Reviewed by Michelle

I was one of those girls you hated in high school. My skin was practically flawless, nary a breakout, and when asked what I used? Water. No cleansers. No creams. No masks. I didn't even remove my make-up at night. I was lucky enough to have skin that could tolerate it. But I’m paying the price in my later years. At 34, my skin is sluggish and dim-looking with cloggy pores, I break out often, and I can barely even look at makeup before the pimples start appearing. I was thrilled to be chosen to test and review Juice Beauty’s Organics to Clear Skin set. Would it give me back the glowing skin I once had? Okay... I know, I'm dreaming. My teenage skin is gone forever, but at least maybe it could stop breaking out several times a week? I could live with that!

Included in the set is the Cleansing Gel, Green Apple Peel for sensitive skin ($39 in the TIA shop), Blemish Clearing Serum, and Oil Free Moisturizer ($28 in the TIA shop). Also included in my set was a bamboo stretchy headband and Blemish Clearing Powder. The set was supposed to last for 30 days, which the Green Apple Peel did, but the other items lasted almost 60 days - so you do get your money's worth. Four months later, I still have plenty of the blemish powder left.  I used the system for a full 6 weeks, since I know that is generally the amount of time my skin takes to show results from a product change and I wanted to give the products plenty of time to work. I first reviewed the labels, and was disappointed to find phenoxyethanol, a preservative, in the ingredients list on a few of the products. It is far down the list, but I tend to avoid preservatives after having chemical sensitivities. There seemed to be no ill effects during the test, but I would probably choose to avoid these products in favor of something without preservatives if I were purchasing them. So, a point against them already. Bummer.

My skin was already throwing a tantrum when the kit arrived, so I figured it was the perfect time to see what it could really do. I followed the directions, cleansed, then applied the blemish serum (to the entire face, but you can use it as a spot treatment too), then the moisturizer, and then spot-treated the blemishes with the powder twice daily. Once a week I used the Green Apple Peel. The cleanser removed makeup well, and didn’t dry my face at all, which many acne products tend to do. The moisturizer was lightweight and absorbed quickly with no greasy feeling and played well with my eye cream and make-up. The blemish serum was gentle and did not dry my skin.

However, I experienced a major problem with the blemish serum in about the third week – it causes photosensitivity, which the label warned it could. I smoothed it on my face and neck (which is breakout prone as well) and must have missed covering all of the serum-treated area with the sunblock-containing moisturizer. I spent about an hour outside in the summer sun and ended up with painful burns in the area where I missed moisturizer on the serum-treated skin. It hurt badly, was red, and eventually peeled, and took about three days to heal. Since just the area on my neck where I applied the serum was burned (and not my entire chest, which was exposed to the sun in a v-necked shirt) I ruled out a sunburn.  And this burn was more scaly, itchy, burning and rash-like than a sunburn. I’ve never had any sort of photosensitivity before, so it would seem care needs to be taken in applying the product. Worrying about getting chemical burns every time I go outside to play with my kids? No, thanks. Another point against the Clear Skin system.

The blemish powder did seem to take away the redness and pain of large pimples very quickly – generally within an hour or two of application the sting of those deep under-skin pimples was reduced. Using it alone, it left a chalky spot where it was applied which was not desirable on the majority of days when I do not wear make-up, but it did not show once makeup was applied over it. However, my blemishes still took several days to heal, which they would have without the entire treatment, so the powder and regimen didn’t seem to help heal the blemish heal any faster. It is worthwhile to note that the Juice Beauty Clear Skin regimen also did not reduce the hyper-pigmentation that I experience where I had a blemish, so that is something to keep in mind for those of us that have post-pimple dark spots.

By far my favorite product of the set was the Green Apple Peel (sensitive). In fact, it is the only product I might recommend trying and would possibly purchase for myself. It did have a tingling and burning sensation when applied but it wasn’t painful, and my skin looked brighter after I did the peel. Blemishes did not seem to be reduced in any way, but my overall skin tone and brightness did show some improvement. The only negative – it smelled terrible. In fact, the entire line smelled terrible. I know the Juice Beauty line is supposed to smell like lemon or cherries, and I guess it did – very sour, but not in the pleasant way a fresh lemon smells. I felt like I was applying household cleaners to my face every time I used it. My husband even commented on how bad the line smelled when I used it – I know some people say they like the smell, but neither of us were fans. I have used other enzyme-based peels in the past that have smelled much better than the Green Apple Peel, and they gave me equally good results. I would be inclined to go back to using those instead simply based on the smell factor.

The headband included in the kit was useless. It kept slipping off my head while trying to cleanse. What I would have found much more useful would be a small brush to apply the blemish powder. I didn’t want to use one of my own make-up brushes for this purpose and mix products, so I ended up using the end of my finger, which only worked marginally well.

Overall, I understood the purpose of the Juice Beauty Clear Skin products were to reduce or prevent acne break-outs. So when I set out on this trial, I knew that in order to call it a successful product that I could recommend, it needed to do just that – reduce the length or frequency of a break-out or prevent my skin from having break-outs. Did it? Unfortunately, it did not noticeably shorten the healing time or reduce or prevent break-outs. The photo-sensitivity issue aside, my skin seemed to suffer no ill effects while using the products, but it didn’t show any major positive effects either. In fact, my tantrum-prone skin remained largely unchanged – it still broke out in several large painful pimples about twice a week. I still had cloggy pores. It only looked a little less dull. Would I recommend this kit for someone with age-related acne like mine? No. Perhaps it will work for someone else – maybe someone who has a different cause to their acne problem. Teens with acne might have different results. But for my aging-related acne and skin troubles, it just didn’t make a difference. There are plenty of other fish in the skin care product sea, so I am going to keep fishing.

NOTE: After this test, I switched to a preservative-free shea butter-based cleanser and moisturizer. I’ve added to that a weekly Rhassoul mud and organic Argan oil mask, and have had better results. My skin will never be as perfect as it was at 16, but at least the breakouts have eased to about once per month. And I’m still fishing for something that works better…