Does The Clarisonic Help Or Harm Skin?

clarisonic good bad skin

It’s one of the very few innovations in skincare devices. It made Ophra’s list of favourite things. And yet, many experts caution about its use. I’m talking about the Clarisonic (although, everything in this post is true for its many clones as well). What is it, and why is it so controversial?

What is Clarisonic?

Put it simply, the Clarisonic is an electric toothbrush for skin. Developed utilizing the same technology previously used to cleanse teeth, it features a soft and gentle brush that oscillates back and forth over the skin at sonic speed. According to a 2006 study (done by the makers of Clarisonic), “the net result is the inelastic comedones become loosened and detached from the infundibular wall and are then cleared from the acroinfundibulum,” which is just a fancy way of saying it can dislodge impurities in the pores. The brush can also remove dirt, makeup, and dead skin’s cells.

A cleansing or an exfoliating system?

Clarisonic is marketed as a cleansing, rather than an exfoliating, tool. That’s probably why they recommend using this device twice a day, in the morning and at night. They’re trying to make you change your cleansing habits, and replacing your usual cleanser with their brush. But while the Clarisonic can cleanse skin well, it also removes dead skin cells, which is what an exfoliant does. And exfoliating too often, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin, can do more harm than good to the skin.

Why overexfoliation is bad for skin

Exfoliation has many benefits for the skin. By removing the superficial layer of dead skin cells from its surface, you expose the newer, brighter, smoother, and even-toned skin underneath. It also makes fines lines and wrinkles appear smaller. As a result, skin looks younger and healthier. That’s not all. Exfoliation also allows skincare products to better penetrate into the skin, enhancing their efficacy. Plus, keeping skin and pores clean also helps prevent breakouts.

But those dead cells are there for a reason. They protect the red and raw skin underneath that’s not ready to come to the surface yet. If you remove too much of this protective layer, you’ll be exposing it, and that can be very painful! Even if you don’t reach raw skin, overexfoliation can disrupt the skin’s protective barrier, allowing moisture to escape from the skin, causing dryness. Or worse. When this barrier is damaged, skin is more prone to both irritations and infections.

How often should you use the Clarisonic?

The Clarisonic should be used as an exfoliating device. And not everyone can exfoliate skin manually daily. If you have pretty thick skin, you may be able to use this device twice a day without experiencing any side effects. But if your skin is normal, dry, or sensitive, then using it 2 or 3 times a week may be best. For some people, though, even that is too much. It’s all about experimenting to find out what frequency is right for you.

Problem is, this stuff is too expensive for experimentation. You don’t want to splurge on it only to discover it’s too harsh for your skin! Oh, and be careful what you use it with too. If you use it with a AHAs or BHA based exfoliant (whether during the cleansing process or afterwards), you may be getting too much exfoliation as well. Pay attention to how your skin responds and discontinue use at first sign of imitation.

Can anyone use the Clarisonic?

The brand of course says yes. Their website features several studies claiming the device is gentle and safe for use for everyone, including those affected with mild to moderate acne and rosacea. However, these studies were all commissioned by Clarisonic, and were conducted on a small group of people. Only 14, for example, took part in the rosacea study. Also, they don’t provide much information on how the Clarisonic was used or how the results were measured, making it impossible to accurately review the findings.

Experts, though, are cautious. Dr Leslie Baumann, for instance, believes that, while people with thicker skin can safely use the Clarisonic, “anyone with sensitive skin – and acne-prone skin is indeed sensitive – should actually avoid these vigorous scrubbing products, which can exacerbate inflammation. Rosacea and the tendency to experience skin allergies are further indications that you should not be using an abrasive exfoliant or a vigorous cleansing brush. Similarly, anyone with very dry skin should avoid exfoliating, which may compromise an already impaired skin barrier and worsen dryness.”

Is the Clarisonic the best way to cleanse and exfoliate skin?

