Beauty by the Numbers: 14 Odd and Surprising Facts
by Gwendolen Fairfax
In the weird and wonderful world of looking pretty, there are hundreds of quizzical and quixotic facts that can make us appreciate the wonder of the human body. From the delightfully whimsical to the downright odd, how do you measure up?
Blondes Have More Hair
Blondes (natural blondes, that is) tend to have about 140,000 hairs on their heads. Brunettes average about 110,000, while people with black hair have about 108,000. Redheads have the least, with only about 80,000 hairs on average.
These Are the Days of Our Lives
On average, women spend 58 days of their lives shaving or waxing unwanted hair.
Flipping the Bird
The fastest-growing fingernail is the one on your middle finger. The nails on your dominant hand also grow faster than the ones on your non-dominant hand, and all nails grow faster in the summer than in the winter.
Redheads Are a Rarity
Red hair is the rarest natural hair color for human beings, but contrary to popular belief, redheads are not going extinct. Although both parents must carry the recessive redhead gene to produce a child with red hair, evolutionary biologists agree that red hair won’t die out any time soon.
The Price of Beauty
A 2010 survey found that the average woman spends about $13,000 on makeup in her lifetime. She spends an average of 330 hours applying it.
Shopping ’Til We Drop
The average woman spends almost nine years of her life shopping.
Slouching Toward the Weekend
As the week drags on, both men and women spend less time getting ready in the morning. On Mondays, women spend an average of 76 minutes primping, but they spend only 19 minutes by Friday. Men’s grooming routines start at 28 minutes on Mondays and drop to 11 minutes by Fridays.
The average woman buys seven new pairs of shoes each year.
The New Average
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the average American woman wore a size 3 1/2 or 4 shoe; by the 1960s, it was a size 5 1/2 or 6. Nowadays, the most common foot size is between an 8 1/2 and a 9.
Meeting in the Middle
Genetically, there are really only two types of hair: straight and curly. Wavy hair is the result of a person carrying one of each type of gene.
Great Lash, Great Sales
The world’s bestselling makeup product is Maybelline Great Lash mascara, which was introduced in 1971. Maybelline reports that a tube is sold somewhere in the world every 1.6 seconds.
No. 5 Is Number One
The world’s bestselling perfume is Chanel No. 5. The company first produced the scent in 1919 and estimates that a bottle is sold every thirty seconds. ($120; Chanel)
When dry, a human hair has greater tensile strength than a strand of nylon of the same size.
A Vanishing Shade
Babies are born with blue eyes. Their real eye color develops over the first few years of life, as light triggers the production of melanin. Only about one in six adults have naturally blue eyes, and due to immigration and intermarriage, that number is shrinking.