Beauty magazines have extolled their virtues, women’s magazines have discovered them, even men’s magazines have devoted pages to the glorious power of the Face Brush. But until I decided to test out seven different options over the course of several months (more on that timeline later), I wasn’t convinced: Why buy a machine to wash my face when I have two hands that seem to do that job just fine? If I want to clean out my pores or exfoliate my epidermis, there’s that stuff in my shower that has little blue beads in it and smells like citrus.
Turns out I was totally wrong. Face brushes — by which I’ll qualify, good face brushes — are incredible when used correctly. As I fell further down this rabbit hole, it was like switching from a squeegee to a car wash. Practically speaking, this means that my skin tone evened out, breakouts and blemishes disappeared almost entirely, moisturizers and face oils seemed to absorb into my mug better, and my skin felt cleaner than ever before, perhaps because I didn’t have to use my hands to ever touch my skin.
But there’s one problem inherent to all these face brush accolades: A lot of them on the market sorta suck. Their bristles were too bristling; their motors too strong to navigate my face without tangling my longish hair (I’m not a woman, so I do not wear an elastic headband while cleaning my face); their overly complicated functionality — low speeds, high speeds, etc. — too unnecessary. The other issue is that this is ultimately a technologically powered, high-octane, altogether harsh way to clean your face. At one point, I had to stop for a few weeks because my skin was getting desert dry. Twice a week at maximum, I’d say. And click through the end of the slideshow to get to the brushes that are actually worth their investment. To keep things fair, I tested all of them using the standard “cleansing brush” attachment, and avoided any exfoliating pads or microdermabrasion options that were included in some kits.