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How to Age Gracefully

How to Age Gracefully :: Crappy Candle

You can have it all as long as you're real chill about it.  Here's how to age gracefully in 25 easy to follow steps:
  1. Decide you're going to age gracefully. (this is the hardest part)
  2. Just say no to all the hype and the nonsense.
  3. Throw out all your creams and serums.  Products have nothing to do with graceful aging.
  4. Exude love and confidence.
  5. I mean, you really need to understand love.  Like really, come on now.
  6. You love yourself?  Not good enough.  Love someone else for a change, you selfish bastard.
  7. Change your outlook, adjust your priorities, become a transcendent human being.
  8. Obtain some children.
  9. You can become an aunt, too.  Just be proximal to some kids.
  10. Don't let those kids suck out your life essence.
  11. Be one of those glowy moms, not a dried up raisin mom.
  12. Don't be a raisin aunt either.
  13. Are you confident yet?  Your children should make you feel like a superman.
  14. If the kids aren't doing it for you, get some new ones that appreciate you more.
  15. Make sure your skin is flawless.
  16. I guess you should have done that around step 2.  Go back to the beginning and start over.
  17. If you weren't born with excellent bone structure, you shouldn't even be reading this.
  18. Now, ease into your excellent bone structure and poreless skin.
  19. Don't covet other people's excellent bone structure or poreless skin, your excellent bone structure and poreless skin is perfect just the way it is!
  20. Hi Meryl.
  21. If you're not Meryl, that's okay.
  22. Make sure you've cultivated some kind of passion that you're really good at. 
  23. If you have this passion and you're like the best at it, you could maybe bypass some of this other crap.
  24. Money helps a lot.
  25. Become Helen Mirren.


101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women - Clever Girls Edition

101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women - Clever Girls Edition
101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women - Clever Girls Edition

Halloween is near, so I put together a fun lady-centric costume guide. If you want to be a cool girl, you'll want a cool girl costume. If you don't care whether you are a cool girl or not (because Amy Dunne did get some things right), then you probably still want a decent costume that is relatively warm/comfortable, maybe has pockets, and isn't identical to like 10 other people's costumes. If you are not a girl, by all means - pick through this guide and steal all my ideas. I can tell you with 95% certainty that I'm not doing anything for Halloween and I'd like to live vicariously through you all.

I've divided the guide up into 10 categories, you clever SOBs:

TV Shows
1) Michonne or Carol (The Walking Dead)
Michonne Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Image: @Heather Paul via Flickr

CAROL. I can't handle it Carol.
Image: @William Tung via Flickr (CC)

2) Dana Scully (X Files)
X-Files Dana Scully Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
I think he's looking for his sister.
Image: @Sam Howzit via Flickr

3) The Belchers (Bob’s Burgers)
Bob's Burgers Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Image: @istolethetv via Flickr

4) Orange is the New Black
OITNB Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Image: @Michael Miller via Flickr

5) Troi or Dr. Crusher (Star Trek TNG)
Troi + Dr. Crusher Costume (Star Trek TNG) :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Image: via Flickr (CC)

6) Ms. Frizzle (Magic School Bus)
Image: @Michael Miller via Flickr

7) Jerri Blank (Strangers With Candy)
Jerri Blank Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Image: @Jeff Tidwell via Flickr

8) Xena Warrior Princess
Xena Warrior Princess Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Please take a moment to appreciate how perfect this cosplay is.
Image: @William Tung via Flickr

9) Log Lady (Twin Peaks)
Log Lady Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Image: @artmouse via Flickr
  • If you don't want to carry around a real log, get stuffed.
10) Peggy (Mad Men)

11) Stephanie Tanner (Full House)
Stephanie Tanner Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Image: via Amazon

12) Anything from The Venture Bros
Venture Bros Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Image: @Mooshuu via Flickr

13) Elaine (Seinfeld)
Elaine Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Image: via Amazon

14) A League of Their Own
A League of Their Own Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women

15) Matilda
(Because Mara Wilson is a boss ass bitch IRL)

16) Annie Hall (Diane Keaton)
Annie Hall Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Image: via Flickr

17) Phyllis Nefler (Troop Beverly Hills)
There are many options.

