Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System / Review / Comment

According to the Clarisonic's website: "One minute a day for the best skin of your life." It "lets you get your glow and go." Deep cleaning for glowing skin.  Made for all skin types, recommended by skin care professionals. Celebrities and customers are "raving" about it. It's the difference between liking and loving your skin.
Traditional methods of cleansing don’t get your skin as clean as you’d think. Fortunately, the lead inventor of Sonicare® discovered a breakthrough in how we cleanse. Using sonic technology, the Clarisonic® Skin Cleansing System works with your skin’s natural elasticity to gently remove the impurities that traditional methods leave behind — giving you softer, smoother and more beautiful skin. 
Used and recommended by spas and dermatologists, Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleansing Systems use a patented sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second to gently, yet thoroughly remove 6X more makeup and 2X more dirt and oil than cleansing with your hands alone. Cleaner skin is the first step toward healthier skin. And healthier skin is smoother, more radiant and more beautiful. 
                                                                                                          Clarisonic website

Clarisonic Classic Sonic Cleansing System

Quite a nice sales presentation.  For a minute there I was tempted in getting one. Imagine, cleaner skin, less visible pores and yes, less wrinkles! What more could we ask for? The reality is quite different. So many questions have popped up on MakeupAlley Skin Care Board about this devise that I had included a section about it on my MUA notepad since the numerous reviews about the Clarisonic make it quite easy to get lost.  

About the reviews

Glorious! Miracle brush! My skin has never felt softer! No more blackheads or clog pores! It feels like my skin breathes! 

On MUA there are about 1800 reviews to this day about it with an average of 80% satisfaction. This would be outstanding if some of those had been written after more than one use. Some will enter their reviews after about a week. These are not long enough periods of time to really evaluate a product. Another important point is that these reviews are not updated by the ones who made them, the ones who stop using it, either because they stop taking the time to use it or because they end up with irritated skin.

There are much less reviews on Beauté-test, 28 to this day. It's either love or hate. Peeling skin, irritation, not recommended for sensitive skin. On this site, it is asked of the members to wait at least a month before registering a review. This makes them more reliable in my view.

What about the opinions of the MUA Skin Care Board regulars?

Most of them did fall for the hype and most of them ended up returning the device. Others have swapped it or are plainly stuck with it. It's either used for the body or collecting dust on a shelf.

To buy the Clarisonic or not to buy the Clarisonic

This question keeps coming back again and again on Skin Care Board. With Christmas coming up, it will be asked even more.  I can predict that there will be lots of new reviews about it in January. Who knows, the number may even reach 2000! 

What distinguishes Clarisonic form other similar systems out there is its pulsating action. Others, like Olay, spin in one direction but more and more we are seeing dupes of this  coming out on the market, some very similar to Clarisonic but less expensive. 

Do know that spinning brushes are nothing new, I remember having one ages ago. A precursor of the Olay brush, I ended up not liking it because it would spin only in one direction feeling nice on one side of my face and weird on the other. I have no idea what became of it and didn't use it long enough to remember what effects it had on my skin. 

Clarisonic recommends to use the brush twice a day, morning and evening. Very few people can stand this. Skin of steel is what you need. Remember this brush exfoliates and over use can do quite a number on your skin.

Many buy it for acne. Bad idea! It's not made for active acne, it can only exacerbate it by spreading bacteria just like a scrub would. 

In some cases, everything went well until several months later, when they started to notice the apparition of broken capillaries. Even if your skin feels nice, these can creep up on you without warning.

Some believe that the breaking out they are experiencing is a natural side effect when in reality it's simply irritation. It's not purging. This can only be caused by using actives like prescription AHA's and retinoids for example (this I learned on Skin Care Board).

Irritation, increase in skin sensitivity (overexfoliation can break down your skin's natural protective barrier), broken capillaries and the spreading of acne are the most common adverse effects mentioned by many members who have purchased it. If you have rosacea, dry peeling skin, best to stay away. It could make matters worse.

How to use it?

