Clarisonic Brush-Should You Buy One?

To preface-I am not a dermatologist, esthetician and do not have any background in skincare. The opinions expressed below are based simply on my personal experience with the products mentioned.

A Clarisonic skin brush is a major beauty investment. I went back and forth forever before I bought one, even trying the more affordable Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing Solution first.
However, I definitely don’t regret making this purchase and I will tell you why. I know it is pricy so I’ll also try to share what benefits I could see in the Olay version as well. Sound good?

clarisonic-miaI bought the Clarisonic Mia in June 2011, as a present to myself for getting a job I really wanted. It was still $150 and now the price has dropped to $119 with some even better deals to be had online. They have also since released a Mia 2 and the Aria.
I purchased mine at Sephora but they are also sold in Ulta stores as well. 

Here is a little background on my skin for your reference:

My Skin Concerns:

  • Oversized pores-especially on my cheeks
  • Clogged pores (blackheads) on my nose and chin
  • Hyperpigmentation/scars from previous blemishes
  • Dry skin with flakies on nose and around mouth in colder months

As far as breakouts, I used to get them frequently through high school and college. I primarily broke out on my forehead, chin or sides of my face where I would hold my phone. I have never struggled with cystic acne or taken Accutane but briefly used a prescription topical cream like Retin-A or a benzyl peroxide formula? 

I do not break out often currently. I can attribute this to birth control pills perhaps and the Clarisonic  for keeping my pores clean!

If you are considering buying a sonic cleansing brush like a Clarisonic, you are probably wondering which model does what? The chart below should give you a quick rundown and help you to decide. Click on chart to enlarge.


Here is my personal experience with the Clarisonic Mia in a Q & A format. I feel like that’s easier to skim through.

Will the Clarisonic completely transform my skin over time?
No. My skin is still my skin. Still have big pores. Still get blackheads. But it’s better. When comparing photos of myself today to photos taken 2 years ago or so, I have more noticeable blemish scars as well as breakouts and more dry flakes in the older photos.

Will my breakouts decrease in frequency?
Yes. I believe so. I break out far less. Again, it could be the fact that I do take birth control but I really don’t know the last time I had a really bad breakout. I think the Clarisonic, when used regularly, prevents your pores from getting as clogged up.

Is the Clarisonic really that much better than the Olay Pro-X and similar products?
It doesn’t seem quite fair to compare these two products for several reasons:
1.) Clarisonic is rechargable. Olay’s requires batteries. Over time, the cost of batteries will surely add up.
2.) Clarisonic can be kept in the shower if you want, Olay cannot.
3.) Clarisonic uses sonic technology-just like a Sonicare toothbrush-the brush vibrates, rather than spins, 300 times per second. Olay does not use sonic technology and is more of a mechanical exfoliator-spinning only.

That being said, and having used both, I prefer the Clarisonic and here are my reasons why.
The Olay Pro-X is much smaller and does not cover as much surface area of your face. It uses batteries and over time, that can add up. It seems a little rougher. It does not have  an automatic 1 minute shut off like the Clarisonic therefore, if you aren’t careful, you could over exfoliate.
I’ve heard from some people that batteries have leaked and become all gross and corroded inside.

I do not think the Olay Pro-X is a bad product by any means. If you just need good exfoliation, but have good skin overall, it will work well for you. Just be careful not to over exfoliate or get your hair caught in it as it does spin.
When I bought it, it came with the Pro-X cleanser and I actually really ending up liking that.

Do I really have to change brush heads every 3 months?
No. Not in my opinion. I buy 2 at a time and rotate them, but I also realize manufacturers are all about makin’ that paper :-$ so I ignore that 3 month guideline myself 🙂
I think you can push it to about 6 months out of each brush. However, keep in mind, I use Clarisonic once a day, not twice and that could certainly account for that. 

