The best facial cleansing brushes you can buy

Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

Best cleansing brush

source
Facebook

  • If you’re intimidated by the idea of a face brush – don’t be. They’re gentle on skin and won’t feel like you’re washing your face with sandpaper.
  • The Clarisonic Mia Smart 3-in-1 Connected Sonic Beauty Device is the best facial cleansing brush you can buy because it’s easy to use daily, rechargeable, and can also be used to massage your skin and blend your makeup.

Like moody teenagers, facial cleansing brushes are commonly misunderstood. Spending upwards of $100 on a vehicle for face wash when you already have two perfectly good hands does sound like an absurd luxury to the uninitiated.

If you’re happy with your cleansing routine, you don’t necessarily need to run out and drop a bunch of money on one of these fancy brushes. But, since you’re here, I’m guessing you aren’t entirely satisfied. A facial cleansing brush could be the answer.

The best face brushes give you a deeper clean than what you get with your hands (ideal if you’re not the double-cleansing type), prep your skin beautifully for makeup and other skin care, and help reduce breakouts too.

Should you decide to opt in, it’s important that you learn how to properly cleanse with a brush so you avoid aggravating your skin instead of making it glow. You don’t need to press down hard like you’re scrubbing at moldy bathroom tiles in order for the device to do its thing – be gentle. And use a makeup remover before using the brush too. Beauty guru Caroline Hirons tells Refinery29, “A cleansing brush will not properly take off your makeup – it will just push it further into your pores, which is rather disgusting.”

Now that you have some background, let’s run through your options.

Here are the best cleansing brushes you can buy in 2019:

Updated on 6/7/2019 by Jada Wong: Updated copy, formatting, links, prices, and swapped in Clarisonic Mia Smart 3-in-1 Connected Sonic Beauty Device to replace 0ur overall pick, which was discontinued, and added Sephora Collection Precision Pore Cleansing Pad as our best manual cleansing brush.

Keep reading to learn more about our picks.


The best cleansing facial brush

source
Sephora

The Clarisonic Mia Smart 3-in-1 Connected Sonic Beauty Device deep cleans to remove dirt and oil, and can be used with other attachments to massage and blend makeup.

Clarisonic is synonymous with cleansing brushes, just like how we all refer to makeup sponges as “BeautyBlenders” and facial tissues as “Kleenex.”

So unsurprisingly, the new Clarisonic Mia Smart 3-in-1 Connected Sonic Beauty Device is the best one out there. It’s an updated version of our previous overall pick of the Clarisonic Mia2 Skin Cleansing System, with the ability to swap out the included brush head for ones that massage your skin and blend makeup.

The cost of the device, charger, and included cleansing brush head isn’t cheap at $199 – and that’s before you factor in the additional heads at $60 a piece for the makeup blending and massaging heads. But the technology and ease of use justify the cost for us.

The device has two cleaning modes (Gentle or Daily) depending on your preference, as well as a Smart mode that times and guides you through cleansing, massaging, or blending. You can also set your routine via the app, though I got my phone wet since you know, wet counter, wet hands – not the perfect place for a phone. Just pop on the brush head, set it to the mode you want, and hold the Clarisonic against your skin. You really don’t have to apply any pressure – just move it around your face every couple of seconds, and then rinse.

I also like the fact that the device starts out really gentle and then builds up to a more powerful cleanse as you use it for two weeks. This is to get your skin acclimated to being cleaned with a brush. My skin definitely felt a lot smoother and brighter after using this, and it didn’t look red or irritated either despite just getting a deep clean from the rotating head.

But don’t take it from me. The device has racked up 4.3 out of 5 stars on Sephora with more than 240 reviews and a 4.01-star rating on Ulta with more than 400 reviews, and has also won an Allure’s Readers’ Choice Award this year. – Jada Wong

Pros: Interchangeable brush heads, customizable settings, app, claims to clean 6x better than scrubbing with hands, dermatologist recommended, rechargeable, waterproof

Cons: Expensive starting price, brush heads cost extra, cleansing and blending brushes need to be cleaned regularly, brush heads need to be changed after three months

Buy the Clarisonic Mia Smart 3-in-1 Connected Sonic Beauty Device at Sephora for $199


The best drugstore cleansing facial brush

source
Amazon

The ProX by Olay Advanced Facial Cleansing System delivers a deep, skin-brightening clean at an affordable price.

Facial cleansing brushes are as notable for their hefty price tags as they are for their unmatched ability to clean your face. But there is an answer for the budget-conscious among you – the ProX by Olay Advanced Facial Cleansing System.

