How much do you spend on your looks? Might it be time to reasses the cost of your beauty regimen? Get tips on making a monthly beauty budget. #frugaltips #tips #beautybudget #budgettips #womanI was sitting on my couch with little motivation to go the gym (sound familiar?) when I came across Khloe Kardashian’s reality show Revenge Body. Even though I don’t agree with the reductive use of the body to create envy and jealousy in another human, I couldn’t help feeling inspired by the participants’ commitment to improving their physical fitness.

With the support of world-class trainers and nutritionists, contestants are able to transform their thinking, eating, and approach to exercise to create their “revenge bodies.”

They’re also rewarded for their hard work with a high-end makeover. This includes hair, nails, makeup, and wardrobe for the ladies, and a haircut, grooming services, and outfits for the gentlemen.

After watching back-to-back episodes, I rolled myself off the couch, went to the gym, and stepped onto the treadmill. I was extremely proud of my ability to walk for 45 minutes at the highest incline in an effort to beat away all my baby weight for a little while.

But within a few days, I found myself back in the valley of body shame and general disdain for my relationship with food.

Luckily that didn’t last long. Instead of beating myself up yet again for failing to make the “snap back” with my post-baby body, I started thinking deeply about the various ways that marketing preys on women to make us equate our worth with our looks. We’re made to feel imperfect and inadequate if we fall short of unrealistic standards — unless we buy products and services to make us more beautiful.

My Beauty Costs

My insight hasn’t completely led me away from this trap. For example, I still make monthly visits to the medical spa because I’m insecure about adult acne. However, I’ve been more mindful of how much of my monthly budget goes toward my appearance. Now, I’m trying to overcome the seeds of self-doubt planted by corporations.

And in the case of my own monthly beauty budget (see below), some of the costs aren’t strictly about beauty. My gym membership could fall under the category of fitness, for instance, while getting my hair done on a monthly basis could arguably be considered basic hygiene or wellness.

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My Monthly Beauty and Fitness Budget

  • Eyebrows: $5 (threading or waxing)
  • Hair: $100 washing and styling every two months, or $50 a month
  • Pedicure: $30 every three months, or $10 a month
  • Gym membership: $55

My total monthly beauty and fitness budget: $120, which is less than 2 percent of my total gross income per month.

Low- to Medium-Maintenance Beauty Costs

My grooming and wellness budget is lightweight compared with that of other women. In 2018, the U.S. beauty industry reached $18.8 billion in sales, according to a study conducted by market research firm NPD Group, while American health clubs and gyms grossed $30 billion the same year. These numbers begin to make sense when you take into account that it’s common for women to get manicures and pedicures twice a month, work out weekly, and have their hair cut, colored, and styled every month.

Sunless Tanning Options

Let’s also not forget the monthly beauty budgets that make room for airbrush or spray tanning in addition to the variety of other sunless tanning products that exist on the market today. (Booth or tanning-bed sessions average $25 each.)

“Sunless tanning products are commonly sold as lotions, creams, gels, and sprays that you apply to your skin,” says dermatologist Dr. Edidiong Kaminska. “The active ingredient in most products — the color additive dihydroxyacetone (DHA) — binds to cells on the skin surface to temporarily darken the skin and simulate a tan when applied.”

“The best way to add color is through a professional spray tan in a salon — usually the tan is even, and the color tends to look better, with a cost range from $40 to over $100 per treatment,” Dr. Kaminska adds. “Individuals on a budget can use over-the-counter sunless tanning lotions. Common brands range in cost from $7 to $30.”

Teeth Whitening

And what would that gorgeous glow be without a glorious white smile to complement it? In-office procedures can run up to $1,000 per visit last at least three years with maintenance, but many individuals opt instead to use more affordable at home whitening products, which range in cost from $35 to $45 for a 30-day supply.

Here’s what the monthly beauty price tag could look like for a woman with a medium-maintenance regimen.

