I need to start with a disclaimer here: the reason why I have been dragging my feet when it comes to writing this review is simply because I can’t remember exactly what happened! I know I had a 90 minutes professional facial at the Dubai Mall flagship store of Dermalogica but I swear, they put me in trance, relaxed my brain up to the point where all function just disconnected. At one point, I think I was sleeping with my eyes opened.
But for you my lovelies, I will try to do this so it makes any sense. Here we go!
Upon entering this particular store, I’ve always felt a bit uneasy. It is quite large and the range of products overwhelming. No price tags to show guidance. I suppose it is because of the brand’s profile as highly professional, “dermatological”, even clinical, that I’ve experienced the store to be a bit cold and starch. Almost intimidating.
This time, when I entered the store for my facial appointment, the experience was quite the opposite. I hope it wasn’t because of the review-aspect of the meeting, but when you have an appointment, obviously, someone special is waiting for you ready to make the experience perfect. You feel noticed.
I had booked my facial with Cormei, as I’ve heard such great things about her skills. She’s been working for Dermalogica much longer than I have been aware of professional skincare and proceed her career within the brand by moving to Dubai about 6 months ago. It’s quite something to manage to build up a great reputation in such sort amount of time.
The fist thing we did was to sit down and fill in the Client Card while drinking some cucumber water. Each client has their own profile in the system and everything gets saved like a journal. It was interesting to see the depth of the questionnaire, for example 2 separate pages for female related questions, lots of questions on your medical history and condition and also the question if I had experience claustrophobia! I looked like a question mark, but this one was actually very clever. I’ll return to it.
I felt a bit uneasy having my medical history stored in a file where I didn’t know who would have access to it, and it was no issue at all, Cormei just said that we could do that part orally and in the privacy of the treatment facilities.
Upon entering the treatment room, I was impressed. It was made to cater to all senses; amazingly clean, perfect temperature and a dark blue lightning to comfort and make me relax. The “bed” was covered with really thick, luxurious flannels and when I laid down, I immediately got covered with even thicker flannels while Cormei stuck a hot pack onto my tummy! This touch was new to me and so brilliant. What lot’s of people don’t know, is that most of our nervous system (a part from in our spinal cord and neck) is actually situated in our intestines. To calm this area down is always very important.
Inside the room there were so many machines and equipments as well as the professional range of products, those we can’t purchase in the store as they are strictly for professional use, and it felt special. I might be crazy here, but this was one of the first times I’ve experienced the difference between a facial for more luxurious and pampering means, like in a spa, and a facial that felt more medical and treating the hard issues of the skin’s different layers.
Cormei started the treatment with a bit of aromatherapy and made sure both music and the light were low and soft. While preforming the facial, she was working with one of these small forehead lamps that you see surgeons use, and had her face, hair and hands covered. Clinical and so fresh. It felt really good and as I have a thing with people with bad breath for example, I can assure you that she had really paid attention to these small hygienic details. Having someone do your facial and smelling cigarettes on their fingers is one of those experiences I’ve actually experienced in the past! That would simply never happen at Dermalogica.
She started by evaluating my skin in order to choose the treatment. I loved that she didn’t just read the Client Card and decide upon it. I felt very safe in her hands and a bit chocked to learn that my skin was very DRY! I knew I suffered from dehydration, but had always thought I had combination skin. That explained a lot on why certain products haven’t perform the way I’ve wanted. My skin conditions were as usual: hyperpigmentation, dehydration, congestions and very sensitive.
Cormei decided to give me an AGE Smart® facial with a blackhead relief. I can’t and won’t remember all the steps she went thorough as I lost track with all the ingredients and products that I still wouldn’t be able to purchase over the counter. It is enough to say that the AGE Smart® series is available in store for home purposes, so we can still do some of the steps that are done in the professional treatment.
Over to the gross part. Finally a skin therapist that didn’t just gently flicker her fingers over my skin. I don’t like that. I want to feel pressure and see some blood circulation going. Cormei worked a lot with my pressure points and gave my face and décolletage a good round before asking me if I was ready to do dome extractions. I had shown her four very deep-laying, stubborn blackheads that I had not been able to get rid of for two weeks. I also must confess right now, that I’ve never let anyone else do extractions on me as I’m scared of scarring or more pigmentation emerging. If you don’t know how to do it properly, it can really damage your skin and make your pores even more inflamed than they already were. And, I’ve had an idea that it would hurt!
Long story short: I let Cormei do the extractions and to show me, teach me, how to really make it in a safe and professional way. I had never seen it done quite like that and let’s just say that Youtube is not a good source of information!
The gross part is that yes, she managed to get those four blackheads out without any effort at all – and found 55 additional ones to squeeze!!! – even inside my ears. Yup, talk about me having a super embarrassing moment and a stuffed, congested face. I think we both secretly enjoyed counting them as they popped lol.
No, it didn’t hurt, no, it didn’t bleed and the most important thing: Cormei managed to pop 59 pores without making any marks, scars or giving me additional pigmentations afterwards. I’m still so amazingly impressed by this and her calm way of methodically finding the issues and treat the skin. Not in a rush. She really enjoyed working on me and it felt amazing! Not lecturing or wondering what I’ve been up to. She could see though, which side I like to sleep on, as most of the congestions were on that chin. I seriously need to sleep less in order to give my skin a rest!
