skincare diaries: the customized treatment

Will I ever be able to live without it?

I was lucky when I hit adolescence in the sense that I never developed horrible acne. As a teenager, my skin stayed relatively smooth, clear, and dewey-but-not-oily. (I hated that last part — I wanted matte skin more than anything in the world.) I wasn't fully lactose-intolerant just yet, and I could eat whatever I wanted without any visible skin repercussions. My face would only really freak out if I slept in makeup. Needless to say, I figured out how to fix that rather quickly.

Things didn’t go downhill until college. Something about the increased stress, cafeteria food, and late nights really pushed my skin over the edge. I also realized that my dairy consumption was wrecking havoc, both internally and externally. I cut out animal products entirely, went full vegan for a year, and crossed my fingers that everything would be just fine.

I was sorely mistaken. My skin failed to look as good as it was in high school, no matter what I did. I'd always have the same breakouts in the same spots, especially during that time of the month. If the fates were kind, I'd have two weeks of perfect skin. And then the cycle would repeat again.

I'd accepted that this unending cycle would just be part of my twenties. Maybe, I thought, my hormones would balance themselves out by the time I turned thirty. Was that a pleasant thought? No. But I figured I'd have to settle and be content.

And that's when I met Curology.

curology review


The Background

Curology is a targeted skincare product that is customized to your skin's unique needs. They have dermatologists on staff (and assign you to one upon signing up for their subscription-based services) who can assess what ingredients need to go into your personalized formula. This all sounds fine and dandy and great, but I was still skeptical — I'd met with a derm after freshman year, and hadn't had any positive results from prescribed acne products. In all honestly, it was Curology's gallery of before and after photos that really sold me.

In order to assess your skin's needs, the providers ask you to explain your primary concerns, skin problems, and send in three selfies. Yes, you read that correctly: three unfiltered, no-makeup photos, showing the different angles of your face and all the blemishes that cover them. Curology is kind enough to offer a 30-day free trial, plus the cost of shipping your bottle to you. I'd tried everything else, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

Now, my skin has never been a worst-case-scenario. But as mentioned, I did have recurring breakouts (particularly on my chin and cheeks) and some discoloration from previous zits. I really wanted my face to be even and clear, and that was my goal when testing out the product.

One caveat I do want to mention: Curology does use an almond oil base. I am allergic to almond oil, however, I can use their product because the allergens are removed during the refining process. That said, if you are extremely allergic to almonds or other tree nuts, this product may not be suitable for you. My Curology provider brought this to my attention during my initial consultation, and I decided to continue with my free trial; I figured that if I had a reaction, I'd just stop using it. While I haven't had any issues over my three months of usage, I do think that this is important to note.


The Routine

Curology is designed to work while you sleep, so it goes on right before bed. This worked easily with my existing skincare routine. I would wash my face, use a toner, and then apply an AHA chemical exfoliant before applying serum. The Curology treatment would then go on top, after allowing some time for the serum to absorb. Curology doesn't recommend using an AHA exfoliant in conjunction with their program, especially when you're first starting out. I only added the exfoliant in when I noticed that my bottle's ingredients needed to be a bit stronger. (I still had a few recurring breakout spots and my new, updated bottle wouldn't be sent out for another month.)


The Results

My skin problems didn't totally disappear during my first month, but I saw great results during my thirty-day trial. I've continued to use Curology on a subscription basis over the last three months. As mentioned, my bottle's formula has changed a bit — one of the perks of total customization — and I'm loving how things are progressing. In my three months of usage, the recurring breakouts have almost ceased entirely, and my skin is even, smooth, and looking better than ever. The number of new breakouts or blemishes has dropped; I might see about three or four spots per month, as opposed to the dozens I’d have before using Curology.


curology on the shelf

The Bottom Line

This is, without a doubt, the most effective treatment I've used on my skin. Subscription prices start at $19.95 for a one-month supply bottle, and $39.90 for the two-month size. I've been able to make my two-month bottle last longer than projected, and I can delay my new bottle's shipment if needed. Overall, it's the best skincare purchase I've made yet: functional, effective, and well-priced.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own.