The Haul-idays / No Buy / State of Things

No Buy


Since the sale I bought C Firma during, I allowed myself to spend a little more on beauty-related products during the holidays.

In addition to the MiroPure Straightening brush, I bought:

  • Another hair tool to try. There’s no universe in which I would have dropped money (>$125!) on a Beachwaver but I got the InstaWave for $25.
  • A few more Gelaze colors to play with. I hadn’t purchased any gel polish in nearly a year!
  • Some extra Clarisonic brush heads. There was a Cyber Monday sale – got two Radiance heads for $24. Not as excellent as my usual purchase of 4 for $64 (4 pack for $81 + 20% off).
  • A new (to me, not new release) Real Techniques brush. I didn’t really have anything to use on my whole, finished face to blend any edges that I missed, and for $4 on sale I figured it was fair.

Holiday Stuff

In all, I found myself yet again underwhelmed by the holiday offerings put out by most brands. It does look like Fenty Beauty rose to the occasion (still haven’t tried anything from Fenty, though), but everything else fell flat to me. Even Urban Decay who, in spite of my occasional criticism, I generally enjoy, swung and missed (me).

The only thing I found myself tempted by were the new Heavy Metal glitter liner shades – but given that I have few opportunities to even wear the one I own (Midnight Cowboy), I refrained from adding more to my collection. Glitter eyeliner, after all, is not appropriate for work.

State of Things

Now for some general, “state of things,” updates on things I’ve talked about but not super-recently.

No Buy

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Beauty Skeptic Amazon Storefront

This year, I didn’t bother writing any holiday gift guides. Between my real-life workload and something telling me, “There are enough out there this year,” I opted out.

In a related vein, though, I created an Amazon Storefront that features my favorite beauty products. We’re talking hair tools, skincare, makeup – the whole nine yards. Putting it together was a bit of a wake-up-call; it had me going, “Whoa, I use a lot of stuff.” In the end, I felt way more high maintenance than I was prepared to admit.

Beauty Skeptic Amazon Storefront


The above screenshot is just a small snippet of what I have up there. Items on that page are things that I use routinely – maybe not every day, but definitely often. It’s like the ultimate, comprehensive Beauty Skeptic Starter Pack.

Notes & Tips:

  • Everything in my Amazon storefront results in a small affiliate commission. I don’t link to things there that I don’t use and recommend. If you aren’t comfortable with that, you’re welcome to purchase items you’re interested in elsewhere. :)
  • Shop smart. Although Amazon frequently has the lowest price on certain things, they aren’t always the lowest.
    • Know your pricing!
      • I can often get micellar water and mascara cheaper at Target when they’re on sale + Cartwheel + manufacturer coupons.
        • But sometimes, Amazon has a sale + coupons, too!
      • OPI is frequently a better deal at Ulta (frequent BOGO 50% off) or Sally Beauty (occasional B2G1).
      • Bed Head is priced best from Costco, etc.
    • Also, Amazon pricing fluctuates a lot. I use the Keepa browser plugin for Chrome to guide my purchase timing to get better deals.
    • At the end of the day, price may not be the biggest motivator for you. I strongly believe there is a value to convenience and simplicity; for example, at this time of year I order more things from Amazon even if they cost a little more stores at Christmastime are crazy.
  • Prime is worth it!

Why the Amazon Storefront and affiliate links?

Although Beauty Skeptic is not my full-time, full-tilt job, there are operating costs. There’s fees for web hosting, domain registration, security – not to mention site design, branding, etc. Although there are products I would definitely buy and try no matter what, some of my purchases are influenced by thoughts along the lines of, “My readers has expressed interest in this,” or, “I think my readers would be interested in this.”

Purchases made via affiliate links offset those administrative costs and enable me to purchase and review products you’ve told me you want to know about or I think you’d be interested in. Basically, that small income enables me to continue consistently creating content. All earnings from affiliate programs like Amazon’s go right back into the blog.

