Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Clarisonic Mia and Cetaphil: a match made in heaven

A few months ago, I volunteered to test-drive the Clarisonic Mia for a BlogHer Style post. I'd heard a lot of great things about the Mia, and I figured this would be a great excuse to buy one and see whether it lived up to the hype. But BlogHer didn't want me to review just the Mia, because reviewing a single item would seem like an endorsement. Instead, they wanted me to review three different face brushes, and talk about their pros and cons.

That killed the idea for me. I like to shop, but buying three spinning face brushes is excessive, even for me. But I bought a Mia, anyway, figuring I could review it here.

Let me start by saying that I've used a Sonicare toothbrush for years, and the technology of the Mia is very similar. The bristles move, but the secret is the sound waves. These things basically hum the dirt off.

Having used a Sonicare, I predicted that

  1. initially the Mia's noise would bother me; 
  2. I would get used to the noise very quickly, and
  3. rapidly reach the point where if I didn't use the Mia, my face wouldn't feel clean.

I'm happy to say that all of my predictions came true.

The first time I used the Mia, I was bothered by the buzzing sensation that I felt when I did the sides of my nose and the area over my sinuses. I can only describe the sensation as WHOA that feels weird. But by the third time I used the Mia, I was used to it.

When I rinsed, I definitely felt cleaner, but my skin wasn't stripped. After a few days, my skin started to look rosier and had a healthier glow.

With that little extra bit of exfoliation, my various moisturizers seemed to sink in faster, and my vitamin C serum felt ... extra tart. My makeup applied better, too.

I have fine, dry, freckly, burns-but-doesn't-tan skin, so the size of my pores hasn't really been an issue. Still, I was delighted to notice that after about a month of using the Clarisonic, my pores had dropped a dress size.

The best part? A few milia that had been troubling me completely cleared up. Within six weeks of starting to use the Mia, they were all gone.

One thing I wasn't crazy about was the cleanser that came with it. The Mia came with a sample-sized tube of a Clarisonic cleanser with green tea extract. It certainly left my skin feeling clean.

But after about a week, I noticed a slightly crinklier appearance to the skin under my eyes. It reminded me of my mother's face, and not in a good way.  Since I was running out of the little sample-sized tube, I thought I'd try something milder.

Now, Cetaphil is about the mildest cleanser around. It's one of those legendary products whose popularity mystifies me. It's always getting recommended by famous dermatologists and Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop. Cetaphil makes the Top Beauty Products lists in InStyle and Allure. It's inexpensive, widely available, unscented, and inoffensive.

I was OK with Cetaphil's bland, boring, goody-goody image, but I never felt that it got my face clean. It's so mild that it feels like I'm rubbing hand lotion or ladies' shaving cream on my face.

But I figured the cleansing power of the Cetaphil would be increased by the high tech whizziness of the Sonicare Mia. And I was right! While Cetaphil alone leaves me feeling vaguely coated (not quite slimed a la Ghostbusters, but something akin to it) the combination of very gentle Cetaphil and a high-tech Clarisonic is complexion perfection. I get clean but my skin feels soft and moisturized.

Also, on days when I'm wearing a lot of spackle, I double cleanse. Not by using a fancy Japanese oil like the cool kids, but by using Cetaphil twice. I massage in some Cetaphil, then tissue it off. Then I use more Cetaphil, this time with the Mia.

Double cleansing with only one product? And a cheap one, at that? #Winning!

OK, why am I bringing this up now, when the Mia has been around forever?

Two reasons. First of all, do not expect the trendiest of the trendy from me, for I am now and have always been the last by whom the new is tried.

Second, you have the opportunity to score a Mia for a pretty good price right now. There are some really cute colors available at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale--coral! Fuschia! Zebra print!

The Nordstrom models cost $149, but come with two brush heads, and since a replacement brush retails for $25, this is a pretty good deal.

And since Nordstrom is offering the latest and greatest in cute Mia designs, other retailers are offering the older colors for a better price. Check Amazon and you'll see Mias being offered by several retailers. You can also get replacement brush heads there.

(BTW, Ulta is offering their 20 percent off everything in the store. Watch your mailboxes for the coupon. I don't know whether this will work for a Mia, but at least it will work for the Cetaphil.)


  1. This is a great review! Thank you so much. I am learning so much from you. My skin sounds like it is exactly the same as yours so I'm sure this product will be perfect for me.

  2. I have the Olay version of the brush that I use with cetaphil - LOVE IT. I'll never go without such an appliance again.

  3. BlogHore: Thanks! I aim to please--if only to justify all the shopping I do. Heh.

    GL: This is good to know--the Olay version is one of the ones I was contemplating buying to write the review for BlogHer. I'm glad to hear you like it. Is it only a moving brush, or does it also involve sound waves? It could be a good choice for people who would be bothered by the Mia's noise.

  4. I find a decent video demonstrating the Olay brush vs. the Clarisonic


    I think, for a difference of over $100 - I would try the Olay one first then, perhaps "ask" for the Clarisonic for a birthday gift.

  5. So now you make two different kinds of humming/whirring noises when you get ready for bed?

  6. I am amazed and fascinated by the time and products and appliances you go through JUST to clean your face.
    I wash it in the morning, I clean it at night (before going to bed) with a cotton pad and a plain face cleanser (think Nivea or Body Shop)


    I wear nothing but a single dollop of day cream or night cream, along with eye cream.

    No make up. SOme of the cosmetics you meantion are totally unknown to me.
    I felt I had to let you know ...
    so when we eventually meet you don't faint due to my face.

  7. I have the Olay version of this brush and I do like it.
    I also use it on my neck for that extra spa treatment!

    That zebra print would certainly wake me up in the morning!

  8. I use the Mia with Fresh soy cleanser. At first I wasn't sure about it, but now I'm glad I bought it. Dr Harold Lancer promotes cleanse, polish and moisturize for your skin to look 20 hrs younger and these devices IMO work as well as any exfoliating product.

  9. I am intrigued--I've never really considered trying one of these until reading your post. My fears mirror yours and I'm glad you explained how this really worked.

  10. I have the original (1st gen) version of the Clarisonic. I don't know what it was called, but it was around $200. I don't use it anymore because I need a new brush head, and I didn't notice anything great. But I'm intrigued by this "Mia" and wonder how it's different from the original, too-expensive one that I have ... does anyone know?

  11. Poppy I am going to take your advice on the Cetaphil. So many Derms of note love it and recommend it too. I also did not care for the cleanser it came with...the smell actually turned my stomach.

    Despite all logic, I was too cheap to buy a Mia. I received one as a gift and now I am kicking myself for not using this sooner. In one month, myalways good skin has been transformed. Pores are invisible and I do think all the lotions and potions I use are more effective.

    I have to control myself from nagging strangers to go buy a Mia stat...it's a game changer :)

  12. Great looking urban art. I am so glad to get a peek at it!


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.