what it costs to be me

Glamour does this really fun series titled “What it Costs to be me” that I read religiously because I am obsessed with how much money goes into people looking the way they do. I know that “effortless beauty” is an expensive sham that few can pull off well. Since Glamour isn’t interviewing me anytime soon I decided to play pretend. I’m ashamed to admit that I spend way too much money on my physical appearance. This post is not a humble-brag, rather it’s my version of radical transparency.


My everyday makeup: $528

I started wearing makeup in the seventh grade, and by makeup I mean Mac Eyeliner as that was the only thing my mom allowed me to wear. Imagine this: scrawny Pakistani female running around the halls of middle school with black smudge marks underneath her eyes. Not my best look. I started perfecting my makeup routine a few months ago after investing in the right products for my face, and watching models do their makeup on Youtube. I start by mixing Marc Jacobs Dew Drops ($40) in with my foundation. I alternate between Sunday Riley’s The Influencer Foundation ($30) and Make Up Forever’s Invisible Cover Foundation ($43). I then apply NARS Creamy Concealer ($30) underneath my eyes with a damp Beauty Blender ($20). My face lacks structure, so I am a contour fanatic. I’ll rub the Fenty Beauty Skin Stick ($25) that I bought in a dark shade onto my hand and stifle it underneath my cheekbones with a Sephora Foundation brush ($30). I’ve heard the rule is to apply all creams prior to powders so once that’s done I set my concealer with the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder ($45). I then apply the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronzer ($68) to finish off my contour. After that, I’ll apply Amazonian Clay Blush from Tarte ($29) that we all received on our birthday.

Even though my brows are thick I’m still missing quite a few hairs, so I’ll use the Loreal Brown Pencil in Dark Brown ($8) followed by Benefit’s Gimme Brow Gel ($24) to keep everything in place. I then curl my lashes with the Tweezerman Lash Curler ($22) and apply the Lancome CILS Booster XL Base ($13)! Lash primer is not a scam y’all! I’m just as shocked as you! Once the primer is on I quickly apply Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Splashes Mascara ($23) for length AND Diorshow Mascara ($30) for volume. I’ll finish off my look with MAC’s Spice Lip Pencil ($18) and FENTY Gloss Bomb ($18) or a quick dab of Glossier’s cherry balm dot com ($12). After this 15+ step process people still say “Iman you don’t wear any makeup!!!!”… little do you know sweetie! No-makeup makeup is a concentrated effort.

Morning Skincare Musts: $365

Skincare is my life! I start and end each morning with an elaborate routine in order to put my best foot forward in this cruel world. I begin with the newly formulated Ceramic Slip Cleanser ($35) followed by Sunday Riley’s CEO Serum ($85). On days I haven’t gotten enough sleep I’ll use Sunday Riley’s Autocorrect ($65) underneath my eyes. When that’s dry I’ll spray Societe Toner ($35) onto my skin. My favorite product of all time is currently Sunday Riley’s UFO Oil ($40) which I apply each morning as a base for my makeup. I don’t exfoliate everyday but when I do I’ll use Lancer The Method: Polish ($75) which is a hidden gem product a friend recommended. I use La Roche-Posay Sunscreen Fluid ($30) to get my sun protection in. It has a slight white-cast but I deal with it by rubbing it in vigorously.


Nighttime Routine: $297

Let’s be clear, some nights I’m lucky to even have taken my makeup off properly. BUT, on the days where life hasn’t exhausted up all of my energy I spend quite some time on my face. I’ll start with Bioderma Makeup Wipes ($10) followed by a MUJI cotton cloth ($7) of Bioderma cleansing water ($15) to really get the gunk off. I then use Ceramic Slip cleanser followed by Sunday Riley’s Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment ($105). Every other night I’ll use Sunday Riley’s Luna Retinol Night Oil ($55). I always end the night with Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask ($20). Also, I sleep on a Silk Pillowcase ($85) to protect my skin and eliminate frizz.


Shower Essentials: $411

I recently switched to a T3 showerhead ($150) which has made a monumental difference on how soft my hair is. When it comes to hair products I’m loyal to Nioxin ($30), the tried and true old lady balding shampoo, for some bizarre reason. I die for NEST body wash ($22) because it smells like luxury. Post-shower I use Sol De Janeiro Brazillian Bum Bum cream ($20) in hopes to reduce my stretch marks. I also use their Acai Body Power Cream ($45) to remain moisturized n’ soft. I’ll dry my hair in a Kistch Microfiber Hair Towel ($23) for a little bit to keep it frizz free. Once unwrapped, I use a wet brush ($8) to remove tangles followed by a few spritzes of Ouai Leave in Conditioner ($26). I also use a little bit of Oribe Gold Lust Hair Oil ($55) throughout my hair when it’s damp. If I ever don’t want to shower (most days) I use Klorane Dry Shampoo ($20) to conceal the oiliness.

My Hair Routine: $25

I go to this raggedy salon that charges $25 for a hair cut + styling every few months. Maybe one day I’ll go to a proper salon but until then…


My Wellness Routine: $287

I impulse signed up for an Equinox gym membership ($180) the other day and I’m still thinking about how expensive it is. However, fitness is important to me and maybe a fancy gym membership will get me through the door. I’m still convincing myself that it’s worth the splurge. In terms of supplements, I take HUM Nutrition Probiotics ($25) in the morning for proper gut health, and I put a scoop of Vital Proteins Collagen Powder in my morning coffee ($25). For proper shut eye I’ll use a Slip Silk Eyemask ($50). I can’t live without it at this point. I also make sure to tongue scrape ($7) every morning to remove bacteria!


Occasional Skincare Treats: $156

Masking is cheaper than therapy so I often put gunk on my face and ignore my problems. Coping mechanism much? I alternate between Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty ($15), GlamGlow’s Supermud Treatment ($59), and Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask ($22) (which I keep in the fridge!) When dealing with breakouts I’ll use COSRX Acne Pimple Patches ($5) or Sunday Riley’s Saturn mask ($55) as a spot treatment.


Annual Total: $2,069

Okay, not too bad! I thought it was going to be worse! However, there is a Sephora sale going on right now….