Beautynomics - The Economics of Vanity
...and they say vanity isn't economical.
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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Is Vanity a Rational Behavior?

During our first few Microeconomics classes, we were taught the term Rational Behavior. Now, it sounded a whole lot complicated than spelling those two simple words. Rational behavior explains that every person maximizes his utility, given the constraints.

It was quite jargonic for me sometime earlier, relating utility to utility bills? ( bummer, that was embarrassing ), and rational to ratio ( hey, I was straight outta highschool! )
It took me sometime to find out that utility was actually the amount of satisfaction someone gets from a thing, and to behave rationally, as a human being ( check ), one must maximize his/her utility, within the budget.

Can vanity, my greatest sin, pass as a rational behavior of humans? Let's see. Vanity vanity vanity. I love looking at myself at the mirror after a facial well done, I still love looking at myself at a mirror fresh from my makeup session ( with myself ), and I most love going out when I have great skin and great makeup on. Does that sound like I'm totally totally satisfied? I sure do think so! Satisfaction - check! Was that total satisfaction? Uh, YES? :P Did I maximize it? I'm asking dumb questions to myself. Of course I just did!

But I missed out something - MY BUDGET! Now, how many times did I starve myself to buy a ridiculously expensive eyeshadow , lipcolor, or the latest foundation that promises to cling to my skin like second skin? Couldn't count. Did I run out of money because of makeup? More than once. Did I get in deep debt because of my vain streak? Definitely not. But some people might do.

One thing we must consider as well is that we should be happy with what beauty loots that we have purchased. If my budget was 5 thousand bucks, I'd want to buy a whole makeup look - a good eyeshadow ( say, gold ), a good blush ( rose is such a safe color, with shimmers is also cute ), and a lipgloss ( a glossy nude one would be subtely gorgeous, while a more vibrant shade such as coral, red, or dark pink would draw more attention to the lips. smack smack ). I wouldn't JUST buy the eyeshadow knowing that I won't have gloss and blush to use! Now, that's not "maximizing utility subject to constraint." How are you going to enjoy the party when you only have eyeshadow on and nothing on your cheeks and lips?

Lesson : Buy only what you can afford. If you're the I'm-only-comfortable-with-expensive makeup girl, and you're running low on budget, well, SAVE UP! I'm sure a die-hard kikay/vain girl can come up with funds. Sell your sofas ( kidding ), sell your old clothes, sell your old textbooks, honey, raise your funds! IF partytime is still months away, then under this circumstance, will "collecting" be permissible. Buy a product a month. If it's crunch time and you still don't have any makeup supplies, there's your emergency vanity kit - MOM! :)

See, vanity IS a rational behavior. Within our GIVEN budget, we make do of what we have, or we force to have this kind of amount ( if you want it, come and get it! LOVE will surely find a way for you to get that money to buy your precious makeuppppp!!! ), then we splurge ( running to the nearest mall , picking up your newly adopted kid named MAC Lychee Luxe) , and tadah, we are deliriously happy with ourselves - either for skin improvement with the latest microdermabrasion skin, or that natural glow that we get from makeup.

Just a big NO-NO is being too impulsive and using your credit card. Impulsive buying can be less threatening if you have cash ( but goodness, have some pride and don't borrow from your friend! ), but credit cards can give you big trouble. So before vanity becomes rational, keep it on the sane zone. :P

So case and point? Vanity IS soooo rational. We derive total satisfaction from our better looking and better feeling selves via our bestfriends, skin care, hair care, makeup, or even..plastic surgery? haha :) Nothing beats feeling good about yourself. It makes you feel can do anything!

Just do these and you'll never be wrong :
* If you want something, save up for it! Don't EVER borrow, or use credit cards for such caprice! If you use credit cards, make sure mom pays for them! Kidding aside, make sure that's within your reasonable budget that you can afford.
Love your parents, don't make them faint when they read the billing statement.
Love yourselves, don't make yourselves faint and commit suicide over a billing
* Don't run to the nearest store and close the store with nothing in it. There are testers! duh?
* Stay rational and keep being rational. Keep some control while shopping for your vanity kit.
Vanity is a healthy way of making ourselves look and feel good, not over-obsessing about it
24/7. :)
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Yes, dear, keep on brushing your hair, just don't ask mama for Lancome Juicy Tubes yet. Try in 10 years. :P

posted at 5:19 PM by Charmed One


oi! I love this blog. I'm an econ grad too and once in a while like to indulge in vanity.

I hope you could make a review of the beauty items you bought. Like in microeconomics, let's measure our satisfaction to each product in UTILS.

Hehehe! ;-)

Keep on blogging!
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About Me

An economics graduate that always hated her math
but loved her theories.
Believes that Economics can be found in :
- the bathroom
- in front of your vanity mirror
- an in every place beautiful.

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