Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector review | Perfect skin in a tube?

Just J: Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector review

The newest thing with beauty brands around the globe is to offer one-stop, do-it-all products that promise to cut down your multi-step routines to just a few key steps. The first iteration of these types of products were BB/CC/DD/Zzzzz creams. Now the next big thing are skin "perfectors" - miracle products that make big promises. The biggest difference I can see between this new category and the alphabet creams of yore is that these new creams don't contain foundation; they are meant to improve your skin so much, that you won't even need makeup! So are they worth all the hype?

The Product
Recently, I was sent a sample of the Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector, a "skin perfecting daily corrector" that claims to make my skin:
  • glowy 
  • even
  • brighter
and will
  • tighten pores
  • eliminate dark spots and scars
  • improve skin's texture
  • hydrate
  • reduce fine lines
In Marcelle's tests, an impressive 89% of women saw an improvement in just two weeks and in one month, dark spots were reduced and pores tighter.

On top of that, this product is also hypoallergenic, paraben-free, and safe for sensitive skins.

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this product are:
  • Cyclopentasiloxane - an increasingly popular silicone that's used for its light feel, absorbency and ability to fill in fine lines and provide an even texture. 
  • Glycerin - a moisturizer
  • Propylene glycol - a humectant with mild concerns of skin irritation
  • Lactobacillus ferment lysate filtrate - a skin conditioner. Fun fact: this ingredient is derived from lactobacillus, a great little bacteria that helps keep your gut healthy and which also lives in your vag (eww). 
This product contains a veritable grocery list of ingredients, which are mostly humectants and skin conditioners. Beware though that there are a lot of strange-sounding chemical names, some of which are pretty new as there isn't any info easily found on them, and silicones. If you're trying to avoid products that contain too many of either of these, then this may not be the product for you.

Price & Packaging
For $24.95, you get a 30 mL tube. This product can be purchased at any drug store that stocks Marcelle (such as London Drugs!). The packaging is pretty straight-forward here with the only interesting thing of note that the tube contains a soft red tip, which you can use to apply product directly to your skin. Not sure why that's necessary, but I thought I'd point it out as other reviewers did!

It's a little tricky to know where in your beauty routine to use the Ideal Skin Perfector - after serum? Before serum? After or before moisturizing? In place of any of the above? I think ideally, you're supposed to use this product before everything, or in place of. I didn't follow that, as I feel that serums are designed to absorb deep into your skin and moisturize the inner layers, whereas applying it after the Ideal Skin Perfector would just cause my serum to sit on my face. Instead, I did the following steps: toner, serum, Ideal Skin Perfector, moisturizer, sunscreen. The fact that the Ideal Skin Perfector contains a lot of silicones probably made any effect from my moisturizer moot, but in the interest of testing, I applied it anyways.

One thing I noticed right away about this product was its weirdo scent. It smells awful, very chemical-like and is sharply pungent. I'd recommend not breathing for a second while applying. It goes away once it hits your skin, but right out of tube - stinky! 

(Since posting this review, I have been in contact with Marcelle and verified with other users that this product should in fact have no scent. I may have received a defective or expired product, so while I am leaving my words visible here, I would like to point out this fact so that you can take this into account when reading my review)

Just J: Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector review
Ideal Skin Protector - unblended and blended

The texture of the Ideal Skin Perfector is very smooth and spreadable. It absorbs quickly and right away your skin will feel silkier and softer. The Ideal Skin Perfector works as a great primer for these reasons and I noticed that my makeup applied smoother and lasted longer.

For 4 weeks I dutifully applied the Ideal Skin Perfector twice daily. After 4 weeks, I did not notice any significant change in my dark spots, fine lines or skin texture. I did notice a slight difference in terms of luminosity. I did not experience any irritation or breakouts either, which I'm relieved of!

Final Verdict
Inconclusive - due to the following reasons outlined below, I can only speak to my experience with the product as-is, however I am doubtful now whether that is a true experience of the product or not. If you happen to use this product and experience similar symptoms, Marcelle's customer care at info@groupemarcelle.com to resolve the issue.

**Update Nov 25: 10:46 am** 
I received a tweet from Marcelle stating the Ideal Skin Perfector I received may be defective as the product should not have any odor. I'm in contact with Marcelle to investigate and will update my post as soon as this has been resolved. Points to Marcelle for being so on top of their customer service!

