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The Future of Grooming: Hello, Clarisonic

The Clarisonic Skin Cleansing system recalls another revolutionary advent—the electric toothbrush. BB Man correspondent Chris Schmicker took a test drive of this motorized face brush to find out if our own hands really are obsolete.

The Prelude

When I was a pudgy middle-schooler with Banana Republic taste and an Old Navy budget, toothbrushes were simple: analog plastic bristle flat tops. You jabbed your toothbrush around your mouth like a bayonet until your teeth felt clean. Then came the Sonicare electric toothbrush, a sleek little number that glowed and purred and stood at attention in its custom-molded, plug-in base. It was the Bondi Blue iMac. No contest.

Fast forward to present day and we find another time-honored grooming tool threatened with obsolescence: your hands. Your palms and digits no longer cut it when it comes to face washing—or at least that’s the implicit suggestion of the Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System. The Clarisonic is like Sonicare’s stouter, corn-fed cousin (in fact, one of Clarisonic's co-founders helped to develop Sonicare), except you use it on your face in the shower. Vibrating at more than 300 movements per second, the brush claims to remove two times more crud and oil than cleansing with hands alone, all while it smooths and softens your skin, too.

The Verdict

First thing I noticed when I pulled the Clarisonic Mia out of the box: It looks like something you might uncover in your girlfriend's unmentionables drawer. I was undeterred. I wet my face and, passing on the salicylic acid face wash included in the box (too potent for me), slapped a dollop of Cetaphil on the brush head (any non-abrasive cleanser will do). I pushed the button. The device whirred to life. The brush's vibration is so speedy that at first it seemed like it wasn’t moving at all, much like an airplane propeller. But when I started massaging it over my forehead in a circular motion I could feel a gentle buzz.

Mia helpfully beeps to remind you to change positions every so often: 20 seconds on the forehead, 20 on the nose and chin, and 10 on each cheek. When the pre-set minute of washing was up I was almost disappointed. There's something about the novelty of brushing your face rather than hand-scrubbing it—I felt like I could go for many more minutes. The result feels different than your typical post exfoliation face. It’s not raw—just surprisingly brighter, smoother, and cleaner.

I haven't looked back. In just three weeks of brushing my face I’ve seen incredible improvement in my complexion and the texture of my face. I swear I have fewer blackheads, and my face doesn't feel as oily at the end of the day as it used to. My advice: Put your hands down, guys, and get with Clarisonic.

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