Mrs Money Mustache: Eliminating Lady Temptations

Eliminating Lady Temptations
An Indefinite, Ongoing Series by Mrs. Money Mustache

Being a Lady myself, I’ve fallen prey to lady spending in the past and occasionally find myself suddenly “needing” lady things out of the blue. Such as cute shoes, for instance.  I have also witnessed many seemingly normal and intelligent women declare that they need to go in for a manicure ASAP because their nails simply look horrific! Egads!

It seems that ladies like to spend money on products and services that help them achieve a sense of belonging or importance in society.  Things that make them look good and feel good.  Things other women have.

I can understand the feeling.. but these usually end up being short-lived “feel good” purchases that are later regretted and could have been replaced by something else that is totally free.  Moreover, women often compliment each other on these purchases, therefore reinforcing these beliefs more and more.  Why do we do this to ourselves?

Case in point: I have quite a few gray hairs that I have chosen not to color.  I have had many, many women tell me that I need to get these taken care of pronto!  But yet I have had an equal number of men compliment me on my gray and tell me they think it is beautiful.  I think the men may have it right, for once.

And what about the children?  Yes, the children!  As mothers, what are we teaching our children?  In my opinion, we are teaching them something that is potentially very destructive: that we place a lot of value on how we look, that we will pay to look a certain way, and that we reward ourselves with services or products that help us look or feel good.  We are teaching our children to become consumers and that their very happiness depends on it! The existence of spas for little girls is proof enough that we have a serious epidemic going on here (look it up, they really do exist).

In this series, we will be discussing several tactics for eliminating lady temptations from our lives.  These lady temptations include, but are not limited to: spending on shoes, clothing, make-up, books, manicures/pedicures, massages, fancy outings, etc.

Before we start, let’s begin by addressing the original source of modern Lady Temptations: The Shopping Mall.

The best and easiest way to start your recovery from the Temptations is to NEVER, EVER go shopping just for fun… EVER.  If you are a recreational shopper, please stop immediately. There is no such thing as “Retail Therapy”. Go for a walk, pick some flowers, hug your family.  Get your groceries from a Grocery Store or a Farmer’s Market (not Target).  If you’re going to buy shoes (after establishing a definite need), go in and get the hell out.  Be efficient.

And now on to today’s lesson: make-up.

Step 1:  Eliminate your need for make-up

I’m the first to admit that I don’t know as much as some ladies about this substance.  I do know that some women love to buy it — often very expensive stuff that promises to reverse aging and turn you into the most beautiful woman in the world.  In fact, the plethora of available products for your skin and hair is mind-boggling.

But doesn’t make-up usually make you look older? And, wouldn’t putting a bunch of chemicals on your face actually be bad for your skin and potentially age it prematurely?  What about wearing a hat when it’s sunny? Wouldn’t that work better?

I have heard that make-up can help make a person feel good, but it is really just a mask that women wear.  Sure, I can understand wanting to hide a giant zit under some skin colored product, but even then, one tiny bottle of a product could last you a year or two, couldn’t it?  I once purchased a bottle of foundation in high school that lasted until I graduated college.  You make-up purists out there will yell at me and tell me that “foundation doesn’t last more than 6 months at room temperature!” Well, I’ve just proven you wrong.

What about blush?  Doesn’t everyone want a nice rosy glow?  Well, how about going for a run or doing a few push-ups before going out instead?  That’ll do the trick every time.  Do you want bright glowing eyes?  Get some sleep.  Red lips?  Give them a little nibble and you’ll be just fine.  Want to radiate from the inside out? Smile!

The funny thing is that most women buy make-up in order to feel and/or look better.  Personally, I feel like a fool when I wear make-up.  The only thing that makes me feel and look good is being clean and healthy.  Nothing makes you feel better than biking around town and getting a natural glow, washing your face, exercising, smiling, drinking lots of water, eating organic apples.  Try it.

Take inventory of your make-up right now.  You may have a lot more than you thought.  Tomorrow when you wake up, try not wearing any at all.  Go out for a brisk morning walk after a full 7-8 hours of beauty sleep.  Take a shower.  Drop and give me 20.  Smile.  Then, take a deep breath and just go.  Leave your mask behind.  Write in and tell me how you did.


  • The Dutch Clean Shave June 5, 2011, 11:14 am

    Beware: bloke speaking.

    So true. To me grey hairs say you’ve experienced life. If you have no grey hairs over 35, good for you, if it is natural. You get your fair share of gray hairs in tough times (case in point, get google pictures of any US president before and after his term in office), and a few strands of gray after having weathered any storm should be seen as a badge of pride. If you lie about your hair colour, and I find out, what other things can I expect you to lie about?

    Besides, from my experience, the “putting it on with a spatula”/”roll around in a bag of nacho’s”, and I’m quoting a girl here, are in for a treat: it is generally not appreciated by men, and it just makes us think you are insecure about your appearance (after putting on a thick layer, you actually should be insecure).

    • The Dutch Clean Shave June 5, 2011, 11:20 am

      Sorry, re-reading this and figuring out I should clarify:
      I’m talking about the crowd that lays on a thick layer and the girl’s quote is the derisive statement about rolling around in a bag of nachos.
      Getting all enthusiastic about something makes me leave out words and garble the sentence structure. My bad.

      • Mrs. Money Mustache June 6, 2011, 10:32 am

        Hello Mr. Dutch! It’s great to hear a bloke’s perspective. I find that most quality men have the same opinion. :)

        • Asha September 25, 2015, 7:54 pm

          Most quality men I know don’t police how women handle their bodies and faces and do not demean women who try look better – for themselves and not for men. I’m in the rare makeup brigade who has products several years old but men who judge women are not cool

  • Derptastic June 5, 2011, 3:51 pm

    I’m saving this to show my future wife. Also, I agree, grey hairs on a woman often look attractive.

    • Mrs. Money Mustache June 6, 2011, 10:33 am

      Haha! Hopefully she’s not insulted. Again, another quality man opinion. Seems there are a lot of those around here! Single ladies, pay attention. ;)

  • mike crosby June 5, 2011, 4:34 pm

    I’ve recently subscribed to your blog and enjoyed it. Now it’s even more of a joy to see that Mrs Money Mustache is frugal and sensible too.

    It’s amazing women get sucked into what they think makes them look good. A friend showed me her new nails and was disappointed that I hadn’t complemented her. She’s a dear friend and I didn’t want to tell her what I was really thinking, “Gee, how bout trying to lose a couple hundred pounds?”.

    • Mrs. Money Mustache June 6, 2011, 10:36 am

      Hmmm… good thing you didn’t actually say what you were thinking!!

      I do understand wanting to look good, especially when you don’t feel good on the inside. A lot of women have issues with self-esteem and it’s a difficult thing to get past. I do think that taking care of your mind and your body in natural ways can help some people get past their so-called imperfections and start to feel good about themselves again. In the meantime, maybe they need more compliments about the things that really matter.

  • Tammy June 5, 2011, 4:38 pm

    It’s good to hear this from another woman. The social pressure is huge for us women who don’t wear make up. I don’t primarily because every brand I’ve tried at one time or another over the years, eventually causes me to itch and my eyes to water. I feel so much better without it, and have given up on ever wearing it again. I’m getting used to this, liking it better, and am starting to notice all the successful women I know who don’t wear makeup.

    It’s wild how men are considered handsome just as they are, but women feel the need to hide themselves.

    • Rainbow Rivers June 5, 2011, 6:45 pm

      Guess I am far from typical here once I turned 25 I left my make up years behind and am a tom boy all the way. Although I was mortified to start going gray at 25! Now I find out my name sake, my great grandmother went gray at 25 so I share more than her name and damn proud of it! Give me a good pair of tennis shoes for hiking, although prefer barefoot I am happy, I only have one pair of shoes.

