Clarisonic Radiance Brush Head

Clarisonic Radiance Brush Head

Initially

Up until this past winter, I exclusively used the Clarisonic Sensitive Brush Head. As I approached restocking time, the cost-effective four-packs of Sensitive brushes for $81 were sold out everywhere. I never had any intention of trying the other brush heads, but I’m not about to pay $27 each…when I can get 2 for $44 (or, even better, 4 for $81!). I time my purchases of supplies like this so that I can take advantage of a 15% VIB or 20% Platinum Perk discount because I hate paying full retail.

Before

For a while, my Clarisonic had been nearly-benched in favor of my FOREO Luna Mini. I had come to decide that the Clarisonic, paired with the Sensitive brush head, was too much for daily use for me. Instead, I was using the FOREO Luna Mini daily and the Clarisonic primarily for decollete use and occasional face use.

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Silkn Revit

Silkn ReVitSilkn Revit, $99

Now that I’ve reviewed the microderm-like product that disappointed me, it’s time to talk about the one I dig! I got my Silkn Revit at Costco (who is seriously underrated for beauty finds, by the way) for $65, which is over a third off its retail price. Unfortunately, I can’t find this on Costco.com at the moment; I picked mine up in the warehouse. If I couldn’t find it on sale, I’d look at Nordstrom what with their famous return policy.

Every blog review I’ve read so far has been little more than a regurgitation of the marketing materials Silkn puts out. Cute…and not useful.

Ergonomics

This device is far simpler than the PMD device I tried recently. There’s a single button that turns on, increases suction, and turns off depending on how many times it is pressed. It is ergonomically-friendly, lightweight, and easy to hold.

Power

This device operates on AC power and must be used while plugged into an outlet. I do not find this terribly inconvenient; I’d rather consistent performance over vague convenience. I use the device at my bathroom sink or at my desk with my vanity mirror.

Turning the Silkn ReVit on merely activates suction – the exfoliating tip does not move. As you glide the device over your skin, the abrasive tips liberate dead skin. The suction then whisks it away down to a filter that you later clean or toss. Suction is gentle and does not leave awkward marks on the skin.

The device IS dual voltage and can be used outside the US, but you do need an adapter to make it fit the AC plugs elsewhere.

Exfoliating Diamond Tips

Unlike traditional microdermabrasion treatments rendered by an esthetician or medical professional, this does not blast and vacuum up tiny crystals. The tip of the device is abrasive metal; they’re referred to as, “diamond tips,” but I have successfully found precisely ZERO information on what the hell that precisely means.

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PMD Personal Microderm

PMD Personal MicrodermPMD Personal Microderm, $159

I’ve been questing to achieve skin that doesn’t piss me off for a while now. Around the holidays, I ordered a PMD Personal Microderm system from Nordstrom to try. My concerns:

  • General exfoliation/cellular turnover
  • Sebaceous filaments
  • Skincare product absorption
  • General preventative aging stuff

PMD Personal Microderm describes their device as…

…a revolutionary at-home skincare tool that provides the same brilliant results as professional … treatments. PMD Personal Microderm combines Patented(1) Spinning Disc technology(2) with Perfectly Calibrated(3) Vacuum Suction to brighten, smooth, and even skin tone and texture. Personal Microderm reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, blemishes, and enlarged pores. This exfoliation process removes the dead, dull skin cell barrier, increases blood flow, and boosts the body’s natural production of collagen and elastin.

Having a Patent isn’t as Big of Deal as it Sounds

First things first: I hate when marketing departments throw the word, “patented,” in front of something. It’s a buzz-word. It isn’t more impressive simply because it was patented. Not to be crass here, but toilet tissue was patented, too.

Patented

Just add, “Technology!”

Second, more marketing criticism – “Spinning disc technology.” You know what else uses spinning disc technology?

frisbee

Perfection is Ambitious

Third, throwing in that golden adjective, “perfectly,” is a little bold. Different skin types need different things, so let’s not pretend that there really is a one-size-fits-all level of suction. That is what the PMD Personal Microderm devices offer, but to call it perfection is a bit much.

The Device

The PMD device receives largely positive reviews, but my first impression of the PMD Personal Microderm was that it felt lightweight and flimsy in my hands. Here’s this fairly large handle…made, clearly, of hollow plastic. The balance was poor. It wasn’t comfortable in my and and felt awkward to hold. On top of that, I nudged the power rocker several times during normal use. Poorly thought out.

The PMD Personal Microderm device is not battery powered, so treatment needs to take place near an outlet, which may be a detractor to some. I’d rather have consistent power and performance than the freedom to traipse around my apartment while sloughing off my skin’s outermost layers. There are two threaded plastic caps that hold the exfoliating, spinning disc in place; one wide, one narrow. The wide discs and cap are intended for larger surface areas (cheeks, forehead) and the smaller discs and cap are used in narrower spaces (around the nose, etc).

To switch discs, unscrew the cap, pull the disc cylinder out, and replace. I found that the disc cylinders were a little snug and stiff when it came to removing and replacing, but I accepted this if it meant they were secure.

