Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System
Olay made quite a splash in their magazine ads comparing this battery-powered cleansing brush to a competing version that sells for $200. Although the ads didn’t name names, there’s no missing that they were comparing their inexpensive cleansing brush option to the Clarisonic brush, the “classic” version of these kinds of brushes that sells for, you guessed it, $200.
What really surprised us was that Olay was right, up to a point; the performance and ease of use of their 2-speed facial cleansing brush works to an extent like the Clarisonic brush—at a fraction of the cost. Regardless of the speed you choose (low or high), the Olay brush is easy to operate and maneuver around your face. Some may prefer a larger brush head, but most should find this adequate (but use caution around your eyes).
Unlike the Clarisonic and similar wannabe devices, Olay’s version has a very soft brush head that spins rather than vibrates. As a result, you get gentle yet thorough cleansing that helps ensure all of your makeup is removed. You simply need to move the brush around your face, apply light pressure, and let the powered brush go to work. Most people will find this far more gentle than the Clarisonic, and gentle is a good thing.
The problem with Olay’s brush is that it is flimsy and the brush speed is lackluster (many will find it too slow). The brush head we tested was bent and was used up in about three weeks. That means you’ll have to replace the brush head more frequently, an extra unexpected expense.
Getting all your makeup off is essential to waking up with better looking skin and avoiding breakouts, and these cleansing brushes can help, but choosing among them isn’t easy. We still believe that a soft washcloth with a gentle water-soluble cleanser is a great way to make sure you get all your makeup off at night, but these brushes also are an option, although none of them are quite up to the task when it comes to being gentle and practical.
Keep in mind that a cleansing brush works only on the surface of the skin and it doesn’t take the place of a well-formulated BHA exfoliant (salicylic acid) or an AHA exfoliant (glycolic or lactic acid), both of which work beyond the surface layers to reach sun damage and clogged pores. You’ll find such products on our Best BHA Exfoliants list.
- Inexpensive compared to the competition.
- Enhances the results from cleansing, leaving skin smooth.
- Easy to operate and store (travels well, too).
- Great for ensuring you get all of your makeup off each night.
- Can help reduce the occurrence of blackheads when used along with a well-formulated BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant.
- Can be used in the shower or at your sink.
- It’s tempting to overdo it with devices like this, and that can leave skin feeling dry and tight, even if you’re using a gentle cleanser.
- The brush head doesn’t hold up well.
- The battery-powered motor for the brush loses energy fast.
Olay sells brush head refills for their cleansing brush. You should replace the brush head when the bristles become frayed or show extensive signs of wear or discoloration, which will happen fairly often if you use this brush to remove makeup daily.
Starting decades ago with the now-classic Oil of Olay, this brand now offers an extensive range of skin-care products sold at drugstores and mass-market stores. Today's Olay lineup for those concerned about staving off the effects of aging skin is impressive, comprising their Regenerist, Pro X, and Total Effects lines. All of these (and several other Olay products) contain the B vitamin niacinamide. As you might expect, the claims made for it are inflated, but niacinamide is a very helpful ingredient for all skin types, capable of exerting multiple benefits.
In fact, perhaps the biggest complaint about Olay is that there are a number of repetitive formulas within and between the sub-brands make this line confusing and tricky to shop! Still, there is a lot to like about this drugstore stalwart, with its main drawback being a few formulas containing fragrance or other ingredients that have the potential to cause irritation.
For more information about Olay, owned by Procter & Gamble, call (800) 285-5170 or visit www.olay.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.