Beat The Burn This Summer

Beat The Burn This Summer

As a painfully white Irish person, I freckle like crazy and burn like a crisp in the sun. Normally when I’m on holidays, I just chill in the shade and lather on SPF 50 every day. However, at home in Dublin I’m not so careful. With the summer sun finally making an appearance, I’ve looked into the best way to take care of my skin before, during and after spending time in the sun.



Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail. To keep your skin soft and smooth, you should moisturise your skin every day. in the morning and at night. The best way to protect your skin during the day without even think about it is to use a moisturiser with SPF. Even when it’s cloudy, there are still UV rays breaking through – yes, even when the sun is a distant memory. But who likes wearing sticky sun cream every day? Instead I use Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15. It’s light, dries quickly and isn’t sticky. However it’s hard to track down so if you see a bottle, snap it up! I bought mine from Boots a little while ago but iHerb also sell it for €10.99.

If you can’t find a daily moisturiser with SPF, just be sure to invest in a good cream. The best way to get and maintain a tan is by having hydrated skin. I’m obsessed with body butters and especially love The Body Shop‘s almond milk and honey range. It’s just €20.95 and will leave your skin feeling soft, supple and ready to tan.


sun pool tan burn ring holiday

While you’re out in the sun, living it up, sun cream is your go to. There are so many options out there to protect your skin – from Liz Earle to Nivea to Penneys. But what SPF should you use? The American Academy of Dermatology say that dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. Higher-number SPFs block slightly more of the sun’s UVB rays, but no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. Another report says that SPF 15 blocks 93% of the suns rays.

However, don’t think that products with the same SPF offer the same protection. You should also look out for UVA protection. But why? UVA forms the majority of UV light and contributes to skin ageing and the development of skin cancer, as it penetrates deeper into the skin. So you should make sure that the product you are buying is EU compliant against both UVA and UVB rays, while the SPF should vary depending on the UV levels and the amount of time you will be in sun.

But what about your tan? Does the higher the protection affect how dark your tan is? The simple answer is yes. Sun cream helps prevent sun burn but you will still tan, it will just take longer.


sun tan cream spf blonde happy sunset

Is there anything more painful that wearing a bra over your sun burn? To speed up that burn and stop it from peeling, invest in after-sun. Simple as. I use Garnier’s Ambre Solaire After Sun Moisturiser Gel because it’s so nice and cooling but I also use their spray for my back – because I’m no way that flexible, can barely slap on fake tan on my back! The aloe vera in the after sun will help cool your sunburn and speed up the recovery process.

A strange – but good tip – for sun burn is to invest in apple cider vinegar. I’m not saying lash it on your burn, that would be a back idea, but pour it into a hot water bath. Just add a cup or two to your bath and jump in. Make sure it’s diluted as vinegar can burn the skin if concentrated. But how does something I throw on my chips help sunburn? Vinegar contains acetic acid, a component of aspirin that can help relieve the pain, itching, and inflammation of a burn. Bathing in apple cider vinegar has other benefits too, such as reducing body odour and provides relief to joint pain.

Most vinegars will work but for the best results look for raw, organic apple cider vinegar. I buy mine from Nourish and it’s €8.99 for almost a litre.

Synthetic VS Natural: Which To Use?

Synthetic VS Natural: Which To Use?

Since I started learning about SFX make-up, I only ever looked at the products and skincare. However, I’ve neglected something really important – brushes. For any make-up look, whether it’s beauty or costume, how your make-up looks and stays depends on not only your products but your brushes too.

Before I read up on it, I didn’t have a clue about brushes. I used what I thought were the best ones – I judged brushes on shape, how many bristles they have, that kind of thing. I knew the type of bristles mattered, whether they were real or synthetic hair, but never knew which were better for what products.


I’ll start off with real hair brushes first and their benefits. These type of brushes are best for powder make-up, such as eyeshadows, bronzers and everything in between. They are great for powder because they are loaded with texture and so hold the product better. Natural hair bristles move freely which help pick up a lot of product in one swipe but it will also blend beautifully. The brush hair is extremely durable and actually get better the more you use them.

However, I believe we should all buy cruelty-free make-up brushes. If you’re shopping online or in store, be sure to check what the brushes are made of and why they are produced. Most real hair bristles are from certified animal farms where animals are shaved or trimmed, like how sheep are for cosy jumpers. But there are some brands who don’t offer as much love and care towards animals, so watch out. For instance, it’s illegal in the European Union to test on animal so you can trust that products produced within the EU are cruelty-free. I love my natural make-up brushes from Zoeva – but you need to read up on any natural brushes to truly buy cruelty free.

brushes 2

Moving on to synthetic brushes, you can trust most are cruelty-free and the majority are vegan friendly. Unlike natural brushes, synthetic make-up brushes don’t have a cuticle which makes them great for liquid or cream products. I would use these for cream contours, liquid foundation, gel liners and other similar products. Synthetic products tend to gravitate towards each other, making them best for precision applications – so for the perfect winged liner, go synthetic.

