Worth The Hype: Josie Maran Argan Color Stick

I make it very obvious in YouTube videos and blog posts that eye makeup is my favourite kind of makeup, but cheek colour comes a very close second. After I apply my foundation and concealer in the morning, I’m left with a totally blank canvas to work with so adding colour to my cheeks, highlighting certain parts of my face and bronzing the rest, makes me look all the more human again. That’s why I’m on the search for a blusher than can last me all day through the summer months and a cream blusher that looked natural and was easy to use was an essential, and along came the Josie Maran Argan Color Stick in Spice.
This caught my eye immediately in Sephora because I have such a thing for quite brown toned blushers (plus, the packing is rose gold!? Irresistable!). When I finally got home and got around to trying it, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for as well. Colour doesn’t come off of the stick with so much ease that it’s slipping around your face, but it pays off enough colour to make the application manageable and precise. The blending process is also pretty easy as well; I like to take my Real Techniques Contour Brush just to blend the colour in and it blends in as easily as a cream eyeshadow would which was important to me. The finish that was left afterwards was also incredibly important to me and I was glad to realised that the blush colour looks so natural and it is in no way obvious whatsoever that blusher has been applied; it was absolutely seamless.
The longevity of this product under great heat proved to be good as well, which considering was the main reason I was looking for a cream blusher in the first place, I was very happy indeed. I’d say that because the blusher clearly blends in and works with the foundation on your cheeks almost entirely that it lasts as long as your foundation lasts; if you were to apply a layer of primer beforehand, it would obviously last longer, but you don’t need to top it up throughout the day.
All in all, this gorgeous nude warm brown shade is perfect for my skin tone and is a dream as far as the product itself though. It’s such a shame that Josie Maran isn’t so readily available here in the UK because I’d love to give more colour sticks from the line a go. If you get a chance to go to the US this summer then you need this – it’s awesome.

Must-Have: MaxFactor False Lash Effect Mascara

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this on many different occassions but eye makeup if my favourite kind of makeup. No kind of beauty products make my heart beat faster than the sight of a new and unused eyeshadow palette or the sound of the opening of a new bottle of mascara. Today’s product I’m discussing did just that when I opened the bottle and fantastically, the feeling of love for it hasn’t gone away since I first used it a few years ago. Oh yes everyone, it’s cult favourite: MaxFactor Falsh Lash Effect mascara.
C’mon, if you haven’t heard about this product before then you must be living under a rock. Every beauty blogger under the Sun talks about this product with nothing but high regards and I think it’s become general consensus to love this product, so much so that it probably isn’t mentioned enough. The product’s powers are pretty self-explanatory which is probably a reason why people don’t bother to mention it so much; it gives the effect that you’re wearing false lashes when you’re actually not. However, people seem to fail to mention that this is just the products optimum abilities and they fail to mention that this product does much more than making your lashes look large.
I personally think you can achieve any lash look from this mascara, be it if you’re looking for just length (simply only apply one coat of the stuff), definition (fantastic for bottom lashes) or if you’re looking for incredible volume like it mentions (absolutely coats of the stuff and it never ends up looking clumpy). These versatile qualities that it possesses really is what steals my heart and is why I don’t even bother carrying a second mascara in my makeup bag anymore – this stuff really does it all.
I love the wand as well. It’s easy to grip and have control of as well as being stubby and plastic which I find gets the most out of my lashes. I know that this is a personal preference and specific to each person’s lashes so don’t take my word on how great the brush is per se, but if this kind of thing is your bag then you’ll adore it and application will (weirdly?) be a fun thing to do; it’s the perfect brush for volume, of course.
If you’ve tried this long ago and forgotten about it, or if you’ve never even used it before than I urge you to go and pick up a tube of the stuff next time you’re in Boots. I’d forgotten how much I loved it before I picked it back up on a 3 for 2 recently and I know it’s going to be hard to ween myself off of using it constantly when the time comes to shake up my makeup bag a little. Must-Have? You bet ‘ya.

