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Clarisonic vs Neutrogena Wave, Re-Evaluated

The most popular post on this blog is my Clarisonic Mia vs Neutrogena Wave post.  I didn't know how popular that post would get -- if I did, I probably would have included my own photos instead of relying on the power of Google Images.

I think it's time that I update my experience with the Clarisonic.  My knowledge of skincare since that time has expanded so much, my skin needs different things, and I now have the power of hindsight.

First off: Don't buy the Neutrogena Wave.  It will do nothing good for your skin. Even when I thought it was exfoliating and helping my moisturiser sink in more, what it was probably doing was tearing up my skin matrix and the moisturiser was bleeding into the gaps.  Horrifying visual.  Throw in the cheap, skin-peeling cleanser they pre-soak the cotton refills with, and you'll spend more money trying to fix your skin afterwards.

The only thing left to consider is whether or not you need a Clarisonic.  I bought the Mia, which I'm fairly certain has gone down in price since I purchased mine.  Refills are $30 a pop in Canada, and you have to replace them every six months if you use it once a day.  And that's where the issues begin.

I first got a Clarisonic to help remedy my vengeful cystic acne.  It was as though bacteria and sebum had decided to band together and have a dirty, four-month-long orgy on my jawline, cheeks and chin.  Before one cyst had shrunk, three more would pop up to see it go -- they started multiplying on top of each other, and effectively changed the shape of my jawline because they were so swollen.

Twice a day, for six weeks, I diligently used the Clarisonic Mia with Lancome Creme Radiance foaming cleanser. In fact, I don't think I've been this careful about my skin before or since then.  After a while, I noticed that the acne started calming down.  Thrilled with the results, I continued with my routine.

Then it happened.  The acne started coming back.  After blaming everything I could -- my diet, my lack of exercise, hormones -- and changing all those things, the acne persisted.  It took me an embarrassing amount of time to realize that since I was using the brush twice a day, the suggested replacement time was effectively halved.  So take note of how often you're using your brush, and don't vibrate the bacteria back into your pores.

After figuring that out and properly maintaining my Clarisonic, I continued on.  I eventually graduated to a different kind of acne -- it wasn't cystic, it was a more human-sized pimple that would still scar.  It also took me an embarrassing amount of time to realize that I was over-exfoliating, and that my skin was producing more oil in order to keep up with its twice-daily foaming torture.  After switching to a gentler cleanser and once a week use, my skin calmed down, and we arrive at my skin today.

I still break out.  And of course, whenever I do, I attack with my Clarisonic and its faithful army of treatments.  But on a regular basis, I almost never use it.  Every once in a while, I'll have been lazy about washing my face or been wearing especially heavy makeup and I'll do a pass with good ole Lancome Creme Radiance just to satisfy my neuroses.  I don't know that I actually need to do that, but I'm a firm believer of the placebo effect.

All in all, you only need one if you have acne, and the problem with your acne is that your skin is clogged and dirty.  Even then, know that this is a one-time fix for your acne -- after it goes away, you won't and shouldn't use it that often anymore.  That said, $139 CAD to rid me of 85% of my skin issues?  I don't regret a thing.

24 comments :

  1. I love my Clarisonic Mia, even though I don't use it as often as I used to. It was originally a bday gift from the in-laws, and I couldn't help but think, "is this a subtle hint?" but it turns out that mom-in-law loves hers and wanted me to try it too. I used it religiously for a year, once a day, and loved how my skin turned out to be. Rarely a breakout, it was my holy grail. Now I'm a little lazy and use it maybe 3-4 times a week instead of every day. The replacement heads are a bit of a pain to get (I try to stock up whenever I have the chance to go to the US) but soo worth it.

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    1. They are so much more expensive here! The Clarisonic is a great gift -- I gave one to my brother (which, on my part, was a very not-subtle hint =P)

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  2. Just a tip--washing your brush head once a week with antibacterial soap will help it stay clean. I do this every Sunday when I clean my makeup brushes.

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    1. You just reminded me that my makeup brushes desperately need a good cleaning. I soak my brush head in alcohol every time I use it.

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  3. Love my Clarisonic too. It was my best investment of 2012. It by itself didn't do magic on my skin. But now that I found a good gentle cleanser and toner that boosts my skin moisture, Clarisonic perfomes at its best. Thanks for the warning!! Great review!

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    1. I definitely agree that the Clarisonic helps your product work better. I find I use a lot less cleanser and serum after using the Clarisonic.

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  4. Good review. Im still using the old fashioned hand method and wave. So I gotta wait on that clarisonic :D

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    1. Hands are always good! Have you tried muslin cloths?

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  5. I've honestly been a bit wary of the Clarisonic. I think it sounds too harsh for acne prone skin yet I've obviously never tried it. I use a rubber scrubber to exfoliate and it's lasted me a year so far.

