Saturday, December 5, 2009

Women's Wallets and World Hunger

After several years of using dye-in-a-box hair color at roughly $10 every 60 days or $.17 cents a day, I finally went to a salon and had it professionally done. While the end product looks really good, the resulting sticker shock got me thinking about the competition for women's wallets and world hunger.

Magazines like Cosmo tell you HOW TO be beautiful.  Most solutions are aimed at individual externals and include things like manicure/pedicure, hair style/hair color, skin care, hair care. All these things need regular upkeep whether daily, weekly or monthly. The business models for them are to pay per unit or service.  Let's take a look at 2 ends of the spectrum.

Let's say you're a high maintenance chic living in a high cost city.  You're wallet would suffer at least the following:
  1. Hair cut/ color: $250 every 6 weeks
  2. Nanotechnology shampoo and conditioner: $110 every 3 months
  3. Microdermabrasion Facial: $130 every 4 weeks
  4. Cosmeceutical face skin care: $78 per month
  5. Designer Daily makeup: $200 every 60 days
  6. Mani/pedi: $50 every 4 weeks
  7. Deep Tissue Massage: $85 every 4 weeks
  8. Gym membership to keep it hanging together: $79 every month
That's $25 per day in maintenance. World hunger statistics show that 982 million people live on $1.25/day or less.  This maintenance regimen equals the income of 20 of those people.

Let's say you're a DIY girl who knows where Super Cuts and Target are:
  1. Super Cuts Hair cut/ home box color: $22 every 6 weeks
  2. Clairol shampoo and conditioner: $10 every 2 months
  3. In home egg facial: .03 cents every week
  4. Target face skin care: $49 every 6 weeks
  5. Almay daily makeup: $39 every 6 weeks
  6. DIY Mani/pedi: basically free
  7. Foam Roller Tissue Massage: basically free once you buy the $10 foam roller
  8. Run outside for free: .69 cents a day for the shoes
DIY girl's daily going rate is $3.29. This maintenance regimen equals the income of 2.6 people who are living on $1.25/day or less.

I believe in BOTH taking care of yourself and in helping people.  This isn't an anti-skin care or anti-makeup diatribe. As a woman, looking at my own priorities, I think it's fair to ask myself what share of my wallet is going to support what priorities? Where can a share of my wallet make the biggest difference? Do I really want Cosmo influencing where it goes that much?

Whereas a $1.25 spent on beautification may not improve things noticeably, that same amount spent helping the poor can make a powerful difference. And helping out doesn't have to hurt. Small changes can make a huge difference. For example, by just adding 12 days between facials, high maintenance chic can give $1.23 per day.

Make your wallet more powerful than your face.

If you don't know where to start, here are a few of my favorite non-profit organizations serving the poor

City Team Ministries - urban and global poor
One Day's Wages - developing countries
World Vision - developing countries
Open Door Ministries - urban poor


Ginney said...

Yes Jenn. I was in Bloomingdales and Macy's tonight with a woman friend from the Middle East. She's visiting and wanted to buy gifts for her family. Those stores have become foreign lands for me. I shop in my closet these days and buy my make-up at Costco. I do spend on a haircut every six-eight weeks, and I shampoo in my color...but the rest is DIY.

Every night when I fall asleep in my quiet, warm, clean, safe bed, I'm remembering those women who don't have anything like it.

Anonymous said...

Great Post! I haven't gone to the salon in years. I have the stripes to prove it!

I took advice from Cosmo once, and my husband still laughs about it…

Gerardine Baugh

Jennifer said...

Ginney - Bloomies and Macy's are overwhelming! Thanks for the tip on Costco makeup. Your attitude of gratitude is the prettiest of all.

Gerardine - Thank you! too funny about the Cosmo incident!

richard said...

A great post. Not because of the subject matter, but because it looks at the world from a different perspective. As well, it is crisp on the facts and light on the context or story.

Personally, I always thought women looked pretty and didn't understand why they spend so much time and money on grooming because the end result was either (1) I don't notice the difference (I tihnk the main point was to feel pampered) or (2) it looks compeltely artifical to me.

For me, being clean and presentable is more than enough.

[Mind you, the wife wishes I was more into dressing up - shorts and t-shirts (even if clean) just don't cut it for her. She absolutely nixed my idea of getting married in casual Summer dress in a park with a potluck BBQ to follow.]

Jennifer said...

Thanks Richard for the specific feedback. That helps! Sounds like you had a great wedding after all:)

richard said...

It was the best wedding I have ever been to.

It was also a dry wedding (aside from a single glass of sparkling wine for an initial toast). I was told it wouldn't fly, people expect alcohol. Yet, it went really well and I got lots of compliements afterwards (lots of others seem to think it was the best wedding they had been to as well).