Beauty Favourites: From April into May

I think we can all agree that April has been an interesting month in the world of Shaunyland; we kicked off to a great start where I feel like I was posting content online almost every single day like I said I would and suddenly, school got in the way of things last week and drove that to a grinding halt. Instead of looking back and being annoyed at myself for not scheduling far enough into the future to keep you avid blog readers entertained, I’m looking forward today and specifically into May as we start looking forward into the latter half of Spring. For some, May is going to bring them the joy of sun and the promise of summer that is very fast approaching, but for me, I see this month as the start of one of the most difficult and stressful months of my life so far as exams begin. As a result of this, I can’t go promising that I’ll be online as much as I want to be (even though I will have scheduled content going up throughout the month), so I thought I’d talk with you today about what I’m carrying from the latter half of April into the entirety of May.
Let’s get the non-Beauty gunf out of the way and start off with something that I won’t get a chance to do again in May but that is something that I can recommend for all of you to do instead. The London revival of the classic Broadway musical Gypsy opened at the Savoy Theatre in the middle of this month and to celebrate, I shared my in-depth review over on Shaun’s Musical Musings on opening night. Starring British entertainment royalty Imelda Staunton, Gypsy is probably one of the most stunning revivals I have seen in my entire life; I love nothing more than classic Broadway shows like these and this revival certainly didn’t let me down. Go and take a look at my review over on SMM and then make your way down there this month.
As well as being a wildly obsessed theatre fan (as I’m sure you can probably tell from my tweets), I also love a good bit of television and especially TV created by funny women. The Mindy Project has been a favourite American TV show of mine for a long while now and Mindy Kaling herself is what makes that show so utterly enjoyably. I was given a copy of her memoir for Christmas last year and I only first picked it up and read a chapter this month. I’ve been balancing a few books in April so it got pushed aside in favour of the ends of a couple of other books but if Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) isn’t continued in the busy month of May, then I’ll be sure to take it with me on my upcoming trip to NYC!

Onto beauty now and skincare first: both are basic staple items that I’ve disregarded in favour of alternatives over the past year and I’ve now come back to realise what I’ve been missing. The L’Oreal Micellar Solution was totally disregarded by me last year when Garnier released their micellar water for the same price as the L’Oreal one but with twice as much product! When the Garnier was out of stock recently though, I was forced to pick up a BOGOF pair of the L’Oreal counterparts and remembered how effective the solution really is at taking off every last smidgen of makeup – it’s not exactly Bioderma, but it’s still bloody good.
I’ve also rekindled my love affair with the extremely budget-friendly Simple skincare range and notably the Simple Light Moisturiser with SPF 15+. There isn’t very much standout about this which is what makes it so incredible – it literally does as good a job (if not better) at properly moisturising my skin as some high-end moisturisers have done in the past. As well as this, I feel like my makeup always looks so fresh and dewy when applying my base on top of this stuff; I look a heck of a lot more awake than I actually am at 7am on a Monday. I’m pretty sure a bottle of this stuff will set you back around £6 which is an absolute steal!
An old makeup favourite is also becoming wildly popular in my heart more and more as each day goes by. The NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette is quickly becoming much more a part of my daily makeup go-to’s every single day. A good few sweeps of Laguna in the ‘3’ formation around either side of my face and a nice pop of Miss Liberty on the cheeks compliments the almost perfect base that MaxFactor Facefinity 3-in-1 foundation has been giving me on a daily basis. I first heard about this foundation on MissBudgetBeauty’s YouTube channel yonks ago when she compared it to a Covergirl foundation that is literally identical. So, when on a whim looking to buy a new and exciting foundation in Boots the other day, I picked up a bottle in a shade that matches my skin pretty much perfectly and haven’t looked back since. I’m holding back on giving you a proper review here and now because I’m going to mention this product again in Sunday’s video and then yet again in a review post on here next week, but I can assure you it’s very good stuff.
Last but not least is the No7 Instant Radiance Highlighting Stick which is perhaps my favourite thing in this entire blog post. Not only does this highlighting stick distribute the perfect amount of pigment onto my cheeks so that I don’t look like I have either glitter of flour on my cheekbones, but the lifting qualities it gives are so seamless and it blends so well that I’d still be just as happy with it if I’d paid twice the price for it. I don’t want to say too much once again for the same reason as the foundation, but if you get a No7 makeup discount voucher that they always give out, make sure you pick up one of these, They’re bloody amazing. Now to go and get some of the blusher ones, too…

The Staple: Bobbi Brown Lip Colour in ‘Tulle’

