Beauty on a Budget: Beauty products and services often come with a high price tag, and the cost of your beauty regimen may be killing your budget. Read on to learn how I saved $13,000 just by avoiding the hair salon! You can save money on beauty products/services and still look great.
Beauty on a Budget: The Cost of Your Beauty Regimen May be Killing Your Financial Bottom Line
For many women, it gives us a confidence boost when we look great, and we in turn feel good about ourselves. So it can be more than a little tempting to spend a lot of money on fashion, beauty products, and spa services that help us look our absolute best! I get it, I really really do! Who WOULDN’T want to always feel as fabulous as you do when you step out of the salon? It feels chic to spend money on expensive makeup, and a pro manicure can make you feel polished, pretty, and I’ve-SO-got-my-sh*t-together like nothing else can.
But in today’s post, I’m going to share some uncomfortable truths about how cosmetics and spa services are putting a huge strain on your budget and your financial bottom line.
If you’re squirming a little in your seat because you suspect you may fall into this category, I would ask you to bear with me and please keep reading.
I promise I’m not trying to make you feel guilty – but I know that in my personal experience, seeing the numbers laid out in black and white definitely opened my eyes and encouraged me to overhaul some financially unhealthy habits for my own benefit and savings!
And holy sh*tballs, did I see a HUGE difference in my bank account…
A 2016 study showed women spend an average of $3,600 per year on cosmetics and beauty services. When you first look at that number, you may be like “Whaaaa—?!!!”, but seriously… it can happen SO easily.
You go to your favourite makeup store or wander innocently into Sephora and come out with your wallet $138 lighter on items you ‘needed’.
You get caught in the cycle of colouring or highlighting your hair, so you have roots that you ‘need’ to touch up.
You buy makeup.
You need facial cleansing, toning, and moisturizing products.
You spend $150 here and $120 there, every few weeks, and it doesn’t seem like a lot at the time.
But when you add it up over the course of a year…. yikes.
Beauty on a Budget: Hair Services
I’m going to start with hair services:
Aside from some concerns about chemical exposure, the cost was the primary reason I stopped highlighting/colouring my hair when I was 20 years old. I simply couldn’t afford it on a student’s budget.
Now let’s have an eye-opening look at my savings over the past 10 years:
I’ll say I was spending an average of $150 on each visit to the salon. This is a conservative estimate, since it’s often more than that after tax and tip etc. But let’s go with $150 for highlights/colour, and a pretty basic cut.
It is ‘recommended’ you get your hair coloured/highlighted every 6 weeks. (Keep in mind that this recommendation comes from the hairdresser who’s charging you, and from the salon industry/magazines that benefit from the sale of hair dye and styling products). But regardless, the Powers That Be say to do it every 6 weeks.
I had a student’s budget back when I was 19, so I was gettin’ my hair did about once every 3 months instead of every 6 weeks. At 4 times a year, I was spending $600/year on hair colour/styling. Over the past 10 years, I’ve personally saved $6,000 by simply not colouring my hair.
(My brain just exploded)
I’m so frugal that I literally get my hair cut about twice a year, and I trim my own bangs between visits. My hair cut costs $55 with tax and tip included. So I suppose in fairness I should knock $1100 off that $6000 because I was still getting cuts even though I wasn’t colouring anymore. But that math means I still would have spent $4900 on hair colour alone over those 10 years.
That’s 1/3 of my entire wedding budget. On toxic AF hair dye.
If I had gotten my hair cut and coloured as often as is ‘recommended’, that’s $1300/year and a whopping $13,000 over 10 years.
So if I were to go to the salon every 6 weeks for my entire adult ‘hair colouring life’ (let’s say age 20-80), I will have spent a whopping $78,000!!!
Now let’s put that number in perspective….. what else can you get with $78,000?
That’s the cost of a decent Porsche, ladies! You could have a PORSCHE instead of colouring your hair.
You could take about 10 trips to Hawaii.
You could hire a personal chef to cook every meal for you for TWO YEARS. Or,
You could install a totally badass in-ground swimming pool, hot tub, and sauna, plus landscape your entire yard.