The ProX by Olay Advanced Facial Cleansing System has two speeds and a rotating brush head that cleans and exfoliates the skin. It’s water-resistant, and in fact, Jessica Prince Erlich at The Cut specifically recommends using the device in the shower, so it’s perfect for cleansing multi-taskers.

While the low price tag really makes the Olay cleansing brush stand out from the pack, it will certainly give you results. Erlich noted that she experienced “minor improvement in tone and clarity of [her] complexion” after using it for a few days. Buyers love it too. The product has a 4.5-star rating based on about 1,300 reviews on Influenster and a 4-star rating based on nearly 6,000 reviews on Amazon.

“This exfoliates as well as the ‘higher end’ brushes do, IMHO,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “I’ve used it over my lips in the shower too, which was accidental, but worked out well – almost as well as my usual lip scrub.”

ProX by Olay Advanced Facial Cleansing System is affordable enough to give you a taste of the lifestyle without draining your bank account. Even if you ultimately decide you want to get a fancier cleansing brush with more bells and whistles, it’s a great introduction.

Pros: Affordable, two different speed settings, waterproof

Cons: Only one brush head option, not rechargeable

Buy ProX by Olay Advanced Facial Cleansing System at Amazon for $29.86


The best manual cleansing facial brush

source
Sephora

Though the Sephora Collection Precision Pore Cleansing Pad is manual, it still cleans well thanks to two types of scrubby silicone brushes, a flexible design, and an ergonomic knob handle.

The Sephora Collection Precision Pore Cleansing Pad looks like a silicone sponge for your face, but once you get over the look – and subsequent sticker shock at the low $6 price – you’ll realize just how useful this little tool is.

Using the pad is easy – just hook your fingers around the knob like a Pop Socket, add your cleanser, and sweep it in circular motions around your face. There are two styles of silicone bristles – taller, thinner ones and shorter, dome-shaped ones – but I haven’t figured out what they do, so I just normally use the taller side to cleanse.

Since it’s manual, you’ll have to adjust your pressure and not go overboard, but I found that pretty intuitive. It also makes this an easy choice for beginners who are just dipping their toes into the world of cleansing brushes.

Unlike other battery-powered brushes, this one is flexible so you can get in the crevices around your nose easily, which is where I find the most oil, dirt, and blackheads. Once you’re done, just rinse out the pad and use the handy suction on the back to stick it to your bathroom mirror to dry.

I love the $6 price on this one, which is largely due to the fact that it’s a manual brush and not an electric one. And while it definitely doesn’t deep-clean as well as a $200 Clarisonic, it gets the job done for me. It’s also really small and doesn’t need batteries, so it’s great for travel or even just at the gym.

More than 2,500 Sephora shoppers agree with me here, giving it a 4.5 out of 5-star rating. Some people have even ingeniously hacked this pad to clean their makeup brushes. – Jada Wong

Pros: Inexpensive, travel friendly, easy to use (especially for beginners)

Cons: Not electric, might not clean as well as battery-powered devices

Buy the Sephora Collection Precision Pore Cleansing Pad at Sephora for $6


The best cleansing facial brush for frequent travelers

source
Foreo

Always on the move? Take your travel skincare to the next level with the FOREO Luna Mini 2.

The Foreo is for those of you who’ve been reading this whole article and thinking, “What’s up with all the bristles?” Or, you know, those of you who travel a lot and want something a bit more compact. The FOREO Luna Mini 2 doesn’t have the same brush-on-a-handle design as the other options in our guide. It’s more of a cute, colorful disc that fits in the palm of your hand.

According to Foreo, the Luna Mini 2 is “the only facial-cleansing device that combines T-Sonic pulsations to effectively cleanse the skin with a nonabrasive silicone brush.” It appears on many “best cleansing brush” lists across the Internet, most notably ones on InStyle, Elle, and The Cut.

InStyle’s Marianne Mychaskiw and Elle’s Chloe Hall both note that the silicone brush might be gentler on sensitive skin than other kinds of bristles, and Hall adds that the material is “[v]ery easy to clean!” Plus, the compact size is a space-saver and thus easier to store than the bulkier brushes on the market.

In case you’re not already sold on the FOREO Luna Mini 2, it has eight different settings to help customize your routine and, though the initial investment is high, you’ll save money in the long run because you don’t have to keep buying fresh brush heads.

