thredUP Online Thrifting Review

As part of my commitment to the planet (both the ecosystem and ethics), I’ve decided to start thrifting for all of my thrift-able clothing needs. There has been a lot of talk recently about how fast fashion is bad. The clothes are largely polyester (though, so are expensive brands these days). Those plastic fibers wash off of our clothes and into the ocean. They use a lot of water for production. And then there’s the bit where we have children working in the factories.

Thrifting doesn’t solve all of these problems. The clothes are still polyester a lot of the time. I’ve bought a Cora Ball to try to help mitigate that. And while I’m not personally doing a lot of damage to sweatshops by not buying their clothes directly, it does make me feel better.

And then there’s the bit where thrifting can be a lot cheaper. That certainly helps.

I visit a lot of thrift stores in person, but used a friend’s referral code for $10 off to try thredUP. Then I went down the thredUP rabbit hole for a bit. I’ve got a code that you can use here. I get $10 and you get $10 when you make your first order.

Buying From thredUP

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Pros:

– Huge selection of items. You can sort by brand, size, color, and price, which is a nice advantage over in person thrifting.
– Nearly always have an additional percent off deal, and you can start with $10 off from a referral.
– Discounts are good. They aren’t what you’d get from my local thrift stores, but this will depend on your area and how good your thrift stores are. Shoe prices have been the same as eBay for me.

Cons:
– Listings are often inaccurate. I sold items that all fit me correctly but were listed with bust sizes that I can’t fit into.
– Returns aren’t worth it. Most items are subject to a $0.99 restocking fee, and then return shipping is inexplicably $8.99. Shipping TO you is like $5.

Here’s my favorite find so far: a pair of pointy, dark burgundy work shoes. New with tags and packaging intact.
Dark burgundy (though they look black here) Rocket Dog shoes. The toes are pointed and they've got a bunch of straps. I love them.

Selling with thredUP

Guys, I was warned. I saw a lot of people talking about how low their payouts were. I thought that they must not be sending in the appropriate brands or were being picky. Of course the payout isn’t going to be the same as personally selling your items on eBay or Poshmark. I steeled myself. I was prepared.

I was not quite prepared.

I was in the midst of a hardcore spring clean while we were working on getting our house. I wasn’t about to move a bunch of clothes that I wasn’t going to wear. That’s a waste of my time. So I purged.

Image of two full trash bags of unwanted clothing.

Then I waited a week, because that was exhausting. Then I spent another hour of my life sorting through these clothes and pulling out the thredUP approved brands.

The same clothes, but now half of them are in a thredUP bag with green polka dots.

I had twenty items that all fit their guidelines. I figured that the lowest I would hope for is $20. A dollar an item is super low, but they were all in good condition. I had a $200 pair of jeans in there that I was hoping would go for something decent. Don’t worry, I got the jeans for $6 at Goodwill and they were just a little bit too stretchy for me. This was a pretty safe experiment for me. The second bag went off to Savers. I got zero dollars for my Savers donation, for context. Anything above that was a gain.

They accepted four items. The jeans weren’t one of them. I was given a flat $5.51 total for three of the items. The fourth item was sold as consignment. I got an additional $2.47 for that one.

$7.98 for the whole bag. So, that’s the con there.

In the future, I think that I would add an additional step if I were trying to get any sort of return in value on my clothes. I’d try eBay or Poshmark before I sent to thredUP. And in the future, I might not take the time to separate my clothes out based on their brands. The payout is so low that it wasn’t worth the effort that I put in.

The difficulty & charge on returns means that thredUP isn’t going to be my default thrift option. I’ll continue relying primarily on in person stores. I do think thredUP is good for buying items that I already know will fit me well at a discount.

I also don’t recommend trying to make any sort of money by selling your clothes through them. If you have the time to make your own listings, that’s the way to go. If you don’t, maybe you’ll get $5.

Tony Moly Shiny Foot Quick Peeling Liquid

OF COURSE I got in on the weird peeling foot trend. My friend in South Korea maybe got drunk and picked me up some more presents.

