Dermalogica is a brand that has been formulating professional-grade skin care since 1986. But just because a brand has been around for many years doesn’t necessarily mean their products are going to work for you. In order to determine whether this brand is worth trying, we’re going to review the top 10 best Dermalogica skin care products with a scientific lens, meaning we’ve evaluated the research that supports (or doesn’t support) the ingredients that you’ll find in these products. We’ll also share some Dermalogica reviews so you can get a better idea of what customers really think about these products.
What Are The Top 10 Best Dermalogica Skin Care Products?
Dermalogica skin care products include everything you need to create a complete routine, including cleansers, exfoliants, moisturizers, masques, toners, facial oils, serums, targeted treatments, eye treatments, body care, and more. If you aren’t sure where to get started with this brand, don’t worry — below we’re giving you the details on the top 10 Dermalogica skin care products.
- One of the brand’s most popular products is the Daily Microfoliant, an exfoliating rice-based powder for your face
- Claimed to help you achieve brighter, smoother skin
- Contains microcrystalline cellulose, a gentle abrasive to exfoliate the top layers of skin, removing makeup, excess oil, dirt, and other impurities that may have accumulated during the day
- Also contains chemical exfoliants, such as papain (an enzyme derived from papaya) and salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid), a skin brightening complex of phytic acid from rice bran, white tea, and licorice to help balance uneven skin tone, and a soothing blend of colloidal oatmeal and allantoin to help calm skin
- Gentle enough for daily use
- Deep-cleansing oil that is meant to be used as the first step of the Double Cleanse regimen
- Key ingredients include apricot kernel oil, sunflower seed oil, orange oil, and grapefruit peel oil
- These oils will dissolve other materials that have a similar chemical structure (makeup, excess sebum, dirt, etc), allowing them to be washed away during the second step of the Double Cleanse regimen
- Ideal for all skin types, even for oily skin conditions
Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel
- Soap-free, lightweight foaming gel that can be used for all skin conditions
- Claimed to remove impurities without disturbing the skin’s natural moisture balance
- Formula includes soap bark extract, a botanical extract that contains saponins (a class of chemical compounds that can act as natural surfactants)
- Also contains calming balm mint and lavender extracts to soothe the skin
- Mild enough to use every day
Dermalogica Active Moist
- Sheer oil-free facial moisturizer
- Claimed to help improve surface texture and combat surface dehydration
- Contains mostly emollients, including caprylic/capric triglyceride, methyl gluceth-20, coconut alkanes, cetearyl alcohol, palmitic acid, stearic acid, and more. Emollients help the skin to feel soft and smooth, while also helping to improve water retention.
- Also contains a Prebiotic Moisture Complex and natural botanical extracts such as lemon, cucumber, and burdock
Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance
- Nourishing facial moisturizer that is said to restore lipid balance to dry, depleted skin for optimal barrier performance
- Formula contains a BioReplenish Complex that delivers a combination of key barrier lipids to help enhance the skin’s natural resilience and support barrier recovery
- A prebiotic chlorella algae complex helps rebalance the skin’s natural microbiome for healthy-looking skin
- Features two forms of hyaluronic acid — sodium hyaluronate and hydrolyzed sodium hyaluronate — to help enhance the skin’s moisture content and reduce the appearance of fine lines
Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream
- Facial moisturizer that is claimed to “infuse skin with 48 hours of continuous hydration and helps protect against environmental stress”
- Contains a hyaluronic acid complex with mallow, cucumber, and arnica that distributes hydration throughout the skin, helping to lock in moisture for lasting hydration
- Also formulated with antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and grape seed extract
Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50
- Medium-weight, emollient daily moisturizer with broad spectrum SPF 50
- Claimed to help minimize the appearance of skin aging and improve the appearance of photoaged skin
- Chemical sunscreen ingredients include avobenzone (3.0%) and octinoxate (7.5%)
- Formula contains many fragrance ingredients
Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant
- Resurfacing, anti-pollution powder exfoliant
- Claimed to deliver your smoothest skin ever and help fight environmental triggers known to accelerate skin aging
- Contains a high amount of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
- While baking soda is abrasive and will exfoliate the skin, skin care experts consider it to be too harsh. Plus, baking soda has a high pH of 9, which is typically too alkaline for skin to tolerate since the skin’s normal pH is about 4.5 to 5. This alkaline pH can lead to disruption of the skin barrier, causing redness, dryness, breakouts, and signs of sensitivity.
- Activated Binchotan Charcoal purifies the skin, helping to adsorb environmental toxins from deep within the pores
Dermalogica Ultra Calming Cleanser
- pH-balanced, non-foaming gel/cream cleanser for reactive skin
- Claimed to help calm and cool reactive, sensitized, or over processed skin
- Key ingredients include ginger root extract, oat kernel extract, and cucumber fruit extract. All of these botanical extracts are known to help calm and soothe the skin
Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum
- Vitamin C serum that includes two vitamin C derivatives: ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate and aminopropyl ascorbyl phosphate
- Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects skin from environmental free radicals
- According to the Indian Dermatology Online Journal, clinical studies have shown that the topical use of vitamin C increases collagen production in both young and aged human skin
- Vitamin C can help to reduce the appearance of dark spots and improve uneven skin tone by inhibiting melanin synthesis
What Are The Key Ingredients in Dermalogica Skin Care Products?
