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Best Face Cleaning Brushes – (Electric Models)

There is a lot to consider before making changes to your skincare routine. Adding in new lotions, cleansers, or scrubs can cause terrible breakouts if you don’t spot test over a long enough period (about 30 days).

It’s important to recognize what your skin looks and feels like before and after trying new skin care products. Dryness, tightness, redness, or breakouts can be a sign that you’re overdoing it and need to reevaluate.

So where does a face cleaning brush fit into your routine?

A facial cleansing brush can add extra exfoliation while using your current cleanser. Clarisonic recommends using its brushes twice per day, which means once in the morning and again before bed is a good routine.

As for using an exfoliating brush in addition to a scrub, you will have to test it out on your skin. It takes several weeks for changes in your routine to show big benefits, so be consistent and make changes slowly. If you’re exfoliating too much, your skin will let you know.

You will want to use the face brush daily when you use your cleanser, either at night or in the morning. We go into detail about how to use the brushes in the review section below.

Chemical Vs. Physical Exfolation

There are many different ways to do physical exfoliation. Most common natural facial scrubs use things like coarse sea salt, charcoal, oatmeal, honey, baking soda, sugar, and even ground coffee. You’re probably more familiar with the micro-spheres or beads that are just bits of plastic, which are horrible for aquatic life.

If you’re looking for a good exfoliating scrub, then seriously consider buying only natural products. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a natural face scrub.

A facial cleansing brush is supposed to loosen dirt and oil, unclog pores, and remove dead skin. This fits into the physical exfoliation category.

Now:

When we’re talking about chemical exfoliants it’s usually between alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA). The primary difference between these chemicals is that BHA’s are generally lipid-soluble, while AHA’s are water soluble.

Nice words, so what does that mean? Sebum and oil is a lipid, which means BHA’s will remove oil from your face easier than AHA’s. It’s also common to use a BHA followed by an AHA to better penetrate through your skin’s oil and pores.

What are common BHA’s and AHA’s?

BHA: Salicylic Acid

AHA: Lactic, Mandelic, and Glycolic Acids

Salicylic acid is probably an ingredient you’ve ran into many times and it’s found in many forms. Most people are familiar with the Stridex Pads in the red box. It’s also found in foaming cleansers and exfoliating “toners”.

Can I use chemical exfoliants and an exfoliating brush?

For example, if you’re using a Clarisonic Mia 2 with a gentle brush, then you should be fine. It really comes down to using the brush properly and not applying too much pressure, or brushing for too long. Each Clarisonic model comes with an auto shut-off after 1 minute to help you avoid brushing for too long.

If you’re considering the Mia 2, just keep in mind that it comes with a single Radiance Brush Head. They are very soft and are a great introduction to using a face brush, but another popular choice is the Deep Pore Cleaning Brush Heads.

Our alternative models don’t have a timer, so you’ll need to keep track yourself.

Will a face brush get rid of blackheads?

Facial cleansing brushes are a great tool for this, but you need to have a routine to get lasting results. Your pores won’t stop clogging up until after you’re dead, right?

Without a doubt, keeping your skin clean is the first step in this process. Some people find that simply using a BHA or AHA isn’t enough to reduce the appearance of sebaceous filaments (SF’s) or blackheads.

Figuring out what works for your skin requires some testing. Start with a BHA, like the Stridex Pads, and if you don’t see a reduction in blackheads, then consider adding in a facial cleansing brush or using a stronger exfoliant – like the 14% AHA from Alpha Skin Care.

Using a combination of these products, or alternatives that fit your skin type will go a long way in reducing the appearance of SF’s and blackheads. As always, it’s best to add products to your routine one at a time so that you can easily tell what works and what doesn’t.

How long should you test a face brush? According to Clarisonic, their Mia 2 model improves skin smoothness in a week and pores appear smaller after 4 weeks.

Best Exfoliating Face Brushes

Take a look at our top models here. Our research is just after these recommendations if you’re interested in a deeper look at these facial cleansing brushes.

Without a doubt, the Clarisonic line is the most familiar and popular facial brush. However, there are alternatives.

The primary reason to consider an alternative model is the price. If you’re already comfortable with using a facial cleansing brush, then spending more on a Clarisonic will get you access to some great brush heads.

Good To Know

As of October 2016, Amazon is now an authorized retailer of the Clarisonic brushes. You’ll notice that there are some quality and fake product concerns from reviewers before this. Now, this doesn’t seem to be an issue, but be sure you’re buying from the actual Clarisonic branded seller. Also, be sure to check some of the other retailers we’ve linked to below. They often have competitive pricing.

Top Pick

Clarisonic Mia 2

Clarisonic Mia 2

The 2 speed settings give you more control than the Mia 1. You might find the Mia FIT easier to travel with, but we think the Mia 2 works just fine. The Mia 2 also has a 2-year warranty that comes in handy if you have trouble with the battery. The power of the Clarisonic brushes feels superior to the AA and AAA battery powered alternatives.

