5 Ways Beauty Standards Can Harm Your Finances

So, at the time of my writing this blog, I would have just celebrated my (gasp) 36th birthday, and I’m in this weird Millennial space in recognizing that I am not hip on the TikTok/GenZ lingo (I still can’t get into “rizz” lol), but I also know that I’m not…old?

Not only this, but I’ve also started to notice physical changes: ya girl just got her first gray hair and I’m pretty sure my metabolism is slowing every minute. Like, how did this happen? I swear I was just celebrating my 25th birthday in Puerto Rico…wow, I guess it has been over 10 years now (🥲).

I instantly began to frantically search through my skincare products to see if I had enough eye cream, retinol cream, and hydrating moisturizer because I CAN’T look old, right? I’m embarrassed that I felt like this, and as a beauty enthusiast who is trying their best to stay on a tight budget, I felt a bit…insecure.

It’s wild to think about, but the pressure to meet ever-changing beauty standards can feel like a rollercoaster, affecting not only self-esteem but also financial well-being. In a world where TikTok/IG sets the stage for beauty ideals (10-year-olds are buying skincare from Sephora…), the financial costs of conforming to these standards can be daunting.

Welp, go ahead and grab your favorite face mask, sit back, and let’s talk about 5 ways beauty standards can harm your finances.

The Price of “Perfection”

Can we talk about cosmetic procedures first? Because the rise of cosmetic procedures as a means to achieve the “perfect” look has become increasingly common. From BBLs and Botox injections to lip fillers and tummy tucks, people are spending significant amounts of money on these procedures in pursuit of flawless beauty.

The financial burden doesn’t end with the initial cost – it’s a commitment. People seem to forget that maintenance and follow-up treatments are often required with cosmetic procedures, turning beauty standards into an ongoing expense that can drain your finances over time.

Let me be very clear though, I do not judge anyone who chooses to do anything to their body…because, if I’m going to keep it all the way REAL, I wouldn’t mind getting a breast lift – I just want someone else to pay for it haha!

The Price of “Luxury” and “Prestige”

You know who decided that a $100 serum is the secret to eternal youth? Someone who clearly wasn’t on a budget, that’s who. We’ve all fallen for the dreams in pretty bottles, thinking they hold the key to unlocking our inner baddie. The reality is that many affordable alternatives exist, but societal pressure often leads us to opt for expensive products.

From high-end skincare routines to exclusive makeup brands, the pursuit of prestige in beauty can lead to unnecessary spending and financial strain. But newsflash: a $10 cleanser or foundation primer can be just as effective, if not better, than the prestige ones. Skincare is important, we get it, but unless that $200 serum is made of unicorn tears, MY wallet will not shed a tear!

The Price of “Sweat”

Beauty and fitness standards have given rise to a booming fitness industry. While staying active is undoubtedly important for overall health, the pressure to achieve a certain body type or physique can lead individuals to invest in costly gym memberships, personal trainers, and trendy boutique fitness classes.

Don’t get me wrong – staying fit is fab. But do you really need a gym membership that costs as much as a weekend getaway? Will you be at the gym 5-6 days/week? Oh, and let’s not talk about the cost of trendy activewear! It’s time to question whether we are burning calories or just burning through cash.

I haven’t had a gym membership since 2020 and I’m even working on an article about my discovery and love for YouTube Fitness  lol! Not only is there a plethora of fitness channels, but it’s also a free way to break a sweat, so I can save money for things that matter, like tacos.

The Price of “Keeping Up”

Fashion and style trends dictated by beauty standards can be fleeting, causing us to constantly update our wardrobes to stay trendy. I’m preaching to the choir here, but fast fashion, often associated with these trends, can be not only harmful to the environment but also to your budget.

I get it though, we want to be a fashion baddie on a budget, so popular fast fashion websites can be tempting but how many times have you bought a trendy piece only for it to be outdated faster than a viral meme? You’re talking to the Queen of Memes, so yeah…I’ve been there too.

We can still be fashionistas without trashing our financial goals and if you do want to invest in your style, consider building up a capsule wardrobe with classic, timeless statement pieces. Also, don’t sleep on the art of thrifting either. Lifehack – go to the thrift stores in affluent neighborhoods!

The Price of “Good Hair”

Ok, so I decided to leave this one for last because I have committed (ok, forced myself lol) to be on the tightest budget of my life! I’ve had to cut out a lot of expenses and do some surgery on my budget. The one self-care expense that I can treat myself to is getting my hair done every other month. I know that there is nothing like going to the salon!

However, achieving and maintaining the “perfect” hairstyle often comes with a hefty price tag, and as someone who loves wearing hair extensions, good hair doesn’t come cheap. Those frequent salon visits, maintenance, and hair products – it adds up. We’re often taught that our hair is our crowning glory and that we will be judged on our hair.

In addition, being a Black woman working in corporate America, we’re still dealing with discrimination in how we wear our hair to work and whether it is professional or not. I mean, The CROWN Act was only passed in 2019. That may be another article for another day, but oh those beauty standards…

Ok – let me calm down, because while the pursuit of beauty is a personal choice, it’s essential to recognize the potential financial havoc associated with conforming to societal beauty standards.

To be clear it’s not about ditching the lipstick (NEVER!) or canceling your gym membership; it’s about reminding yourself that true beauty isn’t about the price tag but how you feel in your skin, in your unique beauty!

Related: 5 Budget-Friendly Makeup Brands

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The CGS Team



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