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NYX Matte Lipstick = Cheap Thrills

NYX Matte Lipstick = Cheap Thrills :: Crappy Candle

I was introduced to the cheap joy that is NYX's Matte Lipstick line about 3 months ago. They retail for about $6, but if you get them during an Ulta sale, they are closer to $4 each. It decided would be fun to pick up a few tubes, then test them out at SDCC 2014. So I did. I'm adding a lot of photos to this post as penance for taking 3 months to put it together.

NYX Aria :: Crappy Candle NYX Aria Swatch :: Crappy Candle
NYX Matte Lipstick in Aria

NYX Matte in Pure Red - Bright Red Lipstick NYX Pure Red Swatch :: Crappy Candle
 NYX Matte Lipstick in Pure Red

NYX Matte in Bloody Mary - Bright Reddish Pink Lipstick NYX Bloody Mary Swatch :: Crappy Candle
NYX Matte Lipstick in Bloody Mary

For SDCC, we were lucky enough to stay at the Hyatt in Downtown (I lost a lot of sleep fretting about the hotel lottery, fyi). The view was fancy fantastic and all, but I was more excited about the bathroom mirror. Halo style LED lighted mirrors are my new favorite thing. Bloody Mary and Pure Red were done with the aid of that mirror, thus producing the best selfies I've ever taken. They're headshot quality. I can actually feel myself turning into an Emma Stone.

NYX Aria Lip Staining
Aria "stain" after removal
The pigmentation of the lipstick was excellent considering how cheap they were. It was not quite as matte as I prefer, and not quite as pigmented as Nars, but Nars $24. That's at least 3 Chipotle burritos. If you're looking to dabble in bright lipstick, NYX is the brand to try first.

Pure Red is exactly what it sounds like: a bright red that works with a range of skin tones. Bloody Mary is bright reddish-pink that is a nice, less in-your-face alternative to straight up red. Aria is a bright purple/fuchsia with blue undertones. I find it to be less wearable than the other two (it seemed shinier or something), but it was the most unique color in the mix. I also discovered that Aria had stained my lips a pretty pink color after I removed it.

Oh, right. There are four lipstick tubes in the main image up top. Thanks for trying to help, guys, but I've already posted four photos. Really. Really. I don't know why you're being such a stickler about these things. Use your imagination, for fuck's sake.

FINE. Here's the last one:

NYX Matte in Indie Flick - Bright Coral Lipstick NYX Indie Flick Swatch :: Crappy Candle
NYX Matte Lipstick in Indie Flick

I took this photo a few days ago without the benefit of Hyatt halo lighting. If you see the un-cropped image, which you won't, I've got some fucked-off Beyonce baby bangs going on too.

Oh, you want to see it? Uh-uh. No. Ain't gonna happen. I'm not providing a visual for all you lazy harlots. Use your imagination, for fuck's sake.

FINE. I'm posting as penance for the three fucks I dropped:

Dropping Fucks Since 1983
Look at all the fucks I drop.

I did not like Indie Flick. I tried it at SDCC and immediately wiped it off because it looked like curdled orange milk. Lighter lipsticks frighten me because they make me feel like a clown; I find that if the pigmentation isn't high quality, the color can go on in a kind of chunky, separated, and uneven way. I wanted to like Indie Flick, but it didn't melt into my lips like my preferred lip products do. It kind of congealed on top of them.

NYX Swatches: Pure Red, Bloody Mary, Aria, Indie Flick

For fun comparisons, I also swatched the Nars lipsticks I have alongside the NYX guys. Do not be fooled by how close Indie Flick dupes Red Square. Red Square is a superior product in terms of pigmentation and application, and worth totally worth the expense.

I also threw in an NYX Butter Lip Balm swatch as it's my favorite purse tube at the moment.

NYX Butter Lip Balm in Red Velvet NYX vs Nars Swatches: Pure Red, Bloody Mary, Aria, Indie Flick, Cruella, Fire Down Below, Train Bleu, Red Square, Red Velvet

Happy lippings, my little harlots.

