Is Curology Worth the Hype? I Tried the Trendy Skin-Care App to Find Out
It's hard to say when I first noticed Curology ads on YouTube, but I am sure of one thing: the brand quickly landed on my radar — and stayed there. Maybe it was the convincing before-and-after photos splashed across my laptop screen, or maybe it was the familiar faces and voices of popular Gen Z YouTubers behind those ads. It's most likely a combination of both, but either way, I've been intrigued ever since. Fast forward to today, and I can finally say I've tried it.
At the beginning of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the US, many of us were left wondering if and when real life would resume. Would hair salons be closed indefinitely? Would in-person shopping ever be the same? Would (and could) telemedicine be an effective replacement for in-person care? I decided to explore the latter question by diving into the world of digital dermatology. That's where Curology comes in.
Although there are countless ways to address and treat your skin-care concerns online — from active forums to digital appointments and beyond — Curology not only seemed like a simple, customized, and trustworthy process (licensed professionals assess your skin), but truthfully, I was curious to know if it was worth the hype. So now, two months after filling out the brand's easy skin-care quiz, I'm sharing my thoughts and results.
My Skin Before and Early Impressions
My new Curology products landed in my mailbox a week or so after completing the quiz. I chose to try the full three-step system (cleanser, the brand's signature cream, and moisturizer) priced at $60 total, though you can also purchase the cream alone. As instructed, I began using them every day: cleanser and moisturizer in the morning, adding the cream in only at night.
The cleanser and moisturizer both felt gentle and simple — no burning, irritation, extra oiliness, etc. — but the cream is what I was particularly curious about. My custom formula included two percent azelaic acid (to unclog pores, improve skin texture, and lighten), one percent clindamycin (an antibacterial that fights inflammation), and four percent niacinamide (a redness- and dark-spot-reducing antioxidant). I always take note of how new formulas feel on my skin (especially those that are medicated or include acids), and there was absolutely zero sting or itchiness. I had no reactions to the formula, either.
A Few Weeks After Using Curology
With any new skin-care product, breakouts or changes to your complexion can be normal as your skin goes through a purging process. This happened — although very mildly — in the first few weeks of my Curology journey. I began the treatment with mostly clear skin, but a bit of texture, healing dark spots, and a breakout around my mouth. After a few weeks, some small red bumps had appeared on various parts of my face. Conveniently, this is the same time you can check in with your provider via Curology's platform, either by answering a few simple questions or sending a direct message.
2 Months After Using Curology
Skin changes don't happen overnight, and rarely even within a few weeks — especially depending on the severity of your concerns. For the sake of fairness, I decided to test my Curology products for two months, so here's what I'm currently working with.
It's worth mentioning that there are a few important variables at play here, including ones that likely had an impact on the state of my skin in its "before" state, too. One, I tested Curology while in lockdown, and two, I've spent the entirety of that time in Florida. This means I've rarely worn makeup (maybe once a week if that) and I'm in a climate that my skin always seems to love (especially compared to New York City). My skin was better and clearer than normal to begin with, and it's virtually blemish-free two months later. Aside from a tiny bit of texture and a hint of redness, it's pretty much thriving.
So what's the final verdict? Curology gets a check in my book. The entire process was incredibly easy (it even auto-shipped new products once my first bottles started running low), the platform is user-friendly and well laid out, and knowing there was a professional on the other end gave me an added sense of comfort.
All that said, I can't speak to its effectiveness for someone dealing with more severe breakouts or specific skin questions. While my experience was smooth sailing, someone whose concerns require more intense or immediate attention might prefer a dermatologist they can easily call or video chat with. As with any product or service, results may vary.