After being on the regimen for about 3 years out of the past 13.. (once for a year and another for 2 years), my experience was very similar to what you are saying. I was never clear, my skin was always super dry and flakey, and it was just awful having to waste all the time on it. I tried every moisturizer, combined it with jojoba oil, AHA. I also got a humidifier but nothing ever helped. Other people seem to have better results though so maybe you just gotta keep pushing.
Can't help with the makeup part though