Clarisonic Shutting Down; WTF L’Oreal

Since 2004 (founded 2001), Clarisonic has been improving the cleansing game of countless people. Many of us suckers who bought into the sonic cleansing technology became devotees. The company was acquired by cosmetics giant L’Oreal in 2011. Since then, dozens of iterations of their cleansing devices have been designed and released. I’ve reviewed two of the devices – the Mia 2 and the Smart Profile.

Clarisonic Going out of Business
Clarisonic Shutting Down as of 9/30/2020

The End of an Era

When the news dropped last week that L’Oreal is shutting down the Clarisonic brand, however, many beauty consumers (myself included) were shocked. They are closing effective September 30 of this year and immediately marked down everything 50% on their own site with guidance for other retailers to do the same. Retailers may continue to offer product after that date, but items are not being manufactured or restocked.

Hey, cool, another thing I (and many others) really like getting discontinued. Sweeeet.


Parent company L’Oreal reports:

This difficult decision was made so that L’Oréal can focus its attention on its other core business offerings.

It’s hard to say why this strategy was decided-upon as the, “right,” one for L’Oreal. I can only suspect that the portfolio was not performing as well as it had in the past for a combination of reasons:

  • The newer Clarisonic devices and brush heads, frankly, weren’t attractive.
  • The price point of said new devices wasn’t enough to make a lot of people replace their (still functional) device.
  • Significant changes in brush bristle design and price point made it less attractive.
  • More competitors in the space between other bristled brushes and silicone options like what Foreo offers and now PMD.
  • Technology x skincare is cool, but what value does a bluetooth/app-enabled face brush actually deliver? It’s a premium feature that doesn’t actually do much for you.

My theory is that too much was invested in R&D for the newer releases that simply didn’t perform. But…still, WTF, L’Oreal?

For Now

If you have a device, run (don’t walk) to restock on brush heads. Clarisonic’s site is already sold out of the only brush heads I care about (these ones). I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to try to find replacements (at half off) elsewhere; I have a reasonable supply on hand because I usually hit Prime Day and Cyber Monday deals for them pretty hard. It is disappointing, though – once they’re gone, your choices are to look for third-party/generic ones. As for me, I think I will face the music and transition to my Luna Mini full time once I’m through with my, “legit,” brush heads.

For those of you with new enough devices to have warranty concerns, they will continue to honor warranties on devices purchased prior to the 9/30/2020 shutter date. You can learn more about warranty matters here.

Future Prospects

L’Oreal, via the Clarisonic brand, holds over 50 patents for the technology. I wonder if we will see a device released under another of L’Oreal’s brands that puts those concepts and technologies to use.

So far, they have not offered up anything like a recycling program. When it comes time to get all Marie Kondo on my Smart Profile, thank it for its service, and retire it I’d like to be able to not just throw the damn thing in the trash. Maybe we can pester L’Oreal to work with Terracycle.

The Bottom Line

For a lot of us who were fans of Clarisonic devices, this is pretty disappointing news. From what I can tell, other similar devices (brushes with bristles that rely on oscillation or rotation) don’t quite live up. The transition to a silicone-based solution (like one of Foreo’s Luna line or PMD’s Clean line) would at very least be more hygienic and lower waste (no replacement brush heads, for example).

You can learn more about what L’Oreal/Clarisonic has to say here.