How much do you spend on beautification?

Take a wild guess how much money we, that's women, spend per year on beauty products?

160 BILLION dollars annually

That would be billion with a capital 'B.' 

Think about that for a sec…$160,000,000,000 to cover, correct, paste, stretch, and mold our horribly defective frames into acceptable shape.

Lauren Greenfield, the producer of THIN documented the habits of 6 New York women to find some spending $1700 per month to maintain their imaginary beautified selves. Some admitted to sending more than rent (crap, that is more than my mortgage).

You know what struck me when I saw these images?

They all look tense. 

Tense and self conscience. 

Self conscience and unhappy.

Let's check out some of the beauty junkies the documentary followed (see full slide show here);

26 year-old, Ginger spends $650 a month on her physical appearance. At Manhattan’s store Sephora, Ginger shops alone for cosmetics because her friends know she will spend hours.

mV: I've always thought Sephora is a bit psycho. Not sure how you would spend hours there, but that is besides the point. Next time you are there pop in and look at the all the teeny, tiny potions in the back that will set you back about $100 each.


New York City actress Cameron (25) spends $620 a month on her personal grooming. Cameron reveals that her hair is the key to her personality, ‘I spend so much time with my hair-stylists, they’re like my family’.

mV: Really? They are like family? Will they be at your funeral?Do you call them when you are down in dumps or do they just listen when they are taking the money out of your wallet?

New York City hedge-fund exec Suzanne (36) spends $1720 a month on personal grooming.  At ‘Skin & Spa’ cosmetic surgery center, Suzanne receives Botox from Dr. Howard Sobel, a treatment that she receives 3 times a year.

mV: Beyond my comprehension. And sad as hell.

Confession time…I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours! Here goes;


Every 8 weeks, highlight and cut. Kills me every time I write out the check for $115. That is insane, but I do it because i like the texture and life it gives my hair.

Facial Stuff

Wash, toner, lotion….all generic Neutrogena from Wally's (that's what the kids call Walmart). $25 bucks max, lasts a about 3 months.


Hands and feet I do myself. At least until my mom sees my feet in sandals and gets me a gift certificate for the salon.


Maybe $100 or less per year. I love Rimmel brand, affordable and great quality.

That's a whopping $1,000 a YEAR. That's what, about $90 or so a month (even that sounds like alot actually).

Am I total tight wad or are these women above completely out of their minds?


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26 Responses to How much do you spend on beautification?

  1. Amber says:

    i love makeup, but i hate obsessions some people have with it. and as for botox, omg.. wrong! it can be avoided!!! people, SUNSCREEN! maybe some eye cream, maybe some lotion, take CARE of your skin, needles in the face arn’t going to do any miricles, you still have to do it over and over again, this is no one time thing. and you know what… age gracefully, its so unbecomming to see a plastic old cougar.
    this crap isn’t going to bring them happiness, because they havn’t started with themselves.

  2. S says:

    Thanks for informing us of Lauren Greenfield’s new work. I like her style and topics and photography in general. I don’t think I know anyone who actually spends that much money and time on “selfbeautification”, maybe I do.
    These women ridiculous priorities and I am sure they are not too happy, or they won;t be in the future, because of their misguided attention of beauty.
    I only need Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner and Oxy face wash. I don’t put on make-up or all those other things, and I use what I find in our bathroom in times I think putting on some makeup is appropriate.

  3. Claire says:

    ok I’ll go through mine:
    Hair: I go to supercuts once or twice a yearor trim it myself. Max $30/year. I order free shampoo samples online or use the shampoo at home (I live with my parents).
    Every couple of months my mom takes us out for pedicures and to get our eyebrows waxed.
    Make-up: all of it is gifts from family or friends or samples because I only wear it on special occasions because it makes my face itch.
    Hygenie: I have to have lady speed stick deoderent. Maybe that’s $5/year?
    So I pay $35 max/year, including what my mom spends on me it’s under $200/year.
    So I pay at most $30/year, including what my mom spends on me it’s like

  4. Blogs are good for every one where we get lots of information for any topics nice job keep it up !!!

  5. anon says:

    wait, hold on. where did these women find apartments in new york so cheap that they can proclaim their $1700 beauty budgets more than their rent?
    my rent is three times that…

