What you should know before starting college.

Get organized and get involved!

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You’ll be pushed out of your comfort zone.
Your comfort zone will be demolished this can be incredibly fun and liberating at times and terrifyingly cringy at times. Not only will you academically be challenged but you’re being introduced to so many new opportunities and social situations. In my first week in college I didn’t know anyone, I had just moved in and classes hadn’t even begun yet so I got ready and put on my big girl pants and went to the student bar all by myself. To this day it’s still unbelievable to me that I did that but it was amazing I made so many new friends that night.

However sometimes challenging yourself can be synonymous with embarrassing yourself. My friend dragged me along to audition for a play in first year and it was pretty horrendous I was so uncomfortable acting out a scene in front of complete strangers. After the acting segment I had to perform a song, I was so embarrassed at this point so instead of singing I asked if I could just leave and not be in the play, after the students who were judging encouraged me, I sang happy birthday and left. I was cringing so hard and praying that I never saw those judges again, however I saw them again when I got a minor part in the play and it turned out to be so much fun.

 Check your emails daily!
It’s so important. When you’re in secondary school you don’t have many responsibilities, but when you go to college your emails are so important. You have to keep up with your accommodation host and make sure your rent is paid on time, you have to keep up with assignments which your lectures often email you along with guidelines and deadlines, you get informed about club and society events as well as other opportunities, the list goes on so make sure your on top of things. If your current email address is full of junk such as facebook notifications and promotions from Dunnes, Brown Thomas, beauty bay, YouTube etc it might be a good idea to set up a new email to filter out the junk and keep all your important emails in the one place.

 Motivate yourself.
Before going to college you have a regular routine, with people around you motivating you making sure you go to school and come home and do your homework etc. In college it’s all up to you. If you go out with your friends at night it can be so easy to just stay in bed the next day and skip class and go shopping instead, no one’s going to come after you and make sure you go to class and that your on top of your work, if you fall behind its on you and no one really cares, sounds harsh but now your aware of it you can organise yourself from the beginning make sure your on top of your assignment and go to class, that you allocate time for friends and fun, fitness, work, hobbies and of course make time for yourself.

                                                                 Get organized.
Before going to college set things in place to make your transition easier:
-Set up a bank account if you don’t already have one and make sure you have a debit card and preferably keep some money on it in case of emergency; check if your college has a certain bank branch on campus or nearby to make things easier.
 -Get a leap card (if applicable to where you will be going to college) and figure out what bus routes will take you to where you want to go.
-Play around with Microsoft word, power point, Google docs and drive, get familiar with them if you’re not already. It’s likely that you will have to use these for your assignments. -Download useful apps such as ‘my taxi’, ‘Gmail’, ‘Dublin Bus’ as well as your bank app so you can keep track of your money and budget.

Be independent and try new things.

If you want to join a new club or society and none of your friends want to, join by yourself you’ll make some new friends and with such a variety of clubs and socs NOW is the time to try as many new things as you want put yourself forward and get involved. If you’ve moved to a new place go explore, nearby parks, shops etc.

 

Good luck on your new adventure .

Much Love,

Sarah Phoenix.

 

You can find me on Instagram @sarahphoenix1

You can read more about my leaving certificate/college experience here:

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/hear-could-be-another-route-into-your-preferred-course-1.3185195?mode=amp

 

Skincare tips for happy healthy skin.

In my last post i addressed skincare hacks and ingredients that get great publicity but are in fact bad for the skin, so before you feel totally confused and don’t know what to be putting on your skin, let me tell you what your skin loves.

Oils.

No matter what skin type you have the skin loves being moisturized. Night time is the best time to oil up rather than day time as some oils are phototoxic and do not react well to sunlight. Some oils however are comedogenic and clog the pores causing breakouts, some comedogenic oils to avoid include olive oil, cocoa butter and shea butter however a persons tolerance to comedogenic oils can vary. Some non comedogenic oils i recommend are Glycerine and Bio-Oil available at most pharmacies or of course online.

Glycerine is a humectant meaning it’s great at retaining moisture in the skin, its anti aging and great at hydrating your skin leaving it glowing and soft, its natural and cruelty free and so natural its even edible. Bio-oil is part of beauty without cruelty international and does not test on animals which is fantastic. This products is famously known for helping reduce the appearance of stretchmarks however it also fights aging, skin irritation, dehydration, uneven skin tone and can help get rid of marks left behind from breakouts, the product does however contain lavender which is an irritant to the skin.

I’ve heard some people with oily skin say they wouldn’t go near skincare products that contained oil. First off like i previously mentioned if you deprive your skin of oils it will produce more, but it’s also to important to realize that oil free products don’t penetrate the skin effectively, remember those experiments in science class when you’d have oil and water in a dish and the oil floats on top and the two don’t mix? well the skin naturally produces oils (called sebum) so if you put water or silicone based products on top they can’t get past the oil layer that is on top thus a lot of oil free products don’t do very much.

Toner. 

Water is alkaline and the skin is slightly acidic so after washing you face it’s a good idea to balance the PH of your skin and take it back to its naturally somewhat acidic PH. Toner is a great way to do this, however i found a lot of toners contain alcohol and leave the skin feeling dry, tight and irritated. The more natural the better with skincare so i recommend rose water, just avoid the eye area when using this.

Sun Cream.