      I admit I did color my hair until 35 but then decided I earned the wisdom of my beautiful gray hair which is almost solid silver white now. One exception when I wanted to slide under a table is we went out to eat one night at dinner time rush hour and this elderly man told my daughter she better ask grandma for a balloon (ME)

      I must of gave a look because he said well you are her grandma aren’t you? I said no sir, I am her MOTHER. He started shouting OH MY GOD WHEN DID YOU GO SO WHITE! I THOUGHT YOU WERE IN YOUR 60’s at least! he went on and on and EVERYONE in the restraunt stopped eating to stare while I nervously laughed but wanted to die inside!

      Oh well at least people have stopped calling me my HUSBANDS MOTHER who by the way is only 2 years younger than me!

      Guess I never fell into the “womanly” needs other than an occasional bubble bath with scented candles! (which fortuantly is frugal!)

      Matter fact hubby asked how much he needed back at our first date and I told him nothing and to test him our date was a 6 mile hike! He thought he was gonna die but now adays he can keep up!

      Loved this post from you Mrs. MMM!

    • Mrs. Money Mustache June 6, 2011, 10:43 am

      Yes! You often hear that men become more handsome as they age. I feel better and better as I age (so far, anyway) and my gray makes me feel wise, even though I’m far from being wise.

      It’s interesting that make-up gave you an allergic reaction. I bet this is true for many products that people use and that it’s just not very noticeable for most of us. Congratulations on being happy just the way you are!

      There is a lot of social pressure too! Another benefit of not going to work is that you forget all about this social pressure and you can be more yourself.

      • Emily July 2, 2014, 9:04 am

        I’m 54 yrs old and have just a few gray hairs so far. I have no intention of dying my hair. I like to think of my gray hairs as my natural high lights!

  • Geek June 5, 2011, 8:36 pm

    Yeah I’m going to be paying for some of the girliness for a while yet. Guys hardly notice or care (especially in the software industry) :)
    And when they do, they say “oh it’s so nice you don’t wear makeup”. ;P

    • Jacob February 21, 2012, 4:36 pm

      I actually say this all the time! I’ve told multiple women how much I love that they don’t wear makeup and how beautiful they look as a result. My girlfriend wears only mascara, but even that drives me nuts (I don’t say anything since it’s such a small thing and she doesn’t use anything else).

      Men may suck at being open about this stuff, but many of us feel the same way about this topic. To each his/her own, though.

  • Jenny June 5, 2011, 8:52 pm

    I don’t wear makeup either – the rare occasion out, and even then very light, and a small supply has gotten me years of use, many years, in fact. I also don’t use moisturizers or special soaps or anything. Honestly, I’m lucky to shower twice a week and I just don’t have time for these things and they’re not really my priority. I also hate shopping, and only go to the store with a list, especially for things for myself. I also find I can get every piece of clothing I need at our local thrift store. I gave up dying the gray hairs out, as I suddenly got a TON after a particularly hard time in my life, but I did find a”hair training” school where I can get cuts for cheap.

    • Mrs. Money Mustache June 6, 2011, 10:44 am

      Awesome Jenny! Thrift stores are a great place to shop. People throw out the best stuff sometimes.

  • Jen June 5, 2011, 9:45 pm

    Nice to hear there are other women like this out there, I thought I was the only one!

  • megan June 6, 2011, 6:07 am

    i think there is a difference between feeling as though you HAVE to wear makeup just to look acceptable, and wearing some just because you think it’s fun.

    i know a woman who so rarely leaves the house without her “full face” on, that when she has gone without here and there, folks ask if she’s feeling okay! i definitely don’t want to get into that position.

    but i do have fun playing with colors and looks (silvery blue angelic one day, black eyeliner bad girl the next, etc.) and don’t spend much money on it. totally agree that it’s frivolous and unneceesary, but so are a lot of fun things. :)

    • Mrs. Money Mustache June 6, 2011, 11:01 am

      Hi Megan – good point! It can be fun to wear make-up, especially on Halloween. :) All joking aside, I get what you’re saying and I know that make-up is not necessarily something that costs a lot of money if you just buy eyeliner once a year, for example.

      However, when you’re trying to eliminate unnecessary spending in order to “retire” early, the little things really add up. We all choose something that we continue to do, that makes us feel good, because we think it’s worth the cost. We just have to actually know what the true cost is and feel that it’s worthwhile… and be reminded of what it’s actually taking away from us.

      I think it depends on where you are currently and what your goals are. If you want to stay home with your kids, for example, as I did, then every single dollar counts until you get there. You really strip down and go into uber-frugal mode because the goal is such an important one. Every single dollar that is spent is taking you away from your goal. That goal is a very powerful thing if it’s something that you really care about, as it was for me.

      Once you reach your goal, you can choose some luxuries in order to maintain your current situation, if those luxuries truly make you feel happy. My huge luxury is joining a crossfit gym. If I started buying make-up or getting pedicures, I would have to give up crossfit. I know that crossfit makes me much happier and healthier than any of those other things. BUT, I would have NEVER joined a crossfit gym before I reached my goal. That would have been pure insanity.

  • ES June 6, 2011, 6:20 am

    I like to think that I get my retail therapy out of going to thrift stores. The nature of thrifting is such where you never know what you are going to find that you might need or want. I also believe that in the case of going to Goodwill I am trading my time for money (culling the racks for the perfect item at the perfect price). While I could probably curb this activity more than I do (I spend around $20 at Goodwill every two weeks), I like to think that it saves me money in the long-run. This last trip I made I found a pair of fancy Italian sandals for $1.50, six clothing items for summer, and a cook book. I also like to consider my thrift store shopping as a donation to whatever organization runs the thrift stores that I frequent. I also play the “drug store” game to get cosmetics items for free or close to free. While I do realize I am giving in to consumeristic impulses in my discount/used items shopping, I also believe there are benefits to these practices that help me live a more balanced life.

  • Laura June 6, 2011, 6:41 am

    Thanks for this post and I’m looking forward to this series!

    My husband just went through a several-month period of unemployment and I gave up expensive haircuts and eyebrow waxing and I’m not going back to getting them done now that he has a good paying job.

    I’ve also stopped wearing eye-makeup as it hurts my eyes and I’m trying to embrace the more natural look.

    I love your advice about exercise and drinking water and healthy living making you look the best.

  • Heidi June 6, 2011, 7:42 am

    Makeup has never been much of a money hole for me since, as so many are pointing out–being active and outdoors doesn’t mix well with makeup.
    I have a cute little girl, age 3, who gets lots of attention in public so I can see how much reinforcement there is for looks. I think its so important that we recognize her looks and move on to her achievements, good behavior, and place in our family.

  • Kevin M June 6, 2011, 7:47 am

    Rock on Mrs. MMM. I like the part about the example we’re setting for our children. I’ve heard that voice inside more and more since becoming a parent – are you teaching your kids the right things by taking action “X”?

    Also (as a male) I can attest that the natural look is much more attractive. Part of the reason I was attracted to my wife – she wears little to no makeup. Nothing worse than getting close to a woman and realizing they are caked in goo.

    • Mrs. Money Mustache June 6, 2011, 10:48 am

      Yeah, I think that we all need to be made more aware of the message we’re sending our kids. In fact, the main reason I don’t wear make-up is probably because my mom didn’t either. There are so so many messages we send our kids every day without realizing it.

      My best friend in high school wore tons of make-up and it literally took her an hour to “get her face on”. Her mom was the same way.

      I also know people that get up BEFORE their boyfriend/husband in the morning just to get their make-up on before he wakes up. Now, that’s a real problem!

  • Joan June 6, 2011, 10:17 am

    I don’t do makeup either, but I am considering coloring my hair. I am a little bit grayer than the picture and I also have dark hair. I am thinking no, and my husband thinks I should just be “silver foxy”! No one really talks about my gray hairs, except my mother, who is 70 and constantly colors her hair.

    I am blessed to have a husband who doesn’t care about makeup and nails and in fact hates them. I told this to a group of ladies once and they all were shocked. They all asked “what’s wrong with feeling pretty sometimes?” I was shocked that they feel they need all that to feel pretty!

    Thanks for the great post. I’ve enjoyed a lot of the posts here. They are relevant and important. Thank you!

