It isn’t common for me to write a post jumping STRAIGHT to it, but I feel extremely strongly about the HydraSkin Hydra-dermabrasion device:
Do NOT buy this damn thing. Using anyone’s money. Seriously.
I’m not even going to link to it because that’s how bad it is. Now we’ll do that annoying movie trope where we rewind some number of weeks.
All Hail the Algorithm
I, like any Instagram user, am buffeted by ads on a regular basis. The Algorithm’s infinite wisdom does a pretty good job; 75% of the ads I receive on Insta are things I’d be genuinely curious about. Creepy, effective.
Hydraskin peddles a skincare device that offers, they claim, a microdermabrasion-like solution for skin to home users. They call it hydra-dermabrasion and the idea is that it uses a jet of water, combined with suction, to exfoliate your skin. Additionally, HydraSkin claims that their device:
improves blood flow and stimulates the production of collagen.
There’s a slew of claims about how it also improves skin’s hydration.
I hadn’t purchased something with the explicit purpose of reviewing it for the blog in a while so oh, what the hell.
Their site uses typical drop-ship sales and marketing tactics, such as establishing a false sense of urgency for prospective consumers by indicating that they, “Only have a few left!” Shockingly (not) HydraSkin has, “only had a few left!” in the eight times I’ve visited their site since. 👀
Additionally, HydraSkin advertises that the device is valued at nearly $150 but oh, for you, dear customer, it is available for a paltry $59.90! Uh-huh. Seems legit.
I ordered it on March 24. It shipped two days later; not bad! Despite what the site suggests, however, the product ships from China. I have no objections to this (although some may), but language on their site implies that it ships from within the US. I didn’t end up receiving the device until April 15. Of course, HydraSkin cannot be held liable for crazy international shipping times in a pandemic, but they are responsible for the expectations that they set on their site.
Get it? Yes. Got it? No
I don’t have unboxing photos of my HydraSkin device because the packaging is nothing special. It was cheap packaging that didn’t hold up to international shipping well. I opened the package and found the device, its attachments, and a small booklet that I assumed was a user manual.
What do we say about people who assume?
The Problems Begin
The slip included with the product did NOTHING in the way of advising how to use the device. I plugged it in to charge (it charges via USB-micro) and sat down with the booklet to find a nearly unintelligible guide full of things NOT to do. Don’t get it wet (uh, hydra-dermabrasion?). Don’t turn it upside down. Half a dozen things, but not what TO DO with it other than suggestions that you can put skincare products (serums) in the water if you want.
The device is not intuitively designed, so instructions would be useful.
The Device Itself
There’s a single button on the device that both powers it on and changes modes. I fumbled around with it for a while, detached the tank, attached one of the six attachment heads (a soft silicone one), filled the clean water side and tried to reattach the tank.
The tank doesn’t secure. It kind of rests against it with a tiny peg, but it doesn’t truly secure. Oh. Okay. Good.
When you power it on, it hums. Advancing through the three power settings conveys a gradually louder hum, but nothing was happening at the attachment – not suction, not water, nothing. I swapped it for one of the hard plastic heads and achieved suction, but the water would not flow.
After fiddling with the intake tube, I managed to get a drizzle and do the left side of my face from chin to cheekbone on the lowest setting. It was uncomfortable. The tank wouldn’t stay attached and would fall off. It was awkward to hold and use.
And I had a bruise around my nostril and chin. “Okay, I thought. Maybe there’s something I should be doing differently.”
Asking for Help
I emailed their support group to see if they can provide a manual since what is provided does not provide any instructive value. I received an acknowledgement that the included instructions are bad along with a PDF that is a bit better but NOT encouraging – it had a lot of warnings about bruising.
Red flag. A consumer skincare device should never put you at risk for bruising through as-directed use. EVER. That is an injury!
Giving It Another Shot
I tried what they suggested, but it was more fussing with the intake tube or starting the device against the back of my hand. The tank wouldn’t stay attached.
I never could successfully get it to run long enough to do my whole face, and I ended up with bruises two times on the lowest setting, without going over any areas.
I was genuinely stunned. I’ve never used something THIS BAD.
Enough is Enough
I reached out to their customer service again to explain these issues and request a refund. It’s important to point out how incredibly rare it is for me to return something: it has to be genuinely, spectacularly bad – and injury and horrible build quality to the point where the device won’t even stay assembled during use – is that.
“Sure,” they told me. “We’ll just need you to send us a photo of the device in its original packaging to ensure it hasn’t been broken or any pieces are missing. Then, we’ll send you the return address. You will pay for return shipping, and once we receive it, we will refund you, less initial shipping.”
Under normal circumstances, that would be a reasonable ask. These aren’t normal circumstances. I explained that the issues I’ve experienced are extenuating (it injured me when used 100% as directed) and that I hoped we could work together on a more satisfactory solution. Also, it isn’t as though this device could be resold. I looked into shipping out of curiosity, and it would cost me about $25 – nope!
The Bottom Line
I don’t like being an unreasonable consumer. I’m not even mad about this because I knew it was a gamble going into it. However – selling such a wildly low quality device with known safety issues is not acceptable. I’ll stick with my trusty chemical exfoliants, like Tarte Knockout.
That was a week ago, and I heard no response. This shady company isn’t keeping my money, so I filed a dispute with PayPal today and they ruled in my favor in minutes – so I have my money back.
Skip the HydraSkin Hydra-Dermabrasion device, no matter how much the ads compel you.