Gel Does Not Damage Your Nails

throwback picture from this throwback post!

Everyone, breathe: gel does not damage your nails! After seeing one too many complaints about how, “gel damages your nails,” and all of these, “gel rescue,” type nail recovery products, I’m losing my mind.

Root Cause

If you’ve experienced nail damage after having gel nails, I’m not gaslighting you. Many people DO experience damage after nail enhancement services. My goal isn’t to make you feel crazy! You aren’t.

My goal is, however, to correct a common misconception and improve understanding of nail enhancement processes. Gel does not damage your nails.

If you’ve experienced weak, thin, peeling, or sensitive nails after removing gel, you aren’t alone. The issue isn’t the gel – the issue is how the nails were prepped.

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Start of 2021 Newsletter


I planned on starting 2021 with a nice little newsletter about 2020, trying to grasp at the straws that were the small items to celebrate in spite of what an awful year it was.

In light of the terrorism in America this week, it feels weird and bad to talk about celebrations. There’s a lot of ugliness that’s come to a head, and we’re not out of the woods.

But I decided to talk anyway, albeit in a more subdued tone. The fact that there are horrors and that there is work to be done should not also siphon the joy we worked hard to capture.

In 2020, I attempted to revive the blog over the summer in hopes of not only reviving it but me.

I modified my post frequency and built up momentum within it, but this proved ambitious. In August, the world (as a metaphor for my time and energy) shook: I ended up with significantly more work than ever. I simultaneously headed into the worst semester I’ve faced. Like before, Beauty Skeptic had to take a back seat.

I’ve casually mentioned it before, but in addition to my career, I started college in May 2019. My ultimate higher-ed goal is to get a bachelor’s, but have happily just completed (with much exhaustion) a shiny new Associate’s degree in my day job field. I pulled this off in 18 months and achieved magna cum laude, and a bunch of boring academic honors. I’m not particularly good at celebrating my accomplishments, but I think that is worth celebrating.

In spite of trying to push myself to celebrate, I also feel that weird, “unproductive guilt,” that is new(er) for a lot of people. That is wild because I have been anything other than unproductive. Do you struggle with celebrating your accomplishments too? Share yours! We can celebrate together in spirit without the oppression of yet another video call. (I am so tired of seeing my fucking face on webcam, and I bet you are too!) Only demand is to throw on a lipstick you like. Or don’t. Whatever.

Smol Celebrations

The school stuff I mentioned! I completed a degree in 75% of the time it, “usually,” takes and with high marks while working 50+ hour weeks in a high-stress career.

In addition to all of that, I earned a valuable professional credential.

I learned several new skills:

  • I can operate a sewing machine, sew at a novice level, and make masks to keep my family safer.
  • I can make soap (and it’s REALLY FUN and very appropriate for Beauty Skeptic).
  • I can make candles.
  • I tint and wax my own brows now.
  • I can passably-enough cut my hair.
  • I’ve elevated my DIY nail skills to include polygel usage.
  • I successfully grew some produce.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned more about the balance I need and will push a bit more gently going forward to preserve my mental state.

Here’s hoping that I can do better for this site in 2021.

Soap Box: Get Ready While WFH


Get Ready While WFH

With less visibility than going into the office, it can be tempting to roll out of bed and login. I love to sleep in as much as the next person. I get it. If nothing else, it is critical to get ready while WFH because it helps you maintain boundaries which supports prevention of burnout and preservation of our mental health.

On Imgur last week, I saw a meme whose sentiment was along the lines of, “It’s time to stop calling it, ‘Working From Home,’ and instead call it, ‘Living at Work.'” For those of you also fortunate enough to work from home during this cluster of a year, you can appreciate how real that thought is.

And a quick pause on the, “fortunate enough,” bit:

You may not like working from home. In fact, you may hate it. The fact remains that if you are able to work from the safety of your home right now when so many people have either been displaced from employment or have their (and their family’s) health at risk – well, you’re lucky.

That said, just because you frame your situation in the context of being fortunate, doesn’t mean it is invalid to feel stressed or like boundaries are being violated. They are. Everyone’s are.

–and that’s why I still think you should get ready for work.

Three Key Reasons to Get Ready while WFH:


Those of us accustomed to going to an office every day, even if you weren’t routine-driven, had some sort of routine. Here’s roughly what mine looked like on an average day:

  • 5:00-5:20 – alarm/snooze/alarm/admit defeat. Get out of bed, do morning hygiene, slap on vit C serum.
  • 5:20-5:30 – if I failed myself the night before, pick clothing and get dressed
  • 5:30-5:40 – tidy hair, style if needed (I wash every other day, at night)
  • 5:40-5:55 – moisturize, sunscreen, facepaint. I can do this in as few as five minutes – and often do. But sometimes I want to channel Bob Ross, damn it, for a little morning zen. Some people do morning yoga; I do this
  • 5:55 – put together lunch, acquire caffeine
  • 6:00-6:05 – depart for ye olde commute
  • 6:35ish – arrive

The commute is actually the key element that orients my brain to transition to, “work mode,” from, “home mode.” It is a consistent boundary that marks the physical transition. With WFH, that is gone.

