Makeup Forever Graphic Liner Review | From thick to thin and everything in-between

Red lips. Black liner. Mascara. Classic. Iconic. A good black eyeliner is something that every woman absolutely needs in her arsenal.

Liquid eyeliner in particular is my weapon of choice when it comes to makeup. While pencil is more forgiving and smokier, it doesn't have the definition, the boldness that a liquid eyeliner can achieve. You need a strong, unwavering hand that goes "take that world!" to swipe a perfectly straight line of inkiest black across your lids. No wallflowers here please. Black liquid eyeliner is not for pussies.

Just J: Makeup Forever Graphic Liner Review

The Product
As the makeup line for those who truly love makeup, Makeup Forever knows the allure of liquid black eyeliners well. Recently they launched a new line of liquid eyeliners that are, in their words, the "purest, deepest, most richest blacks." Be still my heart.

These liners are available in two versions: the Ink liner for those who love matte, and the Graphic liner for those who want a slicker, glossier finish. I opted to try the Graphic liner as I was intrigued by visions of vinyl black lines decorating my eyes.

The Guts
This liner is primarily made of:
  • Butylene glycol - provides slipperiness
  • CI 77266 - coloring
  • Styrene/Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer - provides opacity 
  • PEG-60 Hydrogenated castor oil - usually included as an emollient, but likely here to help provide solubility

Just J: Makeup Forever Graphic Liner Review

Price & Packaging
The Graphic liner is a pretty standard slim pen shape with an extra thin felt tip. For a 0.03 oz tube you'll be paying $29 via Sephora, which is a little hard to swallow when you look at how skinny this tube is! Considering I'm used to purchasing my liners from the drugstore, this is what I would consider a "luxury item." 

Effectiveness
Sometimes though, you do pay for what you get. The quality of this eyeliner is awesome. The Graphic liner is super black and easy to work with. Normally I prefer brush tips for that extra thin line, but this one worked liked a dream, even allowing me to tight-line. Creating a thicker cat-eye was as easy as drawing an outline and then coloring it in - to do the same thing with a brush tip, would be pretty damn impossible for me, so this was a huge bonus.

Another fabulous thing about this liner is that it dries quickly, which is great as nobody likes having to sit there fanning your eyes while you wait for your eyeliner to dry! Once on, it lasted all day without fading or smudging. 

Sadly though, I didn't notice any "glossy plastic finish." This liner was just as matte as any other I've used. Also, I worry about the felt tip eventually drying out. I don't usually have the best of luck with felt tips and I noticed that when drawing in a thicker cat-eye, the color did get a little streakier near the end. I guess time will only tell, but that is one drawback of all felt tip applicators, not just this one. 

Final Verdict
Ditch - as much as I loved this liner, I don't think I'd repurchase it myself as that price is just too much to swallow. However, if you love black liner and feel like splurging, then this is a save bet to put your money on.

Just J: Makeup Forever Graphic Liner Review
Wearing the Graphic liner thick on the left, thin on the right

Just J: Makeup Forever Graphic Liner Review
Argh at my feeble attempt at Gary Pepper-esque eyes





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Kaia Naturals Juicy Bamboo Natural Facial Cleansing Cloths Review | An all-natural clean feeling

One thing I really dislike about cleansing cloths is the fact that they seem so wasteful. Here you are, using this big giant wet nap and then you just chuck it away! Luckily there are companies like Kaia Naturals out there tackling this problem with their biodegradable Juicy Bamboo Natural Facial Cleansing Cloths.

Just J: Kaia Naturals Juicy Bamboo Natural Facial Cleansing Cloths Review

The Product
Kaia Naturals is a Toronto based beauty brand with a focus on providing "fast beauty" with a conscience. Their primary product so far is their Juicy Bamboo Natural Facial Cleansing Cloths, which were designed as a sustainable alternative to the usual cleansing cloth.

Made in small batches, these 100% biodegradable cloths are made of one ingredient: bamboo grass, which makes them super soft and free of any harsh dyes, fragrances and chemicals. Each cloth is soaked in a mixture of honey, vitamins B12, C and E so that they not only cleanse, but nourish and re-balance your skin.

The Guts
These cleansing cloths primarily contain a mixture of:
  • Miel (honey) - non-irritating and known for its healing properties, honey is filled with antioxidants and soothes skin
  • Sorbitan laurate - cleansing agent
  • Sunflower seed oil - emollient
  • Hydrolyzed jojoba esters - emollient

Just J: Kaia Naturals Juicy Bamboo Natural Facial Cleansing Cloths Review

Price & Packaging
One pack of 30 cloths costs $19.50 and is available at Holt Renfrews across Canada as well as select spas and boutiques.

