Shopping Smart/Style & Decor

9 20-Somethings Share The Cost Of Their Daily Makeup Routine

By | Thursday, November 09, 2017

So you moved into a new apartment because you’re making a little bit more money than you were this time last year, and you have a little bit more “disposable” income than you are used to. Burdened by the concept of a good decision-making matrix, you delve into the world of renter’s insurance. You make an itemized list of all your valuables when you arrive at the question: Is my cosmetic collection valuable? (It is.)

If nothing else, are you not curious? You’ve spent forty odd bucks here, spent the entirety of your $50 Sephora gift card nine or ten times over, and you’ve splurged on a foundation here or there. But girl, that shit adds up.

One day not long ago, in an attempt to evaluate how much I spend on my femme face, I totaled up the cost of my daily routine. Keep in mind this is a beat face with several layers of balms and powders and some eyelashes, so it’s by no means casual. It totaled up to $880…for my daily face. 

Being who I am, I got curious. Am I relatable? Do other people spend what they think to be “excessive amounts” of money on primping and priming? How are other people doing their make up? So I asked them. Here are nine people on the total amounts they’ve spent on makeup, both the products they use daily and their complete collection overall. 

1. Amanda, 24

Total Collection: $701

Daily Routine Total: $247

“I was not entirely surprised [by my total], but it was a bit higher than I expected. Putting my products into an itemized list with prices really put my beauty addiction into perspective. When I was younger, I would use a heavy coverage foundation stick that was way too light for my complexion and heavy black eyeliner on my waterline. That’s it. I’d wash my face with whatever bar of soap was by the bathroom sink and call it a day. I can’t believe how far I’ve come! When I got to college, I started watching YouTube videos and trying out different makeup looks. That’s when I realized how important it is to have a skincare routine. The bar of soap was banished and I started using soaps specially formulated for facial use. My makeup hoarding and buying habits changed a lot when I finished college and started working full time. I actually had money to splurge on beauty products and started to curate my beauty collection as I found products that work best for me.

“My makeup collection is very important to me! I would consider it highly curated. I have spent years trying different products and dupes to find the products that I believe work best for me. Now that I’ve developed a daily make up routine, I always use the same combination of products. I do like to try new products as well, but it’s very rare for a new product to make its way into my daily rotation.”

Most Expensive Product: Clarisonic Mia 2 ($130), Josie Maran Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Serum ($49)

Least Expensive Product: Batiste Dry Shampoo ($4), Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer ($15)

Median spent on products: $22.00

2. Danielle, 21

Total Collection: $761.90

Daily Routine Total: $90.00

“[My total is] high for sure, but it doesn’t surprise me at the same time. It could definitely be higher. I would consider the Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonchild glow-kit as a splurge for sure. It’s the most I’ve paid for one specific product. I also think that my purchases of lip and eye color are something that I pay more for. It doesn’t necessarily have to be from a beauty store — I even pay a considerable amount at local drug stores. Now that I reflect on it, I probably wouldn’t have purchased two lip products. One from MAC and the other from Anastasia Beverly Hills. The reason being is that when I tried the colors on in the store, they looked nice on me. But, when I tried them on in natural lighting, they did not compliment my complexion. Of course, there are ways I can finagle it to work out, but I also just could have purchased a better shade.

“I think my makeup buying has changed by the fact that I don’t blindly purchase stuff that I don’t need or find would be a good fit for my collection. I have tried to truncate my hoarding, and it’s worked. But, every now and then you splurge and have more than you have space for. But I know what works for me and I don’t try to justify things that might look good.”

Most Expensive Product: Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonchild Glow Git ($40)

Least Expensive Product: Burt’s Bees Lip Balm ($3.28)

Median spent on products: $23.00

3. Lindsey, 21

Total Collection: $459.46

“Anything more than $40 is a splurge for me, but I haven’t encountered that yet. And for some reason buying multiple things at once that total over $40 doesn’t seem like a splurge to me. Like it has to be just one item for it to be splurging. I don’t think anything I get is too expensive, but the Milk stuff is up there, and I would consider that paying more for certain products [as I see fit]. When I used liquid foundation for a hot second, I bought what was cheapest and somewhat matched my tone, but I don’t really do that now. I don’t mind paying full price for the stuff I know and like.