Let’s say your skin is not too dry or sensitive, and can take being exfoliated regularly with the Clarisonic. Should you invest in it? The cheapest model costs $99.00, while the brush heads, which must be cleaned and replaced regularly, $25.00. That may be worth it if studies showed it worked better than AHAs, such as Glycolic Acid, or Salicylic Acid. But, as far as I know, no such study has been performed yet.

Clarisonic has, however, commissioned a study to test the cleansing ability of its device. The results showed that the Clarisonic Brush removes 6 times more makeup than manual cleansing. That’s both impressive and scary! It makes you wonder how much makeup we have trapped in our skin. Well, if you feel the urge of giving your dirty face a good scrub to remove it all, don’t. You don’t need to.

The Clarisonic Brush removes 6 times more makeup than manual cleansing indeed. But manual cleansing, according to the study, simply means removing makeup by hand with only water! Everyone who has ever used makeup knows that many products, especially longlasting and waterproof ones, are best removed with oil-based rather than water-based makeup removers. And none of us would dream to take makeup off with water alone! It’s just not that effective. Any cleanser would remove makeup better than water only. And was the Clarisonic tested against other cleansers and makeup removers? Of course not! Makes you think, doesn’t it?

The Bottom Line

This post is pretty negative, but I don’t think the Clarisonic is bad. Not for everyone anyway. Like other exfoliants, it can remove dead skin cells, revealing the brighter, younger-looking skin underneath, and enhancing the penetration of skincare products. But does it do it better than other exfoliants and cleansers on the market? We don’t know. What’s certain is that using it often, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin, can lead to dryness and irritations. If you’re not sure it’ll work for you, try a cheaper option, like Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System, which is only $30. Personally, until I see scientific studies confirming it works better than other exfoliants, I’ll stick to glycolic acid.

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Product Review: Sleek Makeup Eye & Cheek Palette In See You At Midnight

sleek makeup eye cheek palette see you at midnight 02

Name: Eye & Cheek Palette in See You At Midnight
Brand: Sleek Makeup
Size: 9g
Price: £9.99

From Sleek Makeup’s website:
Multi-functional palette contains four eyeshadows and two blushers from our bestselling i-Divine and Blush range. Eye & Cheek Palette provides all of your colour essentials in one convenient compact.
These velvety smooth eyeshadows and blushers are highly pigmented and long-lasting, making blending and defining simple.

What I liked:
– contains four dark eyeshadows and two blushes to create wearable nighttime looks
– blushes are pigmented, soft to the touch, easy to blend, and longlasting
– two of the eyeshadow shades are pigmented, soft to the touch, and blend easily
– eyeshadows last long when used with a primer
– sleek black packaging comes with a big mirror

What I didn’t like:
– two of the eyeshadows shades have a drier texture
– Romance in Rome is quite sheer
– Honeymoon in Hollywood is a bit harder to blend compared to the other shades

Usually, the only place you’ll see me at midnight is my bed. I like to go to sleep early and wake up early. I’m boring like that. But, if I were to go on a night out with my girlfriends, I’d totally be rocking the new Sleek Makeup Eye & Cheek Palette in See You At Midnight. This beauty features 4 cool and dark eyeshadow shades from the Romance i-Divine Palette and two blushes.

I don’t own the Romance i-Divine Palette yet, so I was thrilled to have the chance to try a few of the shades. Unfortunately, they were probably chosen based on colour, favouring the darker ones, than on quality. Two of the shades, Romance in Rome and Honeymoon in Hollywood have drier textures.

Romance in Rome, a cool-toned, dark purplish blue with a frosted finish is on the sheer side, and, no matter how you apply, you’ll never gonna get an intense and vibrant colour payoff. Honeymoon in Hollywood performs better. A cool toned, deep berry wine with a satin finish and silver sparkle, it has better colour payoff, but it is a tad more difficult to blend than the other shades in the palette.

sleek makeup eye cheek palette see you at midnight 03

Bliss in Barcelona, a cool-toned dark purple with a frosted finish, and Meet in Madrid, a pale gold with a frosted finish as well, are wonderful. Pigmented and soft to the touch, they blend like a dream. Used together, these four shades create a dark and mysterious, but somewhat tamed, look that’s very wearable. You won’t have to worry about looking like you’ve been punched in the face when you wear them.

