By Jessi Jeffrey – Knoxville, TN

Several of my coworkers subscribe to IPSY, a company that delivers monthly “glam bags” of name-brand makeup products for $10 a month to subscribers based on their preferences. This means once a month I watch my coworkers get together over lunch, pour out their new treasures and conducti a makeup swap. They talk about and plan this little event all month, and even splurge on delivery or take-out.

I can count the number of times I’ve worn makeup on my fingers and toes –  I’ve never been a makeup kind of girl, for a multitude of reasons: The product is expensive and the application is a time-consuming high-maintenance activity. I personally don’t understand why anyone would think their face needs to be made up to anything other than what it is, that they are anything less than beautiful. Part of me believes the societal pressure to have a flawlessly made up face and negative two dress size in designer clothing is a huge detriment to the confidence, and hence the strength, of women.

lipsBut recently, as I watched my coworkers, I realized something else. One of these women is in her 50s and happily never married. Another is in her mid-30s, without children because of medical reasons. Another is 31-years-old and the proud mother of four young boys. Every woman who participates in this monthly meeting has a different story.

They are not reveling in their purchases to impress a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, mother or society at large. They are excited because they are able to save money on something that makes them feel good about themselves for themselves. They are excited because they get to share this experience with friends. This is an exercise in building the strength of women, individually and uniformly, not tearing it down.

Although I don’t wear makeup, I am reminded of the jar of wax in my bathroom closet I use to shape my eyebrows or my collection of cute sandals. These are things I buy and use because they make me happy, not because society has laid down some sort of beauty standard. As I watch those women this month, smiling and laughing, enjoying each other’s company, discussing the more important matters of life over salsa and lipstick, I think I have titled this article incorrectly. Instead of “The Price of Beauty?” it should be How to Save on What Makes You Happy .