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.
It has been SUCH a long while since I last wrote on my blog, and it’s because I literally had no idea what to write about – I hit a wall. So I’m changing things up and going back to what I’m passionate about, which is not only beauty but my home city of Dublin and what goes on here – from festivals to food to the history of it and everything in between.
When I first started a The Sapphire Geek, I had planned to write about my cosplay journey and learning about SFX make-up. However, I quickly found out that having an Instagram is a far better way to show off my looks (follow me HERE.)
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But before The Sapphire Geek, I had a blog called Scabby Student that brought forward fun yet cheap things in Dublin for students on a budget – and I want to include those fun aspects into this blog.
With this new direction of the blog, I’m going to be changing around the format of my page – so don’t be surprised if it changes once every half hour in the space of two hours because I’m still testing things out. I just want to get my writing out there so push myself!
So what can you expect from my blog from now on?
There will still be loads on beauty, cosplay and geeky stuff but also expect write-ups on places to check out in Dublin, fun Irish history and much more. Basically, when I’m not writing about beauty or geeky stuff, my posts will be about Ireland – specifically Dublin.
Hopefully with this change you’ll get a better idea of who I am, what I’m passionate about and it will allow me to actually write about stuff I like – such as doughnuts, gin and other wonderful things.
To keep up with what I’m posting and writing about, be sure to follow my Facebook and Twitter.
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.
Christmas season is fast approaching and everyone is brainstorming ideas of what to get their friends, families, dogs and even themselves – it is the season to treat yourself. If you know a beauty nerd or you’re looking for something new to add to your collection, Benefit has a huge range of gift sets on sale right now. The coveted beauty brand is hugely popular for not only their amazing quality of make-up but also their whimsical packaging. This season, I am loving their cutesy illustrations on the gift sets. I was tempted to pick up a set myself, but it definitely wasn’t an easy task.
For Christmas, Benefit have seven darling gift sets not including their gorgeous advent calendar. It was tough but I narrowed my choice down to three – the Dolly Darling gift set, the Girl A Rama gift set and the Blushin Babe gift set. As is obvious from the title, I splurged and went with Blushin Babe.
For just €43 and available from Arnotts, you get €140.19 worth of products. It’s an absolute steal not only for the handy travel size They’re Real mascara AND push-up liner but for the blushers and bronzer. The set has my must-have bronzer, Hoola, and four of their best-selling blushers – Dandelion (a personal favourite), Sugarbomb, Rockateur, and Coralista. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s even a sample of my number one highlighter, Watt’s Up. Honestly, I can’t go anywhere without a lick of Watt’s Up on my cheeks before heading out.
If you’re familiar with Benefit, you know how well-wearing their products are. This kit is so handy because for the price of not even two of their blushers, you get the choice of all four of their blushers. I am an avid fan of fake tan but I have started embracing my pale skin a lot more, so the option to float between cool toned blushers like Dandelion and warmer shades like Coralista, this is perfect. I’m not even a massive fan of using blush on my cheeks – but because of this kit, I’m far more inclined and almost every time I wear make-up, I’m wearing blush.
The They’re Real range that’s included in the set is also exceptional. Before I fell in love with Roller Lash, I was a huge fan of They’re Real – often on nights out I’ll double up and wear Roller Lash on top of a coat of They’re Real. But it was their gel eyeliner that really interested me. I had been wanting to try it for ages but unfortunately I’m not able to splurge on Benefit as much as I would like. So when I spotted the liner was also included, I knew I wanted it. Pro tip: If you’re struggling to get the gel out of the pen, just twist the base clockwise. A lovely gal in the South William store in Dublin told me that many of the pens have air bubbles in them so you just need to twist it fast for product to come out. And what do I think of it? Actually pretty disappointed. I thought it was be so quick and easy to use, like so many reviews have said, but I can never get that perfectly slick cat-eye that I’m able to create with my Rimmel Exaggerate Eye Liner. That said, it does an excellent job of hugging the lash line and doesn’t budge.
Overall, I would 100% buy it for any friend who is as obsessed with Benefit as I am or even just loves to sculpt their face. In Blushin Babe, you have all you need to contour, highlight and add colour to your look. Even though I was disappointed by the eyeliner, it was more than free from what I was given in the gift set. Now let’s just hope Santa brings me some more Benefit bits…
Is it worth the fuss? It’s totally worth the fuss.
Anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with being tanned. But I’ve a big fear of tanning beds so my skin colour comes out of a bottle. I would regularly tan myself – maybe once or twice a week depending on the tan and how busy my week is. I have more foundations suited for tanned me than I do for pale me. I actually noticed as I started this personal challenge that the only pale foundations I actually own are my super pale shades for my Joker and Harley Quinn cosplays.
I decided that I would do a small personal challenge and not wear tan for one week. I’ve got to say it was pretty tough, as shallow as that sounds. Obviously the first few days were the hardest and I’m lucky I didn’t have any major events because I don’t know how I would have handled being pale at a big social occasion.
Day 1, Saturday
Every last remain of my tan from previous weekend has been scrubbed off and I am back to my natural skin colour, ghostly white. After my shower this morning, I went downstairs to get a cup of tea and say morning to my family. But the first thing my mother asks me was if I was feeling okay. To be fair, this isn’t a weird question as she normally asks if I’m sick once the tan wears off my face which leaves me looking drastically paler than my still tanned body (my face and hands are the parts of my body the tan is most likely to wash off fastest.)
My family weren’t too bad, it was actually meeting up with a friend, Becca, I noticed what a drastic difference pale me is to tanned me. Before I met her, I decided to see if I knew how to contour my face while being pale. Somehow, I managed to apply a decent face of make-up! So when I went to a cafe to meet my gal pal, I was feeling pretty confident (even though I still wore an outfit that might distract from my paleness.) When I met her, it took her about 30 seconds to register it was me – Becca had only ever seen me tanned and never ever this pale. She told me that she honestly didn’t think it was me when she saw me coming through the door! That was a big thing to me – I was really hiding behind my tan.
Day 2, Sunday
I really didn’t do much on Sunday bar clean the house and have a rest before a busy week ahead. I did like waking up though and not having a trace of tan on my pillows, no tan rubbing off my white fluffy towels and best of all was not seeing a single dodgy tan splotch on my skin. I really need Sunday to appreciate being tan-free. I even ventured outside my house for a little to play with my cat in the driveway, but of course, someone had to say something! A good neighbour of mine who is my area’s fountain of knowledge was happily chatting to me and his dog was jumping up and down giving me loads of puppy kisses. It was as he left to continue his walk he said “And I hope you feel better, you’re awfully pale.” Really?! I see this man once a week but I never thought he would make a comment on my paleness! I can’t lie, i was starting to feel self-conscious.
Day 3, Monday
First day in the office being tan free – and make-up free too as I never really wear make-up at work. None of the girls said a word, no one said I looked sick (thank God), no one really cared about my appearance at all. Sweet relief! I survived a day with no one passing comment on my skin colour. I felt pretty happy and after my working day, I headed over to the gym for a quick session to amp up my good vibes.
I hadn’t been to the gym in an embarrassingly long time (a solid seven months, I’m not a gym head at all, I’m a McDonalds head) but my old trainer recognised me and said I was looking good – but you’re worst critic is you. After a bit of cardio, I headed over to the weights to finish off, and that’s when I saw myself in the mirror. “Who let Mr Krabs into the gym?” I thought to myself. While I hadn’t gone to the gym in ages, I still worked out at home and a lot harder, so I was really shocked to see how red my face was after some easy work outs. I knew my tan hid some of my red face after working out but I was so surprised how much it hid!
Day 4 – 5, Tuesday and Wednesday
I put these two days together because nothing substantial happened and I didn’t care about being pale at this point. I still woke up every day, hopped on a bus to work then went home after and did my bits at home. No one commented on anything, no one cared. Unlike the other days, I didn’t leave my house after work but that definitely helped me care less about not wearing tan.
Day 6, Thursday
Today was the very first day I didn’t give a f*** about being pale. I had an event to go to for work and thought I’d care more about my appearance because I was representing a brand, not me. Fortunately, it was a very relaxed event and being pale was not a worry, even though I probably glowed in the dark. People we’ve worked with before who had only ever seen me tan didn’t say a word, no one asked if I was sick and I didn’t mind people saying my freckles were “cute.”
When I started this little personal challenge, I really did think that a work event was going to make me or break me – and it didn’t break me!
Day 7, Friday
The final day of no tan was honestly such a relief. I learned I was happy to go without tan but it’s a little thing I do that makes me feel better. Just like why I wear make-up, I also wear tan for me. A slightly darker skin tone for me makes me feel more confident.
So when the day was over and I was getting ready to sleep, I lathered on the tan – and it felt amazing. People complain about a lot of people being “fake” these days – fake hair, fake nails, fake tan, fake lashes. But sure if it makes you happy, you do what you want to do.
