Founded in 1986, Dermalogica quickly rose up in the global beauty ranks to become not just one of the most sought-after skincare brands but also one of the must trusted, owing to its roots in skincare education. Nowadays, it’s still a leading professional skincare brand around the world, touted by more than 100,000 skin therapists in over 100 countries.
At its heart, Dermalogica is a brand founded on education. Founder Jane Wurwand (who, by the way, wrote a book chronicling her own journey and which is chock full of inspiration on how to launch your own) arrived in Los Angeles from the UK in 1983 with $2,800 and a mission to shore up the sorely lacking state of skincare education in the U.S. Her first move was to create The International Dermal Institute (IDI) in Marina Del Rey, CA, where she offered post-grad training to licensed skin therapists. The institute was a success, and three years later in 1986, Wurwand launched the Dermalogica skincare line. At the time, she saw a market dominated by overpackaged, overhyped products teeming with artificial colors, fragrances, and potential skin irritants, and jumped at the opportunity to create skin health-focused products that embodied the high standards of the International Dermal Institute.
Founded By: Jane Wurwand, 1986
Based In: Carson, CA
Pricing: $$$ (most products are $40 and above)
Best Known For: Professional-grade skincare and an educational approach
Most Popular Products: Daily Microfoliant and PreCleanse
Other Brands You'll Love: Paula’s Choice, SkinCeuticals, Dr. Barbara Sturm
Fun Fact: PreCleanse can be used to get gum out of hair. The oils in PreCleanse attract the gum base so the gum sticks to PreCleanse instead of the proteins in your hair.
The Dermalogica experience was—and still is—guided by three core principles: education, personalization, and human touch, resulting in an ever-evolving line of professional-grade skincare products along with education and services to both skin therapists and customers alike. This gives consumers who use Dermalogica products the chance to understand what their product is doing and why it’s helping their skin, cementing that personal, human touch the brand cherishes.
An expert from Dermalogica explained that the brand has never sought to be about beauty, luxury, or pampering, but rather achieving healthy skin with quality products and trusted ingredients. “Dermalogica doesn’t make ephemeral promises of youth, perfection, and status; rather the brand celebrates the uniqueness of every person’s skin and their journey to skin health,” they said. To that end, Dermalogica offers various products and categories to suit the unique skincare needs of consumers ages 16 to 50-plus, from the teen-focused ClearStart line to the anti-aging Age Smart collection.
Keep reading for our favorite Dermalogica products.
The OG skincare icon of the beauty world, Daily Microfoliant is a veritable facial in a tube. This powder-to-paste formula contains papain, a potent exfoliating enzyme, as well as salicylic acid and rice enzymes to polish skin to perfection, while phytic acid, white tea, and licorice balance and brighten skin, and oatmeal and allantoin calm redness and irritation.
Phytic acid is a gentle alpha hydroxy acid. It is typically derived from grains, legumes and rice. It can help to neutralize free radical damage in the skin, clear out and shrink pores, and brighten pigmentation.
Special Cleansing Gel
This basic, tried-and-true foaming facial wash is great for all skin types and conditions. The soap-free formula contains balm mint and lavender extracts, as well as naturally-foaming quillaia saponaria, which gently rinses away toxins, excess oil, and debris to leave skin feeling smooth and clean.
There are cleansing oils, and then there’s PreCleanse. This double-cleanse essential easily melts away waterproof makeup, excess sebum, sunscreen, environmental pollutants, and product residue, leaving skin fresh, clean, and soft. It's also great even for oily skin.
Skin Smoothing Cream
The brand calls this its “next-generation moisturizer,” and for good reason, as it sounds like several products in one. It contains state-of-the-art Active HydraMesh Technology, which infuses skin with 48 hours of continuous hydration by preventing trans-epidermal water loss on a molecular level. Packed with hyaluronic acid and mallow, cucumber, and arnica extracts as well as antioxidant vitamins C and E, it locks in moisture and protects skin’s microbiome from environmental stress.
Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50
Part of the Age Smart collection, this medium-weight emollient daily moisturizer is a great covers-all-bases cream. It contains potent antioxidants and polyphenols from white tea as well as polypeptides to help improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin, while providing broad-spectrum SPF 50 protection.
If you had a penny for every mention Active Moist has received in beauty mags, blogs, and recommendation lists over the years, you’d be plenty wealthy. This lightweight, skin-loving everyday moisturizer is packed with prebiotics and plant extracts, including lemon, cucumber, and burdock, to keep skin fresh and hydrated while refining its texture.
This sibling to the brand’s best-selling Daily Microfoliant kicks up its potency a few notches with enzymes, alpha-hydroxy acids, activated charcoal, niacinamide, red algae, and tara fruit extract to deeply cleanse, exfoliate, and detox skin from environmental pollutants.
Ultra Calming Cleanser
Easy-does-it cleansing gel for sensitive and reactive skins, this non-foaming cleanser is pH balanced to rinse away impurities while protecting skin’s natural protective barrier. It's also versatile, so you could wash or wipe it off, depending on what your skin needs.
A vitamin C serum and then some, this all-star contains an ultra-stable form of vitamin C plus peptides and alpha-hydroxy acids to fight oxidative stress, brighten and firm skin, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As far as vitamin C products are considered, this one brings some pretty serious wow factor.
Hydro Masque Exfoliant
Today’s self-care culture requires as many masks as possible, and this fun yet effective hydrating mask makes easy work of it. Bamboo exfoliates dead skin to allow for maximum hydration thanks to snow mushroom, while a cocktail of antioxidants, vitamin D, jojoba esters, and amino acids help strengthen skin’s barrier function.
Neck Fit Contour Serum
The oft-overlooked neck and décolleté areas require some heavy-duty skincare of their own, and this serum features a cool roll-on application that won't stretch or manipulate the delicate skin. It deeply infuses skin with Palmitoyl Tripeptide-42 and rambutan extract, which provide retinol-like firming and toning.
Smart Response Serum
Even though it’s brand-spanking-new, we’d be remiss if we didn’t feature this new serum because it’s just so Dermalogica. Like AI for your skin, it delivers what it needs, when and where it needs it. Thanks to ingredients designed to hydrate, brighten, soothe, and firm, the question becomes: Who doesn’t need this as part of their routine?