My Beauty Philosophy: Where I Save & Where I Spend

A few months back, Emily from Cupcakes & Cashmere wrote a great post that got me thinking about my personal beauty philosophy. Outlining each facet of her beauty routine, Emily talked about what she shelled out the cash for and what she was more likely to save on. As I read through each headline, I found myself comparing my philosophy to hers, which inspired me to write a post of my own! It’s so interesting how much we all differ from each other when it comes to our routines. While I swear by spending on my hair color each month, I’m sure some of you haven’t spent a dime on coloring your hair, ever! 

Most people are shocked to find out that I’m a natural brunette. When I was 14, I decided I wanted a change and highlighted my hair for the first time. When I saw the end result , I was shocked (in a good way). I gradually went lighter throughout that year until I was fully blonde without a trace of my natural color, except for my pesky roots. I have been a few shades of blonde ever since, ranging from platinum to dirty blonde and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever go back to brown. Living in New York, hair doesn’t come cheap, however I believe that IF you color your hair, it should be your single most important beauty spend. I have been seeing my wonderful colorist for almost fifteen years and although I cringe at shelling out near $200 per highlight, that feeling immediately goes away when I see the professional result. Some people swear by boxed dyes – and I think that’s okay if you have an easy hair color to work with. However being that my dark brown is lifted to a light blonde, I don’t take any chances. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge to professional coloring, don’t panic! Yes, it’s going to be more than a $20 box of hair dye, but there are so many ways around breaking the bank every time you visit your colorist. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m embracing more of my natural root, going more time between coloring sessions and getting partial highlights more often than full. I’m so into the subtle ombre as of late with light, bright ends and a gradual darkening to the root. If you’re someone who’s looking for less maintenance, this type of color is definitely the way to go! 

Makeup: ($100-$200 every few months)

While I don’t consider myself a frequent makeup buyer, I do believe in spending on high quality products. Drugstore brands have certainly evolved over the years, however in my opinion, the L’Oreals and the Maybellines will never be on the same playing field as the NARS’ and the MACs. I’m not one to switch out my makeup every month. I usually get hooked on a product and stick with it for several months, maybe even years, before finding one that I like better (#creatureofhabit). I wore the same foundation (Cargo Liquid Foundation) all throughout my college years and beyond, only recently switching to Make Up For Ever’s Matte Velvet+ foundation. That being said, when it’s time to replenish my makeup, I spend whatever I need to in order to get the high quality products that I like and know will benefit my skin.

CURRENT FAVORITES:

Waxing: ($20 every 6 months)

I have almost always done my own waxing and will continue to do so until I get really lazy or really rich. I shelled out about $35 for a home waxing kit and currently spend around $20 every 6 months or so to replenish my materials. Call me crazy, but I find waxing therapeutic. I do it all – eyebrows, underarms, bikini, legs – and I pride myself in my #waxingskills. I turn my bathroom into a mini salon and wax my whole family (weird? perhaps). Maybe I was an esthetician in my past life? Every once in a while, before a vacation or an important event, I’ll go to a professional. European Wax Center, which is all over the map, does a wonderful job and leaves me without the hassle of cleaning up and putting away all my supplies. On the reg, I can live with that though.

Massages: ($100 a year)

“Oooh, massage. Aaaah, I would kill for a massage. Relaxation station, massages are my lifeeee”, says almost everyone except me. While I will treat myself to an occasional massage, I’ve come to learn that I’m really just not a big fan of them. There’s something anxiety-provoking about lying in a dark room with a stranger – no talking, no moving. While the point of a massage is to relax, I almost always find myself doing the opposite because of the awkward stillness. I do find that couples massages are less awkward because you can chat if you want to, and for the mere fact that someone else whom you’re comfortable with is in the room with you. Sorry solo massages, but I’m not feeling you. I’ve also always felt that massages are hit or miss. Unless you find a masseuse that really knows your preferences, and who you know you like, you can be shelling out $100-$200 and getting a really good massage, or a really shitty massage. That doesn’t sit well with me. That being said, on the rare occasion that I do treat myself to a massage, I do it whilst at the Waldorf Astoria Spa at the Boca Resort. 60-minute awkwardness aside, I would give up my home to live in the facilities at this spa (yeah, it’s that good).

Facials: ($0)

Call me crazy, but I’ve never gotten a facial. I have always been happy with my skin and a bit worried that opening up all of my pores would simply invite unwanted dirt into my skin. That being said, I’m sure I’ll eventually get one to see what the hype is all about, but I’m not about to drop the money to do so unless someone else is treating me to it! If I found a place that I really liked and saw a major difference in my skin, I’m not saying I wouldn’t move this over to my spend list.

My colorist also happens to be my hairdresser, and a damn good one at that. I feel like $55 is relatively average for a haircut these days, unless you’re going to a big name salon in the city. I actually hate the salon I go to (cue gossipy (like RHONY gossipy) clients and snobby receptionists), but I’ll go anywhere as long as my hairdresser is there. I’ve never been a fan of cutting my hair often, because I simply don’t see the need. I had belly-button-length hair my entire life until I recently chopped it off to sport a lob. Otherwise, my haircuts are simple and to-the-point – trim the ends, trim the layers, trim the angles, clean it up. I try to get a haircut every other time that I color my hair, but realistically it’s every 3rd or 4th time. My hair continues to maintain itself the way I want it to, so I really see no reason to change my routine! 

Nails: ($70 every month OR $35 every 2 months)

I go through phases with my nails. Recently, I was getting a gel manicure on my almond-shaped claws every 2 weeks, until I decided it was time to give my nails a rest. A gel manicure runs about $35 with tip every two weeks, which really isn’t too bad compared to a $10 manicure once a week with major chippage in between (which I CAN’T STAND!). I almost never paint my own nails for the mere fact that they’re ruined the next day, so it’s either all or nothing for me. I’ve had bare nails for the past 2 months, which I think is important to do every once in a while. That being said, I’m nearing the point where I’m ready to sport a polished look again, which will probably continue for the next few months. #polishremoverepeat.

Faux Tan: ($40 every 1-2 months)

When I was younger, I would get a spray tan for most important events and occasions. I would try all different brands of tanner in search of the perfect one, and would never be fully satisfied. In addition, I’ve experimented with tons of self-tanners. Being naturally light-skinned, it was often hard to find a self-tanner that was a great match. Either the light-skinned tanners didn’t produce enough, or the medium-skinned tanners produced the wrong color. When I tell you I’ve read every blog and review of top self-tanners on the market, I really mean I have read every blog and review of top self-tanners on the market – and I’ve finally found my holy grail: St. Tropez. My only complaint about this tanner would be the length of time that my tan lasts. I will have a solid tan for about 3 days before I need to re-apply. However, that is my ONLY complaint. Everything else about this product, I love. And to be honest, I’ll take the 3-day even fade over a 5-day blotchy fade any day. I use the classic bronzing mousse in the winter months and the dark bronzing mousse in the summer months. I absolutely love the applicator mitt and have recently started using an applicator brush for certain areas of my body which I highly recommend.

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