“I’d say I’m pretty brand loyal to Urban Decay now, as in I’d go to their section first when looking for something, but for the most part I kind of just stick to what I’ve gotten for years because I hate change and I worry about buying something I’ll end up not liking. However, I used to be someone that refused to wear makeup mainly because it seemed like too much work. It kind of is still, but I’ve found a way for it to suit my style and preferences. I feel like my collection is somewhat important to me now because it’s sort of like a form of self-care, where it actually gets me to get out of bed and get myself together. Plus it gives me some confidence. I’d say my collection is thrown together but is starting to take a more cohesive form. I’ve always been a hoarder, so things that should have been thrown away or replaced have not been.

“My total was definitely higher than I thought it would be, so that was surprising.”

Most Expensive Product: Urban Decay Vice Ltd Reloaded Eyeshadow Palette ($56)

Least Expensive Product: Blistex Ultra-Rich Hydration Lip Protectant ($3.79)

Median spent on products: $20

4. Julia, 28

Total Collection: $263.40

“My collection strategy is just to splurge on products that will prevent poor aging, like buying bb cream with SPF and a good moisturizer and eye cream. I try to get things I just wear to parties, like eyeshadow, on the cheap. I definitely started buying better makeup/skincare products once I started to get paid better, around like age 24? Before that, I only bought products from drug stores because I was broke. Also, not having the stress of going to college, etc. gave me more free time to research ways to make my skin look/feel better.

“I love Aesop products so much, we’re in a long-term relationship. I’ll never cheat!”

Most Expensive Product: Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer Crème ($26) (Doesn’t recommend)

Least Expensive Product: Great Lash Mascara ($6.40)

Median spent on products: $20.00

5. Carly, 24

Total Collection: $252.00

Daily Routine Total: N/A

“I am not brand loyal currently, but back when I bought all of my Bare Essentials makeup/brushes I liked to look there first for things I ‘needed.’ Since then, I have just been buying products I see as I’m in a CVS type store. My makeup collection is very unimportant to me. There are really only a few things that I use, but I have been too lazy to throw out what I don’t use. I would say that my products are just thrown together out of convenience. I used to buy makeup — not too often, but often enough that I had new things. Now, I only buy makeup as I need it. I really only spend money on new eyebrow pencils, because they are the only products I use.

“My total did surprise me. It was higher than I thought it would be, but I vaguely remember the Bare Essentials products being expensive when I bought them, so I should have known.”

Most Expensive Product: I.D. Bare Escentuals Flawless Face Brush ($22), Bareminerals Mineral Veil Foundation Powder ($23)

Least Expensive Product: Maybelline Define A Line Eyeliner ($4)

Median spent on products: $7.00

6. Abaigh, 21

Total Collection: $1,296.00

Daily Routine Total: $196.00

“There are a bunch of random products I have that just sit in a bag on my floor. I always buy lipstick and then I regret it because I only ever wear the same thing every day. If I want to change it up, I have a specific lip product for that, so I don’t know why I keep buying them. I definitely am regretting a lot of purchases these days because I have become so comfortable with my daily makeup routine I rarely use anything else despite having so much makeup. I think a product I definitely splurged on is the Ole Henriksen truth serum. It was like $70 for a small bottle of it. I don’t even use it anymore, although I probably should. I rarely let myself pay a lot for products. That was probably the only time I really splurged. I’ve honestly never really gotten into looking up dupes. I have no idea what products are dupes for others, but I should probably do some research because I am broke.

“I wouldn’t say I am brand loyal to anything, but I do use and love a lot of Glossier products. They make up a decent amount of my daily beauty routine. I’d say I don’t really put a lot of thought into my makeup collection. I wish I could say that it is curated in a certain way, but it honestly has just come together in this way randomly.

