Before we begin, can we all agree that women face way more societal pressure than men to look a certain way? If you don’t think so, you’re wrong. Here’s a quick example: In television, Peter Griffin is married to Lois, Homer Simpson is married to Marge and any character portrayed by Charlie Sheen is inexplicably irresistible. These women are slim, beautiful and far superior to their male suitors in almost every way. These archetypes, when applied to something as influential as TV media, have implications that are instilled in us as children and grow with us into adulthood. The point I’m trying to make is: Women have always had to adhere to a higher standard than men. This isn’t up for debate. But that gap is closing.
These effects become particularly evident involving matters of vanity. For instance, one Harris Poll found that almost half of women–44 percent–feel “unattractive” when they aren’t wearing makeup. They also found that most girls begin wearing makeup at 13-years-old. In some cases, even younger. Additional research found that a woman’s confidence is improved by a third when she’s wearing makeup. What’s more, 41 percent say they rely on makeup to make them feel more assertive, attractive and self-assured. So, to feel like a person, basically.
Considering these established figures, it’s unsurprising that women spend almost a quarter of a million dollars ($225,360) on their appearance during their lifetime, according to a new poll of 2,000 Americans commissioned by Groupon.
Broken down, this figure works out to $3,756 a year. Broken down further, it’s $313 a month. On average, the monthly budget on vanity items breaks down as follows: Makeup, $28; haircut, $34; hair products, $15; hair removal, $11; moisturizing skincare, $23 and anti-aging, $17. Seem accurate?
As you can see, more than one-quarter of these cosmetic expenses are an investment for the face. So it should come as no surprise that 30 percent of women in the survey admit they would consider cosmetic surgery to maintain a youthful appearance.
However, as we’re slowly starting to find out, men are feeling the pressures of adhering to a certain standard as well. Numerous studies are now shining the light on male insecurities regarding appearance, all of which tend to center around weight (“dad bod”) and hair loss. Not to mention, beards are absolutely the best makeup there is.
In keeping with this trend, Groupon’s research deduced men spend almost as much as women do on their looks. Kind of. Results showed that a man’s lifetime tab on vanity items are $175,000. This breaks down to $2,928 a year and $244 a month. However, much of a man’s expenses are to improve his physique. Poll results found men spend most on: facial moisturizers, then gym memberships, hand cream, shaving products and supplements.
When comparing the two, women spend almost twice as much on their face than men ($91 to $51 per month). In addition, the survey indicates that people in their 30s are more concerned about looking old than any other age. People in their 30s spend more on anti-aging products than people in their 40s, 50s or 60s. Comparatively, people in their 20s spend more on makeup than any other age group.
But there is light at the end of this very expensive tunnel. Respondents also indicated that they become more content with their appearance when they get older, which would suggests these vanity costs do decrease as our age does the opposite.