Beauty brands are bogged down by a lot of marketing jargon these days. It feels like there's a new launch every day touting a new, sexy "miracle" ingredient you've never heard of. It can be tempting to buy into the sleek campaigns and the airbrushed models convincing you that you need 10 different products in your skincare routine, but the truth is this: A simple skincare routine that includes evidence-based ingredients and support from dermatologists is all that most people need for healthy, beautiful skin.
Enter: Agency Skincare. (You've probably heard of Agency's acne-focused sister brand, Curology.) Unlike Curology, Agency is focused on anti-aging formulations—but like Curology, Agency Skincare was created under the close supervision of a board-certified dermatologist, and uses a telehealth model to match users with an online provider and prescribe Rx-strength ingredients.
Founded: In 2021 by Dr. David Lortscher, a board-certified dermatologist
Based In: San Francisco, CA
BEST KNOWN FOR: Replacing in-person dermatological consultations with telederm services and prescription-strength products delivered to your door—for cheaper.
Price Range: $30+/month
HOLY GRAIL PRODUCT: The Future Formula
OTHER BRANDS YOU’LL LOVE: Curology
"While both brands offer customized formulas, Agency and Curology each leverage different active ingredients to treat specific skin concerns," says Curology's associate medical director and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Whitney Tolpinrud. "Curology’s ingredients are customized to target acne skin concerns, while our Agency providers create custom formulas designed to treat signs of aging—like texture, wrinkles, fine lines, and more.
"Additionally, a key feature of Agency is that we adapt your formulas over time to maximize efficacy," she continues. "Your dedicated provider will work with you to get to the right strength over time, depending on your goals and how your skin responds."
Tolpinrud adds that if you're in that sweet spot where you're dealing with acne and the first signs of mature skin (*ahem*—it me), Agency Skincare is for you, too. Since the brand's hero product—The Future Formula—is completely customized to you, your provider will prescribe a blend of Rx-strength ingredients that can address both concerns.
Curious about getting started with Agency Skincare? Read on for my full review.
Cloud Care Duo: Cream Oil Cleanser
Previously, Agency has been celebrated for simplifying prescription-strength skincare products. Now, the brand has launched its over-the-counter products to supplement your prescription-strength formula: The Cloud Cream to Oil Cleanser and the Cloud Cream Weightless Whipped Moisturizer. The Cloud Cream Cleanser starts off as a gentle, creamy balm that transforms into a milky oil as you lather. It completely dissolves every last trace of my makeup, sweat, and SPF—I trust it enough to dry my face with a bright, white towel. I don't even need to follow up with. a second cleanse.
The Future Formula is the brand's hero product—it's your custom, prescription-strength anti-aging formula designed specifically for you. "Our Future Formula is a custom cream made for your unique skin by your dermatology provider," says Tolpinrud. "It will be designed for your needs and goals to target skin concerns like fine lines, texture, firmness, and more.
"There are four active ingredients in your Future Formula, and your Agency provider determines what percentage of each ingredient will most effectively address your skincare goals," she continues. "All formulas are non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, vegan, cruelty-free, and are never tested on animals."
Common ingredients used in the Future Formula include azelaic acid, tretinoin, niacinamide, and tranexamic acid. And while each formula is customized to you (including both the ingredients and their respective strengths), keep in mind that these are prescription products—they're stronger than over-the-counter products. Be sure to start slow and work your way up to applying your Future Formula once every night, just after cleansing,
Cloud Care Duo: Weightless Whipped Moisturizer
The Cloud Care Weightless Whipped Moisturizer is the second product in the Cloud Care Duo, meant to be used in conjunction with the Cream Oil Cleanser. "We made sure the moisturizer texture would be light as air and not leave a sticky residue," says Tolpinrud. "The end product is a rich cream that just melts into your skin for a soft and glowy finish." As someone with acne-prone skin, I tend to reach for lightweight gel creams over rich, whipped formulas, but I absolutely love how this feels on my skin. It doesn't pill under my makeup, make me feel greasy, or clog my pores with heavy oils. It truly is weightless.
Dark Spot Formula
Like the Future Formula, Agency's Dark Spot Formula is made with prescription-strength ingredients and is completely customized to each individual. "The Dark Spot Formula is a personalized dark spot corrector designed to work alongside your multitasking Future Formula," says Tolpinrud. "It will help fade areas of darkened skin such as melasma and other types of hyperpigmentation with prescription ingredients selected for your unique skin. Your dermatology provider will pick custom ingredients—at custom strengths—to include in your Dark Spot Formula."
Common ingredients used in the custom Dark Spot Formula include hydroquinone, azelaic acid, hydrocortisone, kojic acid, green tea extract, and resveratrol.
Agency Skincare is based on a subscription model—click here to sign up for an Agency Skincare subscription, starting at $30/month.