October 29, 2020

Best Facial Cleansing Brushes 2020

7 min read

By now, you should 100% know that going to bed with your makeup on is the ultimate skincare sin. But did you know that so is washing your face in the shower (a big no-no because the water is often way too hot) and not washing your hands before you wash your face because, errr germs?

That’s where facial cleansing brushes come in. Not only do they have remove makeup and exfoliate, but if cleaned and stored properly—make sure to read those directions! — they can be a bit more sanitary…hence eliminating future breakouts. Sensitive skin types (i.e. prone to eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis) should opt for those with softer bristles and consider working brushes into their routine bi-weekly versus daily to start. Unsure if it’s the *right* tool for you? Chat up your derm to get their expert opinion.

Overall, the best brushes have the same general process: Remove your makeup, apply cleanser to wet skin, and massage along your face in circular motions for a minute or so. The results? Exfoliated, smooth, and clear skin. From the revamped classic Clarisonic to the new wave silicone-only PMD, here are 9 brushes ELLE.com editors have tried and loved—plus a few other highly reviewed models.


1. Conture AeroCleanse Cleansing Device

Conture AeroCleanse Cleansing Device

      If you’re a Clarisonic stan, this is the replacement facial cleansing brush for you. Inspired by the technology that’s used on air hockey tables (yes, you read that right) this soft-bristled brush is our ELLE associate beauty editor’s latest obsession. It creates a fantastic lather—even when you’re using an oil-based cleanser—but doesn’t splatter everywhere as you’re gliding it across your face. It’s battery powered, which may seem like a draw-back, but it helps to serve as a reminder: whenever the batteries are out that also means it’s time to change the brush head.

      Tips of the trade:

      • Don’t over cleanse if you are wearing makeup. If can be tempting to go hard, but over-sloughing can leave your skin raw.
      • There’s only one brush, but it’s universal for all skin types, including acne-prone and sensitive.
      • The oval-shaped brush makes it easy to get into tight but important areas like the corner of the nose.
      • Use it on the tops of your hands once a week (and always wear sunscreen) to keep them looking youthful.
      • Skip out on chemical exfoliators like BHA, PHA and AHA’s—since this already act like an exfoliator. You don’t want or need to go overboard. Less is more kids.

        2. Anisa Cleansing Brush

        Courtesy

        If you’re worried about a battery or chargeable device being too harsh on your skin, this manual, responsibility-made brush (p.s. it features 100% cruelty-free synthetic fibers) might be your best best. The innovatively designed removable head is comprised of a soft fiber and silicone blend for gentle exfoliation and effective deep pore cleansing – leaving your complexion cleaner than ever, without feeling squeaky clean. One reviewer describes the brush as if “the bristles of a Clarisonic and the silicone of a Foreo had a baby.” The detachable brush head makes cleaning pretty easy, simply swivel, rinse and dry. Anisa also has their own branded cleanser, Purify, that removes excess makeup, oils, and residue without any water needed.

        Tips of the trade:

        • The brush head is removable for easy cleaning. Just make sure to air dry before using again.
        • A little cleanser goes a long way— focus on putting your product of choice directly onto the silicone ring before gently massaging in circular motions.
        • To avoid staining the bristles, rinse the brush thoroughly after each use.

          3. Naturopathica Facial Cleansing Brush

          Courtesy

          High tech isn’t always better. Many with sensitive skin aren’t able to use abrasive cleansing brushes. But this painterly pouf is softer than a puppy—and it’s cruelty free, too! The nylon bristles feel like a cloud as they gently sweep across your skin, both sweeping away dead skin, removing the grit and grime of everyday life without irritation. It’s especially divine with a balm cleanser. And the textured shape isn’t just for look—the waves act like a dry brush for your face, gently stimulating your lymphatic system to help reduce puffiness.

          Tips of the trade:

          • Gentle enough to use daily with your favorite cleanser.
          • Can be used wet or dry to buff in skincare products before rinsing.
          • A fantastic option for anybody who is new to exfoliating or wants a facial cleansing brush that’s non-abrasive.

            4. PMD Clean Smart Facial Cleansing Device

            Courtesy

            Clean Smart Facial Cleansing Device

            Beyond simply cleansing, this tech-first cleansing device boasts over 7,000 vibrations per minutes thanks to SonicGlow™ technology. Look forward to skin that’s not only clean, but firm, tone, and overall more youthful in appearance. Unlike other brushes where you have to swap out the head, the device is made completely with ultra-hygienic silicone, meaning PMD Clean is odor-resistant, antibacterial, hypoallergenic, and waterproof. The brush is also pretty fool-proof to clean, simple rinse with warm water and gently rub in cleanser (or soap), then pat dry after use. Consistent users claim their skin has never looked or felt better.

