Cosmetics, Procedures and Prejudice

The inspiration for writing this post came a few days ago after seeing a suave, handsome and hot actor in news for an alleged plastic surgery, which reminded me of an age old age debate on natural beauty, people’s opinions and published articles in the internet gossiping and trying to understand why women like spending so much on cosmetics and go under the knife. I guess if such people would have given a thought on ways to find the wormholes, we could tour outer space for vacation.


I will begin with the prejudice. I got curious and surfed for ‘use of cosmetics’. And the top results read, ‘why  women spend so much on cosmetics or do a surgery’ or ‘cosmetic surgery gone wrong’ (that mostly involves women). Although, there are a few articles that acknowledge that men too spend on beauty, but their numbers are very less and we are a lot more in the spotlight.
I think there are far more serious concerns for our society to address and tackle, than dwelling over reasons behind spending on beauty products. To mention some, why do people spend money on buying cigarettes or fast food?! Or why are boys (Yes! I am generalizing) addicted to playing games?! and so on. There are studies on the impact of playing video games and its excess is scientifically recognized  as an addiction, for which there are therapies to alleviate the problem (read:problem, psychological obsession).
So, if applying makeup is uncool, then gaming on consoles is definitely NOT something to condescend about when asked to pause the game! Furthermore, wearing cosmetics isn’t considered a health hazard (unless you aren’t allergic to some less expensive products or don’t use expired products or remove makeup before sleep).
Why are we so prejudiced when it comes to girls using cosmetics? Why do we have to remind people that its not only us, but even men who use cosmetic to look young and groom themselves. With every year, there is no doubt that the number of women who choose to go under the knife or like wearing cosmetics are increasing (naturally), but so are men. It is not just a “girl thing” anymore! The skeptics must acknowledge that curiosity is innate in humans by nature; and so we like experimenting with makeup or dresses, like men do with their cars or games or even makeup! This is however just the tip of the iceberg.
Those who ask why we spend so much on makeup?; should instead ask why are girls being burdened with practices that make no sense at all like the “Tampon” or so-called-imaginary “Pink” taxes?

  • Tampon tax is simply the extra tax on our hygiene products (read: essential, not luxury), which ranges between 4 – 27% in countries implementing it, with Hungary setting a lead at a staggering 27% [1].
  • “Pink” tax is simply the differential pricing for a product (some essential) commonly used by different genders. “On average, New York City  Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) found that women’s products cost 7 percent more than similar products for men,” the department concluded. The biggest price differentials were found for personal-care products (13 percent), adult clothing (8 percent), and home health care products (8 percent). The DCA refers to this impact as a “gender tax.” [2]. Even the young ones aren’t spared! [3] This is nothing but..UNFAIR!!

Pink Tax []

So, like paparazzi are big privacy concerns to any celebrities, these concerns are of same importance to us, if not bigger, because we end up spending more for being proud women; even if we may ignore the taunts of why!

Now, coming to  the statistics of comparison between women and men undergoing a Cosmetic Procedures. Although the comparison isn’t surprising, but it is worth highlighting that about a million times these procedure (surgical or non-surgical) are being carried out by men in the US [4], which is almost equal to the population of Montana; however, insubstantial they may sound in terms of percentage (~10%). It is really surprising that Liposuction and Mammaplasty (reduction) are popular surgical procedures among men in 2014. But, the fact still remains that beauty procedure are popular among men as well and with time the numbers won’t go anywhere but up.


Perhaps, a comparison of the amount of money women and men spend on buying Cosmetics or beauty products would give a clear picture. Unfortunately, there are no gender based statistics available for this, so I didn’t look much. The next best thing I found was an article [6] that said men spend on an average £1,786 per year compared to £2,462 by women, which is barely a difference of £50 per month. Considering that we have lot more product options at our disposal, the marginal difference speaks volumes.

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Spending is largely driven by the kind of money and passion people have (as you may have noticed that the stats are not limited to just one country). So, the need to spend on luxury items varies among different countries and priority that people set for themselves. And when a lot of emphasis is given on phrases like, “If you look good, you feel good”, spending on personal grooming and beauty becomes imperative. Although I am definitely not a fan of spending on fairness cream (its the biggest scam!), there are  a certain products (like my lip balm :)) that I am totally fond of. Furthermore, I don’t think it is appropriate to blame the cosmetic industry for marketing, when there is a lot of hypocrisy among ourselves on defining beauty.  Critics would say that inner beauty is only what matter, but the first impression often outweighs any other form of beauty. One would argue that first impression only means to be prim and proper, but the means to attain this is only by the use of beauty and personal hygiene products, apart from clothes and other accessories. And finally..I won’t disappoint those who were here for finding an answer to: Why we spend on cosmetic?  Because we LOVE to!




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