This legacy post has been given a facelift for clarity and readability. Updates have been marked in line. Enjoy! Unfortunately, the Clarisonic Mia 2 is generally not for sale any longer (though I did see a set at Costco recently), but I can confirm that the results I experienced tend to follow several of their other devices. :)
Disclaimer: The following Clarisonic Mia 2 review was written by me and originally published over at the now-defunct Skincare Addiction Blog.
I tend to face ultra-hyped products with a certain degree of skepticism. After all, we’ve all plunked down money for something that just couldn’t live up to the marketing and was too good to be true. That doesn’t mean I am not interested in trying them, but it does mean I take a little more than two-days-worth of convincing before I dub something, “game changing,” or, “holy grail.”
I wanted to try a Clarisonic for a a while but could not bring myself to shell out for it. I had an Olay Pro-X which was a mere fraction of the price, and when it comes right down to it, how many buttons and internet* and whatnot do we really need in our skincare routine? Eventually, the motor in my Pro-X began to falter – even with fresh batteries and a fresh brush head I had to use it longer to achieve the same level of clean that I was accustomed to. I started looking into the Clarisonic Mia 2, as I tossed around the idea of replacing my 2+ year old Pro-X device. To my delight, my now-husband gave me a Clarisonic Mia 2 as a very early Christmas gift last year (so Clarisonic doesn’t know me).
I wasn’t seeking a miracle worker in the Clarisonic Mia 2; I neither believe in miracle beauty products nor have any severe skin conditions to contend with. That said, let’s talk about my skin, about which I have few complaints (back in December 2014):
- Normal/Oily T-Zone. Cheek dryness during winter
- Larger pores throughout T-Zone
- A few Hormonal (cycle-related) blemishes around, “that time”
- Sebaceous filaments on and just to the area just below and next to my nostrils
- Occasional flakiness around nose & odd texture (not dryness) between eyes and across the upper-bridge of my nose
- Not sensitive
Although I wanted to gush about it right away, I decided to be patient. I know I tire of reading/hearing how life-changing this new-fangled (and often expensive) product or gadget that the reviewer has had for oh, three days. It may be, but some things deserve a greater level of scrutiny (this isn’t drugstore lipstick, after all) before being published.
Considering that a Clarisonic is an investment item for many consumers, I decided to use it for a whole year before talking about it.
Out of the box (or at least the box I received), you get:
- the Clarisonic Mia 2
- the compatible P-Link charging cable (which is dual-voltage and therefore travel-friendly)
- a clamshell case
- a Sensitive brush head with cover
- literature on the product
- and Clarisonic-branded cleanser (last two not shown).
Like many electronic personal care devices, the Clarisonic Mia 2 requests a full twenty-four hours of charge-time before use. This was excruciating, but I got through it.
Just as we have been led to expect, my first use was magical: easy to operate, not harsh, no learning-curve. On initial use, my skin definitely felt softer – I was using a drugstore BHA toner at the time and did not wind up with anywhere near as much ilk on the cotton pad as normal. We were off to a great start. I continued using Cetaphil Gentle Skin cleanser; all other aspects of my routine remained the same. Two weeks later, I phased out the toner; why bother with a product that isn’t performing for you any more?
Sensitive Brush Head
Like most of their devices, my device came with the Sensitive brush head, and that is the head I have repurchased since. Described by Clarisonic themselves as their middle-of-the-road all-purpose head, I was satisfied (2019 Update: The Radiance brush head is where its at for me). with how it treats my skin. I never tried the firmer Normal brush head (no longer for sale), nor is my skin sensitive enough to try their Delicate or Acne brush heads (purportedly the acne head is even gentler than the standard one).
Like toothbrushes, brush heads should be replaced every three months. At $44 for 2 a pop (regular retail), I pushed it to four to see how big of a deal it was; it wasn’t! I comfortably got four months out of my brush heads without deterioration of the brush or the results. I do take care to remove excess water from the head after use and clean them once every week or two.
The Clarisonic Mic 2 has a non-removable battery that recharges via induction with the magnetic, “P-Link,” cable. As the battery tires, it buzzes at the end of a cycle to tell you, “Hey, you should plug me in. I might not last another full cycle.” Easy.
I have counted and get at least twenty-two uses out of my device at the normal speed before it needs to be charged. Consider that a use is one minute of active cleansing with the device, plus the fact that batteries do slowly lose charge over time as they idle. Since I typically use it once daily, I’m getting over three weeks’ worth of cleansing off a single charge.
Before using the Clarisonic, I only washed my face once per day. I found twice sometimes left my skin dry. After a month of using it once per day, I tried the Clarisonic Mia 2 twice daily for science. The first few days of that were fine, but after that my skin became irritated. Suddenly I experienced tightness, increased flaking around my nose, and a few blemishes. Since my skin is typically clear I knew it was the change in my routine stressing my skin out.
Some of the common complaints about the device causing break-outs seem to be due to overuse or not a gentle enough cleanser. It is upsetting when a product (especially an expensive one!) doesn’t deliver as you’d hoped. That said, when you have invested in a tool like this, it is worth trying to make it work. I dropped back after a week to using it only once daily; my skin calmed down, and I have kept it that way since.
