Show-Stopping Soft Glam

Everyone knows that the showstopper of soft glam is perfect concealer. All that your face demands in soft glam moments is well-concealed under-eyes and a positively bright forehead.

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I’m A Boux Avenue Ambassador!

In a break from essay writing and debating the essence of highlighting, I am now a student ambassador for Boux Avenue! My content is taking an exciting turn toward representing my favourite lingerie brand, as well as writing about make-up.

I have always avoided gimmicky writing and content clichés when writing, and my work with Boux Avenue won’t be changing that. And so, it’ll be no surprise that I plan to keep things colourful and funky as ever. My work with Boux Avenue will stay true to the philosophy of my blog and my love of colourful aesthetics and creative language and angles.

Think silk for lounge style, hot water bottles as friday-night-in clutch bags and underwear turned outerwear. I’ll be styling their lingerie, pyjamas, activewear and cute accessories, and showing how I utilise my Boux essentials. I’ll also be providing you with collection sneak peaks and decent deals – you can currently get 20% off all of the new in section on their website with my code JOSIEOBOUX20.

Beauty blogger turned Boux ambassador – a perfect medley on Josie-Marie.com.

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Exciting things to come, stay tuned!

The Oily Diaries: Rose Hip Oil

Incorporating rose hip oil into my skincare routine for oily skin does not make me a walking contradiction. Why? Because it’s anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties shrink pores, smooth the skin and create a second-skin-style barrier. Sometimes you should fight fire with fire.

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Holy Grail Glows

A matte finish as the holy grail state of make-up is a minor passing cloud in today’s glowing sky. Setting sprays, lip glosses, highlighters in all their variations and the skincare brands influencing cosmetic trends are devoted to radiant finishes. Yet, we must still question why make-up’s renewed vitality is so important.

The spirit of highlighting – product, application, result – mingles effortless radiance with skilled application. Perhaps it is so popular because it suits global warming‘s melting of ice crystals, or because luminous skin indicates health, or because a glowy finish requires far less maintenance than matte. But I personally believe it lays with the passage of time and the nature of cosmetic trends. Time has allowed the perfect highlight, be it powder, cream, liquid, stick or even jelly, to embody pigmented colour that settles on the skin under the shimmer of the actual highlighting molecules.

The True Essence Of Highlighting

‘Highlighting’ is no longer the singular act of applying a silver shimmer on your cheekbones. Application is also required (for the most luminous of glows) on the nose, cupids bow, chin, brow arches and tails, and inner eyelid corners. The look achieved by tactical highlighting and attention to individual bone structure is somewhat un-achievable with well blended bronzer or cream contour.

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I spent many a day in front of the mirror unsure on why highlighting is so hyped. I just didn’t get it. I found it impossible to apply without drowning my face and accentuating my pores, acne patches and scars, and ill-blended contour. I also found it impossible to work into a natural makeup look. But alas, after much experimentation, many fails and even more awful make-up days, I realised that choosing the right product is, as always, essential.

Josie Marie’s Take

My devotion to eyeshadow palettes works overtime in my psyche and directed me toward powdered and colouful highlight palettes, rather than strobing sticks or singular pans. I believe that a variation in colour provides better means to reach the perfect colour for your individual skin tone – if there is not one immediate suitable colour, a palette grants the opportunity to mix multiple colours.

My journey to radiance started with Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Moon Child palette. The purple pans and the warm undertones of the shade ‘Pink Heart’ coupled with the amazing reviews, convinced me this was the palette for me. Unfortunately, the colour pigments didn’t suit my skin tone, despite how pigmented and easy to apply they were.

Luckily, I did not have to search much further to discover that I was better suited to the shades in Jeffree Star’s 24 Karat Skinfrost Pro Palette. Taking place as my current highlight holy grail, the browns work as a median between contour and cheekbone highlight, while ‘Sarcophagus’ and ‘King Tut’ really do give an easy-to-blend, difficult-to-ignore glow. The pigment is as commendable as ABH’s glow kits.

