Clarisonic Mia 2 Review: Thoughts After 2 Years of Using it.
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But before we proceed I need to say a few things:
- No, I’m not rich! I’m poor and got student loans to pay, but bought this impulsively a couple years back.
- I understand this isn’t in everyone’s budget (heck, me included!)
- Owning a clarisonic isn’t 100% necessary to achieve great skin, but it gives a minor boost.
With that said, I’ll be going over why you would want to buy one, the benefits, my thoughts on it, and the science behind how it works. Let’s get into it!
Table of Contents
- 1 What is the Clarisonic?
- 2 How Does the Clarisonic Work?
- 3 The Clarisonic is an Exfoliating Tool.
- 4 Clarisonic Best Practices.
- 5 My Thoughts on the Clarisonic.
- 6 Who is the Clarisonic Best For?
- 7 The Takeaway.
- 8 Want to Subscribe for Updates?
What is the Clarisonic?
It’s a waterproof and high-powered electric facial cleansing brush that could also be used on the body. Its battery life last 20 minutes before needing a recharge, and a recharge takes approximately 20 hours.
A 20 minute battery life may not sound like much, but each cleansing cycle lasts 1 minute, so it should last you 20 days if you’re using it once daily.
It claims to cleanse 6 times better than using your hands alone, which in turn will result in softer, smoother skin that more easily absorbs creams, serums, toners etc.
But does it really do all this? (Spoiler alert: for the most part yes.)
How Does the Clarisonic Work?
This is where things gets interesting. On a firsthand glance it just looks like a big spinning brush, but the way it works is actually more complicated and fairly scientific. Definitely something the engineers who designed it deserve major credit for.
What do I mean? Let’s take a look at an excerpt from Clarisonic patent and a research paper.
The personal care appliance includes an oscillating motor structure in the body thereof which drives an armature through a total angle of 8°-26°, at a frequency in the range of 120-220 Hz. (1)
By oscillating at sonic speed the net result is the inelastic comedones become loosened and detached from the infundibular wall and are then cleared from the acroinfundibulum. (2)
Let me translate that into English for you: the clarisonic brush head moves back in forth approximately 170 times (300 sonic movements) per second! This in turn loosens and removes clogged pores and dead skin. I know this may sound very aggressive, but it’s actually fairly gentle on the skin. (3)
Michelle from LabMuffin said it best, “since your skin is more elastic than any unwanted material in your pores, this back and forth movement gradually breaks the adhesion between clogs in your pore and the pore walls, a bit like when you twist an ice cube tray to free the ice cubes.”
In case you’re wondering, here’s a visual of what that looks like in super slow motion.
And this is what separates the clarisonic from the generic “spin brushes.” In other words, the Clarsionic doesn’t spin at all! Rather, it’s just like one giant vibrator…. Wait a minute, that didn’t come out right!
What I mean is that it doesn’t rotate a full 360 degrees like the inexpensive spin brushes out there. Instead, the clarisonic oscillates back in forth at lightening speed, meaning it’s less likely to cause broken capillaries (small blood vessels) by manipulating the skin too aggressively — something many people oddly claim the clarisonic does. I couldn’t disagree more.
I mean sure, it’s possible. But it’s also possible to break capillaries while cleansing with your fingers! That’s actually a fairly common issue with oil cleansing. The problem isn’t the clarisonic or the fingers themselves, it’s being to aggressive with them!
Like I always say on this blog, you want to baby your skin whenever possible. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using the clarisonic or your hands — that’s just a universal rule to follow.
However, if you’re overly concerned about potentially developing broken blood vessels, then opt out for one of the more gentle clarisonic heads. The cashmere brush would be an excellent start.
Just remember: be gentle!
Which reminds me…..
The Clarisonic is an Exfoliating Tool.
INDEED! This thing will absolutely exfoliate! I actually know a dermatologist who uses it as a sort of pretreatment before chemical peels because it provides similar benefits to a light microdermabrasion session. Here’s a quote coming straight out of his mouth:
“It gives a really good exfoliation. It takes off, realistically, 5-10% of the epidermis — so a good part of stratum corneum.”—Dr. Davin Lim, board certified dermatologist.
So with that said, you have to introduce it slowly! Over-exfoliation, whether chemical or physical, can result in some nasty breakouts. A prime example of this is what happened to Wayne Goss in his video “6 weeks from hell! My clarisonic experience!!!”
To summarize, he started using the heavy-duty deep pore cleaning brush twice daily (BIG MISTAKE) and soon enough had sore irritated skin and a couple broken capillaries. This is commonly referred to as the “clarisonic purge.”
