The High Cost of Good Looks : Fashion: Nationally, women spend $30 billion annually at the beauty salon and $4 billion on makeup. But experts say there are ways to cut corners.

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Manhattan supermodel Cindy Crawford may be blessed with good genes, but even she pays a high price for beauty. She spends $200 to work out with a personal trainer twice a week. Monthly manicures and pedicures and twice-monthly massages are also routine. Although Crawford says she couldn’t begin to estimate the yearly cost of these services, it could easily exceed $4,000, based on prices at leading New York salons.

“Taking excellent care of myself is almost another full-time job,” says Crawford, who was in the Puente Hills Robinson’s store recently to tout Halston perfume.

It’s not enough to merely look perfect for a fashion shoot; Crawford believes the public wants her off-hours face to match her magazine ads.


Crawford--along with Ivana Trump, Madonna and other celebrated beauties--spends serious dollars to maintain her ultra-toned, carefully coiffed appearance. And some women spend much more than Crawford in their quest for perfection.

Actress Gloria Gifford of Beverly Hills, a regular at Aida Thibiant Institut De Beaute in her neighborhood, spends $6,470 a year maintaining her looks. (During an IRS audit she had to convince government representatives that her costs were “truthful and justified.”)

The actress gets weekly scalp treatments and body massages. Every two months, she has a facial. Manicures are scheduled every two weeks. Gifford gets pedicures and eyebrow and upper-lip waxes every six weeks. And that annual maintenance figure doesn’t begin to include Gifford’s investment in skin care products and cosmetics for use at home. Also excluded are haircuts. Gifford, a regular on the ABC drama “Life Goes On,” says she gets frequent trims on the set.


Nationally, women spend $30 billion annually at the beauty salon, according to American Salon magazine. They fork over about $4 billion every year on makeup, according to the Kline Group, an international business consulting firm based in Fairfield, N.J.

About 83% of American women visit salons and spend approximately $21.65 per visit, says Mary Atherton, editor in chief of Modern Salon magazine. That 83% visits a salon an average of 11 times per year, spending about $238 annually on salon services.

But California women, Atherton says, spend more for services--and more on skin care and nail services in particular. Salon habits can really add up over the course of a year.


Women who get facials every three weeks, the recommended frequency at the Georgette Klinger salons, could spend $1,106 on them alone. Biweekly manicures run $22 at Jessica’s Nail Clinics--that’s $572 a year. (See accompanying chart.)

Will a sluggish economy and the the Persian Gulf War force women to rethink their pricey salon habits? “The upper-end salons will not see much of a drop in business,” says Atherton. “A woman may not be able to spend $5,000 at Bendel’s (an upscale department store based in Chicago), but she can still justify spending $250 for highlights.”

Gill Brookes-Jones, co-owner of Taboo in Los Angeles, says the salon business weathers a recession better than many.

“You can skip eating out in a restaurant and cook your own food at home, but you can’t do your own hair,” Gill says.

Kathryn Klinger, president of the Georgette Klinger skin care salons, says business is up 12% over last year at the Beverly Hills location. And she predicts a similar increase for this year.

Institut Jeanne Gatineau, located in I. Magnin Beverly Hills, opened last October to an immediate three-month waiting list. The skin-care salon is booked through February, although about 20% of the clients cancel or reschedule, says Vickie Kent, general manager.


“My business has been up 50% in the last two quarters,” says Cliff Wasserbach, owner of Custom Fitness in Laguna Hills. Wasserbach, whose mobile fitness service has been in business six years, usually experiences a decline in December. Not so this year.

But beauty and fitness professionals admit there are ways for their clients to cut corners when money is tight. Wasserbach suggests a one-time house call ($55) to customize an exercise routine.

Brookes-Jones says women who color their hair could switch to natural vegetable dyes that fade gradually. That way, they avoid high-maintenance permanent color and the regular retouch. Really thrifty color enthusiasts can buy their own veggie dyes at beauty supply stores, but Brookes-Jones warns that results vary when amateurs color their own hair.

Joanne Fradkin, owner of the Pigments makeup studio in Los Angeles, says women can conserve cosmetic dollars by making products perform double duty. She shows clients neutral cheek-blushing powders that also work as eyeshadow. Cake eyeshadows can be used to darken eyebrows and as eyeliners.

Actress Gifford says she cuts salon expenditures by taking advantage of frequent-return discounts. She gets a 10% discount when she buys a series of six scalp treatments. Gifford also skips personal training, which she says she can’t afford, and patronizes a nail salon in her area where manicures are less expensive than at salons in the high-rent districts.

Charlene Phelps, who works at 2nd Street Beauty Supply in Long Beach, is a high-maintenance beauty who visits beauty salons only for haircuts. She tints her naturally blond locks red. She gives herself at-home facial treatments--exfoliation followed by a mask--every week. Phelps does her own nails weekly and gives herself pedicures every month. In the summer, she waxes her own bikini line.


She is not a beautician, but she does work in a beauty supply store, so she may feel more familiar with products and confident about procedures than the average woman. The high cost of beauty salon services made her a self-taught home grooming enthusiast.

“I used to go to salons for services but it was just too expensive,” she says. “I’m sure I save thousands of dollars a year this way.”


Cost estimates for beauty maintenance in the highest vs. more moderate price range.

Cost Who Where How often per visit HAIRCUT Cristophe Beverly Hills Monthly $50 and up Antenna Burbank Monthly $21 and up HAIRCOLOR (single color root retouch) Vidal Sassoon Beverly Hills Every 5 weeks $57 and up No Bones Salon Los Angeles Every 5 weeks $35 FACIALS Georgette Klinger Beverly Hills Monthly $65 Adrien Arpel (In select Monthly $40 Saks Fifth Monthly $40 Ave. stores) MANICURES Jessica’s Nail Clinic Beverly Hills Every 2 weeks $22 L.A. Beverly Every 2 weeks $5 $130 Hills Nails PERSONAL TRAINING Rob Parr Twice per week $50-$75* Personal Training Custom Fitness Laguna Hills Twice per week $35-$55 (mobile training) SPECIAL OCCASION MAKEUP Pigments Beverly Hills N/A $40-$75 Shu Uemura Century City N/A $40**

Cost Who per year HAIRCUT Cristophe $600 Antenna $252 HAIRCOLOR (single color root retouch) Vidal Sassoon $593 No Bones Salon $364 FACIALS Georgette Klinger $845 Adrien Arpel $480 $480 MANICURES Jessica’s Nail Clinic $572 L.A. Beverly Hills Nails PERSONAL TRAINING Rob Parr $5,200 Personal Training $7,800* Custom Fitness $3,640 $5,720 SPECIAL OCCASION MAKEUP Pigments Shu Uemura

* Denotes fee for Parr’s employees only. Parr does not disclose his own fees.

** Fee applicable to product purchase