I’m turning 30 this year, and I can tell by looking in the mirror.
Now, I’ve had a wrinkly forehead for years—but I do a lot of expression with my eyebrows and that’s just the way it is.
But more and more I’m seeing crow’s feet creep in and dark circles settle.
When I heard about Proven Skincare, I had to investigate. I’ve tried personalized face care before, but never from a brand co-founded by a postdoc in computational physics.
So how can hard data affect your skincare routine? Keep reading our review to find out.
What Is Proven Skincare?
To understand what Proven Skincare is all about, it’s best to start with the Skin Genome Project.
When Proven CEO Ming Zhao teamed up with Stanford-trained computational physicist Amy Yuan, they weren’t looking to make any regular face care routine. Instead of going with conventional wisdom and hearsay on what products work, they took the 21st century route: they built an algorithm.
Armed with data from over 4,000 scientific studies, eight million testimonials, and reports on municipal water hardness and UV-ratings, Zhao and Yuan mapped out the characteristics of human skin.
The Skin Genome Project was so thorough, it won the 2018 MIT Artificial Intelligence Award.
Proven partnered up with the head of dermatology at Stanford to create a short quiz (mine was 31 questions and took about five minutes). By the end, you get three products tailored for you based on your age, race, stress level, local water hardness, UV index, oiliness, etc.
It’s the most personalized non-prescription face care product available to the mass-market.
Things to Consider Before Buying Proven Skincare
For guys, it’s important to consider how much work you’re willing to put into your face care routine.
I only really started taking skincare seriously about a year ago, and I’m still building the habit of washing and moisturizing my face every day (though I’m still not perfect with it).
Women may find the cost of Proven inexpensive, considering how traditional serums and creams and balms rack up the bills. But for dudes, spending $100+ for 6-8 weeks of skincare may seem like a stretch.
Before I tried Proven, I had a two-step skincare routine from Hawthorne. They also do a personalization process, though they only differentiate based on the dryness of your skin. At under $40, their cleanser and moisturizer are a nice addition to their colognes, and I definitely noticed an improvement in my skin.
I also tried the hims prescription skincare routine (~$60) and saw solid results, though the prescription ultimately made my skin sensitive and I wasn’t consistent enough to get out of the beginning phases with the product.
But while Proven is the most expensive, it’s also been the most gentle and effective for moisturizing my skin and helping me look my best.
So consider your budget and consider how simple you want your routine to be. The Proven moisturizer comes with an SPF 30 rating, so you’ll save some cash and some room in your bathroom cabinet.
Proven Skincare Review
I started my Proven Skincare journey with their Skin Genome Project quiz. I answered 31 questions on everything from how my face feels when I wake up, my drinking habits, screen time, zip code, skin color, stress levels—it was comprehensive.
My biggest concern is becoming too distinguished with my wrinkles. After all, if I’m that distinguished, how can I blend in and fulfill my dreams of becoming an international spy?
As I went through the questionnaire, certain ingredients popped up on the side of my screen. Proven was adding caffeine for the darkness under my eyes, vitamin B6 to help sooth my face after a wet shave, and squalane because it has a funny sounding name.
After 31 questions, Proven had everything they needed to formulate a face wash, moisturizer, and PM cream for my skin type.
I did a one-time purchase, but a subscription (runs every 6-8 weeks) can knock off around 15% of the total cost.
My products took about two weeks to create and ship, and I got my order somewhere around three weeks after finishing the quiz. Yes, it’s longer than most skincare companies, but with customized products, I’m happy to wait a little while.
The system arrives in a small box and there’s a thick envelope with information on all your unique products on top.
Proven even taught me some things I didn’t know, like where I live has “soft water” and a “very high UV index.”
Along with some promotional cards, Proven packed in a card with details and application instructions on each of my products. As someone relatively new to skin care, I like reading about the ingredients and their effects, so this set of cards is fun to go through.
Now, I don’t need to have a big bad-ass looking tube of face wash, but my initial impression was that Proven is geared more toward women. If I didn’t hear about the brand first-hand from another dude, I would’ve skipped past it.
