An updated Curology review + 6 tips to get the most out of your prescription
It’s been 8 months since I first raved about Curology, and after seeing so many referral signups (thank you so much!!), I want to provide an updated Curology review and how to best use your prescription to get the maximum effects with miminum damage.
My 2nd Prescription Formula
For those unfamiliar with Curology, it’s an online service that allows you to receive a customized prescription skincare formulated by a licensed healthcare provider! Each formula is created based on your skin conditions and needs, and you can chat with your healthcare provider anytime to ask questions or tweak your formula.
So yes I’m still on my 2nd prescription because I had kept having to take breaks between each use. It’s so ridiculously strong that my face would burn and flake each time, and it’s taken me countless tries (my poor face) to finally come to a routine that worked without burning my face off.
4% azelaic acid + 0.05% tretinoin + 4% niacinamide
Azelaic acid is primarily used for treating acne and rosacea (source), and typically available via prescription only. However, studies have shown that it’s also effective against hyperpigmentation, and that using it together with tretinoin can boost its brightening effects (source)!
But in order for me to get azelaic acid in my formula, I had to bump up my tretinoin from 0.0125% to 0.05%. In hindsight that probably wasn’t the best idea, but it’s a lesson learned!
6 tips for getting the most out of your prescription
Aka, lessons learned from my experience with Curology so far so you don’t have to repeat my mistakes!
- Progress slowly with each prescription. This allows your skin to gradually adjust to the stronger formula and decreases the chance of your skin molting. Unless you’re stubborn like me and insist on having the azelaic + tretinoin combo, then in that case, really pay attention to tips #2-#5.
- Use it every other day when starting out. This is especially important if it’s your first Curology prescription or if you’ve increased your prescription strength significantly. Taking a day off in between may seem inefficient, but it’s better than having to take weeks off because your face is all tight and flaky. #truestory
- Use it at the end of your routine, right before your moisturizer. The serums and essences you layered on before act as a buffer so your skin won’t get knocked out with the full force of the active ingredients. Once your skin has adjusted to the prescription, you can move Curology to the start of your routine.
- Layer on hydrating and healing products in your routine. I can’t stress this one enough. These prescription ingredients can and will probably dry out + irritate your skin, so it’s super important that you counter this with hydrating and healing products in your routine. Check out my list of 7 destressing skincare ingredients for some ideas! Other great ingredients to look for are ceramides and fatty acids, which will help strengthen your skin’s natural barriers.
- Don’t apply Curology when your skin is wet. The water will actually help the ingredients absorb faster, which will increase the chances of them irritating your skin. If you’re applying Curology right after cleansing, make sure your skin is completely dry! If you’re applying it after a serum or a sheet mask, pat the essence in first!
- Sunscreen is crucial. Sunscreen is crucial even if you don’t use Curology, but it’s even more important when you do! Tretinoin can increase skin’s photosensitivity, so if you skip sunscreen, you can end up doing more damage to your skin than if you didn’t use Curology!
My personal Curology routine
This is a routine I’ve come up with after a lot of tweaking, and so far it’s been working fab for me, even with the drier cold weather :)
- Everything from the cleanser to serum step is the same as my regular routine. However I avoid using anything with alcohol to minimize additional irritation, and I include at least one hydrating serum, like the Naruko Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Jelly Lotion (full review here) which I’m currently loving. Another great option is the Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum (full review here).
- Right before I apply Curology, I do a mini sheetmask sandwich with the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate + a nourishing sheet mask. Some of my favorites to use are the My Beauty Diary Alps Edelweiss Ultra Repairing Mask, the Etude House I Need You, Royal Jelly! Mask, the Etude House I Need You, Snail! Mask, and the Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Mask.
- After applying Curology, I apply the Skin Actives Every Lipid Serum (full review here) to nourish and strengthen my skin’s moisture barrier. It smells a bit funky, but it contains ceramides, fatty acids, and all sorts of great oils to really hydrate my skin!
- Next I follow up with a cream that contains calming ingredients. I’m currently using and loving the Gobdigoun 24K Placenta Power Cream (full review here), but the Klairs Midnight Blue Claming Cream (full review here) is a fantastic alternative, or you can try the Dr.Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream. This is also when I apply my eye cream.
- Since the calming creams aren’t very hydrating or occlusive, I apply a heavier cream or sleeping pack to end the routine. I alternate between the Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream and the Naruko Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Hydrating Cream (full review here), but the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is an affordable + effective option as well!
- Lastly, I only use Curology every other day. On days I don’t use Curology, I use the Dr. Wu Intensive Renewal Serum with 18% Mandelic Acid right after cleansing, which sounds intensive, but is actually really gentle. Then I continue on with my regular skincare routine.
The morning after
On nights I use Curology, I make sure to use an extra gentle cleanser the morning after. You can even use plain water, but I prefer the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser (full review here) to gently remove any extra sebum. I also make sure to layer on the hydrating serums, and switch my usual day moisturizer with the same calming cream from the night before. Apply some sunscreen, and I’m ready to go!
I’ve been using this routine for about 2 weeks now and it’s been working very well. The flaking is minimal, and no purging so far! The best part is that I’ve noticed a reduction in fine lines with Curology back in my routine. So now that I’m using it consistenly again, I’ll definitely get another review up to compare the conditions of my dark spots – stay tuned!
If you’re interested in trying out Curology, you can use my referral link and get your first prescription free! If you’re not happy with the results, they offer a 90-days money back guarantee. Hopefully with these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the full benefits of your prescription, side-effects free!
As always, questions are always welcome! Or if you have any specific topics/reviews you’d like to see, please let me know!