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The Cost Of Beauty?

SO! I have an interesting parenting situation! Nikki wants a haircut in October (she has to have long hair for an upcoming wedding) that will require a trip to an actual salon. It’s a unique haircut that could go very wrong in the wrong hands, but I have a friend who had something similar done, so I want to take Nikki to her salon to be safe. BUT. That’s a much bigger chunk of money than the standard $20 (that’s including tip) haircut from the walk-in place by Target. It’s well worth the extra money because we know it will turn out well rather than risking her hating her hair just to save some money. After all, your hair can take months to grow back to a nice length that you can do something to improve it again. This is why it’s important to go to a hair salon like love + roots (https://loveandrootsatx.com/) that will give you the haircut you’ve always wanted. Donnie feels like Nikki should pay for the difference and I disagreed at first, but couldn’t really give a good excuse why I disagreed.

The way he looks at it, anything she chooses above the “norm” that we would pay for, for Wesley or E, should cost her money so she’ll understand the cost of it. But, of course, being a girl is just more costly – right? When it comes to hair/makeup? So how do we deal with that in a fair way?

It’s really gotten me thinking a lot because Donnie has a very valid point and there’s no part of me that feels like I should buy her $25 mascara when she starts wearing makeup. But, I also don’t think we should feel like the only “fair” situation is to pay the same amount on her hair/cosmetics as we do Wes’s b/c I don’t think that’s reasonable.

But should it be?

We’ve come to a good compromise for this one situation because I am having such a hard time coming up with a good reason that isn’t, “But she’s a girl! That’s different!” Because – you know – what if Wes decided he was going to show some of his fem side and wanted to wear makeup, we’d have to buy his if we buy hers, right? So how do we keep it fair and not just fall back on, “Being a girl is more expensive!” because that’s not really fair, is it?

Where we’ve kinda settle for now (and several people on twitter chimed in to say this is kinda how they do it or how it was for them) is we will pay for more than we would with Wesley…within reason. Like, when she starts wearing makeup, we don’t want her necessary buy cheap stuff because she has to buy it herself, so – at least in the beginning – we’ll help out with the basics. We’ll help out with skincare. We’ll help pay for salon cuts if she needs a salon, but she has to help too. But bonus stuff, trendy makeup or hair accessories or colors or style? That will all be 100% on her.

The funny thing is that, over the past year? Donnie has probably spent more on haircuts than I have. Mainly because I’ve been growing my hair back out, so it’s not been trimmed in probably a year. Whereas Donnie has gone to one of those upscale barber shops once using a gift card I gave him, and once on his own dollar. So I’ve had zero haircuts, he’s paid for 1. Also – I don’t use any shampoo and I use Suave conditioner and some other basic brand of hair gel. (Treseme? Maybe?) I probably spend $20 max on hair/makeup/skincare/nails a month. MAX. Probably actually $10-$15, I’m just rounding up. So, Donnie definitely has a distorted sense of what the “average” woman spends.

I’m showering at the Y this morning after running on the treadmill and this is all I need (plus a brush in the car) to get ready for work.

SO! Here’s my questions for you:

  • How do you make it “fair” with growing boys and girls with how much you spend on hair/makeup/skin care for a girl?
  • If you’re a girl – how did your parents handle it? Or if you had a sister? My Dad bought me the very VERY basics but I didn’t really understand it so I doubt that was a lot of money. I think I mostly just got my Mom’s makeup that she bought and decided she didn’t like.
  • As an adult woman – how much do you spend monthly hair/nails/skin/makeup? This includes pedicures, hair cuts, moisturizer…everything. Everything that a male your age might NOT spend money on? Because I’m also trying to give my husband a better idea of what “average” is.
  • Finally: Haircuts/colors etc, are those line items in your budget? Because they aren’t in ours since it’s not consistent. I never go, Wes often can get his cut by Donnie when he’s getting buzz cuts, and Nikki obviously usually only gets trims. So it’s just periodic costs so it can go in the $50/month “miscellaneous” category. BUT – obviously if anyone got their hair cut at a salon professionally every six weeks, we’d probably need a line item for it.

