it is amazing. It works really well as just a regular lotion (I don’t really buy the “after sun” crap). But it’s like $12 a bottle, and the bottles aren’t big, so it’s really a splurge. A heavenly one.

    And Kaz, I’m with you. I had a doctor tell me not to get a diaphragm (this was a while ago) when she couldn’t get it in place herself, because my cervix is positioned so weirdly. And I had to learn to put in tampons pointing all the way over to the left, because I’m that crooked and THAT’s why it hurt. Lucky me! Okay, sorry, TMI, I’ll stop the cervix gossip now.

    I forgot to mention bleach for the facial hair, but it’s so cheap and I go through it so slowly that it isn’t really an expense. It’s just there in the cabinet, and someday I’ll need to spend $5 again. Maybe next year some time.

    Lots of us on here with sensitive skin! I’ve found the physician’s formula makeup is not irritating for me and doesn’t make me break out (and I like it, too), though I’m sure it’s far from cruelty-free.

  136. Let’s see.

    Well, first off all, I fianlly just found something that works on the zits. Unfortunately it’s prescription only, so that was a visit to the dermo and then the pharmacy. But I have great health insurance that covers everything for another couple weeks, so it hasn’t been expensive yet. I probably will have to stop using it after my health insurance expires, though. It’s called Finacea, btw. It’s meant to treat adult acne/rosacea, but I don’t know that you can call mine “adult” acne, as it’s been pretty steady since I was 11 or so. Same dermo also recommended I use Olay face lotion, which is more $$ than I would spend on it otherwise, and it still makes my face feel gross most of the time.

    While my hair insists on being washed at least every other day — sometimes I can skip two days, if I’m very carefule and lucky — it doesn’t seem to care what I use on it. It can be a little picky about conditioner when it gets long, but I can still find something cheap that it’ll put up with.

    I need to use gentle soap, so only Dove or Olay bar soap will do for my body. And for my face I usually use Johnson’s baby shampoo.

    No, really, if you have sensitive skin, try baby shampoo.

    Other than that – Tom’s deodorant and toothpaste, a toothbrush, a comb, whatever lotion is on hand for my non-face skin. Stopped shaving a couple years ago, so I don’t need to buy stuff for that. Oh, I bought an eyebrow tweezer a couple months ago, cause I dropped the last one and bent it. The one I got isn’t so good (cause fuck if I was going to spend $10 on a pair of tweezers!), so I might get another soon.

    I usually get a friend or my mom to cut my hair. Every few years my mom presses me into getting a professional haircut by offering to pay for it;. I’m a 25-year-old broke grad student, so I’m still taking her up on these. The last one was about a month ago, and she also bought me a ridiculously expensive brush and can of mousse at the salon.

    I own a small bit of makeup — a lipstick, one thing of eye shadow, maybe a couple other odds and ends — but I use them so infrequently that that last a loooong time. I haven’t bought any in ….. three or four years?

    All told, I probably spend less than US$100 on beauty stuff a year, even including basics like soap. But then, I don’t spend money on anything, mostly because I don’t have any (for real, I grab extra bars of soap and toothbrushes and shit when I visit my parents so I don’t have to buy them myself). When I have an actually income this will all likely change, because, fuck, no one likes being broke, and having nice things is nice.

  137. A few more thoughts, even though I’ve already posted…

    I never knew that shampoo and conditioner were considered beauty products. I consider them hygiene products, like toothpaste and deodorant. You know, basic cleanliness. When I think of hair beauty products I think things like gels and mousses and stuff.

    I’m afraid the “no poo” route isn’t for me – my scalp gets itchy to the point where after a day or so I’m about ready to pull my hair out so I can scratch it properly. I’m pretty happy with how my hair looks under the current routine, so as usual, different people respond differently.

    When it comes to “beauty products” I realized awhile ago that how they feel matters as much to me as how they look. One of the main reasons I wear my hair longer is that I LOVE how it feels when the wind catches it and pulls on it. It just didn’t work that way when it was shorter – the wind just made it messier.

    Same with cosmetics. I used to wear foundation all the time to cover up acne but I hated how it felt, so I stopped. I knew I was going to be photographed at an event awhile ago, and age has made my skin somewhat less even in tone, so I decided that maybe some kind of base might be a good idea. Besides, there are a LOT of new products out there.

    I got the help of a good sales clerk who not only helped me negotiate all the choices, but listened to what I was looking for and helped me match my skin tone (I would have missed the mark big time!). I have a mineral compact now that I love – I don’t feel it at all, which feels really good!

    I did feel a little guilty about how much I paid for it, but I realized I was also paying for the clerk’s time, training, and experience – and that was very valuable to me.

    The other thing I’ve found is that with many of the more expensive products, like the compact above, is that it takes less of the product to achieve the results I want. So while it’s a greater up front cost, I’m not entirely sure it’s more expensive in the long run.

