As the new year loomed over me, I got an early start on my resolution to rid myself of dry, dead skin, and take better care of my face. I tested out quite a few skincare devices over the course of one month that had been sent to me for review consideration — from ultrasonic infusers to battery-powered cleansing brushes — to see if they would make a difference.

At the end of the month, only one product actually made the cut: Clarisonic Mia 2 Skin Cleansing System.

If you’re not familiar with this bestselling product, I wanted to review it to see just whether the spendy price tag was worth the splurge.

Is it? I think so. At least for some of you.

Here’s an honest look at how it worked for me.

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Our favorite skincare device: The Clarisonic Mia 2

Our favorite skincare device for brighter, healthier skin: The Clarisonic Mia 2

The basics: How it works

The Clarisonic Mia 2 uses “micro-massage” movement with the intent of cleaning your face better and deeper than that trusty washcloth — the best way to think of it is how an electric toothbrush is more effective than a standard one.

You don’t press it hard into your skin or anything; just add the included gel cleanser, then let the device “glide” over your face, in their words, and it will do the work.

There’s a timer that beeps to indicate how long you should stay in one facial zone and when to switch — from your forehead to your cheeks, and so on. I liked that this helped me discover that I was actually rushing through my night time cleansing routine, leaving behind a lot of dirt and makeup in the process.

(Again, kind of like how a timed electric toothbrush cycle reminds you that we all probably don’t brush long enough.)

And it comes with enough to get you started — the device itself, a sensitive brush head, a sample of their cleansing gel, a charger and travel case — but not all the brush heads you might want to use.

 

Evaluating the Clarisonic Mia 2 brush heads

Essentially you can swap out the brush heads for different kinds of cleansing, which is also what makes this a spendier product; it gives you quite a few uses.

After two straight days using the included radiance brush head (an exfoliator), my face admittedly felt slightly raw and still very dry. Definitely a concern. But turns out a good dose of my favorite nighttime moisturizer from BeautyCounter plus some Hydrating Face Oil helped my skin feel smooth by morning. (Disclaimer: I’m a BeautyCounter rep but this stuff is absolutely amazing and I swear by it.)

So if you’re going to use the Clarisonic Mia 2 with this brush head, know that it will require some extra moisturizing to balance out the deep cleansing.

I quickly switched over to the cashmere cleanse high performance brush head instead and turns out that’s the best option for me for everyday use. And I’d imagine for most of us. However they do offer a wide range of brush heads for specific concerns like acne, sensitive skin, and even men’s skin, that you can buy separate.

Now, I only use the radiance brush head for once-a-week exfoliation, and my skin is feeling great.

Related: Transitioning to winter skincare: The only 3 tips you’ll need.

So. Is it worth the splurge?

At $169 through Sephora, this is definitely an investment product. So right off the bat, you need to decide whether that is even in your budget or not. Also consider that you’re supposed to change brush heads every 3 months or so, which cost you about another $25-27 each with some discounts for two-packs.

(I found the best price on the cashmere cleanse high performance brush head on Amazon.)

I would say that you’re mostly satisfied with a super-quick cleansing routine, this device probably isn’t the one for you. Not just because of the price, but the effort.

While the Clarisonic Mia 2 cleans foreheads, cheeks, and t-zones thoroughly, you still need to take care of your eye area and removing your eye-makeup separately.

In fact, you aren’t supposed to use the brush on or near your eyes at all — but I threw caution to the wind and tried to speed things up by removing my eye makeup with the softer cashmere head. Let’s just say my experience should be a cautionary warning for you not to do this! It didn’t work at all on removing my mascara.

Definitely stick with your old-school, low tech cotton ball and eye-makeup remover for that step.

I also think it’s worth noting that I’m pretty picky about the ingredients I use in my skincare products, so I much prefer the products in my personal stash over the cleansing products that come with the Clarisonic set. Having checked them out, they’re ranked in the “moderate hazard” category on EWG’s Skin Deep database — and while we always caution readers to take those ratings with a grain of salt, I feel more comfortable knowing what’s going on my skin is more natural.

And yes, you can use any cleanser at all that you like with the Clarisonic Mia 2.

In all though, the device itself worked wonders on me and yes, I would definitely recommend it to those of you willing to invest in stepping up your skincare routine.

Ultimately, I feel like my skin is brighter, cleaner, and healthier since I’ve been exfoliating regularly and washing more deeply with these brushes. And from lots of reviews I’ve read online, I see that many people have been using their brushes for years with good results.

Personally, I’ve been using Mia 2 for three months now and beyond the overall glow of my skin right now, the hormonal acne breakouts I usually get with the arrival of my period each month are gone.

That alone makes me a new fan.

You can find the Clarisonic Mia 2 brush set at our affiliate Sephora. Here’s to a fresh, new look in the new year! Thanks to Clarisonic for sending us a sample set to try.

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