The Supersonic Ultrasonic Clarisonic Passes with Flying Colors

Published in: Beauty Tips, Makeup Tips/How To, Skin Care

Sam

Written by Sam

I hope you studied last night because I hear we’re having a POP quiz. No worries. Makeup artist and blogger Sam will help us study in today’s guest post.

The Clarisonic Skincare System

You tap your pencil rhythmically on the desk, eyes flitting around the classroom. Checking out the other test subjects. Did she live in the room across the hall in college? For the fourth time, you check your watch. Maybe it’s broken.

The exam administrator walks in, her black heels clacking on the linoleum floor. She checks to make sure everyone has a pencil; you ask for a second one, just in case.

The girl in front of you hands back a stack of packets (I can’t forget to ask her what polish she’s wearing before we leave…), the three or so pages crowned with a gold staple at the upper left corner. You slip one onto your desk and hand the rest back.

You read the first question: “Name the one beauty product currently in production you would bring with you on a week-long business trip.” Hmm… Oh! — no, wait. That’s not it. Ah! Yes, I remember now.

The second question: “The name of the beauty tool you hear the most buzz about in your daily readings and discussions…” Yes! Finally, an easy one!

Makeup and Beauty Exam

The Clarisonic Skincare System is probably one of the hottest beauty tools around, flying from shelves and receiving more press than many celebrity scandals (have there been any good ones lately?). Touted by everyone from top skincare gurus to red-carpet divas and humble bloggers (myself included), this mechanized innovation is a simple concept that is simply wonderful to use.

From the creators of the Sonicare toothbrush, the Clarisonic is a mini-marvel of engineering. What appears to be the blurred buzzing motion of the brush head is actually three hundred small back-and-forth vibrations per second. Rather than simply brushing over the skin, it flexes each and every pore, loosening impurities and built-up sebum and skin cells, and then encourages these to rise to the surface to be whisked away by those quick vibrations.

After a few failed attempts at buying this magic system and a frustrating series of calls to my credit card company, I finally lugged the rather large — though nice and glossy — box home, and extracted the much smaller tool from its cage of instruction manuals and packaging materials.

I purchased mine from Sephora, and received the Philosophy skincare set, which came with three minis from that brand’s permanent collection. Also nestled in among the white cardboard maze was a surprisingly nice mesh travel case, an inductive charging cradle, and two extra brush heads (Sensitive and Body).

The handheld brush at first seems a bit unwieldy, and might just be for those with very small hands (if that describes you, you may also want to take a look at the Clarisonic Mia; a smaller, more travel-friendly, more basic version of the Pro), but after using it for two days my hand adjusted. The thing is all curves, which makes it a pleasure to hold, but make sure your hold is firm: when it gets wet, the brush — although brushed plastic — can get a little slippery. Fortunately, it’s rather sturdy and has withstood two or five drops and (unintentional) throws with seemingly no ill effects (not even a scratch!).

A full charge seems to last me about a week — I use mine twice daily for a minute each time. I’ve only let it run out of battery three or so times, but once set in the cradle, it’s good for at least one use after about 20 minutes of charging.

The Pro version lets you choose from three different speeds and set the cycle to one or two minutes (both “sectioned” and free). In the “sectioned” timing, the allotted time is split into four parts, each signaled by a light audio tone. The user’s guide recommends starting with the forehead, then moving to the nose and chin, and then each cheek. Free timing simply sets the Clarisonic to vibrate for the selected time, with the user choosing where to move it. I personally use the free timing settings, as my forehead has always been clear of blemishes, while my cheeks need more attention. That said, I think the “sectioned” timing is great for people who don’t have a very specific area to target, as it divides the time quite well according to the perceived needs of each area.

The Clarisonic Product Family

My first test with this device was to see if it could actually do as it claimed: “remove makeup six times better than traditional methods.” Taking to my normal facial cleanser, I thoroughly washed off as much of my makeup as I could, and to my eyes, my face looked perfectly clean. Or as clean as a face mottled by mild acne could be. I fiddled with the settings on the brush a bit, dampened and lathered my face once again, and went to work.

A minute and one audio tone later, I examined the brush. The once pristine, white bristles were grey! Not a pretty color. But my skin certainly felt cleaner, somehow. It didn’t look much different, however, but the facts could not be denied. Even within one use, this brush had dislodged a fair amount of goop — or, for those of you who prefer a more technical term, impurities — residing in and around my pores.