    Splurges? The foundation above, Urban Decay eyeshadow and China Glaze nail polish. None of which is horribly expensive, but is a lot more than drugstore brands. But I LOVE their colors, and it’s stupid for me to buy a color I don’t like as much because it costs less, even if it grates on my basic thriftiness.

    Thriftiest? Blistex Lip Balm. It’s cheap to begin with, it goes on sale at the grocery store at $1.00/tube fairly often, and I often have coupons for $0.55 off any Blistex product, which then gets doubled to $1.00. I can’t remember if there’s tax on it, but it’s darned near free. And I’m very loyal to this brand – it works like nothing else for me. It’s the last thing I’d give up because this is a DRY climate.

  138. Am I the only person here who suffers from the scourge of dandruff? I know, it’s gross, but it also means that I don’t have the option of not shampooing. Sometimes I literally cannot take a shower for a couple days because of my seizures, and it gets to the point where I’m constantly scratching. And fantasizing about shaving my head so I can take a loofah to it. (Which would probably end in tears if I ever tried that for real, but man, it sounds so good when the itching starts up.)

  139. The people who spend $1000+ on beauty stuff per month are living in a completely different world than I am. I have read the comments on this post with interest, since I’m more interested in what “average” women spend than New York hotshots. :p

    As for me, I’m estimating $250 per year:
    Haircuts- about 8 times a year at a cheapie place- 8 x 20= ~$160/year
    Shampoo- $25/litre salon shampoo – one litre will last me a year (and I’ve got oily hair that needs to be washed every day OR ELSE)
    Drugstore haircolor: ~$10 times six dye jobs per year= ~$60
    Body wash/face wash- drug store brands- <$5/month
    Mani/pedi- no thanks- I paint my own toenails at home, and I rarely wear polish on my fingernails.
    Waxing- no thanks- I tweeze my own eyebrows and use a razor for shaving pits and bits- <$15/year
    Fragrance- no thanks, I’ve got allergies and asthma and I like to breathe.
    Other stuff: nail polish and makeup impulse buys, Biore pore strips, clearance lotions from Bath and Body works, deodorant, hair ties, etc- ~$60

  140. I use Nioxin, which is $$ shampoo, but it keeps me from going bald so I put up with the not-pretty smell. I pay $40-$50 for a haircut but my stylist knows how to work with my PCOS hair loss so I don’t have a problem with that. Plus I have PCOS facial hair so I’ll gladly pay for waxing my face. I started getting my mustache waxed when I was fifteen years old.

    And you know what else? I like expensive makeup. I didn’t wear makeup for years and years and years not only for feminist reasons but because as a fat chick I didn’t think I deserved to learn how. It’s only been within the last few years, as I learned more about FA and started dressing more nicely, etc, that I felt like I could start using makeup. I don’t wear it every day but when I do I want to enjoy the experience. Learning to love myself more means that I’m allowing myself the things I mistakenly believed were off limits to someone who looked like me.

    I still only shave my legs/armpits maybe three times a year, though.

  141. However, I’m going off to law school in the fall (Minnesota! they threw money at me! and I can become a legal writing expert! also, they’re not my safety school!) and I foresee more makeup in my future.

    Congrats Stephanie! I just finished my first year of law school and I can say you won’t really need make-up until its time to suit up for your partner meeting which will take place probably towards the end of fall semester. Then you can use the suit and make-up again for Oral arguments in spring and any interviews you do for a summer internship.

    A lot of the girls in my class show up made up most of the time, but even the beauty queens have their off days at an 8am class.

    Good luck!

  142. @ Kaz. Would visits to the podiatrist/ chiropodist be considered a beauty treatment? I consider them health treatments because, like you, I have weird nails along with callused feet and occasional corns. Oy! I’m a martyr to my dogs.

    When younger I could spend a fortune at department store make up counters. Clinique was my drug of choice with assorted forays into Lancome, Estee Lauder, etc.

    These days I go with drugstore choices. Neutrogena tinted moisturizer is a personal fave since I don’t wear foundation/powder. Sometimes I splurge on a new eye pencil or lipstick, always the brands found at the drugstore.

    I color my hair with the cheapest but best stuff on the market, Revlon Color Stay. The after color conditioner makes my hair soooo shiny. It costs about $3 to $4 a box and because my hair is short I can get two treatments from each box.

    I tend to stock up on beauty products when they’re on sale. And I shop on the internet. My cologne (4711) is bought 3 or 4 bottles at a time. I love Drugstore.com big time.

    My hair stylist is in the neighborhood and she charges me about $20 for a cut and eyebrow waxing. Because I’m absentminded and thrifty I go about every 2 months.

    Sooo, my monthly outlay may be in the range of $10 to $20.

  143. I think a big part of the reason why I don’t wear make-up most days is that I really like to nap. The opportunity for napping can crop up at unexpected times, and I like to always be ready. I don’t like to sleep with make-up on, and I don’t want to waste time washing my face should I be faced with a napping opportunity. I’m pretty sure this is also my main motivation for wearing glasses rather than contacts, too.

