i'm not a professional. just crazy.

The Best Beauty Tools I Discovered From Instagram’s Explore Tab

The author’s explore page. Photo: Courtesy DermStore

If you happened to be wondering what my Explore page looked like on Instagram, I am here to tell you that it is entirely comprised of ten-second videos of people using beauty tools. Not makeup looks, not K-beauty skin-care product intros, but tools. High-tech cleansers, massagers, steamers, blackhead-extractors, at-home microdermabrasion, facial-toning devices: I’m addicted.

I’ve spent hours in bed transfixed by these beauty machines, but — until now — had never felt the need to carve out the money to test them out. But then my interest overtook my sanity and I decided to purchase, research, and test out a bevy of products that regularly pop up on my Explore page in order to let you know if they’re worth the splurge. If you’re considering a beauty tool, or if, like me, your Explore page has given you beauty-tool FOMO, allow me to walk you through what’s on the market.

Ora Face Microneedle Dermal Roller System
$24 at Dermstore

I’d seen this microneedling device a few times on my Explore page, advertised as a kind of at-home substitute for lip injections (scary) and as an efficient way of getting rid of fine lines and wrinkles. For reference, microneedling is generally done in a doctor’s office, during which small needles repeatedly puncture the skin in order to treat acne scars and plump up your skin.

The derma roller, which is basically a little roller made with hundreds of super-tiny needles, is made with hundreds of even tinier needles. I wasn’t interested in buying one until I saw a video of a girl’s hyperpigmentation before and after. In the before, her skin was red, flushed, and had red- and purple-hued scars from breakouts. In the after, the scars were about five times better, with little to no redness. She explained that she hadn’t really changed much to her skin-care routine, and that the dermal roller was allowing her products to penetrate deeper into the skin and therefore act more effectively. I promptly ordered a 0.5 mm dermal roller. Though the derma roller looks terrifying (I mean, it’s literally covered in spikes), it actually doesn’t hurt. At all. And I’m bad with pain. Regarding the results, I’ll say this: After using this dermal roller for a couple of weeks after cleansing but before putting on my Cosrx snail mucin, I’ve rid myself of acne scars that have been there for years. Happy (and stunned) to say this product is legit.

NuFace Trinity Facial Trainer Kit
$429 at Demstore

I saw a video on my Explore page of a chick practically changing the entire shape of her face with this product, which promises to tone, contour, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles on your face and neck through micro-current treatment (in other words: electrical currents). I used the device once a day for five minutes (for a couple of weeks), as is recommended. Though I was insanely skeptical, I actually did notice a difference in the “natural contour” of my face — meaning I noticed that the elasticity in my skin was tauter and that the hollows of my cheeks were more apparent. Did I just see what I wanted to see? Maybe. While I do not think that this is an essential purchase, my best friend — who uses it religiously — disagrees, and in fact swears that it helped rid her of her (imaginary) double chin. I did, however, notice that her cheekbones had been looking plumper and more lifted. “It’s the NuFace,” she assured me. “I promise.”

Blackhead Remover Pore Vacuum Pore Cleaner
$36 at Amazon

I’m a sicko, so I watched about a thousand videos of this device — a blackhead “vacuum” that literally sucks up dead skin cells and debris trapped in your skin — pulling blackheads out of people’s faces. Though I enjoyed watching the process, I am skeptical of any device that promises to get rid of blackheads — even after the best facials, I still find myself extracting; if a trained human can’t get rid of them, how could a weird little machine? But I have to admit, I was shocked and surprised by how effective this was. This thing will not help you with your regular zits (just use my beloved go-to, Pimple Patches), but for dealing with nose and chin blackheads, this product is actually kind of incredible. I was floored by how much it actually took out of my skin. I should say, though, that this product is quite rough on the skin. So if you have sensitive skin, expect some redness and even, according to a few reviews, some bruises.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Pro Facial Steamer
$149 at Sephora

I had heard about this before my Explore-page mania from various YouTubers, but I only became interested once I started watching before and after results. This steamer — an at-home version of the thing they use during facials — “delivers micro-steam technology to infuse skin with hydration, clarify the complexion, and detoxify skin.” It terrified me because I’m not the best extractor — and if this was as good as it seemed, I was afraid I’d be left with lots of loosened, but not removed, blackheads. But I actually liked it! The steam pressure is gentle but effective — it opens up your pores without being too aggressive and scalding your face off. It did bring a lot to the surface, as I feared, but once I finished with it, I slapped a pimple patch on the formerly blackheaded spots and everything looked good and glowy in the morning.

Foreo Espada
$149 at Dermstore

A compact, pricey light stick which allegedly helps to get rid of any gross bacteria in the skin that causes acne by “supporting natural blood microcirculation and facilitating the skin’s renewal.” I’m still in the process of testing this out, but did use it last week on a giant, horrible cystic blemish and noticed that the spot went down in size a decent amount after a few uses. The reviews for this are very positive. One Sephora user said: “My face is less red or inflamed, my pores are smaller, I have less blackheads, and my regular zits now heal over one to three days, much faster than they ever did before I got this thing.”

Illuminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillowcase
$60 at Nordstrom

This is less of a conventional beauty tool and more of a home-décor accessory with added beauty benefits! These pillowcases are silky smooth, and have copper in them — which apparently helps with the skin’s production of collagen. I don’t know if it’s changed the texture of my skin, but it can’t hurt, and it has certainly helped eliminate bedhead!

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The Best Beauty Tools I Discovered on Instagram