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This weekend, my make-up look (as pictured above) was bronzed skin, subtle shadow, natural brows and a Legendary-Sarcophagus-King Tut glow. Tactically mixing these colours to blend across my face made my glow look well blended and suited. Of course, the buttery formula of Jeffrey Star’s Skin Frost range played a big role in the easy blending.

For those looking to hone their highlighting craft, trial and error of palettes is definitely a good place to begin. I still don’t even know what brush to use, but at least I know what my highlight holy grail is.

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A Weekend Visit Guide To Madrid

With busy boulevards, contemporary architecture, and an abundance of roof top bars, Madrid is an underestimated city when it comes to culture trips. The Spanish capital provides an unparalleled submersion in both city and Spanish culture, and here is Josie Marie’s weekend visit guide.

Location

Plaza Mayor is the best place to stay. I stayed here in Air BnB overlooking the city’s most popular square. The highlight of this location? There’s never a dull moment.

A balcony in Plaza Mayor grants you atmospheric access, as well as distance from the hustle and bustle. You can check out where looks good before the stress of crowds and trotting along cobble stones in heels is necessary (or at least, we did.)

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Cuisine

If you only eat one thing in Madrid, it must be a calamari sandwich. Forget the paella dinners that the British always pine over in Spain, and shift your desire to calamari lunches.

Lining Madrid’s back streets are little shops with trays of fried calamari. For me, these shops were the height of fast food. A squeeze of lemon over your squid and soft bread is the ideal lunch for just 3 euros.

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The Palace

The Royal Palace of Madrid is a monumental building of baroque architecture and artistic prestige that you don’t even need to go inside to appreciate. You can browse it’s outer stone walls and iconic columns from the outer pathway.

The palace has a classical look perfect for pictures and historical wonderment.

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The Metro

A far cry from London’s suffocating underground, the Metro is somewhat clean and un-claustrophobic. Once you have mastered the art of Spanish ticket machines, the metro is the best way to get around.

Although, I recommend knowing the stop name of every location you are travelling to before going to the machines – it’s better to be smart than sorry.

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Rooftop Bars

Madrid does not mess around with its rooftop bars. My favourite was the Circulo De Bellas Artes. This bar boasts the best views and the best beds in all of the city. It also provides cushioned beds under wicker shaders for day drinks and picturesque views.

At night, go classier with Radio rooftop bar. This chain has the best daiquiris in every city you can find it in.

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Saludos a ti, Madrid.

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The Essentials To Eye-shadow Blending

Eye-shadow can be a difficult thing to crack. Sometimes it feels like the only cracks are in your concealer base. I live for the moment when all blending is done and it is time to apply foundation – I class this as the time when one is out of the colourful woods and can start on the much-easier-to-crack complexion. That’s not to say that contouring isn’t difficult, of course, but it is undeniably easier to pull off powders that aren’t green or blue or purple.

I have found in my not-so-extensive, but very effective, years of eye-shadow application that the trick to flawless blending comes down to 3 things: the brush itself, the way you hold the brush and the way you move the brush. And in true Josie Marie style, here is a little piece of prose on my findings:

THE BRUSH

You will find no success in a bad brush. I am very aware of the saying “a good workman never blames his tools”, yet I am also aware that the good work man must invest in worthwhile tools for the best possible result. Regarding blending, it is good to have a large, fluffy and synthetic brush for transition shades as well as general blending, and also a slightly smaller, but equally as fluffy, one for the nitty-gritty blending details. My favourites are the BH Cosmetics 101 Blending Brush, “a fluffy fibred brush ideal for creating a flawlessly blended finish” and the 103 small shader brush for more precise blending.

HOLDING THE BRUSH

With brush importance in mind, one must also remember that the best way to hold the blending brush is loose and relatively low down on the handle. The handle is that long for a reason – use it. The looser and lower your grip means the more fluid your blending strokes become. A loose grip eases off the physical (and mental!) pressure in a way that allows you to focus on certain areas for major colour impact without applying too much product and exhausting the shadow in one area.