  144. Also, I would totally do the fish pedi. My poor dry feet would probably be so happy!

  145. It’s not beauty products so much as beauty regimen, but I got one of those “natural products you can make at home” books once when I foolishly took the 12 for $1 book club intro deal (don’t do it, they bite you in the butt!) and even now years later like to experiment with kitchen goods. I use cornmeal as an exfoliant, olive oil as a deep hair conditioner, avocado and egg as a facial, etc. The only thing to be careful of is food allergies/skin sensitivities.

    volcanista, glad I’m not the only one to succumb to the lure of the good smells. My Aveda is $21 for an ounce and a half. Sigh. But I use it dropwise and only have to buy 2 or 3 a year.

  146. @Scarlett — it sounds like we have similar hair and similar issues concerning it. It seriously took me until I was 25 or so to make peace with my hair (it doesn’t straighten, my mother never liked it, it never looks neat) But I really can’t recommend the no-shampoo method enough. For me it’s worked wonders, and it might be worth a shot (try it on a week where you’re not teaching.) It might not work, but might be worth a shot. My standard is conditioner washing + hair gel, with the occasional olive oil treatment and vinegar rinse. And finding a stylist that knew what to do with curly hair is 100% of the reason I was finally happy with my mop. (A very overgrown mop at the moment….)

  147. Am I the only person here who suffers from the scourge of dandruff?

    Oh my heavens, no. I have horrible, horrible dandruff.

    I know, it’s gross, but it also means that I don’t have the option of not shampooing. Sometimes I literally cannot take a shower for a couple days because of my seizures, and it gets to the point where I’m constantly scratching.

    See, that just goes to show you how different people’s bodies work differently! If I wash my hair every day, even with ultra-super-gentle-tea-tree-oil-good-for-your-dandruffy-scalp shampoo, it makes my dandruff worse.

    My own dandruff routine is one wash a week with diluted salicyclic acid shampoo, one wash a week with Nioxin shampoo, and no-poo or Nixoin conditioner-only rinses or even showers with showercap the other days.

  148. See, that just goes to show you how different people’s bodies work differently!

    Yes. That’s why the “No, really, if you don’t use shampoo eventually your hair will be less greasy!” argument bugs me. People’s bodies are different. I have no doubt there are plenty of people who will have greasy hair forever if they don’t shampoo, even if for many others, their scalp stops producing as much oil when they stop shampooing.

    Personally, even having not used shampoo in a year and a half, and using a lot of conditioner every day, I still have very dry hair (although not as dry as before). But what works for my extremely dry hair is likely not going to work for everybody else’s hair.

  149. I think I was careful to mention that people’s bodies differ w.r.t. the success of the no-poo method; if not, consider my comments amended. And amend the bit where I overdosed on “might be worth a shot.” (People tend to point it out because if you are the sort of person for whom the method works, there is still an adjustment period where your hair does feel more greasy before it sorts itself out.)

  150. I love how different people are in this thread! It’s great!

    When I had out-of-control dandruff (temporarily because of a medication that dried out my scalp), the only thing that helped was a prescription topical steroid (about the same strength as 1% hydrocortisone, but in a liquid suspension). None of the OTC stuff helped at all. The prescription did work, though.

    And car, because we keep talking about it, now I need to put some coffee lotion on my hands just so I can smell it. COFFEE LOTION ZOMG

  151. Right there with you, Electrogirl. Shaving my head is a recurring fantasy, and someday I’ll just do it, and then I’ll probably be very sorry (forceps dents, multiple concussions–my skull is definitely not Sinead-esque).

  152. dana, I wasn’t commenting on your post, and I hope it didn’t come out that way. I was just mentioning it because I’ve seen, around the web, some very militant no ‘poo folks who seem to think that shampoo is some sort of force for evil in the world that must be abandoned by all. I haven’t seen that here, but I’ve seen enough of it to always feel the need to point out, despite my own success with not shampooing, that scalps are different and there’s nothing wrong with using shampoo if it works for your hair.

  153. All you other scent fanatics reminded me of another reason i love my shampoo and conditioner it smells SO good, both in the shower and after my hair dries. When i run out and have to borrow my husband or roommate’s shampoo i smell wrong and it bothers me X) even my husband who has a poor sense of smell notices. scent really effects my choices in all of personal care and beauty products.

  154. The hedge fund exec is already getting cosmetic procedures, which definitely does not make her representative of the public in any way. Most women will never be able to afford facelifts or Botox.

  155. I’m not sure how much I spend overall. I mean, my month-to-month costs are just shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and pitstick, and sometimes it takes more than a month to plow through all of those. So it’s maybe…. $30 every 2-3 months for the basics? And add another $10-$15 for gel and anti-frizz spray to keep my cute curls all springy and nice. I pluck my eyebrows and do my own facial waxing, and that’s another $10-$15 every few months… Arrgh, the “per month” thing is getting to me, because my beauty cycles do NOT run by the MONTH. It’s not my damned period.

