Friday, June 24, 2016

I Followed Beauty Blogger Advice for a Week and Here's What It Cost Me
It's been said before and will be said again: women are held to an impossible standard of beauty thanks to glossy magazines showcasing absurdly thin (photoshopped) women, and aggressive marketing companies peddling their promises of beauty in a bottle.

While I've never been one to spend too much time or money on personal grooming, I've become somewhat more self-conscious recently as I spend more and more time with professional women who primp and groom for both work and play. Compared to these consistently glossy women, my everyday grooming habits seem to fall pretty short: My nails aren't always polished, my brows aren't perfectly shaped at a professional salon every few weeks, and my hair could definitely use a blow-out and deep condition every once in a while.

But let's be honest -  it's intimidating to think about all the time and money that goes into the kind of prep women are expected to do every. single. day. In an effort to see just what this kind of grooming really costs us, I decided to spend a week checking it out, experimenting with products and really giving this whole glossy, done-up thing a try.

To start off, I downloaded beauty/lifestyle podcasts like Lo Bosworth's Lady Lovin', (in which the reality start spends an entire episode cataloguing her daily beauty routine), and browsed through many, many magazines and beauty blogs to figure out exactly what I'd need.

I was advised to invest in face serums, anti-aging products, high-quality makeup, and coconut oil...lots and lot of coconut oil. Having worked in fashion for a while, I'd luckily collected a fair number of these 'essential' items, and began my week already set with a pretty respectable amount of grooming goodies.

Here's what I had:

Kiehls Midnight Recovery Serum ($76), Nars Creamy Concealer ($29),
Kiehls Olive Fruit Oil hair pak ($26), Nars Multiple ($39), Nars Eye Shadow ($35)
Organic coconut oil ($9), Kiehl’s hydrating facial lotion with SPF ($31)

While my stock of lotions and potions was definitely helpful in eliminating things I needed to buy for my weeklong experiment, according to my beauty bloggers, I still needed a lot of stuff. Not being able to afford the pricier items, I hopped over to my local Walgreens and grabbed the following:

Pacifica Nail Polish ($8), Jergen's Tanning Lotion ($9.99), Nair ($7.99), Organix Argan Oil hair serum ($7.21), Neutrogena Mascara ($11.99), Simple Eye Makeup Remover Pads ($3.31), Foot Scrubber Brush ($1.99)

The total cost for this combination of high-end products and low-market "bargain buys"? $295.48


And that's just the beginning. Here's a rundown of all the additional time and money my week of grooming cost:

Day One:

Spent the morning plucking, leg-shaving and slathering my whole body with coconut oil, a la advice from Lo Bosworth. After, I felt a bit like I had dipped myself in a jar of Crisco, and smelled like an Almond Joy, so I hopped back in the shower to rub some of coconut residue off.  I followed up with a quick swipe of SPF on my face, carefully applied my makeup, and spread Moroccan oil in my hair before a hasty blow-dry.

Time: 40 minutes

Day Two:

I woke up and discovered that I actually really like the way my skin feels after my coconut bath yesterday. And my hair looks a bit bouncier than normal too. Alternately, I'm already getting a bit annoyed about wearing my contacts through really long days at work and my face looks a little oily after the excessive lotion, so I spend some extra time with my facial cleanser today. Also on the to-do list: remove chipped nail polish, apply tanning lotion, blow-dry my hair, Nair some of the peach fuzzies on my face (admit it ladies, we all get them), and apply nightly anti-aging serum. 

Total Time: 35 Mins

Day Three:

I have the morning off and head over to my local nail salon for a mani/pedi. They have a deal going, so the whole thing only costs $32, plus tip. After nails are polished and dry, I also run over to the spa near my house to get my eyebrows waxed. They're a little pricey, but I can't beat the location and convenience, so I shell out the $28.

Total Time: Two Hours
Total Cost: $72 (ouch)

Day Four: 

Ran out of foundation, so I drive to closest Sephora before work. Construction on the way means it takes 45 minutes to get about two miles. Turns out Sephora no longer sells the kind I use, so I walk away pretty defeated. Drive to the mall on my way home from work, pick up foundation at Nordstrom. Get sidetracked and buy a pair of jean shorts on sale, immediately regret the impulse buy, return the shorts, leave with foundation and samples of bronzers.

