Beauty – You Can’t Afford It


The concept of beauty is getting crazy. Every day, my Facebook newsfeed and my email inbox are filled with suggestions of what I should be doing to improve my appearance. From teeth whitening to getting Botox to having perfect eye brows, the obsession never ends. So I decided to take a look at all of the pretty straightforward things women are ‘supposed’ to be doing to meet this insane ideal of beauty we currently hold in society, how long it would take and how much it would cost. Here goes…

Let’s look at our bodies first. Now the concept that women are supposed to have her body look a certain way has been around forever. Skinny waist, big boobs, curvy hips…these are all pretty standard expectations (not saying they’re fair, but work with me on this). However in recent years, we’re now tortured with the thigh gap and bikini bridge. In case you don’t know what these are, thigh gap is a space between the inner thighs of women when standing upright with knees touching, and bikini bridge is a term for the space you get between your bathing suit bottom and your hip bones when you lie down. I don’t even want to put a price tag or time frame on these because quite honestly I think genetics play a big role in these even being a possibility for many women. Insane. Truly. However, let’s look at the other perfect parts that you’re supposed to have: six pack abs, sculpted arms, perky boobs, and small firm butt. For all this, you will need a gym membership. That should run you around $55/month and at least 4 days a week at an hour a pop to start to see a difference in your body after a few months. Oh and you’d better be on a diet or else all that working out won’t get you very far. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, or Gwyneth Paltrow’s vegan gluten free organic raw made by virgins diet will hit your pocketbook for anywhere from $40 to $400 a month.

Want to get results faster? That’s what surgery is for! A boob job will knock you back about $5000. Butt implants $4000. Liposuction $3000. Don’t quite have the cash for the big surgeries, but still want to banish cellulite at least? Well you have lots of options including massage, suction, radio frequency treatment, laser treatment, subcision, mesotherapy, creams and herbal wraps. These can run you anywhere from $80 for a cream to $2000 for the doctor’s office treatments. And once you get your body to where you want it, your skin had better be soft. Baby’s butt soft! Let’s take the easy approach with that one and just say there’s a whole host of lotions and oils out there ranging from $1.99 to hundreds depending upon how fancy you want to get with those celebrity-endorsed creams.

Moving on to the face…are you flashing a perfect smile? Well you can if you have the time and money. From white strips to gels to a dental office whitening, you can have pearly whites that will run you $20 (and take more time) to $1000 for insta-white-grin. Teeth not perfectly straight? No problem. Braces are for your pre-teen. Adults opt for clear custom made teeth aligners (Invisalign) instead. These will set you back about $4500 and around two years.

If you’re over 40, wrinkles become an issue. Can’t have those! Enter the world of Botox, fillers, injectables and miracle creams. Botox will cost you $450-800 per ‘area’, and you’ll need to get pretty regular touch ups to keep your face frozen in place. Wrinkle creams run the gamut of pricing, but I refuse to even discuss them because none of them really work. The rest of your face could probably use a total resurfacing, because you can’t have acne or scars either. My local spa runs dermabrasion session or laser resurfacing specials for as low as $120. And you only need to go every other month or so to get it done again. The more serious laser treatments can run upwards of $2000-$3000 and come with quite a bit of down time while you heal. Can’t walk around with road rash face.

The hair on your face is a whole new issue. Brows are big right now. They need to be waxed, threaded, plucked, colored and filled in. Thankfully these treatments only run about twenty bucks each, but need to be repeated frequently depending upon your ethnicity and how quickly your hair grows. Fake eye lashes are all the rage too these days. A set of top lid lashes go for about $200, but sadly only last 30-60 days. Then you need to have them done again. And don’t mind them falling out on your pillow, in your drink, on your boyfriend’s face…. A cheaper route might be to opt for the drugstore lash strips which will only lighten your pocket by a few bucks.

Hair everywhere on the body is a big beauty issue. Most places, we want less of it. You can either shave it (hello stubble), or wax it. Here’s the average wax cost breakdown: arms $15-$25, full leg $60-$70, Brazilian $45-$80, chin/lip/face $10-$15. Other places, like our head, we want to ADD hair. Around 80% of the modeling photos we see these days have models using hair extensions. You can have them professionally done at a salon which will run anywhere from $450-$1500, or you can get clip-ins which go for about $200/set. If you do get the salon extensions, keep in mind they fall out too. Without warning. At the most inopportune times. Use your imagination.

And then we have what I like to call the accessory beauty issues. Everyone tans these days. And it’s SO bad for your skin. So more health conscious folk who still want to be bronze will either opt for a spray tan ($25-$50/session; lasts about a week) or use self-tanners ($10-$200, used daily). Also perfect nails aren’t just for special occasions any more. And who actually paints their OWN nails these days?? I mean, REALLY! A no-frills mani will run you a reasonable $15 and a no frills pedi will cost around $25. Tack on another $25-$35 if your God-given nails aren’t perfect and you want fakies. Plan on visiting the salon every other week to keep them looking like you sit around doing nothing all day with your hands cloaked in white gloves.

So there you have it. I didn’t even bother to calculate how much all this would cost a day or week, and how much time one would have to invest on a daily basis to make all this happen because quite frankly my head is just spinning from the enormity of it. Who started all this? Who perpetuates it? How can one woman ever be expected to successfully meet all of the criteria? Let alone afford it? Or work it into her schedule? It’s mind-boggling. No wonder so many women suffer from depression. But wait – we have pills for that, and they only cost…

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