Dermalogica: A Product by Product Series Review



Over the next few weeks I will review every single product by Dermalogica!

These last few months have been busy for me- I opened a salon for my job, hired an esthetician for our new store, and have been going to Dermalogica classes. I am only a few classes away from completing Dermalogica’s Expert Program! Becoming a Dermalogica Expert means that I have spent dozens of training hours with their educators learning everything there is to know about their products and who they would work best for. Now I’m going to share that knowledge with you!

Dermalogica is a company that I whole heartedly believe in. Their products work for everyone- and I mean everyone! The only time I’ve ever heard of people not liking the results it was from one of 2 reasons: they weren’t using it correctly or they were given the wrong items to use!

They believe in being good to our planet and the people on it. Dermalogica uses as many recycled materials in their packaging as they can and everything is biodegradable. They are also a humanitarian company and have their own charity to help women in developing countries. All of their products are made in the USA. Their products work because of their extensive research and meticulous vetting that each product goes through. They recently pulled a product from the market because they found a small number of adverse reactions were happening. This might sound like a duh to most people but when this happens with other companies their reaction is not the same- they ignore it and blame the consumer’s improper use. Dermalogica investigates it and removes the product from the market until they have an answer.


Using a product incorrectly can mean quite a few things-  using too much or too little, too often or not often enough, using it in conjunction with the wrong products or using it in a way that it is not intended for. If you’re going to make the investment in professional quality skin care treatments do it with both feet! Changing in half measures will only get you so far and will negatively impact your results. As fantastic as Dermalogica products are, if you’re only using their cleanser and a drug store moisturizer you won’t have much luck changing your skin.

Not everyone is well educated on Dermalogica products, so don’t assume the person helping you at Ultra has been trained! Ask about their education- are they an esthetician, how many Dermalogica classes have they been to, which ones, where do they fall on Dermalogica’s certification scale? At a minimum they should be Certified and have a pin/certificate to back it up. Even then, asking for a Specialist or Expert would be your best approach.

Here is a link to finding a Dermalogica Certified Skin Therapist in your area:

Please keep in mind that this will serve as a guide to help narrow your search for products but it will not replace having a trained professional getting their hands and eyes on your skin. Every skin therapist will prescribe a different routine based on their personal and professional experiences with products, no answer is wrong as long as there is an educated and experienced mind behind it!


Thank You

I didn’t realize how quickly I have been gaining a following! I know I’ve been blogging a few months but I was talking about it to a friend the other day and underestimated my number of subscribed followers! I am very glad to be wrong and appreciate that my thoughts matter to you!

I want to make this the best blog I can write so please submit questions to me! Anything that has to do with hair, make up, skin care, and animal related questions are my main focus but I am willing to take on anything. I started writing this blog because I believe that sharing knowledge improves lives and can improve our world. Even though sharing something like how to apply lip liner is a small thing, if it is shared with an audience of women from a nation that traditionally frowns upon make up then that means things are changing there!

Big changes always start small and I believe in inspiring small changes everyday.

I get inspiration from everywhere and I want to include more of you in that process, so please start a dialogue with me about what you want to know and what inspires you!

Find me on Instagram @dinacristina to discover the extent of  what a crazy cat lady I am!

Save Or Splurge

There are a lot of differing opinions about seeking professional help for hair and beauty services vs doing them at home for cheaper. I hope to present an as unbiased as possible review of several services to help best guide you towards investing smartly in your appearance.


This all really depends on what the final look will be like compared to the look your hair currently has. If it’s a simple all over color with only a small hue difference from your current color- go for it. Just buy smartly. Box color might turn out fine every once and a while but I HIGHLY recommend visiting a beauty supply and buying color and developer on your own. Some beauty supply stores will have licensed cosmetologists on staff who can help you find what you need but don’t assume they know what products will work for what you want to accomplish if they are not licensed. If you are going to take the time to dye your own hair do a little research and educate your self about the basics of hair dye.