The box for Tony Moly's Shiny Foot Quick Peeling Liquid. It's got a pair of heavily photoshopped, completely lineless feet on them. There's even a little sparkle on the heel.

Look at that little foot sparkle. We’re going to be SO SHINY. And yes, I took gnarly flaky feet pictures for you guys. I’m delivering the content the people crave. And probably opening myself up to a really strange subset of foot fetishists. Oh well. Stick a dollar in my ko-fi if this is your kink. Thanks.

The back of the packet. Instructions are in Korean ad English. The English instructions specifically say that they will make your feet "sparkly shine". The TLDR for the rest is that it's a chemical exofoliant in little foot booties.

I had been wanting to try these, but will admit that I never looked too far into them. I heard about people doing foot peels without knowing the delivery mechanism. Opening all of the layers of packaging was an experience. I thought maybe it was just a lotion, but no. That’s too easy. They put it in little foot baggies that you tape around your ankles to keep from making a mess.

This is a time that I’d really like to be able to read Korean. The English instructions don’t have a real ingredients list, but they do mention that it’s using AHAs and BHAs. These are types of acids that are used as chemical exfoliants. They aren’t the specific acids. Are we using glycolic? Lactic? What concentrations? Who knows? If this were a face thing I would be uncomfortable using it. Luckily for all of us here, I don’t really care about the aesthetics of the bottoms of my feet.

The foot bags come attached at the ankles, so the original shape looks like some sort of weird bird.

You see those bags? They aren’t perforated. You have to cut them. I left some of the ankle closed to get a tighter seal. I’m small and wasn’t about to wrestle with weird acid percentages.

My feet all packed up in the Shiny Foot bags. They don't look like they sealed particularly well, but none of the liquid escaped. It's a translucent white plastic.

Application went surprisingly smooth. I brought out a towel for application, but didn’t end up needing it. The only problem is that I realized that I needed to let these sit for half an hour. I didn’t want to chill for half an hour on my bathroom floor. Luckily, this was when we were still in the apartment. I only needed to stumble about six feet into our living room and to my computer.

I almost died. It is very difficult to walk around with your feet encased in bags of liquid. I do not recommend trying it. Put these on where you plan on staying. Do it in front of the tv. Do not travel.

The instructions say that after 4-6 days, the skin starts to peel off. You’re supposed to leave it alone and let it peel off. I tried very hard to let it do its thing so I would have nice pictures for you. I’m a peeler. It was hard.

This was day three:

I’m a little flaky around the edges of my heels and in the lines of the balls of my feet. My heels in particular have been pretty rough because of my work shoes. I was hoping this would help soften them up. That and my pinky toe calluses were my target areas.

Day four got DISGUSTING, right on schedule. Look at what I documented for you:
You can see that the entirety of the bottom of my heel is about to peel off, like a particularly weird sunburn.

Unfortunately, the peeling never really reached my heel edges. It was pretty localized to the bottom of my foot. I thought that was interesting. I guess there’s just more dead skin there and that the acids work better on dead skin. My pinky toes never peeled.

This is a whole foot photo from the same day. You can see the huge heel chunk that's ready to come off, and then most of the ball of my foot is flaking.

I don’t have more pictures because day four was when I caved and started peeling it off. The heel didn’t come off in one piece, which I was pretty bummed about.

We’re here for the honesty, right?

On day 5 I gave my feet a good once over with a pumice stone. They seemed to be in the exact state that they were before I used the peel. So it was a fun, disgusting thing to do, but ultimately had no effect.

It’s not something I would buy. I am curious if using glycolic acid or something similar on my feet a few times a week will help keep them soft.

Tell me the weirdest thing you’ve done to your feet in the comments. Mine is making them flake really badly and then uploading the photos online.

Birchbox September 2018

This one isn’t so late because I’ve been busy! This one is late because Birchbox is maybe the most boring subscription I’ve ever had. Actually, I’ve had two because I’m a reasonable person. Birchbox is definitely the most boring. Proof: I haven’t even opened my October box yet. It’s here. I have it. I just don’t care enough to open it.

