If you’re a bona fide beauty junkie, you probably already know it’s best to avoid chunky, granular face scrubs. Although it feels satisfying to scrub away at your face, and it’s hard to beat that feeling of instant gratification, they can do more harm than good by causing microtears in the skin if the exfoliator is too coarse. Many skincare professionals recommend a chemical exfoliator instead but there’s one gentle face scrub that has won over legions of fans- Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant. Here’s a look at what makes this exfoliator unique and is it worth a try?
What Is Dermalogica?
Dermalogica was founded by the South African born Jane Wurwand. She was trained as a skin therapist in the UK, but has said in interviews that after moving to the US in 1983, she was surprised at the lack of advanced skin and body therapy education in the States. Determined to do something about it, Wurwand and her boyfriend (now husband) Raymond started the International Dermal Institute, a skin education facility focusing on techniques such as extraction, lymphatic drainage and reflexology as well as business classes. The Wurwands launched their Dermalogica skincare line 1986. The line generated $1 million in sales its first year and $10 million in its third year. In 2015, Unilever acquired a majority share in the company. Today there are 37 global locations of the IDI and it serves as the research arm of Dermalogica.
What Is the Philosophy of Dermalogica?
Dermalogica takes a no-nonsense, clinical approach to skincare which is evident in its approach, as well as its straight-forward packaging. As the company states, Dermalogica is focused on skin health rather than simply “beauty.” According to the company, Dermalogica products have always been formulated without common irritants and ingredients that could cause breakouts, including lanolin, SD alcohol, mineral oil, artificial colors and fragrances..
What is Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant?
The Daily Microfoliant is a gentle exfoliating powder that launched in 2010. The white, rice based powder should be mixed with water to form a creamy paste, before being spread on the face in a circular motion. The powder is gentle enough to be used every day and helps to give the skin a deep clean and whisk away dry, dead surface skin cells. Dermalogica recommends dispensing about a half teaspoon-sized amount of the powder, and working the paste in the skin for about one minute before rinsing.
How Much Does Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Cost?
The Daily Microfoliant is pricey. A 0.45 ounce trial size is $15 and the 2.6 ounce bottle is $59.
Is Dermalogica Cruelty Free?
Yes. According to the company, Dermalogica is recognized as cruelty-free by PETA and Leaping Bunny. Dermalogica is certified vegan on all but four products, and the formulas, which are manufactured in California, are free of artificial colors and fragrances, mineral oil, lanolin, S.D. alcohol, parabens and microplastics.
What Ingredients Are in Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant?
The powder is formulated with rice powder that also contains papain (a papaya enzyme that also helps fade discoloration) and salicylic acid (derived from willow bark, a beta hydroxyl acid which provides a chemical exfoliation). Other key ingredients include phytic acid from rice bran, white tea and licorice along with colloidal oatmeal and allantoin (found in sugar beet and comfrey) to help calm and soothe skin. Rounding out the ingredients list is ginkgo biloba leaf extra and tea tree leaf oil, citrus paradisi (grapefruit) peel oil.
Where Can I Buy Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant?
Dermalogica is sold on its website and retailers including Sephora, Blue Mercury, the Dermstore, Ulta and Nordstrom. There are also several Dermalogica flagship stores around the world, which also offer skincare treatments and analysis.
Does Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Work?
When deciding if a product may work for you, it’s important to remember that a little trial and error is always necessary. One person’s hero product may do nothing for your skin, or perhaps cause a bad reaction. It’s always helpful to look at customer reviews as a starting point.
Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant has received plenty of editorial write ups and awards. The powder won a 2019 Allure Reader’s Choice Award and a 2018 award from British InStyle magazine. In the Allure review, the writer noted, “I usually scrub for about a full minute before rinsing it away with warm water because the paste is nowhere near as abrasive as traditional walnut shell-spiked formulas… Immediately after rinsing, my skin feels smoother (never stripped) and looks somewhat glowier. I’d like to think this is the Microfoliant doing its job, but I also like to credit the rest of my 10-step skin-care routine. I will say, though, that after consistently using the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant every other day, my sensitive skin (and my broken capillaries) are doing just fine — maybe even better.”
