Updated: Nov 15
By: Grace Copperthite
I have had acne-prone, dry-as-the-Sahara Desert, hyperpigmented, scarred skin since I was 12-years-old. I’ve been through the wringer with so many brands and prescriptions. If your skin is anything like mine then I’m hoping these reviews can save you some time in figuring out what product might work best for you.
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Scrub, used in combination with Clean & Clear Essentials Dual Action Facial Moisturizer.
Overall Rating: 3/10
I gave this little combo a three out of 10 because it was my first skincare routine when I was in middle school. As a 19-year-old I wouldn’t recommend these products to anyone who has even the slightest bit of acne. Using a scrub on your face as a daily wash will strip your skin of moisture and create micro-tears in your skin barrier. The Clean & Clear moisturizer was alright for beginner, pre-teen skincare, but again, if you are above the age of 12, please ditch these products. You deserve better.
Overall Rating: 0/10
This product gave me trauma. The skin on my nose ceased to exist, and kids at school made fun of me for having dry skin. If your skin is dry, avoid harsh topicals like this unless you are smart enough to combine it with an ultra-thick, hydrating moisturizer. I was 13, so Clean & Clear was still my go-to, which was very unfortunate.
Overall Rating: 4/10
I only give this line an extra point from my Grapefruit/Clean & Clear fiasco because it actually had acne-fighting agents in it. The texture of the face wash is like wet sand. Would not recommend, again, unless you have a really thick moisturizer (I recommend Versed’s Skin Soak Rich Moisture Cream or Clinique Moisture Surge) to combat the drying properties in the wash.
Clear Start by Dermalogica
Overall Rating: 8/10
When I first tried this line, I noticed a visible difference within three days, and every product felt gentle and hydrating on my skin. If you have mild acne and dry skin, I highly recommend trying these products. The only problem I had was the lack of strength it provided to fully fight off all of my acne.
Products I would still use: The face wash and toner mist are AWESOME. They feel so gentle, especially for being acne-targeting products.
Overall Rating: 5/10
I was totally obsessed with the aesthetic of the packaging and the promise of dewy skin, so I had to try this line out. The products don’t feel heavy but also not too light, and the pH balanced formula of the Milky Jelly Cleanser is just * chef’s kiss.* However, this line did not do much for my acne and scarring. If you have mostly clear skin with minimal breakouts, I would recommend you give Glossier’s line a try.
Products I love: the Invisible Shield sunscreen (non-greasy AND no white streaks), Bubblewrap eye and lip plumping cream (so hydrating it’s insane), and the iconic Balm Dotcoms (Berry is my favorite).
Overall Rating: 7/10
I was excited to try Mamonade because Korean skincare has shown my mom ridiculous results. I was intrigued by their story. They have their own private island where they grow the flowers used in their products. Every single product smells like fresh flowers and not in a gross, artificial way.
The reason why this product doesn’t receive a 10/10 rating is because it is not cruelty-free and it did not do much for my acne. It improved the overall glowiness of my skin and my hyperpigmentation, so I would recommend this product to anyone with mild acne and hyperpigmentation or anyone who wants to even out their overall skin tone.
Products I love: The Petal Spa Oil to Foam Cleanser (super gentle), the Rose Water Toner (made my skin feel so soft), and the Floral Moisture cream (very hydrating).
Overall Rating: 3/10
Proactiv was drying and stripping to my skin. I went through about 20 different moisturizers trying to find one that would balance out how dry my skin became. I used this product for about three years, and only noticed small differences in my skin. Once again, here is another face wash that feels like wet sand and will strip your skin. My esthetician called me in the middle of the night to tell me she couldn’t sleep because I was using Proactiv.
If you are still using this product, I highly encourage you to try something else… The purging period with this line is no fun either.
Overall Rating: 7/10
This is the line my esthetician gave me after I stopped using Proactiv. The products are super gentle yet still effective and also really good for my hyperpigmentation. However, my skin wasn’t fully in love with these products.
My pores seemed more clogged and the topical I tried (Growth Factor Gel) was not right for my acne. It’s also super pricey, especially for how much product I needed to address all of my skin’s issues. This line is specifically targeted for people with cystic acne or aging skin, so if that’s you, I highly recommend it.
Products I Would Still Use: Beta Green Tea Cleanser and the Hydra Complex Serum (both products smell so yummy and feel very soothing and gentle).
Overall Rating: 10/10
I currently use the Curology SuperBottle in combination with Versed Skincare (see below) and I love it. Their dermatologist team makes a formula for you and assesses your skin needs specifically. You can also chat with a provider about any concerns you may have or if you want to switch up your formula.
Before Curology, my acne was at its worst due to the purging from Proactiv. My scarring was taking longer to fade and my skin was super red and inflamed. After using Curology for almost a year, I have noticed a huge difference in my skin’s texture and tone. I have less redness and my scarring heals quicker; I’ve even seen some bumps go away overnight!
Overall rating: 9/10
The only reason Versed isn’t 10/10 in my book is because their serums tend to break my skin out. Besides their serums, I am obsessed with this line. They have products that help with any kind of skin concern for all skin types, and they are a natural, cruelty-free brand. They are affordable, which is great for a struggling college student. My skincare routine consists of Versed and Curiology and it is doing wonders for my skin.
Products I Use: The Day Dissolve Oil Cleansing Balm, Back-Up Plan Acne Control Body Mist, Baby Cheeks Hydrating Milk Toner, Skin Soak Rich Moisture Cream, and the Vacation Eyes Brightening Eye Gel. I swear by literally all of these products.
My Morning Skincare Routine:
Wash with Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple (gentle and non stripping, also removes makeup!)
Tone with Versed Baby Cheeks Hydrating Milk Toner
This toner has drastically improved the softness and texture of my skin. If you are struggling with dry patches or flaky skin, give this toner a try!
Apply a few drops of Image Skincare’s Vital C ACE Serum (improves the appearance of redness and fades scars)
Moisturize with Versed Skin Soak Rich Moisture Cream
A little goes a long way with this product. My skin has never been flaky while using this moisturizer, which is very difficult for me to achieve.
Glossier’s Invisible Shield Sunscreen
NEVER forget SPF! By using sunscreen, you will prevent premature aging, sun spots, and scars will heal faster. Make sure you are applying sunscreen, even if your moisturizer contains SPF.
My Nighttime Routine: Versed Day Dissolve Oil Cleansing Balm
I use this cleanser to get all the makeup off my face before I wash it with my Philosophy wash. Double cleansing helps ensure that all the dirt, makeup and oil are off your face so that your water-based cleanser can make your skin squeaky-clean.
Wash with Purity Made Simple
Tone with Baby Cheeks Hydrating Milk Toner
Moisturize with Skin Soak Rich Moisture Cream
Apply a thin layer (1-1.5 pumps) of Curology
My Curology provider recommended I apply my moisturizer first so the medicine in Curology is less harsh on my skin; it will work the same!
I hope you enjoyed my complete review of all the skincare lines and products I’ve used and best of luck in finding a product or brand that works for your skin!