NYX Matte Lipstick - Aria, Bloody Mary, Pure Red, Indie Flick :: Crappy Candle


10 Reasons Why the Bathroom is the Scariest Room in the House

10 Reasons Why the Bathroom is the Scariest Room in the House

  1. you're usually alone
  2. you're often naked and vulnerable
  3. it is the one room in the house where it is acceptable to have a lack windows or adequate emergency exits
  4. said lack of windows = potential for pitch black horror horror oh the horror
  5. toilets = a pipeline to unlimited sewer gremlins that will bite your butt
  6. mirrors = a gateway to hell
  7. showers and face washings force you to close your eyes for periods of time
  8. showers are humid, claustrophobia-inducing closets with great potential for "accidental" neck breaking
  9. running water provides the perfect white noise for masking poltergeists
  10. sometimes spiders crawl back up the drain
I wrote this immediately after showering immediately after watching The Conjuring.

Happy Halloween


Dr. Bronner's Review - The Acne Experiment

Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Review :: The Acne Experiment
All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment

Dr. Bronner's is known equally for its purity as it is for the nonsensical cult-y stuff written on every bottle. It's sold in both bar and liquid form, but is most frequently used as a liquid. In the bottle, it looks like a diluted version of transparent face wash or hand soap, but in reality it's a completely different product.

Dr. Bronner's is distinct from other liquid cleansers because it is pure castile soap. What this means is that it is made of "saponified" plant-based fats and oils (fatty acids), whereas most liquid face washes are made from synthetic detergents. Without those synthetic detergents, face wash does not have its trademark soapy suds.

This idea of synthetic vs natural is a big reason why a lot of people opt for real soap. Most face washes contain synthetic detergents called "sulfates" are thought to be triggers for a whole host of skin disorders including psoriasis, perioral dermatitis (POD), acne, eczema, and even canker sores (sulfates are in toothpaste too).

While I do not think sulfates trigger my specific kind of acne, I do think it is has something to do with a different skin condition: the fine rash I've had on my chin for almost two years. When it comes to conventional medicine, Perioral Dermatitis does not come with many treatment options. POD is often treated with antibiotics, but after the infamous ass-zit incident, I will never go near them again.

Yes, it is embarrassing to share this with the world, but it would be hard to explain what I learned and how I Iearned it without sharing this humiliating history.*

In an attempt to fix my lumpen POD chin without conventional medicine, I went sulfate free with my skin, mouth, and hair products. When I started The Acne Experiment, I found some articles touting Dr. Bronner's soap as a good face wash for keeping POD, and acne, in check. I'm ready to start living the rest of my life. Inside everyone is a loser afraid to be loved, and out there is that one product that can make it all better.**

  • Dr. Bronner's Unscented Baby Mild Soap (Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol)
  1. Rinse face with water
  2. Take 3-4 drops of Dr. Bronner's and lather all over wet face.
  3. Rinse face with water.
  4. Dry face lightly via towel-dabbling, like they do in face wash commercials.
  5. Repeat once per day in the evenings.
For the first few days, I was surprised by how soft my skin was. It didn't feel tight or dry, which is what I expected based on the face-wash lobby's propaganda that natural soap is more irritating than synthetic detergents.

On the morning of day 4, I discover some redness, but I ignore it. My face's soul-mate couldn't possibly be doing this to me. By the afternoon, I confirm that there are little bumps all over my forehead. This experiment is over. (*runs into the bathroom, hysterically crying*)

Dr Bronner's and Acne :: Crappy Candle
this is bullshit.

Okay, maybe the face-wash lobby was onto something here. Soap on its own is very alkaline (basic), but Dr. Bronner's soap's pH level is brought down to a more neutral state by the addition of citric acid. Unfortunately, the face's natural state is not neutral; it is acidic. I messed with the pH of my skin and then exposed it to potentially pore-clogging oils (coconut and olive oil are very pore cloggy). This means that, no--I'm sorry--I'm not trying that bar of African Black Soap I bought a few weeks ago. It's a shame because African Black Soap was totally my back-up plan.***

I switched back to the Aztec Healing Clay/ACV for the remainder of the week. I'm going to keep using it until my skin calms down.

Dr. Bronners for POD/Acne Before and After :: The Acne Experiment

Dr. Bronners Before and After :: The Acne Experiment
    You'll notice I have a ripe zit on my cheek in the upper right photo. Cheek zits = danger (I almost never get cheek acne).