In addition to being eco-friendly, what makes these cloths unique is the packaging they come in. Unlike most cleansing cloths which come in a resealable bag, the Kaia cloths come in a little plastic container. I'm definitely thinking to reuse this container afterwards to hold lip pencils or other small items.

Effectiveness
These cloths are designed to be a cleanser, toner and eye makeup remover all in one. I've primarily used these as a makeup remover and can attest its cleansing effectiveness; the cloths removed all my eye makeup efficiently and gently, without any irritation. They also did a decent job of removing foundation and blush, but I still needed a cleanser after to really feel clean.

There were a couple things though that I found odd about these cloths that keep me from totally loving them. The first thing is the smell; there's a slightly astringent odor to these cloths that isn't entirely pleasant. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't smell bad, but it does smell a little odd. I'm not sure what would be causing that smell since there isn't anything in the ingredients that provide any clues.

The second odd thing about these cloths is the physical size. Each cloth is about half the size of a regular facial wipe, so I ended up using two at a time - one for my eyes and another for my face. This actually decreases the value per use of the cloths as you really only can use these 15 times rather than the 30 times you'd think you have.

Just J: Kaia Naturals Juicy Bamboo Natural Facial Cleansing Cloths Review

Final Verdict
Ditch - love the eco-friendly concept and packaging, but the size of the individual cloths make this too pricey an option for me.




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January Book Club: Wherever you go, there you are by Jon Kabat-Zinn | #SOBookclub

Just J | #SOBookclub

Not that I need more motivation to read, but I recently joined a blogger book club organized by Sarah, of SarahOhm.com. Each month, our little group tackles a different theme, then we all blog our thoughts about our chosen book at the end of the month. I've always wanted to be part of a book club, so I thought this would be fun to try, although I'm not sure it's quite the intimate gab fest I imagined it to be as we're all reading different books.

This month's theme was "motivation" and I was pretty stumped at first as I'm not one to read self-help books, which I find dreadfully boring. Motivational books seem like the type of thing that one "should" read and reading to me has always been more about curiosity and joy rather than "education." Luckily, another member posted a handy Amazon list of books to try and I stumbled onto Wherever you go, there you are by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

January Book Club: Wherever you go, there you are by Jon Kabat-Zinn | #SOBookclub

Wherever you go, there you are by Jon Kabat-Zinn is a Westerner's take on incorporating the practice of meditation into your life. Designed to appeal to non-spiritual people, Kabat-Zinn expounds on the virtues and practicalities that meditation can have. I've always had an interest in Buddhism and meditation, so I was game to read more.

Unfortunately, like most motivational books I've read, I kinda lost motivation midway through. I struggled through to about 60% before giving up entirely. It was really just too boring - you can only read so much about zen-ness! Even with the bit I did read though, I found some good takeaways:

1. Take moments through the day to just stop what you're doing and tell yourself "this is it." This isn't meant to be depressing, but instead liberating as it is telling you that you can worry all you want about the past or the future, but the only thing that really matters and exists, is the present. Stop and really try to be present in this moment: how do you feel? What does your body tell you? What is happening around you that you have never noticed before?

2. Once you are really aware of your present and surroundings, you can start to analyze that storm inside you that is your emotions. Where did they come from? What outcomes can you take from them? Sometime we are so immersed in our own maelstrom that we don't see how insignificant they are, or the pettiness that triggers it.

3. Meditation isn't about clearing your mind, or about being a positive person; it is more about separating yourself to see things as they are. It can be frightening to have no illusions. Being perfectly vulnerable to yourself and all your weaknesses is scary stuff, but ultimately if you want to develop as a person, you're going to have to face yourself as you are.

My own impatience with this book probably says something about my development as a peaceful person! I have tried though to take the above to heart and in the short time since I started reading this book, I think it has actually helped me a little! Forcing myself to be in the moment, whenever possible, is actually refreshing to the mind. Rather than trying to cram my brain with all the million to-dos, I just let myself walk the street and instead concentrate on noticing the sunlight, or the crispness of the air. I get to the same destination, but I feel more relaxed and equipped to deal with what comes next.


Have you ever tried meditation before? Tell your experience!


You can purchase your own copy of Wherever you go, there you are on Amazon.

Want to join along with me and the other bloggers? Sign up now! 
And don't forget to join me for next month's theme: Love story!




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Foodie Adventures: Matcha mousse with Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder

Have you ever heard of matcha? As a lover of teas, I was always curious about this bright green powder that is renowned for its stimulating and healthy benefits. Recently, I was given the chance to try out matcha at home by Kiss Me Organics, a purveyor of organic matcha powder for teas and cooking.

