Thursday, May 03, 2012

Clarisonic Mia 2: An unbiased review (with photos)

I say "unbiased review" because I bought my Mia 2 with my own money, without being prompted or paid by Clarisonic or anyone else to do so.

I am 41 years old and I have both the beginning signs of aging (fine lines and some dullness) and the remainder of my teenage acne.  It seems so unfair. Plus my skin is sensitive, so I can't just use any product.  I have seen a dermatologist on my 40th birthday and got some Retin-A for the acne, which helped clear up my skin but also made it very dry and flaky. Plus, the dermatologist wasn't satisfied with just one product, and started recommending a second product, supposedly for rosacea, which made my skin burn and hurt.  I got some facials, which helped a bit, but I didn't like spending so much money just to maintain my face, and quit.  I have a well-documented beauty product addiction, which is fueled by my constant desire to find the right thing that will finally work.

Way back in December, when I asked for beauty product recommendations, Karen recommended the . At the time, I remember thinking, "Do I really need a power tool for my face?" I was afraid that with my sensitive skin, it might make me break out.  I have been thinking about it ever since, and when I got a flyer in the mail from Ulta that said they would give me double rewards points on Clarisonic products, I decided to go to the store and check them out in person.

The original Clarisonic seemed too pricey for me. I did feel the brush heads and was happy to notice that the one that came with the models I was considering was quite soft.  As I was puzzling out the different models, I was assisted by Kristen, a very nice salesperson who explained the different models to me.  She explained that the facialists at Ulta use the brushes for their facials.  Since I had gotten my facial there, I quickly calculated that buying this gadget might save me a lot in $70 facials.  She also said that when she didn't use hers, she noticed that her skin got worse.  She said she had the , which is the basic model, no bells or whistles.  There was a $30 difference between the Mia and the , which literally does whistle to indicate that it's time to move the brush to a different area. I thought that sounded like a useful feature. It also came with a travel case, and since I travel a lot, I decided to take the small upgrade.

I decided that I was going to put this product to the test on my blog, which means no-holds barred -- PICTURES. These pictures are taken in the mirror with my iPhone camera, so the quality isn't terrific. I am not sure that I really see a difference, and I will let you be the judge of whether it was worth posting weird-looking no-makeup photos of myself on my blog for the world to see.

After cleaning with washcloth
My old standby
I read the product directions carefully and charged my Mia 2.  I decided to do a cheek-to-cheek challenge. I cleansed my right cheek first, with my old standby, the terrycloth washcloth, with the cleanser that came with the Mia 2.  After each cleansing, I used a clean cotton round with toner to see if I could find any dirt left over on my skin. I wore makeup yesterday, but by the time I took these pictures, it had mostly worn off.

Despite the salesperson's experiences that she saw dirt and makeup in the sink after cleansing, I didn't see much left over after cleaning with the washcloth.  I don't wear a lot of heavy makeup and I always put moisturizer on first so makeup doesn't touch my bare skin.  I probably also do a decent job of cleansing by hand.  It's hard to tell if that slightly dark spot on the cotton round is dirt or just the moisture from the toner.

My new friend.
After the Mia 2
I used the Mia 2 according to the package directions. That meant 20 seconds on my forehead, another 20 seconds on my chin and nose, and 10 seconds on each cheek.  Even though I had already done the right cheek with a washcloth, I went ahead and did it again, and didn't notice any irritation.  I was glad to have the timer (which is not included on the Mia) because 20 seconds is not as long as I think it is and I could have easily overdone it if I was guessing on my own.  The machine shuts itself off after a minute to prevent that.

I went ahead and did a second cycle on my neck and upper chest, since I want to keep that skin looking nice too. It's really great that this only adds two minutes to my nighttime routine. There was not even a trace of dirt on the cotton round after the Mia 2. I am not sure it shows in the picture, but my skin had a soft rosy glow, like after exercise, and felt beautifully smooth.

Me after
I think that talking about the Clarisonic's exfoliation powers might be a better way to sell it than to make us feel like we're all carrying a lot of dirt on our faces, as if we were the before in one of those old vacuum-cleaner commercials. The thing that impressed me was not the clean feeling, which I think I get with a washcloth, but the way my skin felt baby-soft after just one use.  It still felt that way when I woke up this morning.  Since Clarisonic recommends morning-and-night use, I used it again this morning and I don't feel any irritation or see any redness.