18) Margot Tenenbaum
Margot Tenenbaum Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Image: @matt-annie via Flickr

19) Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton in Terminator)
Sarah Connor Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Do you look like the mother of the future?
Image: via Amazon

20) Lydia Deetz (Beetlejuice)
Lydia Deetz Costume :: 101 MORE Halloween Costumes for Women
Yes I love that man of mine.
Image: @Gage Skidmore via Flickr


Silk Naturals 8% AHA (Lactic Acid) Toner - The Acne Experiment

Silk Naturals 8% AHA (Lactic Acid) Toner - The Acne Experiment
All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment

As promised, I've begun testing the first of multiple potential replacements for the now discontinued St. Ives Exfoliating Pads. I started with what I considered the closest dupe: Silk Naturals 8% AHA Toner. Plain 'ole lactic acid exfoliants are hard to come by, and Silk Naturals is one of two that I'm aware of. At about $9 Silk Naturals is actually cheaper than St. Ives (given the 4 oz bottle) - quite impressive considering how cheap St. Ives already was. Also, please note that "toner" is simply a liquid product that is applied and not washed off. In the case of Silk Naturals, "toner" and "exfoliant" are synonymous. 

I tested this stuff for a solid SIX WEEKS.



  1. Wash face per usual. (I water wash)
  2. Treat the Silk Naturals like a squirt bottle - saturate a facial cotton of your choice.
  3. Special note: When you open the bottle, point it away from your eyes as it has a tendency to "spit." 
  4. Apply the exfoliant all over your face. Once daily is plenty.
  5. If you have POD (perioral dermatitis) on your chin, like I do, avoid applying anything below your cheekbones. 
  6. I repeat, avoid avoid avoid.
  7. Let it soak in/dry for a bit then apply spot treatments and/or whatever else you desire.


Theraderm Application Pads - The Acne Experiment
Theraderm Application Pads
I tested Silk Naturals AHA for a month and a half because after nearly a year doing The Acne Experiment, I realize I may not be giving these actives long enough to do their thing. Actually, at the time of writing this, I am still using it. It's been two months and I'm only halfway through the 4 oz bottle. If I continue to use it once per day with a thin application pad (I use Theraderm*), I expect the product will last about 4 months.

The main ingredient in Silk Naturals AHA is lactic acid. If you're not hip to AHAs, know that lactic acid is the gentlest exfoliant available (it is gentler than glycolic acid); it is also very humectant (water attracting). As such, lactic acid is ideal for normal-to-dry skin and anti-aging purposes.

Here's the hot pics:

Silk Naturals 8% AHA Toner Before & After - The Acne Experiment
Silk Naturals 8% AHA Before & After :: The Acne Experiment

Lactic Acid Exfoliant Before & After - The Acne Experiment
Lactic Acid Before & After :: The Acne Experiment

I've got less spots on my cheeks, but more on my forehead. Bummer. The exfoliant proved to be a good maintenance product, but it didn't touch the hyperpigmentation. It doesn't do much to prevent clogged pores, but it did prevent a lot of those clogged pores from turning into nasty, inflamed SOBs on my cheeks. The toner also made my skin super smooth to the touch. 

POD note: After a few weeks, I figured out that lactic acid is terrible for perioral dermatitis. (Yes, it took me multiple weeks to figure this out. ooof.). I'm always careful to avoid applying products to my chin, but I (slowly) learned that if applied this exfoliant too close, the product will migrate to the trouble spots and flair it the hell up. If you have POD, give exfoliants a 1 inch buffer, at least. I apply it to my forehead & nose, and no lower than my cheekbones. If I did experience a flair-up, a Aztec Clay mask was a great calming treatment. I skip all other products when I do a clay mask, save for a little jojoba oil on my chin (if it looks dry) post-mask.

So, is Silk Naturals an adequate replacement for St. Ives Exfoliating Pads? Yes, I believe it is. Aside from an entirely justified POD flair up, I did not see a major difference in acne severity while using the toner. My skin does seem a bit greasier than it did when I was using St. Ives, however. This could be due to a higher concentration of lactic acid, the aloe in the product, or the fact that it's warm and humid where I live right now. That said, I have oily skin; I don't think Silk Naturals is too much for it, but my forehead is still proving to be a trouble zone. I plan to test out a few other exfoliants (glycolic, mandelic) to see which works best for me.

If you're interested in Silk Naturals, know that you can only order products via their website (they also sell samples weee). Shipping is cheap and fast, so no worries on that front.

