Face Reality Reviews: Everything To Know About This Acne-Safe Brand
Beauty | Skincare

Face Reality Reviews: Everything To Know About This Acne-Safe Brand

There aren’t a ton of Face Reality reviews online. I’m excited to share my thoughts about this brand that’s been treating folks with acne for a long time. I’m especially pumped to talk about the brand’s 8% L-Mandelic Serum, which I’ll talk about later. 

I know this sounds totally insane, considering I work as a beauty editor full-time, but it wasn’t until recently that I started to really believe in (and witness) the power of skincare ingredients. Let me explain: For years, I’d been convinced that the only thing that will affect your skin in terms of acne is what you put inside your body. And while yes, I do believe that part of this is true, I also discovered the power of mandelic serums, and realized that skincare can also drastically prevent breakouts from popping up on my face, too. 

One of the things I love about this brand is that it’s super acne-safe. You don’t have to worry about your skin breaking out when using any of these products. Of course, not everyone’s skin reacts the same to every single ingredient. So I don’t want to promise that you definitely won’t break out from any Face Reality products. However, considering they’ve been thoroughly tested on thousands of acne-prone clients with amazing results, I’d say you are probably pretty safe!

Face Reality Reviews: Why I Love This Brand

I first discovered this brand about ten years ago when I was working with Kimberly Yap Tan from with & within (formerly known as skinsalvation) in San Francisco. I was working with her virtually to try and heal my acne from the inside out. At the time, I believe they were using Face Reality products in their clinic to treat acne patients. 

I have used Face Reality Skincare products on and off for years. I recently went to a Face Reality launch event for my work as a beauty editor. We were introduced to their new product, Barrier Balance Creamy Cleanser. Another reason I wanted to try out some more Face Reality products recently is because Sofie Pavitt, the current acne-fighting esthetician guru, uses this brand in her practice as well.  

What Is Face Reality?

Face Reality is a brand that creates products specifically targeted towards acne. What makes this brand super unique is that all of their products treat different types of acne. And the brand doesn’t really create products that are meant to treat issues outside of acne. 

Laura Cooksey is a co-founder of Face Reality, which was first started in 2005. Like many of the Face Reality customers, she struggled with acne in her teens, 20s, and into her 30s, too. She decided to become a licensed esthetician, practiced solo for 15 years, then opened her acne-only clinic in 2005. 

What’s interesting about Face Reality is that the brand has hundreds of Certified Acne Experts (certified estheticians) across the country. They’ve specifically trained these estheticians to treat folks with acne while using the Face Reality products. Unfortunately, a lot of the products from Face Reality can only be sold by a Certified Acne Expert. So when you go into their practice, they will recommend specific products for you to buy based on your skin’s needs. You’d have to go back to the expert to purchase another bottle of whatever product you need. Some of the products that I list below are only available through a Certified Acne Expert. 

Best Face Reality Products

Face Reality Reviews

Face Reality Barrier Balance Creamy Cleanser

Just as the name suggests, this cleanser is a creamy dream that slathers onto the skin nicely and hydrates your face while you wash it. This pick does a pretty decent job of removing makeup, too, which you can’t always say about a cream cleanser. 

This pick contains a soothing and moisturizing blend including panthenol, jojoba esters, allantoin, bisabolol, and Centella Asiatica extract. You’ll also find prebiotics to support a healthy microbiome on your skin. Finally, an amino acid cleansing agent thoroughly cleanses your skin and removes dirt, oil, and makeup. 

This formula is amazing for folks with dry skin. I’m testing it out in the spring, but I feel like this would be even better for fall and winter skin, when my face dries up like the Sahara desert. If you wear a lot of makeup, I probably wouldn’t rely on this as your main makeup remover. I would either remove your makeup with a cleansing oil, cleansing balm, or micellar water, and then you can use this afterward as a second wash. 

I think this is a great option for your morning skincare routine. Especially when you don’t have any makeup on but want to wash off the products that have been left on your skin overnight. It sets a nice base to apply your other skincare products and makeup on top in the AM.

Available at Face Reality ($35)

Face Reality cleanser

Face Reality Ultra Gentle Cleanser

This is a really great cleanser for the folks out there who are suffering from painful, easily irritated acne on their skin. It’s really gentle but does a good job of cleansing your face thoroughly without stripping your skin or causing it to feel excessively dry. 

The texture of this cleanser is a jelly consistency and it doesn’t really lather. That being said, I think it does a pretty great job of removing makeup at the end of the day. 

Available at Face Reality ($31)

Face Reality Moisture Balance Toner

Face Reality Moisture Balance Toner

This is a great toner, especially for people with dry skin (*raises hand*). The main ingredients in this pick are witch hazel, glycerin, and radish root ferment filtrate. I see a noticeable difference whenever I apply this toner to my skin after I’ve washed it. Sometimes, I even forget to apply my moisturizer after I’ve let this dry, because my skin feels really hydrated. 