Although, if you have pale skin and are not careful, the Pomegranate Blush could make you look like a clown. This stuff is very pigmented! A raspberry red with a touch of gold shimmers, it has a soft texture that’s easy to blend. On darker skintones, it looks divine!

Antique, part of the Romance collection with the Romance i-Divine Palette, is instead more friendly to pale princesses as well. A medium brown shade with rose undertones and silver shimmer that’s not over the top, it provides a great alternative for those who want the focus to be on the eyes and keep the cheeks natural. Like Pomegranate, it is pigmented, soft to the touch, and easy to blend.

sleek makeup eye cheek palette see you at midnight 01

While the blushes lasted for most of the day on my dry cheeks, the eyeshadows started to crease and fade after about 6 hours of wear. That’s if you don’t use a good eyeshadow base to prime your lids beforehand. If your lids are very oily, you may experience some creasing even with a primer after 8 hours, though.

The eyeshadows and blushes are housed in a rectangular black palette. The size is neither too big nor too small, and perfect for travelling. Inside, you’ll also find a big mirror, a mini blush brush, and a dual-ended sponge applicator for eyeshadows. While I find the mirror very useful, I haven’t tried the applicators yet. I prefer to use my own brushes. I get better results that way.

Available at: Boots and Sleek Makeup

Sleek Makeup Eye & Cheek Palette in See You At Midnight contains four cool-toned and dark eyeshadows and two blushes to create wearable nighttime looks. The blushes, and two of the eyeshadows are pigmented, soft to the touch, and blend like a dream. The other two eyeshadow shades, instead, have a drier texture that impacts their performance somewhat: one is sheer, and the other a bit harder to blend. Staying power is good.

Rating: 3.5/5

Disclosure: this item was sent by PR for consideration.In addition, the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.
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New Holiday 2014 Collections: Guerlain A Night At The Opera, Nars Laced With Edge Color & Gifting

Hello gorgeous,

curious to see what Guerlain and Nars have in store for us for the holiday season? Read on:

Guerlain A Night At The Opera

guerlain a night at the opera holiday collection 2014

A night at the Opera is a night of celebration. Guerlain’s 2014 holiday collection rejoices in the radiance and beauty of this magical experience while paying homage to its classic Coque d’Or perfume. First launched in 1937, Jacques Guerlain created Coque d’Or as a tribute to the opera as well as to his friend Diaghilev, the founder of the Russian Ballet.

Coque d’Or’s sensual breathtaking bottle was comprised of dark blue Baccarat crystal and finished with a thin golden layer. It drew its shape from the bow, worn by men on gala evenings and in the ballerinas’ hair. According to the legend, this ribbon offers the secret of grace and eternal seduction to those who possess it.

It features eye and blush applicators and five shades of sheer iridescent eye shadows—from champagne to coppery brown—for brightening up the eyes. The four matte and iridescent blushes may be worn alone or layered together: the fresh pink and coral shades revive the cheeks, while the rosewood and brown shades perfectly sculpt the cheeks.

10 Cygne Noir: shimmering silver black with a deeply pigmented plum
11 Cygne Blanc: silvery ballerina pink with frosted white


The subtle pearly finish of the 6 Meteorites shades, ranging from matte beige to iridescent pink, veil the complexion in a luminous radiance. The holiday edition reimagines this cult-classic product in an all gold design, featuring the famous Coque d’Or red bow and a matching red powder puff.

820 Rouge Parade: luminous red

901 L’Oiseau de Feu: sheer top coat with golden pearl
920 Rouge Paradie: deep black cherry

This powder is infused with golden shimmers and the scent of Coque d’Or, a chypre composition based on bergamot, rose, jasmine, and patchouli.

400 Coque d’Or: metallic shimmering gold
901 L’Oiseau de Feu: decorative gold leaf effect

The collection is already available at Nordstrom.