You’re not going to find anything prototypically manly with Proven—there are no depictions of woodworking tools or screaming bears anywhere on any of their packaging. But I’d be lying if I said I would be totally ok with a pastel pink face wash bottle. I could get past it, no doubt, but it wouldn’t be my favorite.
Proven ships their products in neat chrome silver containers, so I don’t have to worry about anyone looking under my bathroom sink and thinking I’m slightly less masculine. Phew.
Let’s get to the heart of the matter—did the products work for me?
Yes, and I started seeing results after four days.
I’m still using my Hawthorne face cleanser in the morning because it’s now firmly part of my routine. I’ve spent so many years not washing my face that I’m reluctant to give up this part of the process.
After my Hawthorne cleanser, I put on the 30 SPF Day Moisturizer. This is a mineral sunscreen, which I was a bit worried about because I’ve always hated the “white-casting” that can happen. But there really isn’t any white-casting, which is both surprising and great.
While the Night Cream and cleanser are both 50mL bottles, the Day Moisturizer comes in a 30mL which is a let-down. A consistent moisturizer with SPF is probably my greatest need, and I’m worried that this will run low before my other products. I use more of it and have less.
That said, I’ve been using it for two weeks now and my face feels great—no breakouts and no irritation.
The new addition to my skincare routine is the “wash-before-bed,” which has historically been tough for me. When I’m tired, nothing can stand between me and sleep. But for this review, I knew I had to buck up and practice some good hygiene.
As per the instructions, I use two pumps of the cleanser and let it sit for a minute before washing it off. Then I follow up with the Night Cream, which is designed to have the impact of several serums and spot treatments, but much simpler.
Four days after starting the nightly routine, I noticed a difference in my skin, particularly on my forehead. My wrinkles are less pronounced, and my face just looks more fresh.
I’m still only two weeks in, and Proven claims that the results show after six weeks. Maybe the results I’m seeing are just the tip of the iceberg, or maybe I’ve been neglecting my skin for so long that it’s happy to get some attention.
Either way, Proven Skincare is working and I’m satisfied with that.
What do Other Reviewers Say About Proven Skincare?
I’ve been seeing progress with Proven, but I wanted to check out other reviews to see if my experience was an outlier.
With nearly 100 reviews, Proven has a “great” rating on Trustpilot. Most of the reviews were 5-star, but I always check out the negative reviews, too.
The biggest issue people took with Proven is that you’re not able to return the products you get because they’re custom made. So even if you find that their system doesn’t work for you, you’ll have to chalk it up as an experiment.
My Thoughts Overall On Proven Skincare
What I Like
The level of customization is by far the most in-depth I’ve seen in skincare.
Within four days my face was looking noticeably “fresher.”
The packaging is handsome and looks good in the bathroom cabinet.
Customer service is engaged, and they send educational emails right away.
What I Don’t Like
Proven is costly considering other options out there for guys.
Who is Proven Skincare for?
Proven Skincare is a solid choice for guys looking to take their facial care to the next level.
Sure, if you’re just starting to think about washing your face and moisturizing, you can get Proven and step right up to the big leagues.
But really, the service is aimed more toward those who’ve tried “cookie-cutter” one-size-fits-all products and haven’t had much success.
Proven Skincare is advanced.
It costs more than what most guys would consider for their face care. But it’s the best I’ve tried.
There’s a skincare hierarchy—if you don’t regularly wash and moisturize your face, start there. You can find some simple cleansers and lotions that are much less expensive and you should notice an improvement in a few weeks.
But if you want to truly step up your skincare game and invest in that handsome mug of yours, Proven is an excellent choice.
The Proven Skincare customization process is impressive. After 31 questions, three weeks, and a decent chunk of change, I got the best skincare products I’ve tried to date.
How much does Proven Skincare cost?
The Proven Skincare system comes with three products, and together they cost $145. If you subscribe, you can bring that price down to $119.
Is Proven Skincare good?
Yes, Proven Skincare is the best skincare system I’ve tried. They keep it simple with three products, which is nice for us guys.