Review: Avene Diacneal Skincare Lotion (For Blemishes)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010
stock image from
Is there such thing as a miracle product for acne?
Yes, I'd say so- I've finally found mine. Acne has been troubling me for the majority of my life, ever since I was nine years old. There's been times when I had the whole pizza-face thing going on (that's how bad scarring and cystic acne was for me in my early teens) and times when I only had a handful of zits, but they were always there. 
I've tried practically every line of acne care products found in American drugstores- over the counter benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid products just haven't really proved effective for me. 
Behold, Avene Diacneal.
What it is: a treatment lotion containing 6% Glycolic Acid and 0.1% Retinal for acne or wrinkles. It comes out of the tube as a pearly yellow cream that smells like... I'm not sure. But it's definitely scented. 
First, I have to say that my skin is quite sensitive. When I try a new product, there's a good chance that it'll make my skin worse, not better. Heck, my skin is so sensitive that if I even LOOK at a product funny, I'll break out or it'll burn, etc. 
Not only did this treatment get along with my skin, I've seen amazing results. My skin is overall clearer, more even and much, much smoother. Really.

I'm not completely blemish free (due to diet and hormone fluctuations, I doubt I'll ever be) but I'm no longer super self conscious about a few minor zits. It's no longer a matter of being embarrassed to go out without concealer because my acne is such a prominent feature of my face and the first thing people see when they look at me. Even when I do get acne, it clears up much faster now. I've also noticed that past acne scarring has been reduced, and that the texture of my face has changed for the better (this also works as a wrinkle reducer!).
Now, I started using Diacneal about two months ago, at first every three days, at night- increasing to every other night in the last few weeks. The reason I use it at night is because that when I put it on, it does seem to make my skin a little slick feeling. Not saying that it makes my skin oily overall, but if I put it on at night, I can wash  away the treatment in the morning.

Ingredients: Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Cyclomethicone, Polysorbate 60, Glycolic Acid 6%, Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, BHT, Dimethiconol, Fragrance, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Potassium Sorbate, Red 33 (Cl 17200). Retinal 0.1%.

Also be aware that products such as this one will increase skin sensitivity to the sun's rays. Anyways, Avene Diacneal isn't super cheap for an acne treatment, $52 for 1 oz. on But let me tell you, I have never found a product that has made more of impact on my skin, so it's worthy every penny. One tube has lasted me 2 months so far, and I estimate that it'll go for another month at least, even though I spread a thin layer all over my face for every application.

So, lengthy review. What do you think? Have you ever tried this, or any of Avene's other products?

Product was purchased by me, for my own use.

Orly Cosmic FX- Space Cadet is MINE!

Monday, August 30, 2010
3x Space Cadet, outdoors, direct sun, no flash
When I first saw the promo pictures for this polish, I died a little inside, of pure happiness. It looked so incredibly cool- a foily duochromey polish and now that I finally have it in person, I'm ecstatic.
I do have one problem though- I've never ever encountered anything quite like this, I don't know if I have the vocabulary to describe it.
What does it look like to me? A greenish jelly base with metallic magenta/olive foil-like shimmer. At different angles and different distances from the light, it looks more green-yellow or more blue green. How is this possible?
According to Orly:
"The new Cosmic FX collection from ORLY features six new shades made with exclusive Mineral FX raw material technology, which delivers multi-dimensional lacquers that reflect light in a sparkling spectrum of intense color."
Awesome. That doesn't really explain matters any further for me, but oh well- I love this collection.
So here is a crap load of different polishes in different lighting/coats.

Indoors, 3x, flash

Outside, indirect flash, 3coats, flash

Outdoors, 2x, no flash, direct sunlight

Polishes from this Cosmic collection are more than the regular retail price, $10.
So, what do you think of this bizarrely complex lacquer?

Product was purchased by me, for my own use.

NOTD: (From a few days ago) Color Club Fashion Addict

Sunday, August 29, 2010
I completely forgot about post thing earlier, whoops! Color Club makes great holos ( I think they only have five or so, *sobs) that are really pigmented with medium sized holo bits that are quite uniform. They're holo, yes- but a classy holo.
I wish cameras could capture how glorious this one looks in person. It's such a nice lavender (and I'm not a pastel person, at all) and the formula is so nice and opaque!