25 thoughts on “The Cost Of Beauty?”

  1. I’ve been thinking a lot about this too. I have a girl and boy. Boy I have to convince to shower eye (he’s 11) girl already wants and has makeup BUT her dream is to be a make up artist – and a lot is my old stuff since I’m a make up junkie and happy to share. Plus, she is in cheer and dance so I’ve kind of surrounded her by that.

    I feel like I overspend on beauty (though in my job – PR) I do need to be somewhat dolled up.

    I’d say I spend $50 per month on average on cosmetics, but I’m on a rotation where one month is foundation the next Is mascara etc. I’ve started shopping at sephora ($$$) because my skin was getting gross.

    I spend $90 on hair every 6ish weeks. That’s for cut and colour for me plus a trim and sometimes pink or something for my daughter (she comes to my house and this is considered cheap in our area).

    But, I also went through your question when I was 13 and wanted a high end hair dresser and my parents weren’t shelling out $70 for a haircut. I was in LOVE with this tv hairdresser and I wrote him letters. (Dorky right?) so I had to save $$ to go get haircuts and I used babysitting money. But, he knew of my fandom and often didn’t charge me.

    I can’t afford him now, but we’re still Instagram friends (hello $400 haircut).

    PS keep in mind I’m in Canada so slightly more $ plus toronto so more $$$

  2. Check with the salon you are planning to go to. It might not be as much as you think. My daughter recently cut her hair super short, and like you, I didn’t trust the walk in place. My salon has a kids rate and it was much more reasonable than I thought it would be.

    As far as monthly beauty expenses, I’m probably in the middles. My haircuts are $65 but I don’t go as often as I should. I love buying makeup and perfume, but try to not go nuts at sephora. I do spend a bit more on hair stuff, but my hair is sensitive. I try to buy my shampoo and conditioner online, and in bulk when I can. I would say, on average, I probably spend between 75-100 a month on my own beauty stuff.

    Good luck!

  3. I know this wasn’t even remotely the point of your post, but I am so shocked & impressed that you just use Suave shampoo & regular gel on your hair! I have curly hair too but spend a lot more on products, and my hair isn’t anywhere NEAR as cute as yours.

    And I’ve often thought about commenting on your awesome hair and never done it… now I’m inspired by your acts of kindness idea & am going to do it today!

    So here is my first one:

    You have amazing, fantastic hair that goes with your amazing, fantastic personality. And I have a 14mo and am learning so much about how to be an empathetic, supportive, caring, loving parent from you and your relationships with your kids — how you talk to them about religion and anxiety and important things, how you share your passions & your love for running & books & bad/good TV, and how you truly think deeply about your interactions with them. Thank you for writing so honestly in this space. I value and appreciate it so much.

  4. Hmm. Somewhat skewed as I live in a very urban area and things like haircut prices are totally affected by location. I spend $80 on a hair cut. I go every 6 weeks because I have bangs and shorter hair with no desire for longer hair. It’s also a splurge item. As are my nails on which I also spend money keeping them polished most days. But, I spend vanishingly little on makeup and skin care. I buy quality items but just use so little it is certainly less than $30 a month for shampoo makeup everything. The areas I splurge on used to be much cheaper options and grew only as our income did. I imagine (I have two girls) that I will end up making these decisions based somewhat in their interest level thinking of some of it as their entertainment costs. We don’t match sports/dance/etc fees $ for $ per kid or even activity for activity and I think that’s ok. They have different interests and need to be allowed freedom to find those within budget and time constraints. I do think all of those costs need to be things they learn about and learn to contribute to as they get older.

  5. I honestly don’t remember my parents buying me makeup – it was Christmas/birthday present stuff. IIRC, I had an allowance and babysitting money to buy other face stuff. Stridex pads and Sea Breeze toner.