I really love lip colours and even though I’d much prefer to spend a pretty penny on a new eye makeup launch, I love finding new lipstick staples that I keep in my daily makeup bag for use every single day (I’m sure we’ve all heard me rave constantly about MAC Patisserie which is one of the products in this clique). If a lip product is really, really good and truly steals my heart though then it manages to make it’s way into my small leather Topshop bag that never leaves my shoulder and is used anywhere and everywhere I travel to: the Bobbi Brown Lip Colour in Tulle is one of these lip products.
I actually bought this lipstick on a total whim one day when I stopped at the Bobbi Brown counter in Selfridges. This colour caught my eye and I had it in a little yellow bag within the next 60 seconds. It sounds silly  but the packaging is what drew me to this lip product before I even noticed the gorgeous colour; I adore Bobbi products and they are some of the best quality luxury products that money can buy, but this sleek and square packaging with a gold band around the middle just got my beauty nerd heart pumping. It’s one of those products that I sometimes feel inclined to pull out of my bag with another impressive looking product with a mirror in the lid for a touch-up on an especially glamorous day – this product really is a total crowd pleaser.
The real product is where the real treat lies, though. It’s a dusky pink in the tube that transfers onto the lips looking almost exactly the same as it looks in the bullet and considering I have rather dark coloured lips naturally, this is a wonderful nudey colour that I find incredibly easy to wear. I also find it very important that my favourite lip colours are moisturising but ultimately not greasy and totally re-hydrating (I have a Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie constantly kept in my bag for that!). Bobbi Brown has mastered this craft perfectly here: it’s creamy enough to be hydrating yet the finish is matte enough to be impressive without being matte enough to make your lips feel like they’re cracking into loads of pieces every time you speak.
All in all, these lip colours are really where it’s at when it comes to a high end lip product and this colour in particular is something extra special if you’re looking for something for every day. I’m so glad that I took a whim on it and discovered it many moons ago, and it won’t leave my little leather bag for the foreseeable future. Well done Bobbi Brown: you’ve done it again.

Unique, Stunning, Special: Holy Cow Home and What They Have to Offer

I love interiors and looking for unique and exotic things to put around the house is one of my favourite thing to do. Equally, I also really enjoy hunting down stunning things that fit these categories to give the wonderful ladies in my family as gifts. Annoyingly though, TkMaxx has run out of stuff for me to gawk over and NotOnTheHighStreet just doesn’t have enough of what I’m looking for. Along comes Holy Cow Home; an adorable boutique offering some of the most unique, hand-picked items to fill your home with inspired by culture from all over the world, and it’s obviously ridiculously more gorgeous than the stickered stock you’d find in the other aforementioned stores. Ranging from golden elephants you can put on your mantlepiece to stunning throws to put on the end of your bed; from jewellery behind your wildest dreams to handbags for the most unique style choices, Holy Cow has absolutely everything. But it’s not only decorations for your home and personal style statements that Holy Cow have on offer: gorgeous incenses and fragrances are also incredibly as well as candles that are both stunning to the nose and to the eyes. 
The shop is run by my delightful friend Poonam Gupta; a classy lady who has such a passion for hand-picking all the items that she sells that you feel like you’re being taken on your own little journey when she tells you the story behind each item. As Poonam likes to say: “Everything in the shop is one of a kind. Our store is a place to spend hours upon hours browsing and discovering; people visit and they’re clearly wowed. If it’s not the product wowing them, then I know for sure that it’s the people in the shop”. The shop that Poonam speaks of is set to open tomorrow in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire and if you live in the local area then we’d love to see your face at the opening at any point throughout the day. I’ll be there too so make sure to say hello if you do come along and I can assure you that you will find it near impossible to resist picking up one of Holy Cow’s stunning pieces. If you can’t get to the opening though then why not take a look at the online website here. Items are being added to the sight regularly over the coming weeks as many more exciting and stunning new things are added to the shop after opening so make sure to keep checking back.

I’ve watched Poonam and Holy Cow grow as this boutique filled with stunning gifts has gone from Poonam showing me some stunning bits that she simply wanted to share with people to a fully fledged shop opening up in a prime location. I can assure you that if you give Holy Cow a few moments of your time, you will find yourself falling in love with the unique and special products on offer that have clearly been chosen with such personal care. I love Holy Cow; I hope you love it too.