Sold exclusively through Amazon, Kiss Me Organic matcha powder is USDA certified organic and the company even samples the leaves and soil of the plants the matcha comes from to ensure it isn't picking up secondary toxins from its surrounding environment. 

The matcha itself is made from the finely milled leaves of the green tea plant. It's probably most well known as being part of Japanese tea ceremonies, but has become popular worldwide for its health benefits and refreshing taste.

Matcha can take almost a month to harvest and is handpicked from only the best buds of the plant. Different quality grades of matcha can have different flavours, but its generally characterized by its crisp, slightly bitter taste. The taste of matcha comes from the extremely high level of amino acids and antioxidants in the leaves, which is why matcha is renowned for its anti-aging properties. There are also claims that matcha can help with weight loss and even prevent cancer, but the one thing it does do for sure is to keep you awake.

Unlike coffee, which can give you extreme highs and lows, matcha gives you a "smooth caffeine high" that gradually decreases so then you don't have that 3 pm donut craving. To prepare matcha yourself, simply scoop one teaspoon (or more depending on your taste preference) into a cup of hot water and stir vigorously. Ideally, you should get a little tea whisk, which is designed to make green tea with matcha, as just using a spoon often isn't enough to dissolve all the matcha. 

Since purchasing my own bag off Amazon, I've taken to drinking green tea with matcha in the mornings and can really attest to its stimulating properties! I feel clearer and more alert and the feeling lasts much longer than black teas or coffee.

Besides tea, matcha is also great for baking and cooking! When you purchase a bag from Kiss Me Organics, they'll email you a free pdf of their matcha cookbook, which includes all kinds of recipes for things like matcha cocktails, muffins, french toast and even gravy, curries, and duck! 

While I am curious to see what matcha duck tastes like, today I'll be sharing with you my experiment making matcha mousse. I got this recipe from Angela and found it a quick, easy way to make a delicious, fancy looking dessert.

To make Angela's matcha mousse, you'll need:
  • 3 tbsp matcha
  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 2 tbsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 c cold water
  • 2c whipping cream
  • 2x 8oz packages cream cheese
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 2 eggs

Matcha mousse with Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder | Just J
Everything you'll need

To start, mix together matcha and warm water and set aside.Then mix together your gelatin in a bowl of cold water and set aside as well. Mixing together the matcha will take some time, so I recommend using a whisk. I used a fork and it took forever to get rid of all the lumps!

Kiss Me Organics matcha powder | Just J
Matcha powder

Next, pour your whipping cream into a large mixing bowl and whip into stiff peaks, which should take a few minutes on medium speed. 

Matcha mousse with Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder | Just J
Really does become peaks just like on cooking shows!

Beat together remaining ingredients (cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, honey, eggs) in a separate bowl, adding in eggs one at a time). By this time, hopefully your gelatin will have "bloomed" (check out this handy guide for how to bloom gelatin), so you can add it and your tea mixture to the mix. Fold in gently using a spatula.


Matcha mousse with Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder | Just J
All ingredients added in. Tastes just like cheesecake now!

Matcha mousse with Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder | Just J
Ready to go!

Pour into bowls and chill for at least 7 hours.

Matcha mousse with Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder | Just J

Matcha mousse with Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder | Just J

The result is a smooth, creamy, rich, but not too rich, mixture. This mousse tastes like 90% cheesecake and 10% matcha and will satisfy sweet-tooths and non-lovers of sweets equally. 

In total, this recipe took me about 40 minutes to do and it makes 8 bowls worth. Considering this was just for Mr. Artist and I, that's a ton of mousse to eat, but I am enjoying having to eat all those leftovers. FU diet!


Purchase Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder online via Amazon.

*This post was sponsored by BrandBacker

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Revlon Love Is On | Preview and swatches of the Ultra HD lipsticks, ColorStay Skinny liquid eye liners and more

Revlon hasn't been feeling the love lately, but I want to keep things positive by focusing on what Revlon is known for: affordable, quality makeup that makes women around the world feel good. Last month, I was treated to, alongside other Vancouver bloggers, a sneak peek into the new Revlon launches for 2015. There are so many amazing new products coming out and all under the new banner of "love is on," Revlon's new brand motto.

With the "love is on" slogan, Revlon wants to inspire you to feel sexy, vibrant, beautiful and full of life - just like how you feel when you fall in love. It's a great philosophy that embodies the best of what makeup can do and one I can wholeheartedly get behind.