So, what do you think of yet another one of my beloved holographics?

FOTD: Before and After (Recreation of 'Ulzzang' look)

Friday, August 27, 2010
This is a rather well known ulzzang whose
makeover video can be found on YouTube with
dramatic before/aftershots.
I was browsing through the internet one day when I stumbled upon the term 'ulzzang'. Herm? What's this? I had no idea what it meant (it actually sounded like it'd be something violent to me) so a few google searches revealed that it's a type of trend in Asia, a category of girls (and guys) who may look pretty average at best but with the help of cosmetics and Photoshop are able to look super adorable and doll like. "Best face" is what UrbanDictionary tells me it means in Korean.
I -had- to try this out. However, a key part of this look requires circle lenses (the special contacts that give them their glassy doll eyes) which I don't have. Also, I don't know how to use Photoshop to blur out my skin.
Anyways.... I'm about to show you 'before' pictures of me.
Complete with messy hair!
Yes. Bare naked pictures of my face, complete with a JustGotOutOfBed scowl. I'm feeling rather brave.
And here we have the 'After' shot:
Sorry, no cutesy poses for you.

I even did my hair! This is basically a testimony to how well Makeup Forever HD foundation is, it photographs SO well on camera, covering up all my blemish scars and large pores. Who needs Photoshop when they can get MUFE HD and a silica powder?
Anyways, I went for a few key points of the ulzzang look:
-False lashes, upper and sometimes lower.
-Extra eyeliner, applied in a way to open the eye area up- in my case I lined 3/4 of my lower lash line to make my eyes look bigger and rounder.
-Minimal blush, only enough to make emphasize cheeks. Usually only in soft pink or peach, no brown undertoned blush.
-Not much eyeshadow.
-Soft lip color, I did a pinky- peach.
I used:
Face: L'oreal Magic Perfecting Base, MUFE HD 117, e.l.f. complexion perfection, NARS concealer in Custard/Ginger, Rock & Republic Spank blush
Lips: Nivea Kiss of Moisture with Wet'n'Wild Just Peachy matte lipstick
Eyes: UDPP, LORAC Beige shadow, Rimmel Soft Kohl pencil in black, MAC Blacktrack fluidline, upper and lower false lashes
Brows: Maybelline Define-A-Brow in Dark Brown

So, a pretty big make over, wouldn't you say? Sorry, no cutesy poses for you to see (I'm awkward enough as it is, thanks). Go ahead and google 'Ulzzang' for more before and after pictures.

Bronze Polish Franken + KOTD

Thursday, August 26, 2010
Remember how I mentioned yesterday that I was going to use The Body Shops' mineral shadow to franken polish? Well I did it. I used Essence's clear polish (Ulta, $.99) and funneled in about 1/2 teaspoon of Radiant Graphite. It did settle a bit overnight, I really have to get some stainless steel balls.

Not too bad, eh?
But wait! It gets better!

Yeah! That's right! Wet'n'Wild Black Creme with Konad plate M57. I like this a lot better than my previous leopard print Konad. I wore this to my interview at Empire Beauty School, a look-see around the facilities.

So, what do you think?

Some Swatches+Reviews of The Body Shop Products

Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Kinda old stuff that I bought at the beginning of the summer, when TBS was having their 3 for $10 sale.
First, some of their Nature's Minerals Eye Colors. Basically, loose mineral shadows.
These shadows did not impress me at all, other than the pretty colors. Really, they embodied every negative quality that people sometimes associate with mineral makeup; streaky, hard to blend, doesn't stick to skin. Even with Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy underneath, they looked really chalky and chunky. They were really a disappointment and I think that I'm going to try to franken nail polishes with these so that they don't go to waste.
Bare skin, left side swatches, over Pixie Epoxy on the right

Also, I picked up a few blushes that came in the stamping kind of package where the blush is in the cap, like this:
stock image from

 I quite despised the packaging, so I did end up depotting them for my blush palette. But I did like the blushes themselves, very soft and silky with pretty good pigmentation.
Both were sort of a satiny finish, though Golden Coral had golden shimmer also. They're quite bright, but can be buffed out so that they aren't so dramatic.

