Most of my friends know that I’m pretty cheap. I mean, I’m always looking for the best deals in everything from food to clothes. But on occasion, I have been known to splurge on things that matter like gifts for my loved ones, plane tickets for long haul trips and good comfortable hotel rooms and facial products. I’m also a stickler for things I’ve used before. Hence you rarely find me at one of those yuppie cafes because to me, it’s too much of a risk. You are spending a lot more money for an unknown quality. Yes, Starbucks ain’t cheap, but like McDonalds, it brings with it a certain familiarity and known quality.
I feel the same way about my skin. I don’t wear make up. I have sensitive skin but not one that is overly complicated, well, other than the eczema and urticaria. But so far my face has been relatively spared. The products I use are quite simple: toner, cleanser and moisturizer. I normally stick to either Clarins or Clinique or Elizabeth Arden. One would argue they ARE expensive but these brands have a long history of quality behind them and you don’t want to be messing around too much with your face, know what I mean? That said, I’ve dabbled on occasion with grocery store products, various Korean facial products as well. But as I don’t read Korean, it’s hard for me to decipher the ingredients in the product. As I’ve aged, my friends are moving in to “organic” products or making their own. I applaud their bravery but I simply do not possess that sort of courage. Every time I’ve used a different product from my usual, I will return to either Clarins or Clinique (Elizabeth Arden is a once every year or so treat)….just in case.
Hence, given my squeamishness about trying new products when it comes to my face, it should come as no surprise that I’ve waited 10 years before caving into the electronic sonic facial brush phenomenon. On occasion, I’ve used manual hand held loofahs to my face but frankly it’s never been a habit I’ve managed to be consistent with. In fact the usual routine of face washing toning and moisturizing disappeared almost completely during residency as I struggled to balance life with work. I counted it as a victory if I remembered whether or now I had brushed my teeth at least twice a day!
Anyway, I’ve lusted after Clarisonic’s Mia ever since Sephora introduced it way back when. But it was $200 or maybe more when it was first introduced and I didn’t think that I could justify such a purchase especially most times I was struggling to pay rent on time. I figured I had to be more regimental about my facial routine first. I also reasoned that if I was good about my routine, perhaps I might not even need an electronic gadget to keep my face clean. That said, I love my electric toothbrush. I tried one year without it and my dentist ended up threatening to take all my teeth out.
About two months ago, on one of my rare days off, I offered to babysit my sister’s little monkeys so that she could get her haircut in Orchard Road. I figured it would allow me the opportunity to finally enter my favorite department store and walk out with one of the famous Tang bags! I was quite set on the Clarisonic’s Mia brush. I wanted the original as the newer models had differing speeds and seriously, who wants so many buttons on their gadgets anyway? I was quite disappointed when I got there to find out the original was out of stock. I played around with the other models but I wasn’t happy with any of them so I wandered over to the Clinique counter. Their nice clean clinical interface always makes me feel so safe and clean.
Clinique also has their own sonic brush that has been on the market for a two or three years. They’ve won several awards for their efficiency. It was something I had thought of buying but I had my heart set on the Mia because well, I’ve wanted it for 10 years! Nonetheless, the sales girl was very attentive, sweet and polite. Also, the Clinique brush was $100 cheaper than Clarisonic’s newer, more advanced models.
Well, the bargain hunter in me picked up the scent. I tested the feel of the brush on my hand. The length of each cycle was 30sec, which apparently is how long you are supposed to massage your face with your hands. Who knew? I doubt I have the cleanser on my face for more than 10 sec most times. It didn’t feel too rough against my skin and it was weirdly soothing. Plus it had one button! One press and it goes for 30 sec. One speed. Unlike the new Clarisonic sonic brushes which have three different speeds. I’m a simple girl. One button will do, thank you very much. It wasn’t too heavy, perfect for traveling. And one charge lasts for 3 months. The main difference from the Clarisonic system is that only the head of the Clarisonic system vibrates whereas the entire body of Clinique vibrates. I’ve read some reviews who have pooh-poohed over this difference and have stated that the Clinique brush is but a poor imitator. I beg to differ. At least my hands have also gotten a nice massage on top of the cleaning!
Anyway, I’ve been using the brush with The Body Shop tea tree cleanser for the past two months. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a new toy phenomenon but I’ve definitely been more consistent about washing my face. I’ve also been cleaning my neck more. The vibration of the brush under my chin feels really good. I’ve stopped toning as regularly though because my skin is getting drier as I’ve aged and someone told me that toning is too drying for older skin. If I
forget decide not to use the brush, I’ll tone before putting the moisturizer on ( ok, like you haven’t skipped a step or two once in a while *no judging!*). And because I’ve been washing so diligently, I’ve also been more consistent with my moisturizer, which is from the Face Shop Clean Face line. Once both the Face Shop and the Body Shop products are completed, I will probably return to Clinique and Clarins for about three months.
So far, the hyper pigmented spot is still on my right cheek. I don’t think it’s gotten any lighter. My pores look the same. I think. I don’t really know. I’ve never been the sort of person who has one of those magnifying mirrors and stare at my pores. And when I was in medical school, I gladly traded my dermatology rotation for a short stint in neurology (boy! Am I regretting that decision now! Especially since everyone comes in with rashes or acne and wants me to fix it! And I do! By writing a referral!)
But my acne breakouts are less severe than before. But I don’t know if it’s because I’m more diligent about the basics of skin care or if it’s because of the brush. Nonetheless, the brush is going with me to Milan and everywhere else because if anything, the built-in timer for washing my face is worth it! Plus I feel like I’m having a mini massage EVERYTIME! Not too bad for a $150 product. As long as it lasts! At least I’m saving on facials…..
In the meantime, if anyone has new recommendations for moisturizers or seems, let me know! After a rest period with Clarins I’ll be open to more ‘experimental’ products!