The Beauty Industry is Powered by FOMO

For a while now, I’ve complained about the beauty industry generally being exhausting with its oversaturated product launches. There’s been little innovation; the brands are largely trend-chasing rather than trend-setting.

The severity of the symptom is newer, but the root cause isn’t. Fundamentally, the consumerism that advances success of the beauty industry is powered by FOMO. It isn’t an internet or social media problem, either, though they certainly exacerbate it; think of, pre-widespread internet adoption – people were buying glossy magazines. Different format, but just another example of how the modern beauty industry is powered by FOMO (or, was).


Quick pause – in case you, like me, resent cutesy acronyms and would benefit from knowing WTF I’m talking about:

FOMO, or the, “fear of missing out,” is a psychological phenomenon whereby people have an irrational desire to partake in an experience to avoid the regret of not doing so.

So, in other words, brands that fuel the FOMO engine are the most successful. FOMO is the reason behind flash sales, waiting lists, and social media “unboxing” videos. Unfortunately, FOMO is also the reason why the beauty industry is in a constant state of “newness.”

Read more

WTF? Beauty Retailers Now Sell Adult Novelties

First things first – if a frank discussion of an adult-adjacent topic bothers you, its best to skip this post. It isn’t going to get graphic or gruesome, but still.

I happened to be on Musings of a Muse the other day, and, well, the title says it all. I never would have seen it at Ulta, who is apparently the latest beauty retailer to join the fray, since I’ve stopped doing business with them. But I had no idea about Sephora – although I am still a Sephora customer, I haven’t browsed much this year.

ANYWAY. Isabella expresses some discomfort at seeing the novelties there despite having accepted their place among the sexual wellness and hygiene items at stores like Wal-Mart and Target. She shared that just doesn’t really want to be shopping for beauty items then BAM – vibrators.

What do you think?

Read more

Where I Have Been

Nearly a year-and-a-half ago (lol), I made an Instagram post relaying some cool news of mine. I’ll elaborate here, though.

But first: If you were to ask me what my plans are for this blog, I’d struggle to give you a response.

I’m not sure; I’m not at a point where I want to wash my hands of Beauty Skeptic. I’ll also acknowledge that both the internet and I have changed considerably since this project began. Like I mentioned recently, I’m not trying a ton of products or tools at this point. I’ve unsubscribed from a ton of marketing email lists, and I don’t scroll social media to get that advertising exposure.

Additionally, attention span of people interested in products and tools has shrunk with the oversaturation of releases as brands vie for relevance. In general, fewer people want to read content. They want to watch it – and they want to use social platforms that aggregate and feed content to them. At this stage, I am not a video content creator. I am also specifically disinterested in TikTok, Instagram Stories, etc. I am simply not going to start creating that content. I started this blog to challenge marketing on beauty products and encourage critical thinking – but is that product, the content, something my audience even wants to consume?

So, if you don’t mind, help me understand by sharing your perspective: in general, do you still read blogs? I do, but I realize I may be an outlier.

Anyway, as for where I have been:


I didn’t head to college straight out of high school, and opted to embark on my career immediately instead. This was, objectively, the correct choice for me: folks my age who went to college immediately emerged into an already-rough job market with no experience. Many are still struggling with student debt a decade later.

I have always been an annoying high-achiever; that enabled me to cultivate a STEM career without a degree. Despite my performance, I reached a point where further advancement was challenged by internal politics. My lack of undergrad degree was also made it easier to kick the can down the road. Likewise, if/when I wanted to move on, I didn’t want to be at the mercy of automated sorting criteria and miss out on great opportunities.

I am appropriately confident that I am a great resource and that not having a degree did not make me less-than, but I wanted to remove excuses and improve my candidacy elsewhere if and when I was ready to look elsewhere.


So, in early 2019, I decided on the degree I wanted, found school(s) that offered it, and enrolled in a community college with plans to transfer to a 4-year. I started classes that summer semester. Obviously, this siphoned bandwidth from Beauty Skeptic.

Read more

What I DO Spend Money On – 2022

You know, I wrote about what I don’t spend money on here in 2022 last month with the intent of pairing it with this post – what I DO spend money on. But in reality, the conversation is really about prioritization.

It’s also worth noting that just because something is a priority doesn’t mean it calls for spending a ton of money on it, which you’ll see reflected below.

What I DO Spend Money On

Read more

What I DON’T Spend Money On – 2022

Like most people, my spending has evolved over time across many areas, and beauty is no exception. My wants, needs, and what I find fun have obviously evolved – and I don’t want to store a ton of stuff that may expire, too!

Here’s the latest on what I don’t spend money on:

  • Trying 7238578157283 products
    My money has better things to do, and it is no longer fun for me the way it used to be!

Read more

Why Ulta Lost My Business

Why Ulta Lost My Business After Fifteen Years and Thousands of Dollars Spent

After a decade and a half and thousands of dollars spent, Ulta lost my business. For years, Ulta impressed me with its unique combination of products. Having drugstore, prestige, and salon all in one place is great! It was convenient and felt like a more inclusive place to shop. It wasn’t intimidating to my younger self the same way Sephora and beauty counters were.

I’ve been a member of their Ultamate Rewards program since 2008. Unfortunately, though, Ulta lost my business due to a critical security issue. You should reconsider whether you do business with them, as well.

Weird Activity

Like many, my beauty spending tapered off in 2020. I wasn’t going through product at the same rate. Add that to the amount of uncertainty in the world, I was being judicious and cautious with nonessential spending. I expected my rewards tiers at both Sephora and Ulta to lapse. So, imagine my surprise when I got an email from Ulta suggesting I had more points than I expected.


Read more