Pink is Hot, But at What Cost?

Pink is hot right now, a la the Barbie movie. But the negative financial impact to women of “pink costs” is something that should go out of style.

Seriously, with what the average woman spends on “looking good” in a year, we could all be rich.

The Cost of Being a Woman

Navigating life as a woman involves unavoidable expenses and societal pressures.

We have to buy “feminine hygiene” products. We often pay more for health insurance than a man the same age. Generally, a lot of our “parts” tend to need more specialized, and often expensive, attention.

Then there’s the pay gap between men and women. As of 2022 the Pew Research Center says American women earned an average of 82% of what their male peers made.

Additionally, there is the infamous “Pink Tax” that exacerbates the issue. Women consistently pay more for products and services marketed to them than the comparable product for a male.

For example, take a razor – make it pink, put a woman on the packaging and raise the price 20%. Make that make sense for me, please?!

But beyond the unavoidable costs associated with being a woman, many of us feel compelled to funnel massive amounts of money into our appearance. From high-priced haircuts and coloring sessions to extensive skincare routines and elaborate makeup collections—it’s all framed as essential.

Maybe its because the 80 billion dollar beauty industry is built on making us feel ugly and insecure?

Money Drain Disguised as Self-Care

I was hanging out with my girlfriends the other day. They were discussing their hair care sagas! Me, who quit dying my hair years ago, and maybe hits a slightly better than super-cuts place once a year, had little to add to the conversation.

They were talking about the struggle they had finding a decent hairdresser and were now paying $100 per hour at the salon. (By the hour is apparently the new trend among stylists.) And they go for 2 to 3 hours every six weeks or so.

Then they go get waxed before heading to get their gel nails touched up. And oh, the beauty box subscription with the latest make-up trends comes monthly. Don’t forget the must-have facials and maybe a little filler, from time to time!

Silently I sat, adding up the numbers in my head – sipping my happy hour margarita. I wondered when these two beautiful, intelligent, accomplished ladies had gone insane.

They seemed to be pink-taxing themselves to death while thinking they were pampering themselves!

What are the Numbers?

While precise figures are elusive, the average US woman reportedly spends somewhere around $3,500 a year on beauty products and services. That is more than double what men spend.

And this is not even broaching the subjects of clothing, shoes, and handbags!

Basically, we continue to punish ourselves financially – beyond the pay gap, pink tax, and general higher costs associated with having a uterus.

But what if we didn’t? If you took that money and invested it every year, from the age of 20 to 60, you’d literally be a millionaire.

Okay, spending nothing on beauty products isn’t reasonable – but what about half? Would you do your own nails and go without highlights for half a million?

Worse than Money Wasted, it is Time Wasted!

And that’s just the money side of it – how about all the time and stress involved with pink-taxing ourselves?

Think of the time spent searching for the perfect picture to show the new hair stylist that was so difficult to find? Or meticulously applying cosmetics only to feel a pang of shame when falling short of an unattainable ideal.

I think of how many times my friends had to say “no” to doing something because they had an appointment for some beauty service. Sometimes I think they spend more time with their hairdressers than their significant others!

What if we used that time to really invest in ourselves instead? What if that time and energy was spent learning a new skill, traveling, or having real conversations with the people in our lives?

Might we not feel more confident, from the inside out – rather than only superficially? We might be a little more interesting, at least! And if you’re not beautiful then you better have a good personality, right?

A Call to Action for Men!

Guys – what can you do to help the situation? Tell the women in your life that they look great without having to spend all the money! Say you would prefer her to truly take care of herself, and make sure she’s investing for her future.

Or, pay up! If you like your women to have the fancy hair, makeup and clothes, then deposit big fat wads of cash into a brokerage account for her. But maybe save a little money for some therapy, so you can figure out why you’re so shallow? Jk!

Because let’s get real, it usually isn’t the men we women do all this for – its largely for ourselves and for each other!

Stop the Self-Tax!

I propose a rebellion!

Let’s reject the expectation that we need to dedicate a huge chunk of our hard-earned income and our precious time to chasing an ever-changing, external standard of beauty.

Resist the high-priced “pink” taxed products marketed to us.

Now, I’m not saying you have to go full “hippy” and throw away all your beauty products. I know many women do creative things with their hair and make-up as a form of self-expression. There are some beautiful artists and talented stylists out there!

I don’t want to kill your creative spirit. Let’s just make sure we’re all mindfully choosing where we put our resources! Don’t neglect your financial health for the sake of beauty.

So, to all my sisters – be brave! Make-up free, look in the mirror and tell yourself, “that is one bad broad looking back at me!”

Then take some of the $300 dollars you were going to spend on hair, nail and make up this month, and invest it. Stop lining the pockets of an industry that profits from our insecurities.

Instead of that filtered make-over selfie on social media, lets post a pic of us depositing cash into our savings. Future you will thank you!

Let’s worry about a long life, not long lashes!

What Will You Do?

As you ponder your choices, envision a future where investments in yourself yield richer returns than beauty expenditures ever could.

Today, I’m going to run a brush through my un-dyed hair, throw on some sunscreen and go for a walk outside. This low-cost option is how I will spend an hour that I could have otherwise used for a beauty routine or shopping. 

How about you — are you ready to break free from the beauty industry’s financial drain? Are you ready to reclaim some of your time to invest in yourself, your future?

Share your thoughts or one small change today you could make today to help you reach your financial goals!

Master Your Money, Live a Truly Prosperous Life!

Want to live a truly prosperous life? Don’t waste time. I can help!

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