Do Fancy Beauty Gadgets Really Work?
The Promise: A Deeper Clean
The product: Instrumental Beauty Sonic Touch Cleansing System ($40, instrumentalbeauty.com), a silicone facial cleansing product
The takeaway: Great for sensitive skin. "The silicone nubs are not really small enough to really dig deep into your pores," says Marnie Schwartz, food editor for Shape. "It felt more like a strong massage—which was nice—than a deep cleanse." But for photo director Toni Paciello, this is ideal: "I have very sensitive skin and I worry about products, especially those of the exfoliating kind, being too abrasive. This one left my skin softer and cleaner, without any irritation."
The Promise: Airbrushed Skin
The product: Luminess Air Epic 2 ($399, luminessair.com), an airbrush makeup system
The takeaway: Delivers natural-looking results easily. "I was worried I wouldn't be able to apply the foundation or blush evenly on my face, but the machine took care of everything," says photo editor Erica Meneses. "It reminded me of a facial mist; it's that easy. The only difficult part was trying to find a shade that matched my exact skin tone. I had to blend colors after the fact—spray on a bit of one shade and touch it up with another. I made sure to do really light layers so I didn't get cake-y, but it didn't take a lot to make my skin look smooth."
The Promise: Smoother Bikini Line
The product: Iluminage Precision Touch ($295, sephora.com), a hair removal device that works for a range of hair and skin tones.
The takeaway: Great for small areas. "The shape of the device—it's slightly curved— is perfect for contoured areas (like your bikini line) and the zapping takes place fairly quickly," says Carly Graf, editorial assistant for Shape. "It's not too difficult to use as long as you follow directions and don't rush. And the bikini area hardly hurt at all—woo!"
The Promise: Cleaner Teeth
The product: Foreo Issa Hybrid Toothbrush ($199, sephora.com), the first silicone electric toothbrush.
The takeaway: It's gentle on gums, but tough on plaque. "The head of the toothbrush is really big, which feels weird at first but I actually ended up liking because it brushes your gums lightly, so I noticed that flossing took less time after using it," says Julia Malacoff, fashion editor for Shape. "You can adjust how much it vibrates, which I also really like, and the website claims you only have to change the brush head once a year. That's way less often than other electric toothbrushes. And aside from that, it's really pretty. It looks nice enough to leave out on my bathroom sink, although one of my roommates thought it was a sex toy."
The Promise: Youthful-Looking Eyes
The product: Tria Age-Defying Eye Wrinkle Correcting Laser ($249, sephora.com), a fractional, non-ablative laser treatment for wrinkles.
The takeaway: Painful, but worth the results. "In truth, the sensation is like a bajillion little rapid-fire pinpricks, but I can say it certainly feels like something is happening," says Mary Anderson, Shape deputy editor. "After the one-minute massages, the area around my eyes was pink and a little raised in pinpoints, but it went down a little when I smoothed on some eye cream. I think a committed user could withstand the pain—after all, it's just one minute's worth of pinpricks—to stimulate collagen. It's definitely something you'd do at night when you're done for the day otherwise you'll be heading out with angry-looking skin."
The Promise: Acne Control
The product: AcneFree Sonic Advanced Cleansing Duo ($25, acnefree.com), a silicone cleansing device with an oil-free purifying cleanser
The takeaway: Gentle on your skin, tough on acne. "This may be TMI, but I sometimes get zits the back of my thighs—from working out and also I think conditioner runoff—so I used it with the benzoyl peroxide wash (provided) on that area when I was experiencing a breakout, and I think it's definitely helped it clear up faster," says Mirel Ketchiff, health editor for Shape. "The pad is a little small, so it was a pain using it on my thighs where I needed it."
The Promise: Clearer Skin, Fewer Wrinkles
The product: Truth Vitality Lux Renew ($279, truthinaging.com), an at-home device with ultrasound (for anti-aging) and red (to smooth wrinkles) and blue (to kill bacteria) LED light therapy.
The takeaway: It helps with inflammation immediately, though you might need more time to observe its wrinkle reduction. "I like all the options this device has, because you can tailor it to your needs," says David Baratta, photo and bookings editor for Shape. "My face did feel a bit tighter after using it, which I imagine would translate to good firming results over time. Also the bacteria-killing properties did shrink one of my pimples overnight."