Reigning In my Beauty Spending

Reigning in my Beauty Spending

I’ve talked before about my No Buy and my slips. It’s been a while since I last talked about beauty budgets and spending as a general topic, and it occurred to me last week that I haven’t been doing a good job tracking my spending in the last year. Shame on me.

Now that I’m pursuing orthodontic treatment, I really need to get and keep my shit together. Although I have done a poor job (read: zero effort made) at tracking this spending, there are some areas I can immediately identify as opportunities to save. Writing this post, frankly, was eye-opening and upsetting.

Salon Nail Services

I don’t get my nails done often (perhaps 3-4x/year) because I’m frequently disappointed. I get pedicures more often than manicures, but even then I’m often left with disappointment. I have the tools to execute a DIY pedicure quite nicely, and in fact did so last week. When I sat down and paid it some thought, the nicest thing about a salon pedicure (for me) is the massage. A five-minute foot-and-leg massage isn’t worth $25-50 plus tip to me.

Annual Savings: We’ll call it $120.


So far, I’ve gotten highlights twice. Each time, I got a haircut at the salon because it was convenient…to the tune of $40 for the cut on top of my color. My super-simple cut isn’t worth $40. I have had this cut successfully executed at inexpensive chain salons to the tune of $15.

Getting a haircut once every quarter for $15 ends up being cheaper than twice a year at $40. Better yet, they sometimes have coupons – so realistically two of the four cuts I get per year end up being $10.

Annual Savings: $30 – assuming I actually get it cut quarterly, more if I go longer.

Hair Removal

This is a new splurge for me, but I’m already not particularly willing to cut it out. I use European Wax Center and found out that I can buy a package of 12 sessions for the price of 9. At $50 each (regular price) that’s no joke. As a result, I can get more mileage out of my razor cartridge – which I previously replaced once per week. Now, I expect to get about 3 weeks – since I occasionally use an electric shaver on my legs to give my skin a break.

There’s an important comfort aspect here, too, that can’t be quantified. No nicks, less money spent on razor burn after-care, and the the cost of my time. I’m willing to trade some currency for comfort and time.

Annual Savings: With that package and the razor cartridge savings? $200

DIY Nail Supplies

Last year was a pretty good year as far as DIY nail supply spending goes. Last year, in fact, I only added one color to my collection in its RNP and gel forms: OPI Bubble Bath. I haven’t purchased any nail polish in 2017! Previously, I was easily buying 15 bottles or more a year. Since I’ve become a boring adult, I primarily wear one of three colors; I don’t need a collection to make a nail salon pale.

Realistically, I don’t think I need to add any more colors to stash this year. I may need to resupply products that are consumed at a higher rate, like base/top coat, polish remover, or my favorite super-cheap nail file. Otherwise, products like cuticle removers and creams are slow to consume I think I can come in at or under $40 this year.

Annual Savings: $75

Hair Products

End of story, I don’t need any more hair products for the year. Not shampoo, conditioner, color-care mousse, hairspray, or products to facilitate blow-drying. I’m well-stocked on all of it!

Annual Savings: $50

Skincare Products

My micellar water and face wash are both drugstore; Micellar water is about $6 and I buy face wash when I spot it for less than $9 a bottle. My moisturizer is argan oil, but I source it from an inexpensive, reliable source and will not need to restock this year. My sunscreen is drugstore, albeit foreign drugstore – but I can get it for about $10 a tube.

Realistically, the biggest, ‘fat,’ I can trim is a single product: I love Drunk Elephant C-Firma day serum and I do not want to live without it. However, its $80 per bottle usual pricetag (I buy on sale, don’t worry) it is expensive. More expensive than I feel comfortable spending to replenish. I don’t know how long a bottle will last me, but if I can get more than six months out of it, I’ll consider it. For now, I’m going to assume it is not a sustainable pleasure and will replace it with Ole Henriksen Truth Serum ($48) at the next VIB sale (15-20% off).

Annual Savings: $25


As I’ve said with my No Buy, I really don’t need to add anything new to my collection. I’m in maintenance mode. I can’t begin to wrap my head around what my historic annual spending trends are. I took ten minutes and did some analysis by gut and memory and came up with my savings opportunity.

Annual Savings: $200 – this is very instinct-based because I haven’t yet compiled an inventory spreadsheet. I need to get on that.

The Bottom Line

Even knowing that a lot of this is very, “soft,” guesstimates rather than actual recorded data, this totals out to nearly $700 in savings opportunities over the course of a year. Gulp. So much of that spending was from exploration, fortunately; finding what products I liked and whatnot. Any hobby has a startup cost – perhaps dissimilar in total, but certainly similar in nature.