Meet the high-tech (and one ancient low-tech) facial tools that promise to boost collagen, reduce puffiness, make wrinkles fade, and even prevent acne and soothe rosacea – all in the comfort of your own home. By Danielle Fox
Earlier this year, downtown Las Vegas saw the gathering of some of the world’s most well-known tech titans at the annual Consumer Electronics Show. And what got this slew of Silicone Valley execs buzzing was the plethora of beauty giants showcasing their latest ventures in tech. From 3D-printed face masks and wearable skin pH sensors, to skin scanners that attach to your smartphone and investments in augmented reality hair colour start-ups, it seems technology and beauty has collided like never before.
All of which begs the question: is the day coming when all our precious serums, peel pads and creams will be rendered obsolete? Replaced by an array of high-tech tools and devices? Perhaps not just yet. But, according to the skin experts, just like an outfit is never complete without the right accessory, a gadget or tool can bring a powerful oomph to your beauty routine.
“While hands are crucial to a facial, I have always used technology within my treatments,” says facialist Joanne Evans, who is based at Bodyism in London’s Notting Hill. “Not only does it optimise results but it also helps to stimulate and penetrate products deeper into the skin – and this cannot be done just alone with hands.” Holly Warren, Wildsmith Skin’s head trainer agrees: “We recently introduced a hand-held device to all our treatments and the results have been remarkable,” she says. “We are now able to make each treatment feel bespoke by including cutting-edge technology like LED, galvanic currents, sound waves and massage therapy alongside natural products like Wildsmith Skin’s Copper Peptide Serum. I’ve noticed how much it supercharges the skincare and helps to get it to penetrate deeper into the dermis.”
The right gadget can even make your makeup look better. Makeup artist Celia Burton swears by her jade roller to reduce under-eye puffiness and also likes the way it makes her makeup sit better. “Once or twice a week I like to take my jade roller from my fridge and work in Wildsmith Skin’s Active Global Super Oil in an upward motion for about ten minutes. It really makes a noticeable difference to my skin,” she says. While Burton doesn’t use beauty tech on her clients, who include model Adwoa Aboah and actress Natalie Dormer, she does dabble with it herself. “I’ve been going for LED light therapy at The Light Salon and it has been a complete game changer for my rosacea and acne scarring.”
It’s time to embrace the beauty tool and upgrade your skincare regime, so switch on, light up and plug in with Danielle Fox’s top five:
Developed in the 1980s to speed up astronauts’ tissue healing and repair, light therapy is now more accessible and no longer the preserve of the salon… or space. One of London’s top facial plastic surgeons, Dr Maryam Zamani has made her smart LED mask available to all of us in the comfort of our homes. Inspired by her in-clinic lights, this gold mask is medical-grade (hence the price tag) and offers five colours which give various benefits from boosting collagen, firming skin, reducing acne bacteria and even helping with discolouration. Post-cleanse, use two to three times a week for ten minutes building up to 30 minutes. Keep it on your bedside table so it becomes a part of your night-time routine.
We all know the benefits of a hands-on facial massage – increase in blood circulation, firm skin and that coveted fresh-from-the-spa glow. But what happens when you can’t get an appointment with your facialist or you don’t have the time (or the inclination) to massage your skin for ten minutes after a busy day? Cue Nurse Jamie’s Uplift Massage tool, a hexagonal-shaped beauty wand which stimulates blood circulation to instantly revive, uplift and improve your overall complexion. No stranger to celebrities, Jamie Sherrill aka Nurse Jamie has been known to use the wand on Jessica Alba and Emily Ratajkowski pre-Oscars. Not only is it easy and relaxing to use, this beauty wand cools and calms the skin aiding skincare product absorption, blood flow and, consequently, glow.
Unlike so many other face-firming, cheek-sculpting, skin-boosting devices, what sets this apart is how effortless it is to use. Sending tiny electrical currents beneath the skin’s surface to kick-start cell regeneration and boost collagen production, this FDA-approved gadget comes with many claims – from the ability to eradicate acne-forming bacteria to boosting collagen and firming slackened skin. Download the app to choose the programme best for your skin and, once you’ve mastered the basics of the muscle-tweaking, micro-current routine, you can use it whenever you have a spare few minutes. The more you use it, the better the improvement (up to 12 minutes, three times a week is ideal).
Do you face roll? No? Then you should. This centuries-old technique for de-puffing skin, boosting circulation, relieving tension and redefining the contours of the face has quickly become a modern-day beauty mainstay. And whether you choose to use a roller or its close cousin the gua sha (a jade skin scraper) simply comes down to personal preference. Made from 100 per cent Xiuyan jade, the most revered jade, the Hayo’u Beauty Restorer helps to go deeper into the skin by jump-starting your lymphatic system, purging dirt, reducing pore build-up and working on deeper set wrinkles. It’s also naturally cooling to touch and used repeatedly in strokes across the face on just-cleansed skin or over the top of a sheet mask (many beauty editors’ secret), it’s literally like rubbing your way to healthier, glowing skin.
For those yet to discover the deep cleaning effects of the Clarisonic, here is a recap. Using a sonic brush head, it removes six times more dirt, oil and makeup than your usual bar, balm or milk cleanser. If you need proof, cleanse as usual (you can use your favourite wash-off cleanser), then repeat with a Clarisonic and see how much makeup is still lifted off. This latest reincarnation is smaller, more user-friendly and now comes with an app for a more personalised routine. While it still has all the power of the original, some may find daily use too much, but even used twice a week skin will be clearer, softer and left with a rosy glow.