Reviews: Dermalogica Ultra Calming Barrier Defense Booster, Sorbet’s waterless mani and Lush water-wise Ultrabland facial cleanser

A little while back I mentioned how much I’m enjoying Dermalogica’s new Ultra Calming Calm Water Gel and today I want to chat about another Ultra Calming newbie and that’s Barrier Defense Booster (R1 220).

Essentially a hydrating oil that can be including in any skin care routine to provide a fix of hydration, Barrier Defense Booster has been specially created for anyone with sensitive and reactive skin. If that’s you and you’ve been using another oil, something like Dermalogica’s Phyto Oil, for example, this is a nice swap. It’s primary ingredients are cotton seed and grape seed oil which are both good sources of linoleic acid, an anti-inflammatory fatty acid proven to help soothe and accelerate wound healing.

The back end of the bottle feels squishy. Just press on it to release a few drops of oil.

It also includes squalane that Dermalogica has singled out as being the oil responsible for forming a protective barrier between your skin and the environment, helping it to ‘lock in’ moisture. Thing is, this quality isn’t unique to squalane – all oils can do that – but it is one of the nicer ones to use for the following reasons – it’s naturally produced by our bodies (Dermalogica sources it from plants), has a non-greasy texture, has antibacterial as well as antioxidant properties and many peeps suffering from things like eczema and dermatitis have reported that it’s helped improve things.

Then there’s oat kernel oil which deserves to stand apart from the other oils as it’s such a great multitasker. If you’ve got dry, itchy or sensitive skin or suffer from a condition like eczema then oats are your friend as their soothing properties have been proven time and time again. This is also why its the main ingredient in Aveeno products, many of which are geared towards those with reactive skin.

So, what’s it like to use? Heavenly! It’s got a light, silky texture; absorbs like a boss and has the most divine soft lavender scent, the same as all the other Ultra Calming products. I’ve been using it at night when I want a bit more moisture although, despite being oily-combo, there’s nothing stopping me from using it in the day as it feels so weightless. I’ve been putting a few drops on my finger tips and massaging it into my face but you can also add it to your moisturiser to bump up its hydration factor.

This smells so good, you guys! Can’t Dermalogica make an Ultra Calming body oil already?

I initially put this in the pile of products I wouldn’t be taking overseas with me (my suitcase is only so big!) but have since caved. This baby wants to travel and I want to go to bed at night shrouded in its super comforting scent on nights when I’m not hitting up the retinol.

At over a grand, Dermalogica’s new oil isn’t wallet-friendly but it is fabulous if you can afford it. If not, take consolation in the fact that all facial oils that ‘lock in moisture’ and many are high in linoleic acid with safflower oil being the highest. If you’re dead set on squalane, know that Skoon Squalane Concentrate (R185, Faithful-to-Nature) is a winner. Keen on oat oil? You can find it on Amazon for less than five dollars.

Now let’s chat about Sorbet! I popped into their Cavendish store last week to experience their new waterwise power gel mani (R400) and it was great! Instead of soaking your hands in a bowl, my (divine!) therapist, Gayle, used a warm compress to remove the scrub she’d applied. Being a spoilcious ‘power’ mani, it  included an exfoliation as well as a heavenly hand massage. For the record, they also offer a basic water-wise gel mani (a simple paint and go) for just R245.

This is Gelish All Dahlia-ed Up and I LOVE it!

This is just one of many things Sorbet is doing to help save water while we endure this horrible drought. They’re also using paper sheets wherever possible (to avoid having to wash lots of towels) and using recycled water to clean their floors.

If you’re dead set on soaking your digits in H20, you still can. Just expect a shallow soak as Sorbet are now filling their pedi bowls with 50% less water. But I’d strongly encourage you to go waterless. Every drop counts! Also, if you’re having a hair service at a Sorbet Drybar, you can help save there too by coming in with your hair already washed and bringing your own towel. They’ll even reward you for it, with 20% off your blowdry or cut!

Look mooi AND be a water warrior. It’s win-win, kids!

Lastly, just a quick word about Gelish – Gayle told me that the brand’s recently reformulated their top coat to be even more long-lasting. I’m now sitting on day six of my mani and it still looks freshly applied. A miracle for someone like me who types all day in between opening cans of Coke Zero with wild abandon.

We’ve got a winner!

Sorbet isn’t the only beauty biz that’s sensitive to the drought, Lush is helping out too by promoting a bunch of water-wise products.

I love how clean and fresh No Drought dry shampoo smells. Like grapefruit!

They sent me a bunch to try out and my absolute favourite, hands down, is their Ultrabland cleanser (R155 for 45g). Peeps have raved about this product for years and, while it’s not really suited to my skin type, I now totally get the fuss.

A mix of mostly almond oil, rosewater and beeswax, it’s based on an ancient Greek formula that still works like a boss to this day. It’s balm-like texture melts on contact with your skin, dissolves make-up like a boss and can be easily swiped away with a cotton pad or damp cloth.

This is lovely stuff, yo!

After use, you’ll still feel the almond oil on your face and your skin will feeling hydrated  and ‘plump’. For me, this isn’t ideal on a regular basis. I’m oily-skinned, so I prefer foaming cleansers or micellar waters that leave my skin feeling totally ‘bare’. Still, I can’t bear to part with it because it’s so ‘pampery’. It’s the kind of thing I’m going to reach for when cold, dry winter air kicks in. Or if I’m feeling ravaged from a retinol or AHA binge fest. If you’ve got a drier skin type and like creamy cleansers I think you’re going to love, love, love it!

Something else you should know about? Lush now make body sprays. Between you and me, I don’t see how this is water-wise unless you use it in place of a shower (ick!) but I’m so glad they exist as they’re a much more economical way to indulge in the brand’s heavenly scents. Super sweet Rose Jam has killer staying power and a whopping 200ml spray bottle for just R395! (Interestingly, prices vary. I see Dad’s Garden Lemon Tree is just R255.)

Yes, you’ll pick up on roses but there’s a LOT of sugar in here. A sweet tooth is essential.

I’ve always been obsessed with Lush’s Honey I Washed The Kids soap which is supposed to smell like honey, but on me it just smells clean. I’m now quite tempted to get the body spray which is an online exclusive. While I’m not a fan of the packaging (it looks like a bottle of oven cleaner!) I do like yummy fragrances for less.

See anything you like?

Love, love


5 thoughts on “Reviews: Dermalogica Ultra Calming Barrier Defense Booster, Sorbet’s waterless mani and Lush water-wise Ultrabland facial cleanser

  1. Big ups to Sorbet! What an amazing initiative, especially their 10% off at their dry bar!

    I am absolutely obsessed with balm cleansers, and the Ultrabland is great, but definitely only a winter product for me. I prefer my balm cleanser to wash off completely after it’s emulsified (like Clinique Take The Day Off and Pink Cosmetics Cleansing Balm).

    Also, FYI – The Ordinary does a 100% Plant Derived Squalane which is magic. Very very light, but so hydrating and soothing! I’m already halfway through my bottle, and have 2 other oils in my cabinet, so you know it’s good if I’m reaching for it that often.
    They also do a lot of their retinols with squalane, so they work very effectively yet don’t irritate skin at all. I’ve started on their Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane and it doesn’t irritate my skin AT ALL, yet I see that it’s working.

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