While trial and error can sometimes be a tried-and-true method for trialling new skincare products, none of us have the luxury of trying all of the at home beauty devices we see on our Instagram feeds. For help, we chat to a Dermal educator to get the low down on which ones to try, and which ones to pass.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has meant that most of us have had to forgo many of our regular and beloved beauty and skin treatments over the past year. The fact that so many beauty salons and clinics have been forced to close during this time, combined with our insatiable appetite for all things beauty, skincare and skin health, has led to a dramatic increase of “at-home” skin tools and gadgets.
We’re not exaggerating when we say that the demand for at home beauty devices and skincare has exploded – there is now a dizzying array of new-fangled gadgets and gizmos on offer. As consumers become more and more educated when it comes to their skin, technology has advanced to keep up with this growing interest.
While rolling up our sleeves and taking matters of beauty into our own hands can be empowering and a great way to get more involved in our skin health’s journey, it can also be daunting and somewhat scary, simply due to the overwhelming choices we are faced with.
From simple skincare and cleansing tools, to the latest devices that aim to mimic professional treatments, it can be very easy to be lured in by the potential of do-it-yourself methods which promise to deliver glowing #no filter skin at home.
But let’s face it: no one wants to waste their hard-earned money on something that a) isn’t right for our skin, b) won’t yield the results we expect or c) simply doesn’t work.
Elise Andrews, a Dermal Educator at The Global Beauty Group gives us the inside scoop on which at home beauty devices are worth trying and which to steer clear of.
Elise explains that as a rule, consumer devices will never deliver the kind of power (and therefore the results) that professional equipment will – and there is a very good reason behind this.
Designed for ease of use, at home beauty devices are made “safe” and with the expectation that the average person can use them without risk of injuring or hurting themselves.
In Elise’s words, “if at-home devices were powerful enough to yield a clinical level result, they would be highly dangerous in the hands of inexperienced operators”.
Lowering the risk factor so the average untrained person can use these tools at home means lowering the power behind them so they’re safe. By contrast, professional grade technology is designed for use by experienced professionals – those who understand skin physiology, protocols, contraindications and appropriate after care.
Jade Rollers/Gua Sha Stones
Do these (admittedly beautiful) jade rollers and rose quartz gua sha stones actually do anything? Surprisingly, yes – although don’t expect any anti-ageing benefits like tightening or firming of the skin. However, Elise recommends putting them in the fridge as they can have a cooling effect on the skin and assist with lymphatic drainage, reducing inflammation and de-puffing tired eyes in the morning.
Silicone sonic face cleansing tools
The truth is, many of us do not clean our faces properly, and by not effectively removing impurities and congestion build up, we are not getting the full benefit of any active skincare that we put on afterwards. Sonic silicone cleansers such as the Luna foreo or bt-sonic have been around for a while, and Elise highly recommends these for a superior, deeper clean.
After cleansing with a sonic cleanser your skin will be smoother, clearer and deeply purified. It’ll also be primed for enhanced product penetration, meaning your skincare will work harder for you. Compared with other cleaners with brush heads, silicone is far more resistant to bacteria, and the heads don’t need to be continually replaced which is easier on your wallet and the environment.
We’ve all seen the “personal microdermabrasion” and “black head vacuums” in our social media feeds. Although a big believer in microdermabrasion in a professional setting – unfortunately – Elise is not a fan of the versions you can use at home. “Best case scenario is they are ineffective, and at worst can cause damage to your skin”. Buyer beware – this one is a hard pass.
LED face masks
LED light therapy masks and tools seem to be everywhere these days. This is a perfect example of an at home beauty device which is simply not powerful enough to deliver any meaningful results. While not harmful per se, Elise doesn’t believe they do a whole lot.
Some people have reported using their at-home masks with a blue light for acne, and are now firm believers in their ability to clear up breakouts quickly. On the flip side, others who have bought a mask to tackle anti-ageing say they have not noticed any difference in their skin whatsoever.
While the more expensive devices offer increased power – they also have the price tag to match. Whether or not you invest is going to depend on whether you are willing to spend money on a higher quality device – as well as invest the necessary time into it.
Microneedling or dermarolling are at-home treatments Elise can get behind! Its affordable and easy to do – and when paired with effective skincare they are fantastic at treating uneven skin tone and improving the overall appearance of the skin.
Microneedling works by making tiny “micro” punctures in the skin, signalling it to rejuvenate and heal itself while supporting exfoliation and product penetration. Elise recommends using a 0.2mm dermaroller as it’s perfect for beginners and won’t cause unnecessary irritation. However – see a professional if you want to try deeper needle penetration on your skin.
Essentially shaving your face, Elise believes that dermaplaning is much more effective in a professional setting, where they use a ridiculously sharp scalpel and is likely to be layered with a professional peel, followed by a mask, to greatly increase the benefits. Although it can leave your skin smooth temporarily – it is all too easy to over exfoliate and irritate your skin.
Microcurrent at home beauty devices
Microcurrent machines claim to lift and tone for up to 24-48 hours, with mild cumulative results. While some people swear by it, Elise believes their value comes down to the power of the individual device. So – while this is one at home beauty device that does deliver immediate visible effects, unfortunately they are short lived. And, they don’t come cheap. Perhaps try a professional service first to see if you are a fan of the technology before splashing out the cash.
Ultrasonic skin scrubber
For those who need a gentle exfoliation, Elise highly recommends ultrasonic skin scrubbers, especially as an alternative to the PMD devices. Combining ultrasonic capabilities with exfoliation, these are great at deeply cleansing your pores and removing blackheads, leaving the skin smooth, fresh and prepped for skincare application.
Designed to deliver maximum results, professional equipment will always surpass any at-home device in terms of sheer power, results and timeframe. Overall Elise feels its best practise to invest your money in a professional service – there you get the benefit of someone diagnosing your skin, making recommendations of the best skincare products for you, and really tailoring something to your individual skin needs.
With that being said, if you are considering making a purchase, Elise says “be wary of devices that over-exaggerate claims and promise “immediate results” for the likelihood is they will over-promise and under-deliver”. Bear in mind that with dedication some devices may yield results, however it will take substantial time and won’t ever compare to a professional treatment.
At home beauty devices in summary
While some at home beauty devices could potentially work well alongside their professional counterparts and may even improve the overall outcome i.e. Dermarolling and LED, Elise recommends having a chat to a professional if you are thinking of pairing an at-home device with a professional treatment. Skincare specialists will be able to guide you and work out a treatment plan that takes into consideration any at-home device you may be using so that you get the best of both worlds.