Given that nearly half the population suffer from sensitive skin, it’s safe to say it’s a pretty hot topic. Last week we broke down exactly what environmental sensitivity is AND what to do about it. That was when we found a pair of products – Dermalogica’s new Ultracalming Duo - that claims to totally calm down even the most disastrous-dermis. Ever keen to see products actually perform IRL, we did a search on our readers to uncover the most irritated, itchy, bumpy and red-faces out there. These ladies were only too happy to oblige – testing both products on their parched skin for just one week. Here, they share their verdicts…
Allanah Jansons, 24, Recruitment Consultant
"The most instant thing I noticed was how glowy my makeup appeared."
“I do A LOT of things to help manage my dry, pink/red patchy, sensitive skin mostly from the inside out (my insides probably resemble your local health food shop) however, my skin has never really gotten to that magical place where it doesn’t have some sign of sensitivity. A few months ago I cut out coffee, replacing it with matcha (with a spoonful of powdered collagen to boot) and this has probably made the most dramatic difference to my skin but it still didn’t get me quite “there”. Enter Dermalogica’s Calm Water Gel and Barrier Defense Booster. I was a bit skeptical as the Calm Water Gel contains hyaluronic acid, which usually makes my skin feel so “hydrated” it’s sticky – like smearing lip balm all over my face (no thanks).
The barrier defense booster is a serum, containing a myriad of oils and again, I’ve used oils which have generally made my skin break out.But I had only heard amazing things about Dermalogica so I figured I had nothing to lose trialing these products. So, I didn’t wake up the next morning singing Beyonce’s ‘Flawless’ but after a few days I did start to notice that the more dramatic red spots had subsided and after a week I swore my pores had probably halved in size making my skin appear much smoother. The most instant thing I noticed was how glowy my makeup appeared. The extremely light weight formulas are seriously impressive – it honestly feels like I have nothing on my skin and the scent is so relaxing (almost aromatherapeutic), using a product so carefully formulated really is a luxury. These have pushed my previous long-time (not cheap either) moisturizers off their pedestal – they’re quite literally two of the most effective products I’ve used – ever.”
Lucy Searle, Digital Marketer
"These products really helped me get on top of the never-ending dryness and accelerated the healing process post-treatment tenfold.”
"As an avid fan of monthly peels when the opportunity arose to test the new duo by Dermalogica, I knew I was the perfect candidate. The timing couldn’t have been better either, I had just had a strong peel and microdermabrasion treatment, meaning my skin was red, sensitive to touch and I was about to enter the glamorous post peel flaking stage. My skin literally drank up the Barrier Defense Booster. The oil formula, isn’t “oily” as such, in that it leaves no trace or sticky residue, but is absorbed beautifully into the skin leaving it feeling baby’s bottom-soft.
I followed up with the Calm Water Gel moisturiser, which almost dissolves upon application and not only hydrated my parched skin but also felt like it protected it.I was thrilled to wake up the next morning and discover my skin was dewy, soft and hydrated, a welcome change to how tight and rough it usually feels after a peel and microdermabrasion. They also prep skin for makeup so it seems to glide on effortlessly and give you that glow. Over the coming days, with twice-daily use, I noticed a dramatic improvement in skin suppleness and general hydration. My skin dries out pretty quickly (thanks to the office aircon that never shuts off) and sometimes no matter how much moisturizer I apply, it’s never enough. These products really helped me get on top of the never-ending dryness and accelerated the healing process post-treatment tenfold.”
Madeline Riley, 23, Brand Partnerships Coordinator
"It works well with my very dry skin, and has stacked up very well against my most-loved serums and moisturisers."
“I have very sensitive and intolerant skin. I get a lot of texture and redness due to environmental factors and am extremely dry and dehydrated. I’ve been using the new Dermalogica Ultracalming Duo morning and night for one week as a substitute for my usual serums and moisturiser and I’m very impressed. The Barrier Defence Booster has the most relaxing and calming lavender scent, which makes me feel like I’m at the spa every time I apply it. It’s the perfect consistency that doesn’t take too long to absorb into the skin but provides a great level of nourishment and hydration.
