Is the Clarisonic Worth the Money?


Dear Cheapo,

OK, I keep reading all these articles about the Clarisonic face brush, and how it will change my life, and how if I don't get one, my skin's probably going to fall off or at least turn into lizard hide and no one will ever love me. The thing is, these babies are like five billion dollars. So my question for you is: is it worth it to shell out for the Clarisonic?

What do you think?

Lynne K.

Dear Lynne,

I have good news and bad news, and they are the same news: the Clarisonic is totally, totally worth it. I say this not only as a cheap person, but as a person who has spent at least as much as a Clarisonic costs on bargain face brushes, scrubs, and professional facials. (My thriftiness is at constant war with my vanity. I will continue to update you on which one is winning, but it's almost always neck and neck.)

That said, there is absolutely no need to either: a) pay for the full, four-speed, fancypants version, or b) pay full price for the Clarisonic Mia, which is the brush you should get, if you're going to shell out the cash for one of these brushes.

Here's why: Exfoliation. The Clarisonic brush, which relies on minute vibrations to remove dead skin cells, dirt, and debris, does it better than a wash cloth and every skin brush system I've tried. Pretty much the only thing that compares, results wise, is getting an actual facial from a professional, and those aren't cheap.

If you get two facials a year, you're probably spending $200 annually on skin care. That's as much as the full version of the Clarisonic skin care brush, which I've seen advertised for anywhere from $160 - $250.

The Clarisonic Mia, on the other hand, generally retails for about $119. So if you get facials, and you cut out one a year, you can totally afford it.

The Mia is smaller, more portable, and only has one brush speed. Like the full version, you can buy replacement heads of varying softness.

I finally caved and bought a Mia two months ago. (For the full $119, like a fool. Learn from my mistakes, and get it from PriceGrabber if you're going to buy it. I found a few on there for as little as $95 and wanted to go lie down in the road, I felt so dumb.)

One day after starting to use the Clarisonic Mia, my skin was smoother to the touch and looked softer and fresher. My moisturizer, which costs all of about $15 bucks, absorbed much more quickly and seemed generally more effective. A few weeks after using it twice a day, as recommended, I saw a general improvement in the quality of my skin. I looked glowier, for lack of a better term, and maybe ... just maybe ... a little bit younger? It could have been all in my head, but honestly, that's half of what beauty treatments are for -- to make us feel better about ourselves -- so I'm fine with it either way.

Needless to say, while this brush may reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines, nothing gets rid of them. I know you're probably all tired of hearing me say this by now, but it's worth repeating.

Your pores are your pores; your lines are your lines. Nothing short of surgery will get rid of 'em, but you can improve their appearance by carefully cleansing and moisturizing your skin. (And, most importantly of all, protecting it from the sun.)

I didn't experience the purge stage that some folks on the internet reported seeing, where your skin gets worse before it gets better, but I did have an adjustment period in terms of learning to use it properly. Basically, you want to hold this gently against your skin, not press it into your face. If you're too rough with it, you run the risk of overcleansing or possibly breaking capillaries, and that isn't going to get your closer to your goal of gorgeous skin.

Hope that helps, and thanks for reading,