On the days when the dry shampoo just isn’t cutting it, I reach for my bottles of NEXXUS shampoo and conditioner. These products retail for about $18 each, bringing just the cleansing costs for my hair to roughly $36, every two months or so when I need to replace them.
That $36 is much higher than the $6 Dove’s Men’s 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner I’ve seen gracing the showers of several of the men I’ve dated. If you’re doing the math, this means my hair cleanliness costs a whopping 600% more than the average man. (FYI, my brother and father are also fans of the 2-in-1.) And this cost doesn’t even include styling tools like straighteners, curling irons, etc., or hair masks, haircuts, color, and everything else that goes into maintaining my head. But my level of maintenance and expenditures is similar (if not identical) to many women in my life. And it’s a routine that we don’t even think twice about.
But it’s not just the hair. The truth is, it’s expensive to be a woman. Much more expensive over the course of our lifetimes than it is to be a man. Many of these costs are baked into our economy, our societal norms and expectations — even into our healthcare costs.
“The US is among the 24% of countries worldwide without a constitutional provision for gender equality,” says Katica Roy, gender economist and CEO of Pipeline Equity – a SaaS company working to eradicate gender inequity and bias. Over the years, different studies have tried to put a dollar amount on the cost of being a woman, and one study put the cost of beauty products alone at $225,360 over the course of a lifetime. (The headline read: “Vanity Costs Women Nearly A Quarter of a Million Dollars.” Ahem.) But we wanted to take a look at the reality of all the additional expenses women face, so we did a little HerMoney math. We hope you find it as enlightening as we did.