AMoPM beauty stash cost

Numbers November | The true cost of beauty is…

AMoPM beauty stash cost
…a little less than $1200.

At least, that’s what it costs for me.

That’s roughly the cost of a MacBook Air; two iPhones; a good DSLR kit (camera, spare lens and a tripod); or airfare to a wonderful, tropical paradise.

Or to put things more into context – that amount of money gets you VIB Rouge status at Sephora.

After Organize October I debated tallying up how much my stash costs. I knew it was going to be quite high and wasn’t looking forward to knowing how much – even if it was a ballpark figure.

While I’m not one to get too personal on the blog, I feel this is an appropriate post to talk a bit about myself. If I’m offering tips via Numbers November, I figure it would make sense to give you a picture of what I spend and how I got to this point.

I just want to preface that this is an approximate of how much everything costs. This does not necessarily reflect how much I actually paid for it all.

I don’t have exact prices for everything for a number of reasons, of which I will name a few.

• I rounded up for ballpark pricing. When I couldn’t find the RRP (recommended retail price), I cautiously added up to what I thought things would cost.
• There are a lot of stuff which spans a number of currencies. In fact, I’d say a good two-thirds of my stash is from Korea, Japan or souvenirs from jaunts around the world. I am way too lazy to calculate them all into one currency. Besides, the amounts would all be approximates anyway.
• My stash is the result of years of accumulating stuff. Most of my stash are things purchased by me, though there are the odd products that were gifts from friends and family.
• Most of the things (read: high-end items, beauty tools and all the multiples) were bought on massive promotions. When I like something and it goes on sale, I stock up!
• I cast the net wide on what constitutes “beauty”. I have included everything in my beauty arsenal: my large, unopened stash; hair stuff (brushes, hair ties); nail stuff; makeup; skin care; and accessories. Also included in my beauty price tag are things that are not conventional beauty products, e.g. coconut oil and ACV.
• A large chunk of the total comes from beauty tech and tools, such as hair brushes, makeup brushes and cleansing tools (my Foreo and Clarisonic Mia). I have never paid full price for any of my high-end items – I’m not made out of money – but have kept an eye out for promotions or good deals on eBay.

Even though this is an estimate, I did go through a tumult of emotions getting to this point.

First there was terror and shock. It’s that high?!

Then, confusion. How did this happen?!

Then, denial. No way that’s how much the stuff atop my counter costs!

And finally, complete and utter panic, coupled with a terribly horrific and darkly funny thought.

If someone were to break it to my home, my skin care stash would be the thing to grab. Nothing – my electronics, my clothes, my impressive (awesome) stationery collection – comes close to how much my accumulated stash costs. 

spending habits

Looking at my stash, I’ve realized that my priorities are skin care. No surprise there if you’re familiar with the blog. I don’t use a lot of makeup – though when I do, it’s mostly department store because I can’t find a good shade for my skin tone.

The perils of being a darker minority!

When it comes to makeup, I like to keep things classic. Contrary to the experimental spirit of cosmetics use, I rarely stray from the things that I normally do – clean, full brows; fresh base; and bold lip.

What I’m more concerned about is preserving my skin. I spend a lot on my skin care, but I find that it pays off. I spend quite a bit on sunscreen – I go through several bottles (check this vacation post) and I spend a lot on cleansing and moisturizing.

Similarly, I like to spend money on quality ingredients. I like to stay away from anything with parabens, phthalates, fragrance and other chemicals. I prefer to keep the chemicals down to a minimum and the ingredient list to something I can easily pronounce.

While I love novelty, I’ve curbed the impulse – somewhat – to just buy something for the sake of it looking cool.

Skin care – and beauty as a whole – are all about constant innovation. There’s a never-ending pressure to find the hottest new ingredient or clinch an advancement in anti-aging. I will always be a magpie and an absolute sucker for trying the newest thing, but I’m getting a bit more discerning and a bit more cynical of claims as I age.

things I won’t spend money on

I don’t like spending money on stuff purely because it’s cheap. If I don’t see myself using it for at least halfway through, I don’t let myself buy it.

I don’t just buy things because they’re on sale. They have to be things I would reasonably use.

Most importantly, I don’t spend money on things because I feel I need to feel accepted or because I don’t like the way I look. Let me first say: I don’t have a problem with plastic surgery. If that is something you elect on doing, that’s totally fine.