When applying this toner, I’ve just been pouring it right into my hand and smoothing it out onto my skin. The brand advises you use a cotton pad to apply this. But I’m lazy and I don’t want to waste any product.

Available at Face Reality ($32)

Face Reality 8% L-Mandelic Serum

Face Reality 8% L-Mandelic Serum

I’d say this is probably one of the hero products from the Face Reality line—at least it is in my book. Sofie Pavitt introduced me to mandelic acid, and it’s been a huge game changer in terms of reducing the hormonal acne on my chin area. Because the mandelic acid in this formula is pretty high at 8%, I will usually only apply one pump to just my chin and nose area, where I tend to break out the most.

Other ingredients in this serum include exfoliating lactic acid, hydrating sodium hyaluronate (a cousin of hyaluronic acid), and calming niacinamide. I haven’t noticed any irritation or dryness since using this formula. I’d say if you have really sensitive skin or are on the drier side, it might be a better idea to apply this to your skin every other night, rather than daily. 

Only available through a Face Reality Acne Expert

Face Reality HydraBalance Gel review

Face Reality HydraBalance Gel

I really like this formula, but I can’t quite figure out what, exactly, it’s supposed to be used for. The packaging states that it’s a hydrating gel that reduces the appearance of oily shine. Typically if you need a hydrating gel, you’re more likely to have dry skin than oily skin. I guess this is a good hydrator for those who have oily skin. But don’t want any type of moisturizing product that adds more shine. 

This is water-based and blends into my skin really nicely. The key ingredients listed are ones I’ve actually never heard of (minus sodium hyaluronate). I can see myself using this a lot in the summer when my skin needs a bit of an extra hydration boost. But I don’t think this would be hydrating enough for my super dry skin in the wintertime. 

Because a lot of hydrating serums can sometimes be cloggy and irritating for folks with acne-prone skin, I think this is a good option for added moisture. It’s not as moisturizing as I typically go for, but again, I like that I can use it without worrying that it’s going to break me out. 

Available at Face Reality ($29)

Cran-Peptide Cream

Face Reality Cran-Peptide Cream

I’ve been using this cream on and off for years. I love how thick and moisturizing it is. And more importantly, I love how it doesn’t clog my pores or irritate my skin. This formula contains antioxidants and peptides to soothe and hydrate skin while offering some protection against free radical damage, too. Note that it does not contain SPF, though. 

The only thing I don’t love about this cream is that it doesn’t leave my skin with a nice, hydrated sheen that some other moisturizers do. For example, the Skinfix Triple Lipid Peptide Cream leaves a really nice, sheeny layer to my skin, and almost makes my skin look more glowy and bouncy. The Face Reality Cran-Peptide Cream won’t leave any type of hydrating sheen on your skin. But, it will do a good job of hydrating your dry face.  

Available at Face Reality ($29)

Ultimate Protection SPF28

Face Reality Ultimate Protection SPF28

Finding a sunscreen that doesn’t break me out has been a struggle for years. There are so many facial sunscreens out there that I’ve tried with no success, but this pick from Face Reality does not irritate my skin. 

This is just your plain ‘ole face sunscreen with nothing special about it honestly. It contains 11.6% zinc oxide, 0.67% titanium dioxide, honeysuckle flower extract, and allantoin. This won’t irritate your skin, and leaves a mattifying effect on your face. 

I’m not in love with the texture of this sunscreen, but since it’s one of the few that doesn’t cause me to break out, I will definitely continue to use it daily. I usually prefer a more hydrating-looking sunscreen, so I’m a bit bummed that this mattifies skin. However, I can apply my glowy tinted moisturizer on top to add a bit of dewiness to my complexion.

Another bummer about this one is that the SPF is a little bit low. That being said, I guess I do typically use facial sunscreens that are between SPF 30-50, so it’s not that far off, but I do wish it was the slightest bit higher. 

Available at Face Reality ($34)

Is Face Reality A Good Brand?

I think this is a fantastic brand for folks dealing with acne, and I would highly recommend all of their products (or at least the ones I have tested). I think the prices are pretty fair considering the high-quality ingredients used in these formulas. 

My favorite products from Face Reality include the 8% L-Mandelic Serum, the Moisture Balance Toner, and the Cran-Peptide Cream. I definitely notice a difference in my skin after using these products. I love that they don’t make me break out, and actually help prevent my hormonal acne from flaring up. 

Like I’ve mentioned previously, Face Reality specializes in acne and I’ve done extensive research and testing on their products throughout the years. The one downside of this brand is that not all products are easily accessible. 

Where To Buy Face Reality Products

There are only a few places to purchase Face Reality products. You can purchase some on their website, and others you will have to find a Face Reality Acne Expert near you. 

I hope you enjoyed my Face Reality reviews! Are you looking for more acne-friendly options? Check out my blog post about the best skincare for acne-prone skin

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