    • Mrs. Money Mustache June 6, 2011, 11:05 am

      Don’t do it Joan! Stay silver and foxy! :)

      I’ve colored my hair every once in a while, on the cheap, from a box. I’ve decided to stop completely and see how it goes. You can do it too!

      Thanks for all the comments everyone. It’s encouraged me to write about the next lady temptation.

    • Sofie November 12, 2013, 10:34 am

      That’s the problem right there. You don’t need makeup to feel pretty, just like you don’t need alcohol to have fun with friends, to eat cookies to be happy, etc. People tend to have that kind of belief really deep, though.

      • guessingatgreen February 17, 2019, 7:19 pm

        Super late to the party but I wanted to add that I recently switched from professional “salon” style coloring to henna from Henna Color Lab. For about $10 a bag of henna powder, I get all organic, no chemical color in a rich chestnut brown, and only do my roots every few weeks. 2x a year I do a full head (since too much dye is like wood stain on your ends for henna – it gets WAY dark!) so for $10, I get basically 6 months of luxurious red-brown hair/whatever color I want that isn’t blonde. I found that the minute I let go of the (socially imposed/ex-boyfriend imposed) need to be a blonde and go a little darker, I saved a TON of money, and reduced the chemical crud in my hair.

  • Brandy June 6, 2011, 2:37 pm

    Ok, I see your point that makeup is a waste of money, but it makes me feel pretty. For example, I was in a wedding recently and the bride paid for us to get our hair and makeup done. I got so many compliments that night and when the bride showed me some of the pictures from that day, I can’t believe how good I look. I scrolled right past myself in the online photo album because I didn’t realize that it was me. I am not that pretty! But makeup changed the way I look. On a regular basis, I usually just wear a little lipgloss, some foundation and blush and it makes me feel better about myself. Maybe it shouldn’t but if a little makeup can make me feel pretty, why not?

    I don’t spend a lot of money on it. Maybe $50-100/year. I want to retire early and am working hard on my goals, but my goals include a little treat for myself: makeup.

    • Sue in SmellA June 6, 2011, 5:55 pm

      I think I’m more in the Brandy category than Mrs. MM. I have drastically cut down my makeup spending in the past two years. Not looking at women’s magazines has really helped!
      I could’ve used this article before the weekend: I got a manicure and eyebrows done! That was my indulgence for the month, though.
      Thanks Mrs. MM, hope to hear more from you as the blog rolls on!

    • Mrs. Money Mustache June 7, 2011, 2:12 pm

      Hi Brandy and thanks for your comment!

      I agree that many women feel prettier with make-up on. We also feel good with new clothing and fancy shoes. I guess my point with this whole series is the cumulative effect of all this spending to make us feel good. How far do we go? And, what does this say about our culture?

      For you, it might just be $50-$100 per year on make-up, which doesn’t seem like a big deal, especially if it increases your happiness on a day to day basis. But, if you have a “beauty” category in your spending, it may include a lot of other things like numerous hair products (shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, etc.), creams, special soaps, manicures, pedicures, massages, waxing, and other treatments. Not to mention trips to spas or an expensive outing to “relax and get away”. You could probably lump in unnecessary clothing in there as well, like owning more than one bathing suit for instance. I think this category could end up being a pretty big part of a woman’s spending. I know for some women it may be a lot more than they think. But, we deserve these things, don’t we?

      Both you and Sue mention “treating yourself” and “indulgence for the month”. I understand where you’re coming from and I do this myself too (I recently treated myself to new workout shorts after sticking with my workouts for 6 months), but I’m trying to change my ideas of what an indulgence might be… Something that might truly make me happy like a hike with a friend or a day to myself at the library.

      Also, on the non-savings side, I guess I see it as a flaw of our culture to embrace physical beauty so much more than other things. As Sue points out below, not looking at women’s magazines makes a big difference. Also, as you point our in your post, you got compliments on your appearance because of the make-up you were wearing! That seems crazy to me, as I mention in the article. The fact that you didn’t even recognize yourself in the pictures is interesting too… it may be that the pictures were altered, as wedding pictures often are, but why wouldn’t you want to look like yourself? I get what you’re saying, but it should make us pause and think a bit.

      So, while make-up is not necessarily evil or expensive, I think it is just one of the many things that make us feel good in an artificial way — and if make-up makes us feel good, then other more expensive things will as well. We just need to be aware of how much we spend on beauty products and services and determine if the costs are really worth it and if they truly make us happy.

      • Christi Leong March 1, 2014, 5:14 pm

        Dear Mrs. MM,

        About a month ago, I started reading this blog and I absolutely love it! Being a student (at CSU Fort Collins, so I’m a “neighbor!”) there are great tips and so many things that I “wish I would have known”…I’m one of those who wish I had read this blog while I was in my 20s, but hey better late than never!

        Anyway, it was this topic that I had to comment on, I love your outlook on the lady temptations…and, I appreciate that you do feel it OK to spend money on Crossfit (I used to race triathlons and a little more competitively in college, so every now and then I do spend some money on race entries that is very non-mustachian, but they make me feel good and add a lot more to my life than make-up/new clothes do! So with that, I loved this post.

        On the topic of make-up and clothes, I know that my grandmother for years would color her hair (we’re asian, so it would be not true black, but a very uncomfortable shade of blue-ish purple) and when the time came for my mom to color her hair, she decided “eff that, I don’t have the time or the money!”…and so, she’s aged gracefully, she has a little white hair mixed in with her beautiful long black hair and I know I’ll do the exact same. My mother has always told me that (and this is more of her religious view than mustachian view) you’re born how you are and how you’re supposed to be (i.e. “god created you like this christi”)…and any physical alterations to that she’s always been so, so critical (breast implants, botox, whatnot!)…and so, as I’m getting older I’ve noticed a lot more eye lines and a couple white hairs here and there (yikes as I’m still in my 20s!) but you know what? I like it. :) It’s just how I am and if I have eye lines than hell–it’s because I’ve lived and because I’ve laughed and smiled a lot, which I am 100% fine with! No botox and no coloring my hair for me as I age! (And I’m glad you’re not coloring your hair either, you’re beautiful just as you are!)

        I applaud the way you and MMM are raising your son and for your values you’re imparting to him and your other family members/friends. It’s a wonderful way to be and thanks so much for this blog. It reminds me daily of what I need to strive for and what type of life I want to live!

  • Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple June 8, 2011, 8:30 pm

    Great post! I am lucky that I only have a few gray hairs at (almost)-41, and I’m blond-ish, so you can’t really see them.

    But makeup. I don’t wear it. I did, for awhile. In late HS I put it on with a trowel. But slowly over the years, it dropped to nothing. Probably by the age of 25.

    Now I work in a fab so I can’t wear makeup anyway. I own a little bit. I wear it about 4 times a year. I got my makeup done for a wedding once, and it was nice. It smoothed out those age spots on my cheeks from 10 years running outdoors in Cali with no sunscreen (stupid!)

  • Me June 20, 2011, 12:47 pm

    My mom never wore makeup, colored her hair, got manicures or pedicures or wore nail polish, or anything. She still doesn’t. She has cut her own hair her whole life, and cut mine and my dad’s. Growing up there was zero emphasis on anyone’s looks, including mine. I actually feel that it had an adverse effect. When you’re a kid, you don’t think about looks or realize anything about them (at least I didn’t). Eventually I was being teased mercilessly and it took me a while to understand why. Looking back at photos I think, OMG. A decent haircut, some hair conditioner, and some braces would have done wonders for me…maybe even some gender appropriate clothes. It took me until I was 18 to wear women’s jeans, 22 to dye my hair and 25 to wear makeup. At 32 I still feel like I’m learning, and I have low self-image.

    • Brandy June 20, 2011, 2:05 pm

      I know how you feel! I never wore makeup until I was in college and felt so lost and far behind.

