These Custom Skin-Care Brands Will Help You Tailor Your Routine
It's always gratifying to know that something was designed to your specifications, be it a made-to-measure pantsuit or a playlist a friend curated based on your music tastes. And thanks to an ongoing trend in the beauty industry, you can now take advantage of personalized skin-care products, regardless of whether a cosmetic formulator owes you a favor.
Custom skin-care brands take a lot of the guesswork out of choosing skin-care products. Typically you respond to a quiz on the brand's site that takes around five minutes, answering questions about your skin type, lifestyle, and any concerns you're hoping to address. Then an algorithm — and in some cases, a health professional who reviews your results — hooks you up with a routine that's optimized for your skin. If you've ever spent too long choosing a skin-care product, sifting through reviews and forum threads, then you probably understand the appeal of customized skin products.
Of course, now that custom skin care has taken off, you could end up spending the same time and energy deliberating on which brand to go with. For a quick comparison of the best options, keep reading. (Related: Are Personalized Beauty Products Worth It?)
Function of Beauty
Function of Beauty started as a custom hair-care company and has since added body care and skin care to its lineup. Whatever you go with, you can expect a highly personalized formula — Function of Beauty offers over 87 trillion unique combinations, according to the brand. After answering four quick questions about your skin, you can input your name to be printed on the bottle(s), select fragranced or fragrance-free, and choose between a one-time or recurring shipment. You can then order your custom cleanser, moisturizer, and/or serum, which cost $25, $45, and $50, respectively.
You don't have to live in L.A. to get tailored skin-care recs courtesy of celebrity aesthetician Renée Rouleau. Rouleau, who's treated the likes of Demi Lovato, Lili Reinhart, and Camila Mendes, has developed a system of nine skin types, allowing for more nuance than the standard "normal," "oily," "combination," and "dry." You can take a short quiz on Rouleau's website to find out where you fall, then filter by skin type to streamline your options while shopping her skin-care line.
Proven co-founders Ming Zhao and Amy Yuan, M.D. teamed up to create The Skin Genome Project, a database with thousands of skin-care ingredients, product details, reviews, articles in scientific publications, and the water hardness, humidity, and UV index around the U.S. Take a quiz on the Proven website, and its artificial intelligence will match you with your ideal formulas, based on that wealth of data. You'll pay $160 for a cleanser, SPF moisturizer, and night cream or $130 for the trio if you sign up for an auto-refill every two months. (Related: Asian-Owned Beauty Brands That Should Definitely Be On Your Radar)
Curology offers custom skin care especially for those who are prone to acne. In this case, you're not just putting your routine in the hands of an algorithm. After sharing information about your skin and health history and photos of your skin, you're matched with a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner who will select your custom formula. Curology's formulas contain by-prescription-only ingredients such as tretinoin (a retinoid) and clindamycin (an antibiotic), which you wouldn't be able to access without having your skin assessed by a medical professional. Getting your hands on Curology products requires signing up for a membership, which starts at $20 per month.
Vanessa Hudgens and Madison Beer recently teamed up to launch the new skin-care brand Know Beauty. Like the other brands on this list, Know Beauty has a quiz on its site that can match you to the best products for your needs. But if you want to take it a step further, you can order a DNA kit for $95. After swabbing your cheek and sending back your sample to the brand's lab, you'll get skin-care recommendations informed by factors such as your skin's collagen levels and degree of sensitivity. The brand's algorithm, which is based around data from the Human Genome Project and input from the brand's medical advisor board, matches you to your ideal products. Although the DNA kit is a bit of a splurge, none of the products themselves top $30. (Related: Vanessa Hudgens and Madison Beer Just Launched a Personalized, DNA-Informed Skin-Care Line)
Atolla's take on custom skin care emphasizes that your skin's needs change over time. You'll take a quiz to get matched up with personalized products, sharing details such as how many hours you sleep per night and which skin-care ingredients you're sensitive to. You can retake the assessment before each shipment and provide feedback on how your skin has been responding over the course of the month so that your formulas can be adapted to your needs. Additionally, you can use one of the brand's skin tests — strips that you can stick on your face to detect your skin's pH, oil, and moisture levels — to further inform your recommendations. You can try a serum for $39 or a cleanser, serum, and moisturizer set for $69.
If you like the idea of personalized skin care but would choose the chance to try out new brands over having a custom formulation, you should go with Kura. After a brief questionnaire, you'll select from membership options starting or choose a one-time shipment with prices ranging from $28 for a single product to $249 for six to eight products. (Members and non-members pay the same price for each box, however, members have a $10 shipping fee waived.) Then you'll receive a curated box with a product(s) from brands such as Osea, MDSolarSciences, and Koa. It's like having a skin-care-obsessed friend act as your personal shopper. (Related: I Took an At-Home DNA Test to Help Customize My Skin Care)
From the founders of Curology, Agency is based around the same concept but it places a heavier focus on anti-aging concerns than acne. After you complete the brand's quiz and upload photos, you'll be matched with a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner who will pair you with products and answer any questions you have. For $60 per shipment, sent every two months, you can get a Future Formula (a cream), or for $92 every two months, you can opt for a Future Formula and Dark Spot Formula. Agency's formulas include ingredients such as tretinoin as well as tranexamic acid and hydroquinone (two ingredients that fight discoloration).
With Hawthorne, you can revamp your entire personal care routine in one fell swoop. You complete a 24-question quiz that includes a few curveballs such as your drink of choice and ideal night out. Then, you'll meet your personalized skin-care products along with cologne, shower products, deodorant, hand wash, and hand cream. From there you can buy the entire lineup or buy any of the under-$20 products à la carte, either with a one-time shipment or a recurring subscription. (One-time shipments typically cost around $5 more than recurring options, which, differ depending on the number and type of products included.)