I didn’t select anything special for this month. I think I looked. For October I didn’t even look at the email. November is my last box. I’m really glad that I’m not locked into a full year. I’ll probably take two or three months off from subscriptions to use up some products, then try Sephora play. I might be a masochist.

My birchbox products sitting on top of the September box. This box is dark blue and has some geometric shapes on it.

This month I took my pictures on my art table under my nice drawing lamp. I didn’t need to white balance anything. I think they came out better, considering I’m still using my cell phone for them. Unfortunately, Baker can’t get up on this table. I’ll find a way to sneak you guys some more pictures of him in another post.

What’s in my box?

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. It comes in a mint colored bottle. I love mint colored things.

Guys, we’re fancy. This came with it’s own cloth! Your washrags at home are too impure for your face, okay? You need this special 100% pure cotton cloth.

Oh, and the “Hot Cloth” part? It’s not a warming face wash. You use hot water to remove it. I’m glad it’s not warming, because that sounds awful for your face. I think some people were surprised about that, though.

A white cloth with mint trim. Fancy.

The border matches the bottle! It was more crisp when I first got it, but it bunched up after I washed it. You’re getting the reality pictures here.

I actually really like the product. It’s moisturizing and doesn’t feel like it strips my skin. I like the eucalyptus smell. It doesn’t irritate my eyes and removes my scary waterproof mascara very well. And it makes my skin feel so soft!

I don’t like how many times Birchbox used the word “pure” for them. That kind of skeeves me out. Usually excessive claims of purity have a tinge of “chemicals are scary!” or racism. I’m not here for either of those things. And they recommend throwing away each rag I mean, cloth after each bottle of cleanser. That’s wasteful. It’s a cloth. If you wash it, it’s fine.

Purchase or pass: I have to use up my current cleanser stash. Then I think I’ll try Pond’s cold cream. This is a fancy 5x the price version of that. If Pond’s isn’t as good, I would consider buying this.

Chella Eyebrow Pencil in Tantalizing Taupe

Chella eyebrow pencil. It's a little twist up pencil in a plastic tube. This picture is a little blurry, so if you're relying on captions please know that you REALLY aren't missing much.

TANTALIZING TAUPE. Taupe is never tantalizing, but okay. I’ve been using this pencil every day. I think at the beginning it was giving me more crisp lines, but I’ve worn the edge down. It’s hard to get it back because it’s such a small area. Oh well. My usual problem with brow pencils is that black is too dark for my hair, but the browns are orange. This one isn’t! I swatched for you, but don’t have a picture of it it in my brows. I need to shape them. Apparently that’s where my line for dignity is right now.

Chella eyebrow pencil swatched on my wrist. It doesn't quite draw smoothly. There are some darker, grittier parts. I don't have a problem with this because my eyebrows are so thick. If yours are thinner or lighter it may not look great.

Purchase or pass: It has microplastics in it. That’s a pass.

Number 4™ Jour d’automne Smoothing Balm

Number 4 Jour d'automne Smoothing Balm. It's just a white bottle. Minimalism means high quality, right? They've got a little cartoon bird with a snorkel on here. I'm not sure why.

Birchbox sent me a leave in conditioner type thing from Number 4 last month. This is technically a different product and works a little better for my hair. I’m still mad. I didn’t have my husband buy me a subscription (lol) to get repeats.

Purchase or pass: It’s so boring. I use it once a week and can only say that it doesn’t do anything detrimental. Pass.

M·A·C Cosmetics In Extreme Dimension 3D Black Lash Mascara

MAC Extreme Dimension 3D Black Lash. They sent this in a little squeezy tube instead of a normal bottle. It's black (surprise) with white letters.

This is my first MAC product! I was so excited! It’s another mascara that barely shows up on my lashes. Oh well. Here’s a brush picture because I know some of you are Very Into that.