    When it comes to my kids – my daughter goes to the neighborhood lady salon and my son goes to the barber shop. I go to a slightly more upscale place in a different neighborhood and my husband shaves his own head. I don’t wear makeup regularly. I have no idea what’s going to be the norm when she gets older (she’s eight, my son is six.)

  6. I am also one of the “cheap” women. I have a few basic pieces of makeup that I use: BB Cream, powder, blush and mascara and gloss. And all that stuff maybe costs $40. I also have some eye shadows and pencils that only get used for date nights and special occasions. I bought all the makeup piece by piece a while ago (replacing as things get crusty). I do use a $10 face cream.

    I also don’t cut my hair often, a couple time a year maybe and go to the cheap place. We also use cheap shampoo.

    My husband gets his hair cut more often and definitely spends more on shaving cream and razors than I do on makeup.

    I have two girls who are 4 and 6. I anticipate buying them things like basics (moisturizer, cleanser) but if they want make up they’ll buy it themselves. My mom was a hippy and didn’t wear makeup so I definitely bought all my own as a teen and it hadn’t really occurred to me that I would be expected to buy my girls makeup.

  7. Thank you for your kind words! And re: Suave – I have tried more expensive stuff over the years but nothing really ever wowed me. Truthfully, there’s a bunch of good generic conditioners I like fine – and most often just switch up for a change and the gel, it’s kinda flexible too! I’m lucky that there are several conditioners and gels in the “cheap” section that seem to do the trick!! HA!

  8. I hardly wear any makeup. Eyeliner, mascara, lipstick or gloss and I’m usually done. I use drugstore brands, so maybe I spend $20 every 6 months. Skin care is also drugstore brands, maybe $10 every other month. But I’m a lawyer and women attorneys have to look decent so I do spend a lot of money on my hair. I get it cut every 6 weeks and spend $50 and cut & colored every 12 weeks for $120. I don’t use much in the way of hair products, but I use shampoo & condition that is $25 for a regular size bottle that lasts 3 months or so. I get a mani pedi once a year for $80. I mostly do my own nails and a $10 bottle of OPI polish lasts me a couple years. I have lets say 8 bottles of nail polish.

  9. I try to take things on a case by case basis and remind myself that “fair doesn’t necessarily mean exactly the same”. As your kids grow their expenses for certain things are going to change and each child may have one-time unique situations that require more $ (prescriptions, sports fees, shoes, etc). Maybe this is one of those things? I find that it is not helpful to keep a running $ amount for each of my kids or to have them focus on that. My daughter gets bins of cute hand me downs (that she loves!) so I didn’t need to spend as much money on her school clothes as I did for my son. I take my daughter to a salon for periodic haircuts , though I have yet to take her to more than a Great Clips type place, and I usually do my sons haircuts myself. My husband cuts his own and I get a couple of haircuts a year at a nice place (think $50-60). I stopped getting highlights more than a year ago because I didn’t like the expense – would rather spend it on other things! One other thought is you could treat the more expensive haircut as a birthday/Christmas gift. Good luck!

  10. I saw the cut you posted on Twitter. I think that will look so cute on her. For just a cut at a nicer (not super fancy place) I pay $40-60. Price depends on experience of stylist. I have had good luck with Aveda salons so see maybe if you have any in your area. Good but not ridiculously priced. Color is where it gets more pricey. I got highlights recently and about pooped myself at the cost. Won’t be doing that again. All over color and cut is about $80.

    I think having her pay a portion is a good idea. Oh and look on groupon for spa wish gift cards if your local salons take those. I’ve gotten some good deals that way.

  11. I’m pretty basic as far as makeup goes–I wear eye shadow, liner, mascara and blush. They are all bought at Walmart/Family Dollar. I wear a short haircut but found a girl at the walk in salon that cuts it right. I always call ahead an make sure she will be there. She is one of the most popular stylist but worth the wait. I spend about $20 every 6 weeks for a cut. I do buy my shampoo and conditioner at the saloon but I always make sure it’s on sale or I have one of their coupons (it’s my one spurge on products–everything else is bought at Walmart).
    My 14 year old daughter has no interest in makeup and uses basic shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and face wash–all bought at Walmart.