The Mia 1 only has a 1-year warranty and that just isn’t long enough given that there is some concern over the battery failing around that time. It seems many users report having used them for years, while a handful have had the battery fail within months. The important thing is that you register your Mia product and take advantage of the warranty. That’s why we recommend the Mia 2 or Mia FIT for the 2-year warranty.

Also, we don’t feel the additional cost of the Mia FIT isn’t justified by it simply being more compact. Just go for the 2-year warranty on the Mia 2.

To properly use the Clarisonic Mia 2, you’ll move it around your face in circular motions as it oscillates. Each session lasts one minute and the brush automatically turns off when you’re done. It takes a little practice to get the timing right as you will want to spend about 15 seconds on each area of your face. The 4 zones you’ll want to spend 15 seconds each at are the forehead, nose, and each side of the cheek/chin area.

Alternatives to the Clarisonic Exfoliating Brushes

The key factors we look at in the alternatives to the Clarisonic brushes are battery type, price, and brush performance.

The Clarisonic brushes are some of the most expensive exfoliating brushes available, so that’s easy to improve on. The battery and brush performance are more debatable.

You can find tons of cheap exfoliating brushes at online retailers, but we want a decent warranty from a company in the USA. Not a Chinese vendor that’s going to disappear and never respond to issues with their product. These are the main reasons we like the Remington and Olay exfoliating brushes.

With the runner-up model – the Remington Reveal, the motion of the cleaning brush is different than with the Mia 2. Instead of the “sonic” vibrating-like motion of the Mia 2, the brush on the Remington spins on complete circles. Some people prefer this, while other feel the Mia 2 does a superior job at cleaning.

You do have to use them differently, and you have to be careful not to overuse the spinning brush models. It seems easier to brush too much with the spinning brushes, but it’s a good idea to take it slow and learn what works for you. If you’ve gone to far, you likely won’t realize it immediately, so just don’t spend too much time in one area of your face.

Budget Friendly

Remington Reveal

The Remington Reveal spins in complete circles as opposed to the “sonic” vibrating motion of the Clarisonic Series. The Lithium Ion battery is superior to the Clarisonic NiMH battery. It’s also much more affordable and has a 2-year warranty.

One thing to keep in mind with the spinning brushes is that you have to make sure your hair is completely out of the way. Using a towel or band to hold your hair away from your face is a must. This is to keep any hair from getting caught in the brush itself, which would be painful if it happened to wind up in the spinning mechanism. This isn’t a common problem, but worth mentioning to avoid surprises.

As for how to use this brush, it requires less effort from you than the Clarisonic. The spinning brushes do much of the work for you and you only need to move the brush from one area of your face to another.

The Remington Reveal has a lithium ion battery, which is much more preferrable than the Clarisonic NiMH. There are a lot of battery quality issues that could have been avoided if Clarisonic has just went with the lithium ion. For this reason alone, there is a good argument to be made for choosing the Remington over the Clarisonic, but the overall feel of the Clarisonic brushes is good. As long as you take advantage of the 2-year warranty, if any issues arise, then it should be fine.

Travel Size

Remington Reveal Compact

The Reaveal Compact is a travel friendly size and uses the same brush head as the Reveal. You also get a lithium ion battery. A great choice if you’re looking for something travel friendly.

There are some other options like the Olay ProX, which uses AA batteries. A common complaint with these types of brushes is that they are too weak, but we’ve found that the Olay works just fine, and if you just absolutely don’t want to spend the money on a Mia then you will be happy with a Remington or Olay. The Olay ProX will last over a month, with daily use, and it is one way to avoid having to deal with a built-in battery that might fail and can’t be easily replaced.

Regarding performance, the Clarisonic is a great choice. But if you’re looking for a budget friendly alternative, the Remington Reveal has a superior battery and is more affordable.

Removable Batteries

Olay ProX Facial Cleansing Brush

The Olay ProX is a spinning brush just like the Remington Reveal, except you can replace the batteries yourself. You can expect over a month of use from a single set of AA batteries if you’re using the brush daily. The cleaning performance of the Olay ProX is satisfying and makes it a reasonable budget alternative.

Our Research

We’re going to take a look at many of the different options available from Clarisonic and some of the alternatives that we sifted through. All of these brushes could be used by men or women, but Clarisonic and Remington both have brushes specifically marketed to men – the Clarisonic Alpha FIT and Remington Reveal Men’s Compact.

The only noticeable difference between these men’s models and the standard model is that they’re different colors and come with brushes intended for men. However, you could buy the men’s brushes and use them with the corresponding standard Clarisonic or Remington model.

The first thing we need to get out of the way is the Clarisonic NiMH batteries. Everyone knows NiMH batteries are temperamental and require a “smart” charger to get the most life and power from your battery. They also just don’t usually last as long as lithium ion batteries.

We think the Mia 2 model has less issues with the battery compared with the Alpha FIT or Mia FIT, but that is just based off reading a ton of different reviews. Seeing a large number of people with a common issue is more telling than just one person’s good or bad experience.

With that said, there are things you can do to take better care of a NiMH battery. There’s a ton of mixed information out there, but the guys over at tested.com have some solid info.