      • MMM June 20, 2011, 6:40 pm

        Hmm.. these last two comments are interesting – it sounds like they are from a very different culture than the utopian non-makeup area of Colorado where we live. The very culture that the article is suggesting we could grow past as a society. Self image defined by makeup and dyed hair? Feeling lost and far behind because of lack of makeup? The article is suggesting that those are signs of an unhealthy culture, or an unhealthy perception one’s own culture.

        If I moved to a trendy area of Los Angeles, the Fancy Dudes there would probably suggest I had had a deprived upbringing and was living my life incorrectly because I have no hair highlights, tooth caps, or fake tan, and my body parts are all made only with natural food and exercise. But it would be their thinking, rather than mine, which is wrong.

    • Mrs. Money Mustache June 20, 2011, 8:29 pm

      This is interesting… thanks so much for commenting! It’s great to hear different points of view. I know women place a lot of importance on their appearance when it comes to self-image and this is exactly what I’m trying to fight against! :)

      My mom was the same way, although she did occasionally wear some make-up (to go out to fancy events), but I still discovered blue eyeshadow in the 1980s. And, if I look back at old photos of myself, it is absolutely horrifying, but I’m really glad my mom never suggested I tweeze my eyebrows or straighten my hair, even though I desperately needed it. Personally, I think that would have given me more of a complex.

      I think MMM has a good point about us living in a place where many women don’t wear make-up and tend to be more outdoorsy and natural in their beauty. It’s nice to be surrounded by like-minded folks and maybe that makes things a little easier.

      I’m pretty sure that many women had low self-image or self-esteem as teenagers. I certainly did and it seems everyone I talk to has as well. For me, being good at something (sports) and having a goal (going to University) is what eventually drove me out of that. I do feel like I don’t have a clue when it comes to beauty products, but as MMM mentioned, I think that’s more of a problem with our culture and not so much with me.

      • me (from above) June 22, 2011, 12:18 pm

        Yeah, that’s the thing, I will never know if more attention to looks would have actually made me worse in the long run. And I’m not talking about makeup, fake tan, or hair coloring here – I’m talking about clothes that fit properly, hair that doesn’t look like a rat’s nest, and teeth that don’t have big gaps in them! I live in a pretty crunchy granola type town (it is often compared to Austin TX) where natural woman are common. I didn’t want to look anything but natural and still don’t, just well groomed :)
        With that said, I love and respect my parents. They are just more “naturally” attractive than I am. If I don’t use conditioner, my hair looks like bozo. Neither of them needed it, their hair was just fine. Neither of them needed braces either. Things like that.

      • durangostash94 July 27, 2013, 7:47 pm

        I also live in Colorado in a very outdoorsy town. Many of my women friends wear no make-up. I have never worn it. My mom was too busy raising 7 kids to think about it much.

        I read through most of these comments, and am so glad I barely understand most of these make-up terms!! Bronzer? Cheek stain? The ginormous cosmetic industry must be so happy they have convinced so many women that they “need” these products in order to be happy. Me–I’d rather be on my mountain bike or playing ice hockey than trimming my eyebrows and worrying about the increasing number of my gray hairs.

  • melissa July 31, 2011, 7:46 pm

    Not everyone is as naturally gorgeous as you, MMM! :) I’ve been reading The Beauty Detox Diet book which I question some parts but mostly agree with, but basically the concept is if you eat well, you eventually won’t need so much make up and dye because your skin and hair, nails, etc will be fabulous. Until then, I will be using groupons for my facials.

    • Sofie November 12, 2013, 10:39 am

      Diet definitely matters – after I went lchf paleo everyone commented on how great I looked.

  • Lodell August 1, 2011, 7:04 am

    I purchase most of my make-up from my neighborhood dollar store. They have everything I need. At times they even have brand name products for a fraction of the cost. I check the make-up shelf each time I go because they don’t always carry the same products.

  • Chicknamedal August 14, 2011, 12:09 am

    I stopped wearing make up years ago. When I was young (in my 20s) I wouldn’t go through a drive through to get breakfast at 7 am on a Saturday without full 80s makeup on. I’m not sure what changed, but for the last several years my attitude is why bother? Why waste the time? Why put up with the hassle, the mess, the fuss? Frankly, I do not have the time to waste with it. If I feel the need to gussy up, I may wear one coat of mascara, but that’s only because my lashes are very thin. This is a rare occurrence.

    The best thing is that in the time I have been a non-makeupper, I have gotten TONS more comments about how young I look. Just the other day I got carded buying beer. I happily handed over my license only to have the clerk inspect & reinspect because she could not believe I was as old as my license says I am. Yepper, I told her, I’m pushing 50! Her response: “I hope I look as young as you when I’m that old!” So yeah, no makeup. Short hair cut for minimal fuss. I concoct my own bath additive (so nice to and for my naturally dry skin) and use home ingredients to add shine to my hair and pamper my skin. There are all sorts of facial recipes out there which really work.

    Now when I walk through a makeup department, I glance and keep on walking. 20 years ago, I spent literally hours shopping for makeup and girly stuff. So glad to be free of that!

  • Christine September 11, 2011, 11:16 am

    I am a month into my own “No Makeup Challenge,” with guidelines boiled down from your pointers– in addition to giving up my daily makeup mask there’s been plenty of sleep, exercise, and apple-eating in my routine. Ever since teenage-hood I it seemed that I was an ideal vessel for pimples, but in the last few weeks my skin has almost completely cleared up. So it appears that my problem was self-inflicted. Now, in addition to saving money I am looking better. The simplicity is perplexing! But in fact it’s so obvious– of course the chemicals I’ve been packing into my pores to cover imperfections were only worsening those very imperfections. My skin was crying out for oxygen and I responded by smothering it with more goopy chemicals. The scenario borders on irony! Thanks for the tipoff, Mrs. Money Mustache. You are one of my cherished lady heroes.

    • Mrs. Money Mustache September 18, 2011, 5:08 pm

      WOW! Amazing story, Christine. I’m so glad that your pores have discovered the joy of oxygen. You are awesome and my new lady hero.

  • Spork October 13, 2011, 10:57 am

    I’ve noticed that, for the most part, chicks don’t dress or dye or implant or wear makeup for guys…. they do it for other chicks. If you scroll up and peruse the comments you’ll see man after man saying how they love the natural look. (And face it: we’re pigs. We just don’t care, okay?)

    I’ve found that I, too, prefer the natural look. That goes for everything: make-up, hair color, teeth, boobs, etc. Women don’t all look alike… and that’s what makes one more interesting than another. It just might be that sprinkle of gray or that little gap in the front teeth that peaks my interest. If I want a Barbie doll, I’ll buy one at the toy store.

  • Kerry October 14, 2011, 2:57 am

    Hi Mrs MM, I’ve just heard of this blog and am enjoying it thoroughly. Saving money and watching it grow has always been a favorite hobby of mine! Pertaining to make-up, I’ve actually taught myself to make my own natural mineral make-up (no toxins). Of course you won’t be surprised to learn that it actually costs me $2.50 to make what would otherwise cost $40-$60 to purchase, and I have put far more luxurious ingredients in than you will find from any of the shop bought ones. I have enough raw ingredients to make my own make-up for many many years. Plus I am making make-up as gifts for family and friends.
    This year I began washing my hair with products from the kitchen and at the age of 40 a few grey hairs are starting to show but there is no way I am putting toxic chemicals on my head for the sake of vanity! My hair is long and curly so it only needs a trim once a year, a huge cost saving. I can’t believe how much some women spend on a cut and color every 6 weeks and I wouldn’t say that there hair looks particularly good for all the money spent. Keep up the good work Mrs. MM and Mr. MM.

    • JR-Fire March 31, 2012, 1:21 am

      HI, Kerry,
      That sounds great! Would you mind sharing a recipe or two because I’ve looked into making my own beauty products and it was about the same cost as the high-end natural products I buy at the organic store.

  • Sarah November 18, 2011, 9:56 am

    I would really like to agree with this, but as a pregnant woman my skin is going crazy, and I feel better with some foundation. Especially since now my face is quite red. I do think there is a lot of make up in my drawer that I can throw out, and that I can buy less.

