Jane Wurwand is fixing herself a cup of tea in the elegant and enormous global headquarters of Dermalogica in Carson, Calif., south of L.A. The reigning queen of skin care is clad in a black Prada sheath, a vintage Chanel gold-chain tassel necklace, knee-high Balenciaga boots and shimmering hosiery. “I wasn’t feeling well this morning and needed to cheer myself up, so I put on sparkle tights,” she says, laughing. Two nights ago, Wurwand hosted an Oscar party at her Brentwood home and paid homage to
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by dressing as Lisbeth Salander: Rick Owens leggings, temporary tattoos and clip-on piercings. In 2011, on International Women’s Day, the 54-year- old addressed the UN in New York City and spoke about how governments can financially empower underprivileged women. She is clearly no ordinary CEO.
The latest Dermalogica skin care products
This morning, Wurwand’s focus is firmly on Dermalogica’s newest product, AGE Smart SkinPerfect Primer SPF 30, in stores in June. “The
tinted primer turns the face into a pristine canvas,” she says, adding that it smooths out lines and irregularities so foundation goes on evenly. She is effusive about its light reflectors, sunblock, white-tea antioxidants, peptides (which promote collagen production) and sodium-hyaluronate (which helps skin stay hydrated).
Wurwand’s passion for
skin care runs deep. “I’ve been obsessed with skin since I was about nine years old,” she says. “I’d spend my pocket money on sachets of face mask from my local chemist.” A lifelong eczema sufferer, the Scottish-born Wurwand originally trained and worked as an aesthetician in the United Kingdom. She has been preoccupied with cells, molecules and chemicals ever since she and her South African husband, Raymond, founded Dermalogica in 1986. Their goal was to combine the best of nature with the best of science, so they introduced 14 unique products that contain no lanolin, mineral oil, artificial colours or fragrances. Three years earlier, she opened a skin-care school, the International Dermal Institute, with just $14,000 because she couldn’t get a loan. Today—banks be damned—there are 30 educational facilities worldwide, and Dermalogica products are sold in more than 80 countries.
Where will Dermalogica be in 5 to 10 years in skin care? Find out on the next page …
Dermalogica launched decades before the world was soggy with social media, yet it has gained customers globally. Its untraditional approach includes no paid ad campaigns. It also never seeks celebrity endorsements, relying instead on other social networks: makeup artists, who receive a 30-percent discount, and customer word of mouth. The makeup teams on Twilight and Up in the Air used Dermalogica products, and, subsequently, Ashley Greene raves about the Daily Microfoliant, while Anna Kendrick says she’s hooked on Active Moist.
Where will Dermalogica be in five or 10 years? Wurwand and her husband have no desire to sell the company. Pressed for exit-plan details, she recalls her mom’s advice: “Jane, leave the party before your dress is creased and your makeup is running.” Adds Wurwand: “Any contract [of sale] will include a supply of Special Cleansing Gel until the day I die!”
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