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Monthly Beauty Budget for Medium-Maintenance Women

  • Hair: $100 (biweekly wash and trim)
  • Nails: $80 (manicure and pedicure twice a month at $40 per session)
  • Eyebrows: $5
  • Tooth whitening: $45 for an at-home whitening kit
  • Tanning: $100 to $200 per month (one or two $25 sessions a week)
  • Gym Membership: $55

Total monthly beauty budget for medium-maintenance women: $385 to $485.

The Cost of Beauty for High-Maintenance Women

For some women, this is just the beginning. Rather than stop at a drugstore or a spa to buy themselves the body and looks of their dreams, many elect to go under the knife. The top five cosmetic surgeries for women in 2018 were breast augmentation, liposuction, nose reshaping, eyelid surgery, and tummy tucks, according to a study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The same study confirmed that Botox had been administered over seven million times and that there had been over two million procedures involving soft tissue fillers, both to reduce face wrinkles. Assuming there are no complications from any of these services, here are their average costs:

  • Breast augmentation: $6,450, or $537.50 per month
  • Liposuction: $6,000, depending on the region of the body, or $500 per month
  • Nose reshaping: $5,046, or $420.50 per month
  • Eyelid surgery: $4,525, or $377.08 per month
  • Tummy tuck: $5,798, or $483.16 per month
  • Botox: $800 to $2,400, depending on how many units received, or $66.66 to $200 per month
  • Soft Tissues Fillers: $925, or 77.08 per month

Depending on a woman’s body goals, she could elect to undergo surgery for any number of these procedures. This makes it a little more difficult to calculate a high-maintenance beauty. But if we were to assume a woman just wanted to have nose shaping, you can add this cost to the other ones outlined in a “medium” maintenance beauty price tag.

Monthly Beauty Budget for High-Maintenance Women

  • Hair: $100 (biweekly wash and trim)
  • Nails: $80 (manicure and pedicure twice a month at $40 per session)
  • Eyebrows: $5
  • Teeth whitening: $83.33 (one $1,000 teeth whitening procedure, split over the cost of 12 months.)
  • Spray tan: $160 to $320 per month (either one or two $40 sessions a week, depending on skin fairness)
  • Gym Membership: $55

Total monthly beauty budget for high-maintenance women: $483.33  to $643.33 (excluding the cost of cosmetic surgery, which can vary widely).

Is Your Cost of Beauty Worth It?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. It’s a matter of priorities.

Some women value looking highly desirable and shell out the equivalent of rent money or a mortgage payment to look their best.

Other women place their looks a little lower on their list of priorities. This isn’t to say they don’t care about their appearance, but rather that they don’t see the value of subscribing to mainstream ideals that force them to part with their money.

Whether you identify as low-maintenance, medium-maintenance, or high-maintenance, what’s most important is that you become fully aware of how much your beauty regimen costs you on a monthly and annual basis — and determine whether that number is really worth it.

New and Unique Beautification Procedures

Advances in dermatological science continue to provide novel ways to alter our faces and bodies to fit the shapes and proportions we want. Here are a few of the latest reasons people are going under the scalpel (or syringe).

Platelet-Rich Plasma Facial

“By drawing your own blood, separating out the platelets and growth factors, and introducing it back to your own skin through microneedling, the microtrauma to the skin stimulates the skin into regeneration,” says Dr. Michelle Lee, a Beverly Hills-based plastic surgeon and the creator of PERK plastic surgery.

Dermal Fillers

“These gels, most commonly made of variants of hyaluronic acid gel, add volume and definition in select areas of the face, most popular in the lips and tear troughs to smooth out depressions that make us look tired,” says non-surgical cosmetic doctor Dr. Warren Michalski, owner of Waterloo Medical Cosmetics.


“A combination of helium gas and radio-frequency energy can form plasma energy, which, when used in combination with liposuction, can tighten the underlying tissue,” says Dr. Richard Moore, an associate of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgeons and the owner of The Edge for Men. “Patients can get impressive results without excising skin, as in a tummy tuck.”


“Using high-focused electromagnetic technology, Emsculpt devices stimulate muscle contractions. With voluntary contractions of the muscle, we can build muscle mass and definition and destroy on average around 20 percent of the fat in the target area,” Dr. Moore adds.

Additional reporting by Connor Beckett McInerney.