If there’s one beauty rule that’s easy to forget, it’s that skincare isn’t one-size-fits-all. That serum your coworker was raving about that makes you two-day ship it to yourself might not do anything for you, and the mask that turned your sister’s skin baby-soft might make you break out—it’s all subjective, and the only way to get good skin is to find what works for you.
But how do you find what works for you, really, besides a ton of trial-and-error and wasting your money on products that you’ll never buy again? It feels overwhelming, and in a world where thousands and thousands of products are available to us, almost impossible to really nail a personalized routine. Enter: PROVEN Skincare.
Formulated by Stanford dermatologists, PROVEN is different than other skincare on the market in that it’s made for you—literally. Through a 47-question skin genome quiz, they’re able to create a custom product that’s specifically formulated for your lifestyle, environment and skincare concerns—from where you live to your stress levels to what products you’re already using. From there, it streamlines your skincare routine by giving you a completely customized cleanser, night cream, and daily moisturizer and SPF.
To see what the hype is about, three of our editors—all with different skin types, skin concerns, and locations—gave it a try for a full month. Here are our unfiltered thoughts, complete with pictures to prove it.
My biggest skin concerns upon starting PROVEN were overall puffiness, nose blackheads, and random breakouts. Every now and then, I’ll randomly get a ginormous breakout on my chin or the biggest pimple the world has ever seen on my forehead. I have no clue what inspires my skin to turn on me so quickly (after all I’ve done for you!!), but I was hopeful to find something that would keep breakouts at bay, and not only treat acne but would work preventatively to avoid those random breakouts at the start.
Don’t be alarmed if you think I had an allergic reaction. I get severe puffiness in my face, especially when I’m tired. Conveniently enough, during the last three of the four weeks I was testing PROVEN, I had a new puppy so sleep kind of went out the window (the only thing cute enough to make these eye bags worth it). This was at 6am when I just woke up for work after a few hours of sleep, so yikes on the puffiness, but my skin looks clearer, right? My chin acne had dwindled, and the pimple on my forehead dried up quicker than they normally do. The best part? No new pimples in sight!
I’m learning through viewing these selfies again that my #1 biggest concern should definitely be dark circles under the eyes, but anyways, by week three, I was amazed at how clear my skin was. For the first time in like, ever, I didn’t have a random breakout or pimple anywhere, and besides those pesky blackheads and some acne scars here and there, I am fairly impressed at my own complexion! Plus, my skin was never dry like it usually gets when using acne-fighting treatments.
Maybe it’s because I just finished my period when I took this pic, but do I not have a serious glow here? I’ve been trying to faux a glow for years to no avail, so I feel like I can celebrate for a sec. After four weeks, I am so impressed with my results from PROVEN. My skin has truly never been clearer, while still feeling incredibly soft and moisturized. I don’t know how to explain it other than my skin just feels balanced.
Full disclosure: I loved PROVEN before even trying it. Pre-PROVEN, my medicine cabinet and beauty drawer were overflowing because I’ve always enjoyed trying the latest buzz-worthy skincare ingredients, which also means dozens of products and complicated skincare routines in order to fit in every ingredient I wanted to use. PROVEN uses a comprehensive quiz to look at your skin and lifestyle to customize formulas for you (and I love taking quizzes!). The quiz asked about my skin concerns, but it also asked about how much water I drank, where I live, how much sleep I get, and how stressed I am (very, thank you so much for asking), just to name a few.
I love this approach because skincare should be holistic, just like every other part of our health and wellness. Your best skin is not achieved just from stocking up on brands with pretty labels (though that is part of it!); it’s also about taking into account your lifestyle to find out what your skin (and body!) really needs. Thanks to the skincare quiz, I could finally Marie-Kondo my skincare cabinet, knowing that the one face wash, day moisturizer, and night cream from PROVEN contained every ingredient I needed to put on my skin. With multiple super-ingredients like sulfur and granactive retinol to fight acne or milk thistle extract and witch hazel extract to fight my city’s hard water and moderate air quality, I knew my skin was protected and treated better than from the drawers full of products.
