skin care

How to use a Clarisonic


Last week I had my first hands-on demo of the infamous Clarisonic to launch its new counter in House Of Fraser on Oxford Street. Alas, 15 minutes before my appointment, I found the store temporarily closed due to a power failure, so the expected chi-chi demonstration became a potted history with Daniel Sandler on the pavement until the doors reopened and we set to.

Make-up artist Daniel Sandler discovered the Clarisonic on a trip to the States a few years ago and helped to spread the word on his return to the UK. The Clarisonic then became something of a cult, nay a phenomenon, which has now spawned quite a few imitations. But they’re not exactly the same. Clarisonic’s famous oscillating technology has been patented, meaning none of the copies are an exact match. Whereas the competitors tend to have rotating brushes, these have brushes that gently vibrate back and forth to break down oil and dirt. This means that if used properly, it shouldn’t stimulate acne or aggravate sensitive skin. According to my demonstrator, while you may experience a breakout the first time, this is just the result of deep pore cleaning, much like a post-facial breakout, but subsequent cleanses should be fine.

Here’s what else I learnt:

*You don’t need to scrub or apply pressure, just gently move the brush in circular motions guided by the timer. There are also special brush heads for delicate or sensitive skin.

*You do need to clean and dry the brush head each time you use it. You can use it in the shower but don’t store it in there wet attracting mould (ew).

*Don’t use an oil or cream cleanser. If you wear a lot of heavy makeup, Daniel recommends double cleansing, so use your rich oil or cream cleanser to remove makeup first, then use a water-based cleanser with the Clarisonic.

*Men love the Clarisonic too. It has a brush attachment that lifts the beard to prepare for a closer shave and guys with ultra short hair can even use it on their heads.

*You can also use the Clarisonic Plus on the body, even dry for circulation-boosting dry body brushing. And it’s apparently very effective in reducing those icky upper arm bumps (otherwise known as keratosis pilaris).

At £125-£179, the Clarisonic clearly isn’t cheap. But it’s a tool that dermatologists (its original customers) and make-up artists swear by for prepping the skin to help absorb products more efficiently.  Effectively, I guess that also means your expensive creams,  serums and make-up will perform better so you’ll need to use less. In that sense,  it’s really not a bad investment.

Beauty buy: ARK Age Maintain skincare

For some reason, I’m getting bombarded with info about anti-aging products. I don’t generally subscribe to the whole anti-aging schtick but I agreed to try out some products by ARK because it’s not a ‘promise you’ll look younger’ brand, but has more of a self-preservation ethos. So I bypassed the serums and masques and requested a face wash and lip balm. The Age Maintain Conditioning Cleanser is a wash-off cleanser that’s very satisfying to use with a nice consistency and soothing fragrance. I use this at the end of the day as I really like the smell so it serves as an incentive to take that extra make-up removal step that’s usually such a chore.

While the Plumping Lip Balm didn’t noticeably plump my lips (they’re quite plump already), I did love using it. It comes in a glass bottle and the balm is more of a light cream than a waxy balm. I used it in the morning as a base for lipstick and reapplied it later in the day. I noticed that you don’t get that constant need to reapply that you sometimes get with other balms which is good as the down side is that the bottle is not very portable. At £26 it’s expensive but you get a lot of product. (Alas, a too-cluttered washstand meant mine ended up smashed to smithereens on the bathroom floor.) Another reason I avoid all the serums etc is because I don’t want to be saddled with a beauty regime that costs a fortune. However, the ARK products aren’t badly priced considering the science behind them so I’d buy these two products again as they’re so lovely to use.