  • nolajo February 2, 2012, 5:34 pm

    I’m going to have to be the dissenting opinion here (conveniently months after the other comments). A lot of people love the no-makeup look, but I don’t think many of them, particularly the men, realize how much makeup is sometimes involved in making women they see look un-made-up. I have, unfortunately, gotten asked at work by coworkers, if I was sick when I came to work without makeup on.

    Mind you, I almost never wear a full face – I think I spend less time on makeup than I do on brushing my teeth, but a bit of concealer, some lip and cheek stain, and some eyeliner go miles to making me look healthy and awake, particularly if it’s before noon. It’s ironic, but even my bike ride to work won’t replace the blush and I have tried, since my mother advocated a run before a date as the best way to look good. At best, my entire face gets red and splotchy, which simply isn’t the healthy flush I’m going for. And the under eye circles are genetic and all the sleep in the world won’t make ’em disappear. So $20 to $30 a year will continue to be devoted to vanity. Such is life.

    • Diana October 3, 2012, 11:18 am

      I agree with a little frugal use of makeup. I have a very yellow toned skin color, with medium golden brown hair and mid-range greenish eyes and very very sparse eyelashes. I also have vitiligo (white patches). With no makeup, I look very washed out, tired and old. With a small amount of foundation, and a touch of lip balm and lip color and blush, it makes a WORLD of difference. I also wear a little eyeshadow and mascara to “dress up”. What I have done to be frugal is find colors that truly complement my coloring, and I use them up. It takes years to use up eyeshadow and blush. Years to use up one lipstick. Buy good quality, return the products that don’t work for you, and stick to what does. P.S. I do my own nails, using a buffer for shine, don’t color my hair (at 55 there’s no grey yet! nyah nyah!), and pretty much look makeup free, just not half dead.

      • Elaine September 9, 2013, 12:17 pm

        This! I have the same coloring (Are you middle eastern too? Just curious!) I can go without makeup except for that concealer. Yellowy skin and green eyes look intense anyway, with dark circles I just can’t stand it. I buy one pot of concealer a year and call it a day. Especially since those bags are genetic and won’t really go away otherwise.

    • Jen July 21, 2013, 9:36 am

      This comment was so long ago, but I totally have to reply because I, too, have darker skin under my eyes (and on my eyelids), and if I ever skimped on wearing makeup to work, coworkers would make comments about me looking sick, too! I’ve never heard anyone else mention this problem before.

      It’s funny that all the men here say they prefer a no-makeup look. When I would make more effort with my eye makeup, men (yes, men, not women) would compliment it.

      Anyway, concealer is maybe $5 and lasts a couple years. ;)

    • Sofie November 12, 2013, 10:51 am

      It’s more about what they’re used to you looking like, I think. There was one girl at school who always wore heavy makeup, and seeing her without it was quite the shock – but being more critical, she didn’t look bad without it. It was just such a contrast to the heavy makeup.

      Also, diet & health. Bigger pants don’t cure obesity, foundation doesn’t cure acne from excessive sugar, and moisturizers don’t fix dry skin from eating too little fat.

  • msclydefrog February 27, 2012, 10:57 am

    I started getting gray hairs in high school and have been dying them away ever since. I wear zero make-up but I do spend a pretty penny on getting my hair cut. I do the dye job myself. For now, vanity wins and I acknowledge my hair cuts as a luxury that I enjoy very much.

  • Sarah March 15, 2012, 11:20 am

    I really like how shaped/trimmed eyebrows make me look (tried this for the first time professionally right before my wedding in 2009). I think it’s more effective than makeup, in a good way. That is why I now go to the salon that’s in my bathroom – that is, me, my mirror, and tweezers, a little brush, and a little scissor made for trimming eyebrows. That scissor cost about $20. It is for trimming the hairs that point inward. If you look at movie stars, you’ll see that this is what is done to them. The hairs pointing in, at the inner corner of each brow, are not removed but are trimmed. After I learned about this, and about under-eye concealer (which I didn’t know about until I was about 30), I started noticing that people in movies have this stuff on even in jungle scenes and when the character has supposedly been in a physically challenging environment for days, etc. So anyway I enjoy having eyebrows that I think look neat, and I also love not spending whatever to have it done at a salon, that is, a salon that’s not my bathroom.

  • Shiznik April 11, 2012, 12:07 pm

    When I struggle with guy temptations (video games and such) I come back and read this article and make analogies from the lady temptations. Great article, thanks for the help Mrs. MM!

  • Celia.Gri July 24, 2012, 7:37 am

    When I realized that I had no hope of ever looking like a woman in a magazine I looked towards Audrey Hepburn for help.

    “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone”. – Audrey Hepburn.

    Whaddya know. It works. My husband seems convinced that I am beautiful, without make-up.

    If make-up must be worn it can last much longer than the recommended three months. Make-up manufactures recommend this turn over saying that you collect microscopic germs on your make-up if you don’t keep buying new make-up. They are speaking to the germophobe in all of us. I am a slight germophobe but, I use my logic to keep myself in check.

    a) Microscopic germs are everywhere and you can’t do much about it

    b) Wash your face and hands first. If you shower then put make up on, which is a pretty logical sequence, all things should be clean.

    c) Use a make-up brush and clean it properly and your germs should not be mingling with the germs that already existed in the make up tube when you bought it.

    d) Always inspect your mascara wand before applying. I have never found any eye mites on mine, but I always check.

  • Jeremy Doolin July 27, 2012, 11:38 am

    Another man’s perspective here (and my first comment!).

    It was in my teenage years that I believe I discovered True Female Beauty, and my appreciation for it has only increased since then. I discovered that some of the girls and women that I thought were the most beautiful, looked very different with all the makeup washed off. Meanwhile, other girls and women who didn’t wear makeup, or not much at all, that I also thought were very attractive, always looked the same.

    At that point I started getting a feeling of deception when I observed heavy makeup use. Same with push-up bras, fake eyelashes, plastic fingernails, hair extensions, fake tans and breast augmentation. I saw these as negatives instead of positives. It eventually began to project a sense of insecurity to me and became a huge turnoff. Make up not so much because it’s such a social norm, but I still kept thinking, “Wash that shit off and let yourself shine.”

    I want to stress this, because I know I’m not the only man who feels this way: Acceptance of ones own appearance and character is *unbelievably* attractive. It elevates one’s beauty PERMANENTLY instead of temporarily and makes me want to be around them (regardless of romantic interest). Best of all, it’s free!

    My wife is my favorite example. She wears very little to no makeup, has natural eyelashes, skin color, lip color and has no “augmentation” of any sort. Her nails are completely clipped so she can play piano and bass guitar (Note: musical ability is far more captivating than meticulously cared for nails). And she is absolutely breathtaking to me. I’m talking, oh-my-goodness-I-can’t-believe-this-beauty-is-my-wife, drive me totally crazy gorgeous. And aside from a lovely natural physical beauty, a huge part of this is that she is totally comfortable in her own skin. Even if she feels there is room for improvement (like losing weight), she doesn’t allow it to affect her self esteem or how she feels about herself. This confidence and self esteem was apparent to me on our first date and it did more to impress me than any makeup could have. (Also, major bonus: my wife is totally on board with the switch to a Mustachian lifestyle, and we’re currently planning a very bright future together).

    For years, I’ve longed for women to realize that being beautiful has nothing to do with makeup, and everything to do with how you present yourself. Not your appearance, your SELF. Who you are, not what you look like. You are all beautiful if you let yourselves be.

    It’s great to see there *are* women out there who understand this (and that I’m married to one).

    Keep up the great posts Mrs. MM!

  • superbien September 12, 2012, 3:53 pm

    I like this post, although I think my line in the sand is a bit further back than Mrs MM’s, although to be fair I’m not retired and she is. :) I think minimal, non-toxic makeup has a place, especially if you work in an office.