The ones who do like it, mostly don't use it everyday (like recommended by Clarisonic). They use it a couple of times a week for deep cleansing and exfoliation. Used this way, it can be a nice addition to your beauty care arsenal. It's up to you to decide if the high price is justified.

Using a cleanser with facial sponges, microfiber cloth or baby washcloth every night or so, will provide a mild exfoliation that eliminates the need for rough scrubs or a battery operated brush.

A little manual brush like the ones sold by The Body Shop, Shiseido and other retailers, are a nice alternative. A couple of members actually prefer them to their Clarisonic. You might want to try one of those before spending your money it will give you an idea of how it feels. Much gentler, they are easier to control.

If you do decide to purchase one, get it from a reputable seller with a good return policy in case you're not satisfied.

The longevity of it depends on the use you make of it. The rechargeable battery can not be replaced (only the charger can). It's made for a certain amount or charges. In other words the less you use it, the longer it will last. It's hard to evaluate how long it will be good for, some have said 3+ years while others have said less than that. 

Clarisonic recommends to change the brush head every 3 months, at $25 USD each, it does get expensive but this is if you use it two times a day. Most are using the delicate brush head but even with this one, you can get the adverse effects mentioned previously.

One more note, I noticed that the members who post mainly on MUA's Makeup Board are more positive about it than the members on skin care board. This could be because many of them don't have any serious skin issues while others just love gadgets.

On the list of Allure Best of Beauty and InStyle Best Beauty Buys, for many this type of recognition makes it even more desirable. One member on MUA Skin Care Board wrote once "Clarisonic shows that I'm really serious about skin care."

Gadgets are not what make good skin, daily care is what does in my opinion. Given the possible adverse effects, I will keep using my little manual brush once or twice a week. It gives me the results I want, mild exfoliation and it helps dislodge small blackheads here and there. I don't really have problem skin but I am prone to broken capillaries so why risk it? Personnaly I would rather keep my money for makeup but that's me.

Different models are available, the Mia (one speed), the Mia2 (2 speeds), the Clarisonic Plus (3 speeds) and the new Aria (also 3 speeds). The prices taken from the Clarisonic website range from $119 to $225 USD. They even came out with and Acne Clarifying Collection for $169 USD with video and testimonials. Again, careful it's not for everyone.

Moms, sisters, friends, if you plan on giving one for Christmas, discretely ask a few questions first to make sure the person will be able to use it and keep the receipt, just in case. It's loved by many but not everyone can use it.

Available at The Shopping Channel and Sephora

Sending smiles and a daisy wish for your weekend!

Clarisonic Classic Sonic Cleansing System picture: screen capture from their website.

PS: there's a little formating error that Blogger didn't let me correct. Sorry!


  1. Correct. I have had mine for over a year now, waste of money. It's a gadget and works well if you pair it with proper skincare, but in the long term it hurts my skin no matter what I use. Would NOT buy it again.. gathering dust now and got some broken blood vessels as a reminder.

  2. Philippe, this goes along the lines of many of the comments I read. I'm glad I didn't buy into the hype.

  3. I never fell into this hype - never wanted one - I knew from using one of those little face brushes a few times that this would be a nightmare for my skin. The irritation from a little face brush made me actually break out - little irritation bumps - so I can't imagine what this thing would do. I'm quite happy with my little baby wash clothes thank you!!1 I'll save my $$ for some nice perfume or makeup!!!!

  4. Linda, I'm totally with you on this one. In recent years my skin has become more sensitive & I can use the little manual brush but not too often. The Clarisonic would probably kill my skin. Perfume, now that's a great idea!

  5. Great review! It seems there's no middle ground on opinions of the Clarisonic. You either love it or hate it! I, personally, use the Olay version. I do it once a week and if I weren't so lazy I would do it twice a week. I love the way it smoothes out my skin. I look particularly "glowy" after using it. It certainly makes my primer and foundation apply better and it reduces the size of my pores.

    1. EllenB I'm glad you liked the review. Once a week with the Olay brush, you're probably doing just fine. Better that than over doing it. :D


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