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Monday, November 24, 2014

L'Occitane Aromachologie Revitalizing body scrub review | A touch of Provence in your bath

Just J: L'Occitane Aromachologie Revitalizing body scrub review

Whether you're looking for a special treat for yourself, or for someone else on your holiday shopping list, L'Occitane has always been my go-to source for naturally derived, quality products. Recently, I got a chance to try out one of their new products in the Aromachologie line, a special throwback collection of hair and body care products each containing 5 essential plant oils that are specially formulated to relax, renew and rejuvenate.

The Product
The Aromachologie Revitalizing body scrub is a sugar based body scrub that you can use as a weekly or bi-weekly treatment to rid yourself of dry, flaky skin. While body scrubs are great all year round, they are especially welcome in winter time when the harsh dry air indoors and out can sap your skin of suppleness and glow.

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this scrub are:
  • Glycerin - a common moisturizer.
  • Sucrose - sugar grains basically. These act as the primary exfoliator.
  • Sunflower seed oil - a natural emollient that helps to capture moisture in skin.
  • Capric triglyceride - derived from coconut oil, this ingredient gives a slippery feel to the product and acts as another emollient.
  • PEG-8 Beeswax - acts as a surfactant (basically ups the foaminess) and emollient. This ingredient could have some low contamination concerns with some nasty stuff (source), but is generally considered safe for use.
Other ingredients of note are: lemon peel (fights blemishes, brightens), grapefruit peel oil (astringent and mood-enhancing), rosemary leaf extract (antibacterial and moisturizing) and spearmint oil (relaxing aroma and antibacterial). 

Overall, this scrub is packed with natural ingredients and the essential oils contained within seem included as cleansers and for their stimulating aromas.

Price & Packaging
A 200g jar will cost you $38, which may seem a little steep, but I think is worth it. The jar itself is just beautiful. Everything in the Aromachologie line harkens back to L'Occitane's roots and is designed to be reminiscent of an apothecary's shop. The vintage hipster in me loves this jar's flip-top mechanism and rich amber color. 

Just J: L'Occitane Aromachologie Revitalizing body scrub review

The first thing that struck me was the scent of this scrub. It's citrusy, but also kinda minty from the spearmint and sweet. It's very heady stuff, but not overpowering like artificial fragrances can be. Personally, I loved the scent, but I could see how it might be a bit odd at first for others.

The scrub itself is suitably grainy, although a little harder to work with than my Bath & Body Works Sea Salt scrub. You do need to kinda work this scrub into your skin. This scrub is also slightly oily from, I'm guessing, the essential plant oils. 

My favourite part of this scrub, other than the scent, was that despite the rough sugar grains, my skin felt very moisturized instead of dry or tight as one might expect from such a strong exfoliator. The scrub rinsed off easily and left my skin feeling soft and lightly fragranced. 

Just J: L'Occitane Aromachologie Revitalizing body scrub review

Final Verdict
Buy - you could purchase this for someone else, but you'll probably end up keeping it yourself.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

A Book Devoured: The Maze Runner series by James Dashner

It's been awhile since a book held me riveted and tearing through its pages as quickly as I could. The Maze Runner, which is soon to be a movie, caught my eye recently and I thought it would make sense to review the whole series at once as you really have to read all three to get the whole story.

The Maze Runner begins with the protagonist, Thomas, waking up in the dark, alone and without any memory of who he is except his name. He awakes in a small, dark elevator and at the top, he finds himself greeted by a group of other teenage boys who welcome him to their home, The Glade, where a new boy has been arriving each month for the past two years. Where they are, nobody knows, but all they do know is that they live in the center of a giant maze and that every night the gates to The Glade close. Thomas is quickly initiated into life in The Glade, where there are few rules: do your job, don't give up, and no matter what, don't enter the maze at night.

Throughout most of the series, author James Dashner takes you on a crazy journey for survival as Thomas fights to save himself and the other boys from destruction and later from the truth of their origins in the maze. Dashner's main tactic to keep reader's interested is by simply just not letting you know what's going on, which is pretty tiresome by the end, but keeps you reading all the same.

I can totally see why this series is being made into a movie as it's fast-paced, filled with crazy action and stars teenagers. It doesn't really involve any character growth whatsoever, so don't expect any deep thoughts or epiphanies. These books are basically a story of fight to live then find the fuckers who did this to you so you can kick them in the balls as hard as you can.

