But first a few words about Dermalogica the company. Looking at its packaging and promotional material there isn’t much that makes it stand out from other similar mainly french brands. These companies all have the same kinds of vaguely clinical looking packs, make similar vaguely science based claims based on actives with names that sound like Star Trek characters and marketing full of photos of women that owe a large debt to the classical Greek ideals of beauty and an even larger one to the ready availability of Photoshop.
This approach is so widely used it must be successful, but I confess it leaves me cold. As, generally, do the products. The formulations have the same dreary familiarity as the packaging and are just as forgettable. But while Dermalogica’s marketing is just more of the same, their formulations always seem to have a certain elan. I have been really impressed by a number of them over the years and recently have been having a close look at their Total Eye Care.
Dermalogica Total Eye Care is sold in an unremarkable 15ml tube. It claims an SPF of 15, thanks to a chemical free sunscreen. The most damaging thing for our skin is light, so anything that keeps light away from skin is a good thing. In the case of the very thin skin just around the eyes this is a particularly good thing. It is an area that is always going to be the most exposed to light and which it is difficult to protect.
It also highlights that it has optical light diffusers to help diminish dark circles. This is part of the same thing really. It works by having some finely dispersed pigments suspended in the product. These both reflect light to protect the skin from the sun, and diffuse the light coming from the surface of the skin to cover up wrinkles. This approach only really works with very fine wrinkles, but these are exactly the kind that you tend to get around your eyes so it works well. The main pigment is titanium dioxide, which is the same pigment that turns up in any application that needs something white, like paper making or crown emulsion paint. But to get the sun protection they must be using particularly fine particles. Some iron oxides are included to give a rough match to average skin tone, but once it is spread on the skin you can’t really see them. They do give the product an appealing colour and are probably adding a subtle tint that overcomes the slightly ghostly effect you get when you use titanium dioxide on its own.
The thing that makes this formulation really stand out is the texture. It is rich with a pleasing sheen when the light falls on it. You can use your fingers to produce long peaks, that on breaking fall down to produce something that reminds you of a wizard’s hat.
Let’s have a look at the formulation.
The headline ingredient is titanium dioxide which I have already talked about. On top of the titanium dioxide there are some other pigments that contribute, i.e., the talc, iron oxides and mica.
What else is in the formulation? There are a couple of actives that have a mild anti-inflammatory action: allantoin and bisabolol. These aren’t going to be effective enough to treat any really serious skin problems, but might be quite suitable for any area of the skin that can sometimes be subject to stress and trauma but which is not actually unhealthy.
In addition to these worthy components are a whole set of pointless tip-ins. Companies, or at any rate their marketing departments, are under the impression that consumers like to have lots of natural ingredients in their products. This particular one contains things like bitter orange extract, cetella asiatica, tyrosine and lots lots more. They are a total waste of time as far as I am concerned, and more importantly as far as doing any good to your skin is concerned. Please people, you’ll get a lot more from your personal care purchases if you judge products on their performance not fairy stories.
This is the product's ingredient list:
Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Extract, C12-15 Alkyl Ethylhexanoate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Silica, Lactic Acid, DEA-Cetyl Phosphate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Propylene Glhycol, Extracts of: Spiraea Ulmaria Flower, Centella Asiatica; Leucine, Valine, Tyrosine Arginine, Lyine, Sodium PCA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Bisabolol, Lauric Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide, Allantoin, Ceteareth-20, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide (for pH adjustment only), Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Talc, Iron Oxides (CI 77492, CI 77491), Mica (CI 77019)
And this is what it would look like if all the pointless additives were dropped.
Water, C12-15 Alkyl Ethylhexanoate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Silica, Lactic Acid, DEA-Cetyl Phosphate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Bisabolol, Lauric Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide, Allantoin, Ceteareth-20, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide (for pH adjustment only), Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Talc, Iron Oxides (CI 77492, CI 77491), Mica (CI 77019)
But don’t let this minor gripe put you off. This is a very well formulated product that commands respect. If you think the area around your eyes is looking a bit tired and wrinkled this might help. It won’t work miracles but you should be able to see an improvement within a couple of days. If you don’t, it isn’t for you and you need to look for something else.