The Spring SpaceNK Wish List

I’m on a spending ban at the moment because I’m saving as many pennies as possible to use as spendies when I go to New York in June but recently, my SpaceNK card has been screaming at me from within my purse and begging me to use it. So, to try and quench my thirst to spend in the delightfully pricey beauty treasure chest, I hit their website and stalked down what I’m coveting at the moment and thought I’d best document my finds so I remember them come July… right?
In the top left hand corner of the picture we have the Narsissist Dual-Intensity Eye Shadow Palette which is pretty much the reason why I created this post. I’ve had my eyes on these stunning shadows since they were announced and even though they’re pricey, I swatched them at my local NARS stand and fell head over heels in love; I love NARS shadows anyway and these ones are somehow even better pigment-wise. To combat how pricey they are and to satisfy my hunger for them, this Limited Edition palette is everything I’m looking for right now. Needless to say, I’m going to struggle to avoid buying this beauty before the ban is over… Moving on, we have the Living Proof Full Root Lifting Spray. My hair is becoming my dad’s hair more and more by the day meaning that straw-like hair is pretty much a constant for me and with that comes the haircare obsession. I always admire the Living Proof products when in store and this is definitely what’s sticking out to me most at the moment. It pretty much adds volume when you need it and does a similar job to the Oribe Dry Texturising Spray (forever one of my favourite things), but it’s a fraction of the price!
Going down, I’m yearning to build on my Cowshed collection and the Cowshed Knackered Cow Relaxing Bath & Shower Gel seems to be the way forward. I’m a shower gel hoarder (I’m loving the REN ones at the moment) and this one needs to get into my collection asap; I used to have it a year or so ago and I was obsessed with it, especially considering I always shower before I go to bed and never in the mornings. Next is another eyeshadow palette but its undeniable beauty makes it okay for me to mention two eyeshadow palettes in the same wish list, right? The Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette is basically all of the eyeshadow goals in one palette. You get a stunning pink to use all over the lid, a nice brown to shade in the crease, a jet black to use as liner (my favourite way to use liner) and a gorgeous off-white colour to use as a highlight on the brow bone. Seriously, just look at that bloody thing – TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY!

The last palette now: the Laura Mercier Flawless Contour Palette. I’m loving contouring more and more recently and powders are my favourite way of doing it. Take the fantastic colour range shown in this palette and the fantastic quality of products that Laura Mercier produces and you have a hit right there. It’s limited edition so I can see this one either going before I grab it or me grabbing it before I should, but the price is so reasonable for a high-end contour palette that I don’t think I could blame myself if the latter happened. Also on the LM front is the Laura Mercier Fan Brush which I’m pretty sure ViviannaDoesMakeup always raves about in her videos. Even if she doesn’t I can’t help but visualise all of the powdering goals being done with this beauty of a brush. Think of all that light dusting I can do down my T-zone… fantastic.

Last but not least has to be the Diptyque Philosykos Eau De Toilette which has been on my beauty wish list for ever and a day. I cover myself in this gorgeous stuff every single time I pass a Diptyque concession and spend the rest of the day wishing I could spray it each and every day. I just love how the site describes its fresh scent as “beautifully capturing the essence of a sun-kissed Greek island”. Who wouldn’t want to smell like someone on a sun-kissed Greek island when they actually live in the South East of England!?
Let me know if you like this kind of thing. I used to do them way back when in very early 2013 and they used to be the most popular things I wrote so I’ll be interested to see if it’s still that way. Let’s hope this works at keeping my spendy feelings at bay while I try and keep to this ban and who knows, maybe a Sephora wish list will be hitting your Bloglovin’ feeds much sooner than you think…

