News, Culture & Society

My lightbulb moment: Jane Wurwand

  • Jane Wurwand, 59, co-founded Dermalogica with her husband Raymond in 1986
  • She was inspired after feeling uncomfortable recommending current products
  • Dermalogica now sells 28million products a year worldwide

Jane Wurwand, 59, co-founded Dermalogica with her husband Raymond in 1986. They have two adult daughters. Born in Edinburgh, she now lives in LA.

My mother was an amazing role model. When my father unexpectedly died of a heart attack, she single-handedly raised me (aged just two) and my three sisters.

Her example taught me early on the importance of financial independence, and made me feel brave and resilient.

My first memories were knowing that the very worst had happened — but that I’d survived it.

Jane Wurwand (pictured), 59, began Dermalogica in 1986 alongside her husband Raymond

Wanting to make her proud, I got my first job aged 13, as a Saturday girl at a salon in Poole, then trained as a beauty therapist.

I’d hoped to learn how to optimise skin health, as I had eczema and my sister had acne. But it was all smoke and mirrors: ‘magic creams’ and compression wraps. I was quickly disillusioned.

My next job, for Mary Quant’s make-up line, in 1977, showed me it was OK to rock the boat. In knee- high boots and black lipstick, it felt like we were changing the world!

My light bulb moment came after moving to LA with my husband in 1983. We ran a skin therapist training programme. One day, a student asked what products to use. There was nothing I felt comfortable recommending.

So, nine months later, we launched Dermalogica: ‘logical’ in-salon skincare, backed by quality training. A cosmetic and pharmaceutical hybrid — then unheard of — free from irritants.

In the first year, we made $1 million. In 1988, we launched in the UK. It felt like an earthquake!

Today, the brand sells 28 million products a year worldwide. Now, I focus on FITE, an initiative to help young women set up businesses to support themselves financially — just like my mother taught me.