The cost of looking good: do you still spend as much?

Recently I had one of those times where several of my ‘essential’ beauty products all ran out at the same time.  These essentials were: day face cream, face cleanser, face scrub, body wash, mascara.  I need these items as a minimum, and needed to replace them, fast!

Whenever I have a few things run out at once, I see it as an opportunity to try new brands or products.  Ooh, maybe I’ll buy something high-end for a change!  I consider the idea of buying everything from the one retailer, to get the nice bag of sample-size freebies.  I get all excited, thinking ok this is it…it’s time to splurge on ME…hell, I deserve it!  This time, I am going back to my old Lancome (Clarins, SKII) BC days, just this once! 

What follows is usually some quick research on my preferred beauty products.  Am confused by the vast range of products to begin with – who has the time to understand which product does what? – but then recoil in horror at the cost of them ($80, facial cleanser…$150, day cream…$58, mascara). 

My excitement continues to fade, as I start calculating what I should use that sort of money for: a term of kinder fees.  Paying bills.  New shoes and jackets for the kids. 

Boohoo, I’ll never look like Cate Blanchett

Sigh.  Nup, yet again, I can’t bring myself to spend that much on myself.  But I’m not upset…frankly, I get a kick out buying a new Olay face cream from Coles.  Sad perhaps, but it’s the truth!

So next time I was grocery shopping, I decide to pick up everything I need.  This is what I spent: day cream, $32 (Olay Total Effects, on special).  Face cleanser $10.  Face scrub $9.  Body wash $7.  Mascara $17.  

Welcome home (again), my trusty faithful

I still ended up spending $75, which was a hefty add to the shopping bill!  (I could buy 4 packs of Aldi nappies for that.  And some wipes.  Oh for God’s sake.)  Lucky my my husband’s pay came through that week…

Since having kids, all the beauty products I buy are now cheaper.  Nothing I can think of is high-end.  My make-up bag contains a lot of Maybelline and an old freebie Clinique lippy, which I use as a blush!  I think twice in my life I’ve bought a Dior lipstick.  They are divine, and ultra-glam, but I don’t need them; I think my Maybelline lippie with a bit of lip gloss over it looks just as good.

Beauty products are only half the equation, of course.  Then there are beauty treatments.  The ageing process isn’t kind, especially when you factor in years of sleep deprivation and relentless exhaustion.

But as my spending on products has gone down, my spend on beauty treatments has actually gone UP.  My essential beauty treatments would be…

*Acrylic nails, $30 every 2-3 weeks.  Have always had shocking nails, and these make me finally like my hands and nails.  I love them.  Happy Mummy, happy kids…you get the drift.

*Half head of foils, $105 (I have long hair) every 6-8 weeks (or longer, I push this out as far as possible).  BC, didn’t spend a cent on my hair.  It was brown, long, trimmed once a year at Just Cuts, or by me.  Then I got some grey hairs – white hairs too – and one day had foils done for the first time around age 31.  I didn’t look back.  But yes, pricey.

*Waxing, in summer about $40; in winter only $10 for lip wax.  Shave my legs and other bits in winter – this is how I justify the acrylics!!

And that’s it.  Could probably do with a facial, and would kill for a regular remedial massage…but hang out for the odd gift voucher that occasionally comes my way!

So…how much do you spend on looking good, now that you are a Mum?  Have you switched to cheaper products like me?  What about treatments?  Do you feel guilty when you do splurge?


24 responses to “The cost of looking good: do you still spend as much?

  1. Love this!! So so true! I’m a big fan of the Olay total effects and seem to now buy all my beauty products at the supermarket too! Ah the life of a mother. I can’t justify wearing Chanel Mascara anymore 😦
    I’d love a monthly massage too!
    I have days though where I love to put some make up on to feel a bit fresh and glam! Haha

  2. You have completely nailed this one! Where to start? I have also been doing that pick up an essential cheapy product at Coles (on special of course!). I’m doing the Loreal day/night cream at the moment. It’s a far cry from my days of regular facials and only using MD Formulation cleansing products (at $90/$100 each!). Oh and I went through a period of about 5 years where every time Clinique bought out sample bags filled with goodies I always spent the $50 or so on product to get them. These days I just gaze longingly at the leaflet they send out that shows what’s in the bag! And perfume, oh, don’t get me started there. I used to have about 7 bottles on the go at once, you know, dependent on the mood!. Now it’s the trusty Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely that I grabbed for half price at the chemist! It really is lovely, but I miss Jean Paul Galtier, Calvin Klein Euphoria, Donna Karen Cashmere Mist…*sigh* 🙂

    • Well at least I don’t have to be embarrassed if you see me analysing the face creams down at Coles!
      I too was a sucker for those Clinique bags…lucky though, as the leftovers from them have got me through the last few years since having kids!! Forgot all about perfume…mainly as only have two. Perfume buying is a major luxury – would take an expensive face cream over a perfume any day (I guess as perfume doesn’t help me “look” any better!) Thanks for your comment 😉

  3. Ummm I probably get a $20 haircut once every 3 months and occasionally buy non-ALDI shampoo and conditioner but that is it.