But I have seen people go to some crazy lengths for beauty and to create in their minds the perfect vision of themselves.

I ask myself and you: at what cost are we willing to achieve the perfect image?


I wanted to kick off Numbers November with a bang and start a discussion on why we spend how we do.

Your beauty total and inventory may be a lot lower than mine; it may be quite higher than mine. I have a lot, which was a factor in why I started blogging on beauty. Not the other way around.

My primary concern is skin care. I want glowing, flawless skin. My skin isn’t necessarily bad. It’s definitely not terrible. At worst, it can look tired and lifeless with minor hyper pigmentation and spots.

I am not much of a brand snob that I think that one company, or one product, has the answer to perfect beauty. While I do think you get what you pay for, I don’t necessarily think more expensive is best.

Though I do buy fancy tools, only seven items in my complete beauty stash – hair, body, face, makeup, nails – are over $50.

I spend because I want to improve on and maintain my appearance. I have a healthy level of self-esteem and I believe it’s quite normal to want to look good – as long as it doesn’t consume you in some way.

I have to wonder, though, at how I got to this cost.

The pervasiveness and general success of beauty advertising?
Curiosity and the feeling of maybe there’s something better suited for me out there yet to be bought?
The joy – or habit – of consuming?


As much as I want to – and believe me, I do – I’m not going to ask for a ballpark figure on your stash. I’m not so nosy that I would be that rude. But I do wonder about your spending habits. What comes into play when you make a purchase?

Let us know in the comments below or via social media!

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12 thoughts on “Numbers November | The true cost of beauty is…

  1. I just considered working it out. But then I realised I have probably $2000 worth of nail polish alone, and quickly got horrified. In my defense, makeup and everything beauty is crazy expensive in NZ -2-3x that of the US.

    1. Yeah – I know what you mean Lena! I had debated for a while knowing it was going to be high and dreading the rough cost, but I knew I had to do it! Seriously consider it! No one but you has to know how much you spend. I agree though – a lot of things do cost more, especially if it’s an export or you have to do online shopping. Add to all of that taxes and that factors into a higher total. Thanks for commenting and stopping by!

    1. Hey Paige! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Yeah – it was a pretty heady process getting to a rough estimate. I have a lot of stuff, so I knew it was going to be a bit high. I would definitely recommend the exercise to other people. It really helps to question why you buy what you buy on occasion.

  2. I really like the idea of this! For the most part, I do a lot of research before buying products.. but I tend to stick to what works for me. I think skin care is a good investment though.. taking care of your skin is important!


    1. Thanks for commenting and stopping by Sam! Yeah – I encourage everyone just to go through a quick tally of their stash. For the most part, I do a lot of research as well. Ultimately though, you never know – with certainty – what works for you without trying it first.

    1. I know Chie! I figure our amounts are a lot higher than someone who is a casual user of beauty. Trying new beauty products is a hobby and interest of mine. This costs money!

      My stash didn’t take a long time to calculate, mostly because I have multiples of a lot of stuff so I just multiplied it all.

      Try tallying it all up after #nospendbeautyban. It’ll be a lot less since you’ve been using your stash and it will totally make you feel better! Trust!

  3. Wow that is a lot of stuff you have! I think for me, my money tends to go more on tools than anything else. I love good quality make-up brushes but luckily have always used the same basic brand of make-up, which isn’t that expensive. I’m starting to think that I should try other stuff though as I know that there is so much out there!
    Thanks for linking up at the Talented Tuesday link party!

    1. Hi Natalie! Thanks for stopping by! Yes – tools are a pretty sound investment. Good ones stand the test of time and really make a difference!

  4. Hmm interesting topic! I have no idea what mine is; quite a bit of my stash is made up of products send as PR samples, so that does help keep my costs down. I prefer to spend on skincare if I’m going to spend on anything, or makeup that touches my skin, like foundation. That being said, I have noticed my preferences for lipsticks, shadows and blushes veering more towards the higher end than before *guilty face*. Surprisingly, I spend little on tools!

    1. Thanks for your comment JoJo! I know what you mean – my lipsticks tend to be a bit more high-end. For me, it’s a combination of ambience, convenience and the fact that I am able to research ingredients lists for more higher-end products than drugstore ones. Any particular reasons why you may be purchasing high-end?

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