You’ve spent years cleansing your face with your fingers.
But have you tried a facial cleansing brush?
Sure, your hands have worked fine so far. But there’s only so much cleansing you can do with these simple tools.
They can’t get deep down into your pores to fully remove all the dirt and oil collecting there. And they’re not always tough enough to remove the most stubborn clumps of dead skin cells that serve as breeding grounds for bacteria.
Facial cleansing brushes can do all of these things and more. After using one, your skin will feel, look and be cleaner and healthier.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about choosing and using the best facial cleansing brush for your skin.
Why Is Thorough Skin Cleansing So Important?
Over the course of your day, your skin accumulates a ton of buildup, both intentional and unintentional.
You purposefully apply sunscreen, makeup and other products to your face. But your skin also collects dirt, dust, debris, grime, bacteria, pollutants and toxins from your environment.
Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells to make way for new ones. It also produces oil and sweat throughout the day, which congeal all of this buildup into masses of gunk that clog your pores and suffocate your skin.
Left unremoved, the buildup can cause dullness, greasiness, acne, irritation, inflammation, accelerated aging and skin cell damage. Over time, this severely weakens your skin’s health, leaving you more susceptible to sun damage, bacterial infection, tears, wounds and other harm.
That’s why it’s so important to cleanse your skin every morning and evening.
Morning cleansing removes the oils that build up overnight, plus any debris or bacteria that you pick up from your hair, sheets and pillows. Evening cleansing removes the day’s damage, leaving your skin with a clean slate to work with overnight as you sleep.
What Is a Facial Cleansing Brush?
A facial cleansing brush is a tool that allows you to get a deeper, more thorough cleanse than you can get with your fingers alone. It takes the form of a handle with a head of bristles at the end.
Most facial cleansing brushes are motorized, though some are manually operated.
Either way, they rely on the use of bristles to penetrate into your pores, removing even the most deeply-seated buildup. By reaching the areas that your fingers can’t, the brush ensures that no gunk or grime gets left behind to harm your skin.
How Does a Facial Cleansing Brush Work?
Think of a facial cleansing brush as similar to an electric toothbrush.
Regular toothbrushes can scrub away plaque, but an electric toothbrush adds extra dimensions of rapid motion to achieve a more thorough clean.
Similarly, your fingers may be able to dislodge much of the dirt and debris that lies on the surface of your skin. But a facial cleansing brush has long bristles that move in various directions, letting them reach into your skin’s pores and crevices.
Facial cleansing brushes typically move in either circular or back-and-forth motions. This causes the bristles to push your cleanser deeper into your skin, thus removing the nasty buildup that accumulates below the surface.
Because most facial cleansing brushes are motorized, they require even less work to use than your regular finger-cleansing method. This means that they’re not just more effective — they’re quicker and easier too.
What Are the Benefits of a Facial Cleansing Brush?
A deeper, more thorough cleanse isn’t all you get with a facial cleansing brush.
Exfoliation and Acne Prevention
The brush’s bristles are tough enough to exfoliate your skin as you cleanse. You’re not just removing dirt and debris, you’re dislodging the dead skin cells that dull your complexion and feed acne-causing bacteria.
Smooth, Even Skin
It’s easy to apply uneven pressure to your skin as you cleanse it with your fingers. This can result in an uneven cleanse and an unbalanced appearance.
But a cleansing brush applies a more consistent pressure to your whole face, resulting in skin that’s smooth and even all over.
The pressure and motion of a facial cleansing brush stimulates blood flow to your skin.
Increased blood circulation plumps up your skin and provides your skin cells with more oxygen. This allows them to regenerate, turn over and heal more quickly.
Facial cleansing brushes also stimulate your lymphatic system, which removes cellular waste and cleanses your skin from the inside out.
Better Product Absorption
The cleaner your skin is, the better it’s able to absorb the products you apply to it.
Sunscreens, serums, moisturizers and other products are much more effective if you use a cleansing brush before applying them. Without debris deep in your pores to lock the products out, you’ll see more benefits from them in a shorter amount of time.
Reduced Pore Size
Enlarged pores appear big because they’re bloated with oil, dirt and debris. The buildup stretches the pores out, and they’ll remain that way until they’re fully cleaned.
A facial cleansing brush digs down to the bottoms of your pores, removing every last bit of buildup. Your pores will immediately look smaller once they’re not filled with grease and grime.
How Do You Use a Facial Cleansing Brush?