At the event we were all treated to a sneak peek of the new "love is on" commercial and we got to take home a variety of products to try out!

Here are some peeks at the ones that have me the most excited!

First up, are the Revlon Colorstay Skinny liquid eyeliners. These sleek little liners feature an ultra-skinny brush and super-bright colors that make it perfect for that subtle colored liner look. Retailing for around $7 and in a variety of shades, there were two in particular that caught my eye: Green Spark, a vibrant forest green; and Electric Blue, a super bright neon blue.

IMG_9782

As a fan of ultra-skinny liquid liners, these were right up my alley. The teeny brush allows you to get color right at the base of your lashes and once set, it lasts all day without fading. The downside is that the formula is pretty wet, so you have to wait a few seconds before applying anything over top, or you know, blinking too much. I've been wearing Green Spark regularly and it looks great when applied with a base of taupe shadows and lots of black mascara.

My second favourite items from the new collection are the new Ultra HD lipsticks. These wax-free lipsticks are very unique as they have a gel base that gives you a smoother application and more vibrant color payoff. Retailing for $11.50 each, there's a ton of shades to choose from. I received two shades to try: Gladiolus, a bright scarlet with a hint of orange; and HD Orchid, a gorgeous magenta.

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L to R: Gladiolus, HD Orchid

Both lipsticks are very pigmented and creamy, which is just how I like it. They're firmer than a Lip Butter, but still have a similar soft consistency and a slightly less glossy finish. Wear time is a few hours and the colors fade away nicely. The best surprise of these lipsticks however was the smell! These lipsticks smell just like candy! Supposedly, the actual scent is a mix of vanilla and cream mango, but to me they smell like a candy store. Normally, I'm not a fan of scented products, but I just love the smell of these.

My only complaint with these lipsticks so far is the packaging. It's nice that the caps are clear, but the lipsticks don't retract all the way, and the way the caps are shaped, they tend to rub against the edges of the lipstick as you take the cap on and off. After only a few uses, I've already gotten little streaks of color in the corners.

The last item I have to show you today is the Ultra HD Lip Lacquer in HD Rose Quartz. Half-gloss and half-lip stain, these colorful lip lacquers give you high-shine and rich color. While the concept sounds awesome and I loved these when I was swatching away at the event, in terms of actual daily use, I wasn't as thrilled.

IMG_9796

The shade I received, HD Rose Quartz, is a nice enough pink-rose, but on me, I thought it looked a bit elderly. This particular shade has a pretty strong frosty finish, which I really don't like and to me, it looks really dated. I also didn't enjoy the thickness of the lip lacquer formula, which is so thick and gloopy that it feels sticky, even though the end result isn't sticky at all. Usually Revlon is really spot-on with their lip products, but this was a total dud for me. Hopefully it is just this shade, as some of the other ones I tried swatching at the event were really quite lovely with high color impact and a slick wet finish.

IMG_9802
L to R: Ultra HD Lip Lacquer in HD Rose Quartz, Ultra HD lipstick in Gladiolus, Ultra HD lipstick in HD Orchid, ColorStay Skinny eyeliner in Green Spark, ColorStay Skinny eyeliner in Electric Blue

Alongside these products, Revlon is also launching a new series of nail polishes, base products and beauty tools, all of which are available at local drugstores like Walmart or London Drugs, and some of which you can see below in my photos from the event:

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A demo showing the differences between a traditional wax base lipstick and the new gel based Ultra Hd lipsticks

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More of the Ultra HD lipstick shades

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Shades of the Ultra HD lip lacquers

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Swatches of the Ultra HD Lip Lacquers

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Shades from the new Revlon nail enamels

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New gooold tools 


What do you want to try from the new Revlon?




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Guest post: Kelly of Glitter Diaries on her beauty resolution for 2015

Hey lovely Just J readers!

It’s Kelly from Glitter Diaries here.

This month, it was the guest post challenge for all participating bloggers in the Canadian Beauty Bloggers Network to blog about their 2015 beauty resolutions.  The odds were in my favour as I was selected to guest post for MizzJ and I couldn’t be happier as I started following her blog a couple months ago and it’s been one of my favourites to read!

I’m currently living in an apartment and will be buying a house within the next couple months. And in my apartment that I’ve lived in for over 4 years, I’ve collected quite the over flowing makeup collection and try to keep as much of it contained as possible in two very basic looking 5-Drawer Sterilite Towers from Walmart. They’re functional but not that pretty and fun to look at!

So for a beauty resolution for 2015, I think I’m going to revamp my makeup storage situation! These are some of the plans I've got in mind to turn these storage towers into something sparkly and new!