Next Up:  Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser


* Note on Theraderm pads: These are the thinnest "facial" pads I've seen. They rougher than plain cotton, but way thinner (they absorb/waste less product). Like normal cotton, you'll need to saturate the pad to be able to apply the product adequately; if you want to use less product, cut the pads in half. If you want to create a St. Ives pads situation, these particular pads would be ideal for pre-soaking. They fit perfectly in the St. Ives tub:

St. Ives Exfoliating Pads Alternative - The Acne Experiment
Yes this is a St. Ives tub. (The label peels right off!)

PS: I tested the Silk Naturals toner on my chest and back, and results were... let's just say I got really into Daryl Dixon tees this summer. If you know you handle lactic acid or other chemical exfoliants on your body, pull the trigger on this (it's so cheap!), but I can't say I recommend it from personal experience.

PPS: If this AHA/exfoliant business is confusing, check out my chemical exfoliants guide.

ALL Acne Experiment Posts are listed at The Acne Experiment MOTHER HUB.

Testing Lactic Acid on Adult Acne - The Acne Experiment
Testing Lactic Acid on Adult Acne :: The Acne Experiment


Paula's Choice Resist Toner Review - The Acne Experiment

Paula's Choice Resist Toner Review - The Acne Experiment
All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment

I'm back on the Paula's Choice wagon with a my first review of a PC toner, specifically the Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner for Combination/Oily Skin (which shall henceforth be referred to as PC Resist Toner). Jeez Paula, you really need to reign it in on the product names.

The reason why I'm on such a toner kick right now is due in large part to the fact that I'm not washing my face with cleanser anymore; I often feel as though I need a little swipe action to feel clean, even if it's psychosomatic. Also, some high quality toners contain beneficial skincare ingredients. For someone with acne or reactive skin, a water-based toner formula might be a safer choice than an oil-based serum. Toner is also a good choice for those with oily skin who want a lightweight alternative to moisturizer.

  • Paula's Choice Resist Toner, Combo/Oily Formula (Water, Glycerin, Ethoxydiglycol, Niacinamide, Resveratrol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Phospholipids, Acetyl Glucosamine, Epigallocatechin Gallate, Carnosine, Genistein  Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Adenosine, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Polysorbate 20, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Carbomer, Tetrasodium EDTA,  Phenoxyethanol)
  • St. Ives Exfoliating Pads
  • Spot Treatments As Needed

  1. Wash your face as usual and pat dry (I water wash). 
  2. Obtain approximately 3 sample packets of PC Resist Toner. You're gonna make this stuff last for 2 weeks.
  3. Obtain a small, clean, narrow-mouth screw-top travel bottle (nalgene travel bottles are tits).
  4. Cut the corner off your sample packet and pour the toner into your travel bottle.
  5. Accidentally spill 1/3 of the toner out of the first packet you open.
  6. Make the same mistake with the second packet you open.
  7. Use a thin application pad, cotton round, or your fingers to salvage some of the toner you've spilled on your dirty-ass bathroom counter.
  8. Apply toner to face.
  9. After maybe 10-20 minutes, apply your exfoliant, spot treatments, or whatever else you desire.
  10. Use your travel bottle w/toner in it for the rest of the trial. It's a lot less messy and much more sanitary than applying it from the dribbles on your bathroom counter.
  11. Realize that it's much easier to pour a liquid from a packet if you make the opening very very small and squirt it out in pin-sized toner stream.
  12. Master the art of of packet transfer and share this useless information with the Internet.


Hot damn, I was actually able to make 9 mL of toner last for 2 weeks. This is due, in large part, to super thin application pads (thanks Reddit Skincare Addicts for the hot tip!). I only applied the toner once a day as I only wash my face once a day. The toner has a mild scent and made my skin feel soft, but not greasy. As for the ingredients, I was the most stoked about Niacinamide and Resveratrol. 

Niacinamide is a vitamin (it's a bioactive form of niacin or vitamin B3) that acts as a "skin communicator." It is proven to be effective as an anti-aging ingredient (it improves elasticity and helps remove discolorations), but is also supposed to be beneficial for acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to reduce sebum production

Resveratrol, which is found in red wine, is probably best known as an anti-cancer agent. Resveratrol is an antioxidant so, when it comes to skin care, it is helpful in protecting against "free-radicals." I'm fuzzy on the science of it, but I know antioxidants protect skin from damage, and Reservertrol is supposed to be even better than vitamins C & E in that respect.

