How the Luxury Beauty Industry Is Putting You in Debt — And How to Get Out
You can wake up feeling glamorous with semi-permanent beauty services like microblading, laser hair removal and eyelash extensions — but looking good with no effort often comes at a price. On top of the physical discomfort they cause, some of these services could also cost you thousands.
Learn more about the true costs of these luxury services and products, and find out how to get out of debt caused by overspending.
- How much treatments like microblading and eyelash extensions cost
- As beauty treatments rise in popularity, so do luxury cosmetics
- Indebted to beauty treatments? How to get out
How much treatments like microblading and eyelash extensions cost
Many of these treatments require monthly or annual touch-ups, meaning that you’ll have to fork over more hard-earned cash to keep up with the trend.
Let’s use lash extensions as an example: a full set of eyelash extensions can cost from $100 to $400 plus tip depending on the style and material of your lashes, as well as your location. You’ll need to get a fill-in, which can cost as much as $100 and sometimes more, every four to six weeks. If you’re paying $200 for a full initial set, plus $100 for fill-ins every month, your lash extensions could cost you $1,400 plus tip annually. And if you really like your lash artist, a 20% tip each visit would amount to $280 per year.
Treatments such as eyelash extensions come with the allure of minimal effort with maximum payoff, but the price can be a huge roadblock for many people. Even those who can’t afford the service might try to make it work in the name of beauty.
As beauty treatments rise in popularity, so do luxury cosmetics
The average American woman will spend up to $300,000 on beauty products over the course of her lifetime, according to a survey commissioned by the skincare retailer SkinStore. Americans women as a whole will spend $8 per day on their morning beauty routines, with women in Connecticut, New York and West Virginia spending the most, at a daily rate of $11. And as people of all genders embrace the artistry of makeup, people are spending more than ever on luxury cosmetics.
It isn’t hard to overspend on beauty products. After all, the actual ingredients in the makeup only make up a fraction of the cost, while much of the money spent on a product goes to marketing, branding and packaging. You may think you’re paying for a better product, but you’re really blowing your budget on a company’s successful marketing campaign.
Social media is helping drive sales
The beauty industry is estimated to be worth $532 billion, according to the retail analytics firm Edited. The firm even goes as far to say that social media has cut out the middleman by allowing for influencer marketing, through which celebrities and “internet-famous” figures advertise products through their social channels.
To anyone with an Instagram account, that shouldn’t be a surprise. Just scrolling through your feed, you might have come across brands like Sugar Bear Hair and Flat Tummy Tea, which were built on influencer marketing.
If you want to be as beautiful, fit and healthy as the moguls you see on social media, all you have to do is buy the products they sell. At least, that’s what they’ll have you think.
What’s more, influencer marketing is just the tip of the iceberg. Social media is a constant barrage of targeted advertisements and multilevel marketing schemes that could cause you to spend money on beauty products or treatments.
Influencers are now peddling their own pricey products
Take Kylie Cosmetics by Kylie Jenner, for instance. The reality TV-star turned beauty mogul hit the market strong with her Lip Kits ー including a liquid lipstick and matching lip liner ─ which retail for $29. It came to light in 2016 that Kylie’s lipsticks were produced in the same lab that produces ColourPop’s $7 liquid lipsticks. While Jenner said the formula was unique, consumers noted similarities in application, staying power and even scent.
People made the connection that the markup was caused by the backing of the Kardashin-Jenner clan’s name recognition, but that hasn’t stopped them from buying the cosmetics. In 2019, Forbes named Kylie Jenner the youngest self-made billionaire ever, thanks in part to her lucrative cosmetics brand.
Jenner isn’t alone in her star-powered domination of the beauty industry. Kim Kardashian-West launched her own beauty line, KKW Beauty; Rihanna shook the beauty industry with Fenty Beauty’s inclusive foundation shade range. This year, Lady Gaga and Millie Bobbie Brown (of Stranger Things fame) each launched their own cosmetics brands. And as long as demand doesn’t slow, celebrities will continue to woo potential customers with luxury beauty products.
Indebted to beauty treatments? How to get out
- Tighten up your budget for debt repayment
- Consolidate debt with a personal loan
- Open a balance-transfer credit card
Tighten up your budget for debt repayment
If you’re spending too much on modern beauty treatments and makeup, the easiest solution might be to go straight to the source and cut spending. These services are indulgences and should only be bought when your budget allots for it.
Cut excess spending where possible. If it helps, you could take a hiatus from social media or turn off targeted ads on Google. It might even serve you to make a household budget that allots for a certain amount of miscellaneous spending each month.
But in some cases, cutting spending may not make enough of a difference to put money toward debt repayment. If the damage is already done, you might consider opening a personal loan or a balance-transfer credit card to reduce repayment costs.
Consolidate debt with a personal loan
Create a debt repayment strategy with equal monthly payments using a debt consolidation loan, also known as a personal loan. The goal of a debt consolidation loan is to combine multiple debts such as credit cards into one loan to create a repayment plan with a single payment on a fixed term, with a lower fixed rate.
While personal loans could be a good option for those with strong credit profiles, low-credit applicants will see high interest rates, if they’re approved at all.
According to 2019 LendingTree data, borrowers with credit scores over 720 were granted loans with an average APR of 7.27%, while borrowers with subprime credit were offered interest rates of 85.92%. So those with less-than-stellar credit profiles could end up paying far more than they originally borrowed.
Open a balance-transfer credit card
If you’re a responsible credit card user, you might consider moving your debt to a balance-transfer credit card that has a promotional 0% APR period. This way, you could end up paying no interest on your debt as long as it’s repaid within the promotional period, which typically lasts up to 18 months.
One downside of using this method to pay down debt is that you’ll likely pay a 3% balance transfer fee. And if you don’t pay off the credit card within the promotional period, you could pay deferred interest going back to the original date of purchase — plus, opening a new credit card isn’t a good idea for people who struggle with credit card overspending.