Because i work in the beauty industry here in New York, i see all the behind-the-scenes secrets: Incestuous suppliers, do-nothing formulas, and idiotic marketing hype. Therefore, I normally don't push products, being so jaded.
BUT... I've actually fallen in love with the Clarisonic, a rotating brush head cleanser that's powered by ultrasonic waves, by the same maker as SonicCare toothbrushes. you may have heard of it, and piqued by the testimonials. And I attest to its power. Why?
My uncle is a plastic surgeon with a skincare clinic and has been promoting ultrasonic plated devices for *years* to help products penetrate the skin better. (Imagine a Clarisonic with a flat metal head, no bristles --I've used this type of device to massage serums into my skin.) I am witness to the results from my own family members and his patients --seeing a huge difference in glow, firmness, texture, and brightness to their skin due to improved Vit. C serum absorption. Think of it this way--most cremes and potions sit on top of the skin, rarely penetrating through the top layers of dead skin cells to actually work. The ultrasonic waves help push the product into the skin more than using fingers.
The Clarisonic takes this concept one up, starting with the cleansing step:
Rotating bristles with ultrasonic power to remove the dead skin cells in the first place.
The result is more thorough deep cleansing than washing by hand. Dirt and debris get whisked away, pores are massaged and stimulated (you will notice that blackheads are easier to remove or are slightly reduced), and overall skin health is brighter and improved! and the best part is that serums/cremes/moisturizers SINK in immediately after cleansing --- skin soaks it right up b/c it's prepped, no dead cell blockage, and
it's ready to receive your choice of anti-aging solutions.
Therefore, I would not recommend using any old moisturizer. After all, the Clarisonic study was conducted using Vitamin C penetration levels and showed some 40-60% increase in absorption, so why use a run-of-the-mill moisturizer afterwards? This is where your actives come into play: Antioxidants, Retinol, Peptides, etc. My uncle also uses the Vitamin C serums on his patients b/c it is one of the few things that is proven to work in clinical trials as an anti-aging superpower. You must be sure to get the stabilized kind, such as Phytoceuticals C+E serum, (i think it's 10-15% vitamin C) created by the doctor who first stabilized Vitamin C and then patented it. He originally founded Skinceuticals (which you all know), but i bet you don't know that he then separated to form Phytoceuticals, bringing his formulations with him.
After using the Clarisonic with my C serum for one month, my skin is so smooth and glowing with a brightness i had not seen before. I went back home for the holidays and everyone was commenting on my skin. Again, this is due to improved product penetration.
I tried the Clarisonic on my body, and afterwards my skin was so smooth and my typically greasy
body butter absorbed right away instead of sitting on top of my skin. But i don't have the patience to sonic-fy my body every day (way too time-consuming).
Buying or using the Clarisonic brand cleanser is not necessary - it's a non-lathering milky cleanser similar to Cetaphil. I still recommend using a makeup remover *before* cleansing.
I've also heard that it clears up Keratosis Pilaris (chicken skin bumps, usually on back of arms), only if you are diligent about it. I can see why this would potentially work.
Using the Clarisonic takes patience every day to go thru the routine and massage and circle your skin in small motions. Many times, after the "honeymoon" factor, we tend to get tired and just want to take shortcuts.
However, the Clarisonic does not cure acne--the cystic kind, superficial kind, hormonal kind, or any kind. Believe me, if it did, i'd give it 5 stars.
Hey, this machine ain't the holy grail--but it's pretty close.
I purchased this expensive brush after reading all the rave reviews on line. I have used it about 2 weeks now. I am not surprisingly satisfied with it. The brush came in the box was a standarized one, which is a little too harsh for my cheeks. I did not feel much improvement in my skin after two weeks. I still have to use some scrubs to exfoliate especially my T zone, due to the design of the brush, it can not clean all the pores around my nose.
I bought the Sheseido skincare cleansing brush the same time and try to compare them. I honestly think Sheseido's brush can do the job just as good as Clarisonics with a price of $22. The biggest difference is manually cleaning vs. have a batter operated device cleaning. The Sheseido brush is much softer.
I've had problems with acne, clogged pores, blackheads, and generally just RIDICULOUSLY oily skin since I was 13. I've been prescribed god knows how many antibiotics, topical gels, creams, and toners, I finished an 8-month course of Accutane, and have had three photodynamic light therapy treatments.
