The founder of skincare powerhouse Dermalogica, Jane Wurwand proudly traces her beauty roots to Saturdays in a salon. 

Your Favorite Day: Q Today is a perfect example of my favorite kind of day.  I am in here in Los Angeles, my day started with a work out because it gives me the stamina and strength to tackle everything I like to do.  Then I had a business breakfast with the head of my board at UCLA (I like a working breakfast) followed by some work, some reading, and some writing.  And tonite, we’ll have a family dinner because Raymond and I are taking our two girls to a Rolling Stones concert.  I told them, “You are going to tell your grandchildren that you saw the Rolling Stones.”
Hometown:   Edinburgh, Scotland
Hidden talent:   An ability to pack light
Day-off pursuits:   Working out
Now reading:   “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg
Title of your autobiography:   “Saturday Girl”
Industry Icon:   Vidal Sassoon, because I was present when he tipped the world right on its head.
Career Other than Beauty:   I would either be an Interior Designer and Decorator or an antiques appraiser with a specialty in Georgian jewelry. Perhaps I still will!

CHOOSE BEAUTY: Jane Wurwand, Dermalogica Founder, Visionary

As Jane Wurwand, Founder and Owner of Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute, watched her newly widowed mother work as a nurse to support four young daughters, a determination came to her.  “Someone said to me a little while ago, that there is an event that happens to you at 10 years old that determines your life course, and I think it was my father dying. From that came my life’s work and real purpose of helping women develop a transportable skill and create financial independence. I learned a life lesson from my mum; whatever I was going to end up doing in life, it would be around being able to do something that was literally at my fingertips.”

Today, Wurwand has helped thousands of women train for and establish a career as skin therapists. Her philanthropic work has also assisted millions of women and their families around the world through the Dermalogica Foundation. “The skincare industry puts more women to work than any other industry.  I want to use our industry as a blueprint for the power of vocational training and skill set training and entrepreneurship.” This drive to help women thrive started in a salon in her native England.

“I was 13 and I wanted my own money but the only one I could do legally was to deliver papers.  I did it for six weeks and hated it.  Then a school friend said the local hair salon would employ people to do laundry and such like.  I went in (wearing my school uniform) and they asked if I had any experience, which makes me laugh, and I was paid a pound a day to do laundry, to wash and dry the perm rods, get stylists their lunches.  And in the afternoon, I would go through the hair clippings and pull out all the fine pins and bobby pins, sterilize them and put them back on the stylist’s trolley. I wasn’t to be seen outside of the staff room because I was employed illegally. I loved it—I loved the camaraderie, the drama, the intrigue, I loved to hear all the stories; it was like a reality TV show. Then came the magical day when I was fifteen and a half and I was promoted to shampoo girl and I could be seen in the salon, on the floor.  But before I could start, I had to shampoo every stylist and artistic director and manager—they all had to sign off.  That taught me a work ethic: whatever job you do it’s important and do it really well.

When I was 16, the salon became full service and they hired a skin therapist. I realized that is what I wanted to do. It embodied all the things I loved and I felt really drawn to it. I went straight to study skincare.”  In a rigorous program, she learned a craft, a skill set, a transportable trade.  

When she traveled across the pond to the United States, Wurwand was surprised by the lack of advanced education and training for estheticians or, her preferred term, “Skin Therapists.”  To address this need, she established the International Dermal Institute (IDI) a postgraduate training center, in California.  This also served as a hands-on proving ground for the development of a line of results-driven products, the Dermalogica skincare brand. As Wurwand’s graduates entered the market, their superior skills, product knowledge and passion were recognized.  Today, there are 38 IDI centers around the world, with a comprehensive curriculum that prepares graduates to be successful long-term.  At the Dermalogica and IDI headquarters in Carson, CA, Wurwand recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of IDI’s founding with a live webinar broadcast to the salon owners, skin therapist and students around the world who share her belief in the power of the touch.

“As skin therapists who touch people’s skin for a living, we are changing the world with our bare hands,” says Wurwand.

Learn more about the Dermalogica mission of offering women a hand-up at

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