I was sceptical about the Calm Water Gel at first as I usually use a rich cream moisturiser and I wasn’t sure how it would layer with the oil based booster, but again, I’m very impressed. The gel is lightweight and cooling and while it doesn’t have the lovely scent of the booster, it does leave the skin feeling fresh, calm and hydrated. Since I’ve started using this duo, the redness and irritation I usually experience has dramatically reduced, evening out my skin tone and leaving me with plump, radiant skin all day long. It works well with my very dry skin, and has stacked up very well against my most-loved serums and moisturisers. I’ll definitely continue using this one, especially heading into the colder, windy months when my skin is at its most sensitive."
Lauren Kennedy, 32, Swimwear Designer
"The weightless gel moisturiser transforms into a skin-quenching fluid"
“I’ll be honest, when I was asked to try Dermalogica’s new Ultracalming Duo I was sceptical. I had heard it before - relieves redness, irritation and dehydration in anyone with sensitive skin. The results however were very pleasing and I quickly became hooked. I went all in and used them both, day and night, starting with the Barrier Defense Booster followed by the Calm Water Gel. Before I had even applied the oil, I was impressed by the very user-friendly bottle housing the formula, ensuring not a drop is wasted or left behind. The concentrated oil feels lightweight on my skin while simultaneously smoothing, nourishing and hydrating.
Next up I apply the Calm Water Gel. I’m fascinated by its calming effect. I have sensitive skin in the form of redness, dehydration (especially with the seasonal change) and the occasional flare-ups (sometimes environmental and sometime topical depending on what I’ve put on my skin). The weightless gel moisturiser transforms into a skin-quenching fluid upon application meaning it’s not only perfect for dry skin but also feather-light on oily skin. The gel formula is instantly refreshing and I imagine how good this would feel after a day in the sun - perfect for irritated skin. The best bit? While both products powerfully soothe sensitive skin, they are formulated without artificial fragrances or colours and being someone who suffered from sensitive skin I know how important this is. Bravo Dermalogica, finally a range of skincare for sensitive skin that’s actually sensitive.
Gracie Clough, 22, Makeup Artist and Journalism Student
"The Barrier Defense Booster is a beautiful antioxidant-rich oil that feels super luxe to use."
“After experiencing a bout of cystic acne over a year ago now, my skin has just never been the same since. I now flush easily, am highly-reactive to products, and can experience dermatitis at the drop of a hat. I immediately jumped at the chance to test out the new Dermalogica UltraCalming Duo to see how my temperamental skin would react. Dermalogica has cemented itself in the beauty industry as being a reliable, hard-working brand that truly does work. So, whenever they release new products I’m all ears
The Barrier Defense Booster is a beautiful antioxidant-rich oil that feels super luxe to use. I found that the Oat Oil in the product helped keep my skin free of irritation and feeling supple and hydrated. Despite the fact my skin is oily, I can often feel dehydrated and tight, so my skin drinks up this product quickly. The packaging also makes the product convenient to use. You simply press down on the base of the product and the perfect drop of oil will be dispensed every time. The Calm Water Gel immediately sooths my skin and feels refreshing and cooling to use. It contains Hyaluronic Acid, a dehydrated skin’s best friend, so I couldn’t get enough of this product.
The Calm Water Gel has a light and relaxing botanical scent, which makes me feel calm when I used the product. The best part is the fragrance is natural – I always flare up from artificial fragrances. The hydrating formula leaves my skin feeling springy, plump and happy. What’s not to love?”
Elizabeth Jensen, 59, Teacher
"I’ve noticed I’m wearing very little foundation today and my skin actually looks clear and hydrated."
“My skin has always been great but I developed rosacea last September. Huge red burning cheeks that last days! Barely anything calms it. I used both products together both morning and night and have used seven days. First product applied was The Barrier Defence Booster which has a fresh fragrance like lavender. Although it’s an oil it’s very light. I applied several drops and pressed it into my skin. It’s very light to spread and seemed to soak in immediately.
I followed with Calming Water Gel. This has a light opaque consistency and isn’t runny at all. I squeezed a small, less than pea-sized amount onto my fingers, blended with other fingers and again pressed onto skin. A little goes a long way, which really makes this product cost effective. The gel dispersed over my whole face easily leaving it feeling hydrated. There was no sticky residue and it actually felt cooling. During the seven days I had no real flare ups with my rosacea and I think these products helped settle my skin. I’ve noticed I’m wearing very little foundation today and my skin actually looks clear and hydrated. I’m very happy with the Dermalogica Duo thus far and plan to continue using.”
Story by Sigourney Cantelo and Beauticate Reviewers. In Association with Dermalogica.