Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cloud Sunscreen Review

Just J: Cloud Sunscreen Review

A sunscreen without SPF? That's just what the new Cloud Sunscreen is asking you to try. This revolutionary sunscreen utilizes an ingredient most sunscreens bury way down in their ingredient list. So does it work?

The Product
Cloud Sunscreen is a new Canadian boutique skincare line based out of Vancouver, BC. Headed by dermatologist, Dr. Gordon Telford, Cloud produces a line of topically applied vitamin based creams to protect and repair skin.

Cloud claims that while most sunscreen protect against some of the sun's rays, Cloud sunscreen protects against 93% of UVA/UVB rays. They also claim that with regular use, this sunscreen can actually reverse previous sun damage, such as sun spots! Yes, I was positively quivering with excitement too at this claim.

The Guts
The primary ingredients of this product are:
  • Purified water
  • Mineral oil - although a much maligned ingredient (and I fell for it too!), recently I have heard and read other evidence pointing to the contrary and that mineral oil is in the majority of cases, moisturizing and not harmful in any way. Some people with oilier skin may wish to avoid this still, but for most it's fine. 
  • White petrolatum - has effects similar to mineral oil, which is also petroleum derived. 
  • Retinyl palmitate - a.k.a vitamin A, this ingredient works similar to the more familiar Retinol. Acts as a sunscreen
  • Cetomacrogol 1000 - an emulsifying agent

The Controversy
The star ingredient of this product, retinyl palmitate, has a questionable and checkered past, but is it just a big misunderstanding?

Retinyl palmitate is a combination of retinol (vitamin A) and palmitic acid. This ingredient may sound familiar to you as it appears near the bottom of most sunscreen's ingredient lists. Through his research, Dr. Telford discovered that high concentrations of this ingredient could help protect the skin from sun damage and even repair it!

However, the future isn't all rosy for retinyl palmitate. A 2010 unpublished study associated with an FDA study on mice claimed that exposure of animals coated in retinyl palmitate had a higher incidence of cancer because the retinyl palmitate released harmful free radicals into skin. This study is the basis for EWG's high warning rating of 8/10 for this ingredient.

It's worth noting though, that as alarming as this study sounds, there has not been other supporting studies with conclusive results that retinyl palmitate is harmful on human skin, in the form of a sunscreen. Since the studies citing its harmful effects were done using isolated retinyl palmitate and without any stabilizing ingredients that would be present in actual products, the results could be over-exaggerated.


Price & Packaging
One tube is $48 and comes in a pump... squeeze... tube? Seriously, this is the oddest packaging ever. It's a squeeze tube with a pump top, which means I will just be very frustrated later once I hit the bottom of the tube.

To use, you need to apply this sunscreen daily first thing after washing while your skin is still slightly damp. 1-2 pumps is all that you need to cover your face. Now, I knew NONE of this at first as the packaging didn't include any detailed instructions and of course I promptly recycled it after opening. Luckily, Angela went to the Cloud knowledge session, so she filled me in. A lack of instruction though is a big peeve of mine with products. I've had many a PR rep tell me that my review was incorrect because I'm using their product incorrectly, but my argument is, if your product has specific instructions, then PRINT THEM. You can't expect people to research!

IF applied as directed, this sunscreen spreads easily and dries down to a very slightly sticky texture. Unlike regular sunscreens, it didn't leave my face shiny and oily, which I LOVED.

Just J: Cloud Sunscreen Review

After 4 weeks of daily use, I have to say, well I *think* it works? And I kinda like it?

As a sunscreen, the effects are inconclusive. I went about my daily life, which is wearing a hat and sticking to the shady side of the street where I can and I didn't notice my skin suddenly tanning or burning compared to my usual sunscreen. On the few days where I knew I was going to be outdoors for awhile, I did apply a regular sunscreen on top, which is recommended by Cloud. This product is designed to not break down as quickly as a regular sunscreen, but it's also not meant for heavy-duty use. I think this sunscreen would be great for most of the year in Vancouver's cloudy weather. If you don't wear a lot of makeup, you could probably even reapply safely throughout the day over top of light powder.

As a skin repairer, I found more success - my dark spots actually looked better! I think longer term use is needed to be sure this isn't just some placebo effect, but I really believe that they look fainter as it's been easier to cover them up with foundation lately than before.

Final Verdict
Buy - great as a daily, light protectant and for use as a dark spot reducer.

Buy Cloud sunscreen here.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Almay Smart Shade CC Concealer + Brightener Review

Just J: Almay Smart Shade CC Concealer + Brightener Review

If I could recommend one two three makeup products that you absolutely need in your life, then foundation/concealer, mascara and lipstick would be it. With just these three things, you can look fresh and flawless in any situation. Today, I am trying out the Almay Smart Shade CC Concealer and Brightener in Light Pale to see if it is worthy of must-have status.

