Is Personalized Skincare Worth the Hype? I Tried Curology, The Cult Hit Brand

June 7, 2022

Do any of you remember Proactive? When I was in high school, many of my peers used it for their acne. For a while, the brand became so popular that there was a Proactive vending machine at the mall in my hometown. *rolls eyes*

As for me, I did not go through a period of adolescence with acne. Nor did I live in a home where resources were spent on things such as facial care.  I never thought about facial care until I matured, and then I learned what I could from my friends. By watching them, I slowly started experimenting with products and finding what “worked” for me.

When I learned about the ubiquity of animal testing, I went through a trial-and-error process again, this time with natural/vegan/cruelty-free products. Eventually, I found a few staples I love and a few splurges on the side to tinker with. My staples include Ceramedx, Thayers, and The Ordinary. Splurges were aplenty, such as Dr. Dennis Gross, Farmacy, Biossance, Drunk Elephant and Laneige. I enjoyed these higher-end products, naturally some more than others. But I never committed to incorporating them into my routine.

Fast forward some years and a few facials later. Based on the experts, my staple routine seemed to be working for me. Ceramide skin therapy to the rescue! Admittedly, I was lazy about toning until an esthetician told me to think of it like preparing your skin to receive the hydration. Welp, that motivated me. I use Brayer’s Witch Hazel as a facial toner every time I cleanse my face, before applying serums and moisturizers.

But it’s a lot, right? Not everyone has friends or estheticians to learn from. And what about aging? Should I continue blindly trying new products, each designed to target a specific emerging concern?

Then I moved to a new city. It took months to figure out how to obtain the staple products that I need (without patronizing Amazon). My shopping day each week exhausts me, sometimes taking hours since I have to visit multiple stores in city traffic. I was ready to subtract.

One unremarkable night a few weeks ago, I was lounging on my sofa reading. I often stream television or music for background noise, and I heard an ad for Curology that sparked my interest. Research ensued, and I learned that the brand is both vegan and Leaping Bunny-certified. I thought, why not try it? For the cost of shipping (around $6) I could try a free month of Curology products, customized for my skin by dermatologists, delivered to my door.

When you sign up, you must submit pictures of your face. Also, there are several questions to answer regarding your current skin care regimen and your skin concerns. Full disclosure: I don’t have real skin concerns. Just a bit of hyperpigmentation and the occasional blemish. But I thought, hey, this is an opportunity. I want my personalized skincare to protect against all of the things. So, I did include that I am concerned about firmness and fine lines as well.

About a week later, I received a cleanser, moisturizer, personalized skin cream, lip balm, make up remover, and emergency blemish treatment “spots.”

It has been just over two weeks since I started the daily regimen.


Have you ever tried a new product and immediately knew you liked it? That is how I feel about these products. The cleanser is an unscented gel that is gentle yet effective. The moisturizer is more of a cream-gel that is light but powerful. (I think of my Mom’s Clinique Moisture Surge moisturizer.) And the moisturizer wears really well under makeup or alone. My customized formula (to address my desired areas) is a thicker white cream that I am instructed to use after nighttime cleansing, before moisturizing.

In other words, it’s crazy how simple it is. Cleanse and moisturize morning and night. In the evening, use the customizable formula between cleansing and moisturizing. If you’re looking to simplify your skincare routine, you may need to look no further.

After about a week of using the routine, I noticed I was getting some unusual attention. A young woman at the market stared at me awkwardly and then apologized, telling me it was because I had such beautiful skin. Later the same day, I was approached by a man while I was running to tell me my face looked so healthy. Sure, this could all be coincidental. It is warmer out so more folks are out.

And there are some negatives to consider before jumping in yourselves.


The products come in single-use plastic bottles. It would be so nice for them to provide chic, glass bottles that could be sent back and refilled.

There is no SPF in the products, even though the brand advocates the use of daily sunscreen. As they should.

No toner. So I am still using Thayers to tone after I cleanse. Pretty sure I’ll take that habit to the grave.

As part of the subscription, you receive automatic shipments every 8 weeks. You can cancel anytime and also reschedule shipments—but for those looking to simplify life, that additional task may not be ideal.


The price. Originally my box was going to be around $80.00 and would ship every two months. So I guess, ask yourself if you would normally spend $40/month on skincare.

But you can “customize” your box to reflect the price. Since I don’t wear makeup often, I went ahead and removed the makeup remover. (Even though theirs is really nice! It is a micellar remover that gets off even the most stubborn eye makeup, and doesn’t sting or require a rinse.) I also removed the acne treatment spots and lip balm, as I certainly don’t need new very often. That brought my box down to less than $60.

And don’t worry, you can always go back and add a product or three to your next shipment if you want.

The verdict? I think I’m going to stick with Curology for a while and see how it goes.

What do you think, would you try personalized skincare?

Also see: I Tried A Vampire Facial—And Spoiler Alert, I Liked It

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Photo: Globencer via Unsplash; Curology

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