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Superbrands case studies - Dermalogica

Not all revolutions happen by force; some evolve gently over time. Dermalogica is one such 'quiet revolution' that has, through a synthesis of science, time-honoured ingredients and traditional philosophies, changed the face of modern skincare.

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The wake-up call for the skincare industry came about in America in 1983, when Jane and Raymond Wurwand founded the International Dermal Institute. Their mission was simple: to provide a training facility for professional skin therapists and initiate an industry standard for the skin care profession. To this day the facility is still used to research and develop all Dermalogica products. There are currently 32 International Dermal Institute Training Centres worldwide, elevating the quality of education to an unprecedented level and providing a unique forum where skincare professionals can trade experiences and ideas.

But as far as Jane's vision went, this was just the beginning. After discovering that existing market products were unsuitable for use in her classrooms -- many contained irritants that caused adverse reactions when applied to skin -- she set about creating a skin therapy system that fully embraced her belief in health and well-being, rather than manufactured beauty.

While the industry was (and indeed remains) saturated with glamorous spas, fluffy robes, catchy product names and distracting packaging, these diversions fail to promote healthy skin. When the company was founded, Dermalogica's aim was to harness science and nature to devise innovative formulations and treatments that worked. The decision to ban known irritants, such as artificial fragrance and colour, from all products contributed to its success, turning it into the number one choice for skincare professionals in the US, and the most requested worldwide.

Proud of its exceptional ingredients, Dermalogica rigorously tests every batch of products for absolute purity, avoiding comedogenic and known allergy-causing substances and using ingredients, whenever possible, from renewable sources (none of which are animal tested). Dermalogica is committed to protecting the environment, continually looking for new ways to be ecologically aware; all packaging and shipping containers, for instance, are now either recyclable, photodegradable or biodegradable.

What sets Dermalogica apart from its competitors is its emphasis on innovation, education and information. The brand takes a non-compromising stance in support of therapists, whose role has increasingly come under threat from direct website and department store retailing. 2006 marked the launch of a series of bold new trade advertisements, with the predominant strapline: 'it's my industry and I'm taking it back'. It reasserted Dermalogica's position as champion of the skin care professional.

In addition to continuing to grace the pages of titles such as Elle and Marie Claire, 2006 saw Dermalogica secure seven wins at the InStyle Best Beauty Buy Awards, as well as gain a new entry into the prestigious InStyle Hall of Fame for Daily Microfoliant, as the Best Facial Exfoliating Scrub. The achievements at InStyle were closely followed by further wins and nominations at the Daily Mail Baftas, The Sunday Times Style and New Woman awards. Given the company's non-reliance on consumer advertising this success is all the more notable. Promotion among the public is largely the result of press coverage and word-of-mouth recommendations; a refreshing marketing approach that has won Dermalogica expert endorsements and a cult following amongst top make-up artists and celebrities.

Central to Dermalogica's philosophy is the belief that skin evolves over a lifetime. By encouraging a holistic approach towards skin therapy, that incorporates regular visits to a skin therapist, daily at-home treatments with smart, modern products and a balanced outlook on life, Dermalogica has created a common sense brand with universal appeal. No mean feat within today's highly competitive skincare industry.

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