All of these swatch pictures were taken under a natural light bulb/lightbox with no flash.

That's it for tonight! Own any makeup from The Body Shop that you like?

Products shown were purchased by me, for my own use.

NOTD: L.A. Girl Rock Star - Head Banging

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Nice polish today, an shimmery green in a jelly base. It's the exact color of a deep emerald, really quite nice.

Nothing really remarkable to say about this one. Not too flashy, not too ugly. Not too runny, not too goopy. Just right. *shrugs*

Have any polishes like that, that don't really solicit a response from you?

Product shown was purchased by me, for my own use.

Rock & Republic Cougar Gloss (and FOTD!)

Monday, August 23, 2010
I freaking love red lips. Really. Now that I've got that out of the way, let me tell you about this amazing gloss from Rock & Republic.
I bought it from BeautyStory when it was on sale for about 50% off, and boy am I happy that I did!
Under lightbox, it was raining
out, so no natural light swatches.
It's such a nice gloss, not sticky at all. It's deeply pigmented, such a bright beautiful color. In the pictures with it on my skin and on my face, my skin really warms it up so that it looks more tomato-y scarlet but I swear it's a true, pure red.
The funny thing is that the packaging looks really luxe, but upon closer inspection the black material on the cap of the gloss is just a sticker. I do like test tube-esque shape and the small logo on the end of the cap though, it's small details like that that really make me appreciate high end packaging.
It also smells great, like fragrant vanilla (the smell is kinda strong for a gloss, but dissipates quickly once on your lips) but no real taste. I loved how long lasting it was, 4 hours without having re-apply. And even after I had food and wiped it off, it left a lovely soft stain on my lips like I had just come in from a snowy afternoon's romp.
I love this gloss so much, perhaps I'll even try other R&R glosses some day!

FOTD with it:

Face: L'oreal Magic Perfecting Base, MUFE HD, Pixi Bronze Bombshell kit blush
Brows: Maybelline Define-A-Brow
Eyes: MAC Blacktrack, UDPP, Rock & Republic Affair shadow, Maybelline Falsies mascara
Lips: R&R Cougar gloss

Product mentioned were purchased by me, for my own use.

China Glaze Fall Vintage Vixen Collection: Midnight Mission

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Here's another polish that I've gotten from China Glaze's fall collection. It's an inky navy with silver microglitter. I absolutely love the way that this polish looks against my skin, the contrast of the dark color is really flattering.
The formula is nice and opaque, a 2 coater.
This polish really reminds me of this:
Doesn't it look like the night sky, only condensed? Though not a very complex color, it's very dreamy and it's my favorite from this collection, thus far.
What do you think of this color?

Product shown was purchased by me, for my own use.

FOTD and NOTD: China Glaze He's Going in Circles

Friday, August 20, 2010
First, a super sparkly set of holo nails.
China Glaze's He's Going in Circles was one of my first holo polishes. It has those chunkier holo bits, and is kind of sheer- I had to build up 4 coats to get this opaque, even color. Awesome, no?

Edit: I think this color is looking silvery on a lot of people's monitors. Yes, it is kinda- but it also has a green-blue tinge to it.
Cat (StrawberryMochi) was nice enough to send me some Japanese magazines, which made me absolutely over the moon happy. I have no idea what the text says, but the pictures are great! So today's FOTD was kind inspired by some of the pages in ViVi's August edition. Not much eyeshadow, but a lot of lash definition by means of upper and lower false lashes and extra liner. Also less noticeable blush, more emphasis on super good looking skin and soft pretty lips.
Is it just me or does everyone on this magazine have
lightened hair?

Ok, I may have gone overboard with the eyeliner, but hey- I was preparing for a night out! ^.^

Face: MUFE HD, L'oreal Magic Perfecting Base, Rimmel Apricot blush
Eyes: UDPP, NARS Abyssinia, NARS Cordura, Rimmel Soft Kajal liner in black, MAC Blacktrack
Lips: Dior Addict High Shin #566

So, since I mentioned magazines- what are your favorite ones for beauty? I no long really read any because I feel like most of the cosmetics are just placed there by PR. I'd much rather read blogs or reviews on MakeupAlley- much more truthful and filled with swatches!