  6. Abby says:

    I’ve gotten a manicure once in my life, and never a pedicure. I stopped painting my nails after high school and have never seriously worn makeup (I’d never even owned any until I had to get some for a musical). I have to remind myself just to use my facial exfoliater twice a week, and I have shampoo and conditioner. I shave every few days. Oh, and I get my hair cut once a year when my mom drags me to a salon. Sometimes I only brush my hair once a day! I’m kind of a hippie personality though, so I bet I’m not the norm. In fact I’m not planning on getting any makeup/pedicure/manicure done for my wedding next June, and may not even get a hair cut before then unless my mom drags me for Christmas again, lol.
    I can’t fathom spending that kind of money, much less on things like haircuts and makeup. I guess at least a haircut sticks around for a while, but at the end of the day you’re just going to wash it all off and do it all over again the next day. There’s something very refreshing about a face without makeup…
    (don’t even get me started on crap like botox)

  7. kay says:

    okay mama here goes…
    Hair- every saturday or sunday if i can’t get it done saturday…free…a girl i dance with is a stylist in turn for me nannying her kids and helping her sharpen dance skills..i get my hair done free
    nails-every two months for my feet…$15..nails i do myself
    make-up-$.99-$5…i only wear lip gloss or if my mom begs i’ll wear some eye make-up…i generally do not wear it. I like to think i will attract someone for who i am truly, not a “gotcha” tool and then when it washes off not look like they expected me to, i want it to be the other way around…bare face then “wow”

  8. painter says:

    I think I spend a lot? I’m not sure because my mommy pays for a lot of my things. 😀
    My sister cuts my hair for free, I have a tiny makeup bag and my sister laughs at me for it(she’s a stylist lol), I don’t paint my nails anymore.. but I spend a lot of money on shampoo, conditioner, and mousse to weigh down my hair and use proactiv which is kind of pricey.
    I don’t feel comfortable judging these women because I spend money on the same things. Not as much, but I think anybody who spends more than $0 on beauty products really has no right calling them “psychos.”

  9. Lia says:

    OK… so I’ll go, too.
    Hair: Generic shampoo, generic conditioner (curly hair needs conditioner): 5$, lasts three weeks (I have quite a mop); somewhat expensive hair oil treatment thingy that lasts me half a year (35$)
    I go in for a trim every half a year: 30$ (I buy the hair oil thingy at my hairdresser’s)
    Face: Very sensitive very pale skin, therefore the only thing I can use without breaking out is Shiseido’s Light Skincare series. Lasts me 4 months, 120$ all in all.
    Nails: I play music instruments, my nails are short. Strong, neither colored nor chipped, though.
    Make-up: Facial powder, concealer, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara: Lasts me about a year or two, 50$ all in all.
    The only spa thing I really, really love is a massage, preferably a hot stone one. Mmmmm… I don’t classify them under beauty treatments, though, because they’re more of a soul relaxing thing for me.
    I don’t get the whole spending a fortune on make-up and beautification thing…

  10. Elaine Maly says:

    My biggest extravagance is the $115 I spend every six weeks getting hair color and cut. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about when is the logical time to stop coloring my hair. I thought I’d stop at 40. Then I thought I’d stop at 50. Maybe at 60 but definitely at 70.
    I get a brow and lip wax about every six weeks too to avoid looking like Frida Kahlo. I get a facial and a massage twice a year if I’m lucky. I buy an occasional indulgent product when I have too much time to wait around at a salon. I’m usually sorry. I bet I easily have $500 worth of products in a drawer that I’ve only used once or twice.

