To Save Money, Women Take Different Approach to Beauty

August 18, 2008 07:54 AM
by Sarah Amandolare
The slow economy has caused women to cut back on beauty treatments, but America’s beauty obsession remains, as women grab cheaper items like lipstick, and try at-home pedicures. 

Beauty on the Cheap

An article in the Boston Herald reports that the slowed economy has caused more women to cut back on beauty treatments like waxing, hair color, manicures and pedicures, and various injections. A bikini wax every six weeks instead of every four, or a haircut sans highlights—anything to save a buck here and there.
Other women are capitalizing on the “staycation” trend by giving themselves at-home beauty treatments. Blogger Kathleen Burns Kingsbury says she follows the recommendation that polished nails are “a must for any professional woman in today’s competitive market.” So when gas prices rose and her business slowed, Kingsbury started giving herself “poor man’s pedicures” at home.
Skipping her typically luxurious $40 pampering sessions awakened Kingsbury to a puzzling, if not ridiculous concept: the irony that women “make 76 percent of what men make and spend millions on looking ‘professional.’”
But American women’s obsession with beauty, and the connection between success and beauty is nothing new. Times of London writer Tad Safran gives a scathing synopsis of the differing beauty regimes of British and American women.
Safran says British women “appear unable, or uninterested, in rising to the challenge” of putting an effort toward personal appearance, while his American female friends happily cough up thousands of dollars for beauty and fitness every month.
Even when economic times are tough, American women don’t seem to abandon their personal appearance. After the 2001 terrorist attacks, for example, Leonard Lauder, chairman of the Estee Lauder Companies, said his lipstick sales were up, as women boosted their moods with lipstick rather than expensive shoes.

Background: American beauty

NPR’s “News and Notes” program featured a discussion with Darryl Roberts, the filmmaker of a new documentary that explores America’s beauty obsession.

In making “America the Beautiful,” Roberts asked himself what “stupid things” he’d done for beauty. The film touches on the influence of advertising, racial intolerances in society, the self-esteem of teenage girls, and the story of model/actress Gerren Taylor, who suffered from eating disorders after her modeling career began floundering.

Related Topics: Women at work; plastic surgery

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