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Should you use the Clarisonic skin care system

Clarisonic Skin Care System - Pink Clarisonic Skin Care System – PinkThink you’ve removed all your makeup with your cleanser? There is probably makeup, dirt, and other impurities left behind after you cleanse that you can’t even see. Clarisonic Skin Care System removes six times more makeup than cleansing alone


Our previous Clarisonic assessment sparked a bit of controversy with one responder claiming “you are a complete idiot…before you write a hack review on a product know what you are talking about first.”

Ouch! Sometimes it’s hard to be a Beauty Brain.

Mostly, we ignore criticism like this, but two things happened. First, my sister asked if stimulating skin makes it produce extra collagen and I was not sure. Then we serendipitously got another Clarisonic device in the mail. Since the Clarisonic definitely stimulates skin it got us Beauty Brains talking about it again. Sarah said it was a sign.

I do not believe in signs, but was interested enough to take a closer look at Clarisonic.

Clarisonic Science

The Clarisonic Skin System is a water-proof, hand-held device with a vibrating brush head. You apply a cleanser then move the brush on your face in a circular patter. A built-in timer tells you when to move from one face section to the next.

Think of it like a high-tech poof or washcloth.

The product claims to use “sonic technology” which is not defined. I

guess it is a reference to the brush heads which move at “super-sonic” speed? The brushes do move fast and that helps clean skin. Certainly, Clarisonic was trying to get people to connect sonic toothbrush technology with this product figuring if one works so will the other. They do have a few patents on the design and the motor. (US 7,157,816)

Clarisonic Exfoliation

We mentioned in the previous post you could probably get the same effect by exfoliating. One reader pointed out that Clarisonic does not exfoliate. True, Clarisonic does not advertise itself as an exfoliating system, but it does lightly exfoliate your skin so keep your daily use limited.

Clarisonic Claims

Clarisonic makes the following 3 primary claims and a few soft ones.

More than twice as effective as manual cleansing

We don’t have access to their test data, but this claim is confusing. What exactly does it mean? Do they mean effectiveness at Clarisonic Skin Care Systemcleaning? It seems like it but that’s not clear. No set guidelines means companies can come up with any reasonable test and report positive numbers. So, if Clarisonic could’ve found some specific compound removed better with their device than manual cleansing they could make the claim.

That doesn’t mean your face will be twice as clean.

6 times more make-up removed

Without their test data/protocol it is hard to say exactly how they proved this. However, you can bet the number sounds much more impressive than what you’ll experience in reality. If manual cleansing is done properly, it adequately removes make-up.

61% greater vitamin C absorption

We don’t know how they proved this, but it was most likely an in vitro test (lab) meant to simulate human skin. It is doubtful that you’ll get 61% vitamin C absorption in real use and even more doubtful you would notice if you did.

Clarisonic soft claims

The soft claims include “reducing the appearance of visible pores” and “reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” You prove these using consumer panelists who try the product and answer some questionnaires. ANY product will score well in a test like this, especially one like Clarisonic which is novel and feels good when you use it. While it will “appear” to you that your pores & wrinkles are reduced, don’t count on them actually being affected.

Clarisonic and Collagen

As to my sister’s question about stimulating the production of collagen, there is no definitive evidence that it does. Some in vitro studies have suggested it might. The company does not make this claim so they haven’t done the testing. It would be a big challenge to safely design this kind of study anyway. So, it probably doesn’t stimulate collagen production but it won’t hurt.

Clarisonic Benefits

Beyond their claims, three things make Clarisonic interesting to try.

1. Less exposure to harsh surfactants and exfoliating particles

2. Timed cleaning so you’ll be more consistent

3. It feels good

While it doesn’t mean much, most people who try the Clarisonic love it. It’s a unique experience and makes face cleansing fun. Whether that is worth the >$150 price tag is only something you can decide for yourself.

Will Clarisonic change the face of daily cleansing?

Clarisonic requires a behavior change and most people will not be able to change for long. They’ll use it religiously for a month or so then forget to get new brushes and eventually it will end up under their bathroom sink next to their lipstick stencils. We could be mistaken, but results are not vastly different from standard cleansing so lasting behavior changes will be difficult.

Beauty Brains Bottom Line

There are definitely some benefits of Clarisonic over other methods of cleansing like more consistent cleansing, less exposure to harsh surfactants & exfoliating particles, and it just feels good.  Who wouldn’t want a fresh-feeling face?  It is also a unique alternative to standard products. We here at the Beauty Brains want to encourage all cosmetic companies to make unique products rather than unique product stories. Clarisonic is definitely a unique product.

If you are unsatisfied with your current cleansing routine, try the Clarisonic Skin Care System (or something like it).

–Right Brain

Do you have a Clarisonic device? What do you think? Are you still using it after a couple of months?

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Andrea January 29, 2014, 3:44 pm

    I have eczema and bought the delicate brush head for the clarisonic and loved it. I noticed after daily use (once a day, no way could my skin handle twice!) that my skin would be very irritated at times. This was especially so in winter when my skin was dry and in summer when i went to the beach and the pool which exposed my skin to harsher elements. I do think it helps clean better than what I was doing before just washing. I tried the oil cleansing method but after a while I just couldn’t put the time or effort even though I saw great results. The Clarisonic, to me, was like the OCM but faster and easier. Recently I bought the Foreo Luna and have been using that. I had heard a lot about the bacteria harbored in the clarisonic as well as it was quite annoying to replace the brush heads. The Foreo is silicone based and supposedly doesn’t harbor bacteria and no need for a brush head change. I like this system as well for every day use as it is less rough on my skin. I use that once a day and if my skin needs more exfoliating I use my clarisonic (about once a week, if that). Overall, like you said I like that it is timed and simple to use. It also is a nice routine to get into. I personally didn’t see any of the claims on wrinkle reducing (don’t have many anyways) or pore refining. My pores DID look clean however. So it made them easier to by pass in the mirror. I also have reduced blackheads, but the OCM did all this as well! It depends how much time you have to put into your skincare routine. Anyways, maybe you guys can look into the Foreo since it looks like it is becoming a new popular clarisonic.

  • saph June 28, 2014, 7:41 am

    It does not vibrate it oscillates. It moves 300 times per second. This creates a vacume effect flexing the pore. Water is pushed into the pore and then forced out removing dirt under the skin. I am also very intrested I this product and have done research. It in theory will improve the appearence of pores as once the are clear the effectiveness of pore minimising products will be optimised. HOWEVER the device alone cannot reduce pores. It is a good buy but requires a level of dedication.

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