  11. .C. says:

    I saw this as well… Question, MamaV, on the topic of Lauren Greenfield. I really want to watch “Thin” but I can’t order it online because my parents will look at my credit card statement and ask awkward questions. Do you have any ideas where I can get it?
    Also, possible ‘tip’: I am in France right now and in the Louvre Carousel shopping center there is this store that I’m almost certain is a Sephora that’s running this ad called Pretty Maman. You should see their idea of a ‘pretty maman’; HA!!! SUPER skinny, and looks like a mannequin. You’ve got to check it out; maybe you can find it online or something. Too funny.
    Ok, my beauty stuff:
    Shampoo/Conditioner: Garnier Fructis, mostly. I go through conditioner about twice as fast as shampoo. I’d say it all costs me about 60$ a year.
    I use minimal makeup and everything I have was given to me except a mascara and thing of eyeshadow, which together probably cost me about 11$.
    I have severe eczema, so this isn’t really a ‘beauty’ thing so much as a ‘make my hands stop bleeding’, but I have to use lotion a lot. People usually give this to me though, because they want me to stop bleeding where they can see it.
    Nails: Nope. I’m a guitar player, so the left hand’s short; right I leave long. No color because it distracts me when I write.
    Toothpaste/deodorant/soap/anything I might be forgetting: Can’t be more than $40 a year. Which puts us at $111.
    What is sick is the fact that I’ve been thinking about the money I’ve been saving by buying less food…

  12. Nats says:

    .C. hun, you can watch THIN on youtube, ive watched it on there loads of times babe xx
    As for this post…… not gonna go there

  13. tk says:

    OK, I’m in the UK so I’ll post in £s.
    HAIR: cut and blow dry about twice a year,£30 each
    Shampoo costs £6 for a bottle that lasts one month. Conditioner only costs about £2 lasts 2 months. hair serum costs £4, 2 bottles will last me a year.
    Facewash= £4, lasts me one month. facial creamdoes the same.
    i don’t use much else on my face.
    Eyebrow shaping I do myself but get it done professionally about twice a year to keep the shape, I’m sure £10 is all.
    Nails: hardly do them, nail varnish costs about £10 for the year
    Makeup: Foundation=£10, 2 will last a year. Liner=£10, lipgloss, blusher, eyeshadow, brushes etc will probably total up to £100 a year.
    i think that’s a total of £408, approx. $655
    ok, not as bad as i thought
    and i wouldn’t say these women are totally out of their minds, we have no right judging them.

  14. S says:

    They are not out of their minds at MamaVision didn’t say that.
    I just think that they have given in to the advertisements they see all around them. They are victims of conspicuous consumption.
    I think that different people react to the same things differently depending on a lot of different factors.These women, for some reason, have become insecure by the media or other life factors, and in some way are using make-up to create happiness/security for themselves.
    They are perfectly average people, most of them, and that exactly is what makes it even more scary. Look how some average (but special) human beings have given in to the false ideals and ridiculous expectations of society and the media.
    That is why they are prime examples of society’s misquided efforts to create happiness for themselves. Like the extreme behavior exemplified by eating disorders, these women mirror the reality around them.

  15. simone says:

    i know it’s rude to correct people’s grammar but..
    “self-conscious” is the adjective, NOT self-conscience!
    sorry.. anyways, carry on.

  16. Ella says:

    HAIR: Gosh…the last time I had a haircut was over 6 months ago…so maybe like $30 a year? I go to this amazing place that’s like discount hair styles and I’ve always had compliments afterwards, lol.
    FACE: $10 every 3 months on facewash, $20 every 3 months on anti-acne cream. So…$120 a year.
    NAILS: I cut them short? I work with kids, so it’s not practical to pain them or do anything really. My nail scissors were $2.
    MAKEUP: Probably about $30 a year? Again, I work with small children and it’s not practical to be wearing lots of make up. On the odd occasion if I’m going out with friends I will wear makeup.
    So that’s…$182. Go me! lol.

  17. Dom says:

    I cut my own hair. I keep it long, but sometimes I need to hack off the split ends or put some layers in to lighten the load in the summer.
    I spend about $3/month on Suave shampoo and conditioner.
    I spend about $2/month on face wash. One tube of Clearasil lasts me about two and a half months because I use every other day.
    I keep my nails clipped short (both feet and hands). Sometimes when I’m feeling girly, I’ll paint. I spent maybe $5/year on paint. I just bought a foot file for $7 because my feet were feeling scaly.
    Disposable razors are about $2 a month.
    I don’t really wear make-up much, unless I want to switch it up or just want to get dolled up. maybe $10/year.
    That’s a total of $106. Per year.
    And you know what? I feel pretty every day anyway. I don’t feel like I need to do any of the things I just listed because I’m pretty just as my natural self. I spend the $106 dollars for my own comfort and to get extra-pretty for myself sometimes. I don’t feel pressured to wear make-up or perfumes, because I know that I don’t want to be around anyone so shallow that they’d judge me on that basis anyway.
    I like me. I’m pretty. If anyone else thinks differently, they’re wrong and can go to hell.

