SKINCARE

The Pool tries... the best new skincare gadgets

From space-age-looking masks to skin-firming tools, Team Pool tries out the best face gadgets on the market

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By Elle Turner on

If you're concerned you're not getting enough welly out of your face cloth and want salon-worthy skin, but without the waiting rooms, schlep into town and formality of an in-clinic treatment, the new influx of face-fixing gadgets making their way around the beauty industry may be just the thing for you. But, for every celeb-endorsement and shiny claim on the box, there's always a doubt as to whether they'll really work. 

We thought we'd do the legwork for you, rounding up some of the best-known devices in the skin sphere and putting them to work on our faces. Here, we've noted down what they claim to do, whether they actually do it and whether we'd recommend them to a friend.

IESHA THOMAS TRIED: NEUTRAGENA VISIBLY CLEAR LIGHT THERAPY MASK, £59.99

What does it do?

It's the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask. Does what it says on the tin: uses light to reduce acne.

How easy/enjoyable was it to use?

It's so easy to use. You pop the mask on, plug it into the battery, turn it on and voila. If you're claustrophobic, I don't think this is for you. It's a bit of an odd sensation, having a mask on your face, with the warm light. There are lenses in the mask, but I couldn't really see out of them, so I just lay down and listened to music. The session only lasts 10 minutes, which was much quicker than I expected, and the light goes off when you're finished. Very simple and easy to use.

How did it make your skin feel?

I've recently been getting quite oily and greasy skin, but this really helped to balance it out.

Did it make a difference/do the job it was supposed to?

I honestly noticed a difference right away. Nothing miraculous, of course, but I've been getting terrible acne along my jaw and cheeks that make me quite self-conscious after years of clear skin. This helped to reduce them on the first go. I grew up being in the sun a lot, so moving to a city where it's grey, I don't get away as much, and London's bad air has ruined my skin – this might be a lifesaver.

Would you try it again/recommend it to a friend?

I'd definitely recommend it. I looked up the price online and it wasn't half as expensive as I thought it would be. You have to repurchase the battery, but you get 30 days in one, which, in my opinion, is pretty good value. And when you think of the amount of money you spend on make-up or facial treatments, it's really worth it. But if you're claustrophobic and are sensitive to changing lights, I'd skip this one. 

 

Frankie Graddon tried: The Light Salon Boost Advanced LED Face Mask, £395

What does it do?

This is the first gadget from The Light Salon and it aims to bring the skin-boosting benefits of its LED in-salon treatment to your home. The claim is radiant, healthy skin in 10 minutes using the latest LED light therapy, which plumps, brightens and hydrates the skin. Apparently, it also evens skin tone, smooths the texture and reduces the appearance of lines. A beauty-editor favourite, LED light treatment essentially puts skin into a state of repair, encouraging the production of collagen and elastane. It is also known to help stop spots, thanks to its antibacterial properties. 

How easy/enjoyable was it to use?

I have had the in-salon treatment a couple of times and count myself a huge fan. It basically involves sitting under a huge lightbox for a few minutes with your eyes closed and feeling like you're sunbathing. The at-home mask certainly has the same relaxing quality to it – I've been using it at night, just before I go to bed. 

Another plus point of this gadget it the portability; once it's strapped on, you can walk around the house and get on with your day – I even made a curry while wearing it. The mask itself is very lightweight (it's made from medical-grade silicone) and the charger is small enough to slip into your pocket if you want to move around. Obviously, it looks slightly terrifying, but that's all part of the fun. 

How did it make your skin feel?

When the mask is on, my skin doesn't feel any different to usual – no tingling, nothing. The information leaflet does mention that your skin might look a little red after the treatment, but mine is completely fine. Instantly, I can notice that my skin looks clearer and smoother, and it certainly has more of a glow about it, which I really struggle getting at this time of the year. To really super-charge the effect, I've been putting a Hydrogel Facial sheet mask from Lightfusion underneath, which gives an instant hit of hydration. 

Did it make a difference/do the job it was supposed to?

Having already been sold on the benefit of in-salon LED treatments, I was interested to see whether an at-home version would measure up. Obviously, the mask isn't as strong as those used professionally, but I can definitely still see a change in my complexion. Brighter, yes. Smoother, yes (I've noticed the little lines on my forehead and around my eyes look fainter) and certainly much less dry and flaky. I've also noticed that my usual hormonal breakout around my mouth hasn't been as noticeable as usual. 

Would you try it again/recommend it to a friend?

Obviously, this is an expensive gadget and not something you're going to buy on a whim. While I think it delivers on its promises, I'd definitely advise trying a couple of LED in-salon treatments first to check you like it before investing. For me, the beauty in this gadget is the ease of it – I love that you can pop it on while cooking/watching TV etc. For lazy people like me, it makes life a whole lot easier. 

