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.

#moonprismpower


…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’.

#exclusivityiskey


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?

Preparing for Waxing

Preparing for WaxingEarlier this year, I signed on as a European Wax Center customer (more on why in another post). And that’s the extent of our relationship, they know nothing about my blog – to them, I’m just a paying customer. Some would have you believe that waxing is totally painless…and I’d call that, “some,” a bunch of cruel liars. The first experience was brutal – which, from what I understand, is fairly common if you were previously a shaver. I had looked up advice on preparing for waxing, but nothing I read properly set my expectations: the first time sucked.

Hair grows in cycles, going in as a former-shaver probably means there’s a greater density of hairs – meaning more hairs closer together. That first experience can suck because SO much is being pulled out so close together. In some cases, the length required for waxing can cause the hairs to lay over top each other; so instead of coming out cleanly, they can tug on each other. Ow. Future visits are at least 80% better, if not more. Not only is the hair sparser because of how growth cycles work, but your skin grows accustomed to the process.

Here are some tips on preparing for waxing that makes the whole process suck less.

Exfoliate

This isn’t rocket science. Pretty much any form of hair removal benefits from exfoliation. This isn’t just for immediately prior-to-treatment, however. Getting the dead, upper-layers of skin out of the way reduces the barrier unwanted hair is coaxedripped out from. Ongoing exfoliation between appointments reduces the likelihood of uncomfortable, unsightly ingrown hairs.

You can pursue physical (scrubs), chemical (serums, wipes – so think AHAs and BHAs), or enzymatic (fruit peels) to help you along with this. Aim to exfoliate once every other day and work up from there if needed.

Note: If you go with a scrub or chemical exfoliation route, my esthetician suggests not using them within the 48 hour window before your appointment. She explained that scrubs, by their very nature, irritate the skin and chemical exfoliants can still be, “working,” for up to 48 hours. Enzyme-based ones, she says, are fine to use up until immediately before. Personally, I live on the edge a bit and will go up to 24 hours prior. It hasn’t been an issue, but it is crucial that you really know your skin. If you’re unsure, absolutely listen to your esthetician or doctor over me, some schmuck on the internet. If you choose not to follow their advice, you’re doing so at your own risk (I’m not a dermatologist or esthetician).

Read more…

TPDTY: On Upselling for Consumers and Salespeople

A month ago, I went for a wax at a popular waxing chain. The first-time service, albeit uncomfortable, went well! Part of how this chain makes money is through selling their in-house line of skincare products for use at home after the service. I generally eschew these things unless the person I’m working with can make an excellent case for them. Most do not.

Upselling

Afterwards, the esthetician who rendered my services tried (gently, unlike this hair stylist) upselling me on some of their retail line. According to my esthetician, the products contain growth inhibitors and exfoliants. Both are cool, but not enough to sell me on a $27 tub of 45 wipes. She gave me one of the wipes to demonstrate how saturated they were (unlike some wipes that are halfway dry); it was pretty solid. But then again, for $0.60 per wipe, they ought to be.

Know Your Products (or Services)

I asked what its active ingredients were to exfoliate – like an AHA or salicylic acid; she balked. She ultimately went on to tell me that it contained lavender and aloe vera for soothing purposes – great, but not what I asked. The packages did not list that information either which, as a consumer, I find disconcerting.

Needless to say, she didn’t make the sale. I later went to research the products and found that they do have both AHA and BHAs – but no information on what kind or on concentration. Ouch, not worth it to me when I can use any number of products I already own.

As a Consumer

Read more…

PSA: Conair Jumbo Instant Heat Hot Rollers

Conair Jumbo Instant Heat Hot Rollers

Conair Jumbo Instant Heat Jumbo Hair Setter

Every time I use my Conair Jumbo hot rollers, I wonder:

Why the hell don’t I do this more often? It is so low-effort for such nice results; definitely gives the illusion that I took more than the 5-10 minutes it takes to put these in.

If we’re being honest, I can spare 5-10 active minutes most mornings for my hair to do itself. I just conveniently forget that when I’m slapping the snooze button.

The Conair Jumbo set isn’t fancy like a Caruso steam set or, “sexy,” like the T3 rollers are. My rollers cost me about $35 when I bought them several years ago. Right now, they’re available on Amazon for around $27 – but also have a $5 off coupon. Be sure to choose the Amazon-exclusive set for the additional $5 off.

Why Hot Rollers

Don’t get me wrong, curling irons and wands can and do provide amazing results, but I don’t have time for them most mornings. They aren’t as forgiving, and the entire styling time is active – you’re sitting there operating the device the entire time. It is also easy to burn yourself!

Once you figure out how to part your hair for your preferred results, you can throw jumbo rollers in your hair in ten minutes (or less if, unlike me, you are coordinated).

Read more…

Costco Beauty Finds – May 2017

I’ve been a Costco member for a few years now and have shared some beauty finds in the past. Costco Beauty is a veritable treasure trove of desirable products at even-more-desirable prices. Arguably, if you have a makeup/skincare/haircare habit, the savings on some of these finds alone more than pays for the membership if you were planning to buy them anyway.

Here are some neat things I came across recently. I haven’t purchased most of these items, but either want to at some point or think they’re probably interesting enough to some people to share.

Costco Beauty Finds - May 2017 - Amope Pedi Perfect Wet & DryAmope Pedi Perfect Wet & Dry

The standard Amope Pedi Perfect is the recipient of several consumer awards as well as overwhelmingly positive reviews. Between 4.5 and 5 stars virtually everywhere, the Pedi Perfect typically retails for $30-36 for the device itself with only one head. Costco regularly carries the Wet & Dry variety, which is waterproof and therefore safe to use in the shower, for $40; the Wet & Dry variety typically goes for $50+ elsewhere. Costco’s package includes FIVE replacement rollers heads, which retail for $20 for a pack of two, plus a storage bag. Bonus: You DON’T have to be a member to order this from Costco.com, but there is a non-member surcharge of a couple dollars. This is the best value I’ve found via Costco Beauty to date.

Costco Beauty Finds - May 2017 - Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening SerumMurad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

This popular Murad serum goes for $65 at Sephora and Ulta in the same quantity. Even with a 20% off Platinum Perk or the November VIB sale, it drops to $52…so the $43 price tag Costco has it for is a steal. People have luck fading acne scars, sun spots, and age spots with this.

Read more…