We also talk about overusing skincare products and how my skin suddenly is very dry. I needed to alternate my routine, but not once did she push or suggested that I needed to purchase Dermalogica to have a chance of getting clear good skin. So incredibly classy!
Two parts of the facial that I do remember and found very special were these: first Cormei used a special brush machine on me, almost like a finer version of a small Clarinsonic, but the treatment was made in combination with hot steam and one if my favourite products, Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (she also added some of her professional products called EA 3S). The rice-based powder, when in contact with water, releases Papin, Salicylic Acid and Rice Enzymes to really deep polish the skin, making it clear and bright. Salicylic Acid is the one acid that can penetrate our pore and clean them out from within, making this treatment step important to get rid of dead skin cells who will block the pores but also treat the pores that are already congested. I have this brilliant product at home as well as a similar one by amazing Japanese skincare brand Tacha and they both work so well for the skin. It’s instant, visual results.
The other one was quite cool: using Galvanic paddles together with a colodial mask the positive ions allows for better penetration as they push the products into the skin. On top of this mask, I got a gauze mask saturated in Antioxidant Hydramist added, which made my skin really drink it all up. It was thirsty and with this system I could feel it being hydrated not only on the surface but pushed down deep in my skin layers. This particular product is described as a “Taxi with Peptides” and it surely deliver them to the right part of the tissue.
Now, this is why they asked me at the beginning, if I had ever experienced claustrophobia: because to cover someone in quite thick face masks can make you feel claustrophobic and to avoid any uncomfortable experience, the skin therapist need to know this in advance of the treatment. I thought that to be highly professional. Obviously, masking is not for everyone and if it’s the first time with a gauze on your face it can make you feel stressed.
During the whole procedure Cormei repeatedly asked me if I was cold or needed a new hot pack. This special touch might have been one of the best things about the whole facial as it relaxed the nervous system and kept my body temperature intact.
Yes, I got some wonderful massages as well, my hands got firm and gentle treatment and I had the option of choosing a foot massage instead of the neck which I highly rate due to the fact that the neck and spinal cord are very sensitive and it’s not advised for everyone to get a massage on that specific area. To me personally, if someone doesn’t know what they are doing, adding pressure to the neck can result in a life-threatening condition.
At the end of the facial, Cormei discussed how to work with my dehydration as well as the dry skin and showed me the Dermalogica Booster-line, which are small drops of highly concentrated products that you’ll add to your other skincare to boost the results. I already own the Booster with SPF but now got to try the one with hydration properties mixed into a lighter day cream. It felt like a fresh base for daily wear.
After the facial I was left to relax a bit and come to life again before getting dressed and have my final consultation. On the side table in the treatment room Cormei had left a closed envelope for me to evaluate the whole experience. It is confidential and I believe only her Manager gets access to the information. This is what I love about Dermalogica: it’s like a family and it’s so incredibly streamlined. The education and training for everyone within the company is extensive, you see CIDESCO diplomas on the walls and everyone is taken care of, but – they also have to perform in the true Dermalogica-way. There are always evaluations and I think you really have to have a passion for skincare health in general and for the brand itself to do a great job within the company. I am incredibly impressed by the way the treatment was conducted, with the high level of dermatological and clinical knowledge shown and the way of documenting every move. It is uncommon for many places and highly appreciated.
To finish my whole experience, Cormei and I once again sat down to discuss further treatments as I felt my skin needed this. We agreed I could book a Bio Active peel treatment without any extractions that focuses on the use of Lactic- and Salicylic Acids, or I could continue to visit for additional Blackhead Relief treatment for more extractions until my skin feels more in balance without congestions.
I also got one of the now famously known Dermalogica Face mapping skin analysis chart with me home. They save one copy and I get to hold on to one, in which all areas are mapped with ongoing skin conditions. I try to go into the store to get one of these at least three times per year as it is a great way of following my own skin’s journey. This time, I could see that I had a whole lot of issues to address and I know it is partially due to the weather changes we experiences here in the Middle East during summer. Hopefully, when I return to do a new mapping in October, it will look different.
OK, so the Verdict then?
11 out of 10. No doubt about it. It’s now about a month since I had this treatment done and with my skin really struggling under Air Conditioning, no fresh air and hot and humid weather, I can assure you I would have had so many issues without my extractions. I needed so badly to empty my pores, polish the skin up to address the bad hyperpigmentation I had around my chin and mouth and load up my skin with new hydration. It is expensive to visit for a 90 minutes treatment, but so incredibly worth every penny! As always, with my Facial o’clock series I’ve not accepted any payment to write the reviews. These are very much my own personal and private thoughts about the treatment, the personnel, the facilities and the results. Huge thumbs up for Dermalogica not using any paper tissues on my face (other than to protect my skin during extractions), only hot luxurious flannels were used. Also to spray all mists directly onto my skin and not using cotton pads (as they can contaminate the product) was appreciated. It always felt like Cormei was in full control and knew her way around my skin. Perfection!