Before I first tried Agency Skincare’s Cloud Care Duo, I have to admit that I was a little reluctant to stray from my regular cleanser or moisturizer. Cleansing is the first and most basic skin care step, but I still find myself being particularly picky when it comes to face washes. Once I find one I like, I tend to stick with it. The wrong facial cleanser can leave my already-dry skin feeling even more stripped, making my complexion feel that it might crack if I smile too widely. Other formulas appear to leave a filmy layer on face, leaving me to suspect that not every bit of dirt, makeup, and sunscreen is making its way down the drain. (And those inklings are typically confirmed once I see inky black mascara smudges left behind on my towels.)
I’m not as choosy when it comes to moisturizers (my parched skin will take whatever it can get), but there’s definitely a sweet spot when it comes to hydrators too. I love a glow, but I avoid going overboard with the shine; too much just makes me look extra, extra dewy (and yes, that’s code for “super sweaty”).
On a recent press trip to Napa Valley, I was invited to learn more about Agency’s customized, “pro-aging” skin care formulations, put its new launch to the test, and explore how the company is making teledermatology more accessible.
How Does Agency Skincare Work?
Launched in February 2021, Agency was founded by board-certified dermatologist Dr. David Lortscher (who also started the acne brand Curology). How it works is pretty simple: Once you sign up, you upload a snap of your skin and fill out a quick quiz. From there, one of Agency’s dermatology providers will analyze your profile and prescribe a treatment that contains a customized amount of an Rx-strength active — either the Future Formula ($30/month), which features the anti-aging all-star tretinoin, or the Dark Spot Formula ($26/month), which tackles hyperpigmentation with hydroquinone.
One of the major benefits: The dermatology provider will touch base with you regularly to monitor changes in your skin and ensure that your tailored formula is the right fit — so since you’re not just left on your own, Agency’s providers are able to track your progress and gradually increase or decrease the concentration of the aforementioned actives.
For the many beauty lovers who don’t have easy access to a dermatologist, these virtual appointments — aka teledermatology — make skin care specialists more accessible.
Is Agency’s Cloud Care Duo Worth It?
Agency’s most recent launch is the Cloud Care Duo, the brand’s first products that only contain OTC ingredients. The idea is for the simple, non-irritating cleanser and moisturizer to seamlessly fit into any regimen.
The Cloud Care Oil Cream Cleanser transforms into a milky liquid once mixed with water and gets your skin ready for the proceeding steps in your routine. “In general, gentle face washes and moisturizers prep the skin to allow active ingredients in serums and treatment to work their magic,” Dr. Whitney Tolpinrud, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and Agency’s associate medical director, explained to me. “Face wash cleanses the skin of debris and preps the skin to receive powerful active ingredients.” I gave it a try, rinsed and dried my face, and shockingly enough, there wasn’t any makeup residue. Even better, it has squalane so it didn’t create that dreaded drying feeling.
The nourishing Cloud Care Weightless Whipped Moisturizer works to cushion your complexion from more powerful products. “Potent active ingredients can sometimes irritate the skin,” says Tolpinrud. “Moisturizing the skin prevents water evaporation and [provides hydration.] This helps the skin better tolerate active ingredients and minimizes irritation.” It’s incredibly soothing — chalk that up to a trifecta of hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides — and absorbs nicely without leaving behind a greasy finish.
This dream team has become my go-to over the past couple months; they were even gentle enough for me to continue using after a recent professional-strength PCA chemical peel. And both products weigh in under 3.4 oz (and are pretty spill-proof), so bonus points for being incredibly travel-friendly.
Customers with an Agency subscription of at least one prescription product, the Cloud Care Duo is available for $28 at www.withagency.com.