Usage

Prior to use, you should wash your skin with a mild cleanser and pat dry. Skip moisturizers.

Starting at the bottom center of your face, hold the PMD Personal Microderm to the skin and use the other hand to hold the treatment area taut. Moving outward and upward in steady strokes, move the device across the skin. Easy enough. PMD has you start with a super-gentle white disc to help you acclimate to the device and prevent you from destroying your skin.

After the first two uses, I graduated from the white discs to the light grey (ultra-sensitive) and blue (sensitive) discs. After each use, my skin was red but not in pain. My skincare products did sink in quickly after use and that day and the next my skin was fairly bright.

Over Time

Using it once weekly for six weeks did not seem to be significantly impactful, however. I had to work hard to deal with sebaceous filaments just as I would have without the device, and the lines that developed in my forehead woefully (albeit not unexpectedly) early are just as noticeable as they ever were.

Also, although the exfoliation was there I didn’t find myself getting better with the device – I didn’t go slowly by any stretch of the imagination, but it was difficult to smoothly glide over my skin; the disc wouldn’t stay in proper contact with my skin as I moved the PMD Personal Microderm device around. It would skip with the suction and tug a bit, which was uncomfortable but not injurious. I did not have difficulty lining up my strokes to avoid a, “tiger stripe,” effect that some users reported.

Reviews report that the devices loses suction after about a year. That’s disappointing considering the cost of the device. If it truly gave professional results, a limited lifespan would be completely worth it (after all, how much is microdermabrasion at a med-spa?)…but it doesn’t.

The Bottom Line

A rarity, I ended up returning the device after six weeks of use. I wouldn’t recommend. Why?

  • The results were not consistent with the marketing or hype.
  • I found it challenging to use consistently without skipping over my skin.
  • I did not see anything beyond short term, 1-2 day benefits.
  • Limited lifespan at approximately one year.
  • High replacement/consumable cost at $15-20 for a set of 4-6. When each disc should be replaced every 3-4 uses, that adds up!
  • Sensitive heads feel decently abrasive (not painful); can’t really see someone using a coarser disc without discomfort.
  • Device felt flimsy and isn’t designed with ergonomics in mind for the cost.
  • Seemed that I had to work entirely too hard to contend with sebaceous filaments, which are common and not stubborn…if I had that much trouble with that, how much difficulty would someone using it for anti-aging concerns have?
  • The lines in my forehead are just as obvious as ever. I’m not trying to get rid of them, per se – of course I have lines in my forehead as a cynical twenty-something – but this did nothing to them, which I think would be concerning, again, for someone looking into the PMD Personal Microderm device for DIY anti-aging treatment.

Fortunately, I found and use something else. Have you tried any at-home microdermabrasion substitutes?

FOREO LUNA Mini

This spring, I purchased a FOREO LUNA Mini in an attempt to troubleshoot my misbehaving skin. Worried I was overdoing it with my Clarisonic Mia 2, I wondered if a movement-free, bristle-free option might treat me better.

Size

FOREO LUNA Mini in my palm. My ringfinger there is a size 5 for reference.

The FOREO LUNA Mini is about the size of the palm of my hand. On the front of the device, low in the horizontal center, is a power button. This single button controls on/off, as well as switching between cleansing modes, of which there are two.

The splotchy shine on the surface of my Luna in the picture there is due to my hard water. I can clean it and make it pristine, but it really doesn’t make a difference – and this is the Real World, not Magical Blogger World where everything is picture-perfect 100% of the time.

Ergonomics

This is one area the device falls flat for me. The round, disc-like device is awkward to hold; it doesn’t feel natural in my hand, and I’m always worried I’m going to drop it. Furthermore, it’s shape is awkward to navigate around the contours of the face. The FOREO LUNA Mini 2 is going to have the same issue, unfortunately. I assume the full-sized LUNA (including the LUNA 2) devices perform a bit better in this area because instead of being a little disc, they’re somewhat oblong.

Cleansing Surfaces

Foreo Luna Mini Skincare Gadget

There are three different types of silicone cleansing nubs split between two locations. On the front, the majority of the surface is made up of thinner, fine nubs. These are the gentlest of the three, and are suitable for your entire face. At the top, the nubs are a bit larger and firmer. They are better suited for more-focused exfoliation without being over-the-top or uncomfortable.

On the rear, also at the top, is the Deep Cleansing surface which features the largest and firmest bristles. Frankly, I don’t use this surface often because it can be a bit much – but when I do use it, I’m using them to work out stubborn sebaceous filaments around my nose.

Cleansing Modes

The FOREO LUNA Mini features two cleansing speeds. When you turn it on, it’s at full tilt; press the power button again to get it to calm down.

LUNA Mini is outfitted with quadpacer functionality that those of you who use electric toothbrushes will be familiar with. It fusses at you to move to a different area of the face every fifteen seconds. It automatically shuts off after 3 minutes so those of us who are absentmindedly overzealous don’t rip our faces up.

