I have good skin.
I’m not trying to brag; my hair is wildly unruly and my lower body is completely hostile to shorts, but in the dermatological department, I lucked out. Hey, we all have our thing.
But somewhere in my late twenties, I noticed that my skin, which had always been so clear and luminous, was starting to look a little meh—a tiny bit dull, a touch congested and tired. Maybe it was because I had started to get complacent with my beauty routine, maybe it was the crap San Francisco climate, maybe it was just a normal part of getting older (say it ain’t so!). Who knows?
Now, I generally take a less-is-more approach to beauty. I don’t use products that make ridiculous claims, I don’t obsess about made-up problems, and I really, truly believe that the best way to have great skin is to drink water, exercise, and use sunscreen. So when I was presented with a Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System, I was part hopeful and part skeptical. Could a $195 brush snap my face back into shape? And could it really be that much better than what I could accomplish with my hands?
Yes. I love this thing. I love it and I am angry that it took me until age thirty-one to start using it. In the ten weeks or so that I’ve been using the Clarisonic regularly (every night before bed), my skin has been clearer, softer, smoother, and more radiant than it’s been in a long time. And the best part about it? This happened after the very first nig ht. Seriously! None of this “Results in twelve to fifteen weeks—maybe” crap. That very first time I used the brush, I felt the difference. I felt positively dewy. (And that’s saying a lot, considering that I refer to myself as a “salty broad” on a regular basis.)
The Clarisonic has two features: scrubby rotating brush bristles to exfoliate and a sonic action to dislodge gunk. (It’s made by the same people who pioneered the sonic toothbrush, FYI.) I’m not sure which of those mechanisms is performing the miracles and frankly, I don’t care. All I know is that my skin doesn’t have dull patches or weird areas of congestion anymore. My moisturizer and night cream go on so much more smoothly. Makeup looks more flawless. I cannot speak to its powers to clear up acne or breakouts, but I know that the brush is gentle and nonirritating and feels pretty good. It’s sort of like I get a one-minute massage every night. Bonus features: waterproof, cordless, easy to clean, travels well, sort of pretty.
The system comes with a few different sample-size cleansers, but it’s compatible with just about any nongritty face wash. I use my own favorite (Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash,$18.50, Origins) and have found that it’s wise to use a cleanser that doubles as a makeup remover; once the sonic cleansing is done, a quick swipe of the eye area as you rinse is enough to wash away all traces of mascara and shadow. And a word of advice—if your cleanser foams, you’ll only need to use a minuscule amount, since the sonic action creates a lot of bubbles.
Yes, using the Clarisonic takes longer and is more complicated than usual face-washing, and you do need to buy replacement brush heads every so often. But so what? It works out to about thirty extra seconds per night, and I’d much rather buy a $25 brush head a few times a year than pay for a facial every month. Perspective, you know.
I hate marketing-speak. I hate it when companies prey on women’s insecurities to convince us to buy products we don’t need. I really do. And in general, I hate the notion that the fabulosity of your skin is directly proportional to the amount of money you spend on it. So even though the Clarisonic is an expensive gadget that’s most decidedly a luxury and not a necessity, I can’t find any fault with a product that really does what it promises to do. And so well, I might add. I love it, and after Christmas, when my mom and my BFFs all get one from Santa, I’m pretty sure they’ll love it too.
The Lab Rat is dedicated to testing curious and dubious beauty, fitness, food, and lifestyle trends. If you’ve ever wondered about whether a particular fad is worth trying or buying, please email The Lab Rat at firstname.lastname@example.org.