as good as or better than

The $6 Silicone Brush That’s More Effective (and Gentler) Than My Clarisonic

Sephora Cleansing Pad.
There are tiny, as well as big, nubs on this pad.

There are certain things in life that have been — fairly or unfairly — established as “the best.” You want a pair of rain boots? Hunter. Looking for cast iron? Lodge. But sometimes conventional wisdom is wrong, or at least not one size fits all. In our series As Good As or Better Than, we seek out the things that top — are prettier, longer-lasting, or just plain cheaper — the historic favorites.

Ever since I read that I should remove the brush head from the handle of my fancy Clarisonic device and clean it every single time I use it (lest water sit under and start to mildew), my Clarisonic started to seem like too much work. The widely beloved electric face brush, which has been dutifully scrubbing faces (sonically!) since 2004, has been in my arsenal for over seven years, though lately, I’ve found myself using it less and less. It’s a bit too easy for me to press down too hard (or use it for too long), resulting in microscopic tears and abrasions in my skin (the kind that can aggravate psoriasis, acne, and eczema). Even when I use the “delicate” brush head, I still feel like it’s too rough on my sensitive skin. And though my skin feels squeaky-clean after using it, it’s likely I’ve simply over-cleansed it.

So when I needed to spend an extra $6 to make free shipping for my Sephora order a few months ago, I impulsively added this little pink face scrubber to my shopping cart and hoped for the best — and I’d venture it’s the best $6 I’ve ever spent.

It has a little suction cup on the back that I stick to the wall of my shower.

Sephora calls this thing the Precision Pore Cleansing Pad, and it gets 4.6 out of five lipsticks on MakeupAlley, the most old-school beauty internet destination around. Here’s why: It works exactly as advertised. This low-tech little device manages to get down into my pores and scrub out all the visible (and invisible) grime stuck there — with zero harshness. Silicone is also bacteria-resistant, and it’s easy to sterilize this little pad even further by pouring a little rubbing alcohol all over it every so often. I’ve been using the same pad for over a year — and I’d have used four Clarisonic brush heads in that same amount of time (at $22 a pop, even if I’d bought them in two-packs).

Before using this little bugger, I was never able to get all that cry-proof mascara off my face. It’s more effective than just using my hands, and I even find that it saves money when I use my fancy, expensive face wash (this ride-or-die cleanser) because I use far less of it. The tiny silicone bristles of this pad gently massage my face (without scratching) as they grab and lift makeup and dirt away from the skin. Silicone also makes it impossible to over-scrub — the nubs are soft, pliable, and far thicker than the bristles on Clarisonic’s spinning scrub brush. And where my Clarisonic has always been awkward to store and then find, the pad has a little suction cup on the back, so I can slap it on the wall of the shower, where it sits waiting for me every morning.

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The $6 Silicone Brush That’s More Effective Than Clarisonic