Sometimes there really is truth in advertising.

Their next claim, that it “creates noticeably healthier-looking skin,” was going to have a wait for a few weeks to be fully tested. At least that’s what I thought, but even after a single week of regular use, my skin felt softer, looked brighter, and was much less red. Even current acne was greatly reduced in size and inflammation, and I hadn’t gotten anywhere near the severity of breakouts I normally would during the week. A week later, and I hadn’t more than one or two whiteheads; only a smattering of red bumps (which are much easier to conceal, no?).

Skip ahead two months (let’s take the Delorean!)…

All of my post-acne marks (some nearly a year old) had mostly faded, my nose no longer looked like a mini-minefield, and I hadn’t seen a whisper of the vicious dermatitis that often emerges when we hit the colder months.

I completely credit the Clarisonic for my skin’s genesis. Now, four months into “treatment” (about time to replace my brush head!), my skin has never looked or felt better. I’m able to go out 90 percent of the time wearing a quarter of the amount of foundation and concealer I used to use — mainly just to even out a slight bit of redness or hide that one stubborn pimple that escapes the vibrations of this marvelous tool — and my nose doesn’t start to produce much oil for at least four hours into my day, when it used to be useful as a makeshift mirror only an hour in.

Some of you might want to hit me for this, but the very fine lines I had under my eyes (I’m serious!) are completely gone. The redness has diminished immensely, now only adding a touch of rosiness to my cheeks as opposed to my entire face. And skincare products seem to absorb faster, though this might just be me playing into: “cleanses so thoroughly that skincare products absorb better.”

I’ve only used the included body brush once or twice, and it’s also quite nice. The system knows when the Body head has been attached, and switches over to a separate, longer mode automatically. After showering, my skin looks a bit smoother and definitely feels fantastic. I can’t comment on how well this works in the long-term, however.

The Sensitive head is great for people with, well, sensitive skin. On the few days when my dermatitis has been especially bad or my skin just feels overworked, I’ll pop this head on and be good to go. No further irritation, and I don’t feel like I have to worry about causing any damage. The Normal head is nowhere near rough, but the Sensitive one provides a softer, gentler experience overall.

Using the Clarisonic

At first, I was skeptical of this little face brush. I didn’t think there was any way that something so simple could produce results like these when medications and heavy-duty skincare hadn’t even come close, but I was wrong. Extremely, positively, absolutely wrong. The Clarisonic is absolutely the only step in my routine I have never missed, even on days when I barely have five minutes to rush out the door. It’s a pleasure to use (I’ve come to look forward to it as a facial massage), and has done more for my face than any amount of makeup ever could.

Move over, Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler! The Clarisonic has replaced you as my must-have product. And I ain’t ever letting go.

Sam

Written by Sam

Sam is a 17-year-old, oddly tall guy whose love of all things skincare, makeup, and fashion started when he entered the modeling world at 14. Since then, he’s established himself as a freelance makeup artist in the theatre and fashion worlds, and started his own blog to preach the wonders of orange eyeshadow, Asian skincare, and designer fragrances to the masses.

45 Comments

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  1. Crystal says:

    Wow, amazing and thorough review. I am planning on saving up for this so I can purchase during the Sephora F&F sale. I’m not someone who’s into gadgets and gimmicks, but I’ve heard so much glowing reviews about the Clarisonic! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. Fefe says:

    Can you use any face cleanser with this? I’m obsessed with Origins and it works great for me but I’ve been eyeballing these things too.
    Fefe recently posted … Photography- Attempt Numero Uno

  3. vonnie says:

    you write such great posts! i am in love with my clarisonic and wouldn’t trade it for anything :)
    vonnie recently posted … Product Review- Blue Lagoon Silica Mud Mask

  4. Lucie says:

    Oh wow. I think that I, the girl who slaps down $300+ a month on makeup but is horrified at the thought of spending more than five bucks on skincare, am actually going to go order the clarisonic now. I have pretty bad acne that will not be tamed by any amount of pills or prescriptive gels-maybe this will finally do the trick!