Kelly of Glitter Diaries on her beauty resolution for 2015
Walmart storage tower | Gold spray paint | Modge podge | Gift wrap  

Starting off by adding some gold spray paint to just the tower itself, minus the drawers, I can change the look of the whole thing from blah to beautiful! A couple coats should do the trick to make it glisten in gold.

Then I will tackle the drawers themselves by applying some modge podge to the inside of the drawers on the bottom and inside walls. This will allow me to add a beautiful turquoise and gold wrapping paper as an inner liner and as the design that will show through the clear drawers on the outside.

The steps towards creating a whole new storage system aren't all that difficult since I've found plenty of tutorials online and through Pinterest, so it’s something I think anyone can take on if they wanted to spruce their own storage up.

Overall this is a really nice, affordable way to transform a plain storage item into a very eye catching
home décor piece and I can’t wait to work on it! What are your beauty resolutions for 2015?!





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Sephora Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio review | An acceptable way to wear wine on your face

I don't know what those folks over at Pantone do, but they seem to continuously nail it every year with their predictions of what color will have us frothing at the mouth. Sometimes I wonder if they're accurately predicting it, or whether their prediction is self-fulfilling as we fashion and beauty geeks mindlessly follow the crowd? Either way, I am happily one of those sheep.

I haven't previously been too obsessed with the colors of the year collections, except for a mild approval for the year Emerald wore the crown. Last year's Radiant Orchid did have me cruising through Sephora for the lipsticks, but alas, I was too late. This year I was resolved to be more proactive and I pounced on the Marsala collection as soon as it began circulating blogs.

Unlike Radiant Orchid, Marsala is a much more versatile color in my opinion. It can be suitable for most any skin tone and perfectly encapsulate's the beauty world's current obsession with 90s rose-brown tones. I checked out the Sephora Marsala collection during the holidays and everything in it seems really beautiful with sleek gold packaging and creamy, pigmented products. While not all of the products are stunners (i.e. the lash and brow highlighter), most are very wearable and perfect, with the standout for me being the Sephora Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio.

Sephora Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio review | Just J

I first saw and swatched this palette in store on December 27. Alas, I did not pick it up as Mr. Artist convinced me that $35 is too much to spend on blush. What a mistake! I went home and obsessed for another few days, berating myself for not immediately purchasing it. I checked my other blushes for dupes, but really, we all know there wasn't one. I was terrified that it would be sold out and I resolved to go back as soon as possible to buy it. Thankfully, luck was on my side this year this time and I was able to purchase it in store easily! Lesson learned: do not fool around with limited edition collections!

The Sephora Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio is made up of three colors that can be mixed and matched or worn solo:
  • Spanish Villa, a shimmery gold highlight
  • Coral Pink, a peach-pink matte
  • Marsala, the star of the show and a rich matte rose-brown shade with a hint of wine

Sephora Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio review | Just J
Marsala

In terms of pigmentation and wear, this palette is solid. Pigmentation, especially for Marsala, is intense. Just a little dab of your brush will do. Using my Cover FX powder brush, this blush blends fairly easily on my apples and hollows of cheeks. I find it easier to use this palette with a large round blush brush like the Cover FX as opposed to a more angled one as the roundness let me buff it easier into my skin.

Sephora Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio review | Just J
Coral Pink

Wear time is very good as the color lasts throughout a work day.

Sephora Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio review | Just J
Spanish Villa

So far, I prefer the Marsala over Coral Pink as my winter go-to shade. Coral Pink is much more of a spring shade and gives my skin that girly flush when you want to feel dainty and feminine. Since winter time is all about black boots and smoky eyes for me, the Marsala is way more suitable. As well, Coral Pink also seems more powdery than either Marsala or Spanish Villa, and can emphasize dry skin.

Overall, I would say Marsala is ideal for darker skin-tones, while Coral Pink looks lovely on fairer gals. If you're a medium-tone like me though, either can work well and all three shades look fantastic blended together to get a really three-dimensional look to your face.

Final Verdict: Buy

Sephora Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio swatches | Just J
L to R: Spanish Villa, Coral Pink and Marsala



Have you checked out the Sephora Marsala collection yet?



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Guerlain Spring 2015 Les Tendres makeup collection | First impressions + Look

Last month, I literally squealed when I arrived home and opened a huge box full of Guerlain goodies. I've always admired Guerlain from afar, but due to my shyness around the price point, I had rarely indulged in trying any of their products out. Guerlain was firmly in that "so far outside my world, it can't even tempt me" realm; thus, I was ecstatic to have this opportunity to try out and share with you, the new 2015 spring makeup collection.