PS: Before anyone tries to tell me my face was "purging," let me say this: Purging is a load of crap. Even if I discount my gut feeling, i.e. allowing my skin to "get worse before it gets better" is inherently sadistic, I've learned that it actually is a load of crap.

Well, except for purging related to AHA/BHA or retinol use, which will only result in distinct non-inflamed "purging" in the areas you normally break out in. The angry zits that pop up after using normal oils, soaps, and serums are essentially your face telling you to knock it off; breakouts in non-normal areas, or pimples that re-occur more than two months following the introduction of any product means your skin doesn't like a specific ingredient. So quit being a bunch of sadists, sadists.

Next Up: Tea Tree Oil (review coming soon)


*/**Parts of this monologue may or may not have been lifted from Never Been Kissed.

***We told each other we would meet at the top of the Empire State Building when we turned 32 if we were still unattached.

Does Dr. Bronner's Cure Acne? :: The Acne Experiment


Bossypants - Book Reviews 2014

Bossypants - Book Reviews 2014 :: Crappy Candle

I had the most productive day of my life on Sunday. I completed a proofing assignment, I put time in with my normal day job, I wrote a blog post, and I finished reading Tina Fey's Bossypants. I am the king of this bed-desk. One might even say that I'm the Tina Fey of 31 year olds that live with their parents in the suburbs and have a meltdown every time they have to leave the house.

I'm not sure why it took me 4 years to finally pick up this book. I take that back, it's because I suck at reading. If I had a crystal ball, I'd know that I would build up enough momentum getting through Beloved to slip through Bossypants like one of those sea cucumber toys through the poorly-coordinated hands of a child. If I had it to do over, I would do it exactly like this. Reading Beloved made me feel like an stoic robot with sausages for hands and reading Bossypants made me feel like I could have a non-meltdown house outing and use awkward metaphors consistently. The Beloved-Bossypants punch is a confidence building exercise that I cannot recommend highly enough.

And what of the book? I will freely and shamelessly admit that Bossypants is the second memoir I have ever read. The first was Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns), which while quite lovely, had a really long title that lazy sausage hands have problems typing. There will be some similarities between the two books because both authors are highly successful female comedy writers/actresses whom have lived in New York. If you've seen one, you've seen them all. All "funny women" are equally non-funny, afterall.

Gender and comedy aside -- because that's a whole 'nother issue amirite guys -- Fey's and Kaling's books share a similar sarcastic/self deprecating/crass tone that make both books delightful and personable. Fey's book pulls out ahead of Kaling's because she makes the reader simultaneously feel like an equal and a loser at life. Like maybe Tina Fey would hate you if she met you. She brings you into her world, shows you how real and normal she is, but then reminds you she's Tina Fey.

Tina Fey is an intimidating woman, not only because of her intelligence and life achievements, but because she is not a sugar coater. I think of how both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler handled that Taylor Swift "There's A Special Place in Hell" debacle, and remember the key difference between the two woman: Amy Poehler would pet your head and feed you ice cream while sob about a hang nail, and Tina Fey would slap your face* and tell you to get the fuck over it.

Bossypants is a reminder of Fey's rawness. She not going to butter up terrible celebrities or terrible politicians, she will punt chauvinistic men to the moon, and you kids need to sack up, because it's a tough world out there, babies.

Tina Fey on Children and Parenting :: Bossypants Review

It's this same lack of pretense and unfiltered honesty that allows the reader to connect with Tina Fey in a real, mind-meld-y kind of way. For example:

Giant Back Zit :: Tina Fey - Bossypants
I made a similar bargain, but I was 27 at the time.
And this:

Ball of Fingers :: Tina Fey - Bossypants
It's a palpable fear for any woman over the age of 30.

I'll take it one further: I'm certain Tina Fey would want to take me on as her stoic robot mentee if she ever met me in real life because we are so similar. We both have brown hair. We both are part German and part Mediterraneanish. We both think Improv is a cult. We both want more ugly people on TV. We have the same sunglasses... Replace my love of dogs with her love of human dogs children, and we are the same.

This is the beauty of Bossypants. Tina Fey succeeds in making the reader feel like a friend. Comedy isn't good unless the audience has a connection to it, and Tina Fey is remarkably human. The fervor of her spirit and the eloquence of her words will echo in our collective subconscious for years to come.