The Product
As part of the Smart Shade line, this concealer + brightening highlighter is a duo product that contains a color-correcting concealer and a highlighting shade to give you a soft glow. Available in three shades, this product is designed for sensitive skin and is hypoallergenic.

The Guts
The primary ingredients are:
  • Dimethicone - a silicon type ingredient that helps provide that waxy smooth texture and helps to blur out pores.
  • Ethylhexyl palmitate - another ingredient providing a smooth, silky texture to the skin
  • Tribehenin - helps soften and smooth skin
  • Talc - reduces shine and provides oil control
Conclusion: this product contains a lot of ingredients designed to smooth skin, reduce pores and control shine - all good things!

Price & Packaging
This concealer is available for $11.99 at London Drugs and other drugstores. It's housed in a small compact with a simple flip-top lid. Sadly, although this product is small enough to bring in a purse, it lacks the mirror and brush that would make it truly travel-friendly. I do really like though how the lid is clear so you can shade match easily.

The texture of this product is very waxy. You could probably use just your fingers to apply, but I prefer using my liquid foundation brush. In the mornings I use the concealer side to cover up my under-eye circles and the highlighter over my browbone and inner eye corners as a base. The concealer part covers thoroughly and evenly with just a few swipes and the Pale shade is a perfect match for my skin. Unfortunately, when I tried to use this concealer on the hyperpigmentation on my cheeks, it just wasn't thick enough to do much. I'd say it gives light coverage on the face and decent coverage for the eyes.

Just J: Almay Smart Shade CC Concealer + Brightener Review
Left: concealer. Right: highlight

The highlight part gives a soft, pearlescent glow to the eyes, but does tend to crease after a few hours if worn on the lids. Overall, I found this to be a pretty decent product. Nothing stunning here or especially interesting to report; just a solid, reliable product.

Final Verdict
Buy - does the trick, but I'd stick to using it for the eye area only as it doesn't give thick enough coverage for the face.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What to Wear to a Wedding: Day to Night

Since I've now announced that I'm engaged, I feel entitled to blog as much about wedding crap as I want! My blog, my rules right? Imma be generous though and blog about something that's actually applicable to everyone first, namely wedding guest outfits.

Unless you have friends who are into the rustic/barn/country/mason jar explosion style, then it's likely that you'll be at a wedding in a garden, a hotel, a church or some other semi-fancy, dressy venue. Also, if it's a good friend, you may also be attending the ceremony as well as the reception. Likely, that ceremony will take place during the day, with several hours to kill before cocktails. As such, it's customary to tailor your outfit to the timing and wear something different during the day and in the evening.

For the ceremony, think proper, classy, but chic. It's probably better to err on the side of conservatism as there will be grandmas and nosy aunties running around.  Thus, floral and floral colors are my go-to for daytime wedding outfits.

Just J: What to Wear to a Wedding: Day to Night
Ruche My Fair Lady embroidered dress, $34.50 (sale!)

This dress would work wonderfully if you're a) really girly or b) really girly and Asian. The floral embroidery of the top keeps it from veering too far into bridesmaid territory and you could always pair it with a light shawl to keep warm and make it more casual.

Just J: What to Wear to a Wedding: Day to Night
Zara printed dress, $39.99 (sale!)

For something a little more fashion-forward, I really adore this modern floral print dress from Zara. The somewhat late summer/fall color scheme give this dress a more sophisticated feel to your average floral and the simple sheath shape lends strength to your frame.

While the ceremony is all about elegance and light, the reception is where you can let your hair down. There will be wine and dancing and much more forgiving lighting. Throw on some blush, some lashes and show some (appropriate) skin.

Bold, bright colors are a great evening wear choice. Since you'll likely be eating a several course meal, choose a dress with a forgiving silhouette as well. You want to be concentrating on catching the cute groomsmen's eye, not sucking in your gut!

Just J: What to Wear to a Wedding: Day to Night
Club Monaco Logan dress, $198.50

Looove the bold blue color of this dress. The flirty length and the one-shoulder design make this dress so fun looking to wear. while the elasticized waist is oh-so-forgiving.

Just J: What to Wear to a Wedding: Day to Night
Club Monaco Witherbee dress, $229

If classic is more your style, then you can never go wrong with a LBD. This one is classy with an edge with a beautiful lace overlay, leather trim and exposed zipper.

So those are my picks for what to wear to a wedding! 
Which ones would you wear?

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Guest Post: Red & White Look from Jasmine of The Happy Sloths

Hey everyone, my name is Jasmine and I am a beauty blogger over at The Happy Sloths! Today I wanted to share with you guys a "Red & White" look I did inspired by the Canadian flag colors, since July 1st was Canada Day. To see what products I used for the look, click.......

