Discuss: Beauty Budgets

Beauty Budgets - Vladimir Tarasov / Via Getty ImagesBeauty Budgets
Vladimir Tarasov / Via Getty Images

This legacy post has been given a facelift and an update, but content/opinions are the same. Enjoy!

I came across this Wall Street Journal article on the the high price of beauty. In the article (here), the annual beauty budgets of four successful women are discussed.


I’m not quite sure what I expected, but what I read was definitely not it.

The four women are, in order:

  • A, “style expert,” and founder of what is essentially an organization that gives makeovers to needy women
  • An actress
  • A jewelry designer and
  • An entertainment executive

Clearly, all women of means, but I was still not prepared for what I read.

Three of the four women indicated an annual beauty expenditure was around twenty thousand dollars. Let’s put that into numbers instead of words, and let it sink in. Their beauty budgets were around $20,000 per year. The fourth came in just under $10,000.

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A Time and Place


My makeup philosophy and, perhaps, mantra is, “Makeup must be fun.”

If you aren’t enjoying it, if it is a chore, then why bother?

I subscribe to two more philosophies, though:

  • Makeup is a tool to enhance and flatter.
  • Makeup is also an art form and can be whatever the hell we want.

The ideas are not mutually exclusive.

90% of the time I operate in the former camp. Flattering makeup makes me feel good. It lets me look like my best self.

The other 10% of the time, however… well, I love Too Faced Totally Fetch (available in the Too Faced Bon Bons palette). I think that says enough. It isn’t that I want to draw attention, it’s just that I happen to find hot pink eyeshadow really fun.

For me, I generally want flattering makeup to subtly enhance my features and minimize distracting flaws. It doesn’t draw attention; especially important in the corporate world, which is where I spend 50 of my waking hours per week.

If you feel empowered by getting editorial every day and looking like a holographic mermaid, do you. I would wager that more than half of the beauty community is supportive of, “Do what makes you feel awesome.”

Where I think we (and by we I mean cosmetics enthusiasts in general) get into hot water is failing to recognize the whole, “there’s a time and place,” thing.

You might feel best in full on majestic glam, but that does not mean majestic glam is appropriate for, say, many workplaces (or, if you’re in school, it might even violate your school’s dress code or image policy). The beauty community may be supportive, but your boss or CEO might not be. Your clientele might not be. A good rule of thumb is that if you have to ask yourself, “is this too much (for this occasion/event/etc)?” it probably is.

Self-expression is incredibly important, but it is also important to recognize that there is a time and place for everything. Stephanie Nicole of YouTube works in the beauty industry and recognizes this. That’s right: Even people who work in the beauty industry (for real, not as branding hype machines) understand that there is a time and place. For those of you who prefer a full face, she shared a good tutorial on a look for work, below.

Discuss: Do you consider the events of the day when it comes time to go all Bob Ross on your face?

Chatter: Makeup in the Office

I find beauty and make-up fun (obviously, I spend more money on it than I care to admit, have a blog devoted to it, and am a moderator of a community devoted to it), but I don’t relish the idea of being bound to it; I feel like makeup should be for the wearer. I don’t force myself to paint my face daily – I do it when I feel like it. When you have to force yourself, it isn’t fun.

That said, I work in a corporate office. I’ve recently earned a promotion that puts me in a role in which means I see and work with more people than I used to, and a lot of the people I’m working with on a daily basis are Important People.

I find myself in this place where I’m torn between, “You can’t make me wear makeup in the office; the use of cosmetics has no impact on my work,” (which is valid) – and the understanding that it is more important than ever in my career to leave good impressions and, “put (my) best face forward.”

Granted, doing just that – putting your best face forward, that is – does not mean full facepaint. It does mean looking like you care about your professional presentation at work. Put together, well-groomed, however you wish to put it.

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Chatter: High vs Low Maintenance

Recently, I came across a BuzzFeed article titled 29 Freeing Truths of Being a Low Maintenance Girl. The thumbnail I saw before clicking the article was a table with a makeup collection laid out on it with a caption, “this is your personal HELL.”

Up until that point, I considered myself low-to-medium maintenance. Despite this blog and its content, I’m not someone who goes the whole nine yards every day. Shoot, not even every other day. I don’t give enough bothers for all that. I can and do look presentable without being made up – but this doesn’t stop me from using and enjoying makeup when I so please. So what do they say about being high vs low maintenance?

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