For manmade bristles, I particularly love Eco Tools and Inglot brushes but I’m also a huge fan of Joanne Larby’s Fairy Wands – they’re so easy to use, clean and an Irish brand. I also have to give a mention towards Too Faced’s make-up brushes which are synthetic and terribly adorable.

Honestly, I love using synthetic brushes, even for eyeshadow. They’re safe to use and with the advancements in make-up, many synthetic brushes are on par with natural bristles. I love Eco Tools‘ eye brushes because, even though they are synthetic, they pick up product really well and blend really well.

Worth The Fuss? Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser

Worth The Fuss? Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser

I’m a sucker for being influenced – YouTubers, bloggers, Snapchat stars, you name it. However, there are so many people that I don’t believe, who are pushing products to make themselves a bit of cash. When I saw one of the Geordie Shore stars talking about Bondi Sands’ new Self Tan Eraser, I thought “Jog on, that’s a gimmick.” But then I saw a YouTuber who I follow and trust talk about it, which of course changed my mind. I hadn’t seen anyone use it yet, so I picked up a bottle of the Self Tan Eraser from Boots for €19.49 and hoped I wasn’t wasting money on something that didn’t work.


I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that it actually WORKED. I couldn’t believe it, I had tried everything under the sun to remove tan – exfoliators, lemon juice, oil, you name it I’ve tried it. Most of my home tricks did remove a slight bit of tan, but Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser removed 99% of my tan.


My Bellamianta tan was about five days old. Fortunately with Bellamianta, you don’t have to worry about it fading in patches. But me being the cleanliness freak that I am, the tan had completely come off my hands leaving them their natural shade of shocking white. Luckily this was a good guide to go by for how well the Tan Eraser worked.

The application and removal was so easy. I just shook the bottle up, pumped out generous amounts of foam into my hand and rubbed it all over my old tan. It was quite tacky on my sign while I waited for it to dry. But after a ten minutes (they say you only needed to wait five but I don’t take chances) I jumped into the shower. With a face cloth, I rubbed off the eraser and with it came off my tan. Seriously – it just went. Gone. POOF.


It had all completely come off and my freckles are now more visible than they have been in years. I was not expecting this to work and to work so well. I had some really stubborn tan on my elbows that came off with ease. They say for those kind of patches to use their exfoliator but all I did was just give them a good rub with the cloth.

So is it worth the fuss? Definitely!

Why You Need Vitamin A In Your Skincare Routine

Why You Need Vitamin A In Your Skincare Routine

I’m pretty skin obsessed. I strive to have smooth, spot-free skin but that’s not always the case. Now more than ever, even more than when I was a teen, spots keep cropping up on my skin. I’ve also noticed something that’s I though only happened to older people, not me, a young spring chicken at 24 – wrinkles. While no one else can really see my little creases, I can see them and I can see them growing. It’s tough to get totally rid of wrinkles without the help of a doctor and a needle, but it’s not that hard to prevent any severe lines showing up with the help of retinol, or vitamin A.

Retinol when broken down into retinoic acid can communicate with your skin cells and tell a skin cell how to behave and look. It can make your skin appear more normal, healthier and younger – something which I’m striving to hold on to!

When using retinol in your skincare routine, you can expect a lot of results from it. It can help a variety of skin issues including wrinkles, loss of firmness and signs of ageing to uneven skin tone and other signs of sun damage. It also helps to promote the skin’s natural moisturising factor, giving you a radiant glow – you might even get ID’d with your revitalised youthful radiance.


There are a host of products you can use which contain retinol – and don’t worry, they won’t break the bank. At the moment I’m using This Works’ No Wrinkles Night Repair Serum. I’m using a night serum because even though you can use retinol products during the day (despite the myth that you shouldn’t) retinol does breakdown in sunlight and is so less effective. It’s advised by various skincare professionals to use products with retinol in them at night.

If you’re interested in adding retinol to your nighttime routine, there is one other ingredient that we’re told not use with it – glycolic acid. The mixture of the two can cause irritation and redness in the skin, making it tender to touch. In fact, they say you shouldn’t use any alpha hydroxy acids with retinol. Why? Ranella Hirsch, a dermatologist in Boston, said to Allure Magazine in 2014, “This duo is a recipe for redness and irritation.” However, it’s not easy to find retinol products without alpha hydroxy acids. So if you do happen to have a product with retinol and glycolic acid, you can take an anti-inflammatory, like ibuprofen, to help calm the skin and smoothing on hydrocortisone cream, like HC45.

My Favourite SFX Make-Up Tool

My Favourite SFX Make-Up Tool

When creating any sort of look, whether it’s for cosplay or for a night on the town, it’s vital you have the right tools. However, the tools you need for a creative look compared to your standard beauty look are very different. While it’s important to have an almost endless supply of brushes to perfect that smokey eye, you want to avoid using brushes when using liquid latex – you will ruin your brushes no matter how much isopropyl myristrate you use.

