The Battle of the Brushes: Soniclear Petite, Clarisonic, & Spin for Perfect Skin