MOVING THE BRUSH

Back and forth is good, but so is circular. My advice is to apply first with gentle circles and gradually largen them. And then, once effectively applied, run the brush back and forth to ensure all areas of your lid have been accounted for. Blending is tedious, and it can rattle everyone’s patience, but keeping these ideas in mind next time you put brush to canvas will show a huge difference in the way your eyeshadow sits.

We live in a world where blending is pinnacle to achieving the perfect eye look, and without the fundamental skills in check, you may be playing up to bad habits. Don’t give in to temper or terrible habits and master the art of blending before unfortunate habits define your looks.

Juvia’s Festival Palette Review

Juvia’s latest palette is one of 9 exuberant mattes and shimmers. The lack of “filler” shades and irrelevant colours that eventually blend into one makes this the ultimate summer (and thus festival) palette.

Festivals are generally agreed as the best time to be colourful, bold and extraordinarily creative. My festival memories of past summers are rife in glitter and crayoncolour aesthetics. These ventures are set to only get bolder this year.

A good palette has a mix of shimmers and mattesmattes are the vital base and transition shades. The pink undertones in the warm oranges and reds of this palette work with shimmered overtones in the gold, black and blue shades to inject a colourful energy into the exciting palette.

Although, as much as I love a vibrant shimmer, I do believe that it’s essential for matte shades to outnumber shimmers in eyeshadow palettes. Luckily, modern day makeup does pigment pot, loose pans, loose glitter, gel glitters and more to couple with matte palettes and matte shade groups.

Juvia’s Place kept this in mind with the curation of the Festival palette. The shimmer shades are not overbearingly glittery, nor do they seek to be. The vibrancy of the colours behind the shimmer takes aesthetic precedence.

The colour coding of the mustard, oranges and reds encourages mix’n’match looks if two-tone lids aren’t your forte. The ability to mix colours so effortlessly, and for them to blend on the lid so seamlessly, is what makes this palette take an early lead in the festival makeup of 2018.  

JOSIE MARIE’S TAKE

When I first used the palette, I couldn’t believe how pigmented the shades were. Nor could I believe how each variant of red and orange (both over and undertones) was distinctive and didn’t blend into one general shade when applied. Admittedly, the shimmer shades aren’t as pigmented as the mattes, but applying these on top of wet concealer would help them zing.

A large blending brush with the level of pigment given creates some vibrant and effortless looks. Start with the paler orange or mustard shade and build up a base on your lid before embellishing with bold reds or the shimmer shades. I tend to apply the shimmers with a flat brush: large for an effortless shimmer look or small for a precise or cut-create look.

My only issue was how loose the shimmers tend to be when you pack them on. I suggest applying these before your face makeup due to the amount of product that escapes the brush and finds itself under your eyes. Once applied, however, the colour stays in place.

I created the above look with purely Juvia’s Festival shade. I built a base by mixing the mustard and pale orange before defining my crease with  the darkest red. After that, I applied the gold shimmer to the large of my lid (on top of wet concealer) and the black shimmer subtly in my outer corner.

You can purchase Juvia’s Festival online at Beauty Bay in the UK at just £20. Worth the money? Definitely.

Colours Of Spring: Pink & Orange

Daffodils littered the streets, flower beds, botanical gardens, vases with shallow bases – yellow is the colour of Easter. But in the aftermath of Easter weekend (purple foil wrappers everywhere, a constant sinking feeling of ‘how many choc eggs have I eaten?’) we must now start questioning – what are the colours of Spring?

For me, its pink and orange. Both together and apart.

I’ve always been intrigued by how bright colours work together. And while yellow is the brightest of them all, it doesn’t always play fair with other colours. However, pink and orange reign bright and make the perfect team.

As April takes off and one hopes the sun shall start appearing more, it’s time to start thinking of ways these colours can work, and where?

