by Theresa Ma
Graceful aging can be attributed to good genes, but innovations in how we can take care of our skin do a lot to help the process (on the surface, at least). At the same time, the market becomes very quickly saturated with the latest in lotions, potions and treatments, all claiming to be the fountain of youth. While aging is a natural and inevitable process, we at CH believe in adopting healthy and effective habits to help make the journey look as good as possible. Armed with more than a decade of experience in the health and beauty industry, I tested a handful of innovative beauty gadgets, listing below those I found to be effective in that mission, from their compact size and clean design to ease of use and ability to secure visible results.
The NuFACE Trinity Facial Toning System
This non-invasive, FDA-cleared facial device delivers low-level electrical microcurrents to facial and neck areas to tone, lift and firm, and provides an immediate and noticeable healthy look to the complexion. Muscles become weaker and skin looses elasticity as we age and the Trinity targets these issues with microcurrents to stimulate and improve the tell-tale signs of aging for a firmer, more sculpted and more youthful appearance. Results are temporary, however, and depend on regular use of the device, according to the company—something to incorporate into your daily, long-term regimen.
NuFACE launched its original handheld device and "classic system" several years ago, offering consumers similar results to salon microcurrent facials that generally run around $250 per session. The Trinity offers a welcome update of the original model, which worked well but was cumbersome to use. Besides being more maneuverable, the new version adds useful features such as smart skin sensor for a customized delivery, a rechargeable battery; push-button controls with auto shut-off and a time sensor that beeps clearly at the appropriate intervals. To use, simply apply the gel primer and follow clear, illustrated instructions to glide the device over the contours of the face for the allotted time periods—working in just five minutes for the basic facial or 15 minutes for the advanced treatment.
My one suggestion for improvement is to offer clearer instructions when it comes to the gel primer—it should always remain wet on the skin, or be reapplied, for the device to glide easily over the skin.
The NuFACE Trinity Facial Toning System, which comes with the device, charger and gel primer, retails for $325.
Clarisonic Opal Sonic Infusion System
Clarisonic extends sonic technology from its well-known skin-cleansing system to a device specifically designed for the eye area. The Opal Sonic Infusion System helps to reduce appearance of fine lines and puffiness and hydrates and firms the skin around the area of the face that first shows the signs of aging (and hard living). The compact handheld delivers 125 sonic movements per second in applying product, mimicking gentle finger tapping action. Both the Opal Sonic and the anti-aging eye serum that comes with the system are independently effective products, and when used together provide superior results. By moving the rubber tip around the eyes in 30-second cycles, the serum gets massaged into skin and allows it to penetrate with better absorption than would be possible with manual application. Improvements can be seen in as quickly as two weeks, when increased hydration works to visibly minimize fine lines and brighten skin.
The Opal Sonic features a sleek, handheld pebble shape, and charges by simply laying fat on its base. Between the clean, compact design and long battery life—when fully powered up it lasts up to 21 days with twice-daily use—the Opal travels well. The device works best with Opal Sonic anti-aging serum but any other brand or eye product may be used with the device—as long as it is a gel or liquid texture. A cream consistency is too heavy and will not enable the tip of the device to glide over skin easily. The Opal Sonic was also tested around the lip area, providing similar results to those when used around eye area.
The Clarisonic "Opal" Sonic Infusion System, which includes the device, charger and eye serum retails for $185.
BellCore BabyBelle Body Buffer Kit
The BabyBelle is a multi-function, compact body buffer that engages mechanical pressure to provide vigorous exfoliation and deep tissues massage. Its patented technology uses random orbital oscillation that supplies constant energy to targeted areas. BabyBelle is an attractive, small, ergonomically-designed handheld that's easy to use and superior to many other similar body buffers and massagers.
The easy-to-operate device offers intense yet comfortable steady pressure against the skin with a flat, circular, padded massage head—covered with a soft terry bonnet—that makes it easy to continually move and glide the BabyBelle over the body's surface without interruption. The powerful pressure of the BabyBelle is also effective in improving blood circulation, warming and relaxing the muscles, as well as helping to relieve overall muscle and body tension.
BabyBelle also works to lessen severity of edema or the retention of fluids in the body, which contributes to swelling, most commonly in the legs and feet. The massage action helps to increase blood flow and stimulates to remove toxins and excess fluid build-up within the body. When the device is used against bare skin, an added benefit of manual skin exfoliation occurs when the bonnet spins on top of the skin, leaving it softer and supple over time. Plus, well-exfoliated dermis is critical to good skin health and also allows for better penetration of skin care products.
While BabyBelle was not tested for treating cellulite, this product claims to be able to help improve this common condition in women. If this is a primary concern, take a look at Bellecore's other model, the HoneyBelle, designed more specifically for cellulite.
The BelleCore babyBelle Body Buffer Kit, which includes the massager, a tube of contour cream and two replacement bonnets, retails for $295.