Cosmetic safety
The time I allocate for beauty maintenance is staggering. First, there are my nails, and then touch-ups for my hair relaxer, cut and color. I also get my eyebrows and lip threaded. Really, the worst of all of this is that it's so boring. I travel 10 miles out of my way to go to the same nail salon as my friend just so we can keep each other company during our bi-weekly appointments. Otherwise, I schedule my big hair appointments—anything that involves processing of any kind—every 10 weeks, but it can take forever. I'm married with no children and can't stand losing 3 hours on a weekend for my hair as it is. I just can't imagine how I'd keep up with this type of maintenance if I were a mom.
Laura James
Brooklyn, NY

Beauty Costs
The older I get, the more maintenance I need, sort of like my '98 Honda Accord. I'm 47 and have two kids in college—I can't afford the beauty upkeep I've always needed, much less new upkeep, things I didn't need when I was 27. From waxing my chin and upper lip to root touchup for the wiry grey hairs that pop-up fast, I pay much more, even for haircuts that disguise my thinning hair. And beauty used to be fun!
Valerie Hoffmann
Rochester, MN