As the company states, Dermalogica is focused on skin health rather than “beauty.” The company takes a no-nonsense approach to its products and packaging. Dermalogica products have always been formulated without common irritants and ingredients that could cause breakouts, including lanolin, SD alcohol, mineral oil, and artificial colors. The packaging is simple and understated, and looks practical rather than luxurious.
Dermalogica skin care products are formulated with a combination of synthetic and natural ingredients. The brand uses evidence-based synthetics, such as vitamin C derivatives, hyaluronic acid, AHAs, BHAs, peptides, and silicones. But you may have noticed that this brand also emphasizes naturally-derived ingredients, such as soap bark extract, seed oils, and fruit enzymes.
One thing to keep in mind before trying Dermalogica skin care products is that nearly all of the products contain fragrance ingredients. For example, the Dermalogica Active Moist formula contains citral, linalool, limonene, lemon peel extract, bergamot fruit extract, and more. So why is fragrance a problem in skin care? Let’s look at the science.
All fragrance ingredients (whether natural or synthetic) impart scent through a volatile reaction, and this natural reaction almost always causes a sensitizing reaction on skin. In fact, according to a 2016 publication in the scholarly journal Dermatitis, nearly 80 essential oils have caused contact allergy. Even if you don’t have a full blown reaction to the ingredient, the damage may still be occurring every day. Ultimately, this can cause mild problems for your skin in the short term and worse problems in the long term.
Where Are Dermalogica Skin Care Products Sold?
Dermalogica skin care products are sold on the brand’s website and online retailers including Blue Mercury, Sephora, the Dermstore, Ulta, and Nordstrom. There are also several Dermalogica flagship stores around the world, which also offer skincare treatments and analysis.
What is The Dermalogica Return Policy?
Dermalogica offers free returns for products purchased within the past 30 days.
Is Dermalogica Cruelty Free?
Dermalogica is cruelty free and the products are officially Leaping Bunny Certified. Leaping Bunny Certification means Dermalogica skin care products are free of animal testing at every stage of product development.
Dermalogica has been around for decades and has racked up plenty of media coverage and awards. The Daily Microfoliant, a rice based powder with salicylic acid, won a 2019 Allure Reader’s Choice Award while the Resurfacing Daily Superfoliant nabbed a 2018 Glamour Beauty Award. The Phyto Replenish Oil, which helps boost the skin’s protective barrier, won an O-ward from Oprah’s magazine in 2018. Other products have received write ups in just about every major women’s and men’s magazine, including InStyle, More, Details, Marie Claire, Redbook and Shape.
The brand also has its celebrity fans. The actress Patricia Clarkson told The New York Times she’s a fan of Dermalogica Super Rich Repair, the Multivitamin Exfoliator and the Redness Relief. January Jones told People magazine she uses Dermalogica’s Sleep Cocoon, an evening gel cream. When the actress Amy Adams is wearing a lot of makeup for work, as she relayed to Allure magazine, she reaches for Dermalogica’s Ultracalming Cleanser.
There are many Dermalogica reviews on Sephora. The Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator has over 10,000 loves and gets a 4.7 out of 5 star rating. One reviewer called it a “Glass skin miracle!!!!!! I rarely write reviews but this product blew my mind.” Many people noted its high price but felt it was worth it as they said it left skin feeling soft. “This exfoliant will change your face.” Customers who gave it low marks cited its unpleasant smell or found it to be too drying. As one reviewer wrote, “… immediately after using this my face tightened up and I couldn’t put enough moisturizer on to sooth my skin.”
Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel also has plenty of customer reviews on Sephora, with a 4.4 star rating. One customer said “it was worth every penny. This has been the best cleanser I’ve ever used.” Reviewers said that it cleaned their skin and helped remove makeup. “Feel so great. My skin is feeling fresh without being dry out and tightened up. Definitely will be returning to buy it.” Those that didn’t love it found it to be too drying- “This cleanser is harsh and leaves skin feeling stripped and dry. After 1 month of use my skin is dry, flaking and I look aged.”
Overall, we think that Dermalogica skin care products have a lot going for them. We like the combination of evidence-based synthetics and naturally-derived ingredients. The only problem we noticed is the inclusion of fragrance ingredients in all Dermalogica skin care products.
- Evidence-based ingredients like vitamin C derivatives, hyaluronic acid, AHAs, BHAs, peptides, and silicones
- Many positive Dermalogica reviews
- Packaged well in airtight containers
- Fragrance ingredients in all products
- High price point
What Are Some Alternatives to Dermalogica Skin Care?
Overall, we think that Dermalogica skin care products are formulated well. But these products may not be for everyone, either because of the high price point or they don’t react well with your skin. If you like the feel of a lightweight moisturizer, try Formulyst Super Hyaluronic Water Moisturizer. Hyaluronic acid helps keep skin plumped, hydrated, and dewy looking. This oil free formula is packed with multiple types of hyaluronic acid and it works as a moisture magnet by drawing water to the skin.
There’s no need to compromise when it comes to finding skincare that is effective and safe. Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare, perfectly balancing the power of plants with cutting edge science. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals as well as the preservatives, emulsifiers and thickeners commonly found in skincare products.
1. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013 Apr-Jun; 4(2): 143–146.
2. de Groot AC, Schmidt E. Essential Oils, Part IV: Contact Allergy. Dermatitis. 2016;27(4):170-175. doi:10.1097/DER.0000000000000197