Personally, I can't wait to see the movie now as I'm pretty curious how they will pull off the crazy worldscape Dashner has created and some of its horrifying creatures. I also have a feeling that the movies will sanitize some of the violence like they did with The Hunger Games, which is kinda lame but also probably not something that can squeak through with a PG-13 rating otherwise. Although I think the series should really just be one big book as it's not a complete story otherwise, I did find these enjoyable reads and would recommend them to anyone who enjoys this type of YA/sci-fi book.

Would you to go to watch The Maze Runner?

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Get meow-worthy eyes in seconds | Lise Watier Feline Eyeliner HD review

Just J: Lise Watier Feline Eyeliner HD review

Lise Watier debuted their Feline collection earlier this year, but I didn't get around to trying anything in the collection until recently. Brown eyeliner and liquid eyeliners are both staples in my makeup collection, but I've somehow never had them combined together until now.

The Product
The Lise Watier Feline Eyeliner HD is a fast-drying, ultra-pigmented liquid eyeliner designed for pros and newbies alike. Available in just two shades, brown and black, this eyeliner provides definition and sexiness with its easy-to-use pen tip applicator.

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this liner are:
  • Butylene glycol - provides a slippery texture 
  • CI 77266 (Black 2) - coloring
  • Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil - emulsifier and solubilizer (basically, helps make up what this liner is) 
Nothing too alarming in this ingredients list, but this liner does contain parabens for those who are trying to avoid those.

Price & Packaging
The Lise Watier Feline Eyeliner HD eyeliner costs $20 per tube and uses a pen-tip applicator. I do like how the cap of the liner reflects the color inside, but I'm not generally a fan of pen-tip eyeliners. This style of applicator is easier to use for those newer to liquid eyeliners and it also is more versatile as it's easier to draw thicker or thin lines and do tricks like cat-eye. However, my biggest complaint with them is that they seem to dry out faster. Since this eyeliner is higher-end, that is a slight deterrent to me personally as I would hate for my $20 to not be stretched to the max!

Ease of Use
This eyeliner was extremely easy to use. Simply swipe across your lash line for an instant shot of color. I really loved how easy it was to get thin or thicker lines. I didn't really try for a cat-eye, so I can't comment on that one, but you can kinda see a bit of that effect happening in my swatch below.

Pigmentation and Wear

Just J: Lise Watier Feline Eyeliner HD review

What kinda disappointed me at first with this liner was that it wasn't a super dark brown. I love my dark eyeliners and I always want my blacks to be inky black, my purples to be a deep grape, and my browns a rich chocolate. This... was more like a milk chocolate and seemed even lighter on my eyelids than it looks here.

On the plus side, this liner does dry quite quickly and it wasn't streaky at all. The above swatch is with one swipe, so the color is quite rich and it lasts just like this all day without fading.

Even though I wasn't a big fan of wearing this liner on its own due to the lighter color, I have found a niche purpose for it as a subtler way to define my eyes while wearing eye shadow. When doing my makeup for work, I don't want to look too overly made up, so if my eye shadow isn't quite defining my eyes enough, I'll slap this liner on top and voila - instant definition!

Final Verdict
Buy - a little pricey, but it's so easy to use, lasts all day and is very pretty to wear.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My winter nail routine

Seems like winter is the theme of this week with a second winter-themed post! Today I'll be talking all about how I prep my hands for winter's harsh weather. Although it's not like I'm a fisherman or factory worker exposing my hands to the elements and harsh chemicals all the time, my hands do take a bit more of a beating than during the rest of the year due to the cold winter air outside and the harsh, dry air of office heaters inside. I'm pretty terrible normally at the best of times with my hands, so this year I resolved to treat them a little better.

Here are my tips and tricks on how to keep your nails and hands healthy and young looking throughout the winter months:

Just J: My winter nail routine
From top left: Pond's Dry Skin Cream, With Shyan treatment oil, Buffer block #60 by Ikonna, Julep Crystal nail file, Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax hand cream

Tip 1: Moisturize
Due to all that dryness, keeping your hands moist is key. In the winter, it's time to bust out the big guns. During the day, I've been alternating my usual hand creams with the Pond's Dry Skin Cream, which is actually intended for your face, but which works for me at least, better on my body instead. The Pond's Dry Skin Cream contains a ton of emollients, so it prevents precious moisture from evaporating into the air.

