Saturday, August 21, 2010

Review: Clarisonic Pro Brush

After reading so many raving reviews on MUA and various forums, I finally relented and jumped on the Clarisonic band wagon. As this product is not yet available in Australia, I relied on ebay to pick up a unit with a universal adaptor so it could be also used with 240 volt electricity.

Pro model with sensitive brush attached and body brush attachment

 Clarisonic's fame to fame
  • sonic technology (gentle vibrations, not rotations) gently yet effectively loosen dirt and oil to clear pores. 
  • more than 300 movements per second gives micro-massage action gently exfoliate skin which can be twice as effective as manual cleansing 
  • removes 6x more makeup than manual cleansing
  • leaves skin feeling and looking smoother
  • cleanses so well that products absorb better
  • gentle enough for twice daily use
  • helps reduce oily areas, dry skin patches and blemishes
  • helps reduce the appearance of visible pores

Why did I get this outrageously expensive brush?
I have a some acne scarring from my early uni days (which is donkey years ago) and had been using Retin-A to fade those scars and keep my pores clear. A side effect of using Retin-A is severe dry patches and flaking skin. I can't even put on makeup without my skin looking like it's falling to bits some days. Chemical (AHA/BHA cleansers) and manual exfoliation has controlled it to an extent, but some days, I feel like I'm shedding like a snake.  

The other reason I wanted the Clarisonic so bad is because of the buzz around this brush's ability to prep the skin and assist skincare products to absorb faster and deeper, thus ensuring better results as well as using less amount of the product. Any boost I can get would mean expensive cream and lotions are more worthwhile as its more effective. How can I say no to skincare products working smarter for me?

Decisions, decisions...
There are various Clarisonic units, the smaller Mia which only has one speed, the Classic has 2 speeds, the Plus with 3 variable speed settings and a body body brush attachment option and finally the new Pro version with 4 variable face brush settings as well as the body brush option.

Only the Mia, Plus and Pro models comes with the international charger options so my choices were narrowed making my decision easier. I opted for the Pro as I wanted to use the brush on my body and have all the speed options available. Since I've committed to forking out a big fortune, I may as well pay a bit more and get the crème de la crème.

The Claisonic pro kit comes with a brush unit, a universal (multi-voltage) charger cradle, a sensitive (white) face brush attachment and 3 travel sized cleansers. I also purchased separately a normal face brush (grey) and a body brush attachment.

my Pro kit with additional body brush and normal (grey) face brush

You need to charge this thing before first use for a whole 24 hours (talk about the longest charge ever for such a small product - my Skin Physics only took 3 hours). There are 4 charging lights on the back of the brush to indicate how much charge is remaining. During charge, these will blink and increment according to the level it's been charged up to. When fully charged, all 4 green lights will stop blinking. 
Yay - finally full charged after 24 hrs with all 4 green lights on!

The need for speed
There's 4 speed options (gentle, normal, fast, pro with each higher speed producing more rapid and stronger vibrating movements) for use with the face brush.  When the body brush attachment is on, the speed option cycles through a constant or pulse vibration mode.

Timer options - the unit comes pre-set with a 1 minute cleansing cycle but you can double that to 2 minutes. There's a timer beep that let you know when you should move to different parts of your face during use which I don't always pay attention to.

After testing the speeds, I settled on gentle speed for my cheeks to avoid that area feeling too raw or sensitive. I use the fast speed on my forehead on T-zones for extra exfoliation and the pro speed on my neck and decolletage as skin is less sensitive in that area. I changed to the longer timer option as I love the cleansing experience and needed the extra time to remove my flaky skin.

My Experience
  • you only need to allow your brush head to gently touch the skin during use, there is no need to press hard as the vibrations will do all the work for you.
  • after use, my skin felt very soft, silky and velvety, like I've just had a mini facial.
  • skin looks radiant and even. 
  • slight oil reduction experienced 
  • pores do appear smaller, especially on nose and cheeks. Fewer congestion and skin outbreaks since use.
  • blackhead go through a purging stage where they are initially more visible but after 1 week, is less visible. My nose is now heaps clearer. 
  • helps speed up healing of minor blemishes by bringing them to the surface quicker. 
  • products just soaks right into skin as claimed, I feel my skincare products is now working harder for me. I need less of it, saving me money
  • occasionally use it morning and night but generally only once a day at night. I play it by ear. If my face feels sensitive, I won't overload it by using this brush.
  • I never use it to remove a face full of makeup, preferring to take off the makeup with makeup remover. As I love double cleansing, the first cleanse is manual to remove makeup residues and the next one with the Clarisonic to really unclog gunk from pores and to buff off the flaky skin.  
  • for soft kissable lips, after cleansing the face, run the brush over lips for 10 seconds to exfoliate them.  
  • completely water proof so can be taken into shower for use.
  • replacement brushes are so expensive. I try to get longer use out of it by dis-infecting it each week by soaking it in hot (not boiling) water with bi-carbonate soda and the washing it out with liquid soap (or a favourite liquid facial cleanser). 

Power Body Brush
With the body brush attachment, the brush becomes a great manual brush for backs, legs, elbows, heels and anywhere else that needs some TLC.
can you see the oscillation movements on the body brush?

Skin all over was soft and silky and baby bum smooth, parched scaly skin polishes right off and body butters sank in quickly into my skin. I love this as a weekly indulgent treat for my skin.

Tip - remove the brush from the unit after every use so that any cleanser suds can be washed away and the brush and unit dries easily. It's also more hygienic and will prevent mould and bacteria growth in the grooves of the unit.

The verdict - is it worth it?
Absolutely. This is definitely an investment skincare item, but the polishing abilities is more effective than any face scrub or manual brush I've used yet gentle enough on skin for daily use. I wish I had this brush during my troubled skin years as I can see it helping to control oil and keep pores clear and keeping those pesky zits at bay.

I love the luxe feel every time I use the Clarisonic and the healthy radiant complexion it gives me. The Pro unit is a nice-to-have brush for extra speed and brush options but if I was short on cash, I'd skip all the extra features and pick up the Mia (US$149) in a heartbeat.

Update 2013: 
Want to read how it fares against the Clarisonic Mia? Click here to see my latest Clarisonic comparison review.

Rating: 9/10. I ♥ this brush but 1 point off for the high starting price and high cost in replacement brushes.
RRP A$299 A$269 (price drop since Oct 2011)/US$225 for Pro model with a body brush. Aussie stocklists here.


  1. I like the idea of it but it means one more gadget in the bathroom!!

  2. I know - I have no shelf space in my tiny bathroom either so it's currently sitting in my bedroom for charging. Need a mega cupboard with all the products I use.

  3. Hi!

    Great Post!

    I am considering between the Pro and Plus!
    One question.. if I may..The only difference between Pro and Plus is Pro has one more speed option.

    Do you ever use the Pro Speed option? or 3 speed options are sufficient?

    Thanks again for your help!


  4. Hi Val,
    yes, the only difference btw the Pro and plus is the extra facial speed (they all can work with the body brush).

    To be honest, the plus will probably do as I don't find I need the extra speed - not on my face anyway as that would be too much for the skin. I only use it for the neck and décolletage area. I could have easily used the body brush speed for that though.


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