But please remember, you shouldn’t be purging with the clarisonic! Only active ingredients make you purge. If all the sudden you start breaking out after using it, chances are you’re irritating your skin more than anything else.
Keep this in mind when you want to use the clarisonic more often, which probably will happen when you start seeing how quickly it starts working. More often than not, its best to back off than double down when you start seeing progress.
With that said, here are some good guidelines to follow when introducing the Clarisonic into your routine.
Clarisonic Best Practices.
Personally, I would begin using it every other day. The absolute maximum amount of times you should be using it is twice daily. By far and large, the people that can pull that off will have pretty tough skin.
Back off if you notice any irritation.
This could be in the form of redness, tight skin, or unusual breakouts. All these are signs of over-exfoliation.
Be extra cautious if you have acne or rosacea.
Both of these skin conditions can be worsened by irritation. If you fall into this category, make sure to start extra slowly and use the cashmere or sensitive head brush.
Use gentle pressure!
Don’t use other physical exfoliants with the Clarisonic.
Avoid them! It’s completely unnecessary and a full proof way to ensure irritation. These include but are not limited to washcloths, konjac sponges, facial scrubs, coffee grounds, those awful baking soda sugar mix recipes on pinterest etc.
Cut back on chemical exfoliation.
If you’re using active ingredients like BHAs (salicylic acid), AHAs (lactic, glycolic, mandelic etc.), retinoids, low pH serums etc. — you’re gonna have to reduce their frequency.
I would say using these 1-2 times a week in conjunction with the Clarisonic is more than enough exfoliation for most people.
Change your brush head.
Do this approximately every 3-4 months. These things have a limited lifespan. In fact, I’m overdue for a new one. Perhaps you could tell from the photo above. :p
Clean your clarisonic often.
Preferably with 70% isopropyl alcohol. And please don’t leave it the shower where it could get moldy. -__-
My Thoughts on the Clarisonic.
So you may be wondering what I personally think about the Clarisonic after owning it for a little over two years. Let me start off by sharing a story with you all.
It all started when I went to Ulta with my sister one day. You know how the workers there annoyingly come up to you when your trying to mind your own business? Well yeah, THAT happened.
My sister and I were nonchalantly passing by the Clarisonic section when curiosity got the best of us. We quickly stopped to look at them, and I kid you not within 10 seconds — BAM! There she was…. a saleslady looking for commission.
She proceeded to tell us about how it brightened her skin tone, cured her acne, made her 20 years younger, gave her the winning lotto numbers — you know, the usual stuff.
Of course, me and my sister being two awkward individuals, were just kinda standing there nodding our heads wondering what excuses we could use to escape. “Yeah, sorry we actually have a funeral to catch.” Hmmm, perhaps too dark….
At one point the saleslady literally goes, “guess how long it takes for you to notice a difference in your skin?”
I was like, “I don’t know. A month?”
She said, “how about one cleanse!”
I was like LOL. Okay lady, calm down. Let me guess, it’s also gonna help me find love too? Of course, she said it would…. :'(
Note: that last bit didn’t actually happen.
Anyway, long story short we escaped and later that night I couldn’t help but think… “Wow. What if the clarisonic does help me find love?” :p
Next thing I knew I was on Amazon reading reviews and impulsivity got the best of me. I dropped the cash, and it arrived two days later.
Spoiler Alert: it didn’t actually make a major difference after “one cleanse.” Go figure. But I was pleasantly surprised with how gentle it was. Especially because it managed to slough off some dead skin build up I had.
A week later things were looking noticeably more refreshed, and the my skin texture had improved quite a bit. From week to week I kept making progress and definitely felt like it was keeping my face clean and super smooth.
And in short, that’s what I think about the clarisonic — it’s a really effective physical exfoliator, but you shouldn’t expect it to do anything crazy like clear cystic acne. It’s better suited for treating blackheads, clogged pores, and / or closed comedones.
Truth be told, to this day something I enjoy most about it is simply how luxurious it makes me feel (haha). But overall, it’s a great tool if you’re looking for a way to get some gentle yet effective physical exfoliation, which overtime will improve skin texture and smoothness.
Who is the Clarisonic Best For?
Since we’re all unique and have different skin problem, I thought it would be a good idea to try and describe who I think would really benefit from using the Clarisonic.
Let’s start with the fact that a lot of skincare addicts say physical exfoliation shouldn’t be a priority. I disagree. Yes, chemical exfoliation done properly will lead to better results, but some people simply can’t tolerate any acids. I was one of those people for the longest time.
So, ideal candidate #1: someone who’s easily irritated by products or can’t tolerate chemical exfoliation, but still wants the benefits of exfoliation in their skincare routine.