  12. I spend less than $50 a month of hair care and personal care items for myself. But the bulk of that money goes towards the fancy ass conditioner I use that is the only thing I use in my hair. I have two teenage girls at home and one teenage boy. The boy gets a new deodorant when he runs out of the current one, maybe every 3 months or so, and the girls get new bottles of shampoo/conditioner every month, but they pay for any cosmetics or any over the top stuff like hair dye or fancy gels or anything. They each use the Matrix version of Wen, and they get a new bottle about once a month, at $20 a bottle for each, one has straight hair and one has curly hair.
    Makeup only gets purchased once a year, I but Tarte stuff, because it’s Gluten free (and yes, I notice a difference when I use other brands) and that runs me about $30 a year.

    So I’m on par with you, Kim. I don’t spend a lot, in general, because I don’t use a lot of stuff.

  13. I have short, colored hair, so I go every 5-6 weeks for a cut and color (alternate roots and all-over). That’s about $80. I go every 3 weeks for an eyebrow wax and tint and sometimes a lip wax if necessary (getting old sucks). That’s $35-50.

    I don’t get manicures or pedicures unless I have a gift certificate. I just paint my own nails.

    I use pricey shampoo and conditioner, but I only buy it when a store near me has their annual $12.95 liter sale. And then probably every other month or so I place a big order at Ulta because I’m a sucker for the pretty makeup and that’s where I get most of my skincare stuff.

    So…. average it out and maybe … $175/month or so? Eep.

    I only have one boy, so I don’t have to worry about that part. And growing up I did wear makeup and I don’t remember buying much myself, so my parents must have. But then it wasn’t anything fancy , just drugstore stuff and not a lot of it.

  14. I get a cut and color every 10 weeks (darn gray hairs!) and with tip I spend $120-$150, depending if I just do all over color or add highlights. I live in a pretty affluent area (I am not affluent, I just leave near those that are,) and I think that probably hikes the prices up a bit, but I also think my stylist keeps her pricing very competitive as she is an independent owner vs. a salon employee.
    I wear very little make up in the summer, but more so in the winter. I don’t use top of the line skin or hair products, but because I don’t use a lot, I tend to splurge a little on mid-range products. I would say over the course of a year I probably average out to an additional $25-$50 a month in make-up/skin care/hair care.
    I take my daughter to my stylist for a hair cut every 8-10 weeks, and it’s $40. My son goes every 6ish weeks to a SportsClips and it’s like $12. So we spend almost twice as much on her hair, but I don’t see it as a fair or unfair thing. If my son chose to have long hair that needed more special treatment, then I would pay for it. But he’s chosen to have short hair that doesn’t require the upkeep. I think it becomes unfair if you do something for one that you wouldn’t do for the other.

  15. Growing up, I was the only girl (2 brothers) and my mom would buy me drugstore makeup in junior high/HS but we both went to a higher end salon for hair cuts. I had long hair for much of childhood, so it wasn’t cut that often. I never colored it until high school & then it was just drugstore box color. Any higher end makeup I wanted (MAC at Nordstrom at the time) came out of my babysitting money. I don’t think I got a professional mani-pedi until college or later, but my mom always had a bunch of nail polish around (drugstore brands) to do it at home. Now, I have 2 boys, one with short hair that he just wants to ignore & one with pretty long hair for a boy (longer than mine is, actually)! We’ve tried cheap haircuts for him, going to my salon but to a lower price-point stylist, and then finally seeing my stylist (who is $80 for hair cuts, ouch). Guess which one was the ONLY hair cut he liked??? I’m really torn on this. I mean, I don’t honestly care that much what his hair looks like, but I also really hate to pay salon prices for a hair cut that ends up looking practically the same as it did before he went in, but cleaned up. But if he was a girl, I would probably enjoy going to the salon together (he’s a weird mix of not caring at all and caring a LOT, I don’t entirely get it). I also get my hair colored professionally every 6-8 weeks. I quit doing it for several years, but eventually decided I liked doing it for myself & I liked the way I looked with colored hair better. I keep thinking I should just go gray, but I don’t really want to…