PC Resist Toner also contains Licorice Root Extract, which is supposed to lighten skin discolorations, and Willow Bark Extract, which is a relative of salicylic acid. Willow Bark is not a BHA, but has anti-inflammatory properties.

Okay, I'm done blowing the ingredient list up your butt. I know what you're really here for:

Paula's Choice Resist Toner Before & After :: The Acne Experiment
Before & After Paula's Choice Resist Toner
After = results after 2 weeks of testing the toner (in the before pic, I'm wearing eye/lip makeup only)

Paula's Choice Resist Toner Before & After :: The Acne Experiment
 Before & After Paula's Choice Resist Toner for Oily/Combination Skin :: The Acne Experiment

Once again, I found a Paula's Choice product that made my skin soft, improved tone, and balanced moisture/oil, but I ultimately reacted to it. Major bummer. :( 

Paula's Choice Resist Toner Acne :: Crappy Candle

I noticed little bumps on my cheeks about halfway through the trial, but decided to push through until I ran out of the product. A week after I stopped using it, the bumps were gone.

Based on my past experiences with salicylic acid, it is possible that I reacted to the willow bark extract. If you are cool with BHAs, and don't have problems with the other ingredients, you may have better luck with this toner. 

Next Up:  Silk Naturals 8% AHA (Lactic Acid) Toner (it's an exfoliant y'all)


PS:  This is my Paula's Choice refer-a-friend link which gets new customers $10 off their first order. I will always leave a refer-a-friend link on PC reviews, regardless of whether the product worked for me or not, because I know the brand actually does work for a lot of people. Someday my prince will come.

Testing Anti-Aging Toner on Adult Acne :: The Acne Experiment
Testing Anti-Aging Toner on Adult Acne :: The Acne Experiment


Caru Witch Hazel + Bee Balm Toner Review - The Acne Experiment

Caru Witch Hazel + Bee Balm Toner Review - The Acne Experiment
All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment
Hi-yo! I'm kicking off a series of toner reviews with a super simple, all-natural one. Dominique Caron of Caru Skincare contacted me to see if I'd be willing to test out a few of her products. Yes, I got this toner for free and I don't care who knows it. Anyone who has dedicated a ton of time to product testing will say that getting free stuff is tits, and this was my first gratis product. I cried salty tears all over my irritated face when I got that email from her. So exciting.

Caru Witch Hazel + Bee Balm Toner is a combination of several hydrosols, which is a fancy word for floral water. I didn't know what a hydrosol was until a few months ago, when I looked it up, on the Internet. Here's what I figured out: Hydrosols act as a milder, gentler form of essential oil. This is because hydrosols are the watery co-product of essential oil distillation.

When an essential oil is distilled from plants, and the oil rises and is collected, there is a good amount of "fragrant water" left over. This water is what most hydrosols are made from. For higher quality hydrosols, the purpose of the distilling process is to create a hydrosol rather than create an essential oil. Caru hydrosols come from both the US and France (ooo la la), are certified organic, and -- like all true hydrosols -- are 100% alcohol free.

The Bee Balm hydrosol I tested has a pH between 4 and 6 which is the right range for skincare products. It is all natural, and free of preservatives, so it is only supposed to be good for about 4-8 weeks after opening. I opted for refrigeration and avoided double dipping (ie I wet a clean cotton ball and applied, but never wet that same cotton ball again); this significantly prolonged the shelf life of the product.



  1. Wash and dry face as usual. (I've been water washing for months now. Love.)
  2. Get your fancy schmancy hydrosol out of the fridge.
  3. Saturate a clean cotton ball and apply all over face. 
  4. Don't contaminate the bottle with your finger or an eyelash or something.
  5. Put your fancy schamncy hydrosol back in the fridge.
  6. Once the toner is dry, apply any additional products/spot treatments.
  7. Get your fancy schmancy hydrosol back out of the fridge.
  8. Beg a friend or loved one to apply the hydrosol to your back.
  9. Get really mad when they inevitably hesitate.
  10. (They'll do it for you if they love you. Make sad face.)
  11. Put your fancy schmancy hydrosol back in the fridge.
  12. Smile to yourself. YOU WON. YOU WON DAMMIT.


Before we get to photos/conclusions, I want to discuss the ingredients in this product: witch hazel, bee balm, thyme, and lavender.