    I HAVE plunked down much more money in the past month or two, but that’s because I’ve suddenly figured out how the crap to apply makeup. So I’m picking up pretty packs of eyeshadow, and pondering getting a different tube of mascara, and putting some cash aside for some concealer and foundation and a good set of brushes. It’ll set me back a fair chunk of change, but it’s going to last me, right? There’s no way I’ll use it every day. Makeup is for dress-up.

    I sure would like to have a few hundred bucks to spend on a beauty regimen, though. Can I get like, funding or sponsorship or something? If money were no object I’d be getting pedicures and manicures and lasers pointed at my face and lord knows what else. But I’d also be buying fancy cookware and knives, and computer equipment, and villas in the south of France and ponies. So.

  156. I’ve never had a regular pedicure. I should probably start there and work up to the fish thing.

    Otherwise: I do shell out $40 every two months for a haircut. The stylist is a good friend of a very dear old friend of mine, and I trust her with my hair and am always pleased with the results. So it’s totally worth the price IMO.

    Let’s see…I really like Whole Foods 365 rosemary-mint bar soap for the shower and for night face washing. That runs $1.50/bar, and I probably go through 2 bars per month at most, so we’ll say $3 for soap. In the mornings or if my skin is really dry, I use Cetaphil. $9/ bottle and I bought a bottle back in January. I think I’m about halfway through, so we’ll say about $1/month for that. Body lotion: Curel Honey Vanilla. About $6 or $7/bottle, probably lasts 3 months or so. Face lotion: Clinique Dramatically Different lotion. I think it’s about $20/bottle. Lasts about 6 months or more, so we’ll say $3/month. Disposable contacts at one pair per month: about $5. Disposable razors, $2-3 per month. Deodorant: cheapie Suave brand (works the best for me). About $1/month. Shampoo: Head and Shoulders. $5/bottle, lasts about 5 months. Conditioner: Suave Coconut, less than $2/bottle, lasts at least six months. Hair goop- I love the $15/tube stuff I got at the salon. Very light and smells nice. I use a little dollop every morning when blow-drying. The tube will probably last 6 months or more. Makeup- probably $5-$10/month. The mineral foundation I use lasts a long time and it takes me a couple of years to get through an eyeliner pencil or lipstick. I replace mascara a couple of times per year just because it gets clumpy and useless. I cut/clean/polish my own nails and pluck my own eyebrows.

    I guess that makes about $50ish/month for beauty and hygiene? I think I’m okay with that. It doesn’t feel excessive.

  157. There’s coffee lotion? Must…find…coffee…lotion…ZOMG…

    I tried the no-poo thing for a while (like several weeks). My scalp went insane. Hence the Head and Shoulders. I’ve always had scalp issues and clearing off the excess oil regularly seems to be the only way I can keep it in check. I can get away with shampooing every other day but beyond that, between the scalp and the fine hair, I’m asking for trouble.

  158. The only thing I use these days is shampoo. I have a few makeups lying around but I am the reverse of many women. I feel less comfortable wearing makeup – I feel like everyone is staring at me.

  159. Oh, despair. Sonic Death Monkey going away? Thanks for the heads up upthread, I went and ordered a few bottles for me and the SO.

  160. Oh, and I know I don’t have PCOS, but I’ve found that in the last year or so (after hitting 35) I’m suddenly needing pluckage of more and more stray dark and/or wiry face hairs, which has never been a problem before. WTF? Am I the only one experiencing this as a function of age?

    The dark hairs started creeping up on me when I hit 30, growing on my chin and cheeks. Long black hairs! For a while it was kinda scary, until I remembered my mother and grandmother had mentioned it happening to them. This is the upshot of all the imagery of women being retouched, we don’t know what’s normal anymore!

  161. My big splurge is getting a good haircut. When times are good (i.e. not NOW), I’d get my hair cut ($45 before tip) about once a month, give or take (every five to six weeks, usually, especially when it’s shorter).

    Anything else I buy is basic toiletries — i.e., stuff men are expected to buy (shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, floss, Chapstick). I use slightly spiffy lotions/body wash sometimes (think Bath and Body Works) since I receive them as gifts at least once a year.

    I, too, never really got into using makeup, Robz. I never felt like I was good at it (the one time low self confidence benefited me), so I mostly quit after a brief phase in high school. Last time I bought any was right before my wedding, wherein I spent $30 or so on powder, eyeshadow and lip gloss.

  162. I’ll admit that I love cosmetics. I make extraneous beauty purchases all of the time, and I have fun with it–though I often regret buying stuff I don’t need and re-gift it or return it. :/ I have way too much makeup for one person!

    Then again, I spend *maybe* $20-100 a month on cosmetics (including hair care), not $500+.

