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Montarbo Skincare Review – 6 Years of Research

montarbo skincare review
I am unedited and wearing no makeup. (Only the background was altered.)

Before I jump into my Montarbo Skincare review, I want to give you some background on my personal skincare journey. If you don’t need my personal background, click below to jump to the Montarbo product you are considering buying.

My Skincare History

before montarbo skincare

In 2015, I started to get stubborn acne on my forehead that would come and go. In October of that year, the acne stayed and later spread. By April 2016, my skin had exploded with acne. Prior to this, my skin had been relatively flawless, so I was in shock and inept on how to handle it. It was such a sudden change in my appearance that even my friends asked about it.

After other health issues arose, I had many tests done and finally discovered the culprit: I had way above-average levels of the hormone prolactin. This is usually caused by a benign tumor on the pituitary gland, but two MRIs and other scans showed nothing. We still don’t know why it happened, but here are the steps I took to remedy the situation…

Low-Glycemic Diet

In order to get my hormonal acne under control initially, dermatologist Dr. Michelle Pelle recommended a low-glycemic diet, which I adhered to strictly for 1 week exactly. Just one week helped reduce my acne and changed my food cravings. To this day, I am attracted to more meats and vegetables, and I switched my breakfast from cereal to protein. Most mornings for the past 6 years, I eat 1 scrambled egg with spinach or mushrooms seasoned with cumin and turmeric (no salt). It’s great for my skin and dampens sugar cravings.


Although the diet change helped, it didn’t cure my acne drama, so in early 2017 dermatologist Dr. Edward Ross prescribed me Spironolactone. I took it for about four months (February 2017 – June 2017) and it massively reduced my acne. The only side effect I experienced was occasional cramping in my calf. For another personal story on Spironolactone read this Glamour article by Ariana Yaptangco.

Montarbo Chemical Peel

Around the same time I started spironolactone, a client recommended I see acne expert Cody Montarbo. I will never forget our first meeting on January 19, 2017.

I explained my entire skin history and showed Cody the products I was using. Despite my obvious skepticism, he was a perfect professional, informative, and deeply caring. He said the hodgepodge of products I was using at the time wasn’t bad, but recommended I cleanse my face with jojoba oil before using face wash. This ended up being an invaluable tip I use to this day.

I proceeded to get a custom Montarbo Chemical Peel every 2 months (January 2017 – July 2017). These custom chemical peels basically eliminated all my acne scars and completely refreshed my face. When people ask me how I fixed my skin, I explain that Spironolactone knocked down the foundation of my acne and Cody Montarbo cleaned up the rubble. Broken skin is his specialty, and he’s truly the Chemical Peel Queen. He gets results and his passion for his clients is awe-inspiring. It is impossible to exaggerate how absolutely sincere and caring this man is.

Now, I only get chemical peels once a year. You can see my most recent chemical peel on my Instagram.

Tip: Cody is a star and a real miracle worker, but not everyone can work with him or his protege Crystal. You can, however, still get a taste of his magic touch by following him on social media.

Montarbo Skincare Review

In addition to my annual chemical peel, I now incorporate numerous Montarbo Skincare products into my routine. For context, my skin is…

  • Sensitive
  • Combination (oily and dry — argh!)
  • Extremely acne prone
  • 41 years old

To elaborate, I am an impatient vain person with aging and sensitive acne-prone skin, and I have zero tolerance for products that do not show me immediate results. When testing a skincare product, I stop using it immediately if there is any hint of a breakout. All products listed below, I have used extensively, if not for years, before collecting my thoughts on them. This review started all the way back in 2018, and as the title of the post says, it’s been 6 years in the making.

VSTYLE readers can get 30% off Montarbo Skincare products with the code VSTYLE30.

Montarbo Skincare – Beauty Elixir 20% Vitamin C Antioxidant

montarbo skincare review
Montarbo Skincare $69

Background: I was devastated when my tried and true nighttime serum, Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum, was discontinued. I tried soooo many products to replace it, but nothing could refresh my face and not break me out until I decided to try the Montarbo Beauty Elixir.

Pros: The Montarbo Beauty Elixir 20% Vitamin C Antioxidant refreshes your entire face and attacks all things you don’t want: wrinkles, age spots, dehydration, and acne. It also evens out the texture of your skin and reduces pore appearance. Basically, this elixir will help any face ailment you can come up with. It is an efficiency lover’s dream. Like a fool, I tried to replace it recently and absolutely failed. Nothing refreshes my face as well. Nothing. I even have my 70-year-old engineer father using it now. He noticed the results and he doesn’t notice anything.

