Curology products and routine

How to check your products and establish your routine

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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.

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Whether you’re a new Curology member, you’ve recently changed the ingredients in your Custom Formula, 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.  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 extra 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 is formulated to not 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.

Check out our guides for more cleanser or moisturizer recommendations for all skin types.

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

An illustration of what not to use when starting Curology: no AHA's, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or rotating brush heads.

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

Q: Can I use witch hazel with Curology products?

Yes. Witch hazel can be used, as long as it's alcohol-free!

If your skin is sensitive, witch hazel may be irritating . For most people, 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 for any of the potentially pore-clogging ingredients listed here.

Q: Can I use tea tree oil with my skin routine?

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! Make sure to dilute tea tree oil, before you use it.

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).

Illustration on diluting oil with text that reads "1 part tea tree oil," "3 parts sunflower oil"

Q: Can I use a toner with my Curology routine?

You don’t need toner, and we generally suggest avoiding 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.

Q: Can I use serums with my Curology formula?

You can use serums as long as they don’t contain acids, such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Find out how to safely incorporate AHAs and BHAs in your skincare routine.

Q: Can I use face masks with my custom formula?

You can use a mask as long as it doesn’t contain strong acids or other potentially 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 by making sure it doesn’t contain the potentially pore-clogging ingredients mentioned here

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

Q: In what order should I use products in my Curology routine?

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

For example: Step 1. Cleanser Step 2. (Optional) Emergency spot patch, if needed Step 3. (Optional) Light, liquid products such as serum or witch hazel Step 4. Your Curology Custom Formula—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.

Skincare Product Amounts

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

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

Start slow with your skincare routine

If your skin isn’t experiencing any irritation from your custom Curology cream after a couple of 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 judgment based on how your skin feels and looks when you add the other product.

Editorial Review: We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.

Product Links: Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).

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