My Top Secret Master Plan for Saving Thousands on Beauty
I'm not going to stop wearing makeup to save money.
Or start filling my eyebrows in with eyeshadow, or stop shaving my big toe.
Did you really need to know that?
Nope. For better or worse, I like looking a bit done up (not too much!) and it isn't something I plan on sacrificing.
Alas, the no-makeup-on-a-homestead-with-my-200-goats look is not for me. Although, I'd probably take the homestead and the goats.
Maybe it's because my mom and grandma and pretty much all of the women in my family wore makeup while I was growing up.
Or because I get a little giddy at the sight of a well crafted but very much contoured cheekbone when I look in the mirror.
Or maybe it's because I simply feel better when I take the time to gussy up my hair and makeup in the morning.
Either way, beauty and makeup are an important piece of my life and while I totally admire and respect those who will go without in order to up their savings rate, I'm not one of them.
This might also be a good time to mention that there is some external benefit that comes along with beauty.
Women who groom themselves well in the traditional sense are paid more than women who don't.
So if you're one of those girls who wants to (or needs to) look great while on a budget, I've got a little secret for you!
My Long Term Plan for Budget Beauty
Usually when we think of budget beauty hacks, we think about things like reusing eyeshadow as blush and painting our own nails at home.
But I'm thinking big picture here.
How can I save money over the next 10, 20, 30 years while still maintaining a level of traditional beauty that I want to embody?
Here's how I think about it.
Some of the most expensive beauty treatments and procedures come as a result of aging skin.
Peels, facials, Botox, fillers, and expensive creams are marketed as the solution to just about everything that results from age.
Got crows feet? Botox!
Sagging skin? Fillers galore!
Sun spots? Chemical peels and $200 per ounce face creams coming up!
Partaking in these sorts of treatments can easily cost thousands of dollars per year and seriously derail your savings goals.
Botox, for instance, costs around $200-$300 per treatment in my neck of the woods, and it only lasts 3-5 months.
Four Botox sessions, two chemical peels, and three facials per year could easily set you back 1700/ year or more.
And if you started this routine at 30 years old and did it until you turned 65? You've just flushed $59,500.
And what's worse, if you instead invested that amount at a standard 7% interest rate instead of spending it on skincare, you would have $251,441.
That's a quarter of a million dollars!
But get this.
Daily sunscreen use nearly eliminates the need for all of these.
Or at least, it reduces and delays your need for them.
UV rays are one of the biggest causes of wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, sagging skin and "alligator skin".
Of course we can't prevent all aging, and there are other co-factors to consider such as diet and genetics.
Regardless, daily sunscreen use makes an enormous difference in the way your skin looks.
If you think you might be tempted down the road to get some of these anti-aging services, you can save a bundle right now by taking preventive measures.
A Sneak Peek At My Daily Skincare Routine
I start off every day with an SPF 30 facial sunscreen on my face, neck, and chest. (Yes, even in winter!)
Then I use a non-facial sunscreen to cover my arms, shoulders, and hands.
After this I use liquid foundation over my face and neck to help counteract the whiteness in the sunscreen.
Once that has set for 10 to 15 minutes, I will dust on a loose mattifying setting powder to stop the whole thing from sliding off my face like jello on a slip 'n slide.
Add a little mascara and lipstick, and I'm done!
This routine really only takes me a few minutes in the morning, especially since I can do other things while the sunscreen and foundation is drying.
On days where I have an event or otherwise fancier occasion than being the Chief Toddler Wrangler, I might do a quick swipe of contouring and blush as well.
How much money is this REALLY saving me?
Earlier I told you that you could invest about $1700 per year and end up with $251,441 after 35 years of investing at a 7% interest rate.
However, to be totally honest I was never planning on spending that much in the first place.
Sure, getting a little Botox and a few chemical peels has been tempting.
There have certainly been times, especially at 3 months postpartum when the wrinkles became deeper on my face than I'd ever seen them, so much so that I found myself unrecognizable, that I wanted to schedule a little "help".
(And to be clear, there's nothing wrong with getting these treatments if it's a priority for you and you understand the financial consequences behind it!)
If I let myself spend just a little, rather than going totally hogwild, I could easily see myself getting two Botox treatments and two facials per year.
Much better than my earlier figure right?
Even still, that would cost me around $700-$800 per year in my area.
Which, if you do the math, invested starting now until the day I turn 65 and hopefully don't care anymore would come out to $110,935!
Now of course, sunscreen ain't cheap and I'd be missing a big factor in all this if I didn't factor it in.
I'm a stickler for choosing beauty products that are EWG approved because I worry about all the chemicals and preservatives found in beauty products.
So naturally, I often pay a little bit more for the safer beauty products.
Right now I pay about $15 for a facial sunscreen, and about $8 for a body sunscreen. The facial sunscreen lasts 1 month and the body sunscreen usually lasts 2 months.
So that means I'm spending $180 per year on facial sunscreen and $96 per year on body sunscreen.
Total? $276 per year for sunscreen.
Invested at the same rate as my non existent skincare services, comes out to $40,824 I won't have in my investment account at age 65.
So what are my real savings for using sunscreen instead of fancy beauty services?
Despite the monthly cost of sunscreen that isn't going into my investment accounts instead, i'll still have $70,111 more saved at she 65 if I swap the spa for my daily slather.
Boom. I'll take it.
UPDATE- I now buy Coppertone Pure & Simple SPF 50 and wear it on my face and body. It scores a 1 at EWG and is only 3.49 at most drugstores at the time of this writing. I'm now spending about $4 per month on sunscreen, which would compound to $7,099 at age 65 instead of the $40,824 I mentioned earlier.
Of course, there are a few other factors to keep in mind beyond the immediate lure of adding to my investment accounts.
For one, no amount of spa services is going to make UV damaged skin look as good as skin that was never sun damaged. It can certainly help, but if looks are what you are after, the sunscreen is still the way to go.
Second, all of this doesn't take into account the fact that one's risk of skin cancer goes up with large amounts of sun exposure.
While wearing sunscreen doesn't necessarily mean that you won't get skin cancer, and getting some damage isn't a guarantee that you will, there is a proven correlation that makes it more likely.
If we're looking at this purely from a financial standpoint, you could say that cancer of any form is one of the most likely things to bankrupt you in your life time.
If you live in the US, you already know how messed up our health care system is.
Millions of people file bankruptcy from major health events every year, and many can't afford cancer treatments even when they have insurance.
Tragedy and emotion aside, one could certainly make the argument that wearing sunscreen regularly could in some instances help protect your financial nest egg over the long term.
While saving small amounts on day-to-day expenses is a great plan of action, preventing large expenses down the road is an even smarter strategy.
It's like asking if you would trade a dime for a quarter, a million times over. Of course you would! Because you get a return on your investment.
My biggest tip for long term savings on beauty services is to simply prevent skin damage in the first place.
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