Surprise Present: NARS Douceurs De Paris (Pleasures of Paris) Palette

Thursday, August 19, 2010
Mr. MakeupWithdrawal surprised me with a present for no apparent reason- the NARS palette that I had craved greatly! I actually didn't think that it was available anymore, but the 9951 Pleasures of Paris Palette is still on the Saks Fifth Ave site (as some sort of exclusive I guess). His only stipulation is that I'm not allowed to gush about it to him.

Anyways, I was super happy to get because I felt like all the shades were very versatile and very well coordinated. I could pick any 3 shades and create a look out of them, the possibilities are endless!

Left to right: Nepal, Violetta, Demon Lover, Fez, Abyssinia and Cordura. 
Nepal is a soft pinky-peachy tan. 
Violetta is matte light violet with enough grey and brown in it that it's very neutral.
Demon Lover is a dark, greyed violet matte.
Fez is a shimmery warm brown.
Abyssinia is a vanilla satin, with a bit of frost. 
Cordura is a dark cool bark brown with golden micro glitter.

As you can see, a primer (Urban Decay Primer Potion was used here) really intensifies the color. Without it, the colors smolder instead of being vivid. I love how well these shadows blend, really. It's so easy to transition one shadow to another.
I think this palette might be my new "If I was stranded on a island and could only have one palette to beautify me for the rest of my life"-palette (a position previously held by one of my LORAC palettes). I mean, the color combinations you can get with this are so varied, you could use this palette for 99.9% of all occasions.
I'm in love! And I'm quite thankful that Mr. MakeupWithdrawal got this for me, what a lovely gift!
Palette is $55 at Each shadow is 1.4g.
Does anyone else have this palette? Or any of the shades in it?

Product shown was given as a personal gift.

FOTD: Clara Bow (Kinda) and Ornate KOTD

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I tried to thin out my brows and make them straight and unnaturally uniform like Clara's but that didn't work out too well. I also ended up adding a dab of blush, because without it- I looked rather sickly!
Can't do the sultry expression,

I do love vampy lips though!
Face: MUFE HD, Monistat Gel, e.l.f. HD powder
Brows: NYX Brow Powder in Taupe/Ash
Lips: NYX Hebe and Rimmel Hype
Eyes: UDPP, La Femme Taupe shadow and LORAC Beige. Urban Decay 24/7 Zero liner, MAC Chromagraphic, falsies

And here's my KOTD! That's Finger Paints' Contrast in Crimson (3x) and China Glaze GR8 stamped with Konad plate #M63. I really love the holographic swirling. Plush the red is so pretty, very rich with a hint of shimmer.

China Glaze Fall Vintage Vixen Collection: Ingrid

Tuesday, August 17, 2010
2x Ingrid, outdoors, no flash
Certain polishes trigger polar opposite feelings in me, and I'm not sure why. Usually it's murky colors with some sort of subtle glimmer like say for instance, Chanel Paradoxal. I can't figure out if I really love or hate these colors, or both at the same time. China Glaze Ingrid is also on this list. I can't decide it's the most sophisticated, understated color I've ever seen or if it looks like the shade of gilded poop. Really, doesn't it look kind of gross and mysterious at the same time? When I try to think about how this color ties into the Fall Vintage Vixen collection, I mentally envision a statuesque woman with her hair in a wavy updo with a soft mink coat wrapped around her. It's taupey goodness (I highly object to it being called 'greige' seeing how dark it is, it fits taupe much better) with a lovely fine shimmer to it.
Indoors, under lightbox.
Anyways, I must say that I really enjoy the application of this polish. Super opaque, it glided on with absolutely no problem whatsoever, even though it's on the runnier side- this might actually be my favorite China Glaze application of all time. It only took two coats too, that's how nice this polish is. Again, I don't feel like this color is suited for the super hot weather lately, so I'm going to save this for when it cools down. I'm not sure what kind of clothes or makeup I'd pair this up with but being a neutral I bet it'd be pretty hard to go wrong!
What do you think of this polish? Does it look like shimmery boogers or something you'd love to get your hands on?

