Washing your face twice a day is crucial, but do you sometimes feel like your hands alone aren’t quite pulling all the grime out of your pores? You could be in the market for a cleansing brush. These devices claim to do so much more than your palms or a washcloth ever could: cleanse, exfoliate, unclog pores and ready your skin for all those wonderful products you apply post-cleanse.
While many facial cleansing brushes sport the same features — 10 millimeter nylon bristles, a motor, and a sleek, ergonomic handle — those with nylon brush heads function in one of two ways: by oscillating or rotating. Before you plunk down the money for one of these skin assistants, it’s important to understand the difference in oscillating vs. rotating nylon cleansing brushes.
Oscillating Cleansing Brushes
You’ve likely heard of Clarisonic; the company brought “sonic cleansing” to the skin care industry. What is sonic cleansing? It’s a rapid-fire fluctuation — set to a sonic frequency — of the bristles on the tool’s head, some of which are moving, while others are stationary. The head’s sonic frequency generates a vibrational back-and-forth motion of all the bristles at a rate greater than 300 motions per second. Though the speed is dizzying, the effect is gentle, allowing for a deep clean — without aggressive abrasion of your skin.
People with sensitive complexions, as well as those with uneven skin surfaces (like acne or scarring) might want to opt for an oscillating brush because of its ability to lift dirt more completely without compromising the skin’s integrity. Due to their sonic technology, oscillating brushes tend to be the more expensive choice — prices typically range between $100 and $200.
Rotating Cleansing Brushes
As their name suggests, these cleansing brushes have heads that rotate in a circular motion. While rotating brushes do deliver a deep cleaning, the circular action can be more abrasive to skin if you have a heavy hand or if the bristles are stiff, rather than soft. Some rotating brushes offer multiple speeds; opt for a slower speed if you notice any residual redness or irritation after use. Priced as low as $25, rotating cleansing brushes make a more budget-friendly option for those who want to up there face cleansing game without a major financial commitment.
Which type of cleansing brush sounds right for you: rotating or oscillating? Whatever type you choose, be sure to treat your skin gently; over-exfoliation can lead to redness, irritation, sensitivity, excessive dryness and even broken capillaries. To avoid this, ease into using your cleansing brush just a few days a week and at the first sign of any of these changes, give your cleansing brush a rest. If in doubt, ask your dermatologist to put you on an exfoliation schedule to best meet your skin’s unique needs.
—Karie Lynn Frost