3 Things: Dermalogica skin favourites

Taking up prime real estate on my bathroom counter lately has been a few things from Dermalogica. Though I’ve tried a good handful from this cult skincare brand, here’s  my three universally friendly products to consider trying or wishlisting – because I know you’ve been creeping up on holiday gifts.

Now cleansers are something that seem to divide people; those are particular swear by a holy grail and others wouldn’t mind using a bar of soap. The Special Cleansing Gel* is one of my favourite high end gentle and soothing cleansers which offers the satisfaction of a bubbly foam, yet is soap-free and always manages to sooth my skin. Unlike other similar products for reactive skin which either leave you with a film or just feel like they aren’t doing much, this cleanser is the perfect balance between gentle and thorough with absolutely no drying feeling. It doesn’t work quite as nicely with my Clarisonic but is a great choice for using with your hands or a washcloth.

Next up is the Multi-Active Toner* which admittedly I completely overlooked at first but turned out to be a real gem. With a mix of lavender, balm mint and cucumber extracts this feels like a breath of fresh air for the skin without being an astringent or having gimmicky tricksters like menthol. Since I keep most of my skincare in my room (away from the humidity of the bathroom), I do a mist of this to keep my skin moist while I shuffle off to put on my creams in the other room. Moisturizers go on extra smooth post misting and I also find it helps to take down redness after exfoliation or other treatments.

And speaking of exfoliating for radiant skin, I know the change of season can make skin feel super sluggish and just overall dull. My favourite high end exfoliator to date is still the Multi-Vitamin Thermafoliant* (see full review); with it’s oil balm base and great mix of both chemical and physical skin renewing ingredients, I’m pretty excited to say that it’s so that I’m nearing the end of my tube. Realistically I’m not completely convinced by the warming sensation factor but everything else about this is perfect. It’s a fine scrub that offers plenty of friction while the balm suspension means it says on your face for as long as you want instead of dripping down the drain.

As a little FYI, Dermalogica is known for using a blend of natural and synthetic ingredients in their formulations so I do recommend reading up on the additives in case you are allergic.

Review: Dermalogica | MultiVitamin Thermafoliant

Die hard skincare snobs will know it simply by its clean silver packaging and no nonsense products but today I’m here to show you one of Dermalogica’s lesser talked about products. With the dry powdered Micro-foliant hogging the spotlight, this very different Multi-vitamin Thermafoliant is actually what I’ve been using for the past few months and here’s what you need to know.

Brand: Dermalogica
Product: Multi-Vitamin Thermafoliant*
Size: 75ml
Price: $54 USD
Availability: Dermalogical Offices, Select Salons/Spas/Skincare Retailers
Would I (re)purchase: Probably.
Website: www.dermalogica.ca

As its name makes clear, this Thermafoliant is marketed as a combination of skin nourishing vitamins along with a powerful exfoliator and is currently part of their Pro-Age line which helps skin age gracefully. Housed in a small and convenient plastic squeeze tube with a flip top lid; this look says function, not fancy. The consistency is almost that of an exfoliating balm which also has slight self-heating function when in contact with water (wet skin). It’s recommend to be used on damp skin but for those who just can’t get enough, it can also be used (carefully) on dry skin for maximum effect. In a consistent routine, I’d use it 2x a week although if you use other mildly exfoliating products you can step it down to once a week.

As an exfoliator for ridding your skin of dead skin cells or flaky skin (I get them all year around and it’s most annoying), the Thermalfoliant is brilliant. Very fine grains are mixed into the balm-like base and makes for a long lasting plus incredibly effective scrub. I love that Dermalogica decided against those mostly useless large silica beads/jojoba beads and instead put in something that has a nice fine grit. Even better, I does not dissolve when in contact with water so you can take your time for a slow and thorough job. The balm actually contains a cocktail of fruit and plant oils/extracts such as olive, soybean, licorice and Damascus rose just to name a few. The entire experience just felt more soothing and purposeful and I actually found myself not needing to exfoliate quite as often after a good session with this.

With a bit of an over achiever mentality, Thermafoliant is also loaded with a heavy dose of chemical exfoliating ingredients such as lactic acid, salicylic acid and retinol (a very common anti-aging additive). Now as great at it sounds as a dual functioning product, the reality is that I’m unsure about the true effectiveness of these chemicals when left on the skin for such a short period of time and then washed off straight down the drain. While all three are known to be effective at clearing out pores and even reducing fine lines when used in skincare, I wouldn’t count on it for any major anti-aging effects.

As for the self-heating aspect? I’ve seen it in many cleansing products before and in my experience its completely gimmicky although fun for the first 5 seconds before it quickly dissipates. It adds no real value to scrub and Dermalogica really could have done without it altogether along with the potentially irritating lemon and clove oil.


