I’m sure you’ve noticed it in my Beauty Expert Series that Clarisonics have been mentioned many, many times. They’re continually mentioned in magazines and on-line by both dermatologists and estheticians as a must have (and use) item. Why? While you might think that using just your hands, cleanser and a few splashes of water is enough to clean your face…. it really isn’t. You need a bit more friction than that. Add in a little light exfoliation each time you use the Clarisonic and it is a skin’s dream come true. You look more glowy, don’t have a light residual layer of makeup when you go to bed, and since you’ve exfoliated off a little dead skin all of your expensive skin care works better.
But, that Clarisonic is so expensive! I have one, I admit to being too lazy to use it every day (I’m more of an every 2-3 days Clarisonic girl, I go with an old fashioned wash cloth twice a day usually). I’ve been resolving to improve this to every night over the summer.
But, what if you don’t have a Clarisonic? And can’t imagine shelling out the big bucks to do it? There are alternatives, and I thought a review and comparison of the 4 deep facial cleansing machines I have here at home would be worthwhile. I do want to state that in the past I’ve reviewed the Sirius Beauty brush as well, but I’ve since given it away. So, here are the 4 I have at home!
Clarisonic Plus Obviously this is the big one, the gold standard against which all others are judged. There are many options, ranging from the Mia up to the Plus. I had the Classic but upgraded to the Plus. I have 3 speeds, a recharging base and the whole thing is waterproof so I can take it in the shower with me. It does beep at me at intervals, which if I paid attention to the timing would tell me when to switch from my forehead to my left cheek or something. I ignore this and just go at my own pace while concentrating on my t-zone.
There are different brushes available though I use the deep pore cleansing head. The head has an outer ring of bristles that don’t move and the inner circle of bristles vibrate with “sonic motion”, they do not spin. If you’ve ever used a Sonic Care toothbrush, this is the same idea. It’s still movement (and super fast movement at that) and I really don’t think it matters that the movement in little in amplitude rather than large. You can see how the brush is broken up in the picture at the right.
Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System The Olay Cleansing brush is available at big box stores around the country and is a fraction of the price of the Clarisonic. Rather than hanging out in a plugged in charging base, this brush has 2 AA batteries. You can see that they’ve included a rubber ring in the battery case to help make it water resistant, but I would certainly not consider this waterproof. It has 2 speeds and the entire brush rotates rather than vibrating. They do sell replacement brushes, though I haven’t found them in stores (I haven’t looked very hard though, I’m sure they’re around.)
Proactiv Deep Cleansing Brush This brush is pretty similar to the Olay in setup, except with 1 speed. Again, the battery case has a rubber ring to make it water resistant, simply flip the switch and off you go. This one vibrates instead of spinning, and while it isn’t quite as fast as the Clarisonic it’s not too far off! You can order the regular Proactiv kit and get this brush for free. I am not a Proactiv subscriber currently (I have been in the past) so I can’t really get into the area to order specific items to know if that is possible. (I have an email out to their PR to ask, I’ll let you know what they say!)
Neutrogena Wave The Neutrogena Wave is included here really because I still get emails asking me about it. Obviously this is a much different ball of wax. There are disposable pads with cleanser inside that are then velcro attached to the Wave machine. There’s 1 little button, 1 speed and that is it. The pad vibrates a little bit, but there isn’t a lot of movement. Most of the cleansing/exfoliation comes from the little pad, which is a bit abrasive like a Buf-Puf. Note that there isn’t a rubber ring on the battery case so this product is not water resistant even.
Here’s a quick peek at the relative size of each brush head. You can see that the Clarisonic is the biggest and the Olay the smallest. Proactiv is about 75% the size of Clarisonic.
When looking at the bristle length, there is quite a bit of difference. The Clarisonic bristles are the shortest and the stiffest. I do use the deep cleansing brush, but I don’t think there is a lot of difference between that brush head and the sensitive brush. The Olay is the most flexible, and because of this I’ve found that it is actually a little bit too soft and the bristles kind of splay all over the place. The Proactiv bristles are in between the Clarisonic and the Olay in flexibility. Even though they are longer than the Olay they provide more friction for washing and don’t easily splay out all over. I like that they’re longer than the Clarisonic bristles, so it is easier to get into the area around my nose.
I decided to make a little movie showing how each of the machines “moves”, I apparently still need to work on the whole focal length of this camera, but you get the general idea.