The two pieces of advice you can use:

  • Remove the batteries when the recharge is complete.
  • Don’t regularly discharge your batteries completely

Now, you can’t remove the batteries, but you can be sure not to leave your Mia plugged in after it has been completely charged. Get a good feel for how many uses you can get on a single charge. Then be sure to start charging your Mia around the half way point or a little less. Also, be sure to let your Mia charge for a full 24 hours before you use it. This isn’t a guarantee, but it’s good to apply some best practices and try to extend the life of your battery.

Clarisonic Mia 2 Vs. Clarisonic Mia 1

Clarisonic Mia 1
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • One Speed
  • Includes 1 Radiance Brush Head
  • Automatic Shut-off after 1 minute
Clarisonic Mia 2
  • 2-Year Warranty
  • Two Speeds
  • Includes 1 Radiance Brush Head
  • Automatic Shut-off after 1 minute

These are the main two full-size models. At this point, there isn’t much point in purchasing the Mia 1. You’re taking a risk by not getting the 2-year warranty and the two speeds are a nice convenience if you have sensitive areas to brush. You can use the same brush heads with the Mia 2 or Mia 1. If you’re not willing to spend the extra for the Mia 2, go with one of our alternative models like the Remington Reveal or Olay ProX.

Clarisonic Mia Brush Heads

There is a huge selection of brush heads for the Mia, and it’s a bigger selection than you get with the Remington or Olay models. The Radiance brush heads are standard with the Mia 1, Mia 2, and Mia FIT. All brush heads are interchangeable with any Clarisonic device.

Clarisonic Sensitive Brush Head
Clarisonic Acne Brush Head
Clarisonic Foundation Makeup Blending Brush

The Deep Pore, Sensitive, and Radiance brush heads are the most popular. The Deep Pore cleansing brush has much more firm bristles than the Radiance or Sensitive. The Radiance is a good introduction to using an exfoliating brush, but if you find you need something softer then go for the Sensitive brush head.

Clarisonic Performance Cashmere Brush
Clarisonic Smart Revitalizing Cleanse Brush
Clarisonic Radiance Brush
Clarisonic Deep Pore Cleansing Brush
Clarisonic Men’s Facial Cleansing Brush

The Men’s cleansing brush is a little tougher than the Radiance, which comes in handy if you have facial hair or just a little scruff. The Foundation brush has mostly positive reviews and does a good job of getting rid of streaks and uneven foundation.

Clarisonic Mia FIT Vs. Mia 2

Clarisonic Mia FIT
  • 2-Year Warranty
  • Two Speeds
  • Includes 1 Radiance Brush Head
  • Automatic Shut-off after 1 minute
  • Travel Size
Clarisonic Mia 2
  • 2-Year Warranty
  • Two Speeds
  • Includes 1 Radiance Brush Head
  • Automatic Shut-off after 1 minute

The Mia FIT is the travel-sized alternative to the Mia 2. Is also has a NiMH battery just like the Mia 2, which is where our problems begin. There are a large number of reports that the Mia FIT battery just doesn’t last very long. Thanks to the 2-year warranty you can get a replacement if it fails early on, but for the price these things are selling for you would expect a comfortable 4 or 5 years of use – at a minimum.

There may be a future iteration of the Mia FIT product line that solves these battery issues, but at this point we’d gladly take the cheaper Mia 2. Overall, the Mia 2 seems to be a more reliable choice at a lower price.

Clarisonic Alpha FIT

  • 2-Year Warranty
  • Two Speeds
  • Includes 1 Men’s Cleanse Brush
  • Automatic Shut-off after 1 minute
  • Travel Size

The Clarisonic Alpha FIT is essentially just the Mia FIT with a different color scheme and brush head. Again, we’ve got a ton of reviews that complain about the battery life span. When it comes down to cost versus performance and quality, we’ve got to go with the Mia 2.

You can put the Men’s cleansing brush on a Mia 2, so we’d rather do that than pay the extra for the Alpha FIT.

Clarisonic SMART Profile

Clarisonic makes a claim that the SMART Profile targets the 15 visible signs (15 ?) of aging. They claim that within 12 weeks you will start to see these improvements, especially regarding wrinkles, firmness, and face and neck sagging.

The reviews are mixed. We can’t tell how this vibrating brush does anything different than the other Mia models. The “Vine” reviewers on Amazon seem to reluctantly give 3 stars, while saying that they don’t see any difference after months of use. Apparently, after having no difference in their skin and the “ridiculous exorbitant cost” of the SMART Profile it still warrants a 3-star review.

The price jump from the Mia Series to the SMART Profile is fairly large, especially for something that has no apparent benefit. Just get the Mia 2.

Conclusion

The Clarisonic was first-to-market with these exfoliating brushes, so there is a ton of hype around them. They perform great, but not everyone is willing to throw that kind of cash at an exfoliating brush.

We believe you can get a great cleansing brush experience with our alternative models, as long as they’re used properly and fit into your routine.

Hopefully, in the next iterations of the Clarisonic series they will consider dealing with these battery issues that come up with the FIT Series. Completely dropping the NiMH battery in favor of a lithium ion battery would be ideal.

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