Bossypants Word Collage :: Tina Feyisms

So were all the jokes hits? No. Some were predictable, perhaps even not funny.** Bossypants is not a perfect book, but I wasn't expecting perfection. I was expecting a light read, in true Tina Fey fashion, that would allow for some audible chortling from time to time. That's exactly what I got.
Optimal Reading Situation: At your bed-desk, in a body you have not washed in 36 hours.
Optimal Reading Snack: An entire Costco-sized box of snack bags of Pirates Booty.
Optimal Reading Followup: Buy one of those sea cucumbers for yourself. You're worth it.

*Yeah, maybe she won't slap you, but I'm certain her words would feel like metaphorical slap to stupid whining face.

**If you find me dead tomorrow, know that I was struck down by Tina Fey, God of Thunder.

This review is from my Summer Book Club series. 


Aztec Healing Clay Mask Review - The Acne Experiment

Aztec Healing Clay Mask Review :: The Acne Experiment
All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment

I started phase 2 of the Acne Experiment with an old standby: Aztec Healing Clay. Ahem, I mean Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. I assume the "secret" part is that it's essentially dirt, and the joke's on you for being clueless all these years because this shit is super cheap. Up yours, virtually every other clay mask on the market.

I've used Aztec Healing Clay before, but this time around I opted for a slightly different (ie milder) method to avoid excessive face dryness and irritation.

  • Bentonite Clay (Aztec Healing Clay is 100% Bentonite)
  • Raw, Unfiltered, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar aka "ACV" (TJoes)
  • Water

  1. Rinse face with water, pat dry.
  2. Mix 1 Tbsp clay + ~3/4 Tbsp ACV + ~1/4 Tbsp water in a glass or plastic bowl.
  3. Apply to face.
  4. Wait for magic to happen.

Aztec Healing Clay Mask Applied :: The Acne Experiment

Letting the Clay Mask Dry :: The Acne Experiment

Clay Mask Dried Up :: The Acne Experiment

Clay Mask Sucking Out My Life Energy :: The Acne Experiment

Clay Mask Depositing New Life Energy :: The Acne Experiment

aw yes

itsa hard knock life for us

hardly ask the wife for much

steada missus we get this

whata little swiddly tit

itsa a hard knock life

Loads of FUN. I got to put mud pies on my face and it was divine. My acne is gone. My scars are gone. My hyper-pigmentation is gone. My skin is gone. Peeled right off like 10 day old nail polish.

Aztec Healing Clay Mask Before and After :: The Acne Experiment
Week 0 = before The Acne Experiment ; Week 4 = after the "No Face Wash" month ; Week 5 = After 1 week of Clay Masks

Sorry to disappoint. This was a one week experiment. Nothing gets rid of skin problems that fast unless you lose your sight in a one week long degenerative eye disease. I did see note some improvements on my chin and forehead though. It was subtle, and probably something only I would notice.

Aztec Healing Clay Mask Before and After :: The Acne Experiment
It made my lips softer and more pigmented too!
I'm such a dick. It's lip balm.

In the past, I have mixed this mask with only ACV and left it on for 45 minutes. This left my skin a little dry, so I opted for a shorter application time (20 minutes) and diluted formula (~ 1:4 ratio of water to ACV). I did not feel dried out after using it this way. I also discovered that a warm washcloth is very helpful for getting the mask off. I'm not sure why it took me 30 years to discover washclothes. They are my favorite beauty product of 2014.

I'm still not using any face wash (the "Ingredients" above are the only thing that touched my face this week besides my clammy hands and sweaty bangs). While I don't feel like I need to wash my face while using the mask, I will need something when I start wearing makeup again, and it pains my lazy sensibilities to put a mask on every night. As fun as it is to avoid facial expressions* and speak through my teeth for 20 minutes, I don't particularly want to deal with it while traveling either. I'm trying a straight up, portable soap next. Wish me luck.

Next Up:
Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Pure Castile Soap


*The facial expressions I used in the photos above were incredibly painful, and I think I burst a blood vessel in my eye. Do not do this unless you are a professional.

