How much beauty influencers and everyday people spend on skin care

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The skin care and beauty industry is booming and bringing in over $90 billion worldwide. On average, Americans spend $722 on their appearance, including skin care, each year, according to a November 2022 survey of over 1,000 people from Advanced Dermatology.

From trying different cleansers to adding products like creams and serums to our regimens, we’re all pretty invested in our skin care. Depending on one’s routine, the price tag for a trip to a store like Sephora or Ulta Beauty can range from $50 to $200. 

CNBC Make It interviewed beauty influencers and everyday people on the streets of New York City to see just how much money they’re willing to spend on their routines — and why.

Dr. Adeline Kikam

Dr. Adeline Kikam is a dermatologist and skin care influencer who shares advice with her 115,000 Instagram followers under the handle @brownskinderm. Growing up with “bad acne and hyperpigmentation” often left Kikam feeling like people judged her for her skin before getting to know her.

Sticking to a beauty regimen has helped Kikam feel more comfortable in her own skin: “I personally use it to really boost my self-confidence,” she says. “Learning how to put on makeup and kind of mask those blemishes, actually was a relief to me.”

Dr. Adeline Kikam is a dermatologist who shares skin care tips on her Instagram account @brownskinderm.

Courtesy of Dr. Adeline Kikam

Skin care routine (AM):

  • Cleanser or exfoliant
  • Eye cream
  • Vitamin C serum
  • Sunscreen

Monthly Cost: No more than $200

The best item to splurge on: Serum. “Some of the serums tend to be on the expensive side,” says Kikam. “I don’t mind spending the money on a good vitamin C serum.” Her current go-to serum is the 20% Vitamin C Brightening Serum from OAM by Ciara, which costs $62.

Ashleigh Mitchell

Hyram Yarbro

Hyram Yarbro is a well-known skin care influencer who’s amassed 4.5 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. In 2021, Hyram launched a skin care brand called “Selfless by Hyram.”

Investing in his skin care allowed Hyram to pour into himself and learn that men can take care of their skin too: “I lived in an environment that heavily discouraged men to get into any type of cosmetic or self-care routine,” he says. Over time, he realized, “This isn’t just an aesthetic experience, but it’s actually, not only correcting damage within the skin, but a really important self-care ritual that I think is good for me, and I want other people to have.”

Hyram Yarbro is a popular skin care influencer with 4.5 million subscribers on YouTube.

Courtesy of Hyram Yarbro

Skin care routine (AM):

  • Cleanser
  • Salicylic acid serum
  • Moisturizer
  • Sunscreen

Weekly Cost: No more than $250 (At most $50 per product, for three to five products)

The best item to splurge on: Sunscreen. “Sunscreens are very tricky to develop as far as a good-quality sunscreen goes. It’s also a lot more expensive to develop,” Hyram says. “If you want a really good-quality sunscreen, it just naturally costs a little bit more.” Hyram’s favorite sunscreen, Hero Cosmetics’ Superlight Sunscreen SPF 30, is just $20, he says.

Georgia Louise

Georgia Louise is a facialist with over 25 years of experience in the skin care industry. As an influencer and founder of her own skin care line, beauty products are one thing Louise doesn’t mind spending a lot on.

Devoting time to a skin care routine allows Louise to have moments of solitude and connect deeply with herself: “Taking care of your skin is a sacred ritual that makes you feel good about yourself,” she says. “It empowers you to just take care of yourself and feel good about your skin inside and out.”

Skin care routine (AM):

  • Cleansing balm
  • Cream cleanser with cryo freeze tool to depuff her face
  • Remove cleanser with a microfiber wash cloth
  • Toner or tonic (depending on if her skin is oily or dry)
  • Serum
  • Ionic magic wand
  • Eye cream
  • Moisturizer
  • Finishing serum
  • Sunscreen

Monthly Cost: $300 to $500

The best item to splurge on: Serum. “I probably have more serums than shoes,” says Louise. “I probably have like 30 serums, and it seems like a lot but that’s because of the industry that I’m in.” She enjoys using an $85 serum by Charlotte Tilbury called Charlotte’s Magic Serum Crystal Elixir.

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