Curology vs Proactiv Review

About Curology  

Curology vs Proactiv Review

Curology is an accessible and affordable form of skincare that is designed for the person using it, ideal for plenty of different skin concerns, whether we’re talking about fine lines or acne and hyperpigmentation.

Headquartered in California, the brand was founded by Dr. David Lortscher who “set out to make effective acne care accessible to everyone.” The idea came to Lortscher after meeting a young woman who had her acne cured in six weeks–an emotional rollercoaster after years of believing she would never be able to afford treatment. 

With the help of his brother, Glenn Lortscher, and mother, Dr. Nancy Satur, Curology came to fruition in 2014, offering a line of customizable skin care products, which were accessible online and easy to use. 

About Proactiv

Curology vs Proactiv Review

Since 1995, Proactiv has helped over 20 million people solve their acne concerns. Based in California, the brand was brought to life by dermatologists Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields who sought to create a simple treatment process for teens struggling with acne

Today, each three-step routine consists of a system to target the user’s specific needs–all at an affordable rate, too. Plus, it has been backed by celebs (and customers), like Jessica Simpson and Alicia Keys, who have found solace in their Proactiv regimen. 

Not sure which brand is best for you? Keep reading this Curology vs Proactiv review to find out! I’ll fill you in on all you need to know about the two, including a list of the most important things to consider, info about the subscriptions and the ingredients, customer testimonials, and more, to help you determine which brand deserves a spot in your routine. 

What to Consider

Curology vs Proactiv Review

Product range 

Curology believes that simplicity is key when it comes to treating your skin right, so the minimal routine consists of a cleanser, treatment, and moisturizer. Proactiv also offers a three-step regimen, but users can add extras like post scar acne gel or face cleansing brushes. 

Target audience 

The two brands are designed to help a plethora of skin issues, so the routines are really made for all different skin types, concerns, and goals. Whether you’ve got dry and flaky patches or a dull and oily complexion, you’ll find a routine literally built for you. 


Talking about a routine that’s designed for the user, both Curology and Proactiv develop products that are based on in-depth skin concerns. Shoppers can choose their Proactiv plan, while Curology designs a regimen based on answers to a questionnaire. 


When it comes to ingredients, all Curology and Proactiv products are 100% cruelty-free and vegan. Plus, they are backed by licensed dermatologists to ensure they target skin concerns.  


Anyone can sign up for either brand, though Curology is only available in the US, while Proactiv ships in US, Canada, and Japan. While both are available online, Proactiv is a little easier to find at retailers like Amazon, Ulta, and Sephora. 

Curology vs Proactiv: Who Are They For? 

Curology vs Proactiv Review

While both brands are focused on fighting acne, this Curology vs Proactiv review found that they are for anyone who wants to improve their skin with products that have been proven to work. Plus, they take away the need to visit a doctor or dermatologist because the regimens are designed by licensed professionals and developers.

With Curology, customers can adapt the formulas to suit concerns on top of acne, whether that’s fine lines and wrinkles or large pores and acne scars. Curology’s plan follows the customer’s answers to a questionnaire, asking your age, all of your skin goals, type, breakouts, habits, health history, and more. 

Proactiv offers 3 different routine options that the shopper can choose from based on their concerns. Buyers can pick the set they think will work best for their skin, whether they’re looking for something more gentle, simple, or more intense. 

While anyone can use either option, Curology offers a more personalized experience, which may be a plus for anyone who hasn’t found results with other over-the-counter products. Proactiv, on the other hand, is ideal for shoppers who aren’t interested in filling out a questionnaire but are still looking for medicated regimens that are best suited for their skin. 

Curology vs Proactiv: Subscriptions

Curology vs Proactiv Review

This Curology vs Proactiv review found that both brands offer subscription based products to keep users on track and stocked up. Essentially, the idea is that sticking to a routine is often what works best, and of course the top quality, curated selection of products is the ideal choice to stick to. 

Proactiv products are purchased as a 90-day supply (that can be sent in three separate shipments or all at once), while Curology shoppers receive their items every 30 or 60 days depending on the plan they opt for. 

For both brands, shipments can be postponed or sent earlier, depending on when you run out of product. Plus, you can try out different routines and products before you commit to your choice with the trial periods. The plans are easy to cancel, as well, so customers can stop shipments whenever they choose to. 

