I feel pretty, oh so pretty

Worldwide, the cosmetics industry is booming. In Italy the industry is worth €9bn each year. Research from the National Bureau of Statistics of China shows that, by September 2009, the national retail market for cosmetics was worth 65.2 billion yuan (€7bn).

It's no different here in the UK. While it is difficult to establish exact numbers, it was reported in 2003 that the beauty industry was worth over £4.5bn. It is estimated that the UK cosmetic surgery industry alone is worth more than £539m.

These vast numbers mean little until they are broken down into individual outlay of time and money. Several studies and surveys have looked at how much British women invest in their appearance. It is widely said that the average 30-year-old woman spends £180,000 on beauty over a lifetime. This may sound like an unfeasibly large amount, but break it down further and it works out at £253 a month on cosmetics, gym membership, perfume and skincare. Clearly, grooming is not cheap.

A more specific survey found that, over their lives, women spend £27,722 just on their hair. And it isn't only an investment of money - hair eats up just under two hours a week, or four days a year.

A separate study found that women spend 3,276 hours, or 136 days of their lives, applying make-up and dressing up.