Curology products and routine

How to check your products and establish your routine

5 minute read

We’re here to tell you what we know, but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider about your specific health concerns.

Table of Contents

Whether you’re a new Curology member (welcome!), you’ve recently changed the ingredients in your custom mix, or you’re just looking to try out a new product, you may be wondering: can I use (insert product name here) while using Curology?

We’re here to empower you to know what’s right for your skin. You know that old saying: give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime? Our version of that is to teach you what ingredients to avoid so you can tell if any product is okay. Read on for a quick step-by-step how-to guide to checking any product for potentially pore-clogging or skin-irritating ingredients.

Q: Can you recommend a cleanser/moisturizer?

We get this question a lot, which is why we made our own! We designed the Curology cleanser and not one, but two moisturizers. All of the products we offer in our 3-step skincare set are made to work for every skin type, even sensitive or acne-prone!

The moisturizer was designed by our in-house dermatologists to be the ideal everyday moisturizer. This lightweight gel formula feels soft and light on the skin while it hydrates with hyaluronic acid—and keeps moisture locked in, too. It’s great for acne-prone and sensitive skin, formulated to be non-comedogenic and free of parabens, common allergens, sulfates, fragrances, dyes, or any other common skin-irritating ingredients. Better yet, the moisturizer clocks in at under $10 per bottle when you subscribe to the 3-step Curology set!

The rich moisturizer provides deep hydration for dry or aging skin. Our dermatologists formulated this creamy moisturizer to work twice as hard: first it adds moisture to the skin, then it traps that moisture in. Your skin will stay soft and protected all day (or night) long, thanks to 6 hydrating ingredients including hyaluronic acid and shea butter.

Layer up as much as you’d like—this won’t clog pores. It’s designed to pair perfectly with your custom Curology formula and Curology cleanser as part of the 3-step set. So sit back, relax, and let the rich moisturizer work its magic on your thirsty skin.

For more cleanser or moisturizer recommendations, check out our handy-dandy Guides with plenty of product recommendations for every skin type.

Q: What should I avoid in my first few weeks of using Curology?

Your skin might usually tolerate these just fine, but using them in combination with your Curology cream can cause dryness and irritation.

  • Over-the-counter acne products

  • AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, etc.)

  • BHA (beta-hydroxy acid, such as salicylic acid)

  • Vitamin C

  • Retinol

  • Physical exfoliators (rotating devices such as Clarisonic)

  • Benzoyl peroxide

  • Scrubs

Q: Can I continue using…

Witch hazel?

Fine to use — just make sure it’s alcohol-free!

If your skin is sensitive, witch hazel may be irritating — but for most people, it’s fine. Especially if you have oily skin, witch hazel can be a good addition to your routine. It’s been used since ancient times to soothe minor skin irritations, itching and dryness because of its anti-inflammatory properties, and it also has an astringent effect (meaning it dries out oily skin).

If you’re using not pure witch hazel but a product that contains it, make sure it won’t clog your pores by checking it on — our quick guide is below.

Tea tree oil?

Dilute it before you use it. Tea tree oil can be helpful in treating acne with its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, and astringent properties. But 100% tea tree oil solution is very irritating to the skin!

For a spot treatment, dilute 1 part tea tree oil with 3 parts oil of your choice, such as sunflower, castor, jojoba or hemp oil (just not coconut oil).


You don’t need toner, and definitely don’t use toners with alcohol in them. Here’s our guide to toners. In our guide, we do recommend some toners that are safe to use, so check it out!

Apple cider vinegar?

Avoid, or dilute it before you use it. Here’s a blog post explaining why! The long and short of it is that apple cider vinegar can burn sensitive skin, and remember: the burn does not mean it’s working. If you want to try it, the key is to dilute 1 part vinegar with 4 parts water, so it won’t be too strong and irritating.


Fine to use — as long as it doesn’t contain acids, such as AHAs or BHAs. Read our blog post for more info!


Fine to use — as long as it doesn’t contain acids or other irritating ingredients. Again, check the ingredients to make sure! Here’s our guide to masks.

Q: How to check a product for pore-clogging or irritating ingredients

You can check the acne-causing potential of the products you use on Start by typing the product name into the search box — an analysis might already be on the site! But if it’s not there, here’s what you do.

Sound like a lot of work? You can always check our quick lists of recommended cleansersmoisturizers, and sunscreens as a starting point.

Q: In what order should I do my routine?

We recommend following the product’s consistency, starting from thinnest to thickest.

For example: Step 1. Cleanser Step 2. (Optional) Spot patch, if needed Step 3. (Optional) Light, liquid products such as serum or witch hazel Step 4. Your custom Curology cream—nighttime only Step 5. Moisturizer—and don’t forget the sunscreen!

Not sure how much of each of your skincare products to use? Check out our handy guide below.

Q: When should I use a spot patch?

When you’ve got a large, painful pimple you want gone in a pinch, apply the Emergency Spot Patch by Curology—a hydrocolloid patch that absorbs pus and oil. Just remember to apply it before your Curology cream.

Instructions 1. Apply patch to problem spot 2. Wait 6-24 hours, then peel off 3. Repeat daily as needed

Take it easy

If your skin isn’t experiencing any irritation on your custom Curology cream after a couple weeks, and you want to use any of the above ingredients or products, that’s okay — trust your skin! The important thing is to start low and go slow. Try using that product every other day or two max — the more you space it out, the less likely you are to irritate your skin. Use your best judgement based on how your skin feels and looks when you add the other product.


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bottle price
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