The best face brush
Washing your face may seem like a pretty simple process -- splash it with some water, massage in a little facial cleanser, and rinse. But if you really want to get rid of all the dirt, oil, and other debris that's likely to clog your pores, you need a tool that can not only clean the surface of your skin but exfoliate the dead cells, too. The right facial brush can help you wash your face more effectively, so you wind up with soft, glowing skin that can absorb serums, creams, and other skincare products with ease.
With our shopping guide, you get all the tips you need to choose the best face brush for your skincare routine. We've also included some specific brush recommendations, like our top pick from Clarisonic, which is dermatologist-recommended and offers two brush speeds for both gentle and deep cleansing.
Considerations when choosing face brushes
Type of brush
While all face brushes are compact handheld devices that operate on battery power, they don't necessarily work the same way.
Spinning face brushes feature a brush head that spins to lightly scrub your skin and remove dirt, oil, makeup, and other debris. A spinning face brush typically provides deeper exfoliation than other types of face brushes, so it's not an ideal option for dry or sensitive skin. If you have normal to oily skin, it can help keep your pores clear and prevent breakouts.
Ultrasonic or oscillating face brushes don't spin. Instead, the brush head quickly pulsates from side to side to remove dirt, oil, and makeup from the skin. An ultrasonic brush doesn't exfoliate as deeply as a spinning model, though it can remove pore-clogging debris from the skin. Because it's gentler on the face, it's a better option for dry or sensitive skin.
All face brushes are battery-powered, but some models use disposable batteries, while others run on rechargeable batteries.
Budget-friendly models typically use disposable batteries and can work well for travel because you don't need to bring a bulky charging dock with you. Higher-end brushes use a rechargeable battery, which can save you money in the long run because you won't have to keep buying replacement batteries. You do have to keep the brush charged or you might run out of power in the middle of washing your face. Most rechargeable brushes include a charging dock or station to hold the brush while it's charging.
Some more affordable face brushes only run at a single speed, but others have additional speeds. In most cases, you have at least two, though some brushes have three. The benefit of multiple speeds is that you can use a slower speed if you have sensitive skin or on any irritated areas of the face, such as a breakout.
A face brush usually has soft, gentle synthetic bristles or silicone bristles that are flat and exfoliate the skin more deeply. If you have dry, sensitive, or mature skin, look for a brush with softer bristles to avoid irritating your skin.
The majority of face brushes feature replaceable brush heads, allowing you to swap out a head with worn out bristles for a fresh one. These models may even include a few replacement brush heads with the brush, so you have enough to get you through several months.
Other face brushes don't use replaceable brush heads, so if the bristles get worn out over time and are no longer effective, you have to replace the entire brush. These are usually more affordable models.
While most face brushes are only meant for washing your face, some models offer accessories that increase the versatility of the brush. You can find brushes with a larger head for the body, a pumice stone head for smoothing calluses, and even a makeup brush head for applying foundation. Some accessories are included with face brush systems, but other manufacturers require you to buy them separately.
You can find some budget-friendly face brushes that go for $15 or less, as well as high-end models that cost as much as $200. For most people, a brush in the $25 to $50 range gets the job done with plenty of helpful features.
Q. Can I use a face brush if I have sensitive skin?
A. It depends on the brush and how sensitive your skin is. If you have sensitive skin, an oscillating or ultrasonic face brush is usually gentle enough. If you're dealing with skin conditions like acne or rosacea, it's a good idea to ask your dermatologist before using a face brush.
Q. Can I use a face brush with any cleanser?
A. A face brush can work with all cleansers. Apply the cleanser directly to the brush head or massage it over your skin before running the brush over your face.
Face brushes we recommend
Best of the best: Clarisonic's Mia Smart Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush
Our take: A durable, waterproof brush that deep cleans the skin, making it worth its higher price tag.
What we like: Oscillates to remove dirt, oil, and other impurities from the pores to deep clean. Offers two speeds for both gentle and more intensive cleansing. Runs for 100 minutes per charge. Waterproof, so it's safe for use in shower or bath.
What we dislike: Pricier than many other face brushes, but you're paying for quality and results.
Best bang for your buck: Lavo's Giro Facial Cleansing Brush
Our take: A high-performing face brush that won't break the bank but still gets your pores clean.
What we like: Includes two brush heads, one for gentle cleaning and one for deeper cleaning. Operates at two speeds. Features a rubberized, anti-slip handle. Waterproof for use in the shower.
What we dislike: Some users complain it's too harsh for use on the face. Bristles tend to spray water all over the bathroom.
Our take: Offers an excellent price and deep-cleaning results, but it's not waterproof, which may be a dealbreaker for some.
What we like: Works well for acne and congested skin because it allows treatment products to penetrate the skin more deeply. Can help prevent ingrown hairs. Includes two face brush heads, a large body brush, and a pumice stone head.
What we dislike: Some users find the instructions confusing. Brush heads require frequent replacement.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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