    I use a small amount of makeup (that got good non-toxicity scores on Cosmetics Database, and bought on eBay) to minimize the redness of rosacea, and to up my game a bit. In total: mineral foundation, eyelash curler/light eyeliner (instead of mascara), and Burts Bees tinted lip balm. That works for me, and makes me look polished for work and un-selfconscious about my rosacea.

    I’ve also found that I don’t have to use as much makeup since I switched to a natural facial and body moisturizer (olive oil with a few drops of tea tree oil), and stayed the hell away from that miserable rosacea MetroGel the doctors gave me (gave me terribly itchy bumps and way more redness).

  • mom of Ethan December 30, 2012, 12:20 am

    Good article, sometimes I get sucked into buying higher-end brands from Sephora but most of the time I stick to wet-n-wild or maybelline eyeshadow, Loreal volumous mascara in carbon black, liquid eyeliner and wet-n-wild mineral bronzer/blush that costs $3.99. You can look pretty with minimal costs and you can die your hair with Henna that makes your hair healthier & shiny! I agree to keep costs low but if you enjoy getting dolled up, than there are plenty of good products to buy that are inexpensive! Cheers!!

  • L'Enginieuresse January 23, 2013, 3:19 pm

    My contribution here is a bit dissenting, and a bit in agreement. Contradictory, I am.

    Sometimes I wear make-up, sometimes I don’t. I went for a period when I was in high school, when I felt naked without eye liner (80’s!). Now I feel the same without my glasses. :) Interesting. Then I went years without wearing anything beyond sometimes lip stick. Fought the idea of foundation, thought it ridiculous. And if you have good skin as most people would in their youth, foundation is indeed unnecessary.

    Now I’m a little older, I have two small children, and I’m on call 24/7 some weeks. Some days I wake up, look in the mirror, and see a face that needs make-up. Some days, like today, I think, “wow, my skin looks great, I don’t need anything today”, and that’s how I went to work.

    So I live in both camps.

    And for what it’s worth, I do buy the expensive make-up, it lasts me a long time, and I do see a difference in the quality. I would never buy make-up from a dollar store – lord knows what allergic ingredients I’d react to there. And if it’s a brand name at a dollar store, chances are, it’s old.

    My foundation is Dior, and I have eye shadow from Dior and Stila. My bronzer is Lise Watier. For a long time, the Maybelline Lash Blast waterproof mascara was the only one I could find that did not smudge on my face. I recently got some Dior samples that are also pretty good. Previously I used Yves St. Laurent, but I find that with changes over the years, change is necessary.

    What I like about my Dior set of make-up, the palette that was chosen is one that doesn’t make me look like I even have make-up on, it just makes my face look more even-toned, brighter, fresher, the eyes less tired. To me, that is the real purpose of make-up. But it also has the effect of having one look more sophisticated and put together. Expensive make-up also my treat to myself.

    If you are fortunate to have great skin, and enjoy a relatively stress-free life, then in all likelihood, you don’t need make-up. :) If you are having one of those days, then it’s nice to have. :)

    • K December 20, 2013, 11:20 am

      Just because your makeup is expensive, doesn’t mean it’s doing better things for your skin than Maybelline or L’Oreal. It is probably made at the same cost and then purchased at…. $30 a bottle or whatever? Look into non-toxic, mineral, natural, ingredients you can read and pronounce and understand where they came from. Putting “Red 40” on your face is not doing anything for it, no matter what “brand” it is.

  • Mama Minou February 20, 2013, 8:43 pm

    Mrs. MM,
    I would love to hear more posts from your perspective! This is a great one.
    I just may go gray….

  • Jean Gray February 23, 2013, 4:50 pm

    This is a terrific subject. Thank you so much to Mrs. Moustache for bringing this to the fore.

    The beauty and fashion industry is a mega-billion dollar behemoth of an industry with hundreds of millions of women ensnared in something I can only describe as a cult. That being said, I believe that beauty is more than a frivolous pursuit. Beauty is a higher order necessity. We have an innate, primal desire for the aesthetic and a deep need to adorn ourselves that crosses time and cultures. Like intellectual stimulation or love or community, these are not bare necessities like food and water. But they are higher order necessities. One of the reasons we spend money to have children is to give and receive love. While many early retirement proponents are, in fact, without children, few would judge those who opt to have children, citing the undue expense of giving and receiving love. What we would say, however, is that loving a child does not need to involve 10s of thousands of dollars of kindergarten tuition or several thousand-dollar summer camp, or updating to the latest i-gadget with each new model, etc.

    So it is with the female instinct toward beauty, in my opinion. American women are completely out of control in this regard. Cheap, “fashionable” items are purchased new year after year and summarily discarded within a year or two. The industry deliberately designs clothing with certain finishes that define that time period. Wear the “ruffle neck” dress from 2010 or the “color blocked skinny jeans” from 2012 in 2015 and you’ll look like a fool when clean non-ruffled dresses or black full-legged pants are in vogue. This is so deliberate and I cannot believe women continue to fall for this.

    Parisian women, who tend to live in small apartments with tiny closets, tend to shop better and smarter… and they are known the world over for their fashion sense! They buy the highest quality items they can afford, in silhouettes that flatter them, in gorgeous fabrics, often solid colors, and wear them to death! They purchase less expensive accessory items to keep things fresh. If the expensive dress is of very high quality and well-maintained it might even retain its value at resale, leaving the cost of wear nearly negligible.

    As one who subscribes to the early retirement philosophy I took this a bit further and invested in a sewing course so that I would be empowered to make my own beautiful clothes from gorgeous (washable!) fabrics in clothes made for my exact body. I have so few clothes, but always get compliments on the way I dress. Same with shoes… few pairs, but high quality, and I maintain them until they are dead.

    So for those early retirement ladies who want to be financially independent and enjoy a bit of glamour, I do believe it can be done. When you go for fewer items in higher quality (and if you go so far as to make it yourself) ironically, you’ll be more frugal and look even better than the women thowing away their money on garbage.

    As for makeup, I believe the principle holds. Why own 30 lipsticks? I have one for day and one for night. Makeup is minimal, just enough to look polished, but still like myself. A friend of mine was at a wedding recently and got compliments on her makeup! Seems like the goal has been missed here. Shouldn’t you be getting compliments on your skin?!

    Again, paring down to the fewest, highest quality items and wearing them out or maintaining until resale is the essence of the early retirement lifestyle, in my opinion.

    Thanks so much Mrs. Moustache for bringing up this rarely discussed topic. Sometimes I feel so sad when I see women running around wasting their money on cheap, timed-for-expiration clothing that Vogue magazine is pushing them to keep buying. Stop the insanity!

  • Jess February 26, 2013, 9:36 am

    Very late to the party here, but I have to agree with one of the above comments – MOST men do not realize that “the natural look” is often still achieved through makeup…it’s just not the caked on, super obvious applied with a spatula rainbow colours look that you might actually pick out as “make-up.”

    Women who feel guilty about their “lady purchases” – there really is a way to be frugal but still use them. I use to buy way too many products, seduced by advertising. In the past two years, I have instituted a strict “KNOW WHAT WORKS AND ONLY BUY THAT” rule – basically, the idea is that I know what works for me, I know what makes me look good…so I only buy that product. Nothing more. I also keep in mind the fact that high price rarely equates to exponentially better quality.

    The other key is to think critically about products – ask yourself, do I really need this? Does it really work? Or is it something that the beauty product industry has convinced me that I need? If the latter – I don’t buy it.

    For example – shaving cream, expensive body and face moisturizers, “toners” and face cleansers. I stumbled across the “Oil Cleansing Method” and now I use the exact same oil – either coconut or sweet almond – for all of those things. So one product fulfills five purposes.

    I also pared down my makeup. I wear mascara, brow gel, light powder, eyeliner, eyeshadow and lip chap on a daily basis (and to the men on the forum, I’d challenge you to know that I was wearing it!). However, I only own ONE of each item. I use it till it runs out, and then I buy the exact same product again. No experimenting with new products, because “I know what works” – the desire to “experiment” is just a manifestation of advertising working.