Friday, July 18, 2014

Our Story

So, it's been almost 2 months now, but I've had to wait that long to tell everyone properly before announcing it to my online "followers". So here goes.

Mr. Artist and I got engaged.

The story: there was a meteor shower happening that night, so Mr. Artist suggested that we go out and watch it at the nearby school yard. With Ecko in hand, we headed out around midnight to check out the stars. The night was cool and perfect for walking, but the sky was slightly overcast so we had to really keep our eyes alert for any meteors. We waited and waited and I *think* I spotted one, but no obvious shower of falling stars.

After a bit, Mr. Artist started shuffling in his pocket and said, "Oh, I have something for you," and nonchalantly pulled a small, square box out of his pocket. O M G. At this point, I think I had a mini heart attack. I immediately knew what it was. A ring. THE ring. I burst into tears and started blubbering like a fool. The rest was kind of a fog as we ran home so I could see the ring properly in the light and frantically call my mom to tell her the good news.

Our story may not be Youtube-worthy, but it's very us. I feel so lucky and grateful that I took that chance that fateful 5 years ago and reached out to say "Hi" to this man I am now going to spend my life with.



(Yay, now that I've gotten this out of the way, prepare for more wedding related blog posts!)

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Win $100 worth of The Body Shop Goodies | #TheBodyShopGNO

Holy crap people have I got a special deal for you! I and a few of the other CBB girls are collaborating with The Body Shop to bring you a special giveaway this week to coincide with TBS' Girls Night Out event. 

Happening in stores across Canada, TBS will be offering exclusive discounts, free consultations and mini makeovers to all customers on Thursday July 17, 2014 from 4pm to closing time. 

Now you know the expression "take a picture or it didn't happen"? Well, that is even more true in this case because if you take a picture of yourself at any Girls Night Out event across Canada and post it to Twitter or Instagram, you will be entered to win a HUGE Summer Must-haves gift basket from The Body Shop worth $100!!

So how exactly do you get in on the action?
  1. Go to a Girls Night Out event at your local The Body Shop on Thursday after 4pm local time
  2. Snap a selfie of yourself at the event and post it to Twitter or Instagram mentioning @mizzjblog and #TheBodyShopGNO 
  3. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram! Well, this isn't mandatory, but would be looked upon with great favour ;)

Good luck everyone and hope to see you there!

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Monday, July 14, 2014

OGX Hydrate and DeFrizz Kukui Oil Shampoo and Conditioner Review

It's so hot right now I can barely bring myself to blog. Vancouver's undergoing a heat wave this week, which means 30+ degree weather! For us, that's pretty damn hot. Along with the heat, comes the humidity and with it dry, brittle hair. Luckily, I've been trying out the new Organix Hydrate + Defrizz line and can report on whether this is worth buying.

The Product
Consisting of a shampoo, conditioner, oil and a curling cream, the entire Organix Hydrate + Defrizz line is formulated to give you smooth, sleek hair free from damage and the dreaded frizzies. Like all Organix (OGX) products, the shampoo and conditioner are paraben-free, sulfate-free and were not tested on animals.

The Guts
For the shampoo, the top ingredients are:

  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate - cleansing ingredient
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine - a cleanser, conditioner and anti-static ingredient derived from coconut oil. This one has been known to cause some skin irritation. 
  • PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Coco/Isostearamide - yet another cleanser
For the conditioner, the top ingredients are:
  • Cetearyl Alcohol - a pretty standard ingredient in conditioners. This is used to moisturize the hair
  • Cetyl Alcohol - a foaming agent that also helps moisturize hair
  • Behentrimonium Chloride - helps to smooth the hair, but there is some evidence that it can irritate some people
The star ingredient of these two products though, is the Kukui nut. Kukui oil is traditionally used in Hawaii as a moisturizing oil for the hair, nails and body. You can find all sorts of Kukui nut products in Hawaii, so I was curious to see how this "mainland" product fared. I'm pretty happy that the Kukui nut appears so high in the ingredients list of both these products.

Price & Packaging
Both the shampoo and conditioner come in 385 mL bottles and are both $9.99 at London Drugs. The packaging is very simple, with a flip-top cap and squeezable case. It's unusual shape means it will take up more space on your shower shelf, but I also like the slightly luxurious touch the curvy shape provides.

After testing out these products in tandem for the past 3 weeks, I have to say I am pretty... okay with the results. With such a rich sounding, "miracle" ingredient, you kinda expect more. As the ingredient list above shows, the largest ingredients in these products are pretty standard and that reflects my results.

My hair feels smooth and smells great afterwards, but isn't exceptionally soft. As well, I think it may be a tinge too heavy for my fine hair as I noticed I got greasy roots faster than normal.

Final Verdict
Buy - works well and the price is pretty good, but don't expect any miracles.

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