From a pure performance perspective, the Demalogica Multi-Vitamin Thermafoliant delivers excellent results with it’s very fine grains of physical exfoliant blended into a soothing balm like base. I love that the consistency and scrubbing particals stays put until I’m thoroughly finished and want to rinse it off myself instead of quickly melting away like many other exfoliants I’ve used before. This is particularity excellent for those with uneven skin texture that they’d like to improve (this is forehead for me) or those with more mature skin looking to buff away flaky skin and soften the look of a few experience lines. For those with acne or active break outs, this is likely not for you and I’d recommend the gentler Microfoliant option instead. Does it have its flaws? Yes. But it’s truly one of the best textured and performing non-natural scrubs (no walnut shell powder here) that I’ve used to date and while I won’t be out buying it again straight away due to it’s premium price, I’m going to treasure every last bit of this tube.


Experience | My 1st Dermalogica Facial

Dermalogica is one of those low profile beauty brands that both intrigues and perplexes me. While you see their products dotted all over the best of beauty lists, they can be elusive to find and frankly I know little to nothing about them. What I did know is that those who love them are life long devoted fans so when I was invited to experience one of their personalized skincare treatments*, I waltzed into their office bare faced and ready to learn.

                                                                                          – Dermalogica
I think it’s important to start off by reiterating that at Dermalogica, you get skin treatments, not facials. The defining point being that facials has a somewhat frivolous undertone while skin treatments are for the health and well being of your skin. This idea of treating your skin so you can have the best skin of your life is the foundation behind The International Dermal Institute, the company that has produced Dermalogica products for over 25 years. In 1986,  Jane Wurwand founded not only the institute but also began to promote the idea about skin health through research, innovation and later professional products. I was also surprised to learn that to this day, Dermalogica is a privately owned company something rare for a brand that has permeated the beauty market world wide in over 80 countries.
The Dermal Institutes Vancouver office is mainly an education center which offers Dermalogica workshops for those in the industry looking to step up their knowledge. But since there were no classes that day, the office was quite and calm as I sat sipping tea from my owl mug and filling out the most extensive skin questionnaire I have ever done and for good reason.
When I met with my skin therapist Cory (who also happens to be a brand educator), he explained that each skin treatment session is tailored to the current situation of my skin. This may change from month to month depending on diet, stress as well as internal and external issues that can reflect on the appearance of the skin.
Knowing a little bit more about my skin, Cory then performed a Face Mapping Skin Analysis which by the way included some serious looking headgear with a magnifier. This was developed by Dermalogica to separate the face into various zones that can be examined in detail in order to identify the current state of my skin.

Cory chose the Active Resurface 35 Treatment for me which focuses on exfoliating the skin and rehydrating the skin which will help with cell turnover and fading spots (he found a few tiny dark spots my cheek!). The treatment is customizable to each person’s skin condition and it’s done with a cocktail of different products which is meant to work synergetically for best results. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of products you’re about to see below, he often mixed multiple products to be applied in one go and certain products were only applied in a small area.

  • Soothing Eye Make-Up Remover
  • PreCleanse
  • Essential Cleansing Solution
  • Skin Resurfacing Cleanser
  • MultiVitamin Thermafoliant
  • UltraCalming Complex
  • MultiVitamin Power Recovery Masque
  • UltraCalming Mist
  • UltraCalming Serum Concentrate
  • MultiVitamin Power Firm
  • PowerBright TRx C-12 Pure Bright Serum
  • Ultracalming Ultra Sensitive Tint
  • MediBac Clearing Mattifier
  • Skin Perfect Primer

Visit Dermalogica’s website to find out more about any of these products.
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This is my face just 10 minutes after my treatment; smooth, soft and not a single trace of redness. Can you believe I just had the equivalent of a peel but there’s no sensitivity or any kind of inflammation? Frankly I was blown away by this alone. Cory put my skin through a multi-step deep cleansing, a thorough exfoliation, then hydrated my skin with calming masks, treated my skin with vitamin loaded and brightening serums then sealed it all in with SPF and a face primer. 
What I really loved about the whole experience (those than stroking my face non stop for the next 3 days) was the fact that Cory talked me through every single product, what made it work and how they worked in conjunction with other products in the Dermalogica range so that you can address more than one skin concern at a time in a power combo! Post treatment, he sat me down to talk in more detail about the key products used such as the exfoliants and serums. I walked out of the
office not only having just had a great skin treatment but more importantly, feeling more knowledgeable about my own skin and how to take it where I want it to go. Armed with a few Dermalogica products* to try out, you’ll definitely be hearing about them again in the following weeks.

Dermalogica fan or have been curious about their products?
What have you been eyeing or trying?


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