The brush for the MAC mascara. It has A TON of skinny bristles. Maybe the most dense I've used.

I’m assuming it’s the same as the real product even though the sample packaging is that terrible pouch form that I hate.

Purchase or pass: Nah.

[ comfort zone ] Hydramemory Cream Gel

[ comfort zone ] Hydramemory cream gel. Yes, they insist on those awful brackets. This tube boasts 24 hr "double hydration", whatever that is. The color of the tube is great, though. A light purple that isn't lavender. I've been really into the millennial pastels trending lately.

I’ve kept this empty tube around for three weeks so that I could take faux unboxing pictures for you. Please compliment my blogging dedication.

The moisturizer was fine. I needed to use it twice a day, so the 24 hour claim on the bottle is a lie. My favorite part of it was the smell. It’s HEAVILY scented, but I was into it. It reminded me of a lot of k-beauty things I’ve tried.

Purchase or pass: I was fine with this as a mediocre entry level moisturizer, but this is $64. That’s hilarious. I am absolutely never buying it.

I mean..at least Birchbox isn’t making me angry, right? It’s a little weird to have mediocre products sent to your door every month, though. Is anyone else having this experience with Birchbox?

BioRepublic Lost Baggage Eye Mask Review

I noticed when writing my year of ipsy post that I hadn’t reviewed these eye mask from February. I found the pictures that I took for that review! I’m not sure why I didn’t write it up until now. February/March was the peak of finishing my class and looking for a new job, so maybe that’s why it fell through the cracks.

My photo editing app refused to open or save these guys, so read this review knowing that both past me AND my current phone do not want this review to see the light of day. The universe must think this is particularly controversial.

It’s not, really. Eye masks barely work. We’ve established this fact, right? If they do anything its plumping up the area around the edge of your eye bag so there’s a less prominent crease. This is also how current plastic surgery (fillers) options go. They don’t suck things out, they plump the rest up.

Anyway. The product:
Image of the front packaging for BioRepublic's Lost Baggage Under Eye Emergency Repair masks. They show a stylized winking face wearing their masks. Their description: A pair of biocellulose under eye masks with a restorative serum containing Hylaluronic Acid, Rose Water, and Syn-Tacks (Peptide Blend)

I picked it as a points sample because I like masks and The BioRepublic ones I previously got from ipsy didn’t feel like rubbing battery acid on my face.

I looked up Syn-Tacks(TM) because I genuinely love figuring out what these weird proprietary things are. I love that it has the word “tack” in it. Doesn’t the word “tack” just make you want to put this on the delicate area under your eye? Please hire a naming consultant.

The official science word on Syn-Tacks is that after two months of use, skin is 23% more compact. There’s a cool electron microscope image from a study on my link in the above paragraph.

I didn’t wear these eye masks for two months, so they didn’t do anything.

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Weird* that the packaging doesn’t tell you that their star ingredient only works after two months.

*Not weird at all.

Here’s my before face. Note that I’ve clearly slept more since the last time I tried eye masks for the blog.

Picture of my bare face. Groundbreaking.

And wearing the BioRepublic masks:
Selfie of me wearing the BioRepublic Lost Baggage Eye Masks. They're little white fat banana shaped pads.
I’m pulling a face because they’re very slippery. I had to move them back up for this photo.

Or is the face because I’ve just noticed this?
The masks are actually a stack of individual sheets. Here's one.

Each mask is actually a little stack of individual sheets. Maybe this keeps them so moist? If I had known that before I was using them, I would have tried to pull them apart and get more uses out of them. Unfortunately, the thinner eye didn’t do a much better job of staying up.

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I took them off and gave up after this. They wouldn’t stay put for much longer than 30 seconds.

I would only recommend masks like this for the relaxation factor, and these don’t even manage that.