  16. When the time comes for makeup like foundation and concealers, I really would take her to the department store during a bonus time (Clinique and Estee Lauder have them frequently). I have really sensitive skin prone to breakouts and my skin would have been a lot better if I didn’t clog it with Cover Girl, Revlon, wet n’ wild, etc as a teen. If you go during bonus time, she can spend money on one high end item (I usually spend around 35 for a nice foundation at the counter), and then I get lots of “free” gifts with it (mascara, lip gloss, blush, etc) and a nice makeup bag.

    For hair and hair color growing up, my Mom would make me cover the tips at the salon until I was in high school- then I had to start paying for half with babysitting money, etc. She would treat for the whole thing for occasions like birthdays, or before holiday pictures- etc.

  17. I’m a very low maintenance sort – don’t really wear makeup, cut my own hair…. So don’t spend a ton of money, but still more money, on things my husband wouldn’t. Like face-specific cream. And shoes. Growing up, I was the only girl, with two brothers, and more was spent on me for clothes. But they had other things that cost money. I think instead of thinking about it like a boy/girl thing, it’s an individual thing. Like this haircut is important to Nikki, so more will be spent on that than a haircut for Wesley. But I’m sure there are, or will be, things that are more important to Wesley than they are to Nikki, so more money would be spent on those for him.

  18. I go the cheaper route for haircuts by getting them done by students ($16 and no tips FTW!), yet counter it but buying expensive shampoo and conditioner from Lush and makeup from Sephora. I would say I am also about $50 a month unless I need multiple things from either store, then my husband might cry a bit inside.

  19. I don’t use many “beauty” products. Chapstick, lotion, and a salon quality shampoo. My husband has more facial cleaners/moisturizers than I do but uses a cheap drugstore shampoo.

    He gets his hair cut at one of those walk in places for ~$12 or so. I go to a salon and spend $55-$60 per cut after tip. Depending on my current style this is every 6-12 weeks. For us “haircuts” are included in the budget at the price we pay for them. This means my hair is a larger cost to the household, but if my husband wanted/needed salon haircuts, we’d cover him to. We see it as a necessary cost.

    To me personally, getting a salon haircut is a necessary item. If I want anything other than a trim, I don’t trust the $12 places to be able to do it right, so that it is easy to style and grows out gracefully. Now, this is influenced by the fact that my mom started taking me to her salon when I was about 9. She got tired of the kids place cutting my bangs crooked. In all fairness, my brother got salon haircuts too.

    To my mom, if you were going to do something (like when I wanted to dye my hair) you were going to get an expert to do it and under no circumstances would you attempt to do this yourself. (Which is sort of my parents’ attitude about most things.)

    As far as the cost difference with Nikki and Wes, I agree with you that my gut feeling is that it is unfair to ask her to pay the difference. In part because what option does she have? Wes can choose to get a free haircut or a cheap one and either way be getting the cut he wants. She can choose between getting the cut she wants (at the expensive salon) or getting the cut she doesn’t want at a less expensive place.

    At the same time, I understand that money isn’t infinite and you do want her to understand that some things cost more. Maybe talk with her about it and let her know that there is a fixed budget for grooming/clothes/etc and that if she spends more on hair (which is a totally acceptable choice) that there will be less (from mom and dad) to spend elsewhere?

    The feminist in me rails against the high cost women pay to be deemed properly groomed, but that doesn’t mean your household budget can sop those costs infinitely.

