I Used Social Distancing as an Excuse to Try Various Beauty Tools — Here Are My Thoughts
At the start of social distancing, my skin was not happy with me. My coveted glow disappeared, pimples and cysts started popping up everywhere (think: middle school days) and my lack of sleep had my under-eye bags looking crazy dark and majorly puffy. To reboot my complexion, get my glow back and hopefully calm down my breakouts, I vowed to test a handful of skin-care tools over the course of the following three months. From at-home dermarolling to the famed gua sha technique, find out how five tools transformed my skin, ahead.
My mission was to rehab my entire complexion. The first task? Getting my acne breakouts under control. I absolutely love my cleansers (I use the RéVive Hydrating Foaming Cleanser or the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser) and didn’t want to switch them up. In order to get a deeper clean and remove the gunk and buildup from my pores, I decided to try the Clarisonic Acne Cleansing Brush Head, which was sent to me by the brand (owned by our parent company L’Oréal) for the purposes of this review.
Given that I have crazy sensitive skin, I was admittedly hesitant to use the brush head. I wasn’t sure if it would be too harsh, too irritating or over-exfoliate my skin. But within just a few days of use, I felt that it was working wonders for my complexion. The brush head is surprisingly gentle. The bristles are densely packed, so it glided along my skin rather than tugged at it. The Clarisonic was able to work my cleanser into hard-to-penetrate places, like nostrils and chin, truly cleansed my pores and left my skin feeling fresh and revitalized. My face felt exfoliated, not irritated. And my acne noticeably decreased in just one week. I’ve continued using this tool every evening for the past three months. It’s my secret weapon for fighting acne.
I will seriously try just about anything that promises glowing skin (especially when I’m feeling dull), so when this USB-powered tool arrived on my doorstep from the brand, you bet I unboxed it immediately, threw on a face mask and started testing it out right then and there. The spa-grade tool is equipped with four settings: hot, hot massage, cold and cold massage. Each mode is designed to target specific skin-care concerns and give you visible results after just one use. To start, I applied the Joanna Vargas Anti-Aging Sheet Mask and switched the Glow Wand to hot mode, which is designed to deep cleanse and eliminate buildup. I massaged my face in upwards motions and spent around two to three minutes on each area. Occasionally, I would switch into hot massage mode, which is supposed to help boost product absorption. The heat felt amazing against my skin. It was warm and relaxing — it felt like an at-home spa treatment. There was no tugging or fuss either. Once done, I went to the bathroom to remove the sheet mask. My shine, glow and clarity was restored. This device was like a miracle worker.
Toward the end of the week, I wanted to give the cool modes a test. Because you can’t use the device on dry skin (it won’t really move or glide), I decided to break out my Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Hydrating Mask. The cream consistency is perfect to pair with the cool and cool massage modes. I turned on the device and started sweeping in outward motions to replicate the movement of lymphatic drainage. The cold mode paired with the titanium plate felt super refreshing and reenergizing on my skin. It definitely got a tad messy using a cream mask, but the benefits were well worth it. My skin felt soothed, looked less red and appeared firmed. This wand is great if you’re looking to upgrade your at-home facial or spa game — trust me.
Now that my acne and dullness had been addressed, I was on the search for a skin-care tool that would help my puffiness and under-eye bags. The solution? A gua sha. I’d heard a ton of buzz about the ancient Chinese beauty ritual, but I had yet to test it out for myself. I broke out this crystal option, asked my beauty friends for some tips on technique and got started. After applying a lubricant to my skin (I like the Vichy Neovadiol Magistral Elixir), I began swiping the crystal in outward motions, pausing to wiggle the gua sha back and forth along my temples. I paid special attention to my under-eye area, too. The edge of the tool fit perfectly in the eye contour, was refreshingly cool and proved to have major, albeit temporary, results. After gua sha-ing just one side of my face, it looked like fluid and water retention had been released. My face looked slimmer, tauter and more toned. Plus, my dark circles and bags had all but disappeared. Now, I try to use this tool a few times a week while I’m watching TV or relaxing before bed.
Toward the end of the three months, my skin was looking good, bright and radiant. I was pretty content with my complexion. That said, sitting in front of a computer screen day after day had caused me to hold a lot of tension in my jaw and resulted in more than a few headaches. To help me relax, I turned to this Dermaroller from Jenny Patinkin. The tool is two-fold: One end is equipped with tiny needles that create micro-punctures in the skin in order to help with product absorption. The other end has a rose quartz bulb that can reduce the appearance of inflammation and tension. I’ve never had an in-office microneedling treatment or tried an at-home dermaroller, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it hurt? Would it do anything to my skin?
After making sure the head of the tool was spritzed down with rubbing alcohol, I started rolling my face in up-and-down, gentle motions. It was completely painless along my cheeks and chin. I felt a bit of tension on my forehead but nothing painful. There were no marks left behind either. I proceeded to rub the rose quartz bulb in back-and-forth motions along my temples, too. After I covered my whole face with the tool, I followed up with a hydrating serum and moisturizer. With continued use, I could tell that my skin looked plumper and felt more hydrated. It’s a great addition to any skin-care routine!