The Clarisonic Mia 2, unlike its predecessor, features two speeds for cleansing. I have used both but prefer the, “normal,” speed. If my skin were prone to irritation I would use the slower one.
Confession: That popular apricot scrub that is, in fact, pretty horrible for your face? Even after I learned it wasn’t kind to skin, it remained in my routine longer than I care to admit. Eventually, I swapped it out for their gentler (but still containing walnut shells) version with AHA – and I was still using it when I introduced the Clarisonic to my routine. After a while, it seemed like a pointless step so I nixed it. After all, an AHA that you rinse off your face after a minute isn’t that useful. I haven’t missed it for a moment.
As someone who likes a mix of manual and chemical exfoliation, and I have found the perfect balance (for my skin!) between the device and an AHA treatment (2019 Update: love love love Tarte Knockout Tingling Treatment).
After about four months in, I hit smooth sailing and it has been that way ever since. Back then, I washed my face with Cetaphil Gentle and my Clarisonic once a day; in 2019, I use and have used CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser (available here and at drugstores). My skin is cleaner with fewer products and smoother with lesser effort. We already know that regular, gentle exfoliation makes our skin appear brighter (the marketing folks love to toss around the word, “radiant!”) and all that jazz. That much is true, but would be true with any gentle exfoliation regimen.
I found that the Clarisonic is competent to remove makeup at both speeds (when paired with a decent cleanser). It can do this in a single cycle, including long-wearing matte-finish foundations. I prefer to go in with a cloth first to remove as much as I can so I’m cleansing my face, not makeup I wore.
My usual routine includes removing my makeup with a
makeup-removing wipe (2019) reusable makeup cloth and then going in with the Clarisonic device.
…is not just a tired series of movies.
I never experienced a “purge” as some other users have reporting. Any change you make in your skincare routine carries the potential for an adjustment period during which you may experience an extra few blemishes.
When I moisturize after the fact, I find that a smaller amount goes a longer way. This was true for CeraVe Moisturizing Cream when I used it, of the Alpha Hydrox 10% AHA Lotion, and the argan oil I continue to use today. Furthermore, it enables treatments like Tarte Knockout and my Vitamin C serums to be more effective.
A device can’t stop occasional hormonal acne. It did, however, did make my skincare routine easier – which helps clear them up faster. Though they have not ended entirely, the flaky areas around my nose definitely have decreased, to my delight. The texture I mentioned is intermittent; it is harder to work in this area unless you disassemble the brush head and only use the smaller, inner-portion of the brush. My sebaceous filaments are under control – you cannot remove, fix, or stop the. Sebaceous filaments are manageable with regular exfoliation.
In a year, I completely eliminated products from my routine, have cut back on others and introduced no new. This means my routine is simpler – so I’m saving space, time, and money.
The Bottom Line
The Clarisonic Mia 2 is a good device, and I am happy with it. At
a year over five years in (2019), I am only halfway through out of the warranty period. The device works but its battery life isn’t what it used to be. I get about 10-12 uses per charge now. I like what it does for my (not excessively problematic) skin and enjoy using it.
- My skin is cleaner, softer, and brighter, than a manual cleanse.
- I’m using fewer products to achieve the same results.
- My pores aren’t as glaringly obvious to me. We know that you cannot actually shrink them, so I’ll take it.
- No impact on my fine lines (all this skepticism leaves lines in a forehead, and the pleasant surprises leave smile-lines); some days they may seem less visible than others, but they are most definitely still there. It is important to have realistic expectations: no Clarisonic device is a miracle worker. This isn’t going to firm up your face, but regular stimulation and exfoliation may make it seem more lively.
I recommend Clarisonic devices and I will eagerly tell anyone, “You want this!” because I find it fun to use and have enjoyed positive results. For me and my lifestyle I find it a worthwhile investment. I won’t tell anyone, “You NEEEEEEED this,” because you can certainly achieve gentle daily exfoliation without the device.
If you expect it to be a miracle cure, it isn’t. There’s simply no such thing; with the powers of science and technology combined we can achieve a lot for our skin. But we won’t achieve 100% flawless skin (because that does not exist). Were I to do it over, I would choose a less-costly model since I do not use the slower speed. If your skin is more prone to irritation, though, I would get this one and use the lower speed.
If you find yourself on the fence, try picking it up from a reputable retailer with a generous return policy and give it a shot. Even if you return it, its worth the effort to check it out – and you have little to lose. Don’t write it off if you aren’t seeing results/improvement in a couple days; your routine may need to change (try a gentle, basic cleanser with this regardless of what you use currently use).
* Clarisonic devices do not interact with the internet. Not yet, at least.
Tried Clarisonic Mia 2 for a whole year. Liked it. It made enough of an impact to recommend it overall to those without hypersensitive skin. I won’t board the hype train by falling over myself proclaiming it a game/life-changing miracle-worker.