Dermalogica facial review (with a controversial twist)

July 16, 2012
One constant with all the makeup trials I’ve had is the number of artists advising me on having facials in the build up to my wedding.

I’d only ever had one facial in my life, when I was sixteen.  My then-clear skin broke out in spots straight afterwards and I’d never had one since.  People have advised me that breakouts are inevitable with facials and that you need to keep them up, but that’s advice I never heeded.

However, what with it being a special occasion and all, I thought I ought to make the effort and listen to the experts for once.

At the risk of sounding like a self-hating brownie, I didn’t really want to go to an Asian beautician.  Before you call me racist, read my post about Asian beauticians and you’ll understand.

Read: The best and worst Asian makeup artists – my brutal review

As a starter, I thought I’d look at the salons which offer the most reputable facial products.  I spoke to a well-groomed friend who was a facial aficionado with great skin. She advised me to have facials six months in advance (I’m a bit behind schedule on that) and also opt for a salon which uses Dermalogica products.

I remembered that the salon where I had my engagement makeup offered a Dermalogica facial.  It was an Asian salon, but I figured that if the products are good, it doesn’t matter so much.

Anyway, upon arrival at the salon, the beautician asked me if I’m having any bleaching done.  Cheeky cow.

I said no and explained how facial de-fuzzing wasn’t on my agenda that day.

The beautician then led me to the room and asked me if I want a ‘whitening facial’.  Again, cheeky cow.  I politely declined and said I would like the Dermalogica facial.  She wasn’t done there though.  After asking why I didn’t want bleach again, I said that I didn’t want to bleach my hair.  Then she dropped a bombshell – she didn’t mean bleaching my facial hair, she meant bleaching my skin.

I’d heard the rumours about celebrities like Beyonce and numerous Bollywood starts bleaching their skin, but it sounded like an iffy business to me.

But Miss Pushy insisted that it’s something I should definitely go for as all Asian women do this – a big claim.

Read: Has Aishwariya Rai lightened her skin?

I then expressed concern that having a whitened face and a brown neck may look odd, but she had an answer for that too – bleach my body.  This was getting out of hand.

I decided to turn the tables and asked the beautician if she bleached her skin.  She said yes.

She was darker than me, so either she was a liar, or living proof that whitening facials didn’t work.

I looked at the shelf above, where all the dodgy-looking ‘whitening products’ lay, many of which are sold in Asian supermarkets and should probably be banned by trading standards.

I contemplated making a run for it, but I’d already taken off my shoes and sat on the bed, so I thought I better stay.  So I insisted on my above-board Dermalogica and refused to have my face bleached.

The facial itself was pretty standard – lots of massaging – sometimes nice, other times uncomfortable – cleansing and exfoliating, and a steam session.

The steam itself was dispensed through a nifty device which was essentially like a kettle boiling on my face.

While most of the process was pleasant, at one point the beautician used a fine pointed metal tool to remove blackheads.  This hurt to the point of tears.

I do feel that this facial isn’t for those with sensitive skin. The continuous process of massaging and deep cleansing stung my skin at times, and the beautician seemed a bit rough when dragging the wet sponge across my eyes – surely that would encourage wrinkles?

Anyway, I left the facial feeling pummelled, raw and sensitive, which I think is to be expected.  I didn’t dare put makeup on for the next two days, and my skin felt tender and stretched.

However, friends and family did comment that my skin looked very smooth.

Inevitably, I got a couple of spots, which will no doubt scar for months.  But overall I felt that my skin was squeaky clean and smooth.  But would I go there again?

So I’m at a facial crossroads.  On one hand, I think I should at least keep it up until the wedding before sacking it off.

Plus, I can’t really pass judgement on the Dermalogica products themselves, as one facial does not make for a thorough review.

On the other hand, I don’t fancy getting breakouts right up until the big day.  A spotty bride will never be in vogue.

One thing is for sure, I will NOT be reaching for the facial bleach any time soon.  I’m meant to be brown.

However, if you do want a Dermalogical facial, you might be best buying a Dermalogica kit and having a go yourself.


About the Author


I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!

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