  5. Kris Cameron says:

    Hi Sam – Did the clarisonic help with your blackheads? I just got my own clarisonic and used it this morning for the first time, in fact. I’ve spent the remainder of the day staring at my nose willing my blackheads to go away…

    Great post as always!

    Thanks!

  6. ann says:

    I was wondering, if my skin is in pretty condition (I only have 1 or 2 blemishes and my skin doesn’t get oily and isn’t dry), would using this twice a day be too much? I remember reading somewhere this should only be used twice a week, like an exfoliating cleanser?

    • Sam says:

      I’ve never heard the once a week thing, but I don’t think twice a day at the regular speed would be too much. Try it out, at any rate. If you’re afraid of irritating your skin, perhaps try out the sensitive brush first at two times a day, and then work up to the normal brush head? The worst you’re going to do is make your skin a little bit red (unlike a manual exfoliator, this won’t make your skin raw unless you push it really hard into your skin). Hope that helped!
      Sam recently posted … Clarisonic Review

  7. kana says:

    I have been drooling for one of these after all the great reviews! I don’t think i can justify spending that much money on one right now though. Have you heard anything of the Olay one?

    • Sam says:

      I’ve heard “eh” about it. I can’t relate having had any personal experience with it, but from what I’ve heard, it’s like the Clarisonic’s red-headed stepbrother. It tries to copy what the Clarisonic can do, but in the end it just kind of fails and is pretty useless. I wouldn’t bother with it. Maybe wait for the Sephora friends and family 20% off sale to nab yourself the real thing?
      Sam recently posted … Clarisonic Review

  8. Helen says:

    I love your posts! You always explain the details so well! Looking forward to reading more here and on your blog!

  9. April says:

    What speed do you use yours on?

    • Sam says:

      I use the highest speed for one minute, twice a day. It’s perfect for my oily, acne-prone skin (which is rather sensitive at times, due to a bit of dermatitis that this has actually seemed to have banished…)
      Sam recently posted … Clarisonic Review

  10. Amber says:

    I’ve seen a significant improvement in skin texture since I started using mine just five weeks ago (added to my established routine of at-home peels and retinol use). After cleansing I spend so much time touching my face in amazement at how smooth it is that it’s a wonder I don’t clog it right back up! ;)

    I use the two-minute setting (just evenings on most days, as I usually start my day at the gym) and the body brush, and I find I need to recharge on the fifth or sixth day in order to do both. I was hoping the body brush would help with some terribly persistent KP on my arms, but I’m not sure it’s doing much good. It was worth a shot, anyway.
    Amber recently posted … 20000 leagues beneath my to-do list

  11. JJ says:

    I was just looking up Clarisonic reviews on Sephora the other night when I was hit with a bout of insomnia. This is one of the items I always want to get, but end up forgetting to order when Sephora’s having a 20% sale (the other is a T3 blow dryer)… I get caught up in a whirlwind of foundation and lippies and eyeshadows and… I digress :) Great review!

  12. Emma says:

    Love the post Sam. You always write so entertainingly.
    I just have a question about the body brushing function of the Clarisonic, is the Clarisonic completely waterproof? Or even just waterproof enough for me to use it in the shower?

  13. Mandy says:

    Sam, I love your posts. The body brush is amazing on my elbows and knees and they are so much softer and cleaner than they used to be. Believe it or not I use the body brush on my face as well with a glycolic cleanser and it works just fine for me. My skin overall has never been smoother. Replacement heads are available on Ebay for a little over $10 so this is going to be my HG product.

  14. Stephanie says:

    I love the way how you wrote your review.. It’s so much fun to read. I was a little skeptical about this too but it actually does work positive!
    Stephanie recently posted … Max Neon Set – Part I

  15. I just bought one, gave me so much radiant. I didn’t even have to use makeup foundation and my face is just clear! Thanks for the post! =)

  16. Advah says:

    Oh Sam, why are you doing this to me? Now I really, really want this brush. I’m lucky I’ve got good skin though (no acne, blemishes and very, very rare spots) so I might wait a bit longer; guess that’d be more a luxury than necessity..

    And right now, I’m so in love with my Nude cleansing oil I can’t face leaving it aside for another cleanser. :)

    • Sam says:

      Trust me, even for good (or great) skin, this thing is a godsend. Just even for getting every last dot of makeup out of your skin. Trust me, it’s an investment worth making. It makes even the clearest skin brighter and glowier. I know a lot of makeup artists use it on clients before prepping their skin; foundation and the like just meld into the skin so much better this way.