    • Peg March 11, 2013, 12:43 pm

      Also way late to the party but I totally agree. I freelance as a makeup artist for weddings and I laugh when I hear men say that they prefer bare-faced women. When natural makeup is applied well, which means that appropriate products (exact color matches to skin tone, right formulation for skin type) are applied in the correct amount (sparingly) in the correct places (ie, not foundation all over the entire face) people cannot tell that a woman is wearing makeup. I wear makeup around 50% of the time. I look younger without makeup, and the majority of the time I think I look fantastic in my own skin.

      However, I do wear makeup and that is because I love applying it, and I have to say that I look fucking awesome with makeup – and that is only because I apply it well! There was a stretch of time when I wore makeup every day for a few weeks. Several women and men commented that I would never need makeup because I was so naturally beautiful! I never hide the fact that I wear it and everyone is shocked when I explain that I’m actually wearing a little foundation, concealer, eyeshadow, blush, and eyebrow powder.

      I feel like the media and our sexist society does enough damage to women’s self esteem by telling her how to look. As women we shouldn’t be judging how one another chooses to fight that battle with society. And it is a battle! I used to model and the disparity between the making up a face/body for a photo shoot and the effortlessness portrayed in the final image is sickening. Mrs. MM it is fantastic that you feel comfortable enough in your own skin that you don’t feel the need to wear makeup. However, to each her own and if women want to spend the $$$ to run around looking like Kim Kardashian wannabes then rock on and good luck ladies.

      • lily November 8, 2014, 11:37 pm

        I know it’s been a year, but I just wanted to say how much I appreciated this comment for the “to each her own” perspective. Like everyone here, I’m interested in managing money in order to live a truly rich life. The thing is, what constitutes a “rich” life is different for everyone. For some, organic chicken breasts and milk are worth the extra money — for others they’re not. For some, makeup is worth the extra money — for others not. These choices are judgment calls, not absolute rights and wrongs. Surely, a woman who wants to dye her hair and wear makeup because those choices matter a great deal to her — aesthetically, professionally, psychologically — should not have to hear that those choices are wrong, frivolous or a waste of money, which this conversation at points seems to suggest. Managing money is about prioritizing. If makeup, etc. is a priority, then that fact should be respected here. The point isn’t to judge priorities — it’s to figure out how to budget responsibly for them.

  • Jessica March 30, 2013, 9:02 am

    Slightly off topic, but while we’re talking about beauty and society’s standards for women, I wonder if Mrs MMM has commentary about shaving? I’m pretty much a low-makeup type – but I haven’t given up shaving… and I resent the shocking price of the supplies. I wonder if you have advice on ways to get cheap supplies, or do the Moustachians embrace furriness?

    • Jen July 21, 2013, 9:49 am

      I have a plain, old-fashioned double-edge blade type razor I bought back in the 80s (almost threw it out; gave it to my mom; thank God she gave it back!) There’s no way in hell I’m going to pay $12 or whatever for those stupid cartridges they have now with four blades and a block of moisturizer in them.

      These things are very hard to find in a store in the U.S. nowadays. Here’s one I just found online: http://www.sourcingmap.com/silver-tone-alloy-handle-double-edge-blade-razor-shaver-p-287558.html

      Also, I only shave my legs once a month or so. I have very fine hair, which is a blessing for my legs but a bit of curse for my head. ;)

    • Blondeintellect January 29, 2020, 7:52 am

      Hey Jessica, know this was from a while back, but have you ever tried epilation? I would suggest it strongly. A little like waxing in that it last for weeks but without the consistent outlay for more supplies. I bought my epilator for $80 over 10 years ago and it’s still going strong.

  • RMKLEIN April 4, 2013, 9:08 pm

    Great post Mrs. MM. One of the things I love about this blog is that it also takes into account how terrible most luxuries are for the environment– and in this case health as well. The Environmental Working Group has a great data base of products called Skin Deep. It lists the environmental and health hazards for beauty products. If you are having a hard time going make-up and hair colouring free just look up your products. It really might give you the extra push! Even really expensive brands are terribly toxic.

    I am make up free except for a lip/cheek tint I make myself. Its organic, super good for my skin and is tinted with beet root and cocoa. One of the most mustachian things that I have implemented this year is making my beauty and health products. For such a small overhead of supplies I make my own make-up, diaper cream, lotion, sunscreen, hair gel etc.

  • Frugal in DC May 15, 2013, 4:16 pm

    Love this post! It’s always great to hear from other women who “get it.” I have never dyed my hair. My family refers to my gray hair as white highlights. Make-up: none except for Burts Bees lip balm with a little color; if I run 3 miles my whole face is nice and flushed. I hate shopping and never understood the concept of retail therapy (or manicures).

  • Cajun Mom (Barb) May 16, 2013, 7:42 am

    Thanks so much for this post, because it’s a very important topic in a family’s budgeting plan, for many reasons, largely because these purchases NEVER stop.

    The world of sales sees women coming and plays on every insecurity they can. It’s alarming, sad, and shameful. I can pass up cute shoes all day long (I’ve rarely found a pair that didn’t hurt my enormous feet) but when it came to anything that smelled nice, makeup, anything that makes my lips look pretty….or GOD Forbid, anything in those categories that ends up being “Free with Purchase”, I was the sucker they were looking for. Only $x more and it’s FREE. I cringe and cry with shame. And continue to have more than I can ever use in a lifetime (or two….let’s be real). Quite a while ago, I just looked around me at it all and had that “moment of clarity!”

    Hair: I have a friend who is now married to a wealthy man. She is loving it. You can see the absolute glow – the love of luxury in her eyes. The reason: she was very poor for a long time, after a divorce, with 5 kids. On food stamps, in college to make a better life….but. But. During that time, she still went to the beauty shop like clockwork and had her hair colored for $60 a toss. Hair cuts. Manicures. I was stunned. I still don’t get it. I don’t UNDERSTAND it.

    I am almost 50 years old, have dark hair and a stripe up the center of my hair like Pepe Le Pew of grey. Didn’t bother me for years. Loved it, even. Like my badge of courage and beauty, similar to your take. Then….my hair started to thin dramatically. This was so hard. And that stripe of grey made me look bald there. My hair dresser suggested coloring it, as it minimized that look…..for $60 a session. I visited my local Walmart and found a nice color that matched my natural color perfectly. For $3 a treatment. Works. Well. Matches so well that when my family comes home from school, they can’t tell I “fixed” my hair. I do it once every 6 weeks or so.

    I don’t wear makeup for the day to day. I wear mascara for special occasions or when I want to appear “awake.” Even when I was an office worker, was known as the one who wore little. All your points on it are perfect. Thanks again for a great article. The makeup industry is very much like the fashion industry: Totally fabricated and unnecessary! And very expensive. P.S. No make up in my photo!

  • Rollie May 20, 2013, 1:09 pm

    I agree that women should feel confident and comfortable with their natural (healthy) look. At the same time, there are better options than cheap eyeliner, ladies! Since ancient times, women in India have used a smokey black eyeliner called kajal. It is healthy when made at home (don’t ever buy the commercial variety). I make it at home in under 10 minutes with 4-5 almonds, one drop of clarified butter (ghee), and a steel spoon. All you need to do is place an almond on a prong of some sort (a fork tine, the end of a knife, etc.) Set it on fire. Hold the tablespoon over the smoke that rises, so that the cup of the spoon catches the smoke. The spoon will blacken with the soot/smoke, and then the almond will burn out. Throw out the burnt almond. Do this with the 4-5 almonds, then scrape the black from the spoon into a little container and add a small drop of clarified butter/ghee. (NOT salted butter!). Mix it together, and be careful because this is the blackest stuff you have ever seen, and it can stain your clothes.

    It is soothing for the eyes, and can even be placed on the inner lids. It is used in India medicinally for irritated eyes. I make this every few months, and it costs almost nothing. (I use clarified butter for cooking too–it’s healthy.) It smudges a little, but you can wipe that away and have lovely smokey eyes. Naturally.