    And I really want a couple of those Ginger Luxe glosses after perusing that site!

  163. Oh, despair. Sonic Death Monkey going away? Thanks for the heads up upthread, I went and ordered a few bottles for me and the SO.

    That’s what they told me last time I bought a bottle in store, cynthia. Bear in mind I’m in the UK, but from what I’ve seen the US stores seem to stock more or less the same range, so if they’re discontinuing it here I’m guessing they may do the same over there…

  164. I spend hardly anything. My main expense is hairpieces. But I don’t wear my wig more than a couple of times a month, so the one I have now (which cost about $150 including the shampoo and brush to go with it) has lasted me a couple of years now. I bought a straightening iron to straighten it out when I wear it, and I get a $15 haircut every few months to match the length. I only wear makeup a couple of times a month, so I don’t go through that very fast. I don’t get manicures or give them to myself — I’ve tried, but I chip literally within minutes. I’m probably overdue for a pedicure, though.

    I’m pretty sure all those expenses would go up by a lot if I was working outside the home, though. But not over a thousand bucks a month! Please! Not unless I improbably landed some kind of “glamor profession” job.

  165. when I was in high school I could never go out of the house without foundation and stuff on. Now the only thing I really ever wear is lipgloss/stick. I really haven’t spent money on actual makeup stuff for at least two years.. ever since I was working at my last live in caregiver job. That was partly due to going through a massive bout of depression in which my thought was I am already hideous why even try to make it better. Now I have gotten used to just being me that I feel odd when I have makeup on, kind of fake, though I would like to get back into taking a bit better care of myself, have a bit more pride in the appearance I put forward. I think it would help alot with the fear I deal with going out in public lol.

    So the biggest splurges I do now is getting my eyebrows waxed and acrylic nails, doing that really makes me feel pretty, and makes me want to take even better care of myself, though I don’t get to do it often as a full time college student. I also dye my hair Brown/Black and I do need to do a little upkeep to the roots every once in a while when I can find some spare cash after my anti depressant lol.

    I do love makeup, it is alot of fun and I wish I knew how to put it on so it won’t actually look like I have no clue. All the pretty colors and stuff.. just yummy. I think when I manage to get control of the depression and build up a bit more confidence I will enjoy trying out some new things but I can never even imagine spending anything near those quotes monthly on a beauty regime.

  166. Oh, and on good smells, I just discovered a seller at Etsy who has lilac soap to die for. I was going for scented yet untinted lip gloss for my son (whose apple seems not to have fallen far from the tree!), grabbed some of the soap she was also selling to make the shipping worth it, and omg. I’m pondering now whether I can swing $4.50 a bar for the rest of my life.
    The funny thing is that I can’t stand perfumes and scented dryer sheets and the like – I spent some time a few months ago with a person who has serious chemical allergies and she noted that she could stand to be around me because I didn’t smell like anything. (um, thanks?) I love having the smells in my daily routine, but it’s all stuff that fades rapidly.

  167. I guess I’m the odd woman out since I used to be a self-professed beauty junkie. I spend $80 on a haircut every eight weeks and $15 on a brow wax at about the same interval. For other hair and skin products, I generally use mass market brands and maybe spend $25/month on replacements. I don’t buy much actual makeup anymore.

    Makeup used to be a hobby for me. I was obsessed with the new season’s colors and textures. I’d buy a new lipstick every week or two. For me, it was more about playing with the colors or finding a new perfect lipstick than buying into the beauty myth. I was just as likely to wear tinted lip balm as lipliner, lipstick and gloss. It was like having a new set of watercolors and my face was my canvas. Since I’ve found the wonders of yarn, that hasn’t been the case so much, and I have plenty of stash to work through, so I really don’t buy much new except mascara, which goes nasty rather quickly.

    @ car: Who is that seller? I need some lilac soap for spring.

  168. Guys, note that the $1700/month includes Botox. She’s not just running out and buying a ton of cosmetics. Botox, fillers, lasers—that stuff is pricey. I’m not sure I could pay that much for something that lasts 3-6 months, but she’s a hedge fund manager (assuming she still has a job–those folks were decimated last fall) so it’s not that much money to her.

    My expenditures have gone up with my salary. Probably the most expensive are hair coloring and biweekly pedicures in the summer. I sometimes think about dropping the former, not because of the cost but because I hate sitting in the stylist chair for so long, but it does look damn good. I see no problem with paying for such things, as long as you stay within your budget and you are doing it for the right reasons (personal gratification rather than external pressure).

    My pet peeve are Brazilians, but that appears to be a generational issue, as younger women appear to think this is now required. Thank God I’m married!

  169. @ constance – it’s not something I consider a medical cost, like my chiropractor, because I am capable of doing my toes myself. Unlike my spine, which I have a little trouble manipulating in comfortable directions. The only real difference when I pay someone else to do it is that it lasts a lot longer for some reason and I’m less likely to regret never taking up yoga.

