The cost of being vain…

I’m not particularly girly… I’m not sure why, but sometimes I think it’s because I’m frugal (with these sorts of costs).  So I thought I’d look into how much it would truly cost to be ‘vain’ (at least in my judgement) for a year here in good old Sydney town.  I’m looking mainly at outsourced services, rather than ‘things’ – though I do put make up in there.

Clothing is a whole other ball game, so I left that out…  But if you want to see how much clothing I have (and you’re not a regular reader!) head to my wardrobe inventory.


Every six weeks at $75 each = $650 

Hair colour

Every six weeks at $140+ = $1,213


Sexy eyes thanks to an eye brow wax? source:

Sexy eyes thanks to an eye brow wax?

Legs every 2 months at $35 x 6 = $210

Private parts every 1.5 months $35 x 8 =$280

I didn’t include eye brows as they are free with the above too.  I could also look into waxing the side of my face, or my arms?


What I could look like, but at what cost? source:

What I could look like, but at what cost?

Weekly, every second week $30 x 26 = $780

(ideally weekly in summer, and for special occasions in winter)

Nail care

Manicures with shellac (year round, fortnightly) $35 x 26 = $910

Pedicures with shellac (six months a year, monthly) $40 x 6 = $240


This is a total stab in the dark, cause I don’t wear make up daily so have no idea of consumption figures, but based on the make up brands and products I buy (Lancome foundation, perfume, mascara, blush), I’d guesstimate



$4,483 or a mere $86.21 per week. (Almost 6% of my take home pay).

Admittedly, all of the above are ‘salon’ prices, and I’m well aware a lot if not all of this can be done at home.  Maybe someone can do a mirror post, and show just how much money could be saved.  Rest assured, I’m not spending anywhere near the above amount at the moment!

What do you think is a reasonable about of money to spend on your appearance?

30 thoughts on “The cost of being vain…

  1. Wow looking at it the way you have that’s an outrageous amount of money to spend just to look good. here in the US you could save a lot on hair cuts/color and even mani/pedi by going to a cosmetology school. Is that an option for you and have you considered it?

    Maybe its because I’m older than you, or because I was a hairdresser at one time giving me plenty of opportunity to see the effects of all the procedures. For instance hair coloring damages the hair, but I see beauty as being wholesome. Soap and water clean and natural.

    As for how much I think is reasonable, I have no idea. 😊. If one wants it and can afford it then its up to the individual to make that choice. But nearly $100 a week I would freak at spending on myself for these services, that’s just me.

  2. I know people who do sections of that list religiously, be the hair or the nail colour.

    I would add “facials” to the list as I know people who do that regularly as well!

    • OH wow, that’s the ultimate indulgence – regular facials. Well, I assume it’s indulging – I can’t stand getting a facial. I just shouldn’t have been born a girl! Lucky I work in a male dominated industry, in the field – so I get away with being so un-feminine/pretty!

  3. You look gorgeous in your profile photo, glowing with health, and definitely pretty, so clearly you don’t need any of these treatments!
    I have to admit to getting hair foils reasonably regularly since the grey hairs appeared. Vanity, vanity! Hoping to come to the point where I can grow grey gracefully. More character development required!

    • I do worry about when greys are little more prominent! (At one stage of growing this shaved head out, they were super noticeable, but they seem to have blended in nicely now). I think the key to all of this is to be ok with who you are and what you look like… To be honest, I’ve never tried foils, or any ‘paid’ hair colouring!

  4. “The key is to OK with who you are” – I think you have hit the nail on the head.

    I have on occasion had my hair coloured at a salon – I could count the number of times on one hand, though.

    Waxing – eyebrows occasional – other – no.
    Tanning – no
    Nails – no
    Facials – no

    My current spend is $35 every 6 – 7 weeks on having my hair cut.
    Make-up usage is occasional at best and total cost would be less than $20/year.
    Razor blades, moisturiser, shampoo and conditioner – maximum $50/year.

    Annual cost – around $350 – less than $1/day.

    • It’s heartening to know I can find community on the internet, to know that I’m not alone in scaling back to true needs, rather than pricey bells and whistles. I expect my true spend is significantly lower than the fanciful list, with a recent spike due to maintenance cuts to help grow my shaved head out.

  5. Well, you know me, $20/month for a basic haircut and that is it. I don’t like any kind of salon treatment – I don’t like strangers touching me! I would consider a gym membership, though.

    • Interesting thought on adding the gym in. I don’t pay for a gym but going through spurts using the one in my building. I usually play waterpolo year round though ($500) but I took this season off.

      I asked if i could skip getting the hair wash and massage, I compromised on one less shampoo session and no massaging! Apparently people either all love this or are far polite-r and don’t mention it!

  6. I have a friend that cuts my hair. She’s great and it give us time to catch up and hang out and gives her extra pocket money. Win Win…a little more pricey but the cut last me a couple months, so it’s worth it to me.

    But she works at one of those high dollar salons in the area and she talks about services that she offers at the salon. My favorite is the eye lash extensions. $90 to $100 dollars for eye lash extensions. LOL. A mani and pedi around here are around $50…My husband does my mani’s for me. He’s getting really good at it, too! In exchange, I cut his hair.

    It’s just mind boggling how much it cost to be vain. I also am of the soap and water girls. My face doesn’t care for soap, so I have to anti up a little more for natural cleansers….but having horses, it’s easier not to ware makes up since it has a tendency to not to work well with sweat and an occasional tunge to the face….

    • Oh now that is brilliant – enlisting the husband to paint your nails! Was he willing?