I will be curious to see what the long-term effects are. I will check back in a month or so and let you know.

What I'd really like to do is go back in a time machine and give one of these to my teenage self when I was struggling with acne. I think I might have had a completely different high school experience.


  1. 10:40 AM

    Thank you for sharing this information about the Clarisonic Mia. It was very timely for me, because I had just purchased one on Ebay a couple of days ago. It was advertised as new. Also, I have never had a facial, but I am seriously thinking about it. BTW: I really enjoy your blog.

    1. 6:26 PM

      Thanks! Enjoy your new toy!

  • 10:58 AM

    I'll be 45 this year and I'm on a quest to keep looking young, young for 45 yrs old. I have the Oil Of Olay version. I've been using it for a week. My results for one week is ehhhhhhh. I bought the skin firming/tightening stuffe, too. It's ehhhhhh.

  • So glad you tried it and liked it...I really like the timer too. I've even used it right on my eyes (with them closed of course) to take off mascara. It's that gentle.

    1. 6:28 PM

      I wondered if it would work in the eye area but was afraid to try it.

  • 9:17 AM

    Ooh this is very interesting! I have heard so many good reports. You look gorgeous and glowing! I dunno it would work on my dry, dehydrated and frankly wussy skin but... dang. Lovely skin! :)

  • 9:44 AM

    Thank you! I have been using the Mia2 for almost a week now and I I really love the way my skin feels. I feel like some of my little lines are going away. I still have a few blemishes. My skin is pretty sensitive too. All the Clarisonics come with a "sensitive" brush head and you can get a "delicate" one if you find that too scratchy. When I bought mine it came with a $25 coupon to so I bought some replacement brush heads with different textures to see how they would feel. (Sorry, I sound like a commercial).

    I think that a lot depends on the cleanser and products you use -- I figure since there is a little scratchiness to the brush I need an extra-gentle cleanser and moisturizer.

    But if you're not having skin problems, maybe you don't need one. Your skin always looks lovely in your photos. It's a lot of money if you aren't looking to take drastic action. In addition to the initial cost, you have to buy a $25 brush head every 3-4 months, though you can save a little with coupons and buying multiples.

  • 11:22 AM

    Any marked reductions in breakouts?

  • 9:17 PM

    I am thinking about buying one. Do you still like it? Thanks, Mprgan

    1. 3:35 PM

      I do. I should use it every day -- I still have a few breakouts but not as many as I used to.

    2. 3:35 PM

      Somehow that minute seems "so long" when I'm in a rush. Not sure why.

  • 8:27 PM

    I like it -- expensive, but it does make a difference. I like the acne brush head better than the one mine came with.

  • 11:56 PM

    I LOVE your blog. Thank you. Today I went to see a plastic surgeon who said fine lines around the mouth can be really reduced using a Clairsonic. I bought one elsewhere that day for half of what he charged but did start on a skin care system with it called Obage + trentinoin with Retin A. They told em your face WILL get "dandruffy" for 8 weeks of using REtin A, but then that stops and you get the results in fine line diminishment, age spots, etc. etc. Better than me spending 7 grand on a partial lift. GADS.

  • 11:58 PM

    Thanks for your post. I am trying it for first time tonight. I too had been disappointed in the Oil of Olay version. Apparently SONIC TECHNOLOGY like in Clairsonics, is the way to go, it yells at your pores and uses sound waves to scare the age spots right of your face. Anyway I am sure I will be a changed woman after using it for a month. I will let you know. :-)

  • 9:38 AM

    Thank you for posting. I just purchased and have been using since Saturday. I feel like it has really made a difference. I will be 39 in April and have been considering botox or some kind of facial rejuvenation. My skin is very sensitive as well. It seemed like the cleanser had a slight perfume smell so I have been using my Aveda facial cleanser for sensitive skin with it. I think my face is looking softer and healthier! I wasn't sure if it was a placebo effect! Lol. Love reading all of your comments! Btw...this is my first time ever commentng on any product! Thats how excited I am for this one!


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