Lise Watier Aurora Winter Collection: review and swatches

Every season I look forward to the newest Lise Watier collection. More so than other brands, Lise Watier seems to really go all out in celebrating each season with gorgeous new colors, packaging and themes.

For Winter 2014, Lise Watier has released its new Aurora collection, with a line of eye shadows, lipsticks, glosses, highlighters and blushes inspired by the beauty of the aurora borealis. These limited edition products can be purchased online or in drugstores.

Here's the lowdown on each of these beautiful products:

Just J: Lise Watier Aurora Winter Collection
Aurora packaging for the eye shadows and highlighter

Aurora eyeshadow palette
Status: Limited Edition (LE)
Price: $43
Details: a stunning collection of six shades ranging from a pale highlight to a deep shimmery plum and midnight blue. The finish on these shadows range from matte to slightly iridescent, which is a nice change from the overly glitterly palettes of most winter releases. Like most Lise Watier eye shadows, I found these a little tricky to work with as the shadows are hard and not very buttery. The pigmentation is pretty decent though and I love the richness of the colors. The pinks and browns are right up my alley and surprisingly I really love the moodiness of the Midnight Blue shade - it would be perfect for a twist on the smoky eye!

Just J: Lise Watier Aurora Winter Collection

Aurora Celestial Light powder
Status: LE
Price: $36
Details: the look of this powder reminds me a much more matte version of the MAC Mineralize SkinFinish powders; I much prefer this powder over those as it's way more subdued. This powder gives off a subtle shimmer as opposed to being glittery, which again, I am all over. The finish is very much a pinky-white, so yellow-toned gals may need to go light on the application to avoid looking chalky. I think this would be a great powder to brighten up a deeper blush, or solo as a fine glow.

Just J: Lise Watier Aurora Winter Collection

Just J: Lise Watier Aurora Winter Collection
Swatches left to right: Aurora Celestial light powder, Aurora eye shadow palette

Aurora Irisdescent eyeliner
Status: LE
Price: $22
Details: a long-wear liquid eyeliner with the fine tip brush of my dreams. I love brush liners as they're quite uncommon, but nothing gives a fine line like them. This one comes in a beautiful deep red-purple called Aurora and contains finely milled glitter. This liner swatches really nicely, but on, this liner was not nearly as pigmented as I hoped. You really have to layer it off to get anything. It was super difficult to photograph just how pretty and shimmery this liner is, but trust me, you want this!

Just J: Lise Watier Aurora Winter Collection

Aurora Haute Lumiere High Shine lip gloss
Status: LE
Price: $23
Details: debuting in an exclusive new shade, Aurora, the Haute Lumiere lip gloss is a staple in any Lise Watier collection. These glosses are always very slick feeling without being sticky and are one of my favourite glosses. The new Aurora shade is a pretty magenta that can be layered or worn solo. Unlike other glosses, the Haute Lumiere is actually fairly pigmented and the best part of these glosses is that they come with a built-in mirror and light!

Just J: Lise Watier Aurora Winter Collection

Rouge Fondant lipstick
Status: regular
Price: $24
Details: this lipstick looks good and also does good for your skin. It contains Labrador Tea extract which is a powerful antioxidant exclusive to Lise Watier and sourced right here in Canada. Similar to the lip gloss, Stella is a soft magenta color that offers medium color payoff and is non-sticky. I haven't tested out the wear time of this lipstick actually as I am in too in love with is pristine-ness!

Just J: Lise Watier Aurora Winter Collection

Just J: Lise Watier Aurora Winter Collection
Swatches: Aurora Iridescent eyeliner, Rouge Fondant lipstick in Stella, Aurora Haute Lumiere lip gloss


What is your favourite part of the collection? Will you be running out to purchase any of the Aurora line?




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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!