“I used to have so much makeup. I also used to use a very high coverage foundation, and I kind of just got away from that as I became more secure with myself. I definitely still hoard makeup — I have so much just sitting around that I should probably go through. My daily makeup routine used to take me at least an hour, but now I can do it in 15 minutes with just a few products.

“My total did surprise me. I had never thought to calculate how much I spend on makeup, but it really does add up.”

Most Expensive Product: Ole Henriksen Truth Serum ($72)

Least Expensive Product: Colourpop Lip Liner ($5)

Median spent on products: $24.00

7. Olivia, 25

Total Collection: $1,053.00

Daily Routine Total: $377.00

“The makeup I use every day is very important to me. My larger collection is not as important,  but I still like having it and knowing it’s there. I go through it and try to discard as much as I can a few times a year. It’s definitely not just thrown together. I am brand loyal to certain products. I’ve used l’Oreal face powder for at least 10 years and won’t switch. Foundation has been Bareminerals for at least eight years. I have been loyal to Too Faced for mascara until getting It cosmetics as a gift, and am now loyal to that. I used to subscribe to ipsy, which helped me to try new things. But I usually stick to the brands I love and try new products they release. I also get samples from Sephora with purchases and try new products that way.

“I would say I spend too much in eyeshadow palettes. I have so many and I usually only use two colors from each. [My] total does surprise me. Higher than I would have thought, but it has been accumulating for a while now, so I can justify it.”

Most Expensive Product: Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment ($60)

Least Expensive Product: Wet N Wild Color Icon Eyebrow Pencil ($2)

Median spent on products: $20.00

8. Fawn, 21

Total Collection: $532.79

Daily Routine Total: N/A

“Generally, if I can, I will try something from ELF or NYX before looking for a more expensive item. Then, if the quality isn’t up to my standards and I really want that product or whatever, I’ll buy the more expensive brand. [My collection is] definitely just thrown together. A lot of my makeup needs to be replaced, the products are old/dried up/flaky/etc, but I have a hard time getting rid of stuff (unless it’s completely useless) without feeling guilty about how much I paid for it.

“I used to be really into makeup, so I’d buy a lot more of it. I would try different, more expensive brands to find my favorite ones — now, I just use whatever I have, or try to find a cheap alternative.

“[My total] definitely surprised me. It was a lot higher than I expected — I try to buy low-priced items that are good quality. I think my total would be a lot lower if I got rid of items that are out of date/almost completely used, I just have a hard time getting rid of things.”

Most Expensive Product: Bare Escentuals Original Loose Powder Foundation ($30)

Least Expensive Product(s): Elf Makeup Mist and Set, ELF Eye Primer & Liner Sealer, ELF High Definition Powder, ELF High Definition Undereye Setting Powder ($3)

Median spent on products: $12.00

9. Miranda, 22

Collection Total: $240.09

Daily Routine Total: $84.49

“My more expensive makeup was a gift, so I don’t feel guilty about it. If I spend my own money, I buy the cheaper stuff. Anything over $25 is considered splurging for me. If I splurge, it’s something I know I’ll love. I would say I go through phases of certain brands, but I do not need to buy a certain one.

“I do not really wear makeup that often, and when I do, it’s the most basic look. I love getting my makeup done by others, but I am lazy and never feel like doing it myself. I like to find products that cater to my needs. I go for more basic colors these days — I worked with different styles to see what I like best by using trial and error.

“My total did not surprise me. I knew the mix of the products I have.”

Most Expensive Product: Bareminerals Flawless Face Powder ($28.50)

Least Expensive Product: Maybelline Eye Studio Brow ($9)

Median spent on products: $10


In general, those who were interested in makeup to begin with were not surprised by their totals, while those who weren’t invested considered their totals to be surprisingly high. After having calculated the median, most people were comfortable spending in the neighborhood of $20 per product, while others spent less than $15 per product. To each her own. To all our own inherent value.

Ally is a Leo sun, Aries moon, Cap rising with way too much to Tweet, so she started a career.

Image via Pexels

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