With the name Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush, Clinique is clearly marketing their first cleansing brush to those who have or are considering the similarly named Clarisonic Cleansing System. The question is how does Clinique's version measure up? The short answer is their Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush is a disappointing entry into the cleansing tool market. While it's not a harsh tool—its brush head is actually quite gentle—this isn't comparable to the Clarisonic and ends up being overpriced because it doesn't perform as well as its competitors.
First, we should state that whether a cleansing brush is of value to you or not is a personal choice—they can be considered splurge products rather than a "must-have". While they can absolutely help cleanse skin, the result isn't that much different from using a soft washcloth with your cleanser or the occasional use of a mild cleansing scrub, if that's your preference.
Those considering the splurge on a cleansing brush should be concerned about the brush's gentleness, durability, and features, as the right combination of those factors can make the investment worth it.
Getting back to Clinique's cleansing brush, for just under $100, you get the waterproof brush unit (which recharges on the charging base included with the kit) and one brush head. There's a single setting for the brush, and it runs for 30 seconds before shutting off—Clinique recommends using it for this time period at first, then gradually building up to two cycles (for a total of one minute).
The egg-shaped brush head has flat-edged bristles, and Clinique currently offers only one brush head option—there aren't multiple choices as you would find with the Clarisonic systems. To Clinique's credit, though, the bristles are luxuriously soft and would be suitable for most anyone (except those with exceptionally sensitive skin). Clinique sells replacement brush heads for $26.
Clinique advertises this device's brush head as having anti-microbial technology, but they don't specify how or what that means, so you're more or less just going to need to take their word for it. That's not a con per se, for example, most toothbrushes don't boast antibacterial technology, but it's worth mentioning as the "anti-microbial" claim sounds interesting given the "Purifying" part of its name—a word that's ultimately meaningless. (We reached out to Clinique for more information and the rep we spoke with couldn't explain it beyond stating it was "Swiss engineered and dermatologist developed" in other words she had no idea and nor do we.)
Where the true disappointment arrives is in the execution: The devil is in the details because although Clinique claims to use "sonic technology", they're not referring to the same type of technology used in brushes like the Clarisonic. This is important to note as you may be attracted to the price difference of $90 for Clinique's tool versus the $200+ of the Clarisonic Classic Cleansing System.
The actual bristles of the Clarisonic brush head vibrates at exceptionally high speeds (300 oscillations, or back-and-forth movements, every second), and design and timing of this the movement is unique to the tool.
Instead of high-speed sonic oscillations, Clinique's brush delivers a waterproof vibrating tool with a brush head attached to it. When you turn it on, the entire unit vibrates—with no particular emphasis on the brush head—resulting in a somewhat uncomfortable approach to washing your face at the sink, (the vibration of the entire tool tends to spray water everywhere).
Ultimately, Clinique's "sonic brush" is little more than a noticeably inferior knockoff of the Clarisonic—meaning you get less Prada and more Prado—and it isn't a bargain at any price. If you remain tempted by Clinique's price, we'd recommend checking out the Clarisonic Mia 1, which costs about $10 more than Clinique's version yet is far and beyond the better-quality product.
Oh, the healthy glow. The purified pores. And moisture just sinks in. Designed to clean even hard-to-reach areas like the T-Zone. Two bristle types for customized cleansing. Dermatologist-developed and Swiss-engineered. Waterproof. For all Skin Types.
Strengths: A few excellent moisturizers and serums; excellent sunscreens; very good cleansers and eye makeup removers; unique mattifying products; impressive selection of foundations, good concealers; some remarkable mascaras; much-improved eyeshadows, lip colors and blush formulas.
Weaknesses: Bar soaps (which can clog pores and dull skin); alcohol-based toners; unfortunate choice of jar packaging for antioxidant-loaded moisturizers.
Estee Lauder-owned Clinique launched the concept of cosmetics being "allergy-tested," "hypoallergenic," "100% fragrance-free," and "dermatologist tested." Of those marketing claims, the only one with significance is "100% fragrance-free," which, for the most part, Clinique maintains (although it does add some fragrant extracts to a few products). Unfortunately, terms like “hypoallergenic” and “dermatologist tested” aren’t regulated by the FDA and can mean anything—thus, you still need to rely on the ingredient list to tell you whether their product contains any ingredients with the potential to irritate skin.
That inconvenient fact aside, Clinique is leading the way with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums, plus some formidable makeup and more than a few excellent sunscreens. While Clinique has some products that we see as missteps for reasons discussed in their reviews, more than ever, what they offer is quite good (just have realistic expectations, as some of their claims go beyond what their products are capable of).
Turning to makeup, Clinique continues to offer a vast palette of colors and textures, especially with their enormous selection of foundations—many of which feature effective sunscreens. Without a doubt, the numerous formulas offer something for every skin type and almost every skin color—though the blushes, eye makeup and lip colors are frequently not pigmented enough for deeper skin tones.
The bottom line is that, despite a few shortcomings, Clinique is one of the most comprehensive (and comparably affordable) department-store makeup lines, and it is completely understandable why they enjoy such broad appeal.
Note: Clinique is categorized as one that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although Clinique does not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brand’s state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law”. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Team.
For more information about Clinique, call (800) 419-4041 or visit www.clinique.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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