If you have plans to lighten your hair with bleach or if you have ever dyed your hair before it is very important for you to visit a professional. Color cannot lift color and bleach is a very volatile product which can permanently damage your scalp or hair if you do not understand the basics of bleaching.

If you are trying to cut costs I suggest doing a mix of salon and at home. Go to your stylist for the bleaching and finish the color at home, just realize that you are risking spending more if you need to return to the salon to have the color fixed. You also might have difficulty getting your color formula from your colorist, many colorists will keep these secret to avoid loosing business or to prevent you from taking it to another stylist. This is a bit of a standoff in the industry- some colorists feel their service is about more than the formula its about the connection and luxury while others feel like constructing formulas is what separates colorists from box dye. If your colorist has a problem giving you the color formula don’t take it personally, instead maybe consider a color that will grow out in a more flattering manner so that you can skip a visit with out your roots looking like a nightmare when you return.


At home facials are easy enough, but have you objectively examined your skin type and correctly chosen products for it? This is one service that I think you need to only do a few times in your life. As long as you’re paying attention and asking all the right questions you will be able to fend for yourself for longer than you’d think.

There are 3 stages of life that most affect the skin that I think are important to be aware of – teenager, adult, and post-menopause. Teenage years are of coarse everyone’s favorite, your body is full of hormones as your body goes through its changes from girl to woman and your face looks like a war zone. Adulthood for skin is reached mid to late 20’s which can be just as difficult as teenage years, or at least I feel so. Nothing is worse as a beauty professional than giving clients advice about skin care when your own is clearly not behaving. Finally the last stage is post-menopause, I think this is when skin type can change the most. The majority of my older clients have experienced very dry and thinning skin at this point which can be a nice break for those who were previously of an oily skin type but left unaware of how to care for their new skin type.

If you are in between one of these points of your life and your current routine is working well for you then stick to what you’re doing. What works for you works- so don’t let any one or thing change your mind.


I am currently working as an eyebrow threader so this will be a little less unbiased. I believe in having a shape that is specifically crafted for your facial features. As a threading artist I use your bone structure and natural growth pattern to determine the best shape of eyebrow for you. If you have a well balanced shape from your own tweezing then there is no real need for you to get them professionally done.  If you have any doubts or questions about your eyebrow shape then I highly recommend you find an eyebrow expert near you.

If you’re going to take the time and money to see a ‘professional’ do your homework on them too! Far too many ‘professionals’ in the cosmetology industry do not take eyebrow shaping seriously and all too often that includes rules and regulations about sanitation. Go somewhere that is know for doing eyebrows- just about every hair salon will offer it but not all of them will be skilled in it. It might cost you a little more for these places but it will be worth it.

Of coarse I truly believe threading is the best kind of experience you could have for eyebrow maintenance but to each their own. Check reviews of their work no matter what you choose- not all threaders are created equal! Eyebrows have the ability to change your face dramatically so only trust it to someone who will make you look amazing.


This can be another tricky service that’s best to start off in a salon. There are 2 main types of straightening products: thio and sodium hydroxide. It is imperative to know which one is right for you. The wrong kind can either have little effect on your hair or leave you completely bald for life- literally.

If you start at a salon with a thio then doing your regrowth is less of a hazard but there is still a risk. Be extremely mindful about time and I highly recommend having a friend assist you with it. Your regrowth will take less time to treat than your initial visit did and it can be difficult to coordinate areas on the back of your head.

However if you are using a sodium hydroxide I do not believe that is something that should ever be done outside of a salon. Thios are much gentler and easier to manage but sodium hydroxide can have immediate scarring effects on your scalp. Sodium hydroxide is one of the main ingredients in Drain-o, it is safe to use in the right hands but if you wouldn’t imagine doing your own heart surgery I definitely advise against doing your own SH relaxer! There have been cases of scalps melting even in salon settings so this is not something to take lightly.

If you’re unsure of what kind of straightening system you had done, ask your stylist.