I can honestly say I've seen the best LONG TERM effects with the Clarisonic. I've been using it every day, twice a day for seven months and for me it's unequivocally the answer to my major skin flaws. I went through a month-long purge (lots of cystic acne) but after that my skin has been almost unrealistically clear. Because they're clean and not clogged, my pores appear much smaller and my skin doesn't have that chronic "dirty" look it always had before. My blackheads have been reduced by 90%, I'd say, and the blackheads I DO have are much more easily extracted. I used to have a big problem with cystic acne along my jawline-- especially around my period-- and for the last three months I haven't had a single cystic problem. Now I get a whitehead or a blemish maybe once every couple of weeks. It's phenomenal. And I've used buff pads and two different drug store battery-operated knock-offs (Neutrogena makes one, I can't remember who made the other) and they didn't even come close. Not even REMOTELY. I use a Sonicare toothbrush, too, and have for close to ten years, so when I heard about the Clarisonic I immediately understood how it would work, what with each individual bristle oscillating independently.
If you have a cleanser that works for you, use that instead of the product that comes with the system. I've also used products containing microbeads with the Clarisonic and it hasn't been an issue at all. I now use the Clarisonic twice a day with Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser followed by oil-free moisturizer in the morning and 2.5% benzoyl peroxide cream at night.
And if you're reading these reviews trying to decide whether the Clarisonic is worth the money, please take note of how many people used it for a week or only a month or two before leaving unsatisfied reviews. It's a PROCESS. You'll definitely notice a favorable difference in your skin's surface texture almost immediately, but it take several months of continuous use to see a substantial (and I mean seriously, amazingly substantial) improvement in your skin. I can't say enough about this awesome product.
I should preface this review by stating that I've only used my Clarisonic for two weeks. If anything changes, I will update.
Onto the review... In the two weeks that I've been using my Clarisonic, I have completely fallen in love with it. The blackheads that are on my nose have SIGNIFICANTLY diminished, so much so that I hardly notice them at all. It seems like every day there are fewer and fewer! I tried everything - Paula's Choice BHA, Neutrogena BHA, biore pore strips, various AHAs - and the Clarisonic has outperformed them by far in a short amount of time. I hope that these results last!
I will say that the first time I used the Clarisonic, I had a small breakout about one day into it. This was really discouraging, but I stuck with it. My skin now looks better than it has in ages - I've had several compliments. I do still have a few clogged pores on my forehead that I had before I started the Clarisonic, but they seem to be much closer to the surface now. I'm guessing that with another month or so of use, they'll be gone.
Here's my routine: I use Aveeno Ultra Calming Cleanser with the Delicate brush head for 1 minute 1 to 2 times daily, depending on how sensitive my skin feels. DO NOT OVERDO IT, especially initially. This is not meant to be a scrub-the-heck-out-of-your-skin product. It is more of a gradual, gentle exfoliation that works best over time. In the mornings I usually apply Acne.org's AHA+ if I'm not going outside, or if I will be going out, I use Olay Complete SPF15 Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin. At night, I apply either Differin or Tazorac (Differin if my skin is feeling a little raw). Some nights if my skin is really feeling sensitive, I'll just soothe it for the evening with Clinique DDML and nothing else. Of course, YRMV, but if you have sensitive combination skin, maybe this will help you.
My biggest advice is to PAY ATTENTION to how your skin is feeling. If it feels raw, don't use the Clarisonic or strong products that night. Try not to be overly eager just because it feels cool. Just take it easy and be consistent, and more than likely the results will come. I can now go out without ANY makeup whatsoever and get compliments on my skin - that's how good this thing can be if you are patient with it!
Edited to add: I just read that someone recommended using a Buf-Puff below. I tried this before, and at least for me, the Buf Puff was way too strong. This could possibly be because I use retinoids, which make my skin rather delicate. So if the Buf Puff is too much for you, the Clarisonic may be a better choice.
My skin: Combination- oily t-zone, dry cheeks. Blackheads, large pores and small bumps beneath surface. Not sensitive or acne prone.
I came on this site in January 08 looking for great skincare, and I'm happy to say now in December I've got it! Being a good MUAer, I saved my giftcards all year and waited til Sephora's annual sale. My total came to less than $17 so I figured what have I got to lose? Well after using the Clarisonic for a full month, I can say I'm truly happy with my skin. I noticed change within the first 4 days, and although theres been times where I felt like the product was all hype, I learned its important to experiment with products and the amount of time you spend using the brush. I've been using it with one of the included cleansers (yellow bottle for dry skin, first i rub a layer of that on my face) and Shiseido's Pureness Deep Cleansing Foam applied to the brush. They say not to use foaming cleansers or anything with microbeads, but it hasnt caused me problems. I first started off at a minute on low speed with the sensitive head, and after 2 weeks i upgraded to 2x daily sometimes on high.
