The Clarisonic Classic system is a battery-powered, rechargeable vibrating brush designed for your face. The brush head of the Clarisonic (and all of the various iterations, such as the Mia) vibrates at exceptionally high speeds (300 oscillations, or back-and-forth movements, every second). The design and timing of this the movement is unique to the brand, unlike spinning, oscillating head models. Why does this matter? A spinning brush head, such as those you can find on many brands selling similar tools, has a greater risk of causing irritation to skin. The question is, is the Clarisonic worth its cost?
First, we should mention that whether a cleansing brush is of value to you or not is a personal choice—but they should be considered splurge products rather than a "must-have". While they can absolutely help cleanse skin, the result isn't fundamentally different from using a soft washcloth with your cleanser or the occasional use of a mild cleansing scrub, if that's your preference.
Those considering the splurge on a cleansing brush should be concerned about the brush's gentleness, durability, and features, as the right combination of those factors can make the investment worth it. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what you can expect from the Clarisonic.
Each tool in the Clarisonic range comes with a brush head and charger base, and, as you would expect, every Clarisonic is waterproof. Clarisonic offers multiple models (over a dozen at last count), from the lesser expensive Mia range ($99 and up) to their “high end” Classic Cleansing System and the Smart Profile ($265). The primary difference between each model is size of the tool and the option to adjust cleansing speeds—the Mia range has lesser to no speed adjustment options and the higher-end models offer varying speed choices (depending on the model).
The brush head replacements are universal and will fit any model of Clarisonic, and offer a range of options that vary in length and stiffness—from the ultra soft Luxe heads to the “Deep Clean” alternatives. The shorter and stiffer the brush hairs, the stronger the cleansing experience.
On that note, what of the claims that the Clarisonic cleanses “6 times better” than hands alone? While Clarisonic does provide studies demonstrating the benefits of their cleansing tools on their site, each was conducted from the brand and is neither independent nor third party substantiated research. After all, a washcloth will clean your face much better than hands alone too!
Clarisonic recommends replacing the brush heads every three months, which is generally a good idea. Just like your toothbrush, the hairs will wear down and lose their effectiveness, as well as expose patches of the brush head that can rub against skin and cause irritation. Cleansing the brush heads with a special cleanser isn’t necessary, as you are effectively cleansing it while you cleanse your face. Makeup remnants can easily be rinsed off, or you can simply wash the brush head with your regular cleanser to remove any last traces of foundation, etc.
Bottom line: As mentioned above, cleansing brushes are always a splurge product and never a necessity. However, if you are in the mood to splurge, the Clarisonic is absolutely the best choice due to the quality of the tool, variable brush head choices and warranty availability from the brand. The fact that the Clarisonic is the only cleansing brush that uses the sonic vibration technology (instead of a spin-head brush) also makes it the most gentle on skin—but beware the Deep Cleanse brush heads, which are too harsh for any skin.
We should note that cleansing brushes are iffy in general for those who have conditions such as rosacea or eczema.
- Easy to operate, and transports well.
- The only cleansing brush using sonic-vibration technology.
- Helps cleanse skin, boosting the makeup/oil removal of your favorite cleanser.
- Brush head options allow for sensitive skin and most skin types.
- Advertising overstates its benefits, when it’s not fundamentally different than using a washcloth with your cleanser.