Caru Witch Hazel + Bee Balm Facial Toner

Lavender is supposed to be healing and thyme is supposed to cleansing. Witch hazel is well known as "nature's astringent": soothing, anti-inflammatory, and high in anti-oxidants. The nice thing about using a pure witch hazel hydrosol is that unlike most witch hazels, it does not contain any additional ingredients (so so many of them contain alcohol, which is super drying). Bee balm, aka "monarda didyma" aka wild bergamot, comes from the mint family and is antimicrobial. Good stuff.

Not good stuff: Paula Bergeron, who may or may not be the boss of me, says all of these ingredients are classified as irritants. eeeps. I realize Paula is not the end-all-be-all when it comes to skincare, and her recommendations tend to fall on the cautious side. I'm thinking, meh? Paula, meh on this.

Not all "irritants" are irritants to all skin. Additionally, the concentration of the ingredients needs to be taken into account; applying undiluted lavender oil to the skin is not the same as applying a lavender hydrosol. Unless you have a known problem with any of these ingredients, hydrosols are probably going to be very mild. As it goes with anything topical - spot test first if you are concerned.

My take on the Caru toner:

My first impression was, holy hell this toner smells like pizza. The thyme hydrosol gives this stuff a straight-up savory scent. It's not super strong, and I got used to it fairly quickly, but it was a little off-putting the first few times I used it. For this first trial, I tested it along my hairline/forehead/nose (I included the chin pics for kicks):

Caru Witch Hazel + Bee Balm Before & After
Before & After Caru Witch Hazel + Bee Balm (Trial #1)
After = results after two weeks of testing the Caru toner
Caru Witch Hazel + Bee Balm Before & After :: The Acne Experiment
Before & After Caru Witch Hazel + Bee Balm Toner :: The Acne Experiment
I didn't react to the stuff at all. If anything, I saw a mild improvement, which could have been due to the exfoliant/spot treatments I was using. Who knows. I decided to test it AGAIN a few weeks later:

Caru Witch Hazel + Bee Balm Toner Before & After
Before & After Caru Witch Hazel + Bee Balm (Trial #2)
After = results after 2.5 weeks of testing the Caru toner (In the After pic, i'm wearing eye/lip makeup only) 
Caru Witch Hazel + Bee Balm Hydrosol Before & After :: The Acne Experiment
Before & After Caru Witch Hazel + Bee Balm Hydrosol :: The Acne Experiment
You'll notice some congestion in my forehead area, particularly in the before shots. This was from the Rosehip oil trial. That mess got worse then better while testing this toner, so I opted to leave the mid trial photos out to avoid confusion. This explanation perhaps added to your confusion. Sorry guys.

A Hot Tip for You:

I used this toner primarily after workouts as an alternative to cleansing. It was *super refresh* for that purpose. Try applying an ice-cold toner straight from the refrigerator when you're overheated, it's a game changer. I think I'm going to start doing this with toners that don't need to be refrigerated; I liked it that much. It also applied it sporadically to my back and chest, and I think it helped a little with the situation going on there. No, I don't have photos of that. I don't take pictures of my body acne. A girl's gotta keep a little mystery about her. I have to draw the line somewhere. Stop harassing me.

Would I use this toner again? Probably. I've had a lot of bad experiences with new products lately, so not having a reaction was nice for a change. At $24-$28, this toner is a bit spendy, but I'd love to eventually use this or one of the other Caru hydrosols post-workout. In the meantime, I'll see if I can dig up a low-ingredient witch hazel and do it like the proletariat do.

Next Up:  Paula's Choice Resist Toner


PS: If you're curious, this toner lasted for way longer than 8 weeks after opening. According to Dominique, the owner, you can tell it has gone bad if there is a milky white film at the bottom. It has yet to get to that point for me, and it's been open for a whopping 11 weeks at the time of writing this.

PPS: Yes, I received this product for free. No, I did not get paid to write this review.* Yes, all opinions are my own. No, I am not a liar/poser/hipster/loser. Yes, I received a second product (charcoal soap), no I did not try it. Soap is too a-scary. Maybe I'll try it on my mottled back.

*Amy Poehler told me to limit my "always" and my "nevers," but seriously, I will never accept payment to write a review on this blog. Never ever. Sorry Amy.

