5 Best Dermalogica Products for Combination Skin (and 2 worst)

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5 Best Dermalogica Products for Combination Skin (and 2 worst) + What's the difference between dry and dehydrated skin?

5 Best Dermalogica Products for Combination Skin (and 2 worst)

Over the past year I had the privilege of trying a number of amazing offerings from Dermalogica, a brand that focuses on high-performance formulations that speak for themselves without the need for any fancy packaging and marketing frills. Today I wanted to share my personal roundup of the best Dermalogica products for combination skin [in my opinion], as well as a couple duds that were meant to be suitable for my skin type, but missed the mark for one reason or another. Again, for full disclosure, this is just my personal opinion based on my experience with the products. Skincare is YMMV, and just because I didn’t like a certain product, doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else.

My skin is combination/dehydrated, with shiny t-zone that is especially problematic in the presence of humidity and heat, and dry cheeks that can be tight and flakey. The dehydration is caused by multiple factors, all of which I am aware of: dry indoor air, occasional overuse of potent resurfacing acids, taking certain medications, and simply not drinking enough water daily. I also experience breakouts, caused by hormonal changes or food intolerance. Keep in mind that even if your skin type matches mine exactly, there are still a million factors that can attribute to your overall experience, from geographic location and personal health, to diet and sleeping habits.

With that said, let’s start with the best products first.

THE BEST:

5 Best Dermalogica Products for Combination Skin (and 2 worst) + What's the difference between dry and dehydrated skin?

Dermalogica PreCleanse Cleansing Oil

1 // Dermalogica PreCleanse Cleansing Oil ($42 for 5.1 oz) – This product is what initially started my love affair with Dermalogica, because it was the very first oil cleanser I tried. Way before I found out that oil cleansers were even a thing in Korea [also before I was into k-beauty], this lovely oil helped dissolve my makeup at the end of the day, keeping my white towels white. This five-star, cult cleanser tops my list of the best Dermalogica products for any skin type; if I had to pick just one must try item to represent the brand, this would be it. It gently removes all traces of makeup, oil, grime, and physical sunscreen without leaving my face sticky or clogging the pores. If anything, it’s un-clogging them. 😉

You will LOVE it if:

  • You like cleansing oils.
  • You need something to remove stubborn sunscreen.
  • You wear waterproof or long-lasting makeup.
  • You prefer skincare without artificial fragrances and dyes.
  • You are looking for a cleansing oil approved to be used in the eye area.

You will HATE it if:

  • You are sensitive to any of the ingredients.
  • You prefer all-natural skincare – P.S.: I’m reaching, I don’t know who can possibly hate this oil, it’s just so universal.

DON’T use it if:

  • You are not planning to follow up with a foaming cleanser. This oil cleanser should never be used on its own.

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, PEG-40 Sorbitan Peroleate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Extract, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Citral, Limonene, Linalool.

5 Best Dermalogica Products for Combination Skin (and 2 worst) + What's the difference between dry and dehydrated skin?

Dermalogica Phyto Replenish Oil

2 // Dermalogica Phyto Replenish Oil ($72 for 1 oz) – One thing I learned about keeping combination skin in top shape is that I shouldn’t be afraid to use oils. I wrote an entire blog post about this, if you’re interested. The right oil can help create a thin protective barrier on the skin and normalize sebum production, tricking the skin into thinking that you already have enough. Phyto Replenish Oil is one of my favorites in this area, because of its lightweight, silky texture, that melts into every pore, making my skin feel incredibly soft and nourished. I especially notice the difference on my dehydrated flaky cheeks and the dry areas around the nose. Phyto Replenish Oil makes those dry patches disappear in an instant, which actually helps my foundations and other makeup look better and more even.

You will LOVE it if:

  • You already enjoy using oils in your beauty routine.
  • You are looking for a lightweight oil that will nourish the skin and won’t clog the pores.
  • You are looking for an oil that will sit well under makeup.
  • You prefer skincare without artificial fragrances and dyes.

You will HATE it if:

  • You’re on a tight budget – this is a pricey product.
  • You prefer all-natural skincare.
  • You are sensitive to any of the ingredients.

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Cymbidium Grandiflorum (Orchid) Flower Extract, Salvia Hispanica Seed Oil, Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Extract, Pelargonium Graveolens Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Methoxyphenyl T-Butylphenyl Propanediol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Citral, Limonene.

