Bipolar Beauty: Millennial women’s beauty spending habits

Photo from Eclectic Books and Movies.
Bradley Cooper wants to know why you spend so much money. He thinks you’re pretty… without any makeup on. 

What’s the most you’ve ever spent at once on beauty products? As a teenager I would fantasize about buying an entire makeup collection when passing a department store counter. One day I’d be rich enough, I thought. Someone had to be if there were all of these products lined up and ready to be wrapped all pretty and taken home in even prettier shopping bags. By the time I had a job and realized I would be using my entire budget on concealer and a lipstick color I’d rarely end up wearing, I went back to stealing Avon samples from my mom. 
Apparently the eyes being bigger than the budget phenomena is not unique to me. According to a presentation by Self Magazine’s Vice President Laura McEwen at the Fashion Group International Beauty Symposium, millennial women spend an average of $748 per month on beauty products even though 94% of them are in debt. “Bipolar” is the term used in this speech to describe the mismatch between actual earning and spending, especially on the luxury items that millennials are gaining a reputation for handing over their credit cards for in droves. I’d prefer to use the term delusional because people misuse the term bipolar. We can call it the Silver Linings Playbook effect, since both main characters are somewhat inaccurately diagnosed in the film as bipolar, yet I get what they’re saying. Whatever you call it, these statistics are astounding.
Sure, I spent my lunch break today on MAC’s website trying, and succeeding, to buy RiRi Woo, Rihanna’s deep red matte lipstick color that sold out in four hours. I’m guilty of being caught up in the beauty world hype. It’s sort of my job (or hobby) to be. But I think it is also my job to remind people to think about the $40 billion dollar beauty industry for the business it is, and not get too caught up in the “bright lips, big pretty” aspect of it. 
Now I’m going to feel a little bit like a hypocrite when I do my next beauty product review. Am I a part of the delusion that the beauty industry seems to have created for my generation? Here are my closing thoughts on the matter: Think twice about where that pressure you feel to buy comes from. The desire to fit in? Or the gentler version of that, to “be on trend”? Or do you genuinely want and need it? If you have to charge it and know you can’t pay it off by the end of the month, get savvy and hunt down some free samples. I can see if my mom has any extras. Brains first, beauty second, fellow bipolar beauties.  


  1. Wow. I really relate. I own the original Ruby Woo. However, I was online at 11:45 waiting for my chance to buy the new RiRi Woo. I did get one and I wish I could say that satisfied me. But I found myself in Ulta today \”just looking\” and walked out with another $60 of product I really don't need. It may not be Bipolar but it is a sickness.


  2. It never quite seems enough, right? Thanks for your comments, just starting to think about the reasons why we are spending seems to be an important step!


  3. Wow. I really relate. I own the original Ruby Woo. However, I was online at 11:45 waiting for my chance to buy the new RiRi Woo. keep it up


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