All Acne Experiment Posts + FAQs are in The Acne Experiment MOTHER HUB

Witch Hazel + Bee Balm Hydrosol :: The Acne Experiment
Witch Hazel + Bee Balm 4 Week Review :: The Acne Experiment


Rosehip Seed Oil Review - The Acne Experiment

Rosehip Seed Oil Review - The Acne Experiment
All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment
In hopes of squeezing just one blog post out of April 2015, I've skipped over a few product trials that I should have reviewed before getting to this one. Besides, I know what you ravenous hags want: my face with a ton of acne on it, right? Lots of grease, some tears, and a review of a fabulous holistic skincare treatment that is referred to, by some, as "liquid gold."

Due to it's high concentration of vitamin A, rosehip seed oil is the only natural product that is considered a substitute for retinol or tretinoin (retinoic acid). My past experiences with Retin-A were nothing short of fantastic; my forehead has never looked as clear as it did during my Retin-A heyday. I remember having a dermatologist look at my skin under one of those magnifying dermatologist lights and say "Your forehead is clear." Also, "Is yous a professional gorgeous person? Wowy wow wow."

When I decided to get more natural with my routine, the Retin-A was the first thing to get the axe. Years ago I tested out an old bottle of NOW brand rosehip oil that my mom had kicking around her medicine cabinet. My experience was lackluster, but when I got real serious about my acne research, I realized my half-assed trial was probably closer to quarter-assed.

Not all rosehip oil is made equal. If you're looking for a high quality rosehip oil, look for cold-pressed, unrefined, organic oil that is from Chile. Because the oil has a tendency to oxidize, rosehip in a dark glass, airtight pump is ideal. Store it in the refrigerator to extend it's shelf life; rosehip oil will only be good for about a year once opened and exposed to air. By-the-by, "rosehip seed oil" and "rosehip oil" are the same thing. Rose oil, is not. As such, rosehip oil does not smell like roses.

I got a bottle of InstaNatural from my mom for Christmas and it sat in my refrigerator for 3 months before I cracked the seal. You don't have any clue how freakin' jazzed I was about this trial. I've read that supermodels and fellow professional gorgeous people love rosehip seed oil, and that Princess Shiny Locks herself used it when she was pregnant with the future king of the British Empire.

I'm drooling all over myself. I want this bad.



  1. Obtain some rosehip seed oil. You're gonna look mahvelous dahling.
  2. Store it in your refrigerator until you can't hardly wait any longer.
  3. Choose a good place to spot test it. I chose my forehead because I have bangs. Yay bang.
  4. Clean your face and dry it as usual. I did my normal washcloth+water routine.
  5. Put a teensy tinesy bit of rosehip oil into the palm of your hand and rub it between your fingertips. I found just a half-pump of oil was plenty.
  6. Apply it to your spot test area. I only used it once per day during the forehead trial.
  7. If you're using an exfoliant while using rosehip oil, apply it at a different time of the day than the rosehip oil to minimize the chance of irritation.
  8. After 1-2 weeks, if you're feeling ballsy, apply it all over your face for another 1-2 weeks.
  9. Turn into a real princess.


Before we get to the hot-sexy pics, let me say that rosehip seed oil does not smell like old fish or rotting flesh like so many people complained about in the Amazon reviews. Wanna see a dead body, kid? No, you don't Amazon reviewers, because it will surely punch a hole in your oversensitive olfactory bulb. Rosehip oil is darkish orangish in color, and smells like a multi-vitamin. It does not smell like vomit garbage or anything, I swear it.

The feel of the oil was better than I expected as well. It absorbs quickly, and is not super greasy - I'm sure this is due, in part, to the fact that I purposely applied the smallest amount possible while testing it. It's also due to the fact that rosehip oil is high in linoleic acid, which is a preferred trait for those with oily skin; FYI, for comparison fun, Rosehip has 44% Linoleic acid, Hemp has 56.48%, and Grapeseed has 70.6% (this blog post is very helpful if you want more information).

Please note: InstaNatural doesn't even recommend this rosehip for people with acne, but what the hell do they know anyway. My forehead trial was relatively uneventful, so suck it rules/comedogenic ratings.

Before & After Rosehip Seed Oil :: The Acne Experiment
Before & After Rosehip Seed Oil
"Forehead Trial" After = results after two weeks of testing Rosehip on forehead only

Before & After Rosehip Seed Oil :: The Acne Experiment
Before & After Rosehip Seed Oil :: The Acne Experiment

Yeah! I'M GONNA GET ME SOME soft, beautiful, amazing skin, that is naturally this way because I only use the oils of this plant, native to Chile. I applied it to my whole face for a day or so before I realized trouble was abrewin' in forehead land. Below you will find the fruits of that eruption:

Breakout from Rosehip Seed Oil :: The Acne Experiment
holy hell.
While this fun was all happening, I continued the "trial" on my chin only for 2 weeks. Let me say, I was super excited anyway. The oil was so dry and luxurious and antioxidant rich that I convinced myself I finally found something my chin skin likes.