To subscribe to Curology:

  1. Fill out your information (name, location, date of birth)
  2. Plug in your answers to the questionnaire (skin concerns, goals, etc)
  3. Choose how often you’d like to receive your products (30 or 60 days)
  4. Checkout with your custom regimen
Curology vs Proactiv Review

To subscribe to Proactiv: 

  1. Choose the 3-step system you would like to follow (depending on skin concern: dry, sensitive, or stubborn breakouts)
  2. Opt for a 30 or 90 day subscription
  3. Select any add-ons you would like (sunscreen or face masks)
  4. Choose your free gift
  5. Checkout with your new routine

The subscription plans for both Curology and Proactiv are easy to use and pretty customizable. Shoppers are able to switch things up, receive products when they need them, pause or delay shipments, and opt for new items whenever they would like. 

For this Curology vs Proactiv review, the brands are very similar when it comes to the plans, aside from the frequency of shipments. If you’d like your items to come every 30 or 60 days, then Curology is your best bet, while Proactiv offers shipments every 30 or 90 days. But, as I mentioned, users can easily adjust these deliveries if they have or haven’t finished their products. 

Curology vs Proactiv: Ingredients  

Curology vs Proactiv Review

I’ve mentioned that both brands use ingredients that are vegan and cruelty free, as well as backed by dermatologists and licensed experts in the field. But, what key ingredients do both brands stick to, and what is their intended effect on the skin? In this Curology vs Proactiv review I’m here to find out, so let’s take a look at the breakdown!


  • Clindamycin: known from its brand name, Differin, this gel kills bacteria to stop acne before it starts
  • Azelaic acid: calms redness and inflammation, kills bacteria, and even lightens hyperpigmentation for a brighter complexion
  • Tretinoin: a retinoid that clears acne and smooths wrinkles, brightening and smoothing the skin
  • Niacinamide: reduces inflammation, while plumping the skin for a healthy, glowy complexion
  • Zinc pyrithione: ideal for treating dry and irritated skin with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties to target acne without drying skin


  • Benzoyl peroxide: gentle yet effective way to kill bacteria and unclog pores, reducing oil production and lessening the number of breakouts
  • Glycolic acid: an AHA which chemically exfoliates and brightens skin by sloughing off dead skin cells to reveal a smoother surface
  • Salicylic acid: a BHA that clears blackheads and build up in pores for spot free skin
  • Hyaluronic acid: a humectant agent that holds water, keeping your skin plump and hydrated, ideal for smoothing and protecting the moisture barrier
  • Skin brightening complex: Proactiv’s blend of kojic acid, licorice extract, bearberry, and sophora root to fight dull, pigmented, blotchy, and red skin

Curology formulations tend to have a base of three of these top ingredients geared towards different issues, while Proactive steps contain the different ingredients depending on your skin concerns. 

Depending on what you’re looking for, the ingredients will target exactly what you need them to. The two ingredient lists (as well as all the other ingredients the two brands use) are of the highest quality and clinically proven to target different skin types and generate hydrated, refreshed complexions. 

Curology vs Proactiv: Price & Value

Curology vs Proactiv Review 1

When it comes down to it, price plays a large role in which brand you may end up choosing to go with. But, it’s important to consider the value of the product as well. Both Curology and Proactiv are fairly and affordably priced, but the former is a little more expensive. 

This is likely because Curology offers a more specific questionnaire to generate a unique product to your needs, while Proactiv already has a selection of items to choose from. But that doesn’t mean either brand is lacking in quality! 

Proactiv routines start at $20 a month (currently on sale from $30), all of which come with three products to target your concerns. A subscription to Curology ranges from $20 to $30 depending on whether the shopper opts for a treatment alone or a treatment alongside a cleanser and a moisturizer. 

As evident in customer reviews, the fact that the two brands are supported by dermatologists and top ingredients while producing effective results for all different types of skin concerns makes them both an appealing choice. With all this in mind, Proactiv is still the most affordable option. But, Curology is ideal for anyone who’s looking for a super personalized regimen! 

Curology vs Proactiv: What Do Customers Think?  

Curology vs Proactiv Review

At this point in our Curology vs Proactiv review, you might be wondering what customers have to say about the brands. To help determine which brand is worth the subscription, I sourced buyer comments from Influenster, Amazon, and the brands’ websites. Before we delve into what shoppers are saying, let’s take a look at some of the brand ratings. 