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Cost: $39 and some serious frustration

Day Five

Keeping up with this beauty routine is taking up a LOT more mental space than I had expected, but I have to admit that I'm loving the feeling of being a little more...manicured. (Pardon the pun). I spend the evening lathering up with more mild tanning lotion and deep conditioning my hair. Officially know my efforts are paying off when my boyfriend comes home from a business trip and seems genuinely surprised at the change. He asks what I'm doing differently and says I look like I'm "glowing." (Happy face emoji).

Total Time: 45 minutes

Day Six

Head out on a weekend trip with my boyfriend's family, so my makeup routine, hair-care, tanning lotion application and nail maintenance get amped up a bit. I've never brought so many products on a trip before, and other than the packing issue, it does feel pretty nice to have certain things on hand when I want to spruce up a bit. Highlight? The family exclaims how they love my new haircut - (awkward since I haven't had it cut in ages, but I guess the blowdrying and Argan oil combo is working).

Total Time: 40 mins

Day Seven

Much the same as the day before except there was a bit of a mishap with my contacts, so I spend an extra couple of minutes battling with plastic in my eyes, but nothing major. I apply one last layer of tanning lotion (why doesn't this seem to work as well as I want it to?) and dab a bit of coconut oil on my face. Have noticed a few breakouts on chin, which is unusual for me, so think I'll back off on the oil/face serums. Also headed to a wedding shower today and look enviously over at my boyfriend as we get ready and he slips a comb through his hair and proclaims he's ready to go. Come home from the party exhausted, ready to put on shorts and a t-shirt and forget about grooming for a while.

Total Time: About 50 mins.


There were definitely some unexpected realizations this week. On the one hand, I was really surprised that some things took a lot less time than I expected they would, yet they still made a pretty big difference. (i.e., blowdrying my hair every day and slathering on some anti-aging creams before bed). On the other hand, I really can't imagine myself spending the time and money on certain routines like getting my nails done every week, eyebrows waxed every three weeks, etc.

Additionally, I really can't imagine spending so much mental energy on setting up appointments, organizing my schedule around when I can get my nightly prep in, etc. Yes, it did feel pretty great to get a few compliments here and there, but (and I mean no offense to anyone who adores spending time priming/getting pretty) I feel like I have more important demands on my time than spending hours and hours on making myself look better according to magazine and beauty blogger standards. 

And really, why should I, or any other woman, have to? Appearances matter, yes, and maintaining good hygiene etc is important in the professional (and personal) world, but after this week it became even more glaringly obvious to me that there is SUCH a double standard for women versus men when it comes to grooming. Why is it that my boyfriend could throw some gel in his hair, swipe on some Old Spice, grab a button down and jeans from the closet and declare himself ready to go for the night when I had to spend literally hours getting prepped from head to toe? Needless to say, if I had put in the same effort he did, I would have been considered woefully underdressed and casual while no one would bat an eye at the man next to me. 

And the thing is, I didn't even really come close to documenting all the other beauty rituals so many women feel compelled to buy into to keep up. I didn't curl my hair, get spray tanned, submit myself to a torturous bikini wax or shell out for a professional blow-dry. Neither did I get a fresh haircut or highlights, sign up for birch box, or enroll in Soul Cycle/Zumba/Barre/Shred. 

In the end, I'm glad I went through with my little experiment. I learned a lot of beauty tricks, but also learned something more important generally: grooming is great, but it is literally impossible for women to keep up with all the the demands the beauty industry demands of us. If outer beauty makes you feel more confident and happy on the inside, then that's great! Go buy that mascara and dominate your next work meeting, date night, etc. But if you're exhausting yourself trying to keep up, my advice would be to take a breather, manage what you can, and know that your beauty truly shines from within. 


  1. I actually laughed out loud reading your post. Your commentary on the topic is great. I think it's a really interesting experiment that you took on. I'd be curious to do one of my own! (expect for the extra cost, and the extra time spend, obviously. 😜) Thanks for sharing your experience, it was a great read!


  2. I actually started laughing out loud while reading your post.It was so funny,It is true that women spends a lot of time and money on these.