In a 2019 Byrdie review, the writer was initially “underwhelmed” by the Microfoliant until she realized she wasn’t rubbing it into her skin for long enough. Once she rubbed it in for longer, she wrote that it was a game changer. “The problem lies in the fact that most people who use it rub it over their skin for about 10 to 15 seconds max (like me), because who really has time for much else? Naturally, the catch to the product is that for the above ingredients to properly do that job, they need to be on the skin for at least a full minute to work.” Vogue.co.uk writer Lisa Niven-Phillips profiled the scrub in the magazine’s Beauty Heroes column in 2017. “…it does a great job of leaving me fresh-faced. It’s also super-light because it’s a dry powder, so not too heavy to cart around in your gym bag all day. I love that it contains salicylic acid to tighten pores, as well as colloidal oatmeal to soothe.”
But what do real people think? On Influenster, the scrub has nearly 3,000 reviews, giving it 4.6 out of 5 stars. Satisfied customers praised the exfoliator for being gentle but thorough. Elissa M. called it her “holy grail.” “Despite it being so expensive, that does not stop me from buying it. It is so gentle at removing those skin and leaving your face smooth and not tight.” Tasha P. also praised its gentleness. “This stuff is like heaven! Most exfoliators I’ve used (almost peach amongst a few 🙂 feel good but feel like they aren’t good for your face. This stuff feels amazing and leaves your face feeling like you didn’t just rub sand paper all over it!”
Customers who didn’t fall in love with the Microfoliant found it to be too harsh, or thought the smell was off putting. Babette D. wrote, “I ended up with more acne and rashes than I had before using this. I hate it.” Lauren D. did not have a good reaction to the powder. “The word ‘daily’ is in the name of the product but after the second day I used it, it completely destroyed my skin barrier. I’m now breaking out and dealing with dry flaky skin. I would not recommend for sensitive acne prone skin.”
On Sephora, the Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator has over 10,000 loves and gets a 4.7 out of 5 star rating from around 300 reviews. About 94 percent of customers would recommend it. Fans call it a “Glass skin miracle!” and “Greatest Skin Care investment EVER!” Oilfox called it “the best,” noting “This exfoliant will change your face. I’ve used it for years…You don’t need to use very much and I found it worked best only once or twice a week max. It helped to improve my skin tone and glow. It’s quite expensive but you only need about a dime size.”
Customers who gave it low marks cited its unpleasant smell or found that it didn’t do anything for them. Others found it to be too drying. As one reviewer wrote, “After hearing about this “miracle exfoliator” for years on YouTube, I was excited that it was a gift with purchase! My skin is very dry, but not very sensitive to products, but VERY sensitive to stripping soaps. I didn’t realize that this powder had a soap-like quality to it as well and immediately after using this my face tightened up and I couldn’t put enough moisturizer on to soothe my skin.”
What Are Some Alternatives to Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant?
Dermalogica may not be for everyone, either because of the high price point or it doesn’t react well with your skin. There are a few other brands to consider.
Formulyst’s philosophy is long-term and effective skincare. The brand wants to help its customers achieve their best looking skin, rather than covering it up with makeup. The comprehensive line of products addresses everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin, and has a few products to help exfoliate the skin.
For polished looking skin, try Formulyst Retexturing and Perfecting Serum. It contains plant based acids to gently slough off old skin cells, leaving behind fresher, smoother looking skin. The serum also works to tackle unevenness and blotchiness.
The ideal cleanser is one that gives skin a deep clean and whisks away dirt and makeup without leaving it too dry. Formulyst’s Clarifying AHA Cleanser is designed to give a skin a gentle but effective cleanse. The formula contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) derived from citrus and botanical extracts. These acids work by dissolving dead skin cells and drawing out impurities from the pores to reveal smooth, refreshed skin.
Fans of skincare kits, which take all the guesswork out of creating your own regimen, should try Advanced Dermatology. This no nonsense brand offers a pared down approach to skincare. The packaging is simple and streamlined, and the products bring skincare back to the basics. The kit contains just six essential items including a daily cleanser; serum; anti-wrinkle firming treatment; night cream; day cream and an eye cream. In other words, everything you need to achieve your best possible looking skin.