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Nudestix Hand Sanitizer Gel

It’s been a while since I’ve seen some exceptionally stupid beauty marketing, mostly because I haven’t been looking. During some idle browsing on a lazy Sunday morning, I came across Nudestix Hand Sanitizer Gel. It is a bit odd to see beauty retailers offering so many hand sanitizer products, but that’s the world we live in now. Tons of companies set forth to add hand sanitizers to their complement of products: chemical companies, spirits distilleries, beauty brands. Lo and behold, you can buy all manner of hand sanitizers at Sephora and Ulta now.

TL;DR Your Marketing is Bad

Sephora partnered with Nudestix to add this ethanol-based hand sanitizer, priced $10 for 16.9 fl oz, to their shelves. The listing says:

In partnership with proud Canadian company, Nudestix, Sephora Canada launched this good-for-skin antibacterial gel specifically for the global COVID-19 crisis. Unlike alcohol-based gels, the Nudestix ethanol-based gel hydrates and protects hands while banishing harmful bacteria.

You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me

K, few things. We’ll key in on the biggest chunk of stupidity right off the bat. I cannot believe I have to point this out, but ethanol is an alcohol. In fact, assuming you are not a chemist, it is the form of alcohol you are most familiar with. It is the type of alcohol that beverages contain. It is an alternative fuel. It has antiseptic properties, hence why it is used in hand sanitizers.

CoVid-19 Isn’t a F***ing Bacteria

Secondly, while properly formulated and used hand sanitizers are antibacterial in nature, their marketing focuses too much on this right now. CoVid-19 is not bacterial, it is viral. A high enough concentration of alcohol can kill it. That should be how Nudestix Hand Sanitizer Gel is positioned right now. Instead, the listing mentions that the product was prompted by CoVid and goes on to spout about it being antibacterial.

The Bottom Line

You won’t find a link to Nudestix Hand Sanitizer Gel in this post because I don’t want to encourage/support bad behavior. I frankly find it off-putting – if we have cosmetic companies producing product without the basic understanding that ethanol is an alcohol, how can we trust that their cosmetic formulations have safety and efficacy in mind? It makes me think of Sensationail’s claims about their gel nail cleanser (psst, you don’t need it).

I don’t know if this listing is the fault of some product marketing genius with Sephora or with Nudestix. I don’t know if they genuinely don’t know any better, or if they’re a little too at-ease with assuming their consumers are idiots. I’d sincerely hope at least somewhere in either org there is someone with enough basic chemistry know-how to discourage this sort of thing. Instead, if you want to buy hand sanitizer from a beauty brand, might I suggest Cinema Secrets with a 70% concentration?

Commentary: Sponsorship

This is a legacy post that has been given a facelift.

Beauty Skeptic has no ongoing sponsor relationships at this time. It’s neither good nor bad, it’s just a fact. In the past, I’ve done some minor sponsored content – i.e., received free product to review (Esqido Lashes and their eyeliners) – but I’ve never been paid for a post.

Personally – and I felt this way before I started blogging – I don’t take issue with sponsored content as long as it:

  • Is disclosed legally (i.e., per FTC guidelines or whatever governing body applies) and
  • Has been subject to the same scrutiny they would if no sponsorship was involved.

That’s my view and my approach to the matter.

Unfortunately, some content creators out there don’t feel that they need to comply with the applicable laws. It isn’t just a matter of legal compliance, though. In most cases where sponsorship is even viable, you have developed a readership, viewership, whatever following. These people like you, believe in you, trust your opinion. While it isn’t wrong to get paid for your work, it IS wrong to take (what I view as) bribes to shill products that you otherwise don’t care for or wouldn’t promote. It isn’t just a matter of legality, it is a matter of ethics.

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Discuss: Beauty Budgets

Beauty Budgets - Vladimir Tarasov / Via Getty ImagesBeauty Budgets
Vladimir Tarasov / Via Getty Images

This legacy post has been given a facelift and an update, but content/opinions are the same. Enjoy!

I came across this Wall Street Journal article on the the high price of beauty. In the article (here), the annual beauty budgets of four successful women are discussed.


I’m not quite sure what I expected, but what I read was definitely not it.

The four women are, in order:

  • A, “style expert,” and founder of what is essentially an organization that gives makeovers to needy women
  • An actress
  • A jewelry designer and
  • An entertainment executive

Clearly, all women of means, but I was still not prepared for what I read.

Three of the four women indicated an annual beauty expenditure was around twenty thousand dollars. Let’s put that into numbers instead of words, and let it sink in. Their beauty budgets were around $20,000 per year. The fourth came in just under $10,000.

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