Cons: The Beauty Elixir is sticky and stinky. Thankfully, my lovers have actually liked the smell, but some bed partners may not love the scent. (This is less of an issue if your partner also uses Beauty Elixir so you can both smell weird — and look flawless — together.) It can also give my fingernails an orange tint if I don’t wash my nails after using it. Same thing with my white silk pillowcase, but the orange tint comes out in the laundry. Lastly, you CANNOT use this at night and then go into the sun during the day for even a few minutes without sunscreen. The Beauty Elixir will make your skin more sensitive to the sun. This means dark spots will get darker without proper sun protection. Do not use this serum if you don’t wear SPF every day.

How To Use: Apply all over your face at night. It might sting if you have sensitive skin or if you have been using a lot of advanced products. Start with a few drops and then add more as your face adjusts. After 5 years of using this, I am basically pouring it on my face. When I apply it, I get close to my eye, but never near the eye line. You do not want this in your eyes! You can apply it to your neck, but I don’t like the sticky feeling in the crevices of my neck. I use only this serum at night — no other products need to be layered.

VSTYLE readers can get 30% off Montarbo Skincare products with the code VSTYLE30.

Montarbo Skincare – Vitalizing Vitamin B & C Serum 12%

montarbo skincare review
Montarbo Skincare $69

Background: Cody explained to me that his clients use the Vitalizing Vitamin B & C Serum 12% for daytime to extend/preserve the results of the Beauty Elixir at night. I didn’t realize I could/should use a serum during the day before he told me this. Before 2018, I just used an SPF moisturizer for my daytime skincare.

Pros: It feels so silky to put on and it immediately refreshes my face. My friend says that it makes my face look like glass. It smoothes wrinkles and reduces acne, sunspots, and scarring.

Cons: This serum can heat up on your face, which freaked out my mom. Also, if you use too much, it can make your face look a little shiny. The shininess looks fine in person, but it can be too much when you get photographed. Lastly, you MUST wear SPF over it for day wear. Any acidic product like this will make your face more sensitive to UV rays and can increase sun spots if you don’t use SPF.

How To Use: Start out only using a little bit to see how your skin reacts. Less is always more with Montarbo products. Once you know how much is right for you, apply it to your whole face and then let it dry for 15 minutes. Once absorbed, apply your SPF. Makeup layers beautifully over it.

VSTYLE readers can get 30% off Montarbo Skincare products with the code VSTYLE30.

Montarbo Skincare – Peptide Repair Cream aka Best Cream For Droopy Eyelids

before and after using eye cream

Background: My skin is looking amazing thanks to the Montarbo Vitamin B + C serum for daytime, the Beauty Elixir at nighttime, and the Transformation Pads I use once a week (full review on those below). But none of these items go on the eyes. A few months after I turned 40, my upper eyes started to droop and my under eyes were getting puffy and wrinkly. No eye cream was working anymore. The only thing that helped was my professional micro current facials at Advanced Skincare, but I had to go every two weeks to retain the lift it gave my eye area and it was getting costly in both time and money. I was over the upkeep and took a break. Then I saw how droopy my eyelids had gotten after looking at a picture of me with friends on the beach (pictured above). I was actually embarrassed.

Then, a couple weeks after the beach photo was shot, Cody launched his new Peptide Repair Cream, thank god! After one use, my eyelids were refreshed.

Pros: As usual Montarbo blows my freakin’ mind with results. By using the peptide cream every morning above and below my eyes, my eyelids have crawled back and my fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness are minimized! BEST EYE CREAM EVER. This is a MUST for every single human. I seriously cannot encourage this eye cream enough. The results are superb, the texture is perfect — not too heavy, not too light — and there seems to be zero scent.

You can use the peptide cream all over your face too, especially if you don’t use acidic products on your face. If do use acidic products on your face, like the Vitamin B + C serum or the Beauty Elixir, you have to wait at least 15 minutes before layering the peptide cream under or over either of those products. The acids can breakdown the peptides and make them ineffective if you don’t wait.

Cons: This is a truly flawless product. The only con is the desire for more. At $80 a pop you can run through this cream real fast if you’re not careful.