Review: Cargo Ceylon Eyeshadow

Monday, August 16, 2010
I'm emotionally turbulent about this shadow, I really am.
Look at it. Doesn't it look nice? Doesn't it look like it's waving "Mimi, come uuuuuuse me! I'm gonna be the most perfect plum shade ever."
The first 4 times I used this shadow, blech- was the payoff terrible! It looked dingy and not very shimmery, it couldn't be more disagreeable of a color more like a dried up raisin color than a friendly plum.
Indoors, under lightbox.
Then, some miracle happened (not really, I think I broke through the top of the cake, where it was harder and less pigmented) and wow, was the color great! It was this smokey, sparkly plum, softer texture and way better pigmentation- better in every way. My heart leapt for joy but fell back to the ground very quickly. You see, there was still one thing keeping this shadow from being perfect and that was the lasting power. With a primer like Urban Decay Primer Potion, I've never had a problem with shadow lasting, anything I put on my lids pretty much lasts the whole day. I mean, it doesn't look as crisp and fresh as when I put it on, but you can still see the pure color. Nope, not with this shadow. Within four hours, it had slumped down my eyelids and looked like that dirty, awful shade that I had started this paragraph describing. 
Even when used wet- the same thing happened!(Though with a bit of staining too) I purchased this heavily discounted at $8, so I'm not super upset but I will say that I'm disappointed. I guess I'll use this as a liner with my La Femme sealer, but I'll pout every time, know what potential it could have had.

All products shown were purchased by me, for my own use.

Last Night's FOTD + NOTD: It's Electric (and Minty)

Sunday, August 15, 2010
I played with vivid blue winged liner yesterday and I must say that I liked it a lot. I kept the rest of the face really simple, toned down pink on the lips and cheeks.
Facd: MUFE HD, L'oreal Magic Perfecting Base, R&R Spank blush
Eyes: UDPP, Dior Sweet Street quint, LORAC Luxe, Urban Decay 24/7 Gunmetal liner, Urban Decay Skyscraper mascara and for that amazing blue- Fyrinnae 1.22 Gigawatts + La Femme sealer.
Lips: Revlon SL gloss in Pink Pursuit
Brows: NYX Brow Powder in Taupe/Ash

This Konad isn't exactly original, I saw the white fishnet on mint creme a while back while browsing through pictures on Google, but forgot who it is so I can't credit the combo :/
Anyways, the mint is Funky Fingers Southhampton Seafoam and the white is Wet'n'Wild French White Creme + Konad plate #M57.

Still a little glitter residue from the last mani, but you get the idea.
What are your favorite Konad combinations?

All products mentioned were purchased by me, with the exception of the Dior quint, which was given as a gift.

China Glaze Fall Vintage Vixen Collection: Emerald Fitzgerald

Saturday, August 14, 2010
1x Seche Clear, 3x Emerald Fitzgerald and 1x Seche Vite
I actually got this a few weeks ago, but have been too busy with other polishes to take some good pictures. This is a new polish from China Glaze's Fall collection, focused on the 40s era style. This polish (with such an awesome name), along with Ingrid caught my eye (alas, it was out of stock when I ordered ) and I finally get to show you what it looks like!
It's a very beautiful dark green with enough shimmer to catch my eye, and I really like the way it looks against my NC25ish skin.
Anyways, normally all China Glaze polishes seem to be of the same consistency for me, but this one straight out of the bottle was a little thick. And since it's a brand new polish that was manufactured quite recently, I'm guessing it wasn't due to prolonged storage or anything. Anyways, it needed 4 drops of polish thinner to sort it out.
Indirect lighting, no flash

However, I feel like it's a little too vampy to wear while it's still scorching out, but I can't wait for October! It'll be perfect around that time, just picturing wearing it while the skies are grey and I'm looking for boots and my peacoat, makes summer a bit more tolerable for me.
Are you loving any polishes from the Vintage Vixen collection?

All products featured were purchased by me, for my own use.

