Much unlike many a magazine editor who recommends you buy all sorts of crap that they most likely got for free, your Jezebel staff doesn't get jack shit (other than books, unsolicited). And that's how it should be. But on our own time, in our personal lives, we still buy stuff. So this is Worth It, our recommendation of random things that we've actually spent our own money on. These are the things we buy regularly or really like, things we'd actually tell our friends about. And now we're telling you.
I've been lucky to have decent skin; blackheads here and there, a one-off whitehead to pop, and that's about it. But my skin has never looked very radiant or anything. So I always notice when someone looks particularly glowing or dewy, and I tend to compliment them on it. When I have done so, it has thrice elicited a trade secret: "It's the Clarisonic." I wasn't quite familiar with what that was so I looked it up and learned that it's basically like an electric toothbrush for your skin. (I'm stealing that "electric toothbrush" comparison from someone who said it on the Today Show recently — sorry, person whose name I do not remember! — but the description is spot-on.)
I decided my skin wasn't troublesome enough to spend upwards of $100 on a tool to clean it with, so I moved on. But then, during one of those Sephora trips that goes off the rails, I bought a Clarisonic Mia on a whim. (I realize this was an expensive whim, and that's habit for which I have paid dearly.) I used it for a few months but felt like my skin was actually getting worse — more of those tiny one-off whiteheads and whatnot. So I put it aside and forgot about it for a year.
But after Thanksgiving, I was particularly zitty — I'd just come back from Chicago and I don't know what it is about that water, but we do not get along — and I wanted answers, solutions. I decided to go straight home, get my shit together, and figure out why I didn't fall in love with my Clarisonic the first time around.
After some Googling and watching a few "how-to" videos on YouTube (of course they exist, along with testimonials asserting that it's great for acne-prone skin), I realized two very important, very "duh" things I was doing wrong:
1. I wasn't using the brush correctly. I was moving it in circles, which is unnecessary.
2. I was keeping the thing in the shower and, upon taking off the brush, I found a frightening amount of mildew. Basically I was rubbing bacteria into my face. Yum.
So. Problem solved.
There are varying Clarisonic models with multiple speeds and different colors and whatnot, but I've found my entry-level Mia model to do the trick just fine. Aside from the initial cost, brush heads need to be replaced — some say you should do this every six weeks, some say every three months. I'm cheap and am on month three of mine; I just wash it with anti-bacterial soap a couple of times a week. A pack of two will set you back $25-$30, depending on where you buy them (I'm lazy and just go to Sephora and end up paying more). My skin is of the basic combination-borderline-dry variety and I use the regular brush head, but there are varying types for sensitive and extra-sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, and even one for your body, should you be so inclined to tackle your decolletage.
Clarisonic has its own face wash, but you don't need to stick with their brand. I was using Philosophy's Purity for a long time, but I recently switched to Cetaphil, which is also lovely. You just need a very simple and gentle cleanser, non-medicated and no beads or bubbles or exfoliants.
I've since thoroughly cleaned my Clarisonic, bought new brush heads, and have learned to take it out of the shower with me every morning — and for these things I have been richly rewarded. My skin is soft and less flaky. There are fewer pimples, and when I look at myself in a horribly lit bathroom, I am no longer appalled by the presence of bumps and blackheads. They are gone. My tinted moisturizer looks better than it did before. I have been known to look glowy. And I am smitten.
Clarisonic Mia Skin Cleansing System, $105.13 at Amazon.
Worth It only features things we paid for ourselves and actually like. Don't send us stuff.