Stuff I Liked: September 2018

This is only a week late! I’d apologize for neglecting my blog, but traffic was actually up in September for the first time since I’ve started my new job.Bar graph of traffic from April to September. There was a steady decrease, but September raised a little bit from August.
I guess I’m doing fine blogging, then. I’ve got a September Birchbox post in the works, as well. I’ve used up some of the samples but am keeping the empty bottles around so that I can take pictures of them in a faux unboxing photo set. Now you know the secret.

We’re moved in, unpacked, and I’ve started to hang up some art. I bought and assembled an office chair. Things haven’t quite calmed down, though. We’re working on getting our heat set up for the winter. The house currently has a decrepit oil system in the basement. It’s converted from COAL. It has little door to shovel the coal into and everything. There’s no way that it’s going to last for as long as we want to live here.

I’ve done a wee bit of painting. You guys like the watercolors, right?
Scan of a watercolor painting of a green sea turtle. This is Myrtle, if you've been to the New England Aquarium. The colors are a little muted.
I’m still working on how to digitize them. I think that photographs (below) look better than scans (above).
The same postcard, but photographed with my phone under bright light. Myrtle is much brighter and contrasts with the ocean water around her. I've put three blue blocks of paint under her and my brushes above her for the aesthetic.
I need to play with my scanner settings some more, but I think that I’ll end up pulling out my good camera going forward. Anyone have any tips?

ICYMI/Blog Stuff

Stuff I liked July 2018/August 2018
Funkless Deodorant Tangerine & Lime Review My holy grail, eco-friendlier deodorant. I’d post this in the summer if I was more savvy about my clicks. What’s up Southern Hemisphere?
Birchbox August 2018
Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator Review
Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush in Give Me a Cuddle Review
Tomoson Review
Valjean Labs Facial Serum in Hydrate

Grumpy Skin has a facebook page! I’m not being irritating with it, WordPress just wont push to private pages anymore. Give it a like, if that’s your thing.

Books

Heathen by Natasha Alterici and Rachel Deering
I am HERE for some modernized Norse mythology. I’m also very deceived by the library categorizing this as teen. There are a ton of boobs. I tried to read it on my break at work.

I did not get fired, so we’re good.

Ms Marvel Volume 7 by G. Willow Wilson and Takeshi Miyazawa
I’m still SUPER INTO Ms. Marvel. It’s all ages, but somehow more political and current than a lot of the “adult” comics I read.

Fruits Basket Volume 4 by Natsuki Takaya
Getting this from the library has been an ordeal. Someone entered the original volumes and the collected volumes as the same book into the catalog. I’ve been having to request three or four books before I get the right one. Worth it. Furuba is holding up.

Video Games

I’ve been desperately trying to play through my Steam sale haul before Fallout 76 comes out. I haven’t decided if I want to play it or not, but I want to be ready if I do. I’ve opened the pre-order page a few times and keep deciding that I don’t want to spend $60 on maybe liking a multiplayer game yet. We’ll see.

Fallout 4 Another great game with a subpar ending from Bethesda. And bugged, oh man. I’m so glad the internet exists to tell me how to get around game breaking bugs. It was fun, though. I’ll probably do what I did with Skyrim and spend a year replaying it while mostly ignoring the plot.

Final Fantasy 7 I desperately wanted this game in high school. I couldn’t find a copy of it to save my life. I’m glad I’m finally getting the chance to play through it. Though it has aged HORRIBLY. There’s a particularly bad part of the story where you crossdress to save one of your party members from potential sex work. Man. I’m really curious how faithful the remake will be. It needs some updates.

Movies


Guess who ugly cried over the Captain Marvel trailer? I did. She’s my absolute favorite Marvel character. I’m excited and terrified for the movie.

How was your October? More importantly, do you also stan Captain Marvel?

Valjean Labs Facial Serum in Hydrate

I’m reviewing another part of my TJ Maxx impulse buy. The (fake) frosted glass of the Valjean Labs bottles got me, okay? If you missed it, I also picked up a facial mist. I like it despite not wanting to repurchase.

This, on the other hand..
Valjean Labs' Hydrate facial serum with hyaluronic acid and vitamin b5. It's light blue liquid in a frosted dropper bottle.

