My Review of The Nue Co’s Barrier Culture 3-Step Skincare System

Okay, so technically The Nue Co did not just introduce a full 3-step system: one product, The Pill, was released a few months ago, but the recent launch of their Barrier Culture duo of the cleanser and moisturizer, completes a very streamlined, and cohesive 3-step routine. Also, I’m not entirely sure if supplement brand The Nue Co would even frame their 3-step skincare system as skincare, as all the verbiage on the products categorizes them as “topical skin supplements,” an approach I like, but for real-world use, this system is functionally a 3-step skincare routine.

The Nue Co Topical Skin Supplement System (L-R): Barrier Culture Cleanser; The Pill; Barrier Culture Moisturizer

One of the chief reasons The Nue Co’s new releases and overall skincare system appealed to me is their approach to skin through a supplemental approach and their focus on supporting the skin barrier for skin health. With the rise in advocacy of isolated active ingredients like acids, vitamin C, and retinols, we have seen increases in skin damage and overall sensitivity. There are so many influencers who aggressively hopped onto the acid toning train who then had to take time off from beauty blogging because they had messed up their skin. The Nue Co’s focus on not only gentle solutions (all products are fragrance-free, no added coloring, with clean formulas that don’t have ingredients that don’t need to be there), but on actual barrier support is a timely and necessary take, and I like the direction they’re taking the conversation on skin health. Besides barrier support being equated to healthier skin, barrier supporting products also help keep the skin protected and managed from what The Nue Co estimates can amount up to 90% of skin issues including environmental pollution, and UV damage.

I’ve covered The Pill in a previous post. But just a quick refresher: The Pill is the toner/serum step in one with a very gentle but effective acid complex, vitamins, and KBeauty inspired botanicals that aim to tackle the three common skin areas: exfoliation, hydration, and anti-inflammation. It fits perfectly as step 2 of this 3-step system. So let’s look at the two new products that make up the Barrier Culture: the cleanser and the moisturizer.

The Nue Co Barrier Culture Cleanser ($42 for 120ml)


The Nue Co Barrier Culture Cleanser is a very calming gel textured cleanser that aims to repair the skin barrier, and it contains pre-biotics, pro-biotics, and postbiotics, which are renowned for their support of the microbiome. This cleanser offers deep cleansing, and is “anti-stripping” as it contains no alcohol, soap, or sulfates. Firstly, Barrier Culture Cleanser reminds me of a cross between the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser and Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser (which might be my favorite skincare product from Glossier), both cult cleansers that are renowned for being gentle and pretty much agreeable for all skin types. The Nue Co’s Barrier Culture Cleanser is just as gentle, forming no foam at all, instead just forming a nice slip around the skin that makes it feel clean, but assuredly not stripped. Something interesting I noticed is how well it removed the sunscreen and overall buildup that even some more powerful feeling foamy cleansers would often miss. This cleanser gets that residue every single time without fail, almost like it just collects it and just easily rinses off. It just seems to go deeper than normal cleansers without feeling any aggressiveness at all.

I’m super impressed by this efficacy. Not only do the pre-pro-post biotics help the skin barrier and microbiome, the formula is also pH-balanced, and free of the aforementioned alcohols/soaps/sulfates. I also have to say, the bottle and pump are quite generously sized and just feel super nice. I feel like it can easily last a few months, which is good because I felt that my skin improved as I kept using this which is a sure sign that it is in fact improving my skin’s microbiome and skin barrier. I have been so impressed at how much this gets, how it performs as a first AND second cleanse without ever leaving my skin feeling stripped. It’s worked really well and reliably as my only cleansing step.

The Nue Co Barrier Culture Moisturizer ($65 for 50ml)

The Nue Co Barrier Culture Moisturizer is a dream because it’s exactly the type of moisturizer I was looking for after falling love with their toner/serum, The Pill. The Pill just does so much, that the last thing I wanted as a follow-up was a heavy moisturizer that might take it off, move it around, or smother its performance. Yet my skin still does better with something after that serum step to keep tightness and dryness at bay. Barrier Culture Moisturizer is a light, breathable gel-cream that is beyond soft. All moisturizers are a balancing act between thicker occlusion and actual hydration, and this leans more on the hydration side while still giving just the right bit of occlusion that gives skin just enough support without impairing serums or feeling weighed down. I really feel that The Nue Co spent a lot of time getting the texture of this just right. Similar to the cleanser, Barrier Culture Moisturizer also contains microbiome/barrier supporting pre-pro-post biotics. However, there’s more, this moisturizer also contains ceramides, niacinamide, squalane, peptides, and soothing plant extracts like calendula, cica, and chamomile that help moisturize, repair, and rebuild.

While writing this review, I realized: Barrier Culture Moisturizer might be my current favorite moisturizer, and the fact that it’s in a pump (super hygienic, and shows it indeed has a lighter texture) earns it bonus points. While the formula also doesn’t contain added fragrance, there is a faint smell of the natural mix of calendula, cica and chamomile that most will not pick up unless they have a really heightened sense of smell. If you don’t like fragrance, this should not be concerning as it’s super light (on a scale from 0-10, with 10 being a Caudalie face mist and 0 being Cetaphil’s cleanser, this is a 0.2-0.3), but if you are able to pick up on this super subtle scent, it feels pretty nice even though it disappears quickly. Performance-wise, although the Barrier Culture Moisturizer is light and quick absorbing, being more of a gel than a cream, it is sufficient and the perfect weight in my book for anyone who just wants that ideal hit of support without overweighing their skin or competing with their serums. If you’re like me, and use (sometimes multiple) serums, then you know that those serums/oils tend to work best with a moisturizer that… lets them live, if that makes sense. This is that perfect option that leaves my skin happy, never feeling tight or dry, while also never causing congestion or greasiness. Barrier Culture Moisturizer creates the perfect naked rested skin complexion, and delivers a gel-cream that is hands down the perfect texture and feel.

Final Thoughts

I really like The Nue Co’s approach to their skincare, or topical skin supplements. The products are multifaceted, and focus on the holistic health of the skin. The products themselves worked well, and delivered on all fronts, functioning superbly as a cleanser and as a moisturizer, respectively, with gentle, barrier supporting performance being key. My skin felt calm, soothed, and relaxed. They’re super easy to integrate, and there isn’t a learning curve because the products are made for simplicity and versatility. I especially like to do the full Nue Co routine on alternate days from when I use things like acids or retinols, where I’m giving my skin a break, but also want to make sure I’m helping my skin be healthy and repairing/healing it well.

All three products are designed to work in a streamlined system, with the Barrier Culture duo shown to address over 90% of skin issues on their own. So I definitely like following through this system in its entirety. However, even without a full routine from The Nue Co, each selection works really well in its own right. As a contributor on Garçon’s World, I do have a pretty massive 30% off discount code for you if you do make a purchase from The Nue Co. Just use the code: BC30GARCONS. I’m not entirely sure when the coupon expiresThe coupon was set to expire end of the weekend, but The Nue Co saw the response and decided to extend it to the end of month April 30th!

You can head here to pick up the Barrier Culture before the coupon BC30GARCONS expires or products are sold out.