12 days into using the brush i had a few nasty pimples come up (not sure if this was the ''purge'') but a helpful tip I received is to boil the brush head 1 or 2x a week for 2 minutes to kill bacteria. Over using the brush has also been known to cause trouble, so like I said- start slow and experiment! My skin is now smooth in texture, even in tone and my normally greasy t-zone is producing much less oil and gunk. Moisturizer sinks in soo quickly and theres an overall glow to my skin. Although my blackheads arent completely gone, I'm hoping to try a BHA product soon to handle them. Also I've got a bad tendency to pick and squeeze my face, but now I think I can kick the habit!
Changing the settings for timer and speed can be a little tricky, but it you hold down the button for a few seconds (while on) you can change between high and low. Hold it down longer and you can change the timer (its frustrating and Ive wanted to throw it a few times, but yes it does work!) Also remember to register your brush on the Clarisonic site for a free brush head- mine arrived within a week=)
I was tempted to purchase one of these by all of the positive reviews, and then persuaded to do so by a lovely SA who pointed out that the store had a liberal return policy so if I decided I didn't like it, I could definitely return it. At first, I thought I liked it except my sensitive skin didn't appreciate the brush that comes with it. So I got the delicate skin brush, and to my surprise, it wasn't soft enough for my skin either. Bottom line--I didn't see any improvement in my skin, still had to use a separate exfoliant, found it took up too much room in my tiny bathroom and required too much cleaning to keep it sanitary. I returned it, and had no regrets.
Ive been using this for about 6 months, once a day, sensitive brush. I started off with the cleanser that came with it, but I think it was not the best cleanser for my oily/combo skin. The brush still did a fantastic job though. Now I use with Cetaphil for oily skin. WOW! My skin has never looked better and Im 37.
I do have to say that i have to take precaution to remove my make up before I cleanse with the brush, I have heard that just using the brush to remove make up may *possibly* push the make up into your skin, but I dont know if thats true. Regardless, I used Ponds to take make up off, then use the Clarisonic.
I also take care to cleanse the brush after each use with soap, and deep cleanse the brush weekly with denture cleanser tablet, which removes all bacteria.
Even thought the brush is expensive initially and the brush heads must be replaced....I save in the long run, based on the fact that I dont get facials, spend much less on special face creams that I dont honestly need anymore, and the Cetaphil and denture tablets are super cheap. I get a lot of compliments on my skin, and dont have to wear a ton of make up.
I adore this brush. I've been using it for about a month and I have never had so much compliments on my skin. My skin is smoother, brighter, and my pores are smaller. I was accustomed to having a few pimples here and there, despite all my other products / devices, and this was the solution I was looking for. I also purchased one for my 17 year old brother who is struggling with acne, and it has made a huge difference for his skin.
I've found that I can use it in a variety of ways, other than just as a cleanser. I just make sure to keep separate brush heads for each purpose!
A few of my favorite ways to use this:
- Once a week I use it to apply a vitamin c peel, using the delicate brush head. Great exfoliation.
- I use it to take off my makeup / sunscreen with jojoba oil, before washing my face with a gentle cleanser. This makes my skin ridiculously soft
- to apply tea tree oil
Oh and finally, just make sure to clean your brushes. I use an antibacterial cleanser.
I've had the clarisonic almost a year. I love it and it's great, but it's not the solution for all skin care issues. And I seem to have had a different experience with it than other posters. I have sensitive skin, slight rosacea, and large pores. I also use retin-a somewhat regularly.
when i first received the clarisonic, i used the sensitive brush. i used the purity cleanser by philosophy and my skin developed bumps all over it. i switched to cetaphil, which had been my go-to cleanser, and my skin still broke out. but i loved the clarisonic and could tell my skin was getting a deap clean (which a facilalist told me i needed on a monthly basis -- why pay her when i have a clarisonic?!) so i decided to try an olay cleanser. bingo -- no break outs and my skin was starting to glow. i still had minor black/white heads on my lower chin. after the sensitive brush was trashed, i tried the delicate brush -- it did nothing for my skin. but i used it b/c i'm too cheap to run and buy another brush. last week, i switched and tried the normal brush. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! i also decided to try an olay cleanser with exfoliating beads. some might think this is too much exfoliation -- but the condition of my skin is outstanding. the little bumps on my chin are much improved in just one week. (i haven't used retin-a since i switched to the normal brush, but i'll probably start regular use in a week or so.) since using the clarisonic, i think i've worn foundation once or twice. i don't need it anymore. i wear a little concealer and tinted moisturizer with SPF.
NOTE: My skin is uber sensitive and rosacea prone.
I'm returning mine. I used it the other night with my LRP Toleriane Dermo Cleanser and the next morning I woke up to many irritation bumps. I used the sensitive brush head that came with it very light-handed, but I guess it's still too much stimulation for my sensitive skin. Bummer.