The Cost of Things: Taking Care of LadyBusiness

by Kat Kuehl

Sometimes my fiancé will watch in amazement as I get ready in the morning. “How can you possibly need THAT MUCH stuff?” he asks as I apply hair serum that I don’t really think does anything yet still feel the urge to use. Typically, my response consists of repetitive griping about how much more expensive it is to be a woman. Don’t even get me started on the price of bras.

Do I need even half of the products that I use on a daily basis? Definitely not. But I generally enjoy putting effort into my appearance and taking my time while getting ready in the morning. There are plenty of women out there who look gorgeous without a lick of makeup. I envy them. I wish I had the confidence to pull that off.

(Also, while I do manage to use quite the assortment of products, I purchase only drugstore brands. And I’m that obnoxious person with all of the coupons in line, so I like to think that helps balance out my product obsession.)

After getting out of the shower, my S.O. uses just three items on a daily basis: deodorant, toothpaste and a comb. I, on the other hand, use more than three products just to tame my wild mess of hair.

One morning as I was going through the many steps in my getting ready process, I began to think about the cost difference between each of our personal hygiene routines. As much as I love to complain about it, is it really more expensive to be a woman?

That question inspired me to track our personal care expenses for an entire month. Every time one of us purchased an item relating to our personal hygiene or grooming routines, we wrote it down on a piece of paper stored conveniently in our junk drawer. Spoiler alert: my fiancé didn’t have much to write down.

Here’s the breakdown of what we each spent on personal care items throughout the month:

MY EXPENSES:

Eye Makeup Remover — $4.36

Toner — $4.07

Eye Shadow Primer — $2.01

Face Concealer — $8.38

Under Eye Concealer — $10.48

Mascara — $6.28

Shampoo — $5.79

Conditioner — $6.28

Hairspray — $3.44

Lip Gloss — $8.49

Feminine Products (I’ll spare you the details) — $5.24

TOTAL — $64.82

MY FIANCE’S EXPENSES:

Shampoo — $4.12

TOTAL — $4.12

SHARED PRODUCT EXPENSES:

Body Lotion — $6.29

TOTAL — $6.29

It’s painfully obvious that I spend way more on my personal care items each month. While I know each of our totals could go up and down any given month, I’m willing to bet that I always spend significantly more than he does.

As a result, I would argue that it’s definitely more expensive to be a woman … at least in regards to grooming routines. I know men get a tough break with the social pressures to pay for dinners and dates, so I’ll cut them some slack.

It should also be mentioned that personal care costs can vary greatly between men and women based on individual preferences. I know some men whose bathrooms look like well-stocked salons. And, I also know women whose makeup routines involve solely Chapstick. This is an individualized case study.

But, in my case, I’m spending a small fortune on my personal appearance. Even worse, I’ll probably continue to complain about it, even though it’s something that’s completely in my control.

If every month is like this one, that means I spend around $780 every year on personal care products. That number almost makes me want to cry. But, I won’t … because then I’ll be tempted to buy overpriced cream to eliminate my under-eye puffiness.

Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer and blogger, who sometimes feels like she lives her entire life behind her computer screen. When she manages to escape, you can find her binge-watching The Office or talking in a high-pitched voice to her rescued terrier mutt.

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