I really believe that that’s also what helped clear up my pesky pimples: my routine was simplified, without foregoing a lot of the powerful ingredients that make skin glow. After four weeks, I was thrilled at how acne-free, clear, and glowy my skin was, and it makes sense to me why: skin, just like our diets and pant sizes, should not be one-size-fits-all. What my skin needs is going to be different than what anyone else’s skin needs, so of course, customized skincare based on lifestyle, diet, and skin-type will be more effective than buying the latest product that shows up on my Instagram feed.
As is painfully clear here, my skin’s biggest problem is that it is as dry as the Sahara. Around the time I turned 21, my skin decided to do a 180 and go from combination/oily to literally producing not one single droplet of oil in the past three years. I can’t emphasize this enough: my skin is very dry.
In addition to that, my skin is also deeply, deeply sensitive. If I simply look at the wrong skincare product in a store’s aisle, my skin will turn red and blotchy and inflamed for days. When it goes from summer to fall in Chicago? My skin abandons ship, tells me I’m on my own, and behaves as poorly as possible for the next six months (the first week of cold weather was pictured above, and I was as dry as I could possibly be).
All in all, I have become a bit self-conscious about my skin over the past couple of years. I don’t really struggle with acne (save for the occasional hormonal friend popping up here and there), but my skin has gotten so ungodly dry that I often feel like it looks older than it is—something I hadn’t felt until the past couple of years.
After filling out PROVEN’s skin quiz, I felt seen. It asked me all kinds of questions about everything from the climate I’m living in to stress levels to my diet. Since I knew I’d be testing it out through the thick of the weather changing in Chicago, my fingers were crossed that it would ward off any insane dryness that was to come.
After a week or so of using PROVEN, I had absolutely no irritation, which is half the battle for me. I also had no new breakouts popping up, and overall, I felt like my skin did look healthier when I compared it to the picture from the week before. What’s that on my forehead? A subtle hint of shine? A dream come true!
This picture was taken about 30 minutes after I applied my morning skincare, and besides the little friend that popped up on my forehead, I truly think that my skin looks healthier than it has in ages. It actually looks slightly dewy, which is a never-event in my world as my skin usually drinks up anything I put on it within a few minutes. I feel super optimistic at this point.
My dewiness from last week has decided to stick around, and I cannot explain how much this means to me since the temperatures are also down to the 50s here in Chicago. Usually, this time of year means that I’m tackling peak dryness (especially right now as it’s gradually getting cooler), but I realized that I actually haven’t been worrying about dryness as much. Yes, I’ve done an extra hydrating mask here and there, but I haven’t been panicking and slathering 100 things on my face every day like I have in years past, and it turns out, my skin looks better for it.
Like I explained, over the past couple of years, my skin has become a pain point for me for the first time since my acne-ridden middle school days. I often feel like no matter what I do, my skin doesn’t change whatsoever; I’d say I find about one product a year that I see a noticeable change with, and the rest either irritates me or doesn’t change a thing—but I’m happy to say that with PROVEN, I’ve already seen a difference.
As someone who has always been into skincare, it was so interesting to me to see what different ingredients were prescribed to me based on my skin’s needs. I was given a sensitivity level 8, which is, as we could have guessed, very sensitive. To combat it, my products contained Tasmanian pepper, a natural antioxidant that has wound and sensitivity calming properties, along with antioxidants to strengthen the skin’s barrier. It also had marigold extract, which reduces redness, soothes irritation, and protects against hard water deposits (a double-whammy treating both my skin and my environmental factors based on my location). Because I answered that my lifestyle is high-stress (aren’t all of ours right now?), my formula had allantoin, an emollient that softens the skin and soothes itching, redness, and flaking. My products were working to combat the things that were concerning me personally, and after a month, my skin is better off for it.