How To Use: Squeeze half a pump onto your ring finger, blot to the other ring finger, then tap it onto your eyelids as well as under your eyes. You can use day and night. This can also be used all over your face, neck, and décolletage. Wait 15 minutes if you are layering with an acidic serum. Cody recommends applying it after an acidic serum, but I haven’t seen a big difference between layering it before or after. I have just noticed that you really do have to wait 15 minutes between applications.

VSTYLE readers can get 30% off Montarbo Skincare products with the code VSTYLE30.

Montarbo Skincare – Extreme Hydration Repair Mask

Montarbo Skincare face mask review
Montarbo Skincare $99

Background: My neck was getting wrinkly and I needed something that actually worked and wouldn’t break out my acne-prone chest. Enter the Montarbo Extreme Hydration Repair Mask, a silky smooth hydrating cream that spreads beautifully.

Pros: A little really goes a loooooong way. And it feels amazing on. It seriously provides extreme hydration with no stickiness whatsoever. I use it day and night on my neck, (acne-prone) chest, and arms. I have seen a dramatic difference in my skin’s texture and wrinkles. I especially noticed the results on my trip to Indonesia. In all my pictures my chest looked so youthful. It smells like nothing to me, but my lover says it has a refreshingly light scent of cucumber.

Cons: No cons, but be careful with how much you use. You do NOT need a lot. Sometimes I get annoyed when I oversqueeze the tube and waste this valuable product.

How To Use: You can use it day or night and anywhere on your body that needs extreme hydration, from your face to your legs. I don’t use it on my face because it gave me a few whiteheads once, but it has revolutionized my neck. Surprisingly it has never broken out my extremely acne-prone chest, but I do use it sparingly there.

VSTYLE readers can get 30% off Montarbo Skincare products with the code VSTYLE30.

Montarbo Skincare – Professional Transformation Treatment Pads Review

montarbo skincare review
Montarbo Skincare $85

Background: I was looking for a way to delay pricey professional facials, and discovered Montarbo’s Professional Transformation Treatment Pads. I am OBSESSED.

Pros: This is truly a facial in a bottle. I used to use these pads on my face and arms once a week, but my skin is looking so good, I only use them once a month now. Oh my god, my skin looks INCREDIBLE immediately. And my arms shocked me. They were looking really crepe-y and now they look like baby arms. I find myself staring and petting my arms throughout the day. I just can’t believe it. The first time I used it on my arms, I actually got a memory of looking at my arm in the bathroom of an apartment I lived in 15 years ago because that was the last time my arm looked this young. These pads feel like a magic trick or a social media filter. 

Cons: I suppose the con would be that it can sting. If it stings a lot your first time, wash it off. You only need a few minutes of it on your skin for it to be effective.

How To Use: I use these pads once a week at night. I wipe it all over my face with a heavy focus on wrinkles, acne, and sunspots, and then wipe the excess on my arms. You can rinse it off after 5 minutes, or if it doesn’t burn, leave it on. After 15 minutes, then apply your evening serum/cream. To get the full “wow” effect you HAVE to follow up with a serum. I use the Montarbo Beauty Elixir 20% Vitamin C Antioxidant.

VSTYLE readers can get 30% off Montarbo Skincare products with the code VSTYLE30.

Montarbo Skincare – Advanced Exfoliating Cleanser

montarbo skincare cleanser review
Montarbo Skincare $49

Background: I was confused why I would need this Advanced Exfoliating Cleanser if I already had a cleanser I liked. Now I get it…

Pros: It’s a professional chemical cleanser that refreshes the skin and prevents acne.

Cons: It can sting a sensitive person because this is a professional chemical exfoliator. Just remember this is not for daily use.

How To Use: I will say it again — this is not for daily use! I use this on my face once a week (at most) as an exfoliator. I also use it in the shower after a long sweaty run between my breasts where I am prone to white bumps after excessive sweating. I also apply it very gently in my outer groin area where I am also prone to acne. Regular cleanser or body soap did nothing to prevent acne in these weird spots for me, so this is a real find for me!

If you are using this once a week, I recommend spacing it a few days apart from any weekly use of the Transformation Pads since both are chemical exfoliants. For example, I use the Advanced Exfoliating Cleanser on Wednesdays, and the Transformation Pads on Sundays.

Update: I found a natural fix to prevent acne in my groin — stop wearing underwear! Turns out it was the panty lines that were creating the acne. What a relief! I still use the cleanser between my breasts though.

VSTYLE readers can get 30% off Montarbo Skincare products with the code VSTYLE30.

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