Thursday, June 2, 2011


Skincare Gadgets to Love and Ignore

You can wash and beautify your face, or you can spend hundreds of additional dollars to wash and beautify your face with electricity. Should you? Here's a handful of skincare gadgets in descending credibility.

1. Face Cleaners
Just one, really: the Clarisonic Skin Care System (CSCS). But first a word of warning — falling too deeply down the CSCS rabbit hole will convince you that you need to spend $195 on an electronic face brush, so maybe skip ahead if you're thinking "not a chance." Or you can stick around and test yourself? OK, let's go: The CSCS has a fascinatingly high 4.6 (out of 5)-star average on Sephora, where there are seventy-five pages of reviews. "Worth the money," "worth the price," and "worth every penny" are three of its most-frequent descriptors. ("Amazing" is No. 1.) See? Also, what is it?

It's a "high frequency oscillating motion brush" that cleans out both your skin and memory: "I can't remember life without my Clarisonic," says Rosemarie H. on the Clarisonic website, where there's also an addictive and sort of mysterious Before & After gallery (you can clean wrinkles away?). This shill-y corporate video shows the CSCS in action, and then this video, called "A toothbrush for your FACE?!" shows a pretty makeup enthusiast going nuts for the CSCS. Pick the latter if you only have time for one hypnotic seven-minute video about a skin machine.

The CSCS can go in the shower, it beeps at you when you're supposed to move it around your face (20 seconds for the forehead, 20 seconds for the nose and chin, and 10 seconds for each cheek), and it takes up a medium amount of space in your bathroom. (A few people find it does nothing and/or makes their acne worse, however, but those people are encouraged to return it for a full refund. And so is anyone else who wants to.)

Read the rest here.

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60 Comments / Post A Comment

Anita Ham Sandwich

Not crazy at all to buy a used Clarisonic, just get new brush heads. I have it and love it--my skin is sensitive so I only use it about once a week. A tip--replacement brush heads are much cheaper on ebay!




@frecklejuicer AMEN. About a week after I bought my Clarisonic I had already converted my two sisters and my BFF with my intense proselytizing.


I bought this specifically for hormone related acne on my chin. It pretty much did nothing. I got rid of my regular acne through using the tips on acne.org, now I have very stubborn hormonal acne. I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I will never have good skin.

And note; my aestitician said that no one should be using this every day. They should only use it a few times a week, though she does think they are great.


@whereismyrobot Hrrrmm. I also get hormonal acne, which I feel like the Clarisonic has lessened significantly. Also, I use it twice a day, but not for the full minute.

I didn't have any luck with the blue light treatment in the article.


@frecklejuicer Maybe I am not doing it correctly. Perhaps we should do some sort of Hairpin experiment when I use it everyday and track results?


@whereismyrobot I must be sounding like a broken record by now, but get yourself some spironolactone for your hormonal acne. It works wonders.

I also have a Clarisonic and I love it like a child.


@piekin How long were you on it? Is this prescription only.


@whereismyrobot Yeah, it's prescription only, but you can usually get it from your primary care physician. I've been on it for a few years... from my understanding there's a pretty good risk of the acne returning if you go off of it, at least until you're out of your lady-hormones stage (forever??) It's got few to no side effects, though, unlike Accutane or an antibiotic.


My inner hippy has never been more ashamed of herself than the day she finally realized she paid $200 for something that washing her face more annoying and made NO DIFFERENCE to her skin.

Though hot yoga has made it awesome. Or made me drink gallons of water daily, indirectly making my skin awesome. Whatever, Hairpin knows me.

the ghost of amy lee

@notSJP My inner hippie is already ashamed that my skin has only improved significantly with chemical peels. Part of me wants to try a Clarisonic because I wouldn't have to use the harsh chemical peels anymore, but the other part of me doesn't want another electronic gadget (for $200!).


@the ghost of amy lee Would you like mine? Seriously. I know there's something gross about using someone elses skin cleaning thingummy but you could buy a new brush head. It might make both of our inner hippies feel better. It's the mini. In yellow.

the ghost of amy lee

@notSJP I'm always up for hand-me-downs. And I find nothing gross about it since the heads are replaceable. I'd pay you for it.


@the ghost of amy lee I'm notSJP at gmail at the dot com. let's call it a karma thing :)


I was really tempted to buy a clarisonic after my friend bought one and raved about it. But I really don't want to spend $200 on a new gadget to take up space in my bathroom. So instead I bought a non-electronic face brush and scrub my face with it 1-2 times a week. It works alright?

I'm going to email my friend and ask her if she's still using it regularly...


I bought the Olay version of the Clarisonic thing (about $20?) but it didn't do jack for me. I feel like it could be repurposed though. I kind of want to use it on my feet.


@Mere Hah, I just commented below raving about it. Shows how different all of our skincare needs are!


@thebestjasmine From reviews I've read, people really like it so I'm probably in the minority. I felt like I wanted one more speed: turbo. Also, I got bored letting it glide slowly around my face. Like, I'd prefer to do it manually. Which is probably why I ditched my electric toothbrush.


