At face value, good skin may seem primarily about slathering yourself in a variety of lotions and tonics, all of which promise to lift, sculpt, smooth, or generally improve your complexion. Far less often is the emphasis placed on leading a fulfilling life, complete with plenty of leisure pursuits that make your daily stressors feel very far away. As a beauty editor, I’m keenly aware of how much lifestyle factors, like anxiety, stress, or lack of sleep, can tangibly affect the quality of your skin. Unfortunately, my busy schedule often doesn’t afford me the opportunity to enjoy such carefree activities on the regular. That is, until I’m whisked away to Napa by emerging skin care brand Agency to reconnect with all that is enjoyable about life (namely eating and drinking extremely well), and, of course, to learn about some noteworthy new skin care products in the process.
You might have already head about Agency’s sister brand, Curology, a direct-to-consumer acne care brand that connects shoppers with a dermatologist or nurse practitioner to create a customized prescription strength cream. Agency is for a slightly older demographic, focusing on minimizing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, uneven texture, and boosting firmness — essentially, everything that people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond are concerned about when it comes to their skin — with either the more general Future Formula or targeted Dark Spot Formula, both of which are prescription-strength.
As a stressed out member of the 30-something club (and already a longtime fan of the Curology model), I was intrigued to see what else the brand was up to in 2021.
For this trip, the brand invited myself and a handful of other beauty editors to California (where the brand is based) to experience its new, and first ever, non-prescription products: the Cloud Care Duo, which consists of the Cloud Care Cream Oil Cleanser and Cloud Care Weightless Whipped Moisturizer.
If you’re new to the skin care game, a quality cleanser and moisturizer are the foundation of any beauty routine. I’m always partial to an oil-based cleanser for its lush texture, but the combination of the squalane oil with the cream in this formula gave my complexion the one-two punch of makeup-removing power without stripping my skin of hydration. As for the moisturizer, I appreciated the trifecta of hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides to lock in moisture and strengthen the skin barrier. The extra oomph of the rich shea butter makes this formula particularly ideal for mature or dry, irritated skin, and leaves you with a nice glowy finish. Although it is suitable for day or evening, I prefer to use it at night as the last step in my routine, after cleansing and over my various serums, before sinking into bed feeling like a seven-layer cake for nine blissful hours of sleep.
Still, the most important thing to remember — especially as we head into a very busy fall season — is that refining your skin care routine by using high-caliber products is paired best with an appreciation for the things and people around you. Sure, you may not be cruising through the Napa Valley partaking in a half dozen wines and an array of cheeses (although I highly recommend it), but taking a breather from the daily grind can be as simple as a long bath, a walk around your neighborhood at sunset, or an indulgent massage. Your skin (and your mental health) will be all the better for it.
The Cloud Care Duo (which, for now, is sold solely as a duo) is available August 31 for $28 and is available exclusively on Agency.
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