It seems like it would be straightforward. Hyaluronic acid helps your skin retain moisture and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is supposed to be good for acne. I don’t have issues with acne, but I’m always looking for ways to up my skin’s hydration.

Full disclosure: I thought that vitamin B5 was niacinamide. It’s not. That’s vitamin B3. Maybe that’s why I don’t think this is working as well? I expected to flush like I do with niacinamide and I don’t get that..because that’s not what it is. We’re all learning here.

The back of the bottle. It says that the serum is super concentrated and to think of it as supplements for your face.

Shout out to Valjean labs for saying that their serum is super concentrated without giving ingredients percentages! Those are useless, empty words. The lack of transparency inactive ingredients is actually why I wont shell out for Glossier’s serums despite desperately, desperately wanting to believe in their effortless beauty marketing.

I used this serum correctly the first few times I tried it. A few drops into my hand, rub it on my face, wait and then moisturize. I actually felt like it was drying my skin out. I think it smells like alcohol. I’m not sure where that’s coming from.

All I know is that I now essentially dump it on my face, don’t wait for it to dry, and slather my moisturizer on top of it. I think it works a little better this way. I’m mostly trying to get through it at this point. I don’t think it’s doing much for me. Since it’s not breaking me out I’m having trouble making myself throw it away.

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I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to stand using it, though. The little dropper doesn’t have great suction and will only fill to the product level in the bottle.

Edit: The dropper did give out on me! I ended up pouring it on my face. Since my goal was to get through the bottle as quickly as possible, I was fine with it.

Does anyone have a good serum I should try?

Tomoson Review

We’re going a little meta today. Blogging about blogging.

Tomoson is a platform that many bloggers use to get free stuff. Uh, I mean, it’s a platform that bloggers use to receive items for “testing and review”. I understand why it exists on both sides. Bloggers spend a lot of time, effort and their own money to grow their blog. New businesses have trouble getting the word out about their products. I don’t have a problem with the idea of these kinds of platforms.

I’m on a few of them. I’ve been a member of Influenster since before I had a blog. I’ve received items from Brand Backer. I tried Tomoson.

I’m not above wanting free stuff. The problem with these platforms is that you’re often incentivized to leave positive reviews to keep receiving things. With Tomoson in particular, “influencers”/bloggers are rated by the company they work with, with the more legit companies seeking out people that have done more campaigns and have a higher rating.

What ends up happening is that people request a lot of the easy items to review (ebooks, weird supplements) in hopes that one day they can get nice products. A lot of these campaigns request Amazon reviews. Amazon has a HUGE problem with fake reviews at the moment. I wasn’t planning to be part of the problem.

I did one campaign for a menstrual cup, Cali Cup, which was great. It’s a genuinely good product that I was happy to put the word out about. I did a facebook and instagram post for them. And then nothing. I realized that I needed to play the game and do some ebook reviews.

Now, I like books. I just thought that the ebooks on Tomoson seemed like garbage. I bit the bullet and requested a kind of self-help/time management/personal success book. Right up my alley. I love planning stuff. I thought FOR SURE I could find something nice to say about this book.

Guys. Entire pages were missing from it. Short lists of tips had duplicates. There were weird condescending bits about kids these days. The author photo was a stock photo. This was a clear scam product.

I had no way to report the listing on Amazon for being a sham book. There was no option to contact Tomoson directly about my issues with the product. I emailed the company through the platform and told them about the missing pages and poor editing, asking if I had received a draft. They just emailed me the same book in a different format.

So my options were to give the book a nice Amazon review, or to not submit anything and let my account be shut down for not completing a campaign. I didn’t complete the campaign.

And now I’m SUPER suspicious of any disclaimer that says the item they received was from Tomoson. There’s absolutely no product oversight on that platform. I don’t want free stuff that badly. Neither should you.

(Edit: Side note, pretty sure that leaving Amazon reviews in exchange for products is against their ToS and people are having their accounts shut down for that. Fun and good ethics all around!)