    I still wish I knew why I only needed the sideways nails grinding down every couple of months, but I seem to end up cutting them myself every few weeks.

  170. Either the link sent my comment to the mod queue, or WordPress is acting funky again. It did that weird thing where it won’t reload the page properly after I submitted my comment. Well, in case it got eaten, the lotion is the one I talked about upthread – Alba Botanica Kona Coffee After-Sun Lotion. If the other comment shows up, it has a link (but I don’t want this one to get stuck or disappear, too).

  171. Fish pedicures just make me think of that Jan Svankmajer movie Conspirators of Pleasure (the part with Beltinská).

  172. Orora – It’s Rachel Rene bath and body by Christine Davis. She seems really nice, too. (but then again, all Etsy sellers are nice!)

  173. “My pet peeve are Brazilians, but that appears to be a generational issue, as younger women appear to think this is now required. Thank God I’m married!”

    Some of us youngins don’t get it either. I’m 25, and it boggles my mind. I can see a shave or wax for a skinmpy bathing suit, but getting a brazilian, aside from sounding really painful — just, no. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

    I’d also venture to say that marriage won’t mean no more brazilians for those who are getting them. A person who goes to such lengths (or what seems to me to be such lengths) to maintain a hairless standard before marriage will probably still do so afterward, especially if the hubby has gotten used to it or demands it.

  174. I’m 26, and the thought of a Brazilian makes me cringe. I’ll get my panty line waxed in summer, but I make it very clear to the aesthetician that I wear a fairly conservative sport tank and I only want enough waxed that the hair doesn’t stick out the sides. I’m afraid I’m not quite confident enough yet to go completely au natural in summer and let it all hang out when I swim!

    But that’s strictly a seasonal expense. I don’t bother in winter, although I might if I had access to a heated swimming pool.

  175. Uhh…I get a haircut every three-five months for $12….probably spend $20 on shampoo/conditioner/hairspray/soap about every 6 months in different cycles. I have one shade of eyeshadow that cost about $2 and I only wear it when I’m really dressed up and in a color that matches, and one $5 lipstick tube that I wear on the same occasions. Other than that, just lotion when I run out, which isn’t often. And as one commenter said, I feel beautiful nonetheless. I don’t even shave my legs or anything at all.

  176. I get a ten dollar haircut every couple of months when my cosmetologist friend bullies me into it, I buy lotion and face wipes in a half-assed attempt at defeating acne, and when I’m feeling really girly I’ll splurge on a three-dollar bottle of nail-polish. I work out every day, but that only costs half an hour and a pair of sneakers.

    I find it completely baffling how much time, effort, and money some people are expected (and willing!) to spend on their looks.

  177. I don’t know if it counts as “beauty,” but if I had money I would spend on things like massages, acupuncture, foot and face massages, wraps involving nice smelling oils and hot rocks, deep conditioning treatments for the old hair…

    Paying people to do painful and usually difficult to maintain crap to me, not so much. Although if I were an actress or the like, it really is more of a business expense. I do object to this genre of article because I feel like it shames women who DO spend—so if we spend nothing, we’re slobs, and if we spend a lot, we’re spendthrift and shallow? Sounds like discourse on weight and fitness to me.

    Re: Brazilians. They’re cultural I think. I went into a spa in an Arab country for a bikini wax once. They insisted on taking it all because it was “hygenic” that way. Ow.

  178. Hmm.

    I use Clinique facial soap and makeup (on those incredibly rare days I wear makeup). The soap is ~$20 a bar, and lasts a year. I refuse to feel guilty about it! (I have facial and body eczema. Very little doesn’t trigger it.) Also, when I say ‘makeup’ I mean lip gloss (I have 2 shades I love), and even more rarely than that, mascara.

    I have recently found a stylist who knows how to deal with curly hair. I had been keeping it long and /cringe brushing it straight every morning, and trying to keep it in braids and buns (curls would escape and frizz). I never used heat, though. When I told him what I wanted, he let me know that it wouldn’t really turn out that way, but we’d cut off the waist-length and see what we had to work with.
    And omg. As he was working with it, he gave me so many tips and tricks, and it is the FIRST short haircut I’ve ever gotten that doesn’t look like crap. I’ve embraced the curl. I’ve gotten rid of my brushes (about 1x a week I’ll use a wide-tooth comb in the shower to make my scalp happy). I wash, towel, throw in a bit of product so I don’t look like I stuck my finger in a light socket, and I’m done. My hair, including shower time, takes 10 minutes now (it took an hour+ before). My stylist is WORTH the $50, and he’s a small business owner.
    My shampoo (eczema on scalp, cannot no poo, pls don’t shame) and conditioner are inexpensive organic, bought at the commissary (military thing–my husband, the SPC, is active duty). My mousse is also organic, and more expensive. But I don’t use much, and it lasts.

