Makeup and Money: The Cost, the Quests and the Holy Grails


Women spend $7 billion a year on makeup, around $100 each (although that’s not true, some of us *cough* spend more than others) (The Gloss).

Vanity Fare says in the U.S. alone, 68% of the 70 million women in the country (48 million) work and have money to spend on beauty, and $17 billion dollars is spent on makeup in the U.S. alone.

Women purchase 2-3 times on average more makeup than they need or use.

The average woman owns:

  • 7 Lipsticks but use only 2.6 of them on rotation
  • 12 Eyeshadows but only use 5 of them on rotation <– the biggest category!
  • 2-3 Mascaras but only uses 1 daily
  • 3 forms of blush in various shades but only uses 1 daily
  • 2 foundations and they use one or both daily

So we own more than we need (no surprise) and there’s always a demand to look and stay beautiful.


The cost also matters in terms of quality and how picky you are with it.

If you want, you can spend only $7 on foundation or concealer, but for the most part, it won’t be as good as if you shell out for other more expensive brands.

This is from experience by the way… I’ve worn very cheap to very expensive, and I find the mid-range brands (mostly available at Sephora) are the best.

Let’s break down what a basic kit would have:


  • Foundation or Concealer – $50
  • Eyeliner – $10
  • Mascara – $10
  • Eyeshadow – $15
  • Blush – $15
  • Lip Colour – $15
  • Subtotal = $115


  • Makeup primer – $50
  • Eyeshadow primer – $30
  • Bronzer – $20
  • Concealer or Foundation – $50
  • Brushes – $50
  • Subtotal = $230

Total = $315

Then imagine variations of colour on blush, lip colour, eyeshadow, foundation, concealer… and you can see how and why women spend so much on makeup.

Granted, the above can last me a good 5 years, so it’s really $295 / 5 years or $59/year, but they tell you to change your makeup every year or so.


It took me a while to find the right products, and it was just a question of cost.

Spend where it makes sense and save on the rest.

Funny, but true.

I’m not talking about spending $100 on a designer foundation, but if you can afford to splurge, go up to the mid-range costs of makeup products. The extra $20 per tube or compact is worth it, trust me! I cringe every time I pay, but I can’t go back to the cheaper drugstore brands for certain items like foundation, concealer and blush.

The rest, like eyeliner or eyeshadow, can be found in lower-end drugstore products such as Annabelle (which is amazing!), and there’s no need to pay $20 for a great eyeliner unless you want to.


  • Foundation: Powder CoverFX covers beautifully and is SPF15
  • Concealer: Time Balm TheBalm or CoverFX covers everything with SPF15
  • Eyeliner: Marcelle or Annabelle has amazingly soft eyeliners
  • Mascara: Covergirl or Maybelline
  • Eyeshadow: Annabelle Mono Eyeshadows (Gleam is beautiful)
  • Blush: Cargo Blush
  • Lip Colour: Rosebud Salve Lip Balm
  • Makeup Primer: Tarte Clean Slate
  • Eyeshadow Primer: Too Faced Eyeshadow Insurance
  • Bronzer: Annabelle Zebra Glow Bronzer works on all skin tones
  • Brushes: The Body Shop, Quo or Sephora

The TOTAL? Around $250

Naturally, I have more than what I am listing above, but that would be my current Holy Grail of makeup items and how much it would cost to replace everything.

Want to learn more makeup facts?

Read: The Argument for Wearing and Using Less Makeup (The Everyday Minimalist)

What about you?

How much do you own in makeup and what’s in your essential kit?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.