*Another cost saving option is to visit a cosmetology school, their prices might not be rock bottom but you will be giving a student a real client to work on and even if they don’t have much experience their instructors do and will watch over them closely. Personally I feel that community colleges are the best option, private cosmo schools are great but some will hire newly licensed cosmetologists as instructors or have students mentor other students instead of employing more instructors with more experience. Private schools have their benefits over community colleges but the instructor program for colleges is much more rigorous and often the instructors there will have quite a few more years of in-salon experience and teacher training.

So there are my as unbiased as possible tips about when to see a professional for beauty treatments! As always do your research before doing any service at home and don’t be afraid to talk to your stylist/colorist/esthetician about how do successfully do it. They will give you the best advice for what will work best for you, although slightly more biased, and can help guide you to safe savings.

5 Tips For Beauty Without Painful Experiences


(This is a picture of my work station, notice how shiny everything is?!)

There’s nothing better than a great salon service but all too often trying a new salon can lead to bad results and possible permanent damage. After getting my first surprise visit from state board official I thought it would be a good time to help average consumers spot the red flags that they look for.

TIP #1

Give the whole salon a once over. The first thing you should do before sitting down to receive a service is ask where the restroom is. Usually they are located somewhere in the back so it is a quick way for you to scope the place out. This will give you a general feel for the tidiness of the place. If there is hair left on the floor while the customer is receiving a color treatment or if all the nail stations are covered in nail dust these are bad signs. If the most basic housekeeping RULES are not being followed you can bet your bottom dollar sanitation RULES are being ignored as well. I intentionally capitalized RULES because they are in fact apart of a beauty technician’s job, sweeping and cleaning up after every client are not only a required regulation to being a licensed professional- they are the entire reason why states require licensing.

TIP #2

Find out who has a license so you know who doesn’t. On your way back from the restroom make a mental note of how many people are working on clients, if there are more people working then there are licenses posted that means some of them are working illegally! This can be harder to spot, some salons will have them posted in a group picture frame and others will have them at their work stations. Licenses are required to be displayed in an obvious location so if someone has to squirrel away for a few minutes to show you their license its best to take a good long look at it. It is well within your rights to ask to see a license so don’t take no for an answer!

TIP #3

All tools must be sanitized prior to each use, and in some cases a record must be kept to prove what kind of sanitation was done and when. The best example I can give is related to pedicure foot spas, which happens to be an area I find it to be of the utmost importance as well!

There are three levels of sanitation for foot spas, one for after each client, one for the end of each business day, and one to be conducted at least once a month. Failure to adhere to the sanitation guidelines can give way to the spreading of fungi, bacteria, and even blood born pathogens.

TIP #4

If it can’t be sanitized, it only gets used once. This will include anything that isn’t plastic or metal. This means one nail file per client and a new wax applicator stick for every dip in the communal pot. This is another very important step to keeping fungi, bacteria and other pathogens from spreading that is all too often over looked. Waxing in particular worries me the most because all germs thrive in dark warm places and that makes wax pots the perfect place for them. I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories, some of which I’m not entirely sure they could be true, but not too far fetched to be over ruled.

TIP #5

If it hurts, burns, or feel uncomfortable in any other way something is wrong. I had a client come in the other day with a fiery red scalp, and I commented that she must have just dyed it to its current shade of red. To my shock she informed me that it had already been a week and that she could keep the color on her head more than 5 minutes at a time. It is very common for a colorist to slap color on to the heads of anyone who walks in off the street but this can be a very dangerous practice. The chemical composition of the color and your genetics will determine how your body reacts to it, in most cases only a sight irritation will occur and any dye residue will leave the scalp in about 2 washes. It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to products you have used before so don’t assume you’re safe because everything was ok before. There is a procedure called a patch test that will determine if it is safe for you to use hair color and must be done 24 hours prior to the service. It might be a pain to wait an extra day or go to the salon the day before but this small inconvenience is much better to deal with then the repercussions of a bad allergic reaction. Some of the top services to keep this in mind for are bleaching/highlights and any kind of chemical straightening.