    Other than that, Ivory soap, because I tolerate it easily.

    The Brazilian I get and maintain every three weeks is more of a mental health thing for me. Having pubic hair, and especially having sex with pubic hair, is intensely triggering for me. I hate that I feel shamed in a lot of feminist circles for dealing with my PTSD in a way that works. Shaving irritated my skin in a way that waxing simply doesn’t.

    I also love nailpolish. The colors, they pretty! I’ll get a manicure every few months or so for stress relief, but mostly do it myself. :)

  179. *nail-polished high five to DRD1812*

    And hey, don’t let people give you grief for doing what works for you. I groom my body to please me. Not my family, not random men, and not people on the internet. At the end of the day, isn’t that part of what being a feminist is about? Being happy with your body and doing what you want with it, no matter what kind of body you were issued.

  180. I love eye makeup, so every other month I spend a few bucks on eyeshadow, mascara, and eyeliner. I also wear a little foundation and powder to even out my skin tone. Nothing really expensive or extravagant (although my friend just gave me some mineral powder from Sephora that normally runs at $25), just something to make me feel good. I spend most of my beauty budget on stuff to combat my acne; being 23 with moderate to severe acne sucks.

    My favorite thing about summer is nail polish! I usually buy a couple bottles of fun colors and paint my toenails every couple of weeks.

  181. (eczema on scalp, cannot no poo, pls don’t shame)

    You shouldn’t be shamed for this any more than I should be shamed for stripping my hygiene regimen to absolute barebones to help get rid of my eczema. Seriously, having eczema just makes you want to get rid of it, and if you find something that works, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with sticking to it.
    Also, eczema isn’t super well understood and has myriad causes. It’s not like what triggers my flareups (which seems to be any of the common personal hygiene detergents) is the same thing as what causes yours. I considered smelling like coal tar all the time to get rid of it, and I was fortunate enough to discover that getting rid of shampoo, body wash, and most makeup worked better.

  182. Er…that is, I use the straightening iron to straighten out my real hair, not the wig. Bleh.

    The main cosmetic items I cannot live without are conditioner (can’t get a comb through my hair without it), hand lotion (I have the driest hands, they just feel so chalky without it) and Lip Smackers. I looooove Lip Smackers. A Dr. Pepper in my purse and a Watermelon at my desk. Yum. (I remember when those things were really huge, three or four times the size they are now, and I wore one on a string around my neck.)

  183. Hm. It’s really interesting reading all the different expenditure levels on this thread. I imagine I am somewhere in the middle because I don’t have much income or many expenses (I am in college). I sort of save up a wishlist and then buy online at whatever discount beauty retailer has most of the things i want, to save on shipping. So one month I will spend $40 on nail polish, and the next nothing, and the next $3 (at the drugstore). So. I will now find out how much I spend annually on makeup:
    Shampoo and conditioner $3/yr, sunscreen $5, lotion $34, perfume $90, lipgloss and lipstick 60, tooth whitening strips $80, self tanner 70, haircuts 4×25=100, blush $15, eyeshadow and eyeliner $30, mascara 3×8=24, nail polish…. 1.33(20x~3.50)= 93, nail scissors $13, tweezers $20 (um. I lose them all the time, but some times I find them months later, so I will guess I buy new ones twice a year.), hairbrushes (see previous) $18, body wash $3.
    Woah. $558, which is $46.50 per month. I feel like that’s a lot. And yeah, I spend $3/yr on body wash and the same for shampoo and conditioner bc this year I would take them from the lost and found at the hostel where I work (after 1 month we toss stuff like that), and before this I worked at a grocery store and would take home the returns (not of most cosmetics because that would be scary/gross, but a bodywash? I am not worried about). Yeah, I am really, really thrifty and I still manage to average $50 on beauty every month. You know… I could save $75 if I stopped using both self tanner and sunscreen. (but I am not going to.) Oh, man, I forgot to count bronzer and body shimmer.

  184. The most expensive part of my extensive beauty regime is the showers every second day. I figure, if I let those go, that would be a bad thing…

    Oh and every couple months I pay $6 for someone to cut my hair.

  185. Electrogirl to DRD1812: And hey, don’t let people give you grief for doing what works for you. I groom my body to please me. Not my family, not random men, and not people on the internet. At the end of the day, isn’t that part of what being a feminist is about? Being happy with your body and doing what you want with it, no matter what kind of body you were issued.

    Word. This is an interesting and kind of fun exercise. It seems defeating to turn it into a “Biggest Feminist” competition. Like I said above, I get my hair professionally cut, wear makeup, use shampoo daily, etc. I feel good when I do it, so I don’t consider it anyone else’s business to tell me that I shouldn’t or that I should do more, nor do I expect others to do the same. If someone wants to judge me for my appearance, that’s their problem, not mine.

    Oh and DRD1812? Your username is awesome. Oh, how I miss that show.