At night, I've been treating my hands to a special treat thanks to the ultra-rich Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax hand cream. This waxy balm smells amazing and contains all natural ingredients like sweet almond oil, vitamin E and aloe vera. I massage it in liberally at night and wake up in the morning with baby soft hands.

Tip 2: Don't forget to moisturize your nails!
While most of us are good at paying attention to our hands, we often forget that our nails and cuticles need some lovin' too! I have perpetually dry cuticles thanks to my perpetual neglect, so I'm pretty new at following this tip. Lately, I've been using this With Shyan treatment oil (see review) twice daily - it has an energizing lemony scent (great in the mornings!) and it gives my cuticles some quick moisture.

Tip 3: Regularly buff and file your nails into a healthy shape
A couple years ago, I picked up this crystal nail file and buffing-polishing duo stick from a local craft fair and it literally changed my life. I never realized this, but buffing your nails can really have an impact! Buffing helps to increase circulation to your nail beds giving them a healthy pink color and it helps polish away those rough ridges so that your nails feel silky smooth. After a good buff and polishing session, my nails are so shiny they look as if they're wearing top coat and the effect lasts for a week!

I also highly recommend purchasing a crystal nail file. Unlike those flimsy paper ones you get for free in goody bags and from stores, these will last you FOREVER and are super sharp. They also feel smoother and gentler on your nails so you don't get that weird grating feeling.

The seller who I purchased my buffing stick and crystal file from doesn't seem to have any presence online, but you can purchase some great options from Julep or Nail Polish Canada.

Want some more tips on how to get your hands and nails looking hand model-worthy? Well, Julep has put together a handy (hehe) guide on how to winterize your nails, which you can see below. Don't forget to check out some of their great winter nail polish shades online too!

Just J: how to winterize your nails, care of Julep

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Guest post: Cassy of Exquisitely Chic's "Winter and Ice" look

Hello Just J beauties! I'm Cassy - I blog over at Exquisitely Chic, where things get sassy and a little smart-assy. I'm a professional makeup artist and esthetician and I have some serious love for the wintertime. Come pay a visit anytime, I'd love to have you!

This month with the CBB Network the theme is "Winter and Ice" so I decided I'd do my best to take that theme and translate it to a gorgeous makeup look. That although it isn't wearable the way I've done it, you can definitely tone it down for a gorgeous wintry look. Wanna see?

  Exquisitely Chic Winter and Ice Makeup Look Blue and Silver

There's really so much going on here. I started out with NYX's jumbo pencil in Milk (you can prime your lids first, if you'd like) and covered the inner corner, brow bone, extended past the outer corner and went under my eye. Leaving the lid alone. Blend that baby out.

Then I took Urban Decay's Zypher and coated a big, fluffy brush, and added a little silver to it as well. Then I patted that all over the white areas, making sure to leave it a little messy. You don't want it to be blotchy, but some fallout is okay.

  blue eye makeup winter ice

I followed up by using Flower Beauty's Eyeshadow Chubby in Teal We Meet Again I added a light layer to the lid, then topped it with Urban Decay's Crystal eyeshadow I patted that over the lid and into the crease, followed by Urban Decay's Hijack in the outer corner.

 Then I added a shimmery, blue liquid eyeliner and used it to coat my lashes (which already had mascara on them). For the rest of the face, I did my foundation as per usual and used a mixture of Zypher and Crystal to add highlights where I would normally put them.

For the lips, I used a lip balm then wiped off any excess - to give myself a smooth surface. Then I filled in my lips with NYX Jumbo Pencil in Milk and topped it off with a frosty clear lipgloss. I then used a q-tip with Urban Decay's Crystal on it to add a bit of blue to the bottom lip.

Winter and Ice Eye Makeup Blue

Want to wear a toned-down version of this look? Use Milk on the inner corner and brow bone ONLY. Blend it out and blend a matte white shadow over it. Use Flower Beauty's Teal Chubby on the lid, blend it using your finger and top with Crystal and blend into the crease. Use Hijack on the outer corner and lower lash line. Add a black or blue eyeliner and top with black mascara (if you're feeling bold, use a blue mascara on the tips of your lashes). Voila - totally wearable, maybe for ice skating, yes?

What do you do to get yourself in a wintery mood?

