Have you thought about the costs of maintaining hair? I have been maintaining a head of hair all my life, without complaint either, because good hair is a fabulous asset and always seemed worth the effort. But recently, with diminishing hair, I have been exploring the upsides of being hairless. One big upside, money savings! The economics of maintaining hair are appealing when you plot it all out. Take for example my hair maintenance routine (if I was being maximally careful... of course sometimes I stray off course and get a little hairier than I mean too, ha!).

Every six weeks:
Haircut (with tip) - $70
Eyebrow and lip wax (with tip) - $50
Brazilian or French bikini wax (with tip) - $75
Total: $195

Quarterly:
Hair care products (shampoo, conditioner, gel, spray, etc.) - $35+

TOTALS:
Annual maintenance: $1,690 ($195x8)
Annual product: $140 ($35x4)
Annual Total: $1,830

And if If you dye your hair you are looking at another $100 or so every six weeks, that's another $800 a year for a total of $2,630 annually on hair maintenance.

Let's say you maintain these high standard of grooming from the time you are 22 through 45 (just a general span, I know this is individual for everyone, and I expect hair maintenance will either decrease or increase as one enters their 50's, depending on your personal grooming philosophy). 22 years of haircare at the above level is a grand total of $42,090.

People, let's put that in perspective!!! That's enough money to buy a new luxury car, plus some new shoes! After all, the Mercedes has an average market price of $33,709, while the Lexus sells for an average $35,542. And your decent pair of Manolo Blahnik heels is around $800. Of course, for that price you could put a kid through most of a state-college university, or pay for a year or so of Harvard. $42,000 is enough so that many of us could retire a year earlier.

Or, you could take that money and invest it. If you get rid of your hair and instead start putting away the $1,830 you are saving each year, thanks to the power of compounding interested (and assuming a 10% average rate of return), in 23 years that money will be worth $151,977.27. Now that's something to be excited about!

Of course, I do recognize that we can't all just "get rid of our hair" and immediately save money. For those that loose all your body hair, you have some new expenses with tattooing eyebrows and maintaining your appearance (if you choose). And for folks like me who are only loosing the hair on our heads, we will still have those pesky eyebrow, lip, and bikini hairs to contend with. And of course shaving itself requires some minor investments. I assume there is the infrequent pair of clippers, razor blades, and lotion and sunscreen. But still, I can't imagine maintaining a sheered head of hair comes close to the cost of maintaining hair otherwise.

So while we might not be able to completely defer the costs of hair maintenance in our lives... it is still interesting to contemplate the economics of hair maintenance and loss. My new motto: Hairloss, it's not all bad. :)

Views: 14

Comment by Lee on December 4, 2010 at 1:34am
True....but wigs can be very very pricey also...and permanent makeup.
Comment by Tallgirl on December 4, 2010 at 2:36pm
Since I have never been obsessive about looks and hair, my pre-alopecia needs never totalled that much. Shavers and tweezers, and the cheap haircut places are what I used...even the local beauty college or department store salon. With alopecia? My wigs are synthetic, so under $250 yearly or bi-yearly (last wig only $141). The only hair-related make-up I buy is eyebrow powder. Once I even volunteered to be the test person/model at a hair product/cutting convention, and got a free perm. One does NOT have to spend like a model or actress to get through life!
Comment by Julie Koch on December 5, 2010 at 12:44pm
I understand what you are trying to do by comparing the costs of having hair versus not having hair. I think that you are trying to make us all look at the positives of this new change in our lives. I always had beautiful, thick, long hair and only used cheap Suave products that cost under a dollar. I also would get my haircut at Cost Cutters for about 10 dollars. I never spent much on my hair and would never spend the amounts you quoted above! I think you had your heart in the right place when posting this and I thank you for shedding some light on the issues of costs of having hair... I would gladly pay those ridiculous amounts you listed above if it brought my hair back to what it used to be!
Comment by Julie Koch on December 5, 2010 at 12:46pm
Also, think of the money we are spending on treatments, therapy and everything else just to TRY and get our hair back... If I do say so, that amount is MUCH more than the cost of maintaining hair! Thanks for posting though!
Comment by Kate on December 5, 2010 at 3:44pm
Yes yes, naturally everyone's before and after expenses are different. I leaned toward the high end in my calculations, as I don't doubt there are women who spend gobs more thank $1,800 a year on maintaining their hair. And of course I know there are people who never put a cent into beauty products and services before or after alopecia. But there is a reason there is a beauty industry out there that can charge anywhere from $25 to $550 for a 2 oz. jar of night cream (or any other beauty product), and that's because there are lots of people out there willing to pay to maintain physical aesthetics.

I also know there are women on this site who have lost their hair and found a comfort level to skip treatments and wigs and eyebrow makeup and just go natural. In theory, they have $0 in hair expenses these days, and they are saving money. So everyone is different. I acknowledge that.

My motivation in this post was just to bring up the rarely contemplated thought about the long term expenses related to hair, and marvel at how $6 here on a gel or $40 there on a haircut can add up to thousands in the long run. For me, recognizing this helps enhance my own acceptance of the au natural bald look.
Comment by Julie Koch on December 5, 2010 at 4:48pm
That's very understandable and insightful Kate! I say that anything that we have to think about to help us better deal with the situation is acceptable! If this helps you then I think that is wonderful... Right now I am just thinking of the money I am wasting simply trying to maintain and "save" the hair I still have and regrow what I lost... Thanks for sharing all this though! It does make one think of what we spend on looking good in this society where LOOKS seem to be all that matters. :)
Comment by Kate on December 5, 2010 at 11:54pm
Whitney, I LOVE your sense of humor about it all. And I bet finding a good esthetician is like finding a good tailor. You want to be really nice to them and tip well, they are the only thing standing between you looking great and looking kinda dumpy. :)
Comment by Tamara on December 6, 2010 at 1:14pm
I use to color my own hair, so it was about $20 every 2 months, and always used suave, which at most $3 for the family size shampoo and $3 for the conditioner. I have had the same bottle of shampoo for 4 or 5 months now. Sadly I still have armpit and leg hair, but I use dove soap and mens disposable razors, so I am definitely in NO way near what you quoted, but I have realized in the end, I am saving a little bit of money, and at these times, any little bit helps!
Comment by Kate on December 6, 2010 at 6:30pm
I need to make friends with an aesthetician! Stacey, you must have so many amazing looks. How do people recognize you?!?! :) I looked at your photos, I love you in the short wig. Super cute.

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