Facial cleansing brushes are very easy to use. Your brush will come with more specific instructions, but the general procedure is the same for all of them.
First, wet your face and the brush with lukewarm water. Then apply a small amount of cleanser to your wet skin, but don’t rub it in like you normally would.
Instead, turn your cleansing brush on and touch it gently to the cleanser and your skin. The bristles will begin massaging the cleanser into your skin.
Slowly move the brush in light circular motions, remaining in the same general area of your skin until you’ve thoroughly cleansed it. Then slowly move on to the next area of your skin.
Most people begin using the brush on their cheeks, then move to the forehead, nose and chin. However, you can cleanse in any order you want — the most important thing is to be thorough.
When you’re done, rinse your face and your brush in lukewarm water, then pat them dry. Store the brush in a clean, dry place until you’re ready to use it again.
Facial Cleansing Brush Dos and Don’ts
Do Start Slowly
If you have sensitive, delicate or aging skin, some facial brushes may be too rough and irritating for everyday use. Use your brush just once a week to start, then slowly increase the frequency to ensure that you don’t harm your skin.
And if your skin is extremely sensitive, do a patch test first by using the brush on your arm, then monitoring for irritation. If your arm becomes irritated, your face almost certainly will.
Do Use a Quality Cleanser
Your cleansing brush is only half of the equation — your choice of cleanser matters too. Choose a cleanser that’s formulated for your skin type, ideally one that’s free of irritating ingredients like sulfates and parabens.
Do Follow Up with a Vitamin C Serum
Your cleansing brush will leave your pores totally unclogged and ready to absorb anything you put on your skin. But your cleanser may also leave your skin dry and unbalanced.
Take advantage of your super-clean skin by applying a vitamin C serum after using the cleansing brush. Vitamin C restores your skin’s balance and hydrates your skin cells, and it’s absorbed much more efficiently if your skin has been brushed clean.
Do Keep Your Brush Clean and Fresh
Facial cleansing brushes can become breeding grounds for bacteria unless they’re kept clean. Wash your brush thoroughly after each use, keep it in a clean place and change your brush head at least once a month.
Don’t Use Someone Else’s Brush
Your skin’s microbiome is unique, so coming into contact with someone else’s can throw it off balance, causing breakouts and irritation. For this reason, never use someone else’s cleansing brush, and never share yours with anyone else.
Don’t Get Scared by the Adjustment Period
It’s normal for your skin to break out or look worse during the first few weeks you use your cleansing brush. This is known as the adjustment period or purge, and it’s normal.
The sudden deep clean causes deep-seated bacteria to come to the surface, causing pimples. Don’t give up on your brush: just give the pimples a few weeks to clear up and you’ll be treated to clear, bacteria-free skin.
Don’t Use the Brush Too Much
Even a gentle cleansing brush causes friction on your skin, which can be painful. Overuse of your cleansing brush can cause severe irritation, rashes and even first-degree burns.
Use a gentle hand with your facial cleansing brush, and don’t use it too often. If you have dry skin, you may top out at once or twice a week, while those with oily skin may be able to use it up to once a day.
Don’t Skip Makeup Removal
Facial cleansing brushes are great at clearing out pores, but they’re not so great at removing full faces of makeup. Using your brush to remove your makeup can clog it up and make it less effective at deep-cleaning your skin.
Before using your brush, remove all of your makeup with a traditional makeup remover. Starting your cleanse with a bare face will produce much better results.
What to Look for When Choosing a Facial Cleansing Brush
Ready to take the plunge and get yourself a facial cleansing brush? Here are a few key features to look for.
Pick an Ergonomic Brush to Save Your Hands
You’ll be more likely to use your facial cleansing brush if it doesn’t hurt your hand to hold it. Look for a brush with a non-slippery, ergonomic handle that fits comfortably in your hand.
Check for Waterproofing
Some, but not all, facial cleansing brushes are waterproof. If you plan to use your brush in the shower, you’ll need to make sure you pick one with watertight construction.
Go with Silicone Bristles
Silicone bristles tend to be gentler and easier to clean than fibrous bristles, so they’re ideal for first-time cleansing brush users and those with sensitive skin.
If you’d prefer fibrous bristles, make sure they’re soft and gentle. It can be tough to gauge softness when shopping online, so visit a store for a touch test if possible.
Choose a Brush with Multiple Speeds
Some facial cleansing brushes have multiple speed settings, allowing you to adjust the force of the bristles as they move. This lets you find the best balance between a thorough cleanse and a gentle experience.