 
 

Elle Turner tried: Braun Face Spa Pro 911, £99.99
 

What does it do?

What doesn't it do? With three different attachment heads, this deeply cleanses skin using the rotating cleansing brush, it tones and tightens using a pulsing metal massager that taps your products into your skin, increases blood flow and boosts collagen and it even de-fuzzes rogue facial hairs, thanks to an epilator that plucks out strays. 

How easy/enjoyable was it to use?

It comes with a door-stopper book of instructions, but once you pop the heads on and get experimenting, it's very easy to use indeed. Essentially, it's a giant electric toothbrush with different attachments that can be switched and slotted on in the same way as replacement toothbrush heads. To power them up, you simply click the button in the middle and move the different devices across your face as necessary. 

How did it make your skin feel?

It was a mixed bag; the brush made my face feel clean without irritating my skin, but it didn't feel as satisfying (in my opinion) as a hot-cloth cleanse. The epilator did smooth out fuzz, but it hurt – a lot – and left my skin feeling inflammed and sore. The toning device was lovely and cooling, and helped to make my skin feel calmer, while the tapping motion helped to wake my skin up, making it look fresh.

Did it make a difference/do the job it was supposed to?

All of them do what they say on the tin but to differing effects. I prefer a flannel, but this brush was very soft and therefore would be great for those who tend to scrub/exfoilate too hard. It does leave skin feeling clean and is easy to wash after. The exfoliator does remove hair and will make your skin feel smoother (but first, it will feel quite sore and irritated). The toning tool soothes skin and effectively taps serums and moisturisers into your skin to aid absorption and boost circulation (which means fresh, rosy cheeks).

Would you try it again/recommend it to a friend?

I think it depends on what you're after. If you're someone who suffers from peach fuzz or are self-conscious of your lip-tache, this is a very handy tool to have in your arsenal – if (and this is a big if) you have a formidable pain threshold and regularly epilate, pain-free. If, however, you're a reasonably tolerant human with a moderate propensity for pain, this will feel like Satan himself is twanging you across your top lip with a red-hot elastic band. The good news is it's over in seconds. The bad news is if you chicken out halfway through, you will be left with half a moustache (I speak from experience). The cleansing brush is a good gentle option if you enjoy a facial cleansing brush, but find others too harsh. The best bit is the massage tool, which feels lovely and soothing, helped my skincare products to sink in quicker and left my skin looking fresher and more radiant. Is it a must-have? No. You could live without it. But, if you're in the market for a gadget that disappears unwanted facial hairs, deep-cleans and gives you a little bonus massage to boot, this is your guy.

 

Tory Frost tried: Dr Dennis Gross SpectraLite EyeCare Pro, £175
 

What does it do?

The Dr Dennis Gross SpectraLite promises to use innovative light technology to brighten and tighten the "delicate eye area". 

How easy/enjoyable was it to use?

I LOVED using this. I felt like I was in the future, or like Geordi in Star Trek, with a visor beaming me up... or at least beaming restorative light on to the one place knackeredness, age and sun damage is likely to show first. You just cleanse, pop it on and chill for a few mins while it gets to work. 

How did it make your skin feel?

While using this, there was absolutely no discomfort, just a wee bit of heat that reassured me it was actually working. There was no pain or tingling. Afterwards, my eye area did feel tighter and more refreshed.

Did it make a difference/do the job it was supposed to?

I was expecting this to do nothing, but my eye area genuinely felt lifted afterwards. I can't say there was a dramatic visible difference. I think for long-lasting results you'd need to use this for longer than four weeks. 

Would you try it again/recommend it to a friend?

Definitely to someone who regularly invests in light facials as a top-up gadget for between treatments!

 
 

Kelly Maskell tried: Yu Ling Jade Facial Roller, £22
 

What does it do?

Not only is the stone roller itself lovely and soothing, the rolling motions help to move unwanted fluid and toxins from the centre of your face towards your lymphatic drainage system at the sides of your face to help de-puff. It stimulates blood flow, which helps to brighten cheeks and eliminates tension around your jaw and cheekbones. Used over time, it can help firm and lift the contours of your face and soften fine lines.

How easy/enjoyable was it to use?

This was so easy to use. It's basically like a tiny, fancy paint roller that you wheel over your forehead and chin and under your jaw and cheekbones in an upward motion. It felt very therapeutic and the jade was really cooling.

How did it make your skin feel?

This made my skin feel smooth and tight – it woke my skin up and made it look bright and plump, so is a great prep before make-up.

Did it make a difference/do the job it was supposed to?

This did make a difference – I enjoyed using it and I definitely will include it in my routine. I can imagine it would be lovely when you've been out the night before or when the weather's hot, since it's cooling on skin and relaxing to use.

Would you try it again/recommend it to a friend?

I would and I have.

 
 

@ElleTurnerUK

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