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Now that's what I call 90's makeup | Clinique A Black Honey Affair All About Shadow palette and Black Honey Almost Lipstick

Just J: Clinique A Black Honey Affair All About Shadow palette review
Super slick packaging, but OH MAN is it fingerprint-prone!

Points if you get the 90's reference in this post title! If you don't, damn you for being so young. For the past couple seasons, the beauty and fashion worlds have been bowing down for anything 90's - we're talking plaid shirts tied around yours waists, hi-tops, dark vampy lips, choker necklaces and thick, luscious brows. There's just something so bad ass about the 90's that rings true for any rebellious spirit and how it gives a big F-U to anything establishment or overly perky.

To celebrate the 90's revival, Clinique has brought back one of its most iconic bestsellers, the Black Honey Almost Lipstick alongside some new releases, such as the A Black Honey Affair All About Shadow palette.

Although Black Honey was first launched as a lipstick in 1971, it was when it was released as an Almost Lipstick shade in 1989 that it really took off. In fact, even in 2014, Black Honey was the number one shade in North America for Clinique and one tube is sold every 3 minutes!

This universally flattering shade is a deep wine-red shade that veers to almost black, but it is surprisingly attractive on every skin tone. Formulated as a sheer tint, Black Honey Almost Lipstick picks up the natural pigment of its wearer and gives it that perfectly 90's vampiness.

For the new release, Clinique has created a companion eight shade eye-shadow palette, A Black Honey Affair All About Shadow that is exclusive to Sephora. Retailing for $40, this palette's shades are designed to match the aesthetic of the Black Honey lipstick to create that perfect Fall look.

Just J: Clinique A Black Honey Affair All About Shadow palette review
Look at all that beautiful neutral shadow goodness *drool*

Just J: Clinique A Black Honey Affair All About Shadow palette swatches
Clinique A Black Honey Affair All About Shadow palette swatches in natural light

  • Sugar Cane - a pearly white highlight 
  • Hazy - a cool taupe 
  • Black Honey - a brown with red undertones
  • Lucky Penny - a beautiful light brown with a very slight wine tinge
  • Dark Brown Shade of Morning Java - a rich coffee brown
  • Purple Pumps - a bright blue-purple
  • Lavender Out Loud - a pale icy violet
  • Graphite - a dark bullet gray
Each shade of the A Black Honey Affair All About Shadow palette appears matte in the pan, but is actually quite shimmery, with a pearlescent finish. With a primer, these colors apply beautifully and smoothly with a rich color payoff. I find the finish of these shadows are very similar to the Urban Decay Naked palettes and they also experience similar levels of fallout. Without a primer, these colors are harder to pick up from the pan and apply a little unevenly. To get the swatches you see above, I had to rub my finger fairly firmly into the pan and swatch several times to lay down the color.

After just a few times of trying this palette out, I am crazy in love with it. The colors are so rich and beautiful and offer a multitude of looks. It has quickly become my daily go-to as the colors are neutral enough to wear to work, but contain enough darker shades let you really up the drama at night. Purple Pumps in particular is a bombshell shade that really perks up brown eyes. 

The Black Honey Almost Lipstick has also become a daily item in my routine. My usual lip color choices range from bright reds to lately, mostly MLBB tones, so Black Honey was way outside my comfort zone. Black Honey is really so easy to wear though, that it's won me over. Unlike other vampy shades, which require meticulous application, Black Honey can be layered on almost carelessly and without a mirror. With some generous layering, Black Honey tinges my lips a deep raspberry, as if I'd been drinking too much red wine. The Almost Lipstick formula is also quite moisturizing and gives my lips a nice sheen. Unfortunately, that also means the wear time is kinda short, but nothing more than I would expect from a lip tint. 

Finally, here is a look I created using the Clinique A Black Honey Affair All About Shadow palette and Black Honey Almost Lipstick. I'm wearing Lucky Penny all over my lid, Sugar Cane on my brow bone, Black Honey along my lash line and crease and Hazy as a blending color.

Just J: FOTD -  Clinique A Black Honey Affair All About Shadow palette review

Just J: FOTD -  Clinique A Black Honey Affair All About Shadow palette review

Just J: FOTD -  Clinique A Black Honey Affair All About Shadow palette review

Final Verdict
Buy - Run, don't walk to purchase both of these fabulous products!

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