    Perhaps agree to what the “basics” are in advance? Everyone gets haircuts, facewash, moisterurizers, etc paid for but fun nailpolish or colored eyeshaddow (future case here) are splurges that come out of her money? I would think of it in terms of “what does she need to wear to look presentable for a job/interview” and call that baseline.

  20. You have a lot of help here! I am going to be on the higher end, but its for a reason! Am OLD. Start planning! I spend $50 every 6 months on generic retin A. (It’s come down in price, WAY down). An additional $25 bucks a month (average – bottle lasts a while) on a Retin A type – retinol time release from my dermatologist that can go around eyes (Generic Retin A can’t, too dry). Probably average $10 a month including the vitamin c serum and argan oil serum – they are pricey but last a long time. And I can only use certain sunscreens with sensitive skin – and I need that, I’m a runner too.

    BUT! my skin looks fab and I don’t buy makeup on the regular. Right now BB cream, mascara, and burts bees lipstick stuff for lips and cheeks IF I wear any at all. So under $5 a month avg on makeup. Shampoo/conditioner is from Amazon, subscribe and save. I do my own nails excep for special occasions maybe once a quarter? Then mani/pedi is about $40 with tip.

    Hair is $125 every 8 weeks or so. It’s long and I have it high/low lighted. My hubs spends $35 every 6 weeks or so for cut and $80 for color every 8 weeks. He uses a lot of my skin stuff.

    As a teen/preteen I did have to pay for my own “special” stuff once I got old enough (allowance was generous though). Mom let me use her makeup and nail polish etc.. Mom trimmed my hair (long) and I went with her to the salon if I had something special like a piano recital. I never wanted it cut.

    You might remind Nikki that short hair requires more maintenance than long in case she’s not up to sharing her allowance on it long term.

  21. I were only basic makeup. Eye shadow, mascara and lip stuff from Burts Bees. I usually buy maybelline or cover girl at CVS. I used inexpensive eye shadow from Earth Fare ($30) for a while and loved it, but don’t go to EF very often . There are good salons in small towns around. I went to one in Ardmore and then moved when the stylist got her own place. I go every 5 weeks. One time is for color and cut $60 and the next just cut $25. The teens in my life buy their own make-up. Sometimes its the higher priced stuff at target and others its Dollar General all the way. Most have longer hair, but get it colored when the spirit moves them. What does N want done? There is a stylist in huntsville that can handle about anything, not sure of the name of her place , but I can find out. As . So bottom line , find a reasonably priced salon , with experienced stylists. Yes your daughter will cost more. Pay for basic costs and if she insists on higher priced stuff, let her pay. Guess what- she may decide not to wear it at all! Or like I have seen- It will be important in early middle school, and not a big deal by high school

  22. Also- I only get manis and pedis twice a year when I am visiting my siblings. I have a place I like here, but the $125 for both isn’t something I want to spend now.I just started buying stick on nails from popular brand. They stay on longer than polish on me. i can use suave brands, but even though my hair is grey it has stayed very soft and there is a lot of it. I have just let the skin age.

  23. I spend about $25 every 5 years on new clippers. Haven’t paid for a haircut or been to a beauty parlor since 1998.

  24. I have three teenage daughters and we have the concept of ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. I pay for needs and they pay for wants. Needs are a basic set of clothes and shoes (and I am quite generous here) but I will not pay for one off high fashion stuff or things that will only get worn once. We are in the UK so have school uniform and ‘business dress’ for school at age 16-18 so perhaps we need less clothing for outside of school. As far as beauty products and haircuts go I pay for a decent haircut at a good salon (about £20 per teenager) but I will not pay for colour or extensions or highlights etc. I don’t buy makeup but I will pay for skincare products to take it off with. I have also just started to pay for eyebrow shaping for the older two (18 and 16 years) as I don’t want them to attack them with tweezers and have nothing left in a few years time! So far wants and needs has worked well for us apart from the odd minor disagreement (usually at the tillpoint !!) about what constitutes a need or a want 🙂

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