Battery & Charging

FOREO LUNA Mini Waterproof (!) Charging Port

On the back, there is a waterproof charging port. This is an interesting choice in this wonderful world of induction charging that we live in but it works just fine. So yes, that’s right – this can live in the shower or at your sink and water getting in the port doesn’t really matter. Give it sometime to dry before charging, though, just to be safe.

The LUNA Mini is fully charged within just an hour. So far, I’ve had no issues with the battery, and have only charged it twice – the initial charge when I unboxed it in April, and in November. The claim of 300 uses (or about 5 months) per charge doesn’t seem inflated or unreasonable based on its performance so far or the performance of the ISSA Mini. I was able to go longer per charge since I switch between this and my Clarisonic.

I have yet to notice degradation in performance that is commonly linked to battery discharge in such devices. A big win here, and that makes it awesome for travel, especially for a week or more – you can do so without bringing your charger.

Cost per Use

Obviously depends heavily on how much you pay for it. When I purchased mine, the regular retail was $99. I got with a Platinum Perk coupon and only paid $79. At its regular retail, assuming once daily use for a year = roughly $0.27 per use. This doesn’t include the cost of the power to charge it because a) it’s negligible and b) electricity rates vary a lot.

These devices will last longer than a year, though. Add in the consideration that there are no brush heads to replace and the fact that you essentially only need to charge it twice per year, and the value skyrockets from there.

Two Years – $0.14

Three Years – $0.09

Five Years – $0.05

My Skin after 8 Months

I didn’t exclusively use the FOREO Luna Mini. My desire to be flexible and pursue what appeared to be working overpowered my desire to approach things scientifically, unfortunately. But I can give you anecdotal evidence.

  • The LUNA Mini is not an exfoliation beast. It DOES exfoliate a bit, but you are not going to get Clarisonic-like results from it. It does clean thoroughly, though, and the silicone bristles feel gentler on the skin. Their construction also feels more like a facial massage than a Clarisonic brush head does.
  • The LUNA Mini can stand up to annoying, stubborn sebaceous filaments. Hallelujah! That’s really my only persistent skin annoyance; and it isn’t really a problem – in fact, they’re present in totally normal, healthy skin…they’re just unsightly to some of us.
  • You do have to apply some pressure with the LUNA Mini to reap the benefits that those odd-looking silicone cleansing nubs can give you. If you’re coming from just washing with your hands, a soft cloth, or a powered brush like a Clarisonic, this will take adjusting-to.
  • I was able to comfortably switch between the LUNA Mini and my Clarisonic Mia 2 without my skin having a conniption.
  • My skin isn’t ‘more radiant’ with it than it was with what I was doing before, but it is cleaner and clearer than when I have a weird day where I just wash my face with hands or a cloth.

The Bottom Line

I’m fairly satisfied with the FOREO Luna Mini. It is significantly more challenging for me to overdo exfoliation with this device because, well, that isn’t what it is intended for – so my goal was ultimately achieved. That said, don’t know that I would repurchase this model or its successor, the LUNA Mini 2. Why?

The ergonomics of it are annoying to me. Furthermore, although it is better suited to travel than my other device, they now have a smaller LUNA better suited to this. (I am referring to the LUNA Go not the LUNA Play. The Go is not disposable! More on that in another post). I would, however, buy a LUNA Go to replace my LUNA Mini. Same functionality, smaller package.

Given my stance on repurchasing, this is one rare instance where my recommendation(s) aren’t entirely aligned. I would recommend the LUNA Mini to the following:

  • Young people who are into skincare and want a device. A fourteen year old doesn’t necessarily need to go Clarisonic-hard on her skin!
  • Mature individuals with delicate skin. A powered-brush might be too hard on this skin-type. and exfoliation at this point is (usually) best addressed with a chemical regimen established with a dermatologist.
  • If you travel, it’s viable…but again, I’d recommend the LUNA Go over the Mini for those with travel needs.

Have you tried a LUNA device or are you considering purchasing one?

PSA: 20% off FOREO Sale

20% off FOREO Sale

Today through Wednesday, FOREO is offering 20% off ALL devices with code FOREO1216.

Almost two years ago, I considered and ultimately purchased this unconventional toothbrush for my husband who has very sensitive gums. Eventually, eight months ago, I shared his review. His favorable opinion remains the same, and it was awesome to hear that his hygienist and dentist approved of the FOREO Issa mini’s performance, too. We can’t recommend it enough for those of you for whom routine brushing is really uncomfortable for, and who don’t relish the expense that conventional powered toothbrushes bring (cost breakdown on a full-sized ISSA at retail price is in this post).

I decided to buy a FOREO Luna mini for myself around the time we were writing up his review of the Issa Mini. Unlike my other skincare gadget, I’m not intentionally waiting forever to share my thoughts, I’ve honestly just been lazy. My goal is to publish that before the year’s end, but here’s my quick-take on the Luna Mini (not the Luna Mini 2, which I have not tried):

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