  18. Araea says:

    Botox is SO creepy! However, I am intrigued by it, why are women putting that in their face? Not to mention, some women are using pig tendons instead of botox because you can leave the doctor without looking like anything is different.Strange…so I just realized how much in the last year I have cut back on beauty essentials…here goes:
    Hair: A trim at $30 every three months
    Facial Stuff: Wash and moisturizer, which is like $40 every three months
    Nails: I too do them myself and am a sucker for OPI nail polish, because they have the best names. Nonetheless, last year I was going every two weeks and getting a pedi/mani for $40, which I then realized I could sponsor two children in Haiti with that money.
    Makeup: I don’t wear because I love just looking like my natural surfer self, but I curl my eyelashes and put on chapstick. But a chapstick is like $3…

  19. JenRave says:

    If you’re a tightwad, I’m a miser.
    My estimated expenditure on “beauty” per year is $200, including shampoo, hair dye (I do it myself), razors and shaving cream, perfume, and deodorant. Some of those things probably aren’t what most people would consider beauty products though, from what I see above. If we are just counting makeup, hair dye and air cuts, and any specially marketed beauty products, its under $100. I just like to dye my hair brighter every 2 months, it’s $10 a box, and the occasional lip gloss and little bottle of oil-based scent.

  20. Lily says:

    Hair: Got a friend to shave all of it off last time, not sure about next time. Maybe $50 max on a haircut (If I can be bothered getting one)
    Face: I don’t wear makeup, soap and water to clean… Lip balm? $5 every 3 months or so.
    Nails: Cut & file myself. They grow quickly and need attention all the time. NEVER had a manicure or pedicure.
    Makeup: As i said, don’t/hardly wear the stuff.
    I’ve never really been a girl lol. I am female, but you know what I mean. One of my male friends actually got me into some more beauty stuff (And he’s not gay !) I love going to the Sauna, Spa, Pool :) So $15 every so often. But i don’t really do it as a beauty thing… Just makes me feel good.

  21. Lily says:

    Oh and, I wax a lot which can be pricey, but I do it myself (Saves so much money)
    *Full legs
    *Brazilian (I like the clean, smooth feeling)
    So i’m not innocent after all :O

  22. .C. says:

    Brazilian wax! Doesn’t that hurt? This is something I have always wondered about, but never found someone to ask. How often do you do it, and is it difficult?

  23. mamaV says:

    Here goes the Brazilian convo…I remember reading about this a few years back in Cosmo and being like what the hell!???! Sorry I had never even been aware of this torture, I mean treatment :)
    This is hilarious- in the area where I live, some dude was going around to Salons and ditching out on the bill after getting brazilians. They had him on security cam strolling around in his cozy white robe having a good ole time before dashing out of the place.

  24. dub says:

    I buy shampoo and conditioner every few months and I get a haircut once a year at the mall for $15. I buy a new bottle of face wash and a new bottle of moisturizer every year. I wear makeup occasionally. I’m still using the same makeup kit I bought two years ago. I guess I spend and average of $100 per year on beauty products?
    My mother dragged me to the nail salon and MADE me get a manicure and pedicure for my senior prom in high school and when I was a bridesmaid at my cousin’s wedding a few years ago. I don’t get the obsession over nails. They’re just nails.

  25. Kendal says:

    I do the bare minimum. Rarely wear make-up either. It makes me overly aware of my appearance, which, as we all know, is a bit of a waste of energy.
    Re: Brazilians. They hurt like Holy Hell. But, the thing is, it is five minutes of excruciating pain once a month for smooth skin, and therefore totally worth it in my eyes.

  26. Wow that is a lot of money on beautification. I wonder what it the number would be for guys? I good alternative to Brazilians that can save you pain and money is pubic hair removal creams. They are easy to use and best of all, pain free.

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