Candidate #2: if you’re using chemical exfoliation but your skin still appears dull or isn’t quite where you’d want it to be yet.
And candidate #3: if you just want that little extra oomph to achieve brighter and smoother skin.
If you were thinking about buying it to get rid of pimples or treating PIE/PIH (red, or brown spots), I would suggest you first read my guides about clearing acne and/or getting rid of acne spots before dropping the cash on this. Realistically, the clarisonic will help decongest some clogged pores which overtime will prevent breakouts, but it won’t do much for inflammatory acne.
- Cleanses deeply.
- Very effective physical exfoliator.
- Removes dead skin and unclogs pores, which overtime will lead to smoother and brighter looking skin.
- Having to change the brush heads every 3-4 months.
- Cleaning it. (If you’re lazy like me, this eventually becomes a hassle.)
Check for discounts on Amazon!
Overall, it’s a solid product and I can’t complain much. However, do I think owning a clarisonic is necessary? Probably not. Is it a REALLY good physical exfoliator? Yes. Will you feel like a luxurious and pampered unicorn having one? Absolutely.
That does it for this review, folks. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading it and found it informational!
Tell the world about this giant vibrator! I mean…. cleansing brush that oscillates back in forth at lightening speed. 😉
Any thoughts on the Foreo? I got one but I think I might have dived in with too much gusto and ended up with irritated skin and lil bumps around the nose area. Thinking of introducing it back again but slower.
Great article! I think it’s also great for individuals who wear a lot of makeup and don’t take enough time to cleanse their face properly (me when I had cystic acne and didn’t wash my face properly). It was a huge wake up call to see how much makeup was leftover on my face and that I was being very careless!
Thanks for such a thorough and honest review of the Mia 2. I also own one but always baffled by which replacement head to purchase. I have pretty sensitive skin and no acne problems. But, I do have flaky and dry skin all season round. I use this mostly as a physical exfoliator twice a week before I do any face masks to hydrate my skin. It does cleanse super well and I notice a difference in my skin as it becomes brighter vs normal face washes.
Do you have any recommendations on the type of replacement brushes to use or have you tried different kinds? I currently use the Sensitive one and purchased Acne one for my husband. Just wanted to hear your thoughts or experiences on the brush heads if any. Thank you!
Really enjoyed your review. Informative, very funny and realistic. Thank you. I have had a Clarisonic Aria for four years (a present for a significant birthday and after much hint dropping) and I have had many compliments on my skin. My skin is super soft, very clean and comfortable. It’s also very important to moisturize thoroughly afterwards and reap the benefits of the creams going deep into the tissue therefore maximizing the effect. I only use my Clarisonic once daily. When I bought the device (yes, I was there – my husband would have some home with completely the wrong thing if left unsupervised!) the salesperson specifically said to expect breakouts for the first few weeks as it is clearing years of build up, dead skin and shaking all the grot to the surface. I completely agree with you in that it is very important to keep the device clean and change the brushes regularly (indeed, just like an electric toothbrush). Maintain the device properly, be sensible with what to expect (using it with inflamed acne will probably worsen the condition by spreading the infection). If you read the reviews on other sites, it does make it very clear there is no point in buying a Clarisonic from anywhere other than a major retailer (keep the receipt safe) – there are lots of fakes out there with no returns for a faulty product. Finally, well worth the nagging to get one and have recommended it to others who have experienced the same benefits. If you can afford it – get one. You too can be a luxurious and “pampered unicorn”!
Thanks for the explanation of no spinning! I was like, mine’s busted 😆
Hey! Just wanted to say your review was really in depth and thoughtful! I’m looking into one myself so this article gave me a lot to think about x Thanks!!
I’ve had mine for 10 years. Love it! Although I use it with my facial cleanser. No other way to clean. I’m 61 and gets compliments all the time about my skin being so healthy and young looking. Will buy another if this one dies on me.
Which cleanser do you use with your clarisonic? How often do you use it, and how do you build it into your skincare routine?
Great stuff here!! Thanks!
Have you ever tried PCA Clearskin as a moisturizer? I am struggling with adult acne- purchased Ultamd AM and PCA Clearskin to try out as safe, clearing moisturizer.
I love your review. You should definetely make a video? Do you have a vlog so i can sub?
Your review was great and very detailed but the Clarisonic is definitely out of my price range would you recommend the vanity planet brush because I think it does the same movement but i’m not sure, thanks 😉
2 years later! Do you still use it?
Went to look at different brush heads for my clarisonic brush and their website states they closed this brand on Sep 30, 2020
Nice review but I can’t help but feel sorry for the sales lady who was just doing her job and then you went and bought it somewhere else after doubting her. You must have never worked in sales before…