Okay, you guys, I've been wanting and wanting the Clarisonic, after I saw a friend and said how great her skin looked and she started raving about it. But I did not have an extra $200. And then I saw a tip right here in another skincare post about the Olay knock off version that is like $28, and let me tell you, it's awesome. I'm sure it's not as good as the Clarisonic, but my skin feels great. Try it out!


@thebestjasmine YES YES YES YES. I got mine for $38, it came with 2 extra brush heads and the microbead cleanser (which I don't really use, but whatever). It's probably not as good as the Clarsonic, but how much better could the Clarsonic be? Everyone needs to go get something mechanical to clean their face RIGHT.NOW.


@thebestjasmine I got the Olay one too and I love it! I was ABOUT to buy the Clarisonic(in a moment of bad skin induced insanity/irresponsibility? I don't know), but then I ordered the Olay one on Amazon instead to try it out because I figured I had nothing to lose. Maybe it's not AMAZING, but my skin is a lot better and for the price how can you not buy it RIGHT NOW?


@contrary Yeah, I just use mine with my regular Cetaphil, but it gets me nice gentle exfoliation, and my face feels so smooth!


@contrary I initially imagined that the Clarisonic had some sort of weird bat/dolphin sonar that it broadcast into your face, but it just oscillates more baroquely than the Olay one.


@MollyculeTheory is it weird that I thought the same thing about the sonar? I feel like for $200, I should be able to do some elementary echolocation.


So what kind of ailments does this thing treat? I have a lot of blackheads and whiteheads and nothing seems to work...

sarah girl

@thebestjasmine Yes yes yes!!! I've been using the Olay version for a month and NEVER IN MY ENTIRE LIFE has my skin been this smooth and glowy.


@thebestjasmine Totally with you!

Kate Musgrove

I have the Clarisonic and I love love love it. For whatever reason, the $200 price did not make me balk but every time I buy replacement heads I am like a silent film of a consumer who is horrified by the price of something.

Ms. Take

I wish I never kept reading. Bye, $200.


@onlythemadones YOU WON'T REGRET IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Two and a half years in and I'm hooked for life. Got a facial the other day and the esthetician was marveling at the condition of my skin. I'm 40, drink like a fish and started smoking again after 13 years so I owe it all to my sweet sweet Clarisonic!


I have these gloves I keep in the shower that are exfoliating gloves, and I rub them on my face for a little bit, and then my face feels SO smooth and soft, after. They cost $2.99.

Mad Dog

I once attempted to buy one of those heat-activated pimple zappers (foolishly! I was a grad student!) but the nice lady at the drug store talked me out of it, telling me that my monthly chin megapimple was obviously hormonal. I cut wayyyyy back on dairy and megapimple disappeared, but now I weep for cheese. Life is full of sacrifices.

Seriously though, I would buy one of those Clarisonics in a heartbeat if I could have my regular cheese back.


@NatashaMcG Wait, those horrible hormonal below-the-skin megapimples are related to CHEESE? Is that true for everyone? Because I also get them, hate them, and have been at a total loss for how to get rid of/prevent them, but I have never heard anything about cutting back on dairy. Please enlighten me!


@FMoss3 Try a wrinkle prevention cream that has Retinol in it, or Retin-A. Neutrogena makes a couple of good ones. I don't know about the wrinkle prevention, but that stuff seriously zaps pimples. The below the skin ones won't even make it out. It's like half gone overnight, then fully gone by the end of the next day. Retinol yay!

Mad Dog

@FMoss3 I consulted my family practitioner (The Internet) and she told me that some hormonal acne is related to dairy (something about all the hormones they pump into the poor cows to get them to produce milk constantly). I figured it was worth a go, so I switched to almond milk and (mostly) soy cheese, with real cheese like once a week and it seemed to help. I then fell off the wagon and had a cheesy month, and sure enough, megapimple was back. However, I have also heard good things about Retinol as per @melmuu's suggestion. Try both I guess?


Or if you don't mind being a totally gross neopaleo-type person, you could try raw milk, which I realize I am only assuming doesn't have hormones in it but could totally so I would like to withdraw this statement.


That said raw milk is INSANELY GOOD.


@melis Mmmmmmmm. Raw milk cheeses are my FAVE.

Tammy Pajamas

I have the Clarisonic and, while I don't know that it's made me have any fewer zits, it has made my skin significantly softer. I have oily skin, large pores, and I'm (half) Latina. I use it about five times a week. I don't really wear much makeup. I feel like the people in the reviews who rave about it getting SO MUCH MORE of the makeup off probably wear tons of it?
I was not thrilled with the $200 expenditure, but I've spent more on dumber things and it's still going totally strong over a year later, so I feel like it will last a while. Also, I love that I can use it in the shower.


can I use my own cleanser on one of these things? How are they on forehead bumps?


@rootmarm I use my own cleanser with the Olay one, I just use a little extra so that it glides nicely.

Tammy Pajamas

@rootmarm Yeah, you can use whatever. What kind of forehead bumps? I have a couple at the moment, but they're definitely due to me messing with the general area rather than just cleansing and keeping my grubby hands out of the picture.


