Skin, Lip and Body Care

Should You Try a Facial Cleansing Brush?

+ Colleen Story

No doubt you’ve seen the advertisements for facial cleansing brushes. There are a number of different ones out there, ranging from economical to expensive, from hand-held to electronic.

You may have wondered: is that something I should be using?

We decided to answer that question. Here are all the reasons why if you’re not already using a brush, you should start this year. But don’t get hasty in your choice—the type of skin brush you use could mean the difference between glowing skin and irritated, inflamed, and acne-prone skin.

What is a Facial Cleansing Brush?

A facial cleansing brush is any sort of brush that you use to cleanse your face. Rather than using your hands or a washcloth, you use a brush. Simple, right?

Well, not really. The first question is: Is brushing better than using my hands or a washcloth? The second question is: Which type of brush is best?

Do Brushes Work Better?

This is the first question, right? Are these brushes worth the investment? After all, we’ve all gotten by just fine (we thought) for years with our hands and our washcloths.

There are some scientific studies comparing the two, but they’re usually funded by beauty companies. Still, they’ve shown some positive benefits that just make sense. Here are the reasons why we believe that a brush may work better for you:

  1. It cleans better: If you think about it, most of the time when you wash your face, you’re probably are in a hurry. You scrub a bit of cleanser on your cheeks, splash some water, and you’re done. Most likely, you’re going to be leaving behind some makeup, dirt, and grime that can later settle into your pores and cause problems. A brush of any kind forces you to slow down a bit, and because of all the bristles, is more likely to get into all the spaces that your hands or even a washcloth can’t get to.
  2. It exfoliates better: When you wash with a washcloth, you may exfoliate a little, but even a soft brush is going to be more effective at getting rid of dead skin cells on the surface of skin. That encourages cell turnover and will help keep your skin looking more youthful. It’s one of the major benefits that people notice after using a brush—the skin feels smooth and fresh.
  3. It clears out pores better: You can imagine the difference between washing your teeth with your finger or a cloth and washing them with a brush. A brush does a better job of cleaning. You get that dirt and grime out of your pores, which can help them look less noticeable.
  4. It prepares your face for other products: When your face is cleaner, and you have more dead skin cells sloughed away, other products like your serums and moisturizers will naturally work better. They’ll be more likely to sink into your skin and deliver their nutrients where you need them.

That’s a lot of good benefits that you can gain just from cleansing your skin. You can see why we think it’s worth it. But then the next question is: What type of brush is best for you.

Electronic or Hand-Held Brush?

First of all, realize that everyone’s skin is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. If you have oily skin, you’re probably going to love any sort of brush, as it will help get your skin clean and fresh, and may help you experience fewer acne breakouts. If you have sensitive skin, however, you’re going to have to be more careful, as some brushes may increase irritation and inflammation.

In general, you can follow these guidelines when looking for your best brush.

Electronic brushes.

There are several of these available on the market, with some much more expensive than others. Most of the time, the extra expense is for extra features, such as speeds, brush heads, and the like. Some of these are shaped differently, too—oval heads versus round heads, for example—and some have timing devices on them that ensure you wash your face for a full minute.

The differences among all of these are minor, and it’s really up to personal preference. Realize that some of the extra “benefits” may be marketing hype, and may not necessarily be worth the extra cash. If you have oily or dry skin that’s not particularly sensitive, any of these are likely to work for you.

Hand-held brushes.

If you have sensitive skin, or if you want to help your skin gradually adjust to brushing, a hand-held brush is best. This is a simple brush with soft bristles that you use to wash your face, and it works for sensitive skin because you control the pressure. You can be very gentle if you want to be, or once your skin gets used to it, use more scrubbing motion. If you have rosacea, acne, or other sensitive-skin conditions, this may be your best option.

Watch your skin as you use your brush. If you notice any irritation redness, dryness, or acne after the first couple weeks, cut back to using the brush just once a day (night is best), or a couple times a week. Also, make sure your cleanser is not adding to the problem. It should be gentle without any harsh scrubbing particles that can scratch or damage your skin.

Keep in mind that for some people, a brush may not work. It does take some time to allow your skin to adapt, so give it a few weeks, but if your skin seems to look worse rather than better, feel free to return to your original cleansing method.

If you do notice irritation, redness, sensitivity, or broken capillaries, back off for a few days before trying again. You can also use our CV Skinlabs products to help calm and soothe skin, as they contain natural anti-inflammatories and heat-removing ingredients.

Most people, however, find that brushing does a better job of cleansing, and they’re skin looks better because of it.

Take Precautions to Keep the Brush Clean

Final warning—if you do purchase a brush for cleansing, remember that you need to keep it really clean if you want it to work right. Bacteria thrive in moist environments, and just like they can settle on your washcloth (which is why we recommend changing your washcloth out daily), you want to be sure to let your brush air-dry facing down so that it stays clean.

In addition, once a week, sanitize the brush head by soaking it in warm water and dish soap. If you use your brush in the shower, make sure to remove it each time to let it dry somewhere mold is less likely to form.

Have you tried a facial cleansing brush?

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