It was a silly little challenge at the start that I didn’t take too seriously, but I discovered how much I rely on products that later my appearance – and how much I like them. I’ve talked before about why I wear make-up and why I enjoy SFX make-up so much, so I won’t go into detail. But I love being able to change my look. It’s about a month since I completed this little personal challenge and I’m glad I did it because I don’t feel so self-conscious not wearing tan. I’m more inclined to go a week without tan but I would still rather wear a bit of fake tan!
I have been OBSESSED with Nyx since I first discovered it. The major beauty brand first grabbed my attention when a friend of mine started raving about their jumbo eyeliner for her Harley Quinn cosplay. After hearing her gush about it so much, I searched high and low when I was in America for it. Somehow, I just couldn’t find any store selling Nyx (to be fair, I was in Montauk and far away from anything bar a TJ Maxx). Fortunately, Boots started selling Nyx in Irish stores and though I didn’t get the eyeliner, I did get their coveted Butter Gloss in Angel Food Cake and their Slide On Lip Pencil in Red Tape. Now the brand has hit Arnotts who are stocking even MORE products than Boots – heaven!
Here are the products on my wish list from Arnotts;
Obviously the first thing I’m buying is the Jumbo Eye Pencil! I need to get my hands on it. Not only will it be handy for normal make-up looks to help enlarge my eyes but it’s going to be SUPER handy for costume make-up and cosplay. I’m really excited to use it for outlining Chelsea smiles, mapping out features and highlighting prosthetics. A star buy at just €7.
First of all, how perfect is the name Girl Talk? Absolute favourite Prismatic Eye Shadow shade. I first saw it in Boots and was so tempted to buy it but I was an adult and bought my weekly bits instead. I’m so excited to finally purchase it so I can add a bit more oomph to my day looks and glitz like a disco ball on nights out. I think it would also make a really nice highlighting blush as well. For just €7, it’s a shade I need in my make-up collection.
Maybe it’s because Christmas is on the way or maybe it’s because I’ve a new found love for glitter, but I adore all of Nyx’s Lid Lingerie Eye Tint colours. My favourite is New Romance though because I know I can amp up my night make-up with it and the Prismatic Eye Shadow but I can definitely wear it over a nude eyeshadow for a little lift. After having a look in store, I can tell that it’s going to be so easy to apply and so handy for my make-up bag. Snag it for €7.
Like most people, my face doesn’t just have spots and it doesn’t just have bags under my eyes – it has spots and bags and red marks and much more! The pink or peach concealer in this palette is great for brightening up the eye area and making tired eyes more awake. A yellow concealer is also handy if you have purple under eye circles or even bruising (I use a yellow concealer on my legs sometimes because I bruise like a peach!) The other brown shades in this palette will be great for contouring and hiding blemishes whether I’m pale or tanned. A definite must have at just €14.
If you haven’t checked it out already, I’ve written up a whole post on why I LOVE anything with tea tree oil. I’ve a growing collection of masks and cleansers that have tea tree oil in them, so of course I really want Nyx’s Skin Elixir Balance. Many have said that it not only makes a smooth base before applying make-up but it has also helped clear up their skin and reduce reddening. It can be worn by itself or under make-up. For just €15.50 it’s a product I want to add to my tea tree oil collection!
I am a sucker for Urban Decay’s All Nighter Long Lasting Setting Spray but before I was skeptical of just how good a spray make up could be – anyone else remember those Dior aerosol foundation cans? But now that I’ve used it and loved it, I’m all for sprays to make my makeup easier! This spray is meant to make your face smooth and soft for long lasting wear and a flawless finish. I’ve heard only amazing things about it and for just €10, I’m sold.
I love neutral shades the most out of any colours for my lids. Greens, browns, golds and nudes are so easy to work with when you have blue eyes. I do wish I was more adventurous with my colours but I know for sure I’d get great wear out of this four colours for day and night looks. The Full Throttle Shadow Palette in Easy On The Eyes is a steal at €12.75.
What make-up lover doesn’t want another highlight and contour palette? I’ve seen MUA’s like Glam And Gore’s Mykie rave about Nyx’s Highlight And Contour Palette Pro multiple times. It was Mykie who introduced me to this palette. She said it is the best one for pale skin because the white sparkly shade is one of the few highlights suitable for lighter skin tones. The browns are also cool shades which are great for pale skin. I’m trying to embrace my natural skin colour more these days so think this would help me get used to the whiteness! Grab it for €25.
