Before I dive into this skin care review, I want to introduce you to Influenster: an online community of over 4 million “savvy social shoppers” that’s a great resource for finding and sharing reviews on beauty products. The best part of Influenster is their VoxBox program, which gives you the opportunity to test products for free when you sign up, connect your social networks and answer some questions about your lifestyle and product preferences. When VoxBox campaigns come up for grabs, Influenster emails you a simple quiz to see if you’d be a good fit. If you’re selected for a VoxBox, you receive full-size products (awesome!) to test and review.
What I appreciate most about Influenster is their objectivity: they want your honest opinions and feedback to provide to their brand partners, so there’s no pressure to say you love something if you don’t. I’ve discovered some of my favorite products from VoxBoxes — like the Marc Jacobs Beauty Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter — but there were a few that just didn’t work out for me, and providing constructive negative reviews didn’t affect my eligibility for future campaigns.
I received this skin care duo to test and review last month, and it couldn’t have arrived on my doorstep at a better time: between fluctuating Florida weather (it’s hot and humid one day and desert-dry the next) my seasonal allergies, being sick for over a week, and extra holiday stress at the flower shop, my skin started to feel off-balance. It was dryer than usual, and I started to notice some redness and irritation along my cheeks that felt tight and itchy throughout the day. “Ultra calming” was exactly what I needed.
My Dermalogica VoxBox claimed to “hydrate thirsty skin” and “stop irritation at its source,” to which I replied, “yes please and yes please.”
The barrier defense booster is a concentrated oil serum that contains a ‘Triple Defense Complex’ to nourish the skin, relieve dryness and reinforce the skin barrier against future irritation. Squalane locks in moisture, and soothing oat oil helps combat sensitivity.
Before I even got the product on my skin, I gave it points for packaging. It’s housed in a hard plastic bottle with a flexible bottom that you gently push to dispense the product from the tip; way less fuss and mess than my other beauty oils that are packaged in glass bottles with pipette droppers.
The calm water gel is a weightless moisturizer that transforms into fluid upon application (which is weird and awesome). “Dual hyaluronic acid technology works in different skin surface layers to increase and lock in moisture; apple fruit extract and glycerin hydrate and soften while defending skin against dryness; and cactus pear extract helps soothe sensitivity and imparts water-binding properties to help support healthy moisture balance.”
I found the barrier defense booster a little too oily for daytime wear under makeup, so I started by incorporating the duo into my evening skin care routine: after cleansing and toning, I applied 4-5 drops of the barrier defense booster and followed it up with the calm water gel. After a week of use, I noticed significant improvement in the texture of my skin: the dry patches on my cheeks started to clear up, the tightness and itchiness went away, and my skin felt more balanced and hydrated. Then I started mixing the calm water gel into my rotation of morning moisturizers, and after about a month of consistent use, this duo earned a spot in my stash of everyday skin care staples.
This was my first experience with Dermalogica products, and I’m so impressed with the results. I don’t mind investing in products when they make good on their promises, and this “Ultra Calming” duo does just what it claims: balances hydration, reduces irritation, and soothes sensitive skin. It makes me want to try other products from the brand; any Dermalogica recommendations would be appreciated!