Aztec Healing Clay Mask for Acne :: Crappy Candle


I Didn't Wash My Face for a Month - The Acne Experiment

What Happens When You Don't Wash Your Face For a Month | The Acne Experiment
All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment

HI EVERYBODY. I've completed phase one of The Acne Experiment which means I haven't washed my face for 4 weeks. I haven't worn makeup - aside from one day when I broke down and wore red lipstick - and I haven't used anything outside of a washcloth and water on my face skin.

In summary, I've decided I'm onto a new trend: The Paleo-Face-Diet™. It's a glorious water scrub, like the cavemen used to do. I'm going to move to Malibu and open a day spa that only sells washcloths and terracotta jugs of water from local, sustainable streams. I'm going to be a millionaire.

Yeah no. Here's what really happened:

Week 0Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4
  • Week 0 - For the first few days my skin decided to be a whiney teenager. I distinctly remember it telling me to "suck on some excess oil, you hag."
  • Week 0.5 - My skin understands I'm not going to cave and is regulating itself. The oil is still there, but I don't look oily anymore.
  • Week 1 - I've realized that not washing my face isn't as bad as I thought it would be. It takes me 5 minutes to get ready in the morning, and 2 minutes to get ready to go to bed. This is what it's like to be a man.
  • Week 2 - I've realized that simply not washing my face is not going to be enough to rid me of all the acne. Dammit.
  • Week 3 - I am ready for this experiment to be over. I miss my creams and salves and gels.
  • Week 4 - My face smells like the sidewalk after it rains.
I Didn't Wash My Face for a Month (Before and After) | The Acne Experiment
For some extra fun, stare at the top center of this photo, right at "The Acne Experiment" text. Let your eyes lose focus and my two faces will start looking like Mr. Bean.


I never thought not washing my face was going to completely clear my acne, even if I secretly hoped it would. This month was meant to provide me with a control group. The slight improvement was gravy. In general though, my skin is neither better nor worse, which means either: a) the stuff I was using isn't doing anything -or- b) anything it is doing is counteracted by the irritation it's causing. I do, however, notice less redness on my chin which I attribute to the products I wasn't putting on it. Less irritation = less chin mess, apparently.

I surmise that most of my chin redness is Perioral Dermatitis related.

Aside from the changes I saw in my skin, this month was a learning experience. I now have a real, tangible confirmation that I should only wash my face once a day. Multiple washings and/or using harsh cleansers will strip the face of oil. The skin will then produce even more oil to compensate. Also, not being able to use any products drastically reduced my urge to touch my face. I knew that I couldn't treat my skin with anything, and I knew I wouldn't be able to cover up any mess I made with makeup. 

Lastly, I am proud to say that I know what it's like to be a man now. This whole "Acne Experiment" thing started because my husband suggested that I stop using all products on my face to see what happens. Like many men, he almost never uses cleanser on his face, and of course he gets maybe one zit a year. So, scratch that, I know what it's like to be a man who has acne.

Next Steps:

The Acne Experiment - Phase 2 is where I test out various products to see what agrees with my skin and what doesn't. If you didn't read the "Zit Creams in Review" post, you missed the part where I reviewed all the products I've tried in the past. I'm not going to paraphrase here because I refuse to do your homework for you. Shame on you. (Shame on me. You can read it here.)

Ideally, I'd like to have a limited ingredient, relatively natural skincare regimen, which means things like Retin-A and other prescription topicals/pills are out. I plan to spend approximately one week on each product, but it depends on how my skin reacts to everything; I may have to spend more or less time on certain products. I'll post a review of everything I try.

Here's My Wishlist:

Aztec Healing Clay Mask*
Dr. Bronners Soap*
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)*
Tea Tree Oil* (review coming soon)
Jojoba Oil*
African Black Soap*
Vitamin C Serum*
Glycolic Acid*
Rosehip Seed Oil
Hemp Oil
Jane Iredale Magic Mitt* (review coming soon)
A Cleansing Brush
Meow Cosmetics Mineral Makeup* (review and swatches coming soon)

I have in my possession each of the asterisked products. They're sitting on my vanity right now. The Dr. Bronners is preaching nonsense at the African Black Soap and the oils are baring their teeth at me.

I Didn't Wash My Face for a Month | The Acne Experiment

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