@rootmarm My period made me buy a Clairsonic on the weekend. I've been using Neutrogena with it and while it has done a pretty good job of scrubbing away stubborn rash-like acne off my cheeks, the bitty forehead bumps are still there (they're not as bad though).

sarah girl

@rootmarm A thing to consider with forehead bumps: I had a steady crop of them for years and years, and just in the past couple of months i changed to sodium laureth sulfate (SLS)-free shampoo and conditioner. The bumps are COMPLETELY gone. I have heard that the SLS is a skin irritant for a lot of people, and it certainly looks like that was the case for me!

the ghost of amy lee

@Sarah H. THIS

you are right on about the SLS free hair products. I also get those tiny bumps around my lips, and had to switch to SLS free toothpaste. Just something to consider if anyone else is going through the same thing.


@Tammy Pajamas I'm trying to figure out what they are now! They could be Milia!


@Sarah H. @the ghost of amy lee Whoa whoa whoa! What are these bumps like? I have had red bumps on my upper arms my entire life and nothing will make them go away (except sometimes the sun which really only hides them under a tan). Is this an SLS thing? Also what shampoo is SLS free?

Narwhals Tooth

@rayray Is it Keratosis? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keratosis_pilaris I have it on the backs of my upper arms and have for most of my life. The dermatologist told me that it's not curable but I've found that using a sulfur soap twice a day and using AmLactin lotion helps as does exposure to the sun.

Such a bummer, but super common.


@Narwhals Tooth Ah bugger. Yeah exactly this, funny I was working on something about this recently and thought it might be the case. Looks like retinoids could be the thing. Will be tracking down whatever product it was that my translation was about at work tomorrow and buying it forthwith. It doesn't bother me really except when I do go out in the sun people are always like oooh look you've got burnt, you're all red, and I have to explain that I just have retarded arm skin.

Gala Darling@twitter

@rayray Those arm bumpies are really common. I used to work at Lush Cosmetics & one thing that SERIOUSLY works is using their Ocean Salt scrub on your arms regularly. Try every second day. It makes them go away, I PROMISE! It works wonders for me & lots of other women.

Also, I love my Clarisonic more than words can say, & the SensEpil in the image above is a useless, scary implement. Kind of like electrocuting yourself over & over...

Susan Cassell@facebook

I have the Olay one as well, after hearing a friend constantly rave about her Clarisonic. I like mine quite a bit, my skin is decent anyways but it does feel softer and more like it does after microdermabrasion. Decent use of $30.


I have used both the Clarisonic AND the Silk'n SensEpil. I bought the Clarisonic Mia though, because it was $50 cheaper. I totally, TOTALLY LOVE my Mia! The SensEpil though, was a piece of shit. I tried it for 4 months or so, and then returned it. (Thank God for Sephora's awesome return policy.)

Ironika Leigh

Any other opinions on the hair-removal gadgets. I'm obsessed. (hairy hippies, don't hate. can't we all just get along?))

Also, is eBay the only place for used clarisonics? I would totally buy someone's castoff.


@Ironika Leigh re: the hair removal gadgets, I would save your money for a real laser treatment. there is a huge difference between various IPL/laser treatments, and a good laser costs upwards of half a million dollars (this is why you might need 10 laser treatments at one of those cheapo laser centers and only 3 or 4 for the same results at a dermotologist's office). you can imagine how many treatments with a $300 device you need to achieve the results of one session with a mega laser. I

Ironika Leigh

@christonacracker thanks for the info. i watched something recently that if you use it everyday for six months, no more hair. i'd be happy to do that, if it actually worked.

oh, hair.


Clarisonic lovers, how does it do with redness? I have been blessed by being fairly acne-free, but my damned Irish skin is always super red and blotchy--especially around my nose. I'm not talking rosacea, but some days it feels close. Is this the tool for me, or is it more for clogged pores?


@myrtalia It did not make my face less red, but tip: anti-redness color-correcting primer! Oh my god it is a revelation. It looks scary because it's pea green but it disappears once you put it on your face.


I'm a licensed esthetician, for only a year and a half now (there's always much more to learn).. and I feel like I can get a good, deep clean with good products and a brush that cost $2. I believe Clarisonic is a great product, but I'd rather use my favorite cleansers, toner, exfoliants and facial brushes than spend $200 on a brush. I'm a product whore, though.


I got the clarisonic a week or so ago, paid for with airline miles. It sounded cool, but I would not have spent $200 for a face brush. So far no major difference in my skin, but I like it ok. The mechanical/ultrasonic action of the brush does a good job exfoliating skin. It is made by the same people who made the sonicare toothbrush, which lends some credibility to the device in my mind. If nothing else its going to improve your dedication to skin care once you shell out the dough for the device.

Countess Sandwich

I have the Tria -- I had a Neiman Marcus gift card -- and it's kind of awesome. I also totally use it on my face (it's approved in Europe for the face) and so far my face hasn't melted off, but my One Chin Hair HAS definitely responded to it. It takes FOREVER to do the bikini and legs but I figured: $300 to do it myself in front of Real Housewives was worth the trade-off of having to go into the laser hair removal lady every six weeks or whatever. You might have do it at home more often, but you're also at home with a glass of wine, so for me it was worth it.

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