            Tips of the trade:

            • There are four customizable modes total. Hint: Up the ante on your serum application by using mode 3 or 4 for massaging.
            • Apply cleanser directly onto the bristles, whereas serums and moisturizer should be applied directly to the back.
            • To avoid damaging or bending the silicone bristles, use the included stand.

              5. Shiseido Essentials Cleansing Massage Brush

              Cleansing Massage Brush

              Shiseido
              saksfifthavenue.com

              $25.00

              The cult-favorite Japanese skincare brand’s luxurious cleansing brush is the perfect hybrid of silky-soft, finely tapered bristles and silicone cushions made to gently message the skin. A ergonomic, curved handle allows users to grip without slip, and breeze over natural facial contours. It also allows for gentle facial massage (great for microcirculation) and overall skin vitality-meets-radiance.

              Tips of the trade:

              • Make sure to use included cap to protect the brush’s bristles. One reviewer said with proper care her brush lasted nearly 10 years. #Impressive
              • Don’t overload on cleanser, the bristles were made to create maximum foam.Due to the super soft bristles, this brush isn’t as effective at exfoliation.
              • Like all of the cleansing brushes, use in circular motion for an effective cleanse.

                6. Foreo Luna Cleansing Brush

                courtesy

                FOREO LUNA™ 2 for Normal Skin

                FOREO
                lookfantastic.com

                £169.00

                The incredible silicone material is what sets this cleansing brush apart . It’s non-abrasive, gentle, and easy to clean. Very easy to clean! Plus, it lasts for months after a full charge so you don’t have to worry about it dying if you travel often. Foreo delivers around 8,000 T-Sonic pulsations per minute through the silicone touch-points. The T-sonic technology is designed to penetrate deep in the layers of your skin for a strong cleansing. The Luna comes in four colors and looks great in any top #shelfie.

                Tips of the trade:

                • The product is small and sits upright so it makes storage easy.
                  • It doesn’t have a timer, so set your own alarm for about one minute.
                  • Because of the silicone brush, don’t use clay-based, silicone-based, or grainy cleansers, exfoliators, or scrubs. The silicone nubs are tough enough on their own.
                  • Instead, opt for a gel-based cleanser to get the job done.

                    7. Cleansing by Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

                    Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush System

                    The first facial brush from beauty giant Clinique delivers. The brush was developed by dermatologists to serve all skin types and provide a gentle cleanse. I have to say, my pores were noticeably less visible while using this product. The unique tapered head also lets you target hard to reach areas like beside your nose or on your lower chin. Unlike the other brushes that recommend one minute sessions, this brush has a 30-second timer so you’ll never over-scrub. The major criticism for this product comes from Amazon users. A number of customers complained that the brush’s use was very short-lived. The product seemed to die or break too easily for some shoppers.

                    Tips of the trade

                    • Replacement brushes cost $27.
                    • The charger holds charge for hours so you can take it on the go.
                    • The tilted head can help reach difficult areas.

                      8. Proactiv Charcoal Pore Cleansing Brush

                      Charcoal Pore Cleansing Brush

                      Proactiv could sell me on anything in middle school, but things have changed since I was giving pubescent acne everything it could handle. I went back to ol’ faithful and tried this brush on a whim—it was surprising wonderful. Highlights: The bristles are long and exaggerated so it feels like a delightful tickle on your face. The brush also vibrates to stimulate my skin cells and doesn’t just oscillate like other brushes on the market. My main issue with this was after a few months it began to not work or function properly. I must say because it was portable, I was throwing it around and not treating it with the respect it deserves. Again, a me problem, but if you want something heavy-duty and durable, this might not be the brush for you.

                      Tips of the trade:

                      • Replacement brushes cost $10.
                      • Great to include in your nightly routine if you’re trying to conquer acne.


                        9. Olay ProX Advanced Cleansing System with Facial Brush

                        Advanced Facial Cleansing Brush System

                        A product that delivers bang for your back. The Olay brush provides a deep clean and exfoliation that’s perfect on all skin types. Amazon readers compare the brush to the one from Clarisonic and see similar results after continual use. The Olay product is quite small and only comes with two settings: high and low. It’s definitely a cheaper version of more expensive brushes, but it’s a good entry-level device at a totally approachable price. The brush doesn’t use sonic vibrations, but a two-speed rotating system to cleanse the skin.

                        Tips of the trade:

                        • Replacement brushes cost $10.
                        • Invest in backup brushes as they will go fast.
                        • Olay recommends using an anti-aging moisturizer with this product.

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