5 Best Dermalogica Products for Combination Skin (and 2 worst) + What's the difference between dry and dehydrated skin?

Dermalogica Nightly Lip Treatment

3 // Dermalogica Nightly Lip Treatment ($49 for 0.34 oz) – Like the PreCleanse, this lip treatment is not skin type specific. It was released just a couple months ago and I am already about to finish my second tube. I was not blessed with full lips, so I sometimes use lip plumpers and primers to give my pout a little boost. Nightly Lip Treatment makes my lip lines look a lot smoother and less feathery in the morning, and it also helps hydrate, protect, and firm the perioral area [around the mouth]. Unlike typical lip plumping products, it doesn’t sting!

You will LOVE it if:

  • You want a lip plumper that doesn’t sting.
  • You want to improve the appearance of lip lines.
  • You prefer skincare without artificial fragrances and dyes.

You will HATE it if:

  • You’re on a tight budget – this is a lot to pay for what is essentially a lip balm.
  • You prefer all-natural skincare.
  • You are sensitive to any of the ingredients.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Lauryl PEG-8 Dimethicone, Nylon 6/12, Maltodextrin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Glycerin, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Swertia Chirata Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Unsaponifiables, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Tocopherol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Propylmethylmethoxybenzofuran, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium PCA, Phenoxyethanol.

5 Best Dermalogica Products for Combination Skin (and 2 worst) + What's the difference between dry and dehydrated skin?

Dermalogica Stress Positive Eye Lift

4 // Dermalogica Stress Positive Eye Lift ($65 for 0.85 oz) –  Another newcomer, and another winner from Dermalogica! This eye treatment can be used as a masque or as an eye cream, depending on which result you are looking to achieve. The ultimate goal of this product is to de-puff, cool, and relax the stressed eye area for a rested, brighter, and more lifted appearance. In my experience, it does just that. If you want to use it as a quick masque, dot the treatment around the orbital bone, and gently massage the product in with the metal applicator nozzle. Leave on for 10 minutes and wipe off with a tissue. When I just want to use it as an eye cream, I spread a small amount under my eyes in one long swipe and then quickly dab it in with a ring finger for absorption. For me the results are pretty much instant – Stress Positive Eye Lift makes my eyes look a lot more awake, and the dark circles are visibly brighter.

You will LOVE it if:

  • You like the hygienic packaging with a cooling metal tip.
  • You are looking for something to quickly reduce the temporary puffiness from salty foods, humidity, allergies, or crying. It won’t do much if the puffiness is caused by a serious medical condition.
  • Your eyes get very tired at the end of the day.
  • You prefer skincare without artificial fragrances and dyes.

You will HATE it if:

  • You prefer all-natural skincare.
  • You are sensitive to any of the ingredients.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Dimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Sorbitol, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Tephrosia Purpurea Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Niacinamide, Diglucosyl Gallic Acid, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Leaf Oil, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Maris Aqua, Propanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Vetiveria Zizanoides Root Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Hydrolyzed Algin, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Methyl Lactate, PEG-100 Stearate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tocopherol, Sucrose, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Aminomethyl Propanol, Xanthan Gum, Linalool, Geraniol, Phenoxyethanol.

5 Best Dermalogica Products for Combination Skin (and 2 worst) + What's the difference between dry and dehydrated skin?

Dermalogica Active Moist

5 // Dermalogica Active Moist ($40 for 1.7 oz)  – Last, but not least! I tried a number of Dermalogica moisturizers, and in my opinion, this is the best one for combination/dehydrated skin. It offers lightweight hydration, comfortable wear, and keeps the sebum production in check. When I use it, my face is neither dry nor oily. I wonder if this is what having “normal” skin feels like? Oil-free, non-greasy formula contains silk amino acids and various plant extracts to combat free radicals and surface level dehydration, which is precisely what I need for my skin to feel happy and healthy. Active Moist also primes the skin, making the surface feel smooth and soft, and wears well under makeup and sunscreen.

You will LOVE it if:

  • You have dehydrated oily or combination skin.
  • You you avoid jar packaging.
  • You prefer skincare without artificial fragrances and dyes.
  • You are looking for a no-frills, basic yet effective daytime moisturizer.

