By the smell of perfume, I could tell we were close. "This way," pointed my mother. As we reached the makeup counter, its horizontal expanses flanked by scented bottles, half-a-dozen bracelets draped on the wrists of a woman wearing a starched black smock clinked delicately along its glass surface. "You have beautiful skin," she said. "You don't really need makeup."
My 12-year-old heart sank.
After months of carefully sprinkled comments, not-so-subtle hints and downright undignified begging, I could feel my greatest back-to-school wish shrinking away, at the very moment palettes of gold and brown shimmered on the horizon.
Like many tweens, I was determined to enter the makeup age. What I wasn't prepared for were the economic consequences. Turns out, the average U.S. tween spends $15 a week on cosmetics -- a number that only increases with age. By the time this same tween travels through her 30s and 40s, she'll have spent more than $100,000 in pursuit of beauty products [source: Ammah-Tagos]. For many of us, though, the expanse has shaped up to be worth it.
If I could send a vlog to my 12-year-old self, I'd remind her that she left the makeup counter armed with a lesson on eye shadow application, a compact of four muted shades, and one important truth: Sometimes, there's just no substitute for a splurge. My mother could've gone down any drugstore aisle and tossed makeup into a basket; instead, we shared an experience.
While that very first makeup splurge was oh-so worth it, every girl's got a budget (me, too!). If your cosmetic spending is all about the high-low, be sure to check out our five best highs.