Even in not very sunny Ireland sun cream is so important. Sun cream is great at preventing aging and maintaining moisture in the skin. It’s important that the sun cream you use fights against both UVA and UVB rays and is water resistant with an SPF of 20+. UVA rays cause ageing while UVB rays cause burning. Not just any sun cream will do however, there are active ingredients that help prevent the effects of the sun and not all sun creams contain these shockingly enough. Ingredients to look for according to a professor of dermatology David J. Leffell are Ecamsule, Zinc oxide, Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Titanium dioxide. If you have sensitive skin or are using the sun cream on a child Titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are more agreeable with the skin. (Sun cream does not have to contain all these ingredients one or more will do).

Dragons Blood.

A lot of spot treatments are full of chemicals, very harsh on the skin and rarely work. Dragons blood however is a natural remedy and ancient medicine, it is the resin from the dracaena species of plant and has many uses, it is edible (this can vary based on the preparation the product – read the label) you can dilute it and consume as a supplement, if you have cuts or wounds it doubles the healing time when placed on the effected area and it can also help get rid of spots effectively. The one i use is 100% croton lechleri extract and cruelty free but ingredients can vary as the product is derived from an entire species of plant. Sudocrem is also a more gentle effective spot treatment however I’m hesitant to recommend it as i found it very hard to find a definitive answer to whether or not this is tested on animals.

Face and body wash.

I have finally came to the end of my search for a face and body wash, this surprisingly was the most difficult product for me to find a cruelty free, kind to the skin alternative. Dr. Bronner’s castile soap is the full package it is organic, fair trade, cruelty free and vegan and made from quality ingredients that are beneficial for the skin. You must dilute this before use as it is highly concentrated and avoid the eye area, the bottle will last you a very long time. The product is also multipurpose you can use it for laundry, cleaning floors or a shampoo the list goes on. I bought the rose hemp version however I would recommend the unscented version for babies however as fragrences can irritate the skin. Dr Bronner’s castile soap does not contain sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) thank the lord. It proved difficult to find a face/body wash that is SLS free and i’ve finally found one that i like.

Remove your makeup.

Coconut oil, it’s that simple. Rub on with your fingertips and wipe if it a wet cotton circle or cloth then follow up by washing your face.

 

 

 

NOTE:

Skincare isn’t about having ‘perfect skin’ or abusing your skin with products because you want to change it, it’s about being kind to your skin, our skin is our biggest organ its important to treat it with love.

Love,

Sarah Phoenix.

 

Skincare ‘Hacks’ that are ruining your skin!!!

Are you following these harmful skincare hacks?!

So many of those hacks you heard about and may have even incorporated into your skincare routine may actually be doing more harm than good, so lets get down to the hacks and the truth behind them.

Lemon.

I’m sure you’ve heard that putting lemon on your breakouts helps get rid of them, some people even use it to lighted their skin. Lets explore what lemon really does to your skin. Lemon interferes with the PH of the skin, our skin is naturally slightly acidic standing at about 5 on the PH scale however on average the PH of a lemon is a 2, this is far too acidic and very harsh on our skin causing skin irritation and dryness.

Apple Cider Vinegar.

Many people swear by this product for clearing up their breakouts and it can do that by drying out and breaking down pimples however apple cider vinegar damages the lipid layer of the skin which inhibits the skins ability to retain moisture, many people with oily skin might think that it will keep the oils at bay however it strips the skins natural oils and the skin in turn produces more oil. If this product is used over a long period of time it can result is dehydrated, aged, dulled skin and can cause irritation too.

Baking soda.

I’ve seen many skincare companies include baking soda in their ingredients, now that i pay more attention to labels and ingredients it shocks me how little skincare companies  know or care about what they’re putting in their products and they then market it well to make us believe its beneficial.  Baking soda is too alkaline for our skin and messes up the PH of our skin as well.

Mint.

Using toothpaste on breakouts is a common hack however many toothpastes also include baking soda as well as mint so please don’t put toothpaste on your face. This isn’t necessarily a ‘hack’ but i think the cooling effect that mint/menthol gives the face has become popularized. mint is an irritant and you should avoid it when it comes to skincare products.

Alcohol.

Duh honey, its not good for you when you consume it or put it on your skin but it is in so many products, i bought witch hazel and unfortunately didn’t read the ingredients until I brought it home i realized it contained ethanol alcohol, ugh so unnecessary. sometimes when I’m shopping i smell products that I’m considering buying, this is quicker than reading the label however not always as accurate, if a product smells strongly at all especially if it smells like alcohol i tend to avoid it. Alcohol, fragrances and essential oils that give products a strong scent are irritating and damaging to the skin.

Salt.

I’ve seen DIY hacks with salt or sugar being used to make a facial exfoliator, these are too abrasive for the skin and can create tiny cuts invisible to the naked eye, not only that but salt is so drying to the skin. I’ve seen many natural beauty companies put salt, sugar and lemon into a product every chance they get (shout out to you lush) and its really not good and all those ingredients together are harmful combination. Epsom salts have also received a lot of hype, due to its magnesium content its very good for the muscles, cells and blood i like to add some to a bath from time to time but its important that it is diluted in a lot of water, i also add an oil to the bath to counteract the drying effects and i do not use it to exfoliate.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate.

This is not so much a hack but i think its important to mention. Sodium laureth sulfate also known as ‘soap’ is in a lot of skincare products particularly face washes. This ingredient is cheap and low quality. It is highly comedogenic meaning it clogs pores thus it can create more breakouts. Ironically sodium laureth sulfate is used in a lot of products marketed at targeting acne. This ingredient strips the skin of its oils making it dry and at the same time creates breakouts. When a product says ‘soap free’ it’s referring to sodium laureth sulfate free, so do try to avoid this ingredient.

I plan on following this post up with a blog about actually beneficial skincare tips and info, along with some product recommendations.

Thanks for reading,

much love,

Sarah Phoenix. X .