      And I love me some cleansing oils too! Not to say that this *doesn’t* or *won’t* work with them, but I find it’s a bit odd to use them with it, as you first have to massage the oil onto a dry face, then hit your entire face with the dampened Clarisonic. I guess it’s not so much that it doesn’t work as well as that it takes a hell of a lot longer…
      Sam recently posted … Clarisonic Review

    • Amber says:

      I use my Clarisonic with Nude cleansing oil once or twice a week (LOVE that cleanser!). You just have to put about twice as much on your face. It feels different than using a wet cleanser but it works fine.
      Amber recently posted … 20000 leagues beneath my to-do list

      • Advah says:

        Gah. You guys got me. I’m so adding the Clarisonic to my shopping list! And it might be a wee bit cheaper if I buy it in the US!

  17. LC says:

    I completely agree about the Clarisonic. I’ve been using it for 2 years, and my skin tone and skin clarity are all due to this little wonderful device.

  18. Deb says:

    Sam, thanks for the review. I’ve been using the Clarisonic for a year and it is quite the magical device. On a separate subject…..in a previous post you did on this site, you mentioned some how to videos you have on youtube. I am really interested in seeing them but can’t find them. Help?

  19. Vijaya says:

    I absolutely adore my clarisonic, but it didn’t help fade my acne marks at all. xP
    Vijaya recently posted … Hello Kitty Liquid Nail Art- Banana Cream

  20. Lillie says:

    Sounds great!

  21. Leah says:

    I wanted a Clarisonic for years before finally taking the plunge and I’m glad every time I use it that I did. I love this thing :)

  22. Lisa says:

    I love your posts, Sa, & I’ve been wondering about the Clarisonic since it came out.
    But is it good to “Flex” one’s pores? Won’t that enlarge the pores by stretching them?
    Any thoughts?

    • Agrona says:

      It is actually impossible to change the size of your pores in any permanent way, so I wouldn’t worry about Sam’s description.

      I have exceptionally sensitive skin, including rosacea, and the Clarisonic has done nothing but improve my skin.

  23. shelby says:

    there is not one product i love more in this world than my clarisonic, it is the best thing that has ever happened to me (beauty wise) LOVELOVELOVELOVE

  24. gardenjewel says:

    Try e-bay. There are many you can get at a much better price than retail. My Clarisonic was the best purchase I ever made.

  25. gardenjewel says:

    Also, try plain old Neutrogena Clear Pore cleanser to cleanse your face, it helps clean out the blackheads. If it’s a little drying for you, use it once or twice a week. I am a mature lady and my skin is dry so that’s what I do. Sure cleaned out those pores!

  26. stacie says:

    I want one even more now!!
    stacie recently posted … Vintage Pink Roses

  27. Mary says:

    That’s it, I am going to buy this one next time there is a good sale/deal at Sephora!! Thank you so much for the info!
    Mary recently posted … Elizabeth Arden Smokey Eye Black Eyeliner

  28. Aina says:

    I’m getting my Clarisonic next week (fingers crossed no delays in AusPost) and after reading your review I cannot wait!!! I’ve heard/read so many reviews about this gadget but thought it was all hype. But I guess the raves just kept coming that I finally want to try it! Looking forward to your other reviews!

  29. Christina Moreno says:

    Love, love, love my Clarisonic! I’ve been using it faithfully for over a year now. Things I’ve noticed are:
    1)Eventhough I do experience an occasional zit, the size is greatly diminished (compared to my zits before I used the Clarisonic) and it disappears quickly once I use the Clarisonic.
    2) Breakouts are much less frequent for me. The only time I experience a breakout is when it’s that “time of the month”. Other than that, no breakouts. Prior to Clarisonic, I’d breakout if I exhaled the wrong way.
    3) I use it with Cetaphil Facial Cleansing soap and have found that it works fine. But I love, love, love the Clarisonic Nourishing Care Cleanser. I received it as a sample. Am definitely going to buy the full size once I run out. Leaves my face feeling soft and pampered.
    4) Girls (and guys!), check QVC–they sometimes offer the Clarisonic for 4 easy monthly payments. That’s how I got mine! I

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