Review: Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser

After years of trying cleanser after cleanser after cleanser, I got pretty frustrated. I stopped using conventional cleansers ( I think a lot of the cleansers I used were foaming; I didn’t know about the many other types of cleansers…) and switched to washing my face with milled oatmeal. It actually helped calm my breakouts, which were probably largely due to the products I was/wasn’t using. But, alas, oatmeal as a facial cleanser is not very travel-friendly, and definitely messy. Oats would get everywhere.
After using oatmeal for a few months, I was getting pretty tired of it all. So one day, my mom invited me to Ulta, and there I found something by the company Dermalogica, called “Ultracalming Cleanser”. After inspecting it and asking the sales rep a few questions, I figured, why not? It seemed kind of gimmicky to me, mostly because I’m a little wary of buying things that sales reps recommend. I figured worse case, I’ll just go back to my oatmeal or look for another cleanser.
I learned, through the lovely ladies and gentlemen of r/AsianBeauty and r/Skincareaddiction, about the incredible importance of the pH of skincare products. So, I emailed the company about the pH of the cleanser. They responded that it was proprietary information and they could not give it out.
It sat on my shelf for about a month, untouched, since I was a little put off by the lack of straight-forwardness of the rep I talked to. Only after a really bad breakout from Su:m37’s Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick (Grrr…I refuse to go anywhere near coconut oil now), was it that I decided to give the cleanser a try. To err on the side of caution, I bought my own pH test strips and tested the cleanser. A 5.7-6. Good enough for me!


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I was recommended this cleanser because of my hyper-sensitive skin, which hates everything. The cleanser is suitable for those with sensitive skin or, in my case, acne-prone skin.
According to Dermalogica’s website:

“Gentle cleansing gel/cream for reactive skin. This pH-balanced, non-foaming cleanser helps calm and cool the redness and heat associated with reactive, sensitized or overprocessed skin. Delicately fortifies skin’s protective barrier without leaving an irritating residue, and easily rinses away or wipes off, making it ideal for sensitized skin.”

The ingredients are listed below as they appear on the website:

Water/Aqua/Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Bisabolol, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Glycerin, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Salix Alba Bark Extract, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Butylene Glycol , Pentylene Glycol , Hydroxyphenyl , ropamidobenzoic Acid, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Fumaria Officinalis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Fumaric Acid, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Panthenol, Acrylates/ C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, rosspolymer, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Aminomethyl Propanol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Disodium EDTA

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The Cosdna analysis

A few ingredients stick out to me.

Ginger root extract: Anti-inflammatory and soothing.

Cucumber fruit extract: Soothing and refreshing. Think those creepy spa days with the cucumbers over your eyes.

Salix Alba/Willow bark extract: This has naturally occurring BHA, which is a great acne fighter. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it will keep nasty bacteria away from your skin and it will soothe redness or irritation.

The Product

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The consistency of the cleanser itself is somewhere between a lotion and a gel. It comes out as a semi-translucent white color, and the color disappears once you begin massaging it in. It does kind of feel like rubbing a light moisturizer on your face, and it doesn’t foam (non-foaming cleansers are generally more gentle than foaming ones). It doesn’t have any noticeable scent, either.

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I massage my face and neck with the cleanser for a good minute or two, and then rinse it off with cold water. Alternatively, you can gently wipe it off with a damp towel—I recommend a microfiber cloth.

This gives a nice, refreshing feeling after rinsing off. If you’re looking for a squeaky clean feeling, you won’t get it here. The gentle cleanser leaves my skin feeling clean, but not stripped or tight, and it even feels moisturized just enough.


     Why did I wait so long to try this cleanser?! Not only did my super-finnicky skin tolerate it, it actually helped clear up my breakouts. I noticed PIH (post-inflammatory-hyperpigmentation) and darks spots fading within a week, and I barely broke out after using it for a month or so.

This stuff is amazing. It took years of searching, but I found it: the perfect cleanser. Customer service aside (I’m probably just being too salty by now—they were still very helpful), I’ve had nothing but a great experience with this cleanser. I agree that this would most definitely be worth trying for those with sensitive, dry, or acne-prone skin. However, those with oily skin may find this too mild of a cleanser and may need something more like a gel cleanser or a low pH foaming cleanser.

Regardless, give this a try if you have the opportunity!

Rating: 5/5

Rating scale:

5- Spread the word far and wide about this Holy Grail…will always repurchase!

4- I like it! I’ll repurchase unless I find something I like better.

3- Meh. Not impressed, a little disappointed. Won’t repurchase.

2- Really disappointed, I wanted so much more out of this…won’t repurchase.

1- Never again.


You can find it at ($37.00 for 8.4 oz; $59.00 for 16.9 oz)| ($37.00 for 8.4 oz; $59.00 for 16.9 oz)

* I am not affiliated with Dermalogica®, and all opinions are my own.

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