This Easter weekend, I brought my anti-neutral style to the anything-but-neutral city of London. There is something about London that makes me want to do something personally unprecedented. This weekend was bold stripes, bold colours, and bold makeup to match.

In short: I sacrificed convention and Easter tradition in the name of pink and orange stripes. I even wore barely-there heels in a distancing from my comfy footwear philosophy.

There are too many colour recommendations I could make for the hot months of 2018, but I would be writing all day. What I am doing in lieu of this is plucking out my two favourites that will play fair and are accessible in volume across both high street and luxury style.

Stay tuned to Josie Marie for more pink and orange combos.

I hope you had a lovely Easter weekend,
Josie Marie xo

Not Your Average St. Patrick’s Day Eye-Shadow Inspo

In the name of St Patrick’s Day, the beauty world is going to churn out a magnitude of bright green looks this weekend. But green can be a tough one – vibrant or soft? Glitter or matte? One shade or multi-colour cut crease?

It feels like a time where not bleeding green makes you the Irish Grinch without the green body… A major paradox. But green isn’t the only route to take this St Patrick’s Day and you can just as easily seek inspiration from more elegant Irish traditions.

Focusing too closely on Instagram looks and trying to abide by that culture, rather than the celebration, isn’t what this weekend’s makeup should be about. Delve deeper than mainstream culture and look for truly Irish inspiration that you can add a personal touch to.  

Here are some looks I’m going to be channelling over this weekend…

End-of-the-rainbow pot of gold

Folkloric bronze

Celtic embellishment

Ireland isn’t called the Green Isle, it’s our very own Emerald Isle. A name so classy calls for more than bright green clichés. It calls for golds and bronzes and deep emerald greens.

Have a great St. Patrick’s Day,
Josie Marie xo

If It Isn’t Blue, It Isn’t True

Blue is the latest statement colour on lids across cyberspace and the world… If it isn’t blue, it isn’t true.

A new wave of block-blue eyeshadow has woven itself into recent fashion weeks and Instagram culture. Kourtney Kardashian has done it, I’ve done it (lol), and a magnitude of artists were doing it. Blue isn’t black so it isn’t harsh, but a touch of navy can add impressive depth to one’s eyeshadow.

Even in its lighter forms, pastel forms and intense shimmer forms, blue lends that extra classy bit of colour to an eye look. Luckily, the tonal range and versatility of blue suits all eye colours. Kourtney Kardashian’s Instagram post from Japan with a block-blue look created by celebrity make-up artist Mario Dedivanovic (@MakeupByMario) had me feeling some type of way. 

So what?

It isn’t just the Kardashian’s that Mario has been creating this look for. I did some research and found similar block looks littered through his Instagram. I was defo feeling some type of way.

A few months ago, Mario did a demo session with Revlon and created one of the most outstanding blue eyeshadow looks Instagram holds. It was a block-blue lid on model Sarah Simmons, blended into a base of turquoise, with purple shadow lining her bottom water line.

Naturally, I had to recreate it.

This style of look may feel scary because of the intensity of colour, or perhaps your fear rests on the importance of blending, but it is relatively easy to recreate. I went straight in with Urban Decay Full Spectrum and covered my lid and crease with vibrant blue shade ‘Blindsided.’ Base down – I moved on to duller (but by no means lesser) blue ‘Metamorphoses’ and covered my lid.

Face make-up done, I went in with a mix of the purple ‘Sketch’ and the pink ‘Gossip’ to line my water eye. Voila! A finished look served by Josie Marie.

So, actually now what?

Ultimately, blue does scare people, there’s no two ways about it. Blue eyeshadow when you’re not even sure if you can contour yet? I must be joking!

Truth is, nobody really gets it right. I messed up my recreation, but that doesn’t discredit the effort and the skill it takes to blend or the confidence to start stepping out of your comfort zone. Lucky for me, colour is my comfort zone. And it’s cool if it isn’t yours, but confidence is cool regardless, so if that means covering your lid in one tone of blue or three, it will work if you let it.

Josie Marie xo