If you’re a regular reader of this blog (and I understand that ‘regular’ is a bit of a stretch for a blog that takes entire years off at times), you’ll know that some angles are just sure-fire ways of getting yourself some media coverage.
Take, for instance, the claim that women spend large amounts of time applying make-up. Pretty standard stuff, right? It’s a fairly 1980s-comedian, suit-sleeves-rolled-up, stood-in-front-of-a-brick-wall, ‘what is the DEAL with…’ observation, right? Well, that doesn’t stop it making national news, including in the Daily Mail this week:
That’s a lot of lippie! Women spend TWO YEARS of their life applying make-up, splashing more than £12,000 on cosmetics
Sick of being nagged about the amount of time you take to get ready? Well new research shows that our partners may have a point.
According to new research, women spend almost two years of their life doing their make-up.
The recent study suggests that over a lifetime we spend an average of 722 days perfecting our health and beauty regimes – and all that prep doesn’t come cheap.
Source: Daily Mail, 27th August 2015
I know what you’re wondering, and no, that’s not how anybody has ever spelt ‘lippy’. Also, you might be wondering who the company is behind this story, and I won’t keep you in suspense any longer on that one either:
The poll of 1,000 women, commissioned to mark the launch of Vaseline Spray Moisturiser, also revealed that one in ten women will spend up to two hours a day getting ready.
“But a sprayable moisturiser!”, I hear you cry, “That’s going to save me LOADS of time!” Or at least that’s pretty much what Vaseline hope you to think, at some level, when you read this story. It is literally the only reason that this story exists: to highlight to you a problem in your life, and then present to you the solution.
This isn’t a new phenomenon, as you might imagine – but you’d be surprised how often the commercial PR industry manages to bag coverage in the media by using stories of ‘shocking’ findings on how much time women spend applying makeup or how much they spend on cosmetics over the lifetime. For instance, back in March 2010 Superdrug told us that women spend £9,000 on make-up throughout their lives, and spend 330 days applying it:
Face value: How the average woman spends £9,000 on make-up in her lifetime
For many women, a new lipstick or eyeshadow can be a cost-effective pick-me – but a new survey has revealed that they will spend an average of £9,000 on make-up in a lifetime…
The poll, conducted by Superdrug for the launch of its new Make Up Academy range, revealed that the average woman spends nearly 20 minutes a day perfecting their look – a total of 330 days over her lifetime.
Source: Daily Mail, 17th March 2010
But then in July 2011, Bionsen deodorant informed us that women spent £100,000 in their lifetime on beauty products:
Women spend over £100k on make up in a lifetime… and would rather dump their boyfriend than go barefaced
It will come as no surprise to the women who despair at the rising cost of cosmetics.
With their clever marketing ploys and promises of youth, big beauty firms have women in their grip.
And as a new study shows, this addiction to cosmetics does not come cheap. Figures reveal that women fork out a staggering £100,000 on cosmetics over their a lifetime, according to a new study.
Source: Daily Mail, 29th July 2011
Where did that additional £91,000 come from? Even accepting that not all beauty products are in the make-up category, that’s still a hell of a lot of toner and shaving wax. Though it didn’t stop the Daily Mail running a second article on the same claim by Bionsen, a fortnight later.
Looking to 2012, and while we’ve no monitory claim we do have St. Ives informing us that women spend 43 weeks of their life applying make-up:
Women spend 43 weeks of their life applying make-up and perfecting their face before a night out
Most men think women take too long getting ready and now they may have the proof.
The average British woman devotes 91 hours a year to applying their make-up – that is 43 weeks a lifetime perfecting her face.
Women in the south typically take longer to prepare for nights out and dates than those in the north, with 12 per cent spending 45 minutes to one hour each day.
Source: Daily Mail, 18th July 2012
What a result! 43 weeks is just 301 days, meaning women have managed to shave off 10% of their time spent on beauty treatments since Superdrug’s 2010 report! Way to go girls, that’s efficiency for you! Sadly, such efficiency was never destined to last, and by just seven months later, Harley Street semi-permanent make-up clinic ‘Specialist Make-up Services’ broke some bad news:
That’s a LOT of slap! Women spend a year and three months of their lives applying make-up
It’s been said women take a lifetime getting ready and it has now been revealed the average British woman will spend over a year of her life putting on her make-up.
A new survey into women’s daily beauty regimes shows UK women spend a colossal 474 days – one year and three months – in their lifetime putting on cosmetics, the equivalent of over a whole week every year.
Source: Daily Mail, 20th February 2013
The second half of 2012 was a dark time for women, where on average each day they lost a full day of their lives to make-up application. A year later, online retailer FeelUnique.com dealt women a further blow:
Average woman spends £15k in her lifetime replacing make-up she has lost
Women mislay so much makeup they spend a staggering £15,872 replacing it during their lifetime, according to a new study.