  • Mama Mac June 4, 2013, 4:47 pm

    We can all agree that cosmetics and hair dyes are expensive but a lot of people pointed out at it isn’t good for your skin/hair either. If you haven’t done so already, the Environmental Working Group has an awesome website where you can check thousands of cosmetics (and cleaning products etc.) to see how bad they are for you. After checking through my Lady Temptations drawer of the bathroom I decided to go au naturel just to save my face. It is really hard to look up the brand of cover-up you have been using for the last several years (I am in the buy-1-bottle-to-last-6-years category) and see that it has all kinds of junk that will give you cancer! Yikes! Don’t want my daughter to catch me using stuff like that! Do it for your wallet, but if you are wearing lots of makeup to make yourself feel better this website might change your mind! :) http://www.ewg.org

  • Ms. Manageable Muttonchops July 23, 2013, 8:43 am

    I discovered this blog quite by accident and I am now taking the time to re every post since the beginning of time. I have enjoyed keeping score of how many times I say “I already do that! ha!” versus “I am so guilty of that…darn!”. This post in particular, however, was the first one to motivate me to actually say post something.

    I am in my early 20’s. I dabbled in circus-like make up in high school but very quickly got fed up with the whole business and have barely touched it since. This has never been a problem for me, I wear my natural, pasty white freckly skin with pride! I avoid sun-burning it with generous applications of comically over-sized hats and copious amounts of baby sunscreen. I am confident this visage will carry me to my dying days.

    Now onto the point. I just started my first real big girl job (young engineer over here!) and my boss recently made a comment about my lack of make up (just a comment that she noticed I don’t wear it, nothing good or bad). I felt the immediate urge to justify this (not sure why…society and what not). Anyway, the whole encounter ended by her basically suggesting strongly that I start wearing make up…especially to meetings and the like. This has simply reinforced my commitment to never wear make up. I was feeling a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing when I came across this post not a day later. This post and the subsequent positive comments have helped me confirm that I ain’t crazy and made me feel much better about the whole thing. Thanks to everyone!

    Sorry to be digging up old fossil posts.

    • Rachel July 24, 2013, 12:34 pm

      Hey Ms. Manageable,
      I am reading through all the posts from start as well. :)

      I have heard from other women who have received the makeup advice recently as well. I am sure your boss was well meaning, but I really hope that this type of statement and expectation in the workplace is seen as shocking in the next 30 years.

      I remember a former coworker who had risen quite high in business telling me that when she was entering the workforce about 30 years ago one of her interview questions at a large well known company was whether or not she was on birth control and rather or not her and her husband planned to have children because the company did not want to have an employee who might get pregnant anytime soon.

      Regarding your boss’s comment, I think no response is really needed. If she brought it up again you might thank her for her input and simply state that you choose to not wear makeup for many reasons, and that it’s a personal choice you have made and are committed to.

    • Osprey July 26, 2013, 2:20 am

      Thanks for digging up this “old fossil post” because actually I’ve been wanting to get my two cents in too! Good for you, for knowing yourself well enough to take a stand.
      I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure in my new job to wear makeup, and it’s really doing a number on me. Before, I used to mess around with DIY/natural beuty stuff on an ad-hoc basis depending on what I felt like doing, and I enjoyed it! Now, with all this pressure to look perfectly groomed all the time, I’m starting to resent the things that previously gave me a lot of satisfaction.
      When I retire like Mrs MM I will probably not give up on the stuff completely, but I hope that it’s not too late for makeup and me to rediscover our previous good relationship.

    • Emma June 27, 2015, 7:47 pm

      I’m dragging this whole thing up again, but….
      You can always claim sensitivities. If you are potentially going to be made ill by using make-up, then no-one can say anything. And if you do wear a little for the office ‘do or something, then just say that you have to have it made specially/shipped in from Paris due to your allergies, and it’s SO expensive, so you can’t afford to have it on everyday…. :D

  • Sonya July 29, 2013, 5:27 pm

    I absolutely love makeup (though I usually go at least one day per week without it and feel perfectly fine).

    But, the point is, once I got my collection up and running, I spend almost nothing on it monthly. I don’t have a budget for it. It lasts forever. You don’t have to give it up entirely at all, just like anything else, you have to resist the temptation to buy the latest and greatest. Stick to the basics, and use up what you’ve already bought.

    Just my two cents.

  • Heather October 20, 2013, 2:33 pm

    Thank you for the article. I just realized too, that you can get your girly-on and perhaps save some money too. I just recently got curious about making some of my own personal care items, such as lotion — like last night I just made my own deodorant after we were running low. After finding a simple recipe online, I used stuff I already had around the house — it was easy-peasy and cheap. How crazy is that?!

    Yes, eating healthy, taking care of yourself, and having some Mustachian DIY attitude can also be very lady-like ;).

  • Bethany October 25, 2013, 9:21 am

    Being happy will do a lot more for your looks than makeup! In my late teens I developed a frown wrinkle between my eyebrows. I would worry about it and try to get rid of it with makeup. 20 year olds are not supposed to have wrinkles!

    This week I looked in the mirror and realized that it was barely noticeable. The only difference between this year and last year is that I started dating my first and only boyfriend… so I smile more and frown less! It’s pretty awesome.

  • Danielle November 29, 2013, 10:59 am

    Thrilled to see the launch of this discussion.

    I didn’t realize until college how relatively unusual it was to have grown up one of three daughters and yet possess very little knowledge of (or have spent much money on) makeup and “product” in general.

    Don’t get me wrong: We always, I daresay, looked cute as kids, and “together” as adults. My mom’s a knockout. And TIME was dedicated to hair, because we all have a ton of it. However, there was never the disposable income to devote to anything more than basic makeup and, well, hairspray. Consequently, I grew up without any delusions of these things being essentials.

    And I’m so thankful for this. Other than admittedly pricey highlights every two months or so, my spending on makeup, shampoo, conditioner, and even jewelry accessories has always been on the frugal side – and I think I look perfectly presentable and even good. Getting hooked on pricey products at a young age only spells dependency – a dependency that keeps you from freedom, financially and even just in terms of feeling okay about leaving the house without a face painted on.

    Thanks for keeping us calibrated on this topic, Mrs. MM. Especially during the holidays, it’s easy to be seduced, or made to feel inferior, by all the glitter and fuss.

  • Debra January 24, 2014, 11:44 pm

    It’s nice to hear from other women who don’t buy (literally) into the beauty industry. I’ve not worn make-up for many years, thinking, like you, that I was wearing a mask. However, I have a 5 year old daughter, and she loves make-up. I’m not sure where that came from, perhaps it was her love of things like Disney Princesses, but certainly not from me. I tell her that she is beautiful without make-up and that ironically make-up is made up of chemicals that will ruin her skin, thus making it less beautiful the more she uses it. I guess we’ll see in time if my example has any impact on her behavior in the future, but I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle against societal norms and the marketing departments of a multi-billion dollar industry.

  • Shelly February 5, 2014, 10:01 am

    Hi Mrs. MM! Mr. MM has mentioned in one of his posts about cutting your own hair. Is this something you do as well or do you pay for a trip to the hair salon? Thanks!

  • bikhet April 3, 2014, 12:02 am

    Another bloke speaking, but I’ve long been opposed to the use of make-up. When I first kissed a normally made-up (make-up’d?) girl on the cheek I almost spat the taste was so vile. Wouldn’t have been a good thing to do though – it was my first serious girlfriend.

  • Sims May 9, 2014, 9:13 pm

    I don’t usually wear makup because I would rather spend my time doing something I get more enjoyment out of rather than waste that time putting it on every morning. So, I hadn’t purchased makeup in God knows how many years, but last year I decided to get the basics for my wedding day. When I went to the register and was given the total cost, my face went white and I almost had an anxiety attack! It was over $100 for the purchase!!! I had forgotten how much makeup costs, obviously. And it was only lip color, foundation and mascara, plus another smaller item. Thank goodness I’m not a regular user or this habit would make me go broke!


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