Pros: Compact size perfect for travel, might be gentler on skin than traditional brushes, silicone makes for easy cleaning

Cons: Still expensive despite the smaller size (but it is a one-time investment)

Buy the FOREO Luna Mini 2 at Sephora for $139


The best cleansing facial brush for the forgetful

source
Michael Todd

An antimicrobial brush head makes the Michael Todd Beauty Soniclear Elite Cleansing System a great choice for anyone who’s lazy about upkeep.

Part of my personal hesitation about cleansing brushes has to do with remembering to change the head every few months. If you’re the kind of person who procrastinates things like doing laundry or washing your makeup sponges for way too long, you’ll be intrigued by the Michael Todd Beauty Soniclear Elite Cleansing System, which uses antimicrobial brushes.

The kit comes with two heads, one for face and one for body. Michael Todd Beauty claims the antimicrobial properties prevent “99.9% of bacteria that can form on brushes between use.” That means you can let your laziness get the better of you while lowering your risk for a major breakout. The Soniclear Elite also has six cleansing speeds and two face massaging options.

If you buy the full system, you’ll also get a charging station, charging cord, the two brush heads, and three sample-sized Michael Todd Beauty cleansers: Charcoal Detox Pore Cleanser, Honey & Oat Gentle Cleanser, and Jojoba Charcoal Face Scrub.

The Soniclear Elite has a 4.7 rating on Ulta based on 478 reviews. “I wish I would have bought this brush sooner,” writes one Ulta customer. “My face feels so much cleaner than it did when using just my hands or a washcloth. The antimicrobial brush head is awesome and the fact that the brush head is good for 6 months makes it very affordable.”

For a cheaper option, InStyle recommends the original Soniclear, which still features an antimicrobial brush as well as three cleansing speeds (no massager, sadly) at the cheaper price of $89.

Pros: Antimicrobial brushes that last longer than heads from other brands, six cleansing speeds, massaging options

Cons: Could be harsh on sensitive skin

Buy the Michael Todd Beauty Soniclear Elite Cleansing System at Ulta for $149


Check out our other great makeup and skin-care guides

source
Shutterstock

The best makeup sponges you can buy

Whether you’re serving up high-def contouring for the ‘gram or just trying to look amazing on the daily, a good makeup sponge can help. There are a ton of different ones out there, and at different price points too.

Here are the best makeup sponges you can buy in 2019:

The best anti-aging serums you can buy

Using a serum as part of your skincare routine is essential to keep your skin looking youthful and to keep those darn wrinkles at bay. Considered the superheroes of skincare, serums are packed with powerful ingredients that penetrate deep into the skin.

Anti-aging serums deal primarily with fine lines, wrinkles, and dehydration, but also tone, texture, and dark spots. Some of the best anti-aging Ingredients to look out for are vitamin C, for brightening the skin, hyaluronic acid for plumping it up, and Retinol, a vitamin A derivative that treats a multitude of skin concerns from wrinkles to acne.

Here are our top picks for the best anti-aging serums you can buy:

The best makeup remover you can buy

It’s good for your skin to remove makeup every night, but it can be a pain without the right makeup remover.

We’ve done our research and tested the best makeup removers on the market to come up our top recommendations. Whether you’re a devout double cleanser or prefer removing makeup on the fly, there’s something on this list for everyone.

Here are the best makeup removers you can buy:

The best body scrubs you can buy

When it comes to body-care products, scrubs are oftentimes overlooked in favor of lotions and body wash. But the exfoliating treatments should be included in your skin-care routines if you want to silky smooth skin. While you can also scrub away dull, dry skin by using loofahs or dry brushes, nothing will leave your skin feeling squeaky-clean quite like a good body scrub.

Here are the best body scrubs you can buy:

The best body oils you can buy

If smooth, supple skin is what you’re looking for, then the Fresh Life Body Oil is the bottle you want to reach for.

Here are the best body oils you can buy in 2019:

The best exfoliators you can buy for any skin type or budget

Whether you’re new to the exfoliation game or a seasoned skin-care pro, Glossier’s Solution is the exfoliator you should be reaching for. Its powerful mix of acids dissolves dead skin cells and improves your complexion, giving your face a gorgeous glow.

Here are the best makeup removers you can buy:

The best eco-friendly mineral sunscreen you can buy

Mineral sunscreens are highly effective, and far less toxic to small aquatic creatures that can metabolize chemical-based sunscreens, but they usually leave a streaky white mess.

We’ve tested several mineral sunscreens to find the best ones that are effective, look good, and won’t hurt the environment.

Here are our top picks for the best mineral sunscreen you can buy: