Special Cleansing Gel
8.4 fl. oz. for $35
Category:Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:01.02.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

Special Cleansing Gel contains irritating essential oils of lavender and balm mint (Melissa) and is neither recommended nor the least bit special. You can find superior, significantly less expensive cleansers at the drugstore.


A soap-free, foaming gel designed to thoroughly remove impurities without disturbing the skin’s natural moisture balance. Contains no artificial fragrance or color.


Water/Aqua/Eau, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Hexylene Glycol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Quillaja Saponaria Bark Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Citric Acid, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben./p>

Brand Overview

Dermalogica At-A-Glance

Strengths: Good eye-makeup remover; a unique skin-lightening product; a couple of commendable moisturizers, one with stabilized vitamin C.

Weaknesses: Expensive; almost every category has one or more products that contain irritating ingredients with no established benefit for skin; Clean Start and MediBac lines are particularly disappointing; the SPF products tend to be mediocre to poor.

Dermalogica's name implies a logical relationship to dermatology, which makes it sound as if you are getting serious skin care. The subtitle on their products is even more commanding: "A Skin Care System Researched and Developed by the International Dermal Institute." But what is the International Dermal Institute, you ask? Are there any dermatologists there? Apparently not: The International Dermal Institute is a Dermalogica-owned school for aestheticians who want an education beyond what is required for their cosmetology license, and the classes are taught by aestheticians.

Does the professional atmosphere of the school associated with Dermalogica mean better products? The proof is in the pudding, and this pudding is, for the most part, just Jell-O, not chocolate mousse. A company so concerned with skin-care education should be ashamed of itself for offering so many products that damage skin with known irritants and, more egregiously, offering so many sunscreens that lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients. Dermalogica's education-oriented, serious-minded, and clinical positioning doesn’t mesh with the majority of their products, and is on par with tobacco company executives teaching an aerobics class.

According to company history, the reason Dermalogica products came to be was that founder Jane Wurwand could not find a spa-oriented skin-care line that met her criteria. She was dismayed that so many skin-care lines aimed at the aesthetics market had products that contained alcohol, artificial colors, fragrance, mineral oil, and lanolin, ingredients that she believed had a well-documented history of problems. That's true for fragrance and alcohol (and artificial colors to a lesser extent), but mineral oil and lanolin have no documented history of causing skin problems. If anything, quite the opposite is true. Further, if Dermalogica's founders were so concerned about potentially or definitively harmful ingredients, why do their products contain so many of them? Where is the research proving that lavender oil, camphor, balm mint, arnica, ginger oil, and citrus oils are helpful for skin?

For more information about Dermalogica, call 1-800-345-2761 or visit www.dermalogica.com.

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The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

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Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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You can really smell the lavender which I liked! But, I end up returning everything I got. Only one item got a good review and everything else got a poor review. That's why I loved Paula's books. I would've saved myself $225.00 I think it was. For 4 items.

Reviewed by
Annette D.
Goes a very long way!

This cleanser is really good value for money one 250ml bottle lasted for over a year! It cleans really well better than the similar Olay product that Paula recommended I bought to compare. It also has a pleasant smell and as for the irritating oils if they are washed away then it wouldn't seem to be a problem.

Reviewed by
Love This

Since I turned 30 I feel as though I have been battling dry skin/wrinkles and acne at the same time. Acne that I didn't even have as a teen. I tried everything until my hair stylist gave me a sample of this. Foams nicely, has no fragrance (to my nose), rinses clean and leaves my face neither tight and dry or oily, just a nice canvass. Saw an old boss recently who said I looked younger than when I worked for him. I'm figuring anti-aging out one product at a time, but this cleanser is a keeper.

Reviewed by
Amanda S
Nice and foamy

Liked this cleanser. Gentle on eyes and foamed up very well. Had no problems with lavender & mint that review mentions. Didn't even notice those ingredients were in there as didn't smell them. Only a tiny bit goes a long way.

Reviewed by
Barb G
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