Nars Laced With Edge Color Collection

nars color collection holiday 2014 01 nars color collection holiday 2014 02

Cutting-edge color—anything but straightlaced. For Holiday 2014, François Nars projects a bold new design for the future femme. Decoding the thrill of seduction, this captivating collection exposes a full range of colors and textures with dramatic dimension.

The custom packaging adapts architectural designer Chris Kabatsi’s digitally-rendered Nebula print into a dynamic yet delicate depiction. The intricate web of black gloss grips the signature soft-touch packaging in a modern take on lace.

Canberra: shimmering lavender
Opal Coast: iridescent white
Gabon: bronzed green

BLUSH ($30.00)
Almeria: tan rose

Adriatic: glistening soft cream
Deadly Catch: crimson
Femme Fleur: shimmering brick red with gold pearl

LIPGLOSS ($26.00)
Soleil d’Orient: shimmering pink champagne
Burning Love: bright ruby with subtle shimmer
Corsica: shimmering pink raspberry

NAIL POLISH ($20.00)
Barents Sea: sparkling deep blue
Algonquiun: sparkling lilac
Sherwood: shimmering violet rose

The collection is already available at and will reach counters on November 1.

Nars Laced With Edge Gifting Collection

Technology meets femininity in the Laced With Edge, the new gifting holiday collection from Nars. The pink, peach, and bronze shades are housed translucent packaging featuring digital lace designs.

Here’s what’s the collection includes:

nars gifting collection holiday 2014 01

nars gifting collection holiday 2014 02

The palette includes products for eyes, cheeks, and lips:
Eyeshadow I: neutral vanilla
Eyeshadow II: shimmering café au lait
Eyeshadow III: matte army green
Day Dream Blush: sheer peach
Laguna Bronzer: diffused brown powder with golden shimmer
Dolce Vita Lipgloss

It includes:
Roman Holiday Blush: pastel with the most delicate hint of pink
Roman Holiday Lipstick: pastel with the most delicate hint of pink
Roman Holiday Nail Polish: shimmery begonia pink

If you love bronzer, you’ll love this palette. It features a huge-sized Laguna bronzer.

The set includes:
Laguna Bronzer: diffused Brown Powder with Golden Shimmer
Miss Liberty Blush: soft shimmering peach
Deep Throat Blush: sheer peach
Sexy Fantasy Blush: pale lavender pink
Final Cut Blush: peach coral

It features four mini glosses:
Lipgloss I: shimmering peach sorbet
Lipgloss II: shimmering sheer fig
Lipgloss III: shimmering sheer raspberry
Lipgloss IV: sheer ruby

This set features 5 lip pencils:
Cruella: passionate scarlet red
Ibertico: intense coral
Yu: shocking pink
Descanso: tea rose
Torres Del Paine: peach coral

The set includes:
Mie Kabuki Brush: ideal for soft, all-over face application of loose and pressed powders. The double-dome design deposits product evenly.
Mitzubake Kabuki Brush: contour and sculpt blush and bronzer
Kabuki Eye Brush: blends and diffuses eyeshadows for a soft-focus, seamless effect

The collection will be available from November 1 at Sephora.

What are your favourite pieces from these collections?

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Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.154

Hello gorgeous,

how are you doing today? Let me know in the comments, but first, take a look at my random ramblings ;)

New Layout

No, you’re not on the wrong blog. I just changed the blog layout. I’m finally on the Genesis Framework, and, so far, I’m loving it. There are many wonderful themes for Genesis, but, in the end, I chose to go with one from Pretty Darn Cute. I love their designs. They are professional, neat, and feminine. And their customer support is amazing! They answered all my questions quickly and were very helful. I’d definitely recommend you check Pretty Darn Cute out if you’re planning a redesign too.