You will HATE it if:

  • You have very dry skin.
  • You expect more than hydration and antioxidants from your moisturizer.
  • You prefer all-natural skincare.
  • You are sensitive to any of the ingredients.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Methyl Gluceth-20, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Lactamide MEA, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Hedera Helix (Ivy) Leaf/Stem Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Sambucus Nigra Flower Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Parietaria Officinalis Extract, Nasturtium Officinale Flower/Leaf Extract, Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Saponaria Officinalis Leaf/Root Extract, Silk Amino Acids, Glycolipids, Sodium Hyaluronate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Palmitoyl, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Amylopectin/Glycerin Crosspolymer, Lecithin, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Allantoin, Panthenol, Cetyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-10, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Polysorbate 60, Aminomethyl Propanol, Disodium EDTA, Linalool, Lavandula Hybrida Oil.

DRY vs. DEHYDRATED:

I often mention that my skin is combination/dehydrated, which caused some confusion in the past among my readers and followers, who wondered how one’s skin can be dry and oily at the same time. While dry and dehydrated skin share some common traits, they are not the same thing, and should not be treated the same way. Dermalogica created this handy infographic to better explain the differences.

What is the difference between dry and dehydrated skin? This handy infographic can help!

What is the difference between dry and dehydrated skin? This handy infographic can help!

THE WORST:

I accept that mine might be an unpopular opinion, because I know for a fact that a lot of my friends love and use these. Both of these products have overwhelmingly positive reviews everywhere you look. However, for me they did not work as well as I’d hoped, and here’s why.

1 // Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant ($58 for 2 oz) – This powder-to-foam cleanser is a cult classic, and the winner of numerous beauty awards with tens of thousands of devoted fans worldwide. It features Activated Binchotan Charcoal, Niacinamide, Red Algae and Tara Fruit Extract, and combines three forms of exfoliation: physical, enzymatic, and acidic. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, to me the problem is in the second ingredient – Sodium Bicarbonate, aka baking soda. I know baking soda skincare has been all the rage lately, and Pinterest is loaded with all kinds of DIY beauty recipes featuring this common household staple. However, because it’s so high up on the ingredient list, it makes the exfoliant too alkaline for me. I stopped using cleansers with pH higher than 5.5 a long time ago because they disturb the skin’s protective acid mantle [as Kerry explained very eloquently here], and my skin has been feeling a lot better, with occasional breakouts being only of hormonal or dietary nature. To compare, Daily Superfoliant measured at pH 11.0 when mixed with tap water. That is a lot.

2 // Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel ($37 for 8.4 oz) – This soap-free, foaming gel cleanser is recommended for all skin types as a second step after PreCleanse oil cleanser. I have two issues with this one. First of all, one of the ingredients is Balm Mint extract, which I personally find irritating. There’s a reason why it’s used in natural lip plumpers – it causes localized inflammation so the skin swells up and gives the appearance of a fuller pout until your body naturally soothes the irritated area. Considering that our cleansers occasionally get into the eyes, this is not something I want to risk. Second reason is the pH: when mixed with tap water, the strips register between pH 8.5 and 9.0, which, again, is just too alkaline for me to use.

BOTTOM LINE:

Dermalogica is one of those brands who consistently impress me with their innovative releases, and as you can see, I’ve discovered many favorites. I appreciate the no-nonsense approach to packaging, and cleaner formulations that don’t contain unnecessary fillers, artificial fragrances, and dyes. However, skincare is always YMMV, so along with my list of favorites I also wanted to share my thoughts on products that in theory should have been perfect for my skin type, but didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I’m not in the business of badmouthing products, but I feel like I owe it to you guys to share my honest, unbiased opinion, even if it’s an unpopular one. 🙂

Have you tried Dermalogica skincare? Is your skin dry or dehydrated? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Naked Without Polish

    I’ve never tried cleansing oils but I’m definitely becoming more and more curious.

  • I would love to try this oil cleanser. I currently use one but it’s in balm/sorbet form (Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity). Oil cleansers are a game changer for anyone who’s ever struggled with clogged pores.

  • precleanse is one of the best things I have ever used.

  • marciaf

    I never replaced my Pre-Cleanse when I finished it but I should since it was a great way to get my skin clean. I keep the eye cream with my cosmetics since some mornings I know my eye area is crying for it. Thanks for the chart, I now realize I’m dehydrated more than I am dry.

  • I have yet to try out Dermalogica so this is the perfect right up for me! It’s a brand I’ve been wanting to try but have yet to take the financial plunge! lol!

  • Jen Sky Walker

    I was really excited about the Phyto Replenish Oil until I saw that it included Rosemary. I have absolutely no issues with consuming it, but my poor skin does not do well with it.

  • Thank you for such a thorough and honest review! I have truly combo skin, so I appreciate your reviews 🙂