Dermalogica skin soothing hydrating lotion review

Even rocks know by now that my skin has become dry, parched, and flaky since I moved to London. I complained about it so much! But, what you may not know is that I sometimes still get the occasional breakout. Because, you know, bad things never come alone…

To deal with my crazy skin I need a cream that hydrates it while keeping breakouts at bay. Dermalogica Clear Start Hydrating Lotion, the newest addition to the range, promises to do just that. On paper.

On skin? Let’s put it to the test to find out:

What’s In Dermalogica Clear Start Hydrating Lotion?


Squalane is the new IT ingredient in the skincare world.

It’s a moisturising oil that creates a protective barrier on the skin that seals moisture in. While it’s at it, it also strengthens said barrier, making it more resistant to external aggressors, like germs and harsh winds.

The best part? Squalane is almost identical to human sebum, so it sinks in quickly into the skin without leaving a greasy residue behind.

Related: The Complete Guide To Squalane In Skincare


The cream contains Sodium Hyaluronate, a form of Hyaluronic Acid that better penetrates skin.

Hyaluronic Acid is a moisture magnet: it attracts moisture from the environment into the skin, helping to keep it hydrated for longer. It’s so powerful, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water!

All that moisture makes skin plumper, softer and brighter. (Moisture is the secret behind Korean skincare, remember?)

Related: The Complete Guide To Hyaluronic Acid In Skincare

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Salicylic Acid (a.k.a. BHA) is an oil-soluble exfoliant that penetrates deep inside your pores, where it dissolves all the clogs that are giving you whiteheads, blackheads and pimples (and keeps them from coming back).

While it’s at it, it also exfoliates the surface of your skin, giving you a softer and brighter complexion. And that’s just the exfoliating part!

Salicylic acid also has soothing properties that calm down the redness and inflammation that always comes along with pimples.

The catch? There’s not a lot of salicylic acid here. Expect it to work slowly.

Related: Why Salicylic Acid Is Key To Spot-Free Skin


White in colour, it’s lightweight, non-greasy and sinks quickly into my skin.


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

It’s the last step of your skincare routine at night.

Performance & Personal Opinion

Dermalogica Clear Start Hydrating Lotion is fairly hydrating on its own. If my skin were still combo, I wouldn’t need anything else

But, on my driest areas, I find I have to use it with a hydrating serum to get best results. Otherwise, my skin still feels a bit tighter there.

So claim #1 is correct. This stuff is hydrating indeed, unless your skin is super dry. But, does it keep breakouts at bay, too? Well, since I started using it, I noticed a reduction in pimples. With that, I mean, I get fewer pimples, and they seem to disappear that little bit faster.

Instead, I’m a lot less pleased about the addition of orange and grapefruit oils to the formula. I don’t see any reason to include them. They don’t really do anything special for the skin, but can irritate it, and increase sensitivity to the sun.

I’m happy to report they didn’t irritate my skin, but, if yours is very sensitive, you may want to stay clear from this one. Otherwise, never use it without sunscreen. Never.

The cream is also very low in antioxidants. As it is aimed at young skin, it may be argued it doesn’t need antioxidants yet. I think skin always does, at any age. But, if you’re a broke teenager whose priority is to clear up your breakout prone skin, you may want to give this one a try first, and introduce antioxidants in your routine later.

Related: 7 Natural Ingredients That Can Irritate Sensitive Skin

dermalogica clear start hydrating lotion 02

Who Is This For?

Teenagers and young adults with acne-prone skin.

Who Is This NOT For?

  • Dry skin
  • If you have a lot of acne, this alone won’t be enough to treat if


A white and purple tube. Simple and practical.

Does Dermalogica Clear Start Hydrating Lotion Live Up To Its Claims?

Say goodbye to dehydrated, breakout-irritated skin with this lightweight moisturizer! It’s lightweight and can help reduce breakouts, but it won’t do the job on its own.
Sheer, easy-to-apply formula helps soothe discomfort and hydrate areas that feel dry.  It’s a little soothing and hydrating, but not enough for dry skin.
Also helps relieve the dryness often associated with some acne treatments. It can, but how well depends on how dry your skin is.

Price & Availability

$22.00/£19.50 at Feel Unique and Ulta

Do You Need It?

It’s not a must, but if you’re a teen looking for an affordable moisturiser for your acne-prone skin that doesn’t break the bank, this is an ok option to consider.

Dupes & Alternatives


Water/Aqua/Eau, Squalane, C14-22 Alcohols, Butylene Glycol, Naringenin, Saccharide Isomerate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenyl Triacetate, Salicylic Acid, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Triethyl Citrate, Maltodextrin, Glyceryl Caprylate, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Xanthan Gum, Benzoic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Methylpropanediol.