L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara

Note: This is a legacy post that has been given a facelift! Some minor adjustments have been made to format and readability, but the content is the same with spot-updates from today!

(In 2015) I’d been using L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess for a while and liked it well enough. I was picking up a waterproof tube (of something else) for a wedding I went to in June 2015 when I decided to pick up a tube of L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black, too (not waterproof).

Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara - Stock Photo

TL;DR? I love it.

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Steam of Consciousness & Chatter

Earlier this week, I received a digital copy of my ClinCheck treatment review. I’m beyond excited about it, and even though I’m fairly self-conscious about my teeth, I shared it on Instagram. How millennial of me.

A post shared by Beauty Skeptic (@beautyskeptic) on

Each stage is a new tray!

Tomorrow, I have an extraction. Tuesday, I get my first Invisalign aligner trays. To celebrate that, let’s take a brief break from my usual, structured content.

Every now and then we all have a thought we want to share for the amusement of others or to get their opinions. I tend to experience them in bursts, but since my husband obviously has no interest in beauty-related-anything, I don’t commonly have an outlet. Sometimes I take to Twitter when it occurs to me, but I’m just not engaging enough on Twitter, ha.

In no particular order…

Ever apply a self-tanner with a color guide or instant bronzing effect and wonder, “Who the hell did they met that this shade would be flattering on, ever?”

Seriously. It wasn’t orange, it wasn’t bronze, it wasn’t brown – it was the least-possibly-flattering mix of all three with just a touch of green thrown in. I am pretty sure humans just don’t come in this color. Prodigious.

I was applying a gradual sunless tanner that also had an instant effect and this occurred to me while I was smearing it unattractively all over my face. My husband looked on in horror. “Don’t worry, it comes off,” I explained. Horror turned to confusion. “…it stimulates melanin production, so what you see now is basically just dye.”

Afterwards, the natural coloring that develops is pretty nice. But maybe don’t go out in public with Tanwise Self-Tanning Face Gel on your face.

I really enjoy having painted nails. After executing a manicure, I sat there, supplies before me, pouting. Why? Because it was 8:30PM and I just spent 20 minutes and still had about hour to go if I wanted flawless polish. The world is cruel.

You know who didn’t have to wait for painted nails?

Sailor Moon.

I called it a night, finished drafting posts and went to bed with naked nails.


…But like why invest in product development and R&D when you can throw lavish influencer party-vacations with luxury presents that aren’t even affiliated with the brand? Or, remarkably, invest in ways to slightly lower cost (and price to boost popularity WITHOUT sacrificing handsome profit margins)?

Just sayin’.


A girlfriend of mine with badass hair tried Overtone conditioner to help revive her hair since she got screwed over for her next color appointment. The regular conditioner made her color-treated hair soft and punched a little more life into it after one use. She expects that the Weekly Deep Treatment will do more for her, though.

This first picture is her fresh from the salon…


…and this second one is eight weeks later with Overtone. It’s no secret how difficult it is to maintain red, so these are great results!

My silver-haired girlfriend (yes, she’s still rocking the silver!) will be pleased to know that 1) it works and 2) it is both cruelty-free and vegan.

As for me, I’m shocked and entertained that it isn’t only intended for maintenance. Their photos suggest that you can color with it, check it out:

I’m not up for Exciting Hair at this point in my life (in fact, I have another balayage appointment soon – I’m such an exciting human) but I really enjoy watching the transformations. Out of curiosity, I’m going to look into real-life attempts; I think it would be interesting to see if it can live up to its claims.

Here’s to an undoubtedly lame weekend with gauze in my mouth and the first uncomfortable step to a straighter smile. I will be changing gauze, eating applesauce and mashed potatoes, pouting, taking ibuprofen, folding laundry, and writing this weekend – what are your plans?

Nail Care Routine

Cuticle Oil - Nail Care Routine

Although I have pared down my collection of colors and don’t have polish on as much as I used to, my nail care routine is still an essential part of keeping myself feeling human as opposed to some cave-dwelling fiend.

In Shape

Every week or two, I kick my nail care routine off by trimming and shaping my nails. I’m still using the clippers from the kit I shared in January 2015 and these super-inexpensive files from Sally Beauty that I shared this past February. They’re great! I taper the sides and round the edges ever so slightly.

You see all these super squared-off manicures constantly that look nice, but I’m like, “How are they not stabbing everything with the corners of their nails!?” Looks nice, but just like a two inch nail enhancement – not practical.

Care for your Cuticles

Don’t skip cuticle care in your nail care routine! You could have an amazing polish job, but ragged, dry cuticles will bring it down a few notches. Conversely, polish-free nails still look great when they’re shaped and have their cuticles cared-for.

For cuticle care, I slap on Sally Hansen Apricot Cream (shared January 2017) throughout the day. Once per week, I use a Sally Hansen gel to facilitate the removal of dead tissue where my eponychium meets my nail plate. An orangewood stick does just fine, but I like cuticle stones, these plastic pushers (I bought just one at Sally’s), or one of the heavy-duty stainless steel implements salons use. I hate using cuticle nippers for this; they tend to cause more problems than they solve. I do use them, however, to treat annoying hangnails.

Slap a hydrating cuticle treatment on afterwards. I use either the cream I mentioned above or Essie Apricot Oil. At this point, I’m not sure if I would repurchase the Essie product. I don’t dislike it but there are probably more cost-effective solutions out there.

Polish and Beyond

If polishing, I’ll use acetone or alcohol to clean up and slightly dehydrate my nails to prep for polish. After I polish (regardless of method), I apply cuticle oil (yes, again!) and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

If I’m skipping polish, I finish my nail care routine by giving my nails a good scrub with hand soap, then reapplying cuticle oil. In case it is relevant, my soap dispenser is currently filled with SimpleHuman Spring Water – I like it, but will probably just go back to Method; even though I bought it cheaper than Amazon has it for, Method is still cheaper and works just fine!