For my creative looks, I use a host of random tools – sponges, cotton buds, cotton balls, toothpicks, spatulas, spoons and almost anything that’s just in sight. But there is one tool I constantly use, my steel make-up palette.

I mix a lot of colours together and have started mixing liquid latex with colour as well to enhance looks. So instead of ruining my plates or spending cash on paper cups, a steel make-up palette is essential. Like I said, you can mix different materials together but you can also squeeze out different products out so that you don’t end up with twenty different colours on the back of your hand. I even use my palette for my beauty looks – eyelash glue, mixing foundation, glitter mixes and more. It’s so handy.

The palette I use I bought off Amazon for cheap as chips, just under £5 (about €6). It came with a double-ended spatula as well, which is another tool I can’t live without. It’s the best way to mix together liquid products without wasting any!

So if you’re loving SFX make-up or are a beauty fanatic that’s looking for a new tool, a steel make-up palette is very handy to have.

Can Laptop Light Can Damage Your Skin?

Can Laptop Light Can Damage Your Skin?

When I started working in an office and faced a laptop and desktops a lot more, I noticed my skin had become a little grey. Now that I’ve gone back to retail and spring is coming, I’m upping my skincare routine. However, I’ve really noticed how dull my face has become – it’s definitely not as fresh and bright as it was last spring. Because of this, I’ve been trying various face masks and tricks to add more life to my skin. However, I remembered that when I was younger my mother warned me of playing The Sims for too long, and not because of going “square eyed” but because how it can damage my skin.

As soon as I remembered this, I jumped on my laptop to research how the bright lights from computer screens can damage skin. It turns out that a laptop’s light was quite bad for your skin – but now it’s not as bad.


Marie Claire beauty editor Lauren Valenti wrote a pretty interesting article on how “computer face” can come about. The light from a computer screen can cause premature ageing because they emit UV radiation – so crows feet and frown lines can occur quicker. The good news is that if you have bought a laptop in the last decade, this won’t be a massive problem for your skin because most screens are either LED or LCD, which do not emit harmful rays. But if you work in front of a desktop or own a laptop from the 2000s or even the 1990s (well done if you actually still work on a laptop or desktop from the Zac Morris decade), then it can cause problems.

As it is 2017, it’s more than likely that you do own a laptop from the last decade but if you work in front of a desktop at work or in college, then you need to be careful because some can emit UV radiation. Even small amounts of daily radiation will not only make a light-sensitive condition worse, but also speed up skin-ageing.

So how do we prevent this? Simply invest in an anti-glare screen cover for your computer to block the harmful rays. Or work from a laptop from at least 2011.

Something else that you need to do everyday, desktop or not, is to wear a sunscreen daily. I know in Ireland we’re pretty relaxed about this but if you’re not going to wear a sunscreen on your face during the winter, do invest in a foundation or daily moisturiser with SPF. For foundation, I love Bobbi Brown’s Moisture Rich Foundation with SPF 15. I also like using Rimmel London’s Lasting Finish for day-to-day make-up.

My Favourite Tea Tree Oil Products

My Favourite Tea Tree Oil Products

It’s no secret I am a huge fan of tea tree oil – it’s so versatile and handy. I’ve already talked about the benefits of the oil and how you can use it to tackle spots, but there are a lot of products out there that aren’t so concentrated and gentler on your skin if you’re looking to just combat spots.

One of my favourite ranges from Boots is their Tea Tree & Witch Hazel collection. Along with the benefits of tea tree, witch hazel is also great for your skin. The plant is a strong antioxidant and, like tea tree, is great for fighting spots and ridding your skin of bacteria. It’s also meant to be good for stopping cellular damage that can lead to skin cancer, preventing signs of ageing and speeding up healing (like when you pop spots you really shouldn’t have gone near.)

Out of the entire range, there are three products that I absolutely love from Boots’ Tea Tree & Witch Hazel collection.



Charcoal Face Mask; There no doubt that charcoal face masks help fight spots. The charcoal extracts dirt deep in your pores and helps pull it out. When your pores have dirt and bacteria in them, not only can this lead to spots but it can also dull your complexion. The added benefits of tea tree and witch hazel also help in battling the dirt in your pores. I would use this mask about once a week, generally on a Thursday or Friday before I tan

Peel Off Face Mask; Okay, I can’t lie, I love this mask more because it’s gimmicks rather than it’s skincare benefits. There is nothing more fun than peeling off this face mask! It’s like taking the film off of a new phone or laptop screen – it’s the little things. Aside from that, it’s also great at keeping my skin at bay. I would use this whenever I feel that my skin is a little bit too greasy, if a spot has popped up and after a weekend of wearing tan – it really does stick to the dirt in your pores! I’m a fan, definitely my favourite out of the three.

Back Spray; I have never thought to use a back spray before, but it was watching The Make Up Fairy’s Snapchat one day that caused me to go out and buy the Tea Tree & Witch Hazel back spray. She uses it for her back after a gym session to prevent spots coming up, but it’s great for anyone looking to fight spots. I would use it after a shower, after the gym or when I feel I’ve neglected the skin on my back for a while.