The Les Tendres collection consists of a broad range of products, some of which I'll be showing you today. The collection is quite simply stunning and the most beautiful products I've ever had. Although packaged in similar materials as other brands, there's just something about the way Guerlain does it that makes it unique. It's all the little details that make the difference with Guerlain, like the cut edges of a mascara tube, the glossiness of the boxes, or the way the meteorites in a palette are arranged perfectly evenly for optimal color distribution. It's all just very sigh-worthy.

As of yesterday, you can find the Les Tendres collection at all Guerlain counters, such as at Holt Renfrew. The products I have to share with you today are the:
  • Maxi Lash Volume Creating, Curl Sculpting mascara in Marine
  • Meteorites Perles les Blush Angelic Radiance
  • Meteorites Compact Poudre Revelatrice de Lumiere 
  • Meteorites Light-revealing Sheer Makeup Anti-fatigue Effect Baby Glow 

As I've only just started using the products, below are some of my initial impressions:

Maxi Lash

Guerlain Spring 2015 Les Tendres makeup collection | Just J

Price: $34
Shade: Marine
What's in it:
  • Beeswax
  • Polybutene - a thickener and lubricant. May cause irritation for some.
  • Bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2 - usually found in lipsticks, it provides a glossy finish and is used commonly in hair dyes
  • Palmitic acid - many uses, but probably acting here as an emulsifier
Thoughts: The packaging of this mascara is beautiful with its softly rounded gold edges. The mascara brush itself is pretty standard and thin, while the mascara formula itself also feels standard, if a tinge heavier than normal.

Marine is a beautiful dark royal blue that has a somewhat glossy sheen to it. Unfortunately, the color doesn't show up on my lashes at all, not even at the very tips! I was really looking forward to getting some beautiful sapphire lashes, but sadly that was not the case. Other than that, this mascara was pretty standard; it gave me decent volume and length, but nothing to write home about.

Final Verdict: Ditch

Meteorites Perles les Blush Angelic Radiance 

Guerlain Spring 2015 Les Tendres makeup collection | Just J

Price: $58
What's in it:
  • Synthetic fluorphlogopite - provides texture by increasing viscosity
  • Talc - a silicate powder that makes up the body of the product
  • Nylon-12 - a bulking agent that provides a smooth, crease-less surface
  • Distarch phosphate - an aborbent and anti-caking ingredient
Thoughts: This was probably one of my fave products from the line as it's a blush. I've only become obsessed with blushes probably in the last year and have already amassed a sizeable collection (to me). I was curious how this one would work as it's also using the famous meteorite format. The compact itself is quite cute, although made out of cardboard, which is decidedly non-luxe. Inside the circular box is a thick white pouf over top of the meteorites themselves. 

Guerlain Spring 2015 Les Tendres makeup collection | Just J

Now, let's all just take a moment to admire the sheer beauty of these meteorites. They're so stunning I probably took 10 photos of meteorite close-ups. The pearls are a mix of a deep pink-red, a rose and a baby pink shade. Each meteorite is roughly the same size, but not the same shape, giving it a bit of an artisanal feel. To use, simply pat the pouf down on the meteorites and then softly tap off the excess on your hand before applying to the face.

Guerlain Spring 2015 Les Tendres makeup collection | Just J

The finished look is a vibrant pink-red that truly evokes that flushed feeling. It has a very soft shimmer to it as well that's similar to the glow that the Hourglass powders provide. I thought for sure that I'd have this color already, but I was totally mistaken. My other pink blushes are either too blue or more brown and this is a perfect pink-red.

My only minor complaint with this blush is the pouf, which I wish had a little handle to make it easier to pick up. You could probably use a brush to apply this with as well, but I like the idea of using the pouf. I've always wanted one and it feels very glamourous and old Hollywood to use!

Final Verdict: Buy

Meteorites Compact Poudre Revelatrice de Lumiere

Guerlain Spring 2015 Les Tendres makeup collection | Just J

Price: $71
What's in it:
  • Talc
  • Synthetic fluorphlogopite
  • Nylon-12
  • Lauroyl lysine - provides texture
Thoughts: This "light revealing pressed powder" contains a mosaic of different shades, which I'm guessing when swirled together and applied to the face, eliminate redness and provide a smooth, even-toned base. The powder is very finely milled and feels solid, but not hard. Running a finger over it doesn't really pull off a lot of product either, but I noticed that when actually using it with a brush, it gives my face a subtle glow. Unlike my Hourglass Ambient powder in Dim Light, the glow I get here is more white and pale, whereas the Hourglass leans ever so slightly golden. Surprisingly, this powder did a decent job of mattifying without somehow covering up my shine and I didn't notice any oil buildup after a few hours wear, but this could be due to the fact that I had mostly spent the day inside.