That is Actual Insanity. My frugal, exploded brain can barely even process this information.
So the moral of my story is: if you’re trying to pay off your student loans and/or save for a downpayment on a house, embrace your natural colour, girl!
Even if you didn’t set aside a single dollar from your income into a savings account, by making this one change and simply not colouring your hair throughout your 20s and 30s, that’s almost $10,000 in your pocket for far more worthwhile causes.
Beauty on a Budget: Spa Services
Once you’ve recovered slightly from the shock of those numbers, now we can move on to other spa services. You still with me? I know it’s uncomfortable, but we’re on a roll now and this information could save you THOUSANDS of dollars! Here are some average yearly costs for spa services:
Tanning: $20-$40/month. Average $30/month x 12 = $360/year
Manicures: Range $25-$50 per. Average of $37 x 12 = $444/year
Facials: Range $50-$100 per. Average of $75 x 12 = $900/year
If you were to do all of these each month (which is the common/recommended frequency), that’s $1,704/year.
Add in cosmetics/skincare products at a conservative estimate of $50/month x 12 = $600/year
The Total Damage
If you’re enjoying spa services, getting your hair done every 6 weeks, and buying expensive makeup, you’re looking at a total of….drumroll please…
$3,604 a year.
$36,000+ over 10 years.
$72,000+ over 20 years.
$216,000 over the course of your adult life.
Have I convinced you yet?
Okay, so say I have convinced you. You’re probably thinking “Okay, that’s completely horrifying, but what’s my solution? I still want to look good!”
As you should, my Pennywise beauty! 😉
Beauty on a Budget: Take Action!
So here’s a list (you know I LOVE lists!) of some simple changes you can make to:
–cut back on the frequency with which you spend money on cosmetics/services by altering your habits
–DIY some pampering services for a fraction of the cost
–lower your standards (this is not a bad thing!)
You can cut out or cut back on:
-hair salon visits/hair colouring
-tanning – it’s bad for your health and your wallet!
-hair products – wash your hair every other day to cut your shampoo/conditioner/styling expenses in half. Your hair will adjust and not become greasy as quickly. Trust me! Toss it in a ponytail for Second Day Dirty. My forehead gets greasy as the day goes on, so on Second Day Dirty I like to separate my bangs and give them a little wash in the sink with a touch of shampoo. It’s a great way to ‘cheat’ – my bangs look fresh and clean, and the rest of my hair goes up in a ponytail and no one can tell it wasn’t washed this morning. Ta-da!
Pro tip: If your part looks a bit greasy, work a little spritz of baby powder, corn starch or cocoa powder into the roots. The results are amazing! I keep a little container of baby powder in my bathroom cupboard for this exact reason, and it lasts forever. It’s dirt cheap and you only need a little bit at a time.
-waxing legs and underarms (let a pro do your bikini line though)
-body lotion (coconut oil is the best for this: it’s already in your cupboard and contains 1 ingredient, no scary chemicals! You can find loads of other ideas for body care on my list of 25 Amazing Uses for Coconut Oil)
Lower your standards on:
-razors: These are normally stupidly expensive. Don’t go super cheap to the point where you get tons of nicks, but find a decent product somewhere in the mid-range of quality. I have had great results with the Venus ‘disposable’ that you can use several times before it gets dull. I find it to be a very happy medium between crappy dollar store razors that’ll constantly nick you and the $10 per blade brands, which are a total ripoff. You can buy the Venus disposables on Amazon by clicking the image below:
Pro tip: If you’re not picky about colour, beware the Pink Tax. Self-care product companies target women with ‘feminine’ pink branding and sell us the same item as the men’s version, but at an inflated price! Buy men’s razors for cheaper if you don’t care that they’re black or grey. WHO CARES?
-everyday makeup – buy drug store brands and save the expensive brands/products for special occasions if you’re having trouble cutting them out completely. Amrita Singh over at Pretty Frugal Living has a great post about the best drug store makeup versions of favourite high-end department store products! You can check it out here: Drugstore Makeup Dupes.
What are your own strategies for cutting back on beauty expenses? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
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