I plan to customize the layout a bit, but that means learning some HTML and CSS, so please bear with me while I work on it. I hope you like the new layout. It works much better on mobile phones too. ;)

5 Reasons Why I Love My Kindle


If, when the Kindle first appeared, you had told me that I would one day own one and love it almost as much as real books, I would have laughed in your face. Back then, I was a book purist. I needed to have the book in my hands, to smell its freshly printed pages (that’s still my absolute favourite smell ever), turn its pages, and put it on the shelf once I was done. I loved the experience of reading a physical book, not some electronic device.

But over the years, I kept coming across several books I wanted to read that were available only on Kindle, so I thought, “fine, let’s try you out”. I bought the cheapest one available and it’s been one of my most prized possessions ever since. If my house were ever on fire, it’s one of the first things I’d save. :) Here’s why:

1. It saves a lot of space…

If I were rich, I’d turn the biggest room in my home into a library and fill it with all the books I could find. But as I’m not, I only have so little space to store books. My shelves and drawers are already overflowing with them. With a Kindle, you don’t have to worry about that. Mine can store up to 2GB. I have hundreds of books on there and they only take up half that space!

2. …And money too

Kindle books usually cost less than physical books, which saves you a pretty penny already. But a lot are actually free. It can be because their copyright has expired, or maybe their authors are offering them for free for a few days as a way to promote their works. Whatever the reason, you’ll save a ton of money, which you can then use to buy makeup (or is that just me? lol).

3. It’s portable

A Kindle is much lighter than any books, so you can easily carry it with you wherever you go. That means having an entire library at your fingertips all the time. You can use it to read any book, even those huge tomes that would be very heavy, and difficult to bring around with you in physical form, on planes, on the commute to work, at the doctor’s office. This way, you end up reading a lot more than you used to.

4. It’s convenient

I know you can get free books at the library or cheap deals on physical books online, but you actually have to get up and go there or place an order and wait for it to be shipped. Call me lazy, but it is so much easier to just buy the Kindle version. It gets download onto your Kindle immediately so you can read it straight away. Instant gratification at its best.

5. Better book selection

Thanks to self-publishing, there are many more new books available for Kindle than paper books in stores. This is great news for those who like niche topics and genres. It also gives writers more freedom, as they aren’t forced to pen a happy ending or using clichés that may be required by traditional publishers who want to play it safe. Plus, writers can update theirs books as often as they like to keep them current. This is particularly useful for nonfiction books about fast-changing topics such as technology and social media. When a book is updated, you’ll receive a notification from Amazon and will be able to get your new copy for free.

As much as I love my Kindle, I haven’t given up physical books completely. I still buy those, but these days I buy them only when they are released by a favourite author or I know I’m going to read them more than once. Those deserve a place on my already too crowded library.

What I’m Reading Now

better than perfect dr elizabeth lombardo
Better than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love by Elizabeth Lombardo
Hello, my name is Gio and I’m a perfectionist. I set unrealistic goals for myself and beat myself up when I don’t achieve them. I tend to think in all or nothing terms. I rarely start something if I’m not sure I can do it perfectly well. I have created so many rules for myself about what I should and shouldn’t do and judge myself too harshly when I break them. I thought my perfectionist tendencies would help me give my best all the time, but they have the opposite effect. They stress me out, make me feel guilty when I fall short, and prevent me from having fun. I’ve been trying to change for a long while now, which is why I picked up this book. A perfectionist herself, Dr Elizabeth Lombardo provides 7 techniques that will, with time and commitment, silence your inner critic and allow you to create a happier, more fulfilled life. My favourite is choosing passion over fear (did you know that most perfectionists are motivated more by fear of fealure than love and passion for what they are doing?). The book is short, written in a simple and engaging style that flows really easily. Unfortunately, I can’t see many perfectionists buying it. They probably think they don’t need it. So, if you know someone who’s driving you crazy with their perfectionist tendencies, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and give it to him/her as a Christmas present. You’ll improve not just his/her life, but yours too!

