I’ve been searching for a new vegan, cruelty-free facial moisturizer ever since I found out the one I’d been using wasn’t actually vegan (the CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion—more on that soon in another post).
I first heard of Acne.org from the Skincare Addiction subreddit a few years back. I think I was just starting my vegan experience, but even though their products are clearly marked as vegan, I didn’t feel compelled to try their products.
It probably had something to do with them calling it “The Regimen.” I get the need for simple branding to refer to the carefully-crafted products, but this just rubbed me the wrong way. It seemed arrogant in the same way that Proactive is: this is a one-size-fits-all routine! With only three products!
Even Paula’s Choice, with their strict guidelines and constant side-eyeing of trendy skincare, encourages people to try other products outside their own through their Beautypedia reviews. Skincare is very rarely as easy as a 1-2-3 routine.
I did like their website design and packaging though. It was clean, simple, but still friendly with the handwritten script.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I searched /r/skincareaddiction for vegan moisturizers and remembered Acne.org existed. I decided to read more about the company before getting into their products, and promptly facepalmed when I read the “About Us” page:
Acne.org started in 1996 when Dan’s friend Karen recommended he read a book called “The 7 Spiritual Laws Of Success” by Deepak Chopra. In the book, Chopra asks the reader to ask him/herself the two questions, “What are my unique talents?” and “How can I use these talents to best help people?”
I despise Deepak Chopra. I might dedicate another post (or several) to him another time, but in a nutshell, he promotes pseudoscience (Archive), misunderstanding and distrust of science (Archive) and the scientific process, and makes lots of money off of those who don’t know better (Archive). So, seeing Chopra’s name as a positive influence was not a good sign, even if the influencing questions were pretty tame.
Still, this was merely an annoyance and not a good reason to doubt the efficacy of the products themselves.
The Beautypedia review gave the moisturizer with licochalcone four out of five stars. One star was deducted because the formula might be too heavy for oily skin and because it is misleadingly touted as non-comedogenic. Here’s what Beautypedia said about the latter:
We understand that many consumers look for the non-comedogenic claim for reassurance, but the truth is no skin care line can legitimately guarantee their moisturizers won’t clog pores. Some may be less likely to clog pores than others, but so many variables are at play (everything from your skin type to what else you use and when) that it’s easy to see why the claim isn’t regulated!
There are many health buzzwords that are unregulated, so I understand the ease and temptation of describing a product with one of them. For the sake of the less-informed though, it would be better if Acne.org took out this particular word. It promises something that cannot be promised. According to his own story, Daniel Kern of all people should understand that frustration (Archive).
All of Acne.org’s products are vegan and cruelty free, but I don’t know how passionate the company is about either of those two issues altogether. Daniel Kern, the founder, uses Almay and Gillette products and also consumes fish oil as a supplement (Archive), so it’s safe to say he isn’t trying to live a cruelty-free and vegan lifestyle. However, I still appreciate any dedication to making vegan products and remaining cruelty-free.
Another thing I considered was Dan’s blog, the official forum, and educational resources for those wanting to learn more about acne. To me, this pretty much makes up for admiring Deepak Chopra and being simplistic at times. These three features of the website encourage critical thinking, questioning, feedback, helpfulness, and science literacy—at least when it comes to skincare. I’ll always celebrate opportunities for the public to engage in those practices. With that, I decided that I’d be alright with giving Acne.org my business.
I’ve had really dry skin so far this winter, so I was looking forward to the somewhat-heavier formula. Plus, they recently redid their packaging design, and I think it’s a great improvement. It’s much more sophisticated than the previous design, and it makes the company seem professional.
In the next few days, I’ll review and analyze the actual product.