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Hope in a Brush

Komal Basith

Beauty is all about the next big thing; the latest ingredient, brand, or product that claims it will change everyone’s life – or face – for the better, with varying results; not all products can be created equal. But every once in a while something comes along – the Daily Microfoliant, Eve Lom’s Cleanser, SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence and Elizabeth Arden's 8 Hour Cream - which is so unique, so effective, and so widely loved for its seemingly magical properties that it becomes the gold standard against which all similar products and inevitable copies are then based.

The Clarisonic is the perfect example of this; an unassuming vibrating, rotating brush that claims to smooth skin, erase fine lines and wrinkles, remove up to 6 times more makeup than traditional cleansing methods and leave you with purportedly the best skin of your life. They’re the kinds of claims it sometimes seems the beauty industry is built on, and the kind I always try to stay away from here at Jossbox – “87% of women surveyed reported smoother skin in six weeks!” Which women? And who paid for the survey?

Except this time, the glowing reviews are coming in largely from actual users – women who have tried it and found that they love what it’s done to their skin and want to shout their love from the rooftops (and the pages of their magazines and blogs and while in conversation with their friends). And so the Clarisonic has become, especially over the last year, more something that has entered the zeitgeist – something you’ve heard about – rather than a product you saw in that magazine ad that one time. And frankly, there’s only one reason for that kind of universal adoration – it works.

How? By whisking away dirt, grime, dead skin cells and makeup far more effectively than by using just your hands or cotton pads alone. Think of it as a toothbrush for your face, and the difference it would make if you cleaned your teeth with your finger instead of a brush. The thorough exfoliation helps to diminish fine lines in  the way that other exfoliants like glycolic acid or retinol do, but in minutes – by doing away with the top layer of your skin, revealing smoother, softer skin underneath, and by stimulating the production of collagen.

Pores appear smaller, skin starts to glow, areas of oiliness and dryness are balanced and, as far as your skin is concerned, all is right with the world. It’s one of those things, like HD television (or Ryan Gosling in every movie ever), that makes you wonder how you did without. Since this little device landed on my doorstep six months ago, I’ve seen my skin turn into a different person, guys. This is the closest I’ve ever come to having normal skin – not oily, not dry, just – normal. It glows. It’s dewy! It prompts birds to descend on my windowsill in the morning and alight upon my gracefully beckoning fingers.

In all seriousness, I can now go all day without having to touch up my makeup since my skin looks so damn fine all the time, which alone is enough to make me a convert for life. Which should answer the ‘To Clarisonic or not to Clarisonic?’ question with a resounding Yes! But there are stipulations.

For one, start slow! Don’t use it twice a day, like the company says you can – dermatologists recommend 2-3 times a week, but start out with once a week to ease your skin into it. Clarisonic retails brush heads to suit different needs; try the sensitive one, especially if you’ve never used a Clarisonic before. Never use a face scrub with your Clarisonic – stick instead to a gentle foaming cleanser. And while the Clarisonic is OK to use if you have trouble with acne, and will even clear acne-prone skin up dramatically – don’t use it on active zits.

Speaking of which, always clean your brush, and switch to a new one after two months. Clarisonic recommends changing the brush head every 3 months, but I’ve learnt the hard way that this leads can lead to a breakout, especially if, like most people, you store yours out in the open, like by your sink. And while the Mia / Regular / Plus distinctions can seem confusing, they’re not; the Mia is the smaller, travel sized version (and is far easier to hold), the Classic is the larger, original brush, while the Plus is meant to be used on your body for a good old-fashioned all-round exfoliation.

Have fun with yours, and welcome to the best skin of your life! We have cake.

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