Whether you’re scrolling through Instagram or strolling through the grocery store, you may have noticed the wide variety of beauty products gaining popularity in the United States. It seems like a new beauty trend is making headlines every few weeks, and cosmetics companies are eager to keep up with the frenzy. The US is the world’s largest beauty market, accounting for 13% of a $532 billion industry worldwide. And those sales are expected to grow faster than ever before, according to Business Insider.
- Women in Colorado spend the least amount of money on facial beauty products, averaging $5 per day. Meanwhile women in New York, Connecticut, and West Virginia spend the most, with an average of $11 per day, according to data from a SkinStore survey
- According to the same survey data, the average American woman will spend roughly $300,000 on face products alone in her lifetime
- American women apply an average of 16 products to their face per day, from eye creams to serums to mascara, according to the same survey
While this might seem like serious money, a growing body of research suggests it could be worth it. According to one study from the University of Texas, Austin, physical attractiveness tends to translate into higher reported levels of happiness. What’s more, an upsetting volume of research has pointed to a relationship between physical appearance and income, especially for men. With a job market and a culture that puts a lot of emphasis on looking our best, it makes sense that Americans want to invest in their appearance.
We compiled some data on the real price of beauty in the US. How much are Americans paying for haircuts, moisturizers, and beauty treatments, not to mention related health and wellness expenses such as fitness memberships? Quite a bit, it turns out. We broke down the data by category and highlighted some interesting trends based on gender.
According to data from Statista, hair care products cost American consumers an average of $73.40 in 2018. Spread out over a twelve-month period, that seems like a pretty reasonable figue. However, it only includes shampoo, conditioner, and other physical products you’d buy from the store. It doesn’t factor in the cost of hair-related services, like trips to the salon or barber.
While men’s haircuts are cheaper than women’s, they tend to visit the barber more often than women, bringing their annual total to $154.44. Meanwhile, women spend an average of $257.42 per year at the salon, according to Towards Data Science.
American women spend an average of $115 for makeup and beauty treatments per month, or $1,380 per year. They also spend an average of $65 per month on creams, lotions, moisturizers, and anti-aging treatments, according to the New York Post. Meanwhile, American men drop an average of $49 on facial products per month, or $588 per year.
While gym memberships and fitness classes aren’t just a beauty expenditure, many of the surveys that track Americans’ spending factor them in with the cost of haircuts, makeup, and other appearance-related spending. Fitness can be viewed as both a health and a beauty expense, and one of the only categories in which men outspend women. Americans spend an average of $106 per month on fitness, according to the New York Post data, a figure that includes supplements and equipment along with memberships and classes. Men average $123 per month on fitness, while women spend an average of $89.
The Pink Tax
The Pink Tax is a term that refers to the “extra amount women are charged for certain products or services,” reports Candice Elliott for Listen Money Matters. Women tend to get charged more for everything from clothing to dry cleaning to personal care products. And even if the ingredients listed on two different products are exactly the same, when it’s marketed to women, the price goes up.
A study compared 110 different moisturizers from leading retailers and found that the ones marketed to women cost on average $3.09 per ounce more than those marketed to men, according to Health Day. Unfortunately, the phenomenon isn’t limited to moisturizer. One dramatic example is the price disparity between shampoos and conditioners. On average, the shampoos and conditioners marketed toward women cost 48% more.
Among those who regularly invest in their appearance, American women spend on average $3,756 per year on beauty and fitness costs. By contrast, men spend an average of $2,928 per year. “Respectively, that’s $225,360 and $175,000 in a lifetime,” reports the New York Post. While that might seem like a lot of money, for many consumers, the benefits of feeling healthy and attractive outweigh the costs.