Facial Essential at Dermalogica Spa

By Christal Young

Life moves fast in New York City, and it’s easy to forget about the little things that make a big difference. Facials can easily fit into that category. When it comes to our skin, most of us have a routine; and a facial is often that little something more that may fall by the wayside. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. Making the extra effort can leave your skin so amazingly changed that you’ll wonder what took you so long.

I’d always heard about the Dermalogica beauty brand and spa, but never tried its products or services; and was excited to finally give them a try. I walked into their brightly lit Soho location and instantly felt that I’d leave with my skin refreshed. I tried the new “IonActive Facial.” Initially I had lots of questions: What exactly is an ion? Why is it active? How long will this take? And will it leave my skin red or sensitive? My skin therapist was soft spoken and knowledgeable. She assured me that my face would rejoice after the 45-minute treatment. Well, who can’t use a little more joy in their life? It was described as an action-packed treatment, which I thought sounded a little like a movie, but I was game for being pampered.

The process began with face mapping, a specific analysis of my skin to determine exactly what I needed. The skin therapist carefully looked at my face with a special light. “Beautiful skin,” she exclaimed. “But a little dehydrated.” She told me my facial would include lots of moisture; then handed me information to read about it.

It said: “The IonActive facial combines thermal activity with the latest treatment room technology to optimize product penetration for rapid results.” I removed my jewelry, covered my fresh blowout with a plastic cap, and relaxed to the sound of crashing waves.

The facial was soothing and included several steps. The most memorable was a cream applied with gentle massage, followed by 15 minutes under a blue light. Using light therapy in skincare is fairly common and can help a variety of conditions. Blue light can help banish acne, erase sun damage, and is even used to zap pre-cancerous skin cells. I was given goggles to protect my eyes under the intense light. I thought I’d be a little uncomfortable, but I was wrong. In fact, I was so relaxed I almost dozed off. When my facial was over, my skin was baby soft and glowing. There was no redness, just a pretty sheen. The follow up included a diagram of a face highlighting my “areas of concern.” It also included Dermalogica product recommendations, but there was no hard sell encouraging me to buy them (which was nice).

Here’s what was suggested for me. For proper exfoliation, the Multi-vitamin Thermafoliant ($56). Skin experts agree, no matter what products you put on your face, they’re going to be more effective when you exfoliate first and remove dead skin cells. This is described as a skin polisher that uses physical and chemical exfoliants to refine the skin. Also recommended for my skin was the Antioxidant HydraMist ($42); a peptide toner that creates a hydrating shield. I love that this product can be used under or over makeup. Finally, the Skin Hydrating Booster ($56)—called a ‘must-have’ addition to any skin care routine—which includes algae extract and Hyalauronic acid was suggested. Hyalauronic acid is a rock star in the skincare world. Its magic lies in its ability to retain moisture. One gram of Hyalauronic acid is able to hold up to six liters of water. The reviews of the Hydrating Booster seem to suggest that it’s as amazing as it sounds. One person raved, “I love it, my skin is hydrated, but not oily.” Another commented, “It has completely changed my skin’s texture for the better.”

For anyone looking to pamper their skin, here’s a breakdown of a few of Dermalogica’s services. I got The IonActive facial, which costs $150, or $375 for a series of three. That means you buy two and get the third for half off. According to Dermalogica, it’s their most talked about new treatment, and I can see why. I didn’t think it was possible to see such a visible difference in my skin in 45 minutes, but now I’m a new disciple. Dermalogica’s most popular service is their signature, customized 60-minute facial ($120). It includes professional double cleansing, exfoliation, high frequency (or Galvanic) modalities, extractions, masque, toner, and skin protection. No time? No problem. If all you’ve got is a New York minute, a MicroZone treatment may be more up your alley. It’s the power nap of facials. For $45, it targets your top skin concern in just 20 minutes. Another popular treatment is the BioActive Peel. It takes 45-60 minutes and costs $150. It’s a high-intensity professional chemical peel that you design with a Dermalogica skin therapist. It promises big results with minimal recovery time.

Dermalogica’s approach to skincare isn’t one size fits all. The company’s story began back in 1986. Jane Wurwand a UK-trained skin therapist new to the U.S. was surprised by the lack of continuing skin and body therapy education. Wurwand put her knowledge into action, opening a small classroom in Marina Del Rey, California. She called it the International Dermal Institute (IDI). Today, there are 37 locations worldwide. While teaching at IDI, Wurwand realized she couldn’t find a product line that addressed skin health as opposed to beauty, so she created one. And in 1986 Dermalogica was born. The vision was simple, address skin needs without the addition of irritants like mineral oil, lanolin, and fragrance. Now Dermalogica is in more than 80 countries and my radiant skin is proof they’re doing something right.

Dermalogica SoHo
110 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 291-9800