The Links

Reimagining Barbie: villain or victim? – Adios Barbie

What does a cosmetic scientist do? – The Beauty Brains

How to tame fine baby hairs – Hair Romance

How to pronounce common skincare ingredients – Lab Muffin

Beginners’s guide to cruelty free perfumes – Phyrra

Sunday Survey, Vol.222

1. What posters or pictures did you have on your walls growing up?
Pretty much every inch of my side of the bedroom wall was covered in Boyzone posters. I had such a huge crush on Ronan Keating. I shared the room with my sister and she hanged Backstreet Boys and AC Milan footballer posters on her side.

2. Are you finding it hard to find your HG foundation? If so, why?
Yep, and that’s because I can’t find a shade that matches my skintone exactly. I found some that were so close to it that you’d hardly notice the difference once applied, but I’d like to find a perfect match.

3. I’m thinking…
Of what to have for lunch today. Don’t really feel cooking.

4. Super-skinny or very thick brows?
Something in the middle would be best. But if I had to choose, I’d say thick. I can always trim and pluck them if I feel like it. But if your brows are too thin, making them look thicker isn’t as easy.

5. What do you think of red eyeshadow?
It’s so cool, but also so hard to pull off!

It’s your turn now!
1. What posters or pictures did you have on your walls growing up?
2. Are you finding it hard to find your HG foundation? If so, why?
3. I’m thinking…
4. Super-skinny or very thick brows?
5. What do you think of red eyeshadow?

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Is Derma E Soothing Toner with Anti-Aging Pycnogenol The Best Toner For Sensitive Skin?

derma e soothing toner with anti-aging pycnogenol

I am not a big fan of toners. I just don’t understand what their purpose is. Remove makeup residue? Just buy a better cleanser. Restore the skin’s ph? It can do that on its own. Reduce shine? Alcohol or witch hazel can reduce it indeed in the short time, but they also dry out skin, which reacts by producing even more oil.

Only toners loaded with antioxidants, humectants, and emollients are beneficial for the skin, but since these are used in serums and moisturizers too, I can hardly justify the purchase of another product as well. But I know I’m in the minority. A lot of women would never give up their toner and, if you must use one, it’d better be awesome right?

One of my favourites is Derma E Soothing Toner with Anti-Aging Pycnogenol. Here’s why:

What Derma E says

This gentle, fragrance-free, alcohol-free toner helps restore skin’s pH balance and prepare skin for moisturizer or treatment.

Ingredient Analysis

glycerin molecular structure


Glycerin seems to be in everything, doesn’t it? That’s because it is a wonderful humectant, able to draw water from the environment into the skin. As a result, skin is hydrated and soft for hours.


Pycnogenol And Green Tea Extract

Pycnogenol, an extract derived from pine bark, has antioxidant properties that can help prevent oxidative damage, such as photoaging. So has green tea extract. It is rich in polyphenols (and in particular in Epigallocatechin-3-gallate), a group of antioxidants that can prevent collagen breakdown and the depletion of antioxidant enzymes, as well as reducing inflammation and redness caused by sun exposure.


Chamomile Extract And Allantoin

Another antioxidant used in the formula is chamomile. It is a weak one, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe allergies, erythema and sunburns. Allantoin is another effective anti-irritant that can soothe irritations as well.

Final Considerations On The Formula

Alcohol-free, Derma E Soothing Toner with Anti-Aging Pycnogenol contains antioxidants and soothing ingredients that help prevent the signs of aging and fight irritations. Because of this, it is a great option for all skin types, including sensitive.

Full Ingredient List

Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Pinus Pinaster (Pycnogenol®) Bark Extract, Panthenol, Allantoin, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Organic Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin


Derma E Soothing Toner with Anti-Aging Pycnogenol comes in a sleek white and green tube that contains 175ml of product. It retails at $15.50, but you can now buy it for $10.79 at Amazon.

The Bottom Line

Derma E Soothing Toner with Anti-Aging Pycnogenol is a gentle and hydrating toner with antioxidant and soothing properties that works well for all skin types. Because it can calm irritations, it is particularly suitable for those with sensitive skin.

Have you tried this toner?

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