Dermalogica Hydro Masque Exfoliant Review: A Quick, Low-Key Way To Glow

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When I first heard that Dermalogica's Hydro Masque Exfoliant was launching on Aug. 20 at $60 a pop, I had my questions. Minimal ones — Dermalogica is a personal favorite — but still, a healthy curiosity. Since, somewhere along my own skincare journey, I began compartmentalizing steps like moisturizing and exfoliation. And they're kept far, far apart in my weekly rituals. It's like how a square is a rectangle, but not all rectangles are squares; I always follow exfoliation with moisture, but you'll never catch me chemically or physically exfoliating as often as I slather on hydration.

So, the premise of a five-minute, at-home face mask that exfoliates as it hydrates was just alien enough to my own routine that I had to try it. First thing to note: Although it's a fast-acting, hydrating mask, you should still heed the namesake exfoliation. "Hydro Masque Exfoliant can be used once or twice a week to combat dehydration or added to your skincare routine anytime the skin is looking dull, tight, or devitalized," Heather Hickman, Dermalogica’s Senior Director of Education, explains for TZR over email. "Most people turn to a hydrating masque when the skin feels dry, or an exfoliating scrub when it looks dull. In truth, dehydrated skin often needs more than just hydration to feel better — it also needs exfoliation! The two should live hand in hand."

Madge Maril

I'm used to skin-tingling chemicals, though, so the Hydro Masque Exfoliant's physical exfoliation — via formula-suspended spheres — still felt super easygoing in comparison. "The spheres are made of calcium alginate, which is a gelatinous polysaccharide. They contain ultra-fine bamboo particles, rich in silica, which are released upon activation to gently exfoliate skin," explains Hickman. "The spheres also contain a hydrating fluid blend: Glycerin, a humectant, helps the skin retain hydration, and hydrating polysaccharides obtained via bio-fermentation to help to protect the skin’s moisture barrier."

Technical, yes, but much easier to use than explain. The mask is amazingly cut and dry. It didn't burn, feel greasy, or leave my skin dried-out. It was easy to wash off, even after "activating" the exfoliating spheres. And afterward, my skin felt like my skin — just a little bit more plump and relaxed.

Madge Maril

After many rodeos with AHAs — and not seeing any giant red splotches on my skin that told me Dermalogica's exfoliation had "worked" — I had to ask Hickman to explain how I or anyone else would know if the mask had done its job. "Glow and hydration!" she notes. "A really easy way to know if a masque is working on your skin is to consider how your skin feels. Has the tightness gone? Is it smoother? Is there less texture? If your skin was looking dull or lackluster previously, are you seeing a brighter, more glowing skin? You may also find that your accompanying products apply more readily, or if you are a makeup wearer, your makeup has a smoother finish and is less likely to separate or look clogged during the day."

In other words, it's the little things. And as always, Dermalogica succeeds in the details. Below, the new Hydro Masque Exfoliant.

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