I’m back with another skincare review, and this one combines a few of my favorite things! I’m a big fan of subscription boxes, skincare and retinol, and this review has all three. In a recent(ish) allure beauty box, I received a coupon code for a free trial month of a Curology system (just had to pay $4.95) for shipping. I thought it was a great deal, so I gave it a go. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the process, the formula I got, the website, as well as reviewing the cleanser/moisturizer. **Just to be clear, this is NOT sponsored, just sharing my own experience.**
How it works
As I mentioned in the intro, I basically got to try Curology for free. Custom skincare RX without the visit to the doctor, or the $$? Sign me up!
To get started, you fill out some surveys about your skin, concerns, and overall goals for treatment. I had two main goals: anti-aging concerns (fine lines/wrinkles) and clearing up some dark spots that had recently formed. To give you a little more detail, I’d recently noticed some melasma that had formed on my upper lip- NOT the place you really want to start seeing dark patches of skin. I became self-conscious about it, even though it’s totally normal.
After you fill out your surveys, you submit some pictures of your skin: one straight on, and two from each side of your face, to give your dermatologist a good idea of what your skin looks like now. Once all that is done, they’ll get to work on a custom prescription tailored to your skin type, and overall goals. I think this can take up to three days, but mine only took a day. The next day, my box was shipped out, and I had it on my doorstep a few days later.
If you paid for a subscription (or continued one after the free trial), you’d have a little more flexibility on what products you receive, and how frequently you receive them. You can get a one or two month supply of your prescription, with or without the cleanser/moisturizer option. The two month supply ships free, while the single month costs $4.95 to ship. Both options are $19.99/month (a great deal in my opinion). You can cancel your subscription at any time, as well as pause or delay shipments if you haven’t run out of product yet.
My thoughts on the RX Formula
It turns out, they don’t post much about the formula ingredients, other than your custom prescription details, so it’s hard for me to know what else is in my formulation. However, my custom formula definitely contained:
Tretinoin, Azelaic Acid, and Niacinamide
All of these are great ingredients for the skin concerns/goals I ultimately have, so on paper, the formula starts out really great. Tretinoin is a prescription-only form of Retinol (one of my fave ingredients!), so I was happy to see it included in the formula. Azelaic acid and Niacinamide are also awesome ingredients for texture/skin brightening/dark spot correction, so I was happy with their inclusion as well. However, I can honestly say I wish the formula was a little more concentrated. My derm started me on the lowest concentration of Tretinoin, which usually would make sense. However, I’ve used acids/retinols for a long time, so I kind of wish I was given a stronger dose to start out with. I also have standalone Niacinamide and Azelaic Acid products that contain higher doses of those ingredients, so I wish those were a little higher as well.
Overall, the formula didn’t irritate my skin at all, despite the fact that I used it every day. For the record, for an ENTIRE MONTH, I used NOTHING but this curology system (with the exception of sunscreen) so I could get a good feel for how this system affected my skin. The formula definitely helped with my melasma/discoloration, and I do feel like the Tretinoin helped keep my skin clear and bright. Here is a before/after picture series to get an idea of the “transformation”:
The biggest/most obvious change was definitely the patch of melasma on my upper lip becoming lighter (see below for a day 1 vs day 30 side-by-side). It didn’t completely disappear, but the formula made a significant impact. I think if I stuck with it, I’d be able to really clear it up (especially with proper sun protection). I also noticed an interesting improvement in the “redness” of my skin without make-up/concealer on. This was much more subtle at the time, but I’m really seeing the difference now. I also noticed a reduction in my marionette lines (parenthesis shaped lines on the side of the mouth). They aren’t very prominent, but they are definitely less pronounced than before the best comparison is to look on the right side of my mouth in each picture below.
My thoughts on the cleanser/moisturizer
Affordable, but not all that impressive of a formula for either the cleanser or moisturizer. I prefer a more intense moisturizer when I’m using something as drying as retinol. I also didn’t think the cleanser did a great job at removing make-up, but it was fine for a second cleanse or morning cleanse.
I think Curology is a fantastic deal, when it’s all said and done. I personally didn’t care much for their cleanser/moisturizer, but my custom treatment was excellent. The price is also VERY impressive for what you are getting. Just the fact that you aren’t having to pay for a dermatology appointment, combined with the VERY affordable price of the product is insane compared to what you’d pay for a retinol product at Sephora. Not to mention, you wouldn’t be able to get anything NEARLY as strong or effective over the counter. I’ll definitely be keeping my custom prescription subscription, although I will still use other products (meaning I won’t need a new bottle every two months).
My biggest problem with Curology is kind of an unfair one (but also, not really). I think it is AWESOME that Curology is making prescription retinol easy and affordable to attain- HOWEVER- I kind of have a problem with them not adding an SPF into their product line-up. If this is truly supposed to be a subscription “System” that you can “set and forget”, then it is almost irresponsible to not add a sunscreen product to the lineup to ensure that their users are protecting their delicate, sensitized skin. I’ve said it SO MANY times before on this blog- if you aren’t going to use SPF, don’t waste your money on other anti-aging skincare products. The last thing anyone would want, is for subscribers to start using prescription retinol products, and then expose their freshly overturned skin cells to harmful UV rays. This would essentially make their long-term skincare problems (as far as aging concerns go) worse, as well as put them at risk for skin cancer.
All that being said, I’d highly recommend giving curology a go. It’s virtually free to try, and you get a whole month worth of treatment to decide if it’s right for you. If you’d like to try the products for a month, click here.
Until next time,
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