Effectiveness
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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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

Effectiveness
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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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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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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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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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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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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Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil review | My new HG highlighting pencil

Just J: Chelle Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil review

As a teenager experimenting with makeup for the first time, I had read in all my teeny mags that white eyeliner was supposed to brighten your eyes and make them pop, so dutifully I went out and bought tons of white eyeliner to line my eyes and give me that bright, doe-eyed look. Alas, it was an utter, complete failure across the board. Why? White eyeliners on my Asian skin just looked way too bright and harsh. I looked more like someone from a 60's mod club than the Neutrogena fresh look I was going for. I swore off white eyeliner forever.

A decade or so later and I am giving the look another try. Makeup has evolved since back then and the new "white eyeliner" is actually something darker and therefore more accommodating to non-white skin tones. Nowadays, it's all about the nude and ivory liners, such as this one from Chella.

The Product
Chella Skincare is a Californian line that started off by providing anti-aging skincare solutions and who has now branched into the makeup market with easy-to-use and innovative products for the eyes and brows. They even offer brow services!

The Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil is a multi-purpose highlighter that can be used on your eyes, brow bone and face to illuminate, conceal and correct. It can be purchased alone, or as part of Chella's Brow Color Kits, which also include a brow gel, eyebrow pencil and sharpener (all available at London Drugs).

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this pencil are:
  • Titanium dioxide - a mineral commonly used in sunscreens and mineral foundations. Here it helps provide that white color.
  • Iron oxides - provide color
  • Castor seed oil - a common ingredient in eye liners that gives it a smooth texture and acts as an emollient
  • Candelilla wax - provides substance and a waxy texture

Price & Packaging
For a 1.4 g stick, you'll pay $18 which is pretty steep considering you could probably find cheaper alternatives out there. Pencils can get used up quite fast if you use it often and since this pencil can be used in so many ways, I would bet it gets used up pretty fast. Right now I'm trying to resist using mine constantly so it will last longer!

Effectiveness

Just J: Chelle Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil review
Unblended and blended - you can't even see the blended bit, it's that good!

There are so many ways to use this pencil and I have been loving experimenting with it for new looks. My favourite ways to use this pencil are to use it along my waterline and on my inner corners and brow bone to brighten my eyes - my teenage dream now realized!!

The pencil is super soft, similar to a kohl liner, and very pigmented. It has a waxy texture that makes it stick to your skin so that you don't need to use much, yet it still applies and blends easily. The color itself is a peachy ivory that pairs perfectly with my skin tone (I'm a Sephora color IQ #4Y07 or MAC NC25) and it lasts for hours without fading!


Final Verdict
Buy - if you haven't guessed by now, I can't rave enough about this pencil. Even with the steep price, it's definitely in the running for HG status.




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NSPA Giveaway | Enter to win NSPA Skin Renewal Gel, Illuminating Beauty Serum & Youthful Eye Cream!

Just J: NSPA Giveaway  

Last week I gushed to you about the awesome new drugstore line from the UK, NSPA and their Skin Renewal Gel and Youthful Eye Cream. This week I am even more excited as I am doing a giveaway of said products, plus the Illuminating Beauty Serum!

Hailing from the UK, all NSPA products are paraben-free, cruelty-free and are suitable for all skin types. Their products are based on over 25 years of spa experience and are packed with natural goodies like grape leaf oil, apricot, bilberry, avocado oil and sugar cane! Available exclusively in Canada at Walmart, these products have quickly become a staple in my routine and now they can be in yours!

To enter, simply fill in the options below. This contest is open to Canadian residents only since I'll be the one shipping you your prize! Good luck and thanks for entering :)


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PS. Today is Remembrance Day in Canada as well. Please take a moment to remember the sacrifice and dedication of all our soldiers and those who give their lives to serve at home or abroad.



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Lise Watier Luminous Correcting Primer review | How to get luminous, even skin in seconds

Just J: Lise Watier Luminous Correcting Primer review

Primers and I are not really bosom buddies. Most primers I've tried either have no discernible effect or leave me looking like an oil slick ("mattifying" primers, I'm looking at you); so when I first received a sample of the Lise Watier Luminous Correcting Primer to try, I was pretty damn skeptical. I was even more skeptical because the PR person who had selected the primer for me had done so by examining my skin color and tone in a dark party room. Insert side-eye here.