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    1. That's the thing about the Clarisonic; it's really easy to overdo and it's oddly addictive.

      I've never used a rubber scrubber before! Is it similar to the one you get with the L'Oreal face wash?

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  6. Wow, thanks for such a detailed post! I am still wondering if I should get a Clarisonic Mia. I keep thinking my muslin cloth does the same thing, but people keep telling me it's not the case (well it'd better not be with the price difference haha). I can't over-exfoliate either though. Nowadays I rely more on chemical peels because all the scrubs feel a little too rough. I still can't decide!

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    1. Honestly, if you're happy with a muslin cloth, stick with it. I've switched mostly to muslin use except when my skin is acting up. I also prefer chemical exfoliation to physical exfoliation. And your skin is BEAUTIFUL anyway, you don't need anything remotely as harsh as the Clarisonic!

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  7. I own the Mia too and quite honestly, I don't think it's all that. :/ I'm glad it works for you though! I used to suffer from really bad acne too--it was REALLY bad in middle school/high school then I experienced a brief reprieve in my very early 20's. Then when I hit about 24, I started to break out again like CRAZY! I tried everything and nothing worked. After discovering a few products that worked for me and exfoliating with a muslin cloth, my skin began to clear up. I kept hearing great things about the Clarisonic though and finally caved and bought one. I honestly think I got almost the same results with the muslin cloth. I rarely use it now--maybe once ever 2 weeks just to remove the dead skin cells that some of my other products may leave behind. I used to use it every other day before I realized that despite being a "cleansing tool", it's still an exfoliator and really shouldn't be used that often.

    As for the brush head, I've never changed mine, and I've owned my Clarisonic for years. I know it sounds gross but hear me out: I NEVER use the Clarisonic if I'm wearing makeup. I will wash my face first and then use it, if necessary. But I usually only use it in the mornings or in the shower, after I've already cleansed my face/removed all makeup. Secondly, I don't have a problem with splayed bristles because I only lay the brush head on my skin and gently sweep it across in circular motions, using almost no pressure. And lastly, I wash it with soap after every use and clean it with alcohol about every 2 weeks (if I used it every week, I would deep clean weekly). I've never had a problem with it causing breakouts from spreading leftover bacteria, etc. I think if you take good care of your brush heads, you can really make them last!

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    1. You know, it really isn't. I barely use mine now except when my skin freaks out on me.

      Your acne story sound a little like mine, except my first really awful breakout was when I was 20. Not looking forward to my 24th birthday now =P

      As for not changing your brush head, it makes sense that yours lasts longer if you only use it on a makeup-free face. I've started taking off my makeup before using my Clarisonic as well. Come to think of it, since I use mine so infrequently, I probably haven't bought a new brush head in almost a year. I do obsessively clean mine with alcohol though!

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  8. Great review and you definitely terrified me away from the Neutrogena Wave xx

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    1. Sorry about that! For your own good though =P

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  9. Totally worked for me! I don't break out anywhere near as much as I used to after starting the Clarisonic routine. I find that it worked well in conjunction with a mild cleanser (Philosophy Purity or Cetaphyl type things) and a gentle treatment like La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo or REN AHA Concentrate. I used to use it daily only at night, but now I use it only a few times a week. Changed my life.

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    1. I'm so glad the Clarisonic worked for you! I think it makes skin much easier to maintain after it's helped control acne.

      Philosophy Purity really didn't work for me! I tried it when I was in New York so I can't be certain if it was the physical change in environment that made my skin freak out, but I just felt it was really...soapy? I've been lusting that REN AHA Concentrate!

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  10. Great informative post!
    I have been on the fence about owning one for a long time. It is a lot of money, and the always "what if" questions that lurk in the back of my mind are so annoying!

    I will have to seriously consider though, because I believe I am being hit with a case of adult acne. I've been getting frigging annoying cystic pain in the butts just under the jawline/on the jawline, and they are taking weeks to clear up, if that. But I do believe it is due to my allergy to university. I swear the only time I get bad skin is when I am stressed with UT T___T

    Anyway...I'm still hoping some of the other stuff I am doing will help, and I have started using the Cargo Microfibre cloths again so maybe that will help a bit. Gotta see :)

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  11. I have heard great things about this beauty tool and I find your post really interesting, but I still don't think it's for me. First of all because it's pretty expensive, and also because I am not sure how well my skin would handle it.

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  12. i have the clarisonic mia and i really like it to exfoliate and deep clean. thankfully, i don't absolutely depend on it to keep my acne away but it is nice. Don't forget to enter my I ♥ Makeup giveaway!

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  13. Thanks for the informative review. I love the Clarisonic product that I purchased from Kallony!

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