Nail Care Routine Maintenance

Usually, I can go two weeks before needing to trim and redo my cuticle work. In the meantime, I keep my cuticles from spontaneously bleeding all over my keyboard (yes, it really happened) by applying my cuticle cream at least once a day. I don’t use a crazy-fancy hand lotion, either; Skinfix (shared August 2016) is unscented and awesome.

If I break a nail, I file it smooth lest I lose my mind. Otherwise, I mostly let them be and enjoy a tidy manicure. If I lose my mind and get a shoddy manicure in a salon, however, I usually need to pay extra attention to my hands for the month after (aka defeating the purpose of a salon manicure). Boo.

What does your nail care routine look like?

Invisalign Update

Aiming to correct my teeth - Invisalign

Note: Although there are a TON of content creators with Invisalign sponsorship deals, I am not one of them. I’m too small to be of notice, ha! I plunked down a few thousand dollars of my own hard-earned money from my fabulous day job for this. Writing the check made me cringe – so don’t worry! No rose-colored lenses here; expect nothing short of brutal honesty of this process. Any affiliate links are my usual Amazon or Shopstyle links which you can reference the side bar regarding my policy towards. :)

On the 27th, I went back to my orthodontist to review my ClinCheck. ClinCheck is Invisalign’s digital treatment plan; a provider (orthodontist) logs in to their web application to review and approve the planned course of treatment. Since then, I’ve been trying to get into the habit of brushing and flossing after each meal in advance of my huge lifestyle change becoming mandatory. I’m not at my target compliance yet; if I’m not by the time I get my trays, I shall suffer the, “growing pains,” and adhere anyway.

On Adherence to the Care Protocols

I’ve seen forums and commentary from Invisalign patients who ‘fessed up to an overall lax approach to the care protocols. I’ve seen tales of people drinking coffee (or worse, soda!) with the aligners in, not brushing after eating, or not wearing them at least 20 hours per day and I can’t help but (silently, to myself) shout, “WHY?! What on earth is wrong with you!?”

Braces in general are expensive. Invisalign tends to be (but isn’t always) more expensive. I cannot fathom why you would spend thousands of dollars trying to correct a particular issue and then just opt out of the protocols that are critical to not only its success but to your health. I’m not saying people need to be perfect 100% of the time – that isn’t realistic; life happens, etc. But I am saying two things:

You aren’t the magical exception to the rule – your teeth aren’t the special snowflakes that can ignore your doctor’s guidance when it is convenient for you and still achieve the forecast results.

You spent lots of money on this. By doing whatever the hell you feel like during the process, you’re saying, “I don’t care about what happens to these thousands of dollars!” Which, hey, your money – but what a charmed life one must live to callously throw away something like that.

Okay, rant over.

Before My First Aligners

Before I get my first set of trays, I have to get a single extraction. My idiot jaw is too small for all the teeth I have, alas. To make space, correct my lower midline, and a whole bunch of other stuff, tooth 26 will be coming out on July 22. Here’s a diagram; teeth 17-32 are the lower teeth.

In my case, tooth 26 is rude and juts forward in front of its neighbors, 27 and 25 and causes 27 to be slightly turned. As a result of its extroverted nature, it has some gum recession – so it’s a perfect candidate to GTFO.


From my understanding, some Invisalign providers are able to offer in-house extractions if/when they are necessary. Mine does not, so it was on me to coordinate appointments. I had a narrow 2-4 day between appointments window to adhere to; fortunately, I lucked out on scheduling.

Time for Trays

After the extraction, I have a few days for the extraction site to calm down and stop profusely bleeding and being a jerk. For my case, my orthodontist advised my that my appointments needed to be about 2-4 days apart to make sure that a) I had some time to recover but b) Not too much time so that my teeth did not move unfavorably. Then, on July 25, I get my first set of Invisalign trays from my orthodontist. At that point, I’ll learn how to care for my trays, best practices, and all that jazz.

What’s Next?

A month later, in August, I go back to the orthodontist to have attachments applied. Attachments are little tooth-colored nubs that help the aligners snap into place; they help the tray provide more leverage which facilitates teeth moving. I have … a bunch of them. I haven’t received my own copy of my ClinCheck yet (Yes! They can send you one!) and I can’t remember how many I have in my future. I do know, however, that my orthodontist did not place them on my two front teeth so it’d be less obvious that I had weird buttons on my teeth.

Kit Update

I added another item to my Invisalign Purse Kit – this little $1> Nalgene bottle holds my mouthwash! It was super cheap and I love it. I also picked up this fragrance free, dye-free Method soap because I’ve seen it recommended for trays. If for some reason my orthodontist recommends I not use it, hey – I have some fragrance free hand soap now!

June 2017 Favorites

June 2017 Favorites

June 2017 Favorites
1. Drunk Elephant C-Firma, $80 / 2. Lotion Saver Bottle Couplers, $4
3. Takeya Cold Brew Pitcher, $20 / 4. Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion, $19 / 5. Sonicare FlexCare Whitening Edition, varies

Year is half over. I just celebrated a birthday. ‘Murica just celebrated its own. I will have my first set of Invisalign trays before the end of the month. Hallelujah.

Btw, is anyone else like, “Get off my lawn and stay out of my damn hydrangeas,” when it comes to fireworks? No one was physically on my lawn, and I don’t have hydrangeas – but I am exhausted today because don’t you know it is ‘Murica’s birthday until (at least) 2AM on July 5? Sigh.

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