However, as I've said before, you've got to sometimes put caution to the side and take that leap of faith as you never know when that dud could become a stud.

The Product
The Lise Watier Luminous Correcting Primer is a primer and corrector all in one. What makes this primer unique is Lise Watier's proprietary Diamond Lumiere complex, which contains light reflecting particles designed to brighten skin and give you that youthful glow. Depending on your needs and skin color, there are four shades to choose from:
  • Abricot - restore a healthy glow for medium to dark skin
  • Banane - highlights fair to medium toned skin
  • Rose lilas - eliminates sallowness in olive and Asian complexions
  • Vert - neutralizes redness for uneven skin tones
I received the shade Banane, which is formulated to correct redness and provide a soft glow.

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this primer are:
  • Propylene glycol - a humectant which helps skin to absorb moisture, but can cause skin irritation for some.
  • Polymethylsilsesquioxane - a silicon that provides a slippery texture and also acts as an emollient
  • Polyacrylate-13 - not much info online about this one, but seems to be an ingredient whose purpose is similar to a silicone and provides a smooth film over the skin
  • Polysorbate-20 - an emulsifier. There is some debate online about the safety of this ingredient, but it has been cleared for use in food and cosmetics use by the FDA. Read more here and here.
For the most part, this primer is pretty straightforward and contains mainly synthetic ingredients designed to smooth skin and minimize pores. The only surprise in this ingredient list is that it actually does contain diamond powder!

Price & Packaging
The Luminous Correcting Primer comes in a squeeze tube and retails for $39. It's the perfect size and width for throwing into your purse as well for quick touch-ups. Since you only need to use a little bit each time, I think the price is well worth it.

Just J: Lise Watier Luminous Correcting Primer swatches
Left blended, right unblended.

Effectiveness
To use this primer, simply apply to areas of your face where you need redness correction. The primer has a watery texture and is a mustard-yellow color. It absorbs readily and spreads easily. Unlike a lot of silicone-heavy primers, it doesn't feel super thick, nor did it just sit on top of my skin like a mask. 

The trick with this primer is to let it sit for about 30 seconds while its absorbing so that you can see the awesome effect it has. I was super surprised as within that 30 seconds, the redness around my nose and on the apples of my cheeks was greatly minimized! In fact, I hardly need to use any foundation at all when I wear this primer and now only use it to cover up pimple scars and hyper-pigmentation. On weekends, I just wear this primer alone with setting powder and I'm good to go for a light look while running errands. 

In terms of making my makeup apply better and longer, it's a little harder to tell. I don't usually have issues with making my foundation last and so I didn't notice any difference in longevity while wearing this primer. In terms of oil control, although the Luminous Correcting Primer isn't designed to be mattifying, it did a better job at doing so than its sister product, the Lise Watier Base Miracle which had me looking, as Mr. Artist aptly put it, "as shiny as a bowling ball."

Final Verdict
Buy - a great deal for color correcting awesomeness!








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October beauty favourites

Just J: October beauty favourites

I feel so proud of myself - this is my 7th beauty favourites post! I now find myself thinking in the back of the mind which products I want to include on that month's favourites and it's become one of my favourites to write. We could all use with a little positivity in our days right? 

1. Urban Decay Naked 1 Basics - I had a sudden lust for everything matte this fall and this capsule palette of the popular Naked 1 eye shadows fit the bill. I've been wearing this palette most days and it makes for such a no-brainer look. Check out a FOTD I did with this palette for inspiration.

2. Obiqo Skincare - I recently started using this line out of New Zealand. The ingredients are full of natural extracts from the sea, which make this eye cream and day cream moisturizing and pack of antioxidants. I love slathering on the day cream in the mornings to give my face that little "oomph" to face the day. View full review.

