Why I Don’t Get Salon Manicures

This is a legacy post that I’ve given a facelift because for some reason in April I think it’s a good idea to get a manicure…only to be disappointed every. single. time. Content is the same with spiffed-up formatting and another anecdote from this year.

Bitey

Once upon a time, I was a horrific nail-biter. Jagged, short, lame. I eventually stopped myself, but not by self-torture (bitter nail drops and whatnot), but instead I painted my ragged nails. I eventually did not want to mar the polish (or have it in my mouth), so I eventually broke the habit. Over time, I leveled up my polishing skill and now my nails are awesome and the envy of millions generally pretty nice!

In a Groove

Since then, nails became my thing. Long before I bothered with makeup or tried to pretend that I could manage my hair, nails were my thing. I feel put together when they’re tidy. My polish collection is decent and find the process relaxing, especially when I’m using gel polish that is relatively odor-free. I rarely have to clean around the nail afterwards, and I rarely have to retouch.

Praise be to DIY

I DIY most of my own manicures and do not bother with salon manicures. So many salons that are in a friendly price point do not take time with their clients; it’s all quantity over quality. I hate being rushed and I hate paying so much (even at a ‘friendly’ price point) for something I can do 20x better myself.

Beyond that, my collection consists all of polishes I like, so I don’t risk going to a salon and being left with a picked-over, old, separated, and thinned-with-thinner OPI polishes that are, frankly, the odd ones out – or, in the case of the topcoat in the OPI bottle, not even a freaking OPI product! Although I know I could bring my own polish, I usually don’t; the polish is part of the price for the service. You don’t get a discount for supplying your own product.

I am also not a fan of how it feels when someone else files my fingernails – I can’t describe it, but it bothers me at a cellular level. Too little is done to stabilize my fingers, and everyone knows that back-and-forth zig-zag filing is bad for the nail…yet so many do it! I can do just fine on my own and save money.

Read more

2016 Holiday Gift Guide

With Thanksgiving coming up, I’m adjusting my posting schedule for the upcoming week. There will be this post (Saturday evening), the normal Monday post, and the normal Wednesday post, but no Friday post.
We’re officially in holiday shopping season! In the interests of self-preservation, I completed my holiday shopping a month-and-a-half ago. Here’s the Beauty Skeptic 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for those of you still in the thick of it.

Before You Shop

eBates

If you aren’t signed up for eBates, go sign up now. Their commercials are weird, but they are absolutely legit. I’ve been a member since January 2012 and am just cents shy of earning $900 cash back over the lifetime of my membership. Here’s a screenshot from my eBates dashboard:

ebates

It is free to join, and just like not contributing to a contribution-matched 401k, to not do so is to throw away free money! Don’t leave money on the table, sign up and earn cash back on nearly all of your online shopping. They pay out quarterly via PayPal, Check, or gift card. Disclosure – I do get a referral credit if you use the link above and YOU get $10 in your eBates account, too.

Honey

If there’s a promo code, I find it. That said, finding them does take time; usually several websites and then time to apply them to check for validity. Honey makes the process easier via a browser plugin that auto-applies the best-available promo codes for you. It operates via user submissions, so you can add your promo code finds to help the community if you’re so inclined.

It’s also free, and you can sign up hereDisclosure – Like eBates, I get a small referral credit if you sign up with that link. Whether or not you sign up with that link, I use and recommend it myself.

Shop!

Skincare

biore aqua rich watery essence

It isn’t often that you can give the gift of health. I love sunscreen as a skincare gift particularly for those who may be a bit lax with their skin. If you’re interested in prestige options, Coola apparently makes some good ones; that said, when it comes to facial sunscreen I can’t be talked off the Biore AQUA Rich ($9) ledge. It’s SPF 50, suitable for all skin types, and not something you can just grab off the shelf in CVS or Target…but even being imported, it is really inexpensive!

Everyone can benefit from some Vitamin C, but especially if your recipient has expressed anti-aging concerns, this is a good pick. This duo from Ole Henriksen ($25) is a cute gift that can boost collagen production and make the skin appear more radiant.

Palettes

Read more

Trim Portable Manicure System

Trim Portable Manicure SystemTrim Portable Manicure System, $8

I had something similar to this cheap, battery-operated electric file years ago. The motor ultimately burned out, and I hadn’t seen a replacement until I came across the Trim Portable Manicure System while out and about.. Admittedly, I didn’t give the tool much scrutiny in the store when I picked it up. For under $8 and running on non-included AA batteries, my expectations were low.

First Impression

Upon unboxing the tool I confirmed that its construction matched its price-point. The body is made of cheap, lightweight plastic. The handle is long (read: awkward to handle), and it doesn’t seem as though the bits have a locking mechanism to hold them in place. The battery compartment was easily accessible, but there aren’t any markers to indicate which way to insert them. I determined that negative should face the bottom of the compartment, positive towards the top.

No dial, switch, or series of buttons means no variable speed control. This little guy is a one-speed.

Read more

Sensationail Polish to Gel

I shared the above photo a few days ago on Instagram. I was trying, for science, to see if Sensationail Polish to Gel would make China Glaze’s notoriously fussy Flip Flop Fantasy (old formula!) easier to work with. It’s a monthly favorite (that post goes live on Wednesday) for a reason, after all, making my RnP > Gel dreams come true.

Unfortunately, I crashed and burned – but not because of the Polish to Gel. This stuff is awesome. Unfortunately, Flip Flop Fantasy is SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS that it could not be redeemed by this wonderstuff.

You can purchase Sensationail Polish to Gel one of two ways – alone, for $8. Or with a lamp, for $24Get the damn lamp. The lamp is new, awesome, and approximately 17 times better than the original lamp. More on that in another post.

The Superior Method

Sensationail Polish to GelSensationail Polish to Gel & China Glaze Flip Flop Fantasy

Read more

November 2015 Favorites

November 2015 FavoritesNovember 2015 Favorites
1. Les Mirages File, $1 / 2. Thera Tears Eye Drops, $9
3. Dr Scholls Paraffin Bath, $40 / 4. Ponds Luminous Finish BB+, $10

Honestly, I haven’t been too focused on my own beauty-related pursuits this month simply because my plate has been relatively full. Keep reading for details on my November 2015 Favorites!

Read more