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Are cleansing brushes good for your skin?

March 20th 2015 / Anna Hunter / 2 comments


Baffled by cleansing brushes and sonic gadgets? Our experts clear a few things up…

Ever had a burning beauty or health question and needed top notch expert intelligence? Our Little Book of Experts is here to serve you at all times, but sometimes you really need to get to the nitty gritty of a specific problem before taking action, and that’s exactly what our Question Time slot is for. Simply send in your beauty or health dilemmas to us via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #GTGQT and we will select a reader question each month and ask our distinguished experts to give a straight answer. From frizz to fitness to fungal infections, our experts are on call to offer monthly counselling. This month, a question sent in by @seaninmcp on Instagram…

Q. Are cleansing brushes good for your skin? How often should you use them?

A. Caroline Hitchcock, expert facialist:

I have the original Clarisonic brush, £125, myself, but I would say that first of all, cleansing brushes are not suitable for the following skin types or those suffering from the following skin conditions, as they can be too stimulating:

Cleansing brushes are brilliant, however, for thicker skin types (often darker skintones) as they tend to be less sensitive to stimulating treatments. They can also help to clear up congested skins with open pores, blockages and breakouts. Dull, dry complexions can benefit from regular cleansing brush use, as can male skin - it’s great when it comes to tackling ingrowing hairs! The same goes for women with excess facial hair, as hair follicles tend to get blocked, causing congestion that can sometimes lead to acne. Cleansing brushes help as the bristles can actually penetrate deeper into the epidermis than wiping over the surface can, enabling a more thorough, deep cleanse.

I would always opt for a soft bristle when choosing a cleansing brush - any skin type should always be handled with tender loving care! Firm brushes are too harsh and often lead to redness, soreness and sensitivity.

Cleansing brushes shouldn’t be used more than twice a week as daily use strips the skin of its natural "acid mantle", disrupting the PH balance. Brushes should always be washed thoroughly immediately after use to eliminate bacteria.

In terms of use, a gentle facial wash or foaming cleanser should be applied with damp hands to the skin beforehand and massaged in thoroughly, followed by the brush using small lifting circular movements with a medium pressure. You can include neck and décolleté area when you cleanse. Don’t spend any longer than approximately three-four minutes cleansing (the eye area should be avoided as the skin is too thin and delicate).

The great thing about cleansing brushes is that they do the job of exfoliation, so you don’t need to invest in additional exfoliating products. Just as a note, brushes do not really work well with cream cleansers or lotions- always use with a foaming product. It's also important to remove all traces of cleanser after brushing, so you may still need to use a hot muslin cloth to remove excess residue.

It’s key to moisturise and protect skin with a good barrier cream post-brushing, as occasionally brushes can strip skin of natural oils. The same applies to acne or congested skins as if skin is too dehydrated it will produce more oil and sebum to compensate. It's all about balance.

All in all I do not view cleansing brushes as an integral tool for the female beauty regime. A good massage with a foaming cleanser, removed with a hot damp cloth, will suffice.

A. Abigail James, International Facialist and Wellbeing Expert

Cleansing brushes have their place in skincare, but they’re not at the top of my list of at home gadgets! A thicker skin, sallow complexions and male skin will all benefit from this type of at-home treatment; if you have a skin that is sensitive, or prone to broken capillaries it's not for you.

For slightly more resilient skins you could use them every other day, but be aware that they will hold bacteria in the bristles and there is an ongoing cost to replace heads. My preferred option is something like the Foreo Luna, £145, as it’s totally clean, with rounded end nodules instead of bristles and no heads to replace. It’s great to use to work in all of your skincare products, not just your cleanser.

And now for a slightly different view…

A. Dr Terry Loong, Medical Director, The Skin Energy Clinic

I love cleansing brushes! They’re a great way to enhance the cleansing routine and to ensure that all of your makeup is properly removed at the end of the day. Depending on your skin type, you can often use one every day, however, I would only recommend using it once a day. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to use it every other day.

I have two brushes - one to dry brush my skin and a second one to clean my face. I typically use the dry brush in the morning to gently stimulate my lymphatic system, reduce puffiness and boost circulation. As far as dry-brushing is concerned I like The Body Shop Facial Brush, £4, which has super-soft bristles.

I then use a Clarisonic brush, £125, every night to cleanse my skin. They have a new brush head, Cashmere, £25, which is very luxurious and gentle yet effective on the skin. Good brands like Clarisonic typically have a wide range of brushes to accommodate different skin types from sensitive to acne-prone.

Do you love or loathe cleansing brushes? Let us know on Twitter @GetTheGloss or comment below

If you’ve got a beauty or health question for our experts, keep an eye on our social media feeds for our Question Time posts, then ask away! Until next month...

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  • Shannon Walker
  • March 22nd 2015

I recently purchased the body shop facial brush. For £4 this product is a treasure. I use it in combination with the body shop tea tree oil facial gel and have noticed in the 3 weeks I've used, it my face has a smoother and glowing appearance as well as my poors smaller. It is essential not to apply to much pressure when using facial brushes as from experience the face will oil in retaliation.

  • Lynn Hathaway
  • March 21st 2015

I have oily sensitive skin with rosacea on my cheeks... I find the Magnitone Lucid on th sensitive setting is ok on my skin a couple of times a week with my favourite cleanser. I find it doesnt aggravate my condition but does prevent me from getting so many blocked pores. I like using it.

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