      I once got a school student in the boarding house I supervise to cut my hair! Long hair was so easy, with super infrequent cuts but not so with short hair. It can look shaggy pretty quickly!

      Eyelashes aren’t something I’ve tried, though I’d be tempted for a super special event…

      • Amazingly, it was his idea to do my toes. When Tim and I started the debt free journey, I was first to give up my fun of cute toes and I hate to do them….It really was a win win for me. I have a pretty extensive nail color collection…because of him. he even attempts designs…

        I’ll have to share on my blog.

        I’m not much of a girl. Matter a fact, I think the most expensive thing in my closet is my work shirts and they were supplied to me by my boss….lol. They’re nice Under Armor shirts. Capri jeans and flip flops. Life is good.

        • Oh that’s awesome! Designs? That’s skill! (My bf reads this blog… let’s hope he thinks he can try his hand at it too… He says I’ll get better DIYing with time, same would be true for him!)

          I’m not much of a girl either – I wear steel capped boots, and ‘blues’ to work. But I like it – even though I would never have guessed after 8 years at an all girls school.

  7. I went through a period of feeling like a facial must be the most treatful treat I could get for myself but the few times I had them I invariably ended up not feeling half as good as it seemed the amount of money I was forking out should make me feel. I’d rather add something to it and get a good neck and shoulder massage – now that’s something that can make me feel good. Manicures are the same for me as facials – never seem to deliver as much as the money I’m spending makes me feel I should be getting. I do go to the podologist and get my feet seen to fairly regularly. At 30 euro a go it’s not exactly cheap but I have serious issues with callus and dry skin and it makes sure a difference to the way I feel it’s well worth it to me.

    Otherwise, I’m not at all a girly girl and have gotten old enough now that I don’t feel I need to feel like a failure somehow because I just don’t care about any of that stuff. I almost never wear any make-up, although the white hairs are definitely starting to proliferate I am dead set against covering them up (I’ve bloody well earned them!), have never plucked my eyebrows and the only part of me that gets de-haired is my lower legs (sometimes). Although I do like to have a somewhat healthy glow if I can get it, I’m too white to ever look really good with a tan (not to mention my dad having had skin cancer makes me extra careful with the real thing and as for the fake stuff, well, yellow hands and feet are enough to make me think that it looks ridiculous more often than not). I do get my hair cut but generally about once a year or so.

    I just don’t understand where people find the money to do things like go to the hairdresser every 6-8 weeks but it’s all to do with priorities I suppose and since none of these things have ever really been important to me, I find it hard to fathom assigning that type of spending a high priority.

    • It is interesting that people have different priorities. Although I do not indulge in most of the activities described keeping my quite short hair well-cut is a priority for me. Generally 6 weeks but definitely no more than 8 between cuts. I do not like looking like a shaggy dog. However, i do find a good cutter at a reasonable price – no high-end salons for me.

      • I’m with your fairy, it can get out of hand quickly, this short hair!! I just need to dial down the salon – no need for wine with a hair cut!

    • OH I’m definitely right there with you on the facials thing, and I don’t really enjoy manicures or pedicures, I feel like I’m ‘wasting’ time reading trash. I could be ‘doing’ stuff, rather than sitting there :p

      I would certainly never tan in the real sun – it’s much to harsh here, and I’d end up burnt. That being said, this past summer I spray tanned a bit, and it looked great, natural and $30 wasn’t too bad for a birthday dinner or something. Though there were some weird feet colourations!!

      Haircuts, when it’s short, I find I need it ‘tidied’ really regularly. I loath the $75 per six weeks, let me assure you, but I’m hoping it’ll help my hair grow faster, healthier. I could definitely find a cheaper place too, but… Is it important to me? not really, I’m so tempted to just not go half the time :p

  8. Wowee! As a bloke I spend money on haircuts and skip the rest. I certainly don’t think you have to spend that much, but if you get enjoyment out of it and you feel better about yourself then it might be worth the cost.

    • Rest assured, I don’t spend anywhere near that. That was a ‘in a perfect world’ sort of thing – if I wasn’t tight!! Life’s easy being a man… At least we like to think so.

  9. the nearby salon charges $2 for a haircut and I hit beauty schools in Paris for a $13 haircut. All you listed is the price of a nice holiday, an old car, dinner out every week with drinks, and I’d rather have all that than spend the money on salons. That said, I do wax and shave and the like but it is all DIY. And tanning? In Sydney?

    • Oh I’d love the holiday! Or dinner out every week with drinks! Rest assured, I don’t actually spend that on salons, but sometimes I feel like I ‘should’ according to society/some friends. And it was an extreme example of the ‘easiest’ ways, rather than the cheapest (such as beauty schools).

      Tanning in Sydney – it’s pretty uncommon to sunbake more recently, given the strength of the sun here, and the risks of skin cancer. I’m also very white, so I burn rather than tan. Lots of tourists/foreigners still love to bake in the sun though!

  10. On makeup I used to spend a ton but now that I’ve gone MORE natural, the options are fewer and I am spending a lot less. Like $0 these days.

    I did experiment with natural cleansers / moisturizers so that took a chunk out but now I think I’m good.

    I need to spend next year just using what I am using now to see / feel the real cost.

    • The natural route is admirable though I’m not sure I’ll go for it given how infrequently i wear it. I assume there’s a high initial investment. I am reassured by your posts when you use products I do – you’ve done all the work to find the most natural alternatives, and I pat myself on the back for the lucky coincidence!

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