Just before I go any further: does anyone else think that the Clarisonics in the picture look a bit like little people? One-eyed monks on their daily stroll about the grounds!
Right. I’ll stop being silly now and get down to business. The Clarisonic is a facial ‘brush’ that gently vibrates (they at Clarisonic call this a sonic ‘micro-massage action’) to give your face a really good clean. I’m aware that this type of brush is used in many skin treatments and so I had no qualms about testing it out – it’s very gentle, and it comes with it’s ‘sensitive’ head already attached. I’ve always been a great believer that good skin starts with thorough and effective cleansing and having read that the Clarisonic can remove 6x more makeup than manual cleansing, I had high hopes for my little pink brush.
It’s pretty easy to use the Clarisonic – you just press the ‘on’ button and hold the brush against your face. You can instinctively tell how hard to push the brush against the skin – it would be difficult to push too hard – but you do need to make sure that the brush is coming into proper contact with your skin and you’re not just ‘tickling’ it. Once the pressure’s sorted, you just need to remember to move the brush from one ‘zone’ of your face to the next at the given time. The automatic settings allow for 20 seconds brushing your forehead, another 20 for doing your nose and chin, and then 10 seconds for each cheek. If you watch my Clarisonic Video Diary you will see that I managed to mess up these simple instructions, but that’s just me, I’m afraid. You’ll do much better, I’m sure.
The Clarisonic comes with three little tubes of cleanser, but I’m wary of beauty products that come with electrical goods. I did do my first trial run with the cleanser provided, but after that I swapped to an Alpha-H Balancing Cleanser. It has the perfect creamy consistency to spread on the brush – it doesn’t run off but it’s not too thick and cloggy either. Although you can’t use the Clarisonic on your eyes, for what I hope would be quite obvious reasons, you can use the Alpha-H cleanser. My little routine has been to apply the cleanser to my eye area, working it into lids and lashes and then leaving it on whilst I performed my skin brushing. At the end, I can then rinse off the residue from my face and take off my eye makeup at the same time.
You can, of course, use any cleanser you so desire. The cleanser is still a very important factor – the brush is just the ‘tool’ – much the same as the muslin cloth or the cotton-wool pad – and you need to choose one that suits your skin type. I’d avoid face ‘washes’ that foam up too much and stick to rinse-off ‘cream’ washes. The Alpha-H (£17.50 from QVC) is a good all-rounder (although there are literally hundreds of suitable cream cleansers on the shelves) because it doesn’t dry out the skin – I have found that the brushing ‘action’ makes my skin quite a lot tighter and squeakier clean than usual, and so you could go for a slightly richer cleanser.
I have found, in fact, that after cleansing with the Clarisonic, I automatically and unthinkingly ‘step up the game’ with my beauty products, choosing richer formulas that are aimed at drier skins. I’m not saying that the Clarisonic dries out your skin, just that it gives a very thorough clean. With a usual ‘sweep of the cotton pad’ cleanse you would leave traces of cleanser (and dirt!) on your skin that would provide some oil and moisture – the Clarisonic quite literally ‘deep cleans’ and I think that it’s important (on my skin at least) to really replenish the moisture levels.
Two good moisturisers for this? I’ve been switching between REN’s Vita-Mineral Day Cream (£24) and Caudalie’s Quenching Sorbet Creme (£20) both of which give instant moisture without being heavy or greasy. They’re also both soothing and gentle which I think is an essential quality in a product when you’ve basically just cleansed your face with a giant electric toothbrush.
So, the brush. What do I think? Well, it really does ‘deep clean’. There’s probably no other home gadget that could cleanse so thoroughly without damaging your skin. It didn’t irritate my skin at all, although after the first three days in a row, I did have quite a few blemishes pop out! My skin felt absolutely smooth and soft, without any lumps and bumps and dry patches, but it did feel (as I mentioned) slightly tighter than usual immediately after cleansing. After the first three days, I decided to give my skin a little break to see what would happen, and didn’t use the brush for three days. I noticed that my skin didn’t look quite so radiant and glowing after a ‘manual’ cleanse, but that’s perhaps down to the fact that brushing brings blood to the surface and peps up circulation. I’m not entirely convinced that it’s a good idea to use the Clarisonic on a daily basis – I wouldn’t cleanse with a muslin cloth on a daily basis either, I try to stick to three times a week at the most. The reason for this is that I think that too much exfoliation can really upset your skin (this is completely my own, non-scientific opinion based on how my skin reacts to certain things!) and make it super-sensitive. It’s good to remove dead skin cells and encourage the skin to produce new cells, it’s good to brighten and rejuvenate the sin, but I think that you also need to give it frequent rests so that it can just get on with doing it’s own thing. So by all means slather on your lotions and potions, gently slough away dead skin, deep-cleanse the pores – just give your skin a bit of a chance to show what it can do for itself!
There; that’s my verdict. As a deep cleansing tool, the Clarisonic is excellent. Super-effective, easy to use and convenient. It truly does retrieve makeup and dirt from deep down in the skin – and if you feel that you want or need to use yours every single day then be my guest. The official line on usage is that used twice daily, the Clarisonic will reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines and leave skin looking smooth and vibrant. My own recommendation as a result of my testing is to use it every other day and a maximum of three times a week. Especially if you’re also a fan of ‘hot cloth’ cleansing too! Perhaps have a few mornings every week where you cleanse with a rinse-off cleanser and a splash of cool water, or use a cleansing lotion or micellar water. Listen to your skin, watch it carefully and give it what you think it needs rather than beating it into submission!
The Clarisonic is £150 from Space NK.
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