In my post about my struggle with adult acne, I mentioned that I was easing off the heavy prescriptions and moving on from the care of a dermatologist to an esthetician for my skin issues. After a friend recommended the Dermalogica flagship store, I decided I couldn’t wait anymore and made an appointment for my first facial in almost 10 years… and I LOVED the Dermalogica facial experience…
And an experience it was! So here all the steps of the facial with you as well as the products my esthetician, Sara, recommended for me. I don’t claim to understand a lot of the skincare jargon below, but I can tell you what I thought about the experience and why it wasn’t what I expected.
UPDATE: If you’re wondering about the Dermalogica chemical peels, click the link to hear about my experience!
Dermalogica Facial Steps
I asked Sara to write down what she did and she generously wrote out each step along with the products used. Since this was my first visit in nearly a decade, I opted for the special 60-minute facial, so she could really see my skin and do what she could to improve it.
One of the scary things of transitioning off of the oral and topical medications is that I was guaranteeing myself some breakouts during the process. I wanted her to get in there (literally!) to help me avoid some of the issues.
Dermalogica Facial Steps + Products
- soothing additive
- precleanse (a makeup and grime remover that I recently added to the mix – see below)
- clearing skin wash
- exfoliation (combination of enzymes & lactic acid)
- micro/hydradermabrasion (w. precleanse)
- scaling fluid (for extractions)
- extractions using ultrasonic blade
- Post X Solution
- Niacinamide (hyaluronic acid + colloidal hydrating mask)
- Blue LED light
- High frequency
- Intensive Moisture Balance + Pure Light SPF 50
- Multivitamin Power Firm
- Antioxidant Hydrating Mist
So, I don’t understand all of those things, but I can point out a few highlights. There’s a trend of using LED lights for facials. Different colors of light do different things. This blue LED light was used to kill acne bacteria on my face!
I remember facials when I was younger being far from a relaxing experiences. They were often uncomfortable, occasionally painful, moments of extracting blackheads, etc. from my face…
With the micro/hydradermabrasion (a small hose that sucks off dead skin and blackheads), the “blade” (not actually a blade), and the high-frequency treatments, issues big and small were either sucked off my face or gently brought to the surface to be wiped away. I didn’t have one painful moment and I didn’t leave with any marks on my face from extractions! Amazing, right?
Dermalogica Products for Starters
Of course when I left, Sara recommended some products to get me started. I expected it, but I was nervous about what that really meant…
What it meant was a small assortment (in my case 5) of products. What was great was that she gave me a few sample packages of each product, so I could try them all for about five days to see what I liked and what I didn’t.
The 5 products were:
- special cleansing gel – face wash
- daily microexfoliant – a gentle exfoliant to use everyday
- active moist – a sensitive skin moisturizer
- pure light SPF 50 – sunscreen
- ultrasmoothing eye serum – sensitive eye serum
I actually liked all of the products, but I didn’t end up buying them all. I have a face wash I’m ok with at the moment as well as a daily sunscreen for my face (UPDATE: see the clean sunscreen I now swear by).
When those run out, I will likely add in those two items. With three items left, I had to make some choices…
I absolutely LOVE the daily microexfoliant. It’s like powder soap from when I was a kid (I’m obsessed with this stuff). I really love how it works too. My skin has been so smooth!
And because I seemed to be lacking moisture around my face, I opted for the active moist. It’s been a very gentle moisturizer with which my sensitive skin is fine.
After loving my dermalogica facial experience and the products, I signed up for their ambassador program. They sent me a few items to try out, including the Precleanse, Phyto Replenish Oil, a bottle of the daily microexfoliant, and a tube of Hydrablur Primer.
I’ve really enjoyed each of these products BUT my skin didn’t love them as much as I did at first…
The precleanse is like an intensive makeup remover. You rub it on your face to remove makeup and grim. It feels like an oil but easily washes away with water. And it’s great at getting all your makeup.
The Replenish Oil leaves your skin super moisturized and healthy looking.
Using Products on Sensitive Skin
Within a few days of using these products, however, my neck started to get a little itchy. I was bummed because I liked the way the products worked, but then I remembered a trick my former dermatologist taught me.
If you have sensitive skin like I do and your neck gets itchy at times, apply a very gentle moisturizer to your neck before applying anything to your face. I’ve been using my cetaphil lotion since I have it on hand already. I rub it in before I use the precleanse and the replenishing oil.
I also am only using the oil a few times per week and when I do, I add it to the active moist (as recommended on the bottle) for a less intensive application. I’m now happily using all the products again and mindful of my sensitive skin.
UPDATE: It wasn’t too long before I was able to use all the products daily with no irritation whatsoever. So just remember to ease into new skin regimens!
And that hydrablur primer is my new favorite thing. It minimizes wrinkles and imperfections. You can use it on its own or under your makeup for a more flawless look!!
So. Moral of the story. Since the facial and daily use of these products, my face has been much smoother and the breakouts have not been any worse since easing off the medication as they have been in the last few months! That’s actually quite amazing. I have a second facial scheduled for next week and I couldn’t be more excited!
Clean Dermalogica Product Replacements (UPDATE 2023)
Since first having this facial and writing this review, I’ve turned to using clean beauty. Many of my beloved Dermalogica replacements have incredibly effective (better in most cases) clean natural replacements.
- Swap Dermalogica Precleanse for Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil
- Swap Dermalogica Phyto Replenish Oil for Nectar Nourishing Drops
- Swap Dermalogica microexfoliant for Bambobuff Exfoliating Powder
Since clean beauty is an important part of sustainable living (what we wash down the drain matters as much as what we put on our skin), be sure to check out these other clean beauty roundups:
Common questions include do shampoo bars really work and how do you use them? What natural deodorant actually works? What’s the best safety razor for women (and how to use them properly). And the best makeup brush cleaner (on the cheap and easy)!
There are also great clean skin & hair care products for men!