I could see myself using this as a finishing powder over top of my regular pressed powder when I want a smooth, glowing finish and don't feel the need to go further with a highlighter.

This product works very nicely for what it is, but if you are like me and already own a bunch of illuminating and finishing products, then you probably don't need this one.

Final Verdict: Buy

Meteorites Light-revealing Sheer Makeup Anti-fatigue Effect Baby Glow

Guerlain Spring 2015 Les Tendres makeup collection | Just J

Price: $60
What's in it:
  • Cyclopentasiloxane - a silicone that fills in lines, helps ingredients absorb and gives skin a silky feel
  • Glycerin - a moisturizer
  • Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate - an active sunscreen ingredient that helps makeup resist UV damage
  • Isododecane - works alongside silicones to provide a weightless feel and spreadability
Thoughts: In my limited experience with Guerlain's long-ass product names, it seems that the brand likes to tell you the product's benefits right in the name - so handy! I would say this foundation is very similar to a BB cream as it provides hydration, SPF, and light coverage.  

There are two shades available: light and medium, but they are actually so similar on me that I was able to wear both on my face and go out to dinner without any strange looks! The light shade has more of a white-ish/pink tone to it, while Medium is more of a traditional golden beige. 

All you need is one pump to cover your face as the foundation is quite watery, yet it still provides very decent coverage. If you have blemishes or scars to cover up, you're going to still want to go over this with concealer. I'd also recommend still wearing a sunscreen underneath as I doubt the SPF in here is adequate to provide any real protection. 

Once on, the finish feels absolutely weightless and gives a dewy glow to skin. It was very easy to blend in and wore well all day. My skin also felt extremely soft and silky and I couldn't stop stroking myself! 

My only complaint with this product is its packaging. The caps on the tube are so tight that you have to hold it very firmly to slide the cap off. As a result, even after one use, I saw residue smeared on the applicator thanks to the cap. Over time I can imagine how messy that would get.

Final Verdict: Buy

Swatches and Look

Guerlain Spring 2015 Les Tendres makeup collection | Just J
L to R: Maxi Lash Volume Creating, Curl Sculpting mascara in Marine, Meteorites Perles les Blush Angelic Radiance

Guerlain Spring 2015 Les Tendres makeup collection | Just J
Baby Glow swatches. L to R: Medium, Light

FOTD featuring Guerlain Spring 2015 Les Tendres makeup collection | Just J
Can you even guess which side of my face is wearing which foundation shade?

FOTD featuring Guerlain Spring 2015 Les Tendres makeup collection | Just J

FOTD featuring Guerlain Spring 2015 Les Tendres makeup collection | Just J

FOTD featuring Guerlain Spring 2015 Les Tendres makeup collection | Just J

Wearing all Les Tendres products as well as Stila The Natural eyeshadow palette on lids, Revlon Photoready Eye Art in Topaz Twinkle along lashline, and Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in LA Exclusive on lips.





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Introducing Rocky Mountain Soap Company to Vancouver | Interview + product preview

Introducing Rocky Mountain Soap Company to Vancouver | Interview + product preview | Just J

You may or may not have noticed, but Vancouver has a new kid in town. Alberta-based natural beauty line Rocky Mountain Soap Company debuted this holiday season with two brand new stores in Vancouver - one downtown in Bentall Centre and another in Burnaby's Metropolis at Metrotown.

With a focus on high-quality, all-natural ingredients, Rocky Mountain Soap Company (RMSC) is directly in the same market niche as other lines like Lush, Saje and The Body Shop. Like them, RMSC has committed to the all natural claim wholeheartedly and possibly even more so than the others as the brand has a "no-go" ingredients list and even their stores must pass a certain "toxin-free" standard. That means no lead, mercury, sulfates, artificial colors, parabens, glycols, GMO, or even animal by-products in any of their products. Period.

Recently I got a chance to talk with founder Karina Birch about her little family business that could:

Describe your journey to becoming CEO of Rocky Mountain Soap - how did you get started and what motivated you to focus on natural skincare? Did you always know you wanted to run your own business? 

I started Rocky Mountain Soap right out of university and I believe my lack of experience was an asset. When you are naïve you question everything and you discover new ways of doing things. 100% natural has always been the right thing to do and the healthiest choice which is important to me. I can’t say I always wanted to run my own business but now it seems like fate.

What makes Rocky Mountain Soap different from all the other all-natural, organic lines out there?