    No make up, creams, polish or what nots.

    I have some make up in the cupboard from a year or so ago when TV people came for an interview but I’ve only used it once since then.

    Talk to me about DVDs and books though ::my wallet flees in horror and the credit card trembles ::

    • Thank you for your comment, as always 🙂 No make up? Wow, would save time. I don’t really have the time, so it’s just the basics, and feel rushed and guilty when I’m trying to apply something quickly, and the kids are waiting… :/

      Hmmm DVDs I try not to buy much (tried eBay for new ones? Often they can be cheaper), books yes. Just went to Kmart this AM and spent $70 on various ”stuff”, including the Gelli Baff….oops. Sorry husband..

      • Cash Converters is a great place for DVDs. We get most of our box sets there. 🙂 But I do like to try and support the writers and creators of great books and shows by buying their product new where I can. 🙂

  4. I totally understand your predicament. But thankfully there are great beauty brands available in the supermarket and pharmacies that can do just what you need them to do. One of my fave budget finds has been the Lanolips lip balm range – natural and cost effective. Nothing like a tinted lip balm to brighten my day.

    Thought I’d also let you know that I get a lot of beauty products to trial and you can sign up to be a guest beauty blogger on my site. Here’s the link:

    • Thanks for stopping by Nikki! I have seen the Lanolips range – will take a closer look. I have applied to be a guest beauty blogger. I would love to trial a product and be able to then blog about it! Alison

    • Hi Megan, I strongly suspect they DO do the same job – except without the nice packaging/fragrance etc. I watched a UK doco once that proved scientifically, Nivea Q10 was a better anti ageing product than all expensive ones, including Prevage (which I think is Elizabeth Arden)…

  5. What DO I spend on myself? Let’s see, I too use OLAY. It’s affordable and it’s nice to use. I can’t justify using expensive stuff. I have my nails done… let’s see, maybe… once a year. And a hair cut ever six months. Wax every 8 weeks. Um… Home hair colour… every…. um….. 3 months… No wonder I look bad. lol

  6. Great post! I love beauty products and do reviews on my blog and also have a you tube channel with lots of beauty reviews. I agree low end beauty products are fantastic! You dont have to spend a lot to get good quality! I love shopping at Priceline!

  7. Not so much about make up but did you see the Choice Magazine shampoo review? I was one of the product testers for that one. Some of the high end shampoos scored really badly.

    • No I didn’t see that Choice review…but have heard of several done on face creams and the el-cheapo vitamin E cream has been preferred over the expensive ones…doesn’t surprise me!

  8. Oh that Olay stuff (Total Effects)! I bought that on special at Safeway and OMG. I’ve never had such a severe allergic reaction! I bought it a couple of months ago and the reaction was such that I had to switch to using basic cetaphil on my skin – couldn’t use scrubs/facial wash, moisturisers, night creams … a couple of months later and I’m only just beginning to phase back into using my usual products. Minus the Olay!

    In general though, my son is about to turn four, and its only been over the last year or so that I’ve started actually looking after myself again – regular(ish) haircuts/colour, new wardrobe etc. I think the difference has been toilet training – now that we’re not buying a box of nappies and wipes every week, I’ve got some extra money for myself!

    • Hi Jasmine, wow never heard of anyone reacting badly to Olay. I think Cetaphil’s actually a good product. That’s true, removal of the nappies/wipes cost does free up a fair bit of extra cash! My Mr.1 is obviously still in nappies, will be good to have him TT’d and then we’ll be a nappy-free house…would be good. Also Mr.4 starting school in 2012 will mean waving goodbye to his childcare costs…bit more cash back again..but then that’s another story!

  9. At the moment looking good is not in the budget! After reading this post I’m inspired to work it back in. I haven’t gone to have my eyelashes tinted in forever, and a manicure or pedicure used to be a treat every now and then! Waxing in certain areas gets done by DH, but you probably didn’t want to know that!!! That Total Effects is looking pretty good. I’ve been trying a few samples to find the right thing and can’t decide! I use MAC make up. Love your work!

  10. I dunno if you have this show in Oz- but there’s a show in the UK called “How to Look Good Naked”- at one point every week they get 100 woman and divide them up into four groups- give them each a product all in plain unmarked tubs- say one week it’s a body moisturizer- and ask them if they would use it again. Pretty much all the time the big expensive ones come last in the poll.

    I don’t necessarily think that works for makeup, but for care items…just sayin’!

    • Totally agree with this – makeup is a different story, feel most cheap makeup is pretty ordinary. But skin care / body care – lots of marketing hype is all that separates the cheap from the pricey!

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