The Crazy Price of Beauty Products Around the World

Updated 07/07/17

The U.S. beauty market is always booming, but it also varies from product to product. On one end of the spectrum, you can buy a tube of mascara at CVS for $6, but if you travel to a department store or Sephora, you might shell out a cool $30. The performance of each is based on your own personal preference—we've fallen hard for both high- and low-end formulas—but the difference in price is universally palpable. Take a step outside the country, though, and the average market cost is striking. Sure, differences in economies and resources contribute to the shift, but the same product from big name brands varies substantially in price across the globe as well.

What's also striking is the difference in beauty services: The average haircut in Vietnam rings in at under $7, a drop in the pond compared to a $95 chop in Norway. Linio, the largest e-commerce platform in Latin America, gathered data from these and 48 other countries and compared the cost of both products and treatments against each other. But this information needs to be taken with a grain of salt—six brands per product were evaluated, and cosmetic procedure prices from at least three major cities in each country were measured, so the range of prices per country is likely small.

All things considered, though, if the Norway-Vietnam haircut comparison was any indication of how polar the results are, just wait.

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The most inexpensive country, on average, for both products and services is Vietnam: A mani-pedi is $7, an eyebrow wax is $4, Botox is $5 per unit, and foundation is $15 (all in USD). Several other Asian/South Asian countries peppered the top of the list of inexpensive countries like India, Thailand, and Malaysia (which ranked second, fourth, and ninth, respectively). Egypt charges the least for services like brow waxes and haircuts ($2 and $5, respectively).

Bad news for us Americans, though: We ranked 43 out of 50, especially when it comes to procedures and services (the U.S. mani-pedi is $36 compared to Mexico's $6). Not far ahead were Australia and Scandinavia, with Sweden charging an average of $41 for lipstick. The most expensive country? Venezuela, where the average tube of lipstick will run you $1110 and foundation will cost you $12,531 (yes, five figures). This is due mostly to the country's inflation crisis and the conversion from the Venezuelan Bolívar to the U.S. Dollar, but the numbers are still striking.

There are a few things to consider here—for services and procedures, low costs mean low wages for the providers, so while a $6 nail appointment sounds dreamy, the technician isn't garnering a comfortable profit. Cheap products are also a result of the respective countries' economies—from production to in-store sales, employees' pay is reflective of the products' low price tags. And as Glamour points out, ingredient standards are much stricter in Europe, so while mascara in the UK is $9 compared to the U.S.'s $7, the quality of the product is likely better across the pond.

What did you think about these numbers? Were you surprised? Sound off below.

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