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Product Spotlight: Clarisonic

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There's no question that Clarisonic cleansing devices are one of the biggest skincare hits in recent years. Skim any beauty website or magazine and it won't be long before you find an article from a devoted user singing its praises, and it's almost harder to find a dermatologist who doesn't recommend it than one who does. But what does it do, and how can you be sure you're using it right?

What it does-- the Clarisonic difference

What sets Clarisonic's devices apart from other ones on the market is that its brush head vibrates-- starting at an incredibly fast speed of 300 movements per second-- rather than spinning or oscillating. This, together with its soft-bristled brushes, creates a cleansing action that is deeper and more thorough than using your hands to wash while still working gently-- more like a massage than a scrub.

That motion prevents irritation and also doesn't tug or pull on your skin the way a harsher device might. With the availability of extra-soft brushes for sensitive skin, it's good for almost any skin type. (Those with skin conditions like rosacea should consult their dermatologist.) Although it's designed for cleaning and not exfoliating per se, using a brush at all will whisk away dead skin cells, which also helps other skincare products like serums to penetrate more quickly.

You can choose between the two-speed Mia 2, the three-speed Plus which comes with a body brush for full-body cleansing, or the more powerful Pedi to keep even the roughest feet smooth and soft. The Mia 2 and the Plus are equipped with a timer that beeps to tell you when to move to the next part of your face.

How to use it

With the Clarisonic fully charged and the bristles thoroughly soaked, dampen your face and apply a generous amount of gentle cleanser. Move the brush head lightly over your skin-- pressing it in won't help and can irritate or pull your skin-- starting with the forehead for 20 seconds. Follow with the nose through chin area for another 20 seconds, and then each cheek area for 10 seconds. Rinse both your face and the brush head thoroughly. The timer will let you know when to move on. Re-start the device and repeat the process with your neck and upper chest.

Although the device is safe for use up to two times a day, most users have found that they prefer to use it only a few times a week. It's also good to start slow, using it perhaps once a week and increasing use as your skin gets used to the extra stimulation.

How to care for it

Rinse your brush head well after each use. Detaching the brush head and rinsing the device behind it can also help prevent grimy build-up. Pat the bristles with a clean towel to soak up excess water, then let the brush head air dry completely. Replace the brush head and put the cap over the bristles to protect them in between uses once the brush is dry.

Once per week, detach the brush head and deep-clean it. Some users like to use antibacterial soap and warm water followed by a brief (10-15 second) soak in rubbing alcohol. However, a mix of plain white vinegar, water, and a spoonful of baking soda makes a great deodorizing soak. Leave it for 20-30 minutes, rinse well, and let it air dry. Use q-tips or a clean cloth to clear away any buildup on the device handle behind the brush head.

Most importantly, change the head every three months. The brush heads are like toothbrushes-- regular use will wear out the bristles and make the device less effective. Worried you'll forget? Write the date that you need to change to a new head on a piece of masking tape and put it on the charger where you'll see it every time you use it.

What to expect

Clarisonic fans report that their skin is clearer, softer, and brighter after each use and in the long term. The massaging action also stimulates blood flow and “wakes up” a tired-looking complexion right after using it. Many users who suffer from breakouts find that their condition is improved by using Clarisonic.

Surprisingly, the device caught on with men who got curious about trying out their girlfriends' or wives' Clarisonics and discovered they loved how it made their skin feel and helped them with ingrown hairs, clogged pores, and red bumps.

A skincare device feels like a luxury item, intriguing and novel, maybe a bit of an indulgence. Because of that, it makes a great gift for anyone in your life who prioritizes their skincare. Many diehard devotees saw it as a splurge until they got one as a gift and realized it had become a must-have!

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