Cheat Sheet – Why I don’t like ‘battery operated cleansing brushes’

Well if ever there was a gentle way of saying the word that you’re all saying in your head now, that was my attempt. Assuming we all know the type of thing I’m talking about, I’ll carry on.

I have recently been asked a lot more frequently about said cleansing brushes, usually by newcomers to this site who may have missed previous posts and/or comments.

Why don’t I like them?

  • Because your skin is delicate, it does not need a sandblaster to cleanse it, you have two hands, use them.
    (As I’ve said previously, if you are not fully able-bodied, obviously do whatever you have to do – ignore this.)
  • Because they are capable of basically destroying your acid mantle.
    That skin ‘purging’? It’s not purging, it’s inflamed. It’s shouting at you, begging you to stop whatever it is you’re doing to it. Stop it. If you were using a moisturiser that broke your face out into acne you’d be horrified, utterly horrified. And you would, in all likelihood, stop using it immediately. And return it. Especially if that cream cost you upwards of £150. But don’t worry! In the case of ‘purging’, they have a brilliant idea! Buy another head! You must just need something a bit more delicate. Note how they’ve made it your fault. Your problem. And the solution? Spend more money. It’s genius if you think about it.
  • Acne. The fact that these are aimed at people with acne is enough to make me scream blue murder. ‘Hey you know what’s great for acne? Using a power brush to really make sure the skin is as sore as possible! Brilliant! Let’s do that.’
    No. Please do not.
  • Lack of training when the item is sold. You can buy the most famous version of this online. Just get it delivered to you with no human contact from a trained pro advising you how to use it. Which leads to..
  • People using them incorrectly. This is without doubt the ‘tool’ that is used incorrectly by the majority of people that discuss it with me.
  • The dirty head. How many of you wash the brush head properly? Don’t tell me ‘it dries out and therefore the bacteria dies’. Imagine using the same flannel for 2 weeks and never washing it. You can by all means let it ‘dry out’ between uses if that image makes you feel better, but imagine it. Filth.
  • The cleansers that the original version of these are sold with are 100% horrific. Horrific. I cannot stress enough how much these should be avoided. I promise you the thought behind this was ‘How can we make more money?’ Oh, I know! Let’s make our own product! We’ll say that they’re the only thing people should use with them. OMG that’s genius!’.
    This was not a decision made for the benefit of your skin. I promise you. A foaming, SLS-laden soap, with a rotating (oscillating – whatever) power-blaster?? In some cases with grit? REALLY? It’s like they sat together around a table and said ‘What could we possibly make that could irritate the skin more than say, oh I don’t know, a Brillo pad and Fairy liquid?’.

Why are they so popular?

Numerous reasons:

  • Because of the timer system, in some cases it will be the first time that some people have thoroughly cleansed their face. If you massaged your skin with your hands for a full minute and removed a cleansing balm with a flannel after years of splashing off regular milks/gels your skin would feel the same way.
  • If you’ve never used flannels and acid toners these brushes will without doubt exfoliate your skin. The first time you use it you will feel like your skin can ‘breathe’ properly. That’s nothing you can’t get with product and hands and without sanding your face.
  • Marketing. AKA Keeping Up With the Jones’. Your mate has one, it’s all over the press, you WANT it. Oh LOOK A PINK ONE! *man voice* OH LOOK! A black one!
  • And why is is all over the press? Because they make money. BIG BIG BIG money for the companies that sell them. Not just the brands, the retailers. If you go into a store and someone tries to sell you this, I promise you they are trying to make their target for the day. They may not have even asked you what skin type you have before they’ve said ‘Oh you know what YOU need?!’

BUT: you don’t have to listen to me, I know some of you swear by them. Good for you. As I always say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And don’t stop something you love using on my accord.
If however, you have one sitting in your cupboard that you shelved because it didn’t agree with your skin, dig it out. Use it on your feet. Or your bum. Lovely.

Personally, I think in years to come we will see an increase in broken capillaries, stubborn ‘bumps’ that don’t come to a head and rosacea and I don’t think they will be unrelated to the use of these ‘brushes’. On that note, if you do suffer from eczema, acne or rosacea, for the love of ALL THAT IS SANITY you have no business blasting your face to kingdom come with these things. No matter what any sales person says.

Addition: in the name of full disclosure, I have held giveaways on the blog for similar ‘cleansing brushes’ in the past. This was over 3 years ago, well before they became the money-making-trend/craze that they are now. I’ve deleted those posts and it won’t happen again. Sorry all.