What brush head should I get?
Your Clarisonic will come with a Sensitive skin brush. Others are: Delicate (even gentler than Sensitive), Normal, Deep Pore, Acne and the body brush (for use with Clarisonic Plus and Pro only.)
I find Normal to be a bit too rough, Sensitive a bit too gentle. #GoldieLocks&The3Bears.
My favorite brushes are the Deep Pore and Acne. The Acne brush has longer bristles. That is the green and white brush shown in the top photo.
The Deep Pore brush is the most dense. Here is the Deep Pore brush below:


And here is the Normal brush:


I buy my brush heads online because it’s a bit cheaper that way.

Why are Clarisonic skin brushes so damn expensive?
Sonic cleaning is more expensive than manual exfoliation. To put it simply. How much is a Sonicare toothbrush? $100 on Amazon. That’s to clean your teeth. This is to clean your face and it’s $119.
Now that I put it that way, it’s not so bad of a deal really.

How is the Clarisonic any better than just using an exfoliating scrub or wash cloth?
Scrubs with rough gritty particles are not exactly gentle on the skin. Sometimes they can cause more harm than good. I would consider a Clarisonic to be the safest form of serious exfoliation. Vibration is better than manual scrubbing, just in my opinion.
If your only goal is exfoliation and your pores are clear, you may not need a Clarisonic or Olay Pro-X but my pores have always, will always be prone to clogging. After a long run in the summer, I need my Clarisonic cleansing bad. When I have been sick or perhaps on a weekend trip and forget my Clarisonic, I can tell. My pores get extra gunky and my little dry flakes return. Ew.

Should I buy a Clarisonic? Just a simple yes or no will do.
Personally, I see little reason to buy anything but the basic Mia if you’re just looking to get your skin/pores as clean as possible and prevent dry flakies.

For $119, or less depending on the deals you can find online, you can have sonic cleansing, a trusted brand, cleaner pores and the best exfoliation money can buy.

Can I expect pretty much the same results from the Olay Pro-X Cleansing System?
To preface, I have used both the Olay Pro-X Cleansing System and the Clarisonic Mia so I can be objective here. I wouldn’t have bought a $150 sonic cleaning brush if the Olay Pro-X had delivered remarkable results. If your goal is just exfoliation, the Pro-X will do!  However, if you are like me, and your main concern is clogged pores, the Pro-X may not be enough and you may require the vibration that sonic cleaning provides. My skin is quite imperfect so I need to best exfoliation money can buy, unfortunately.

Do I have to use a special cleaners with the Clarisonic?
Nope! Just as long as it does not contain rough particles, you’re good. Microbeads are ok, but things like apricot seeds are not. For example, St. Ives Apricot Scrub would be a major no-no.
That is simply too much exfoliation for one little face. I use mark That’s Deep cleanser because I love it but you can use whatever cleaner you prefer. I didn’t even really like the cleanser it comes with.

I really want to buy one, but they are so expensive. Is there any way to get one cheaper?
Yes! Here are my ideas. When I bought my Mia, I used a $50 Sephora giftcard I’d received as a gift so I paid $100 or so.
Additionally, you could:

  • Shop Amazon where many retailers are selling Mias for less than $119.
  • Check to see if your credit card company offers Sephora, Ulta or Amazon gift cards as cashback rewards. I have a Discover card it offers Sephora cards in $50 and $100 amounts.
  • Check ebay for used ones, if you’re ok with that. You will just want to buy new brush heads.
  • If you are a frequent Sephora or Ulta shopper with a rewards account, check your rewards point balance and see if you can apply that towards your purchase.
  • Unfortunately, Ulta coupons will not work towards a Clarisonic purchase. Clarisonic is a prestige brand and therefore excluded. 🙁

I don’t want to spend that. I don’t want to spend $25 for the Olay one either. What else can I do?
I understand! Here is the next best thing.
Mix baking soda with your regular cleanser and use this or something similar in circular motions for 1 minute.
Before I purchased any mechanical exfoliator, this is what I did.

Happy cleansing! Thanks for reading! <3 <3 <3


  1. Kelly Anderson

    11/05/2012 at 1:59 PM

    This is perfect. I am going to splurge on one this weekend. I was originally going to do the basic one- but after seeing some of the other perks for the Mia 2 for not that much more, I figure it might be worth it. I’ll also use some Ulta rewards points I have. Score!!!

    Thanks for the comparison!

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