Perioral Dermatitis Rosehip Oil :: The Acne Experiment
Before & After Rosehip Oil
"Chin Trial" - After = results after testing Rosehip on chin only
In case you can't see it in the after photo, I've aggravated the perioral dermatitis gods. I know it's the oil too, because I applied it slightly beyond my chin, and I had those little bumps slightly beyond my chin too. And just so you know, as I write this 3 weeks later, it is still messed up.

I'm giving this oil to my dog.

Just kidding I'm giving it to my Mom. She'll probably love it.

Next Up:  Caru Witch Hazel + Bee Balm Toner (Hydrosol)


Special Note: I had a person in the comment section of a different blog tell me that rosehip oil is best used diluted with another carrier oil like Jojoba. I'm too afraid to try this oil mixing myself, but if any of YOU have experience with it, I'd love to hear about it.

All Acne Experiment Posts + FAQs are in The Acne Experiment MOTHER HUB

Testing Rosehip Seed Oil on Acne :: Crappy Candle
Testing Rosehip Seed Oil on Acne :: Crappy Candle


Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser Review - The Acne Experiment

Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser Review - The Acne Experiment
All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment

The first official traditional cleanser trial of The Acne Experiment was a weeklong study of Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser. I discovered this stuff on Pinterest over a year ago, before I knew anything about Paula's Choice; the green bottle and 99% natural ingredients were too damned alluring. When I saw that it's also sulfate free, and possibly the gentlest of Paula's face wash offerings, I decided it would be the most logical choice for the inaugural cleanser test.

  • Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Perfectly Natural Cleansing Gel (Water, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Lauryl Glucoside, Coco-Glucoside, Glucose, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Glyceryl Oleate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan, Sodium Phytate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol)
  • St. Ives Exfoliating Pads (water, lactic acid, glycerin, tocopheryl acetate, prunus armeniaca (apricot) fruit extract, vaccinium myrtillus fruit extract, saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) extract, citrus limon (lemon) fruit extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, acer saccharum (sugar maple) extract, betaine, sodium hydroxide, polysorbate 80, polysorbate 20, DMDM hydantoin, fragrance)
  • Spot treatments as needed
  1. Obtain a few sample packets of Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser.
  2. Make sure your hands are clean, then wet your face with warm water.
  3. Cut the corner off one of the packets and put a half-dime-size amount of the gel in your hand.
  4. Lather it between your hands then gently rub all over your face.
  5. Rinse well with warm water.
  6. Pat your face dry with a clean towel.
  7. Use a small binder clip to keep the packet closed. You will be using this same packet for as long as possible, you cheap bastard.
  8. Apply additional products as appropriate.
  9. Make that one sample packet last for a full 5 days. Hot damn.
  10. Congratulate yourself for being such a economical/amazing human being.

Despite how boring it is to dedicate a single face wash to an entire blog post/review, this was actually a super important trial for me. I say this because it was during this trial that I confirmed that foaming face wash gives me cystic chin acne.

Foaming Cleanser + Hormonal/Cystic Acne

Allow me to explain.

I have been using foaming face wash for as long as I can remember. I have no clue what I used in high school because I guess I blocked out that period of my life. I didn't actually have any acne issues until I was in college, so this point is moot. In college, I used Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel, then switched to Cetaphil post college when the real world sat on my ribcage. About a year ago, I started using sulfate free cleanser for the first time (Trader Joe's All-In-One Facial Cleanser) in an effort to curb my Perioral Dermatitis (PD). I continued using the TJoes because it was gentle, cheap, and I heard it's actually $50 cleanser in a $6 bottle; it didn't make much a difference with the PD though.

Throughout these years, a decade in total, I've had continuous painful acne on my chin. It got particularly bad during my mid 20s, but I chalked it up to hormones, face fingers, and stress. No dermatologist or doctor I saw for acne gave me any indication that it was caused by anything else.

So here's the interesting part: 

For the last 10 years, the period of time when I had the least chin acne was during my very first Acne Experiment trial, ie the no face wash month. I didn't want to believe it could be "gentle face wash" that was causing this, so I tested the Trader Joe's cleanser again just before the Jojoba trial. For my efforts, I got two cystic zits on my chin within a few days. I still wasn't convinced.

