Will Recessionistas Budget For Botox?

The New York Times has an interesting story in today’s Style section about how the recession and tanking economy will affect the cosmetic surgery and beauty industries. Will people, specifically women, start scrimping on beauty products and cut spending on Botox, boob jobs, pricey gym memberships, and fad diets?

Indeed, a few indicators suggest that financial constraints are beginning to interrupt the narrative of better living through surgery — at least temporarily. Sixty-two percent of plastic surgeons who responded to a recent questionnaire from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons said they had performed fewer procedures in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, according to the latest anecdotal information from the group.

Personally, I don’t think this will last. The pursuit of perfection is a vice and an addiction, and like sex and booze, which thrive during tough economic times, the desire to look better and younger will never die.For starters, let’s think about who gets Botox regularly — at $600 bucks a session, three times a year, botulism is an upper middle class injection. Think The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Orange County, and New York, Demi Moore, and trust funded 20-somethings and you’ll have an idea of Botox’s target demo. While Wall Street traders have certainly been burned by the tanking economy, the rest of the upper middle class and the wealthy are still doing pretty well for themselves. Your average schoolteacher, Gap sweater folder, and struggling writer aren’t getting their faces shot up, at least not on a regular basis. If my cousin, who does nails for a living, loses her job, she’s not going to be all, “Woe is me, now I can’t freeze my face anymore!”

Let’s say those that are getting cosmetic procedures regularly do get punched in the pocket book thanks to the recession — I don’t think the cost of beauty is too high when there are plenty of other, less practical cutbacks to make. Cosmetic surgery die-hards will cut back on expensive dinners, vacations, and even shopping before they’ll stop charging Restylane injections.

“Let’s face it, if you don’t look great, you are not going to your reunion and you are not going on Facebook,” said Peri Basel, who blogs about beauty at itsthelatest.com. She described her cosmetic cutbacks: out went the personal trainer, in came the gym classes; anti-wrinkle injections are a must, but major operations have gone by the wayside.

So, lipo and boob jobs are out, but wrinkles are too. Amy Krakow, a president at a public relations firm concurs:

“I’ll change my hair colorist. I’ll give up my crazy Japanese hair straightening. I’ll stretch out my Botox. I’ll even go for fewer plastic surgeries. But I do have to look good in my business. I look younger, therefore I can represent younger and hipper clients.”

Women think they need to remain eternally youthful to stay ahead of the game and keep their jobs. You see! Looking young forever is practical! [NY Times

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