The first line of defense against a bad salon is you! State board officials will asses the salon before it opens but are only able to check back anywhere from every 6 months to a year after! If you encounter a bad service and suspect that the rules and regulations of running a safe salon are not being followed inform your state board. Most states want a complaint in writing so be prepared to write something out. Each state has their own reaction time to letters, but they are often handled swiftly. I once wrote a letter about a nail salon, mailed it through the USPS and an inspector followed up the next day with over $2,000 worth of fines. Your complaint might not shut a business down but it will affect them monetarily and hopefully make them think twice about their business practices.


Don’t let this discourage you from trying a new salon or service! If you come across something that worries you research it with your states board and ask lots of questions at the salon. Any reputable salon staffer will be more than happy to explain every step of a service to you.

How You Should Be Washing Your Hair

Washing my hair

How to properly wash your hair

All too often I hear complaints from friends and relatives about how their hair is too this, too that, or cant do this. And often I’m finding the true root of their problem is with how they wash their hair!

You may think it’s silly of me to dedicate an entire post over washing hair but because it is the first building block to any hair style it has the potential to make and break the final look.


Make sure you are using the right kinds of products for your hair. If you’re an artificial platinum blonde your products will be wildly different from a natural platinum blonde’s! Curly hair has different demands than straight hair and chemically treated hair will need different things from virgin hair. Your best bet is to ask your hairstylist next time you get a service.

Another big thing for me is to not skimp out on the quality. I know how tempting it can be to buy whatever smells good when you’re in the grocery store but the ‘name brands’ sold in these places are NOT the same products you will get in a salon. Many companies will often sell out the rights to other bigger companies after they reach a level of popularity. These bigger companies will then use the same or similar ingredients- but of a lower quality to lower their bottom line, when this happens your hair is no longer getting the full benefit of the brand names original formula.

The most common substitute in conditioners are various forms of wax. Wax is cheap and coats the hair in a way that makes if feel like it has been repaired but do not be fooled- your hair is not any healthier. Truthfully your hair is worse off because not only is it over coated in waxy build up but the wax will also muddy your hair color and give you a false sense of strength in your hair. Without a realistic sense of how strong your hair is it is very easy to over work it and damage it beyond all hope of repair.

And as a general rule any product that is a 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner isn’t worth the cost to bottle it. Nothing that removes dirt from your hair can deposit a conditioner at the same time- if you mixed a shampoo and conditioner in the shower they would cancel each other out and leave you with one messed up looking head.


Knowing how much product to use is key, too much and you could end up with dry hair or end up with an oily nape (the portion above the back of your neck) if you use too little. The exact amount will depend on the product and how much hair you have.  What ever amount you are using it should be enough to cover the first 2 inches of all your roots with a sudsy goodness. If its more or less than the first 2 inches that’s a good indication you’re using the wrong amount.

The act of shampooing should be in one of two motions: back and forth or in small circular motions. If you have curly hair I’d recommend using small back and forth motions to avoid over tangling your locks. Using these movements deposit the shampoo evenly starting at the top of your head and moving towards your nape. while you are moving from one area of your head to the next make sure to have as little of your length between your shampoo covered hands and the roots of your hair- this will probably mean picking up your locks with the back of your hands to slide them into place.

Shampooing your hair from roots to tips will cause more tangles than necessary, don’t worry about the main body of your hair that will be cleansed when you rinse out the shampoo. If you are worried about all of your hair not being product or oil free the first time you switch to this new routine just shampoo rinse and repeat.


Shampoo is for your roots and conditioner is for your tips. Using an appropriate amount for your hair spread the conditioner between your hands and run your hands from the bottom towards the nape. After reaching the nape you should comb through your hair with your finger tips, again from the bottom up to the top of your head. by the time your fingers reach the roots of the top of your head there should be only a small amount of conditioner left. Finally, using the same motions you used to shampoo, thoroughly rinse the roots free of conditioner but leaving some in the main body and the tips.

That’s it! Hopefully this can help some of you attain better looking hair! Next week I will be going over some basic tools and tips for styling that I hope will also help you create fabulous hair! Please feel free to leave comments, questions, and suggestions below!