Alina's Beauty Philosophy: Where I Save and Spend

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Like Emily, I think it's endlessly fascinating how people differ in terms of their values and where they're willing to spend big bucks, versus where they balk at prices. Here's my own beauty breakdown. 

Spend: Hair color (my biggest spend by far). I am a big believer that hair color is the single most important and valuable beauty spend - it makes or breaks a person. It's something I valued long before working in the beauty industry, but being a beauty editor only affirmed that it's everything. I spend several hundred dollars (per coloring) to get my hair colored, but - the best part about good hair color - is that it gets better with time, and doesn't require constant maintenance. I have gone 16 months between sessions and people have asked me if I just got my hair colored at the 16-month mark. It always gets compliments months and months after it's last been done. I see Denis DeSouza, an absolute color genius who, for years worked at Andy LeCompte but just left to open his own salon, Mare, (it opens in a few weeks and I'm really excited). 

Spend: Hair cuts. I don't believe in going somewhere where you're saving money but might get a bad haircut. It's not worth it. Think for a second about a pair of shoes, a bag, any clothing item, or a piece of technology: nothing you buy will ever be "used" as much as your hair. You wake up with it, you go to bed with it - it's never not there. Externally, there is no greater cost per wear on something other than the skin you're in - but bad skin can be covered by makeup. There's no makeup for hair - it has to look good. That said, I only cut my hair every two years or so. I go short, then realllllly long, then short, then let it grow long again. I spend zero dollars in between for maintenance. I don't do trims. So really when you look at the time I go between cuts and color, the cost per wear is insane - because some people will spend $100 or $200 per cut or highlight session and go every 8-20 weeks, where I'll spend $400 per session - once every year-and-a-half, if that. 

Spend: Blowouts. I get weekly blowouts at Drybar, so I spend $200 a month on blowouts (with tip). It's the best money I spend besides my color. I hate doing my own hair, I'm bad at it, it takes hours, and doesn't look as good. At Drybar I know every single staff member, I get tea (or a mimosa depending on what day of the week/time it is), I always bring my laptop, and just work right through the appointment. The blowouts last a week because I have thick hair, which makes them all the more worth it. When I get my hair colored or cut and the blowouts afterwards are $85 and up (which to some people sounds nuts), I see and notice a difference - they're epic-ly good. Every blowout I've ever gotten at Andy LeCompte or Salon Privé in NYC has been the best blowout of my life. So I would spend $100 on a blowout if it was scale-able; I just can't do that once a week. For very special occasions (like Valentine's Day or my birthday), I will go for the Andy LeCompte blowout with Nicole Wood (she's incredible).

Save: Eyebrows. I spend zero dollars on my eyebrows. I basically DGAF about them. I let them grow out for months at a time in denial, and then tweeze them randomly or maybe spend $20 to get them waxed at Benefit on West Third

Spend: Waxing. I guess this is relative. I spend about $60 on a bikini wax with tip. I don't go to a bottom shelf place that's comical in it's no-frills-ness, but I also don't go to like, The Four Seasons spa. I go to two places: one, is Uni-K Wax Center which boasts the least painful waxes on earth. I discovered Uni-K in Miami which, other than Brazil, is the land of Brazilians and where women take Brazilians very seriously - and you barely feel the wax happening. They use a special proprietary hard wax that's amazing. The other place I go is Raya Day Spa on La Cienega because it's more convenient. A classic Russian woman who is all business, swift, and efficient does it - which is exactly what you want out of a bikini waxer. Just like, a ruthless, no-nonsense boss to get the job done fast. She does it in under ten minutes. I don't go regularly. Depending on the possibility of being in a bathing suit, I'll push it as long as I possibly can, so spending $60 on an occasional wax doesn't pop on my radar that much. 

Save: Nails. I really think that I am missing a cognitive skill required to paint my own nails. My best effort still looks like a kindergartner who got into her mom's nail polish drawer. I've done the whole at-home mani thing with buying the tools, soaking my nails, following the steps, earnestly trying. It's a joke how bad they look. Emily is the opposite. I am a broken record about her nails - I am compelled to comment on them constantly because I catch glimpses of them a hundred times a day and will say, "how did you do that to yourself?!?! Who are you?! How is that possible?" They look like the most professional, top-grade, gleaming, perfect thing on earth. 11 days later, it will be the same non-gel manicure looking just as good, and I'll go, "STILL?!?!?!?!?!" Needless to say, I get manicures, but not fancy ones and not all the time. I don't have a standing weekly appointment like my blowout, and I try to drag out the cost of one as long as possible until my nails look so janky I have to get another. I often just go with polish-less nails. 

Save: Massages. If there is one thing on earth I could do for hours and hours and still want more of, it's getting a massage. I live for them. But I only treat myself to one about once a year. Once a year something happens where I'm so sore (maybe from moving, or doing a hard workout) that I'm just like screw it, I'm going to drop $200 and get a professional massage today because I cannot exist in my body any longer without it being massaged. But I have a friend who loves them and believes in their healing power so much she gets them a few times a month (like my blowouts). 

Save: Facials. I don't ever get facials. Unless it's like, from a gift card. My skin has never reacted well to any I've gotten so I have no desire to spend money there and would always rather spend it on hair instead. 

Save: Spray Tan. I LOVE a good spray tan. Market value is about $50 and back when I lived in D.C. I bought a lump sum package for like $400 that gave me ten spray tans or something like that - I loved every second of riding that package out and would still get them IF I didn't find they made my face skin freak out. There's no point in getting a spray tan all over your body to have a mismatched pale face, so I don't get them anymore, but do think they're very worth the money and look sooo good (when done by someone skilled).