We take natural very seriously and hold ourselves to the highest standard when formulating our products. On top of this, we believe natural is more than the ingredients we use, its also about sustainability and health. Our stores are built with reused materials that are non-toxic and we are working on a sustainable packaging project. We live it culturally as well by offering running, spin, yoga and cross fit classes weekly at the workshop. We have baseball tournaments and keep composting worms under the sink in the office. Natural is a way of life for us.

What new products are you most excited about for 2015?

Tinted lip butters, bath bombs, new face products, an amazing new floral scent and SOAP FEST in August!

What trends do you see happening in beauty for 2015?

Its going to be about solution oriented products. While scent is important, the trend will be about products that truly work and provide results.

What are your top 3 tips for maintaining your skin as you age? How old should you be to start caring about anti-aging?

1.  Sun in moderation
2.  Omega Fish Oils daily in winter

3.  Once a week face scrub to keep pores clean

Start in your teens!

Describe your daily beauty routine and what products you use.

I use our Cleansing Oil every night so when I wake up my skin is clean and hydrated. I do a quick rinse with warm water, apply Beech Tree Bud Eye Cream and Pomegranate  Day Cream…I add a drop of Cleansing Oil during the winter for extra hydration. I also use a few pumps of Cleansing Oil in my bath…I can’t live without it.

It's so hard to find accurate ingredient information online. What are some of your trusted resources? 

I don’t have one that I think is better than the others but here is where I go…Think Dirty is a great APP, Skin Deep Database and Queen of Green’s dirty dozen.

Do you have any tips for how consumers can become more savvy about what products they use?

Know the top 5 ingredients to look for (Parabens, Pthalates, Sulfates, PEG’s, Triclosan)…usually near the bottom of the ingredient list. Look for products that have very simple ingredients. If it looks too complicated it usually isn’t a healthy choice.

If you weren't a CEO of your own beauty company, what would you be doing?

Farming.

Any resolutions for next year?

Hmmm, yes. Calmness.


Love her answers. You can tell she truly embodies her company's philosophy. Besides getting to chat with Karina, RMSC was also kind enough to send over a bunch of their products for me to try out.

Rocky Mountain Soap Company Blossom Berry Bath Salt | Just J

Blossom Berry Bath Salt ($5) is a refreshing mix of jasmine, gardenia, vanilla and berries alongside soothing epsom salts to relax and rejuvenate. I love jasmine and gardenia so I can't wait to have my whole bath smell like this! And at only $5 for a very sizeable pouch, it's a great deal.

Rocky Mountain Soap Company Foot butter | Just J

Foot Butter ($15) kinda looks like deodorant, but is actually a foot balm! Made of 70.9% organic ingredients, this moisturizing foot balm contains cocoa seed butter (#2 ingredient!), carrot root extract, grapefruit extract, fir needle oil and vitamin E. It smells amazing as well; kinda citrusy and spicy.

Rocky Mountain Soap Company Sugar scrub in Sugar Plum | Just J

Sugar Scrub in Sugar Plum (LE, $23) contains cocoa seed butter, jojoba, coconut oil, sugar plum oil, vanilla, cinnamon and vitamin E, as well as cane sugar of course. This scrub has a thick, syrupy texture. I'm still using up my L'Occitane Aromachologie scrub, but can't wait to crack this puppy open! This scrub is also available in a variety of other flavours like french lavender, cherry, apricot and blood orange.

Rocky Mountain Soap Company Sugar plum soap | Just J

Sugar Plum soap (LE, $5.25) is a 100% natural soap for the body. It contains a luxurious mix of coconut, cottonseed and olive oils, as well as jasmine, cinnamon, ginger, jojoba and violet. The smell is slightly reminiscent of lavender, but brighter so it's more rejuvenating than soothing. Overall, this soap smells very clean and simple, which I love.

Rocky Mountain Soap Company Lemongrass body lotion | Just J

Lemongrass body lotion ($20) is a little pricey for the size, so it remains to be seen if it's good as its claims. This lotion contains a mix of safflower and coconut oils, shea butter, chilean soap bark, lemongrass and rosemary.

Lemon lime lip butter + Peppermint lip butter ($5 each) are fantastic lip balms that smell amazeballs and provide lasting moisture. Like all the other products, the ingredients inside the lip butters are impeccable: beeswax, sesame seed oil, shea butter, cocoa seed butter and vitamin E. My only complaint using these is that they're a little hard at first due to the beeswax, but warm up after a few seconds. I love slathering this on all day.



Have you tried Rocky Mountain Soap Company yet? 
Tell me what you think!

Introducing Rocky Mountain Soap Company to Vancouver | Just J




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