Use Your FSA for Sunscreen!

Use your FSA for Sunscreen before year-end!
photo from

For many of us with HSA or FSA accounts, December 31 marks the, “use it or lose it,” deadline. If you don’t need an eye exam or new glasses, what do you spend those funds on? Here’s an idea: use your FSA for Sunscreen!


…that HSA and FSA dollars can, in most cases, be spent on sunscreen?

You’ll want to verify with your plan provider, of course, but yes – this is a viable option. If you have an FSA card, you can order FSA-eligible items directly with it (like from; otherwise you will have to check for your reimbursement process.

What better way to stock up on sunscreen for 2016? Most varieties are covered – sprays, traditional lotions, sticks, what-have-you. You may not be able to convince them to cover Coola or Supergoop (but I don’t know for sure that you can’t, either), but still.


PSA: Palettes

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears:

There’s an epidemic, you see. I’ve kept my response contained as best I can, but I’m fighting the urge to go all Katie Holmes-in-The Giver, being a shrieking harpy about

precisionoflanguagePRECISION. OF. LANGUAGE.

But I’m not Jonah’s mom, and we aren’t in some dystopian, baby-murdering (spoilers, not sorry, the book is old) society, and I prefer to teach than scold.


This is a pallet.

is a pallet.

For the sake of argument, here’s a definition.

a portable platform on which goods can be moved, stacked, and stored, especially with the aid of a forklift.

You’ve probably seen one, right? Maybe you’ve (ever) been in a Lowes. Maybe you were at Wal-Mart late at night. Maybe you, yourself, have worked in a retail outfit and had to stock stuff. The only time this has anything to do with cosmetics is perhaps when Sephora receives a shipment; when there is a pallet of palettes.

Moving on,


Naked2 Basics Palette

is a palette.

When people say things like, “that’s a really nice pallet,” when talking about, say, Lorac PRO or a Viseart, the image that fills my mind is an expertly crafted, robust shipping platform. Maybe it’s even sanded, stained, and lacquered in gold. I deeply regret being a crappy artist because I would love to illustrate the image that fills my mind like Hyperbole and a Half brought us the Alot…but alas.

Anyway, I digress. This has been a Public Service Announcement. You now have the vocabulary tools to stop being that guy.

Exasperated with my local Ulta

It’s no secret that I do most of my beauty shopping online. With the exception of things that require matching (foundation), I prefer to shop online.

Sometimes, I’ll get perks that I can only redeem in store, so I take the time to go – my Ulta is within 3 minutes of my office, so it isn’t a terrible hassle (plus, they carry my holy grail dry shampoo). In the order in which I received my Philosophy Fresh Cream perfume, I received a voucher to get a Benefit Air Patrol BB Cream Eyelid Primer. “Cool,” I thought. “I can run it through the primer gauntlet and hopefully write a fruitful post.”

Exasperated with my local Ulta - unable to redeem voucher for Benefit Air Patrol

The voucher states:

“Beauty Bonus! Visit your nearest Benefit Brow Bar inside Ulta to receive a complimentary Air Patrol makeupper. Plus, enjoy a Free* deluxe mini with your Benefit product purchase!”

Pretty fair – that means it is a true freebie, no purchase necessary, and that there is another deluxe mini you can get if you spend whatever Benefit’s minimum is. I went in, the Benefit employee was busy doing some brows. Neither wishing to interrupt her nor wishing to wait 20 minutes, I did the rest of my shopping and headed to the register. I presented the cashier with the voucher, thinking that they’d have those up front just like every other GWP/freebie. She glances at it for half a moment and says, “You didn’t spend enough with Benefit…” and hands it back to me.

I take it from her, hold it up and read the entirety slowly to her, out loud. This isn’t the first time I’ve had something like this happen at Ulta. “Ohhhh…” she says, followed with a cluck of her tongue. “I don’t think we have that yet.”

Read more…

Do Your Research

I feel like I’ve been extra-cynical and/or critical on the blog lately. It’s weird, because I don’t feel any more of either in my daily life; usually those things tend to coincide.

A vlogger I follow published a comparison video between the Clarisonic Mia and the Foreo Luna (made by the people who make the Issa and the Moda). I was interested, because I hadn’t really seen much in the way of a comparison between the two (but I also hadn’t really looked).

So I watch, and by the end of the video, I’m facepalming. The video was sponsored (which is fine, in and of itself) and the personality was clearly in favor of the Luna (again, fine). What wasn’t fine? Her utter lack of any kind of knowledge about one of the two products she was, “comparing.”

I hesitate to even call it a comparison because to suggest that it was would imply that she actually knew the properties of the Clarisonic. What the content creator shows and suggests is a Clarisonic Mia is in fact a Clarisonic Plus; she did not seem to have much experience with the device itself. While she knew that the Clarisonic she was holding (again, Clarisonic PLUS) used a charging cradle (which could be inconvenient), she insisted it had only one speed. Well yes, the actual Clarisonic Mia only features one speed…but she did not have a Mia. Her device ought to have three speeds, in fact – so did she never use the device she’s decrying? Did she just search Google for, “Clarisonic Mia,” and read (some of) a chart of its features?

Do Your Research - Clarisonic Plus, left; Clarisonic Mia, right.

For your reference, good reader – on the left is a Clarisonic Plus, and the right is a classic Clarisonic Mia. I own a Clarisonic Mia 2.

Among other things, she seemed convinced that it spun.

Not a single device made by Clarisonic spins.

Read more…

Landing the Makeup Sale

If there’s anything I abhor, it is the overabundant use of BS as a tool to drive sales. Be it marketing that promises miracles or a salesperson desperate to meet their quota (commissioned or not), there are just some things that should be left alone.

Namely? False flattery. It doesn’t matter what is being sold, but since this is a beauty blog, let’s talk about the use of BS to land a makeup sale.

I’m a regular face in my local Sephora. Sometimes I’m browsing what new stuff they have, sometimes I’m buying, sometimes I’m getting a sample before committing to a product. If they don’t know my name, they at least know my face and recognize me.

There’s one employee, though… I haven’t had this issue with any of the other employees. We pleasantly chat without awkwardness – we talk about product and technique and YouTube and weekend plans (and it all happens way more comfortably and naturally than that time I got my hair cut).

The particular associate is friendly, energetic, and personable… but trying entirely too hard to make me feel warm and fuzzy, to butter me up to buy product. Yes, I have done my time in retail. I get it – you have sales goals to meet! Landing this makeup sale or upselling directly impacts your store’s labor budget which translates to hours for you and your teammates. You want me to feel good because customers who feel good tend to spend more money. There’s a way to build a positive relationship and leave a lasting good impression without bombarding me with false flattery.

It feels insincere. And I can tell. Why?

Read more…