How Much It Costs To Be a Proper Woman

The mirror at my workplace is like something stolen out of a funhouse from hell. Every time I look in it I look about five years older, twelve times more acne-ridden and infinitely more apathetic towards life. Every day I tell myself “You’re going to start trying harder, Katrina.” Then I go back to just removing the smudged eyeliner from the weekend before, little by little, with a Q-Tip, until I’m just naked faced with red splotches and despair.

Today I also realized that another toenail of mine is about to fall off. Promise I won’t SnapChat it to everyone again. I genuinely thought to myself “I should get a pedicure.” I’m not above it… Pedicures feel amazing. So do manicures. I’d love to do all that stuff regularly. But let me break down how much it would cost for me to be a proper woman in Los Angeles, if I wanted to be one.

For all of the below examples I pulled from pricing pages on Yelp, “Most Popular” product pricing on Sephora, and general Google search results. This is not meant to be a cut and dry guide to how much everything costs, but it’s to give you a rough range of beauty service//product costs. It’s slightly terrifying.

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Better believe that flower is covering a massive bush.

HAIR REMOVAL: This is the bare minimum you need to do to be a proper woman in the United States. Depending on your preference you can either Wax, Thread, Laser or Sugar. Each method is extremely painful, just depends which your skin hates the least. We’re expected to remove hair  from our eyebrows, upper lip, chin (if needed), armpits, pubic region AND legs. You can remove other places too, but those are the necessities.

If I were to WAX all of these body parts at an average priced Los Angeles waxing salon, it would cost me:

Full Face: $49

Underarms: $18

Brazilian (naked vagina): $47

Legs: $68

Grand Total? $182

These hair removals need to be done at least once per month for a proper woman. I’m using waxing as an example because I know it’s the most commonly used technique. I prefer threading because it’s the cheapest, but you can only do that on your face. So the rest is up to me… Good times.

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The way a blowout looks for about 10 seconds.

HAIR STYLING: Let’s say I actually wanted my hair to look awesome for a date or some other situation where I need to rely on my sexuality to make up for my shortcomings. There are a few options:

  • Blowout: For the record- this just means some chatty asshole will use a round brush and a hair drier to make my hair curly for about 2.5 hours MAXIMUM.
  • Color: Actually changing the color of my hair using dye. If you want your hair to not look like complete shit you HAVE to splurge on this.
  • Cut: If you try to go cheapo you will ruin your life.  I only do mine twice per year because I have a long hair complex as a result of trauma from my youth. (THANKS FOR THE BOWL CUT MOM)
  • Extensions: God forbid you fuck up your hair and need to get some extensions… Better pay so that it doesn’t look like a rat died on your head.

Ideally if I were to start trying to be a real woman- I’d cut and style my hair at least once per month. Let’s price that out…

Basic Blowout at Drybar: $40 (they usually charge extra for people with long hair though)

Basic Haircut: $50

Grand Total: $90

Running Total: $272

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They look awesome until you fuck them up opening your car door.

NAILCARE: You can do a lot with your nails. You can get Acrylics, Gels, Airbrush or just paint. If you’re going to do your fingernails you should probably do your toenails too because it’s summer and people will be seeing them frequently. If they’re not painted you can’t (attempt to) disguise how truly ugly they are.

If I were to go do this, I’d get Gels because they last longest and look the least shitty. Even though these last longer we’re still probably going to need to get them filled at least once per month, if not more. Price that out?

Manicure: $35

Pedicure: $35

Grand Total: $70

Running Total: $342

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They call this “natural look” but I think she’s a computer generated image.

MAKEUP: In order to hide your horrific face on a daily basis, you should invest in good makeup. You can cut corners if you want, but let’s just go through what it costs to round up the basics. Assuming you wear them every day and need to replace them occasionally… This adds up. Below is what I personally use.

Clarens Tinted Moisturizer: $60 (I splurge so that I don’t look like I did in high school…)

Buxom Mascara: $20 (I think you’re supposed to replace this monthly)

Covergirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner: $6 (I don’t wear this often and I still go through at least one every three months.)