  186. Having looked over the photo essay again, I just wanted to note how bizarre I find this description: “so obsessed with makeup that she founded her own line of cosmetics.”

    I just cannot imagine a man’s career ever being described in those terms. It makes it sound so weird and petty. I just really hate the language used there.

    I, myself, was so obsessed with children that I had one myself! And I am so obsessed with English that I went on to teach it!

  187. What bugs me about the capitalist-patriarchal beauty-industrial complex is how much TIME it sucks from our lives. So much time is spent fretting about “beauty,” searching and shopping for cosmetics & treatments, making & having appointments for treatments (and the time wasted sitting around waiting once you get there!), daily/weekly/monthly “maintenance,” etc., etc. Maybe I’m dreaming, but I think there are so many better, more self-and-community-enriching things we could be doing with our time…

  188. My routine is pretty thrifty except when it comes to haircuts. I’ve found a wonderful stylist who knows just what to do with my thick, naturally wavy head full of cowlicks and she runs me $55 plus a nice tip every six weeks for a cut and style. I consider it worth it to have someone give me hair that I like.

    My other indulgence is essential oils and bath products like salts, lotions, oils & bubble bath. But I don’t consider it part of being “pretty” as much as I find it soothing and relaxing in the tub. I guess I spend a couple of hundred dollars a year on this sort of thing.

    I do enjoy buying makeup but I rarely take the time to use more than lipgloss, powder and mascara. I will admit to having a small lipgloss problem but they make my lips so shiny!

  189. Lol @ Hingly. Do you pay for water too? I know my showers are the reason I can’t lower my water bill. My new scheme is showering at the gym. Take that water bureau!

  190. The one thing I probably spend the most on is conditioner. I have waist-length, dryish hair and am picky about conditioner. Not so picky, however, that I won’t shop for it at Big Lots! I stopped spending money on skin care when I realized I could use brown sugar on a washcloth as a facial scrub/cleanser, and witch hazel when I need a toner. I found that importing the raw shea butter in bulk from a fair trade cooperative in Togo and keeping it in the freezer was cheaper (and better!) than buying the hyper-expensive facial lotions. I don’t bother with makeup except on special occasions, and certainly don’t waste it trying to impress people at the office! Oh, and I cut my own hair. It’s easy for me, I just put it in a ponytail and snip the ends.

    I don’t see the point in throwing money after an industry that exists by convincing us we’re not good enough unless we hide. Women in the professional world so often feel they need to spend so much more money on their appearance to compete on equal footing with men that it really creates another self-sustaining disparity in pay. What more could girls and women accomplish if they didn’t have to waste so much time painting and primping?

  191. Ermmm… (To most of the commenters) If you spend $20 a month on beauty, then more power to you, but it costs some folks substantially more beauty bucks to be “socially acceptable,” you know?

    I kinda feel folk are missing the mark in listing their expenditures. But then, well… here we are again. There’s a lot more to say, but I’ll save it and future thoughts for my own blog. Thanks, Sweet Machine.

  192. I gotta admit, maybe it’s growing up in a town full of ex-hippies and reacting against that, but I can’t do the crunchy thing. Soon as I was able to stop using the Dr. Bronner’s my dad buys in bulk and get my own shower gel I did, because that stuff turns me into an ashy desert of flaky dry skin. (He not only uses the peppermint soap on his body, but also as shampoo. But he has a flattop. And doesn’t give a shit about how he looks.) Anyway.

    I buy my toiletries from Lush because they smell nice and feel indulgent. Also, their Dream Cream is the only stuff that’s helped with my keratosis pilaris. It’s expensive stuff, to be sure, but I go through it slowly and it makes me really happy, so it’s worth it. I also have a bunch of different things for variety’s sake – right now I’m rotating between three different shower gels depending on whether I want to smell a margarita or a field of flowers in the shower. Likewise I have a crapton of perfume oil from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, which makes me unbelievably happy.

  193. I’m mostly an au naturel type. No makeup, no haircuts, no shaving. I spend very little, though more than I used to because I like to buy good soap. I wash and condition my hair about every five days in winter, twice a week in summer. Since it’s long it can’t take any more washing than that. I trim the ends myself now and then.

    My skin is the one thing that takes expense. I use a tea-tree oil based face wash and a moisturiser for sensitive skin – that’s at BodyShop or upper end supermarket type price, not big cosmetic company prices. $20-40 per jar, every 3 months or so.

    Has anybody else got adult acne rosacea? I had the prescription gel for ages, and tried various food restrictions to no effect. I’m also allergic to standard anti-acne creams. The one thing that has made a mammoth, huge, massive, enormous difference is the antibiotics. They are a bit rough on my stomach, and it’s a 4-6 month long course. I put it off for years because of that, but I now wish I’d gone straight for it. Such a huge improvement. Chocolate gives you acne? Bah, humbug! Bacteria give you acne. Kill them dead and eat extra yoghurt FTW.

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