The research found losing expensive cosmetics now costs the typical British woman £248 a year.
Those who do their makeup on the morning commute are some of the worst hit, with one in three leaving some on public transport.
Source: Daily Mail, 9th May 2013
Back in March 2010 women were only spending £9,000 on make-up in their lifetime, but by May 2013 they’re spending almost double that amount on make-up that never gets fully used? What a nightmare. I mean, it’s bad enough that women are shedding expensive make-up items left, right and centre, but it’s a further kick in the teeth that the ones most heavily hit are those who try to claw back a few precious minutes from the make-up abyss by multitasking their cosmetic routine with their commute.
Fast-forward to a few months later Superdrug came along to revise their estimates:
Price of beauty: Average woman will spend more than £18,000 on her face in a lifetime
From anti-ageing moisturisers to blemish-hiding foundations and lash extending mascaras – it costs money to look good.
And now the price of beauty has been calculated in a study that has found the average woman will spend more than £18,000 on her face in her lifetime.
Source: Daily Mail, 11th September 2013
Either women’s make-up consumption had doubled between 2010 and 2013, perhaps to keep in line with the apparent exponential growth in the time they spend applying it, or Superdrug must be pretty embarrassed to have originally underestimated their market by such a huge margin. If anyone ought to know how much money there is in the cosmetics market, it should be them. Still, we finally have entirely-accurate figures at least – a point which the Daily Mail celebrated by running the exact same story again, a fortnight later.
Superdrug’s best estimate stood for a few months, only to be challenged in January 2014 by ‘Health and Wellbeing Retailer’ (I know, right?) Beurer:
Women wear make-up for more than half their life: One in five admit they would refuse to open the door while bare-faced
The average woman will spend more of her life wearing make-up than not, according to a new report yesterday.
In a typical day, women will have a face full of cosmetics for nearly 13 hours a day and will have just 11 hours free from it.
Researchers surveyed a total of 2,000 women in a detailed study about women’s make-up habits and beauty routines.
The poll by health and wellbeing brand Beurer found the typical woman puts on her ‘face’ at precisely 8am and spends 11 minutes applying it.
The research discovered that the average women will spend £121 on cosmetics in a typical year and has around 13 items in her make-up bag.
Source: Daily Mail, 30th January 2014
Stick with me, as there’s a bit of maths to do here: if we roughly estimate that women wear make-up from the age of around 16 and continue to do so all the way up to the end of her life expectancy at 71, we can see that £121 per year is around £6,700 across a lifetime. Equally, 11 minutes spent applying each day works out at a little over 153 days. Crude estimates, of course, but it’s clear that Beurer’s extensive and entirely-respectable research comes in way, way below the figures we’ve seen thus far.
However, if anything, Beurer’s research just shows the value of peer review – because a few months later FeelUnique.com hit back, blowing the paltry £6,700 estimate out of the water:
Women spend £100,000 on make-up in their lifetime … and 60% say they would rather ditch their man than go without cosmetics
Ever wondered just how much we spend on make-up over our lifetime, or how much star power really affects the way we shop?
A new infographic reveals just that, showcasing a collection of research from dozens of British surveys into women’s and men’s grooming habits.
Source: Daily Mail, 1st July 2014
This one is a truly staggering finding – not only does it dwarf the previous figure, but it raises all other make-up estimates by an order of magnitude. Our previous record was set by Bionsen in 2011, who estimated the cost of all cosmetic products at £100,000 – yet FeelUnique.com claim their £100,000 figure only includes make-up. That’s a staggering rise of over 1000% from Superdrug’s obviously-accurate and utterly-reliable £9,000 back in 2010.
Clearly, 2014 was a golden age for the make-up industry, who could presumably expect to earn over three trillion pounds over the lifetimes of the 32.2m women in the UK. Strange, then, that the entire cosmetics industry (of which make-up represents a slice) was worth only £8.4 billion in 2013, according to the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association.
Perhaps the CTPA foresaw the oncoming crash of the cosmetics industry, which presumably happened between July 2014 and August 2015 – or how else could we account for Vaseline finding women’s total lifetime make-up spending to be an eighth of of the 2014 ‘research’? And what has happened in women’s lives that mean, according to Vaseline, they spend almost five times as much time applying make-up as Beurer claimed they did in 2014?
In case you’re struggling to keep up, here’s a simplified version of the ‘findings’:
||Specialist Make-Up Services
* figure is based on how much make-up women lose in their lifetime, not how much they buy
** 11 mins per day for 55 years, ie from aged 16 until life expectancy at 71
*** £121 per year for 55 years, ie from aged 16 until life expectancy at 71
So, what have we learnt? Well, the next time you see a story in the paper revealing the shocking amounts of time and money women spend on cosmetics, you should bear in mind that the model in the picture isn’t the only part of the story that’s totally made up.