I first got my Clarisonic Mia nearly 3 years ago, and have loved it ever since. I use it every night with the sensitive brush head and it cleans my face better than anything else I've tried. The brush does all the work, you just need to add a drop of cleanser and move it around in small circular motions. Clarisonic skin brushes and Sonicare tooth brushes were developed by the same people, with the same incredible technology. Instead of telling everyone to invest in a Clarisonic, I recently tried the Olay Pro-X Microdermabrasion system, which is a third of the price, to see if it is comparable. Here are my thoughts on both products.
What is the Clarisonic cleansing brush and why use it?
This is a fully waterproof electronic skin cleansing brush. The very fine plastic bristles "oscillate" back and forth very quickly, removing "up to six times more makeup than cleansing with hands alone" - Clarisonic site. This face washing device gently exfoliates dead skin cells, allows your skincare to absorb better, and leaves a very smooth feel. Also, the battery life on the Clarisonic Mia is INCREDIBLE. I barely charge it. Both the Clarisonic and Sonicare charge via a magnetic cord or base to ensure their waterproofness.
How often should it be used?
Although the company says you can use the device twice per day, I would strongly recommend only using it once. Over-exfoliation can cause more harm than good, resulting in wrinkles, dryness and thinning skin. If you crave more sloughing action and a brighter appearance, opt for something like an enzyme exfoliating peel, AHA acid, or BHA acid. These will all exfoliate the skin on a chemical level, which requires no scrubbing. For more information on this topic, check out Renee Rouleau's post here.
Which brush head should I get and when do I replace them?
I've tried the normal, sensitive, acne prone and cashmere luxe brush heads, yet I'm still a firm believer in the sensitive one for my skin type. Nothing is worse than over irritation, especially on breakouts, so a more gentle cleanse is the way to go. For replacement, they recommend every 3 months, to ensure the company makes a killing. Unless you can afford $30 every 3 months, I'd recommend every 5 months or so for a replacement only if you keep the device clean. I always remove the brush and rinse thoroughly after every use. I also use a makeup remover before washing to keep the brush less gunky.
How is a cleansing brush better than a regular exfoliant?
Your typical face scrubs/exfoliants have small pieces of plastic, rock, or shell inside to "scrub off" the dirt when massaged over the skin. These particles can actually cause small scratches on the skin, which could introduce bacteria and form breakouts. Now, daily face scrubs can work very well if they have extremely fine granules as the "scrubbing" agent, such as the Clarisonic cleansing polish which came along with my brush. On their own, these cleansers still won't do very much in removing dead skin cells and the tough stuff like makeup. I also love how this brush has a one minute timer to make sure you cleanse for long enough. I don't know about you, but I definitely don't massage my cleanser around for an entire minute or two when only using my hands.
Where can I find it?
Sephora has a significant sale twice a year (nov and april) so that is the time to get one. Also, The Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart and Murale now carry the Clarisonic in some capacity, so I'm sure they will all have various promos here and there.
Now, for a less costly alternative, there is the Olay Pro-X Microdermabrasion cleansing system available at most drugstores. These sets range from $30 to $50 depending on the kit, and replacement brush heads are around $10 each depending on where you purchase them. There is a regular kit with no cleansers and just the brush head ($30) and then the microdermabrasion pack that has a scrub, cleanser and an extra flat foam head ($50).
How does the Olay ProX differ from the Clarisonic Mia?
The main difference is that the Olay brush head spins, as opposed to oscillating. Therefore, the actual cleansing power isn't as good as the Clarisonic since the bristles don't move as quickly. Regardless, it's better than hands alone. The ProX is battery powered so it can't be fully submerged in water and isn't as easily charged. Also, the brush heads are smaller on the Olay and there is no body option (Clarisonic offers a body brush). The ProX has three speed settings, whereas my Mia only has one. The Mia 2, on the other hand, has two speed settings.
How often should it be used?
Similar to the Clarisonic, I would only use the Olay brush once a day. I find that much more cleanser is needed for the Olay brush to slide around the face with no tugging. With both brushes, I usually distribute the foaming cleanser all over my face before using the brush to avoid having it all build up in the bristles. The product description say to use the microderm head (foam) with the crystal scrub up to two times per week.
When cleansing with one of these brushes, it's really important to not press down too hard onto the skin, since that will cause the bristles to splay out, inhibiting them to properly buff off dirt. Overall, I'd never give up my Mia for only a ProX, or even the Mia 2 which costs significantly more for double speed settings - the addition of a slower speed than the original Mia. In the end, Olay does make a great product for travel, a lower budget, or someone with minimal skin concerns who doesn't wear much makeup.