I figured if something "ideal for baby too" still gave me chin zits, then my face must hate cleanser in general. So here are the results of the Earth Sourced Cleanser trial:

Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleansing Gel Before & After :: The Acne Experiment
Before & After Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleansing Gel 

POOF. Three cystic chin zits, where there were no cystic chin zits before. I'm like some kind of acne magician.

Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser Before & After :: The Acne Experiment
Before/After Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser "Hormonal Acne"

It's a shame because I was actually really enjoying the cleanser. It is very mild and didn't dry me out at all, so if you can tolerate foaming cleansers, I do recommend this one. I was also really looking forward to air travel with sample packets like a rich people do, probably. C'est la vie.

In conclusion, I'm both relieved and horrified. The skin on my chin is uneven and lumpy because of 10 years of cystic acne, and I did it to myself with ignorance. Holy hell.

Next Up: Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cream Cleanser (psych!) Rosehip Seed Oil


PS:  This is my Paula's Choice refer-a-friend link which gets new customers $10 off their first order. I will always leave a refer-a-friend link on PC reviews, regardless of whether the product worked for me or not, because I know the brand actually does work for a lot of people. Plus discounts are tits.

All Acne Experiment Posts + FAQs are in The Acne Experiment MOTHER HUB

This Cleanser Made Me Rethink My Hormonal Acne - The Acne Experiment
This Cleanser Made Me Rethink My Hormonal Acne - The Acne Experiment


The Acne Experiment Guide to 10 Cleanser Types

Is my cleanser causing my acne? :: 10 Cleanser Types

Here's a fun bit of trivia: Your cleanser could be causing your acne. I know this because most of my "hormonal" acne mysteriously disappeared when I stopped using my "gentle, dermatologist recommended cleanser." Unfortunately, for those of us with acne-prone skin, most dermatologist know very little about OTC product formulations. There are a ton of cleansers out there and it can be confusing to navigate it all without some cleanser help.

Oh you lucky duck, I can be your cleanser helper! There are a whopping 10 cleanser types to choose from too:
  1. Traditional Foaming Cleansers
    Virtually every brand carries a facial cleanser that foams. Virtually every brand markets foaming cleansers to people with acne-prone or oily skin.

    The Bummer: Many foaming cleansers, especially those aimed at oily/acne prone skin, contain harsh ingredients or stripping surfactants that can actually make your acne worse.

    Recommendations: If you're testing cleansers, avoid ones that contain active ingredients such as salicylic acid or AHAs like glycolic acid. The reason for this is, if you break out while using a "medicated" cleanser, you won't know if it was an active ingredient causing it or if it was the cleanser itself. Additionally, treatments and exfoliants in cleansers aren't nearly as effective as a product meant to be left on for 20+ minutes. Important note: if you don't mind sulfates, avoid sodium lauryl sulfate and opt for it's milder cousin, sodium laureth sulfate.   Best Bets: CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash, Paula's Choice Hydralight Cleanser, Gentle Cleanser
              CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser        Purpose Gentle Cleansing WashPaula's Choice Hydralight Cleanser Gentle Cleanser

  2. Sulfate Free Foaming Cleansers
    Most foaming cleansers contain "sulfates," a surfactant that foams spectacularly well. Going sulfate free was my first step outside of the traditional cleanser box. I had used Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel for years before switching to the much cheaper, and easier to find, Cetaphil. When I developed perioral dermatitis (PD), I discovered that sulfates may contribute to it, so I cut it out of everything I put on my skin (shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, and facial cleanser). In my case, simply cutting out sulfates was not enough to fix all this (that is my face), but for those with sulfate sensitivity, it can be a godsend.

    The Bummer: Sulfate-free cleansers are not necessarily gentler than a sulfate-containing one. A "sulfate free" label is not a panacea; they can still break you out (they broke me out!)

    Recommendations: Remember that cleansers in this category still contain surfactants otherwise they wouldn't foam. Sulfate-free cleansers are also beloved by "natural" brands, but those products tend to be full of plant extracts which can be irritating to some skin. Stay woke.   Best Bets: Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser (my review), Trader Joe's All in One Facial Cleanser, First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser With Red Clay

            Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Cleanser    Trader Joe's All in One Facial Cleanser First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser With Red Clay