The Bottom Line

My hope is that the Amazon Storefront offers you convenience. If not, disregard it and go about your day!

I’m taking Monday off to enjoy the holiday with my family. If you observe and celebrate, I hope you have a peaceful, joyful Christmas. If you don’t, I still hope you have a peaceful, joyful December 25. ;)

Tuesday Extra – The Humidifier

The winter solstice is in two days and my hair is protesting by being static-y and my skin is parched. Let’s talk about my skin, my cat, The Sickness, and humidifiers.

So – about me: since I started using it a few years ago, argan oil hasn’t let me down. Four drops a night, historically, has been enough for my skin. As temperatures have plummeted and heaters have been on, though, my skin needs more. During the day on weekdays I’ve been cocktailing B-Hydra (came with my Come C About Me set) with C-Firma. On weekends, I’ve used a couple drops of argan in its place – but I was considering using a, “full dose,” of argan oil TWICE a day. That’s how dry my skin was getting – and yes, I’m staying hydrated!

As for my hair, winter means more blow-drying for me. I never blow dry without product (I’m finally nearing the end of my Paul Mitchell Super Skinny), so imagine my surprise when I ended up with staticky hair last Friday. I deep condition once a week so I didn’t think it was an issue – but this year, it evidently is!

Poor Little Cat

I’ve never understood how people could just not like cats. (Close friends who take time out of their day to read are probably laughing and shaking their heads, “Here we go…”) It literally does not compute in my brain the same way not liking ice cream or Cowboy Bebop don’t compute. So if you’re one of those people, sorry, but you’re going to suffer through a cat photo and a brief story.


…is Taiga, and she is majestic but sensitive. Her stomach can get finicky if she eats too fast or if it is Tuesday or if Mercury is in retrograde. Unlike her sister but like me, her skin tends to get fussy and dry if humidity in our apartment isn’t up to snuff. Poor thing will scratch herself senseless trying to mollify her itchy, dry skin. It hurts my heart – after all, I can’t just slap some argan oil on her the way I can myself.

The Sickness

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November 2017 Favorites

November 2017 FavoritesNovember 2017 Favorites
1. MiroPure Straightening Brush, $40 / 2. Aussie 3 Minute Miracle, 3 for >$8 / 3. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $80 /
4. Vaseline Original, varies / 5. OPI I’m Not Really a Waitress, $8

American Thanksgiving has come and gone (somehow it was already like two weeks ago, WTF). The holidays are officially here. I have yet to decorate my apartment (because I have been drowning in work, as I shared on earlier this week). This weekend, I will get the wee tree up and then I will wrap all the things. I’ve been into tying gift bows lately and have some amazing peacock ribbon that I’m excited to use. Before we get into my November 2017 Favorites, don’t forget to check out (and enter, duh) my Real Techniques Sculpting Set Giveaway; there’s only a week left!

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Tree Hut Bare Moisturizing Shave Oil

I’m already a fan of Tree Hut products, but I was triggered when I saw Tree Hut Bare Moisturizing Shave Oil several months ago. I waited to purchase until my No Buy was paused, though, because I didn’t need to replenish what I was already using. Waiting forced me not to impulsively try it and it enabled me to buy it on sale AND save 20% with my Platinum Perk.

I was already using an oil to shave my legs (I wrote about Shave Secret here). I like what I was using, but I wasn’t attached to it (like I am to Moisture Maniac). There are a few scents of Tree Hut Bare Moisturizing Shave Oil available; I chose Coconut Lime to match my favorite Tree Hut body scrub.


Tree Hut Bare Moisturizing Shave Oil comes in an easy-to-use pump bottle. Compared to the tiny, screw-top dropper bottle of the product I was using, it is way easier to use. I don’t have to fumble with a tiny screw cap in the shower. The pump locks with a quarter turn, but is easily managed and operated in the shower.

Barrier, Glide, & Control

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