Quick FOTD

Friday, August 13, 2010
On Friday nights, Mr. MakeupWithdrawal and I like to go out to a diner and chat while we consume milkshakes and crab cake burgers and the like. It's my favorite part of the week, 'cause nothing beats relaxing and eating diner cheesecake! Here's a few quick snapshot on my way out the door. Uhm, this look is neither polished nor inspired, I was just in a hurry, hah!
Face: L'oreal Magic Perfecting Base, MUFE HD, R&R Call Me blush, e.l.f. HD powder, NARS Concealer Ginger/Custard
Eyes: UDPP, La Femme Cake Mascara in black, Fyrinnae Polar Bear, NARS Earth Angel, MAC Blacktrack Fluidline, Avon Supershock Gel liner in Khaki Shimmer
Brows: NYX Brow Powder in Taupe/Ash
Lips: Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy lipstick

Thanks for looking! What was your FOTD today? Or recently?

Review: Seche Clear Base

Thursday, August 12, 2010
stock image from
Again, no point in showing you my dinky
halfway used bottle, when there's a nice
clean stock picture I can use!
My love for Seche Vite knows no bounds, so naturally when I realized the importance of a base coat, I looked to other Seche products to provide me with the awesomeness I associate with the top coat.
Alas, Seche Clear fell far behind its golden sibling. How do you describe something that doesn't perform up to your standards but isn't horrendous either? The only way I can think of is with a sound. 
Seche Clear doesn't really prevent staining... nope, the yellowing caused by China Glaze Entourage certainly taught me that (a medium creme green polish with tiny bit of shimmer) even though I had used a couple coats of the Clear underneath. Seche Clear doesn't really prolong manicures either. It doesn't make them chip faster or anything, but when my polish chips, it comes off in really big sections like entire bits of the Seche Clear are peeling off. Eeek. Seche Clear, similar to its brother Seche Vite, also seems to thicken up halfway through the bottle. 
Basically, this just a clear polish. No real perks, but by itself it doesn't yellow the nail so on those rare days I like to go without nail color, I'll use a coat. I'm currently trying to use up my bottle of Seche Clear, just so that I can recycle the bottle for frankening. 
Seche Clear is $7 or so and can be found at drugstores and beauty supply shops as well as online. 

Have you used Seche Clear before?

All products were purchased by me for my own use. 

NOTD: Funky Fingers 220 Volts + Konad

Wednesday, August 11, 2010
So, I saw this amazing blue at 5Below the other day, and I had to have it (I ended up getting 10 polishes, gah!). I had never heard of Funky Fingers before, but I looked it up on my phone, and turns out that the same company that makes Color Club makes Funky Fingers.
In the bottle, it looked kinda like a jelly. However, once I started to apply it- I found it really odd. It went on kind of runny and sheer, and dried to a semi-matte. I actually had to use 4 coats because it didn't level at all, but the color if not the finish was beautiful. It turned out to be a nice cerulean blue! Edit: I've since learned that these are called neons, d'oh.
However, the finish really really irked me. So I decided to Konad over it and use Seche Vite to gloss it up.
Here's what it looks like with the Konading:

I used Orly Rage Foil FX for the Konad as well as plate M57. I'm uh... kinda not digging this overall look.
Something about it rubs me the wrong way. But at least the Konad turned out alright, and I need all the practice I can get!
What's your favorite blue nail polish?

Urban Decay Naked Palette Giveaway *CLOSED*

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This contest is now closed! 

FOTD+NOTD: Strawberry Lips and Holo Nails

Monday, August 9, 2010
I had a lot of strawberry-coral products on today, I can't help it- it's my favorite summer color! And look, I actually had time to take pictures before the sun went down!
Here's a few pictures.
Face: Monistat Anti Chafe Gel, Missha B.B Boomer, MUFE HD, NARS Concealer in Ginger/Custard, MAC Marine Life, e.l.f. HD powder
Eyes: UDPP, Laura Mercier Fresco shadow, MAC Mauvement pigment, Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy, MAC Blacktrack Fluidline, Urban Decay Skyscraper mascara
Lips: MAC VG Cyndi lipstick, Revlon Coral Reef gloss
Brows: NYX Brow Powder in Brown

And of course, strawberry holo nails as well.
1x Sparitual Base/Top coat, 3x China Glaze TMI

This is China Glaze's TMI from the OMG collection. It's probably the most subtle holo I own and I'm kinda 'meh' about it for that reason. I mean, for me- the whole point of a holo is the *BAM* in-your-face 3D sparkly effect. The formula itself wasn't very forgiving either, it seemed to really emphasize nail unevenness. But, it's still a nice color nonetheless.