The New Thing: NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette

After a month of waiting, I am finally back at writing for Shaunyland whenever I can and what better way to say “hello again” than by talking about one of my favourite palettes of all time: the NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette. I asked for the palette as soon as it hit SpaceNK and was delighted to see that it was mine on Christmas morning and I haven’t put it down ever since. With a perfect mix of blusher shades and everyone’s favourite bronzer and powder highlighter to match, there is next to nothing to dislike.
First, lemme tell you about what’s actually inside the palette. Going clockwise from the top left hand corner we have the Miss Liberty Highlighting Blush Powder, Deep Throat, the Laguna Bronzer, Final Cut and Sex Fantasy – all of these colours can be purchased separately apart from Sex Fantasy which is Limited Edition. Naturally, I initially leaned towards cult favourites Miss Liberty, Deep Throat and Laguna when putting on my day to day face (as shown in the picture of myself above) and I’ll honestly say that I still do on most days, However, Sex Fantasy is fast becoming one of my favourite blushers of the moment because of how versatile and subtle the colour is on the cheeks when pairing it with something like a statement smokey eye. It’s also totally matte which makes it work perfectly as a base to the Miss Liberty highlighter when I need more than just a glow on my face to make me look awake. Final Cut is also becoming quite used by yours truly when pairing it with a matching orange lip (the Revlon Matte Balm in Mischevious is a personal favourite), but it is generally quite an extravagant colour so I only tend to use that when I’m wearing appropriate makeup.
The palette retails for £45.00 which I think is a bargain for what you get; the palette fits fantastically well into my daily makeup bag and the mirror comes in handy on the go. As well as this, you get three of NARS’ most popular products for each cheek colour you’d need which generally would retail for around an extra £25 on top of the price of this palette on their own. Having said this, I wouldn’t go running out to buy if you already have two or more of the colours in this palette: if you have Laguna and Deep Throat then you can live without the others, and if you don’t have either of those two cult products then I say just go and buy them on their own, especially considering the portions that you get of these products are slightly smaller than what you would get on the single releases of these shades.
All in all, this palette is a fantastic investment for those who love NARS or have never delved into the world of NARS before; their products are amazing anyway and their cheek products are by far the best products they create. So, now that I’ve acquired two of the limited edition NARS palettes in the space of a year, do you think it’s cheeky of me to stretch to a third one?

Throwback: Paris in 2013

I thought I’d try and ease everyone (mainly myself) into this whole new-working blog thing with a nice post of pictures from my trip to Paris last Autumn. After a long morning of many different types of train delays, we were lucky enough to hop onto a Eurostar only two hours after the one we missed and had a lovely three days in Paris. Ranging for six hours worth of open top bus tours to staying literally right around the corner from the Moulin Rouge, I wish I could relive those three days so much. I don’t mean to get soppy, but it was perhaps my favourite three days in my whole life. Not only because of where we were, but because it was three days of continuous laughter with my two bestest friends on the whole planet (cringe and continue, reader…)

Physicians Formula: First Impressions

It was on a Friday evening that I found myself getting very excited over American drugstore makeup in the aisle of my local TKMaxx. I was on the hunt for a new vanity case so that I could take only one beauty bag with me on a mini break as opposed to two. Whilst looking for the case, though, I stumbled across these two beauties (as well of a lot more from the range, I hasten to add) and excitement consumed me.
A rather dramatic description cut short, it was the sight of the Physicians Formula Happy Booster  and the Physicians Formula Shadow Strip for Brown Eyes that excited me so much that evening. As soon as I saw them (at £3 and £4 respectively!), I hurried home and totally redid my makeup just to give them a go… and meh. I tried them on a few more days following and still, meh.
The truth is this: American drugstore products seem even more fantastic than they really are to us Brits because there is no way of us getting our hands on them without hopping across the pond. Sephora doesn’t stock drugstore products and Ulta don’t even have a shopping website as far as I know, so eBay is your best friend if you’re okay with having something that may not be the real deal. This overhype and excitment builds and builds so that when you actually get the chance to give the product a go, it’s rare that you’ll be as satisfied as you thought you may well be. These products are a prime example.
The Happy Booster was what I was most excited about. I had heard rave reviews from American and British bloggers alike raving about everything from the packaging to the product itself. What I found was this: the packaging is incredibly tacky from the colour to the quality, and the product itself is such a strange mix of colours that the payoff on my face just makes me look dirty. I’ve tried pinpointing certain colours and just using those, and using a mix of the whole lot, but it just doesn’t work for me.
As for the eyeshadow strip, I picked this up on a bit of a whim just thinking that I liked the look of the colours and I wasn’t very impressed by this either. Unlike the Happy Booster, I was actually really happy with the funky packaging, but the colour payoff and the quality of the shadows left something to be desired. The colour pay off was weak and the quality of the shadows was terrible: a mix of chalky and unbuildable is not what I’m looking for in my eyeshadow.
All in all, I’m not impressed with what I’ve tried from Physicians Formula so far and that excited Shaun that stood in TKMaxx one Friday night is excited no more. I’ll keep trying to make them work as I really want to fall in love with them, but until then, this review is the truth in my eyes. *sigh*