I’ve been looking at a lot of products for my skin when I’m pale, but there’s nothing better to me than completely dolling myself up when I’m bronzed. The Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator can be used on the cupids bow, over cheekbones, or the décolletage. It can also be used all over the face for a glow but I plan on using it as a highlight and even a bit on my body. Just like how Cocoa Brown boss Marissa Carter uses her Goddess Oil, I’d put it on my shins and collarbones too. Pick it up for €10.
I need something to hold all these fab products in – so why not get the Makeup Artist Train Case? It may look small but it’s almost like Mary Poppins’ bag. The sturdy case has four shelves in it with a big lower section to store even your favourite fake tans. For someone like me who just keeps buying more and more make-up, it’s definitely a product worth investing in for just €84. Similar cases of the same quality can be almost twice the price so nab this while it’s in stock!
I’ve been trying my hand at costume make-up for about a year now but my interest was sparked many moons ago. Halloween has always been my favourite holiday for as long as I can remember (next to Christmas, of course) because I get to go mad with my make-up and no one judges you. I love festivals for this reason as well! Any excuse to lash on glitter or put a vat of liquid latex on my face, I’m all for it.
But my ideas don’t come out of no where. There are some amazing make-up artists out there who inspire me daily – I’m a screenshot demon with these geniuses! Every look I do has been inspired in some shape or form by these MUAs below. With Halloween coming up, check out my top 9 SFX MUA’s to follow on Instagram.
Glam And Gore’s Mykie is someone I’ve been following for a few years now – you could even say she was my first influence into SFX. Just like her name suggests, she has some gorgeous glamorous tutorials as well as plenty of gorey, bloody tips and tricks for costume make-up. She is one of the most diverse and talented (if not the most talented) SFX MUA I follow on Instagram. She also has a fab YouTube channel.
Jordan Hanz is another SFX MUA I have looked up to over the years. Like Mykie, she does both beauty looks and costume looks. What I love the most about her looks is that she uses stuff you wouldn’t even think of using. She was the artist that introduced me to using hot glue guns (a cosplayer essential) for make-up looks. Obviously, you’re not putting hot glue on your face but just check out her Ice Queen tutorial on her YouTube to see what I’m talking about.
Where do I even begin with Goldie Starling? Real name Angie Davis, she puts in a massive amount of effort into all her looks. My favourite is her American Werewolf inspired look (above) because of the process of it all. It took time and effort but proves that hard works pays off. But she’s not all about spending hours on looks – she has some beautiful looks that seem intricate but are actually really doable. Check out her YouTube for more.
Made Yew Look’s Lex is one of the top body paint artists out there. Her make-up technique is so good that she’s able to trick the eye flawlessly. She also is a barrel of information about how to use basic SFX make-up and has dedicated a video on each product on her YouTube channel. Like Glam And Gore, I’ve been following her for a few years now and I haven’t looked back. Her looks are always interesting and innovative.
I’ve only been introduced to Rosie Mudie recently. It was while I was creeping for a quick idea I found her. What first caught my eye about her was her gorgeous skeleton look. She features a lot more beauty looks on her Instagram than costume looks but shows how easy it is to create costume looks with basic make-up products.
Jessica doesn’t have as many followers as the rest but her work is astounding and I can see her number growing rapidly soon. She reached out to me on Instagram when I posted a Deadpool look with some super helpful advice. I have been struggling trying to master the Marvel character’s face for so long and she gave me a few pointers on how to better it. Most of her looks are heavily gore based and are so good you will start to question if they’re real or not.
Marc Clancy aka Powdah is one cool dude. The quality of his work rivals that of a professional film make-up artist’s work who been in the business for decades. Another Instagram I’ve only come across recently, I’ve really enjoyed having a creep through his work. Be warned though, his Instagram is not for the faint hearted! Prepare to see some seriously gruesome work.
If ever you want to feel plain, look at Nicole’s Instagram. I am in love with her looks because she’ll take something already beautiful and vamp it up even more. Her Harley Quinn look is a great example of this. She also takes things that are not typically attractive looking but makes them sexy, like with her pirate look. What I love the most about her work is the amount of glitter she uses – I’m a sucker for a bit of sparkle!
Fernanda Machado is one gorgeous gal. She recently revealed that she had shaved her head – something I truly admire. Like with drastically changing her hair style, she is also incredibly brave with her looks. She was a finalist in the Nyx Face Awards this year and it was at the ceremony that she revealed her new ‘do. Fernanda chose to shave her head for her final video for the competition just to prove how dedicated she is to her art. If you haven’t seen her video about her Nyx experience and shaving head, definitely check it out.