To PROVEN, I’m not just a faceless consumer, I’m Maddie who’s 24 and lives in Chicago and suffers from dryness and irritation. While I was worried the products would irritate me, it caused no blemishes or redness whatsoever, and over the past few weeks, I’ve watched my skin gradually look healthier and healthier. I haven’t had any semblance of dewiness on my skin since I was in early college, and right now I can look in the mirror and appreciate how my skin looks, rather than obsess over dry patches that I see. It’s changed my mindset on my overall skincare routine: rather than having a more-is-more mentality, I now want to use as few products as possible and make sure those are ones that are really meant for me.
I’ve never had a custom skincare regimen before (or any kind of a set skincare routine), so I was excited to try PROVEN. Once I went through the quiz, it showed me the results based on my main skin goal: to achieve brighter, more radiant skin. The quiz was a game-changer, as I’ve never had a more detailed look at my skin, even down to how the environment and my current climate impacts my skin.
The quiz recommended an all-in-one cleanser, toner, and exfoliator with salicylic acid, green tea extract, and pre and probiotics for more refreshed skin; an SPF 30 daily moisturizer with glycerin for hydration; and a night cream and serum with vitamin D and tea tree oil to promote well-rested skin.
The first day before using PROVEN Skincare, I was suffering a minor breakout, which usually happens once a month due to hormonal changes. My skin is pretty acne-prone, so I started this regimen knowing that a breakout or two may happen. I noticed the recommended cleanser didn’t lather as much as I’m used to from other cleansers, and the smell was also very different, but it did a good job giving my face a full cleanse, especially the oily parts.
Here’s the thing about tea tree oil: it has strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, which makes it perfect for fighting acne and bacteria. Unfortunately for people with sensitive skin, it can cause a reaction and requires an adjustment period. I received an email on how to use each product as soon as it was delivered to my door, which was helpful, especially with the overnight night cream, which was labeled as very strong—and it was. I quickly realized that for my sensitive skin to tolerate the new routine, I would need to build up to using it every night.
After my first week with the products, I did notice my slight breakout went from a few spots along my jawline to all over my face. The breakout didn’t seem like irritation and was more than likely from stress, my acne-prone skin, or a combination of the two, so I continued the regimen. Blemishes take weeks (and sometimes even months) to form, so you can’t expect a skincare product to solve problems overnight. I did start to see some brightening effects, and I was excited to see how using the products consistently would affect my skin.
As things got more stressful at work, I really enjoyed the simplicity of only having three products. Normally a breakout would have me trying tons of different creams to get it to calm down, so having my options narrowed down was incredibly helpful. Anyone who finds multiple steps and products overwhelming would really enjoy the simplicity of PROVEN’s products.
After continuing to use the three products sparingly but consistently, my skin started clearing up. My breakouts seemed less pronounced and that improvement in texture felt like a real win. My skin still felt a little irritated from the new products, so I started supplementing with my own moisturizer. I’m not sure if the PROVEN moisturizer wasn’t as hydrating as I was used to or if this was a reaction from introducing the salicylic acid and tea tree oil. The night cream continued to be very strong, and my skin could tell, but I was able to work up to using a small amount every other night.
A month into using the PROVEN Skincare system, and my acne-prone skin still suffers from a minor breakout here and there, but there was a notable improvement in the brightness of my skin. Despite a few bumps, my complexion appeared undeniably more radiant.
As anyone with acne knows, there isn’t a skincare routine that can fix it overnight. Most treatments take 6-12 weeks to start seeing benefits. It’s all about consistency and factors outside your routine like stress, hormones, and diet. PROVEN makes consistency easy because you don’t have to commit to a multitude of steps and treatments. Because the products are fairly new to my skincare arsenal, I can’t attest to how it will affect my breakouts longterm, but I’m optimistic.
I can say, however, that at the end of my four weeks, I’m not getting off the PROVEN bandwagon. I’ve already seen improvements in the brightness of my complexion, but even that feels like only the beginning. I spent so much time getting my skin used to the ingredients, I’m excited to see how it will really transform in the weeks to come.
This post is sponsored by PROVEN, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.