  • Influenster: 4.2/5 stars out of 9477 reviews
  • Curology website: 4.7/5 stars out of 1439 reviews
  • 4.4/5 stars out of 1279 reviews


  • Influenster: 3.2/5 stars out of 7791 reviews
  • Amazon: 4.5/5 stars out of 33201 reviews

Down below, let’s cover some of the highlights from customers in this plethora of reviews!


  • “Life changing” results
  • Fast results
  • Effective quiz–customers experience clear and “normal” skin using personalized products
  • Quick delivery
  • Attentive customer service

One customer put things succinctly, writing that they already have results within the trial period and have found their breakouts to be less intense: 

“I’ve been using curology for about 2 months now, and I’m very pleased with the results so far. My formula has reduced the number of breakouts and the duration of pimples by a lot. I still get the occasional breakout but I feel like it heals faster with my formula.”


  • Clears acne efficiently 
  • Easy to use subscription
  • Simple skincare regimen
  • Fast acting results
  • Soft and clean skin

A patron described that the line offers amazing results, writing, “This really works, it’s amazing. I have seen it do some incredible work on some people that never thought they would have clear skin. It’s definitely well worth it, it’s incredible and absolutely amazing the work that this does for your skin.”

Some shoppers do report that the products don’t work for them. But, that is completely normal and both brands offer more than one option to help customers get the results they are looking for. Plus, they do have money back guarantees, which I’ll touch on more soon. 

The two brands are comparable considering the fact that they offer products that actually offer results. Plus, buyers love the subscription aspect since they don’t have to think twice about when they need to repurchase. 

Curology vs Proactiv: Promotions & Discounts

Curology vs Proactiv Review

Looking for a deal before you hit checkout? Down below, this Curology vs Proactiv review will take a look at the different promos and discounts to help you decide which brand is worth the buy. 


  • 30-day free trial where shoppers only pay shipping
  • $10 discount on your first order


  • Discounted routine boosters for members that can be bought separately or as a kit
  • Free gift when you subscribe 

With the trial periods, customers are given ample time to determine if the products work for them. Proactiv will even offer full refunds for emptied bottles. That’s how much the two brands believe in their products! They offer different discounts, but Proactiv seems to offer more recurring coupons while Curology gives money off to newer customers.

Curology vs Proactiv: Shipping & Returns 

Curology vs Proactiv Review

This Curology vs Proactiv review knows that accessibility is incredibly important when it comes to determining which brand is right for you. Unfortunately, Curology only ships within most states in the US at this time. Proactiv offers shipping to a few more countries, including Canada and Japan. 

Curology subscribers will receive their first shipment soon after ordering. 30 days after the free trial has shipped, a new supply will be sent out. Customers can opt for recurring shipments every 30 or 60 days, with the option to postpone or receive an early shipment. Shipping is $5 for the Custom Formula, but is free for the set.

With Proactiv, shoppers can opt to receive their shipment whenever they need it, ranging from every 4-20 weeks, with the most common option being 90 days. Once the product has shipped, customers can track their package with a confirmation email. Shipping is currently free for all Proactiv orders!

Curology does not accept returned products (for sanitary reasons), but it does have a 90-day guarantee. To receive a refund, contact the brand for more information. 

Proactiv has a 60-day guarantee alongside a hassle free return policy, so shoppers can send back any products they aren’t impressed with. Simply package the items in a box along with the original invoice and ship back–shipping costs are the responsibility of the customer. 

Both brands offer easy to use subscription plans that supply customers with an automatic refresh for their routine. Plus, the guarantees ensure lots of time to test the products so customers can truly determine if their new regimen is right for them. 

Who Will You Shop With?

Curology vs Proactiv Review

Nearing the end of this Curology vs Proactiv review, let’s weigh the differences between our two options. The products from both brands are chock full of medicated ingredients that are often necessary and effective when fighting stubborn acne and other skin conditions. 

But, some shoppers report that Proactiv can be a little bit drying on the skin, so Curology may be the better option for our sensitive skin friends. Curology offers a wider variety of more specified treatment options, but some customers may appreciate Proactiv’s more simplified approach and selection of add-ons, as well as its affordability. 

All things considered, it’s pretty evident after reading my Curology vs Proactiv review that the two brands offer great results using high quality ingredients backed by specialists in the field. So, if you’re looking for a skincare regimen designed to tackle your specific skin concerns, I only have one question to ask: which brand will you test out first?

Check out similar brands you might like:

Roc Skincare Review

Allegresse Skincare Review

Musely Skincare Review

Lancer Skincare Review

Ask the community or leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This field is required