We test out the Clarisonic Mia 2 for a month to see whether it deserves a place in your bathroom cabinet (or Christmas list)
As the winter nights draw in and my daily sunshine fix is reduced to a lunchtime trickle, I can feel the toll on my skin. It becomes dryer in patches, duller all over and that bit more, well, drained. Add to that the downside of city living – pollution, stuffy tube journeys and a reliance on central heating – and it’s clear my skin needs some TLC.
Enter the Clarisonic Mia 2. A portable version of the original, the Mia 2 offers, for the first time, two different speeds for a tailor-made cleanse, including a one-minute pulsing timer to help you gauge your progress.
With celebrity fans including Gwyneth Paltrow and Courtney Cox, this cult bit of kit has a lot to live up to, promising cleaner, clearer and more radiant skin. But does it actually work? And is it worth your wonga? I tried it out for a month to decide…
The best way of describing the Clarisonic is like an electric toothbrush for your face. You use it up to twice a day, for a one-minute cleansing cycle that claims to transform your skin. Its light, handheld size (even smaller than a travel hairdryer) makes it handy for those on the go – and it’s totally waterproof so you can even use it in the bath or shower.
The patented sonic cleansing technology means the brush head oscillates at a sonic frequency of over 300 movements per second. It makes a small buzzing noise while it does this. The resulting ‘flexing’ action created between the outer and inner brushes is supposed to loosen dirt and oil, deep-clean your pores and prime your skin for better absorption of products. But – in the words of Ronseal – does it do what it says on the tin?
The figures are impressive: clinical trials have shown it’s six times better than cleansing with your hands alone. Dermatologists and my beauty guru (The Guardian‘s beauty editor Sali Hughes) rave about it.
One of the best things about this gadget is how easily it will fit into your lifestyle. I used it morning and evening for a month and it was so simple to fit it in. You need just one minute to complete a full cleansing cycle. There’s no messing about with a hot cloth or fancy massage techniques, just rub in some cleanser (onto the brush head or onto a dampened face) and turn it on. You do have to remove your eye make up beforehand but the device will remove the rest of your make up itself. You hold it lightly against your face and move it in a circular motion around your forehead (20 seconds), nose and chin (20 seconds) and cheeks (10 seconds each). A beep will let you know it’s time to move to a new position. You can even use it in the shower. A fully charged Mia 2 gives 24 minutes of use – then just use the magnetic charger overnight (18 hours) ready for the next day. You need to watch out for the flashing light which tells you it’s low on battery – I got caught out by this and it died before I could recharge it – frustrating.
At the beginning of the trial the toothbrush analogy worried me; I was concerned the bristles would be harsh on my skin and would dry it out. I was wrong; the Clarisonic is light on my skin and my face feels softer after I’ve used it. I swear my moisturiser soaks in better too. In general I use it twice a day, but if my skin feels particularly tight or dry, I give it a miss and stick to my usual cleanser. Apparently this is fine – there are no guidelines as to how often you should use it, so just go by what your skin tells you. Change your brush head every three months and clean it once a week. You don’t even have to commit to using the special Clarisonic cleanser that comes with the initial purchase – any will do.
From the very first use, my skin feels softly polished and thoroughly clean in a way that it doesn’t normally feel. It’s hard to describe without repeating: my skin feels really clean. After a week, I notice my skin has more radiance – the gentle exfoliating action of the Clarisonic’s bristles is helping to remove dead cells and reveal smoother, brighter skin. By the start of my second week my make-up is going on much better: it’s taking to my skin more evenly and I’m not as prone to the ‘clogging’ effect. By the third week, it’s worked wonders on a recurring patch of bad skin around my chin; it’s not gone completely but it’s definitely clearing up.
I did have a few niggles with the product; after a few times of removing the brush head (to clean), it was tricky to fit it back into place. It felt looser and like it was moving more during the cleansing cycle. This was sorted by further tightening of the head but it was a bit fiddly. I also found that I still needed to exfoliate normally – around once a week. I thought that I could ditch this completely from my routine, but it’s still necessary.
Then there’s the cost: at £125, there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a pricey product, and one that I was lucky enough to try out for free, for the purposes of this review. Would I pay for this product myself? The answer, having tried it, is yes. It is a splurge – and it’s probably something I’d put on my Christmas or birthday list rather than a pay day treat – but it’s definitely improving the texture and appearance of my skin when used with my normal skincare routine.
It’s not a miracle cure, and, when used on its own, it’s unlikely to transform your skin à la Gwynnie. But within a consistent and well targeted skincare regime, this gadget will give you skin as Paltrow-perfect as you’ll ever get. It’s one bit of kit that’s definitely earned its place in my bathroom cabinet.
Words: Eva Caiden
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