Naked Palette Eyeshadow: $54 (should only need to buy once a year but you’re a loser if you don’t have this… That’s what the lady at the store told me.)

Physician’s Formula Pressed Powder: $15 (somehow I’ve still had this same powder since high school.)

That is my BARE MINIMUM for a night out.

Grand Total: $155

And if you want to actually be a REAL woman you’d also wear the following:

Concealer: $20 average

Face Primer (I don’t even really know what this is): $18 average

Blush: $30 average

Contour Palette: $40 average

Lipstick: $20 (that’s just for one shade, you need many)

Lipliner: $20 (also probably should have more than one)

Brush Set: $70 (you need brushes for all this shit and you don’t want them to suck)

Grander Total: $355

Running Total: $697

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No one is this happy when they’re washing their stupid face.

HAIR CARE//BODY CARE//FACIAL CARE: In order to wear any of this stuff effectively you have to be a clean human being. I thought this was a given, until I realized some people still don’t brush their teeth…

I don’t even have very shitty skin and I have to splurge on facial products because NOTHING works the way it’s supposed to. Not to mention your hair adapts to your shampoo and rejects it (I’m not going to provide a link to support this, it’s true, we all know it.) I use BAR SOAP instead of body wash because I went through like a container a week. Let’s break this down as if I wanted to take GOOD care of my hair and skin…

First Aid Beauty Skin Kit: $50

Bumble and Bumble Shampoo + Conditioner: $50

Philosophy Body wash: $25

So those three products are the BARE MINIMUM for being fancy with your Hair Care//Body Care// Facial Care… You’d have to replace all of these things monthly if used daily.

Grand Total: $75

But if I wanted to be a proper woman… I’d also need the following:

Chanel Perfume: $78

Hair Styling Treatment: $27

Face Mask: $65

Acne Gel: $40 (pay for the quality, Clean n Clear just makes things worse.)

Philosophy Firming Body Lotion: $37

Foot Cream: $28

Self Tanner: $38

Grander Total: $388

FINAL RUNNING TOTAL $1,085

I’ll leave it at that- but I want to acknowledge that this doesn’t even scratch the surface of clothing, shoes, purses, bras etc. This also doesn’t include all the other products out there we’re told we need. Like waist trainers, weight loss drinks, and injections of Botox. I just included things I’ve heard of and have actually considered using at one time or another.

What I want people to realize is that it isn’t laziness that prevents many of us (myself included) from “trying harder.” I don’t wake up excited to go to work looking tired and bland. But I also don’t have an extra hour to spend doing my makeup and hair until it looks the way I want it to look. I wish I could wait until I feel one hundred percent confident before I walk out the door every morning, but I have about a half hour to squeeze EVERYTHING into and I’d way rather spend that time making my lunch.

Obviously cost is the other huge factor. It’s a little embarrassing when there’s an implied standard that you can’t meet. Especially in this city where a lot of people CAN afford to keep up with the maintenance and there is such a high importance placed on our appearance. It’s almost a currency.

People aren’t shy about the implied standard either. I’ve been called sloppy more than a few times for not wearing makeup to work. Every woman has been told she looks “tired” when she wears less makeup than usual. We also get complimented, and even told that we should “do our makeup more often” when we wear more than usual. Who would have ever thought that looking the same way every day would be a challenge? You set a standard for yourself and when you are visibly different you feel insecure.

I’m not saying that all of us should stop wearing makeup or even stop doing ANY of these beauty practices. I just want people to be slightly aware of the time and energy that goes into looking presentable day after day. I don’t show up to work without makeup on because I’m a militant feminist, I don’t show up to work with wet hair because I’m lazy… I just don’t have twenty minutes free to stand under a blow drier and sweat my ass off.

Can we just make it slightly easier to be beautiful? I don’t want to pay someone $182 to rip every single hair off of my body once per month. I’d rather jump into a fire. Would probably get the same result anyway.

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