A couple of weeks ago I headed along to Dermalogica in South Kensington to listen to Jane Wurwand's story about how she started Dermalogica and why it's been so successful.
Firstly I didn't realise quite how huge the Dermalogica name had become all around the world and this event wasn't just about talking to us about skincare, it was also about inspiring and empowering women, something that Jane knows plenty about.
Jane spoke a lot about her mother who was widowed at a young age with several children to take care of and forced to go back to work to support her family. She said that the training she had to fall back on was important in being resilient to what life threw at her, something that Jane always remembered. Jane trained as a skincare therapist for this very reason and when she moved to LA she saw an opening in the market.
In 1983, surprisingly there were no skincare centres in LA it was all about hair and beauty. The only places that offered skin treatments were owned by Europeans and Jane found that the reason for this was the training differences. To become a qualified skin therapist in the USA it took 4 months of training compared to 2 and a half years in the UK. American women just weren't up to the standard required. The approach of American skincare products was very different too, it was all about miracle claims and a promise of beauty - something that just didn't sit right with Jane's approach to skincare.
The first thing Jane did was to set up a school to train skincare therapists but it needed a product line that fit their teachings. Jane launched Dermalogica in 1986 along with her husband and their range of products were the first cosmaceutical ones in the USA and at their first tradeshow they smashed their targets setting up far more accounts than they ever anticipated. Dermalogica is now available in 51 countries, and has 75,000 therapists across 25,000 salons. They have never taken a loan, never taken outside investment and never done consumer advertising. When you think about it, that's just astounding!
Jane considers the chains or therapists to be the ones who sell the product and it's the chat and advice that people receive in the salons that end up selling the product and keep people coming back. Dermalogica always looks at solving a problem, for example they set up 20 minute microzone treatments for busy customers on the run (visit the new Dermaolgica counter in Westfield shopping centre if you fancy it) and they swear by skin mapping to make sure that we are all using the right products for our unique skin type, there's even an iPhone app for it.
The business ethos they have is all about skin health and wellbeing, not beauty. They place importance on bringing skin therapists out of the treatment room and interacting with us, the customer, and the whole idea helps turn women into entrepreneurs too by allowing them to set up a successful business of their own using Dermalogica products.
All in all a very savvy business woman with a very strong focus about what her company is and isn't. The result is a range of products that don't make fantastical claims, they just work at keeping skin healthy and looking its bes.
My skincare routine
I've been using Dermalogica for a little while now and I'm definitely noticing the difference. The thing I love about getting a face mapping done is that the therapists really listen to you and when I've said that I need a quick routine, they take note and recommend the quickest and easiest routine using just a small number of products. Now I use the UltraCalming cleanser, Daily microfoliant and Clean Start Welcome Matt moisturiser daily. I'm sticking with my Elemis night cream but once that runs out I'll switch it for the Dermalogica skin smoothing cream. Once or twice a week 'll add the Skin Prep Scrub to my routine and I'm also trying out some of the boosters here and there as needed.
My skin feels so much cleaner and fresher from sticking to these products. Luckily I didn't have any major skin concerns and my therapists said I had good texture and elasticity to my skin to begin with but now I'm 25, I'm thinking more about the long term and I'm confident that Dermalogica can help keep my skin looking good for years to come.
Tips to take away from the session
- When cleansing pay particular attention to the middle of your chin and sides of your nose, this is definitely where I get the most congestion
- When choosing a toner avoid anything with SD alcohol
- Don't just head for the pretty packaging, choose a skincare product that is designed for your unique skin type
- If you do one thing for your skin, spend more time cleansing