3. Lise Watier Luminous Correcting Primer in Banane - this correcting primer magically eliminates redness and imperfections. It also feels weightless and not like I'm wearing a silicone mask. Oddly enough, it keeps me matter than the mattifying version of this primer ever did! View full review.

4. Mario Badescu Rose Hip Nourishing Oil - this natural based serum is seriously one of the biggest factors I believe in getting my skin back on track. This light watery facial oil contains rose hips and little else. Rose hips are rich in vitamin C, which has the side-benefit of lightening hyperpigmentation - score!

5. Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream - oh dear gawd this hand cream is literally a drug to me. I picked this up last week while in Seattle shopping for dresses with my bridesmaids and I could not stop smelling it. The combination of almond oil and milk is intoxicating. Oh yeah and it makes your hands feel silky smooth. I love massaging this into my hands just before bed for a relaxing aromatic treat.



These were my favourites this month - what were yours?





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My first Memebox! | Unboxing Memebox Special #26: Hand & Nail Care

Memes. Meme.. box? Yeah, I was a little confused when I first heard about this Korean makeup sub box as the first thoughts that came to mind were:




Oh my. Yes, I made this image extra big because CHEST.

What was this post about?

Oh right, Memebox. For those unfamiliar with the concept of subscription boxes, they're a service that you sign up for, pay a monthly fee and receive boxes full of surprise goodies. There are sub boxes out there for just about anything: makeup, bath stuff, doggies, house stuff, food, whatever! Some are great and some suck which is why the unpredictability has kept me from signing up for any before. Memebox (pronounced "me-me-box") is different though; you sign up to receive notice of new boxes but you only pay and get the ones that you want! Each box has a theme and contains a plethora of goodies related to that theme.

Recently I received my first complimentary box, Special #26: Hand & Nail care. I'm not a huge nail polish person, but anything skin care I can get behind. Here's the lowdown on this special box:

At Memebox, we believe that healthy and pretty hands are a girl's best accessory, that hands should be as smooth as a baby's bottom and that crazy manis are the best pick-me-up for any crappy day! So treat and moisturize hands and nails to prevent early signs of aging, strengthen and pamper nails to perfection to create that impeccable nail salon-done look!


Just J: Memebox

Just J: Memebox unboxing

Just J: Unboxing Memebox Special #26: Hand & Nail Care

Just J: Unboxing Memebox Special #26: Hand & Nail Care

SUR 3D Nail Art Kit: 3D&Magnet Emerald 12 ml & nail art pen silver 7ml
Full size product
Price: $29

This mini nail art kit contains one blush and a silver nail art pen. While I'm not enamored with the silver color, this nail art pen opens up possibilities! Holiday snowflake nails anyone?

Just J: Unboxing Memebox Special #26: Hand & Nail Care

Barbinie Shea butter hand cream 50ml in White lily
Full size product
Price: $18

This luxurious shea butter hand cream is available in three scents: White lily, Rose water and Violet Musk. I received White lily which is a very girly floral scent and is entirely what I imagine a Korean hand cream to smell like. The cream is thick, moisturizing and quite lovely. It absorbs quickly and with minimal tackinesss. The only downside to this cream is the heavy scent. I prefer my skin to be lightly scented if at all, so that it doesn't mix with whatever perfume I wear for the day. As it is, I only use this hand cream at home because if I used it at work, I'd probably get a few complaints!

Just J: Unboxing Memebox Special #26: Hand & Nail Care

Shara Shara Soft hand grommage 50ml
Full size product
Price: $6

I'd never heard of a "grommage" before, but apparently it's a gentle peeling scrub for hands. Game for anything, I spread this clear gel onto my hands and started rubbing. In a few moments, the soft gel turned into an oil and then dried and started peeling off into dark, dirty bits of skin. I guess it was grabbing and disintegrating all the dead skin on my hands as afterwards I had the softest hands I've had since I was three. No joke, my hands were like a baby's bottom! For the rest of the night, I couldn't stop stroking my hands in an entirely creepy way. I wonder if I could use this grommage on my feet?

Just J: Unboxing Memebox Special #26: Hand & Nail Care

With Shyan Baby hand set: treatment oil 15ml and nail wall file
Full size product
Price: $9

I received the lemon oil treatment, but this oil also comes in a vanilla flavour. I'm happy though that I received lemon as I love anything lemon. This cuticle oil in infused with lemon juice and vitamin E and has a very watery texture. Use the brush to dot it along your cuticles twice daily and rub in until absorbed. You can even soak the nail file with it and use it to rub away your cuticles and calluses. I haven't tried the file method yet as I'm worried about scraping my nails, but the oil itself absorbs nicely and was a lot faster to use than other cuticles treatments I've used.

Just J: Unboxing Memebox Special #26: Hand & Nail Care

With Shyan Dr. Care set: Dr. 001 15ml and paper file
Full size product
Price: $13

Got broken, weak nails? Then here is your rescue call. The Dr. Care set consists of a nail strengthening treatment and a file to get your nails back in tip-top shape. To use, apply Dr. 001 every two days for a week. Then remove from nails and redo process. Since I don't have any broken nails, I couldn't really test this, but the Dr. 001 can also double as a base coat.

Just J: Unboxing Memebox Special #26: Hand & Nail Care

Pure Skin Hand care pack 15g
Full size product
Price: $4

A moisturizing mask for your hands that contains natural fruit extracts (grape, grapefruit), olive leaf extracts, baobab tree extract, and witch hazel. Similar to a face mask, just apply the hand care pack over hands and leave on for half an hour. I'm saving these for the depths of winter when I'll need that pick-me-up!


The total value of this box comes to $78 while you pay less than half of that to Memebox! So why not sign up now?




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L'Occitane flagship store opening in Vancouver

On a dark and stormy night I and a chosen few other media and bloggers gathered to celebrate the opening of the new flagship L'Occitane store on the corner of Robson and Burrard in Vancouver. This corner is the heart of the downtown shopping core and upon walking into the store, I gave a teeny gasp as it was such a beautiful place.

Image: V.V Events & Communications Ltd.

The space used to belong to a trendy clothing chain, but now it had been transformed into a little corner of France - Provence to be exact. Our hosts for the evening from L'Occitane pointed out to us all the little details reminiscent of the brand's Gallic roots: the warm brick tiles, the splash of yellow that is so characteristic of the region, the small bright yellow buds of the immortelle flowers adorning the shelves and of course the huge custom art wall painted as an homage to L'Occitane's iconic packaging design. Like every L'Occitane store, the atmosphere was uniquely French and inviting.

As guests we got to browse all the latest products and of course indulge in playing with the classic favourites. I've known L'Occitane for much of my life as my mom and sister introduced me to it, so I was able to chat happily away to other guests about my favourite products. L'Occitane has always seemed so luxurious and high-end to me, while still maintaining a rustic charm that makes it accessible to the every-woman. While the skincare of course is to die for, my current favourite section of L'Occitane is their fragrances. Lush, beautifully fragranced, but never over-powering, I basically spent most of my time sniffing each one, even though I am quite familiar with them already.

Display of L'Occitane hand creams
L'Occitane's iconic hand cream display

Wall display of L'Occitane products at the new store in Vancouver
So many gorgeous gift sets!

The wet shaving station at the L'Occitane flagship store in Vancouver
The wet shave station where male customers can get complimentary services! There's also a complimentary hand massage station.

Besides celebrating the store opening, L'Occitane was also celebrating the debut of their latest scent, Arlesienne, a scent inspired by the mystery and beauty of the women of Provence:


Man, if one fragrance can turn me into an alluring Frenchwoman, then sign me up ASAP!


The store is now open to the public so definitely head down to check it out for yourself or to check off that lucky person on your shopping list!



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