Techy beauty tools: the best & the rest

Technology in beauty has never been more prevalent. With the never-ending developments in science and tech, it seems there’s no beauty woe that cannot be fixed by a clever, futuristic at-home tool. I think it’s important to point out that I’ve been lucky enough to try out some of these devices in the past few years without having to pay out big bucks for them (the most expensive tool I own is the Philips Lumea Prestige Hair Removal device which has an RRP of £575 – ouch). I realise I sound like a bit of a knob here but I don’t say this to brag, but for full disclosure. This in no way shapes my reviews of them, however, and I feel I have a responsibility to share my honest opinions because I would never want anyone to fork out hundreds of pounds based on a review they’d read that wasn’t being completely open. Ok enough of the boring, onto the reviews…

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Light Therapy Acne Mask, £39.99, Boots

I’m sure you all remember a time when you couldn’t scroll through your Instagram feed without seeing every.single.beauty.editor typing at their desk in a totally candid-not-candid shot wearing this luminescent pink acne mask (I’m allowed to say this ‘cos I was guilty of it too). This heavily-promoted device was propelled by its social media fame and affordable price tag – but does it actually work? Sorry to kill dreams, but I never had much luck with it. I think the main reason is because I a.) never really used it religiously and b.) do not have all-over acne, so probably am not the ideal candidate. That said, I like the ritual of putting it on and lying down to relax (the light is so bright you can’t do things like check your email while wearing it) and Neutrogena recently partnered with Aura, a platform that encourages you to try mindfulness. It’s not necessarily results-driven in my eyes, but I like the idea of it.

Morjava MiLi Smart Skin Moisture Detector (not pictured), £19.99, Amazon

I bought this little dinky gadget (which yes, I forgot to photograph because I am a crap ‘blogger’) on Amazon to help me with a feature I wrote for The Debrief recently on skin hydration. It’s suuuuuuper clever, and really easy to start using. You basically download an app that works alongside the bluetooth setting on the device to discover how hydrated your skin is. It reads your hydration levels in percentage, then reveals which category it sits under (eg. dry, normal or hydrated). It really helped me with my piece and I found it so fun to use even though it was like the worst distraction when I was trying to hit my deadline… My only qualms with this was the reliability (sometimes you would test the same area twice and the reading would differ) and its shelf life (you literally use it up until it dies then have to buy a brand new one rather than replacing batteries or charging). Regardless, I’m quite obsessed with showing everyone this as it’s quite the conversation starter, so I would definitely recommend trying it if you’re curious.

Philips Lumea Prestige, £350, Boots

Anyone wanting a detailed review of this laser hair removal device is going to hit me now, because full disclosure: I am only on my second treatment with this. I have wanted to get laser hair removal for aaaages, and basically forgot I had this mega expensive tool just sat under my bed for over a year. I finally picked it up and started trying it a few weeks ago, but I’m yet to see any results yet. Contrary to popular believe, it does not follow that blonde hair on your head = super fine, blonde hair everywhere else. Sorry for the TMI, but I have pale skin and dark hair, making me the ideal candidate for IPL. To begin with, you use this once every two weeks, and I’ve only just got going so can’t make a judgement call just yet. I will say though that anyone I’ve ever spoken to who has used this sings its praises, and the reviews on the Philips site speak for themselves. I like that it comes with different attachments for different body areas, and it is really easy and simple to set up and use. I will report back but right now I have high hopes.

Beauty Bioscience GloPro Micro Stimulation Facial Tool, £240, QVC

This is another tool that was sent to me and sat under my bed for a good year or so. I just didn’t think I really needed to try micro-needling; I’m only 25 and have no desire to try botox yet or any treatment that targets wrinkles. But actually, I quite love this. I haven’t been using it religiously, so again, can’t promise you this will take 5 years off your face or something, but I just like using it, and find my skin feels healthy and glowy post-use. The basic idea behind it is that the tiny needles work to exfoliate and regenerate skin cells so that serums and actives reach deeper levels of the dermis. Skin is said to be more plump and radiant after using this regularly. I’m not sure I would pay £240 for it, but I find it utterly addictive and am pleasantly surprised by a.) the results and b.) the fact that it really doesn’t hurt despite the fact you’re running loads of tiny needles across your face. Interesting.

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Light Therapy Targeted Acne Spot Treatment, £19.99, Boots

The disappointment I felt toward the Neutrogena mask probably equates to the level of pleasant surprise I felt toward this gadget. I went to the launch of this and it was all very hush, hush for a month or so, then in January everyone started writing about it and I got all interested. I went through a phase of using it every day, 3 times a day at my desk and after work, and I hand on heart believe it works. I’m not going to say it’s a miracle cure for spots, but I think it definitely works to reduce swelling and dries up any nasty areas of individual acne. I think I got on with this far better because it suits my skin more; it’s a targeted treatment rather than an all-over acne fighting device and I tend to suffer with random – but individual – breakouts. I am a little disappointed with how long it lasts though – I was only using it for a couple of weeks before I started to get the warning about its battery life. But at £19.99, I guess you get what you pay for.

Clarisonic Smart Profile, £199, Space NK

I got my Clarisonic in 2015 so I think this model is a little outdated now (I hear a lot about the Mia now instead). When I first got it, I was obsessed with using it, but gradually I starting forgetting to charge it and clean it and it ended up – very sadly – shut away in a drawer. Writing this has reminded me to fire it up again though, as I really do love using it and think it’s a great way to achieve a deep cleanse. I hear a lot about people who use it and find that their skin gets way worse before it gets better; that didn’t happen to me but I think it’s normal as skin isn’t used to such an abrasive clean when you’ve always been using your hands. I think every beauty addict should have a Clarisonic in their beauty arsenal – just don’t ask me which one, because I’m sticking with my golden oldie here!

Philips SatinShave Prestige Wet and Dry Electric Shaver, £70, Philips

In my never-ending quest to find the perfect hair removal device, I tried this recently which again I was sent and forgot about (I have a problem, ok). I thought this would be the perfect in-between tool to use during my laser hair removal as you are only allowed to shave rather than wax or epilate between sessions. Unfortunately I was soooo disappointed with this, I just feel it doesn’t offer a close shave at all either wet or dry (it is better wet, but still). My manual razor does a much better job and it’s about a 10th of the price! I also have the Philips epilator hiding away somewhere which I am yet to try, so maybe this will be better…

Foreo Espada, £129, Cult Beauty

I’ve tried a few Foreo tools, from the Luna face brush which is one of the Clarisonic’s competitor to the Iris Eye Massager and this light therapy targeted spot device, and I’ve never really had much luck with them. I love the aesthetic of the brand and think they come up with some really innovative ideas (they were the first to do LED targeted therapy in an at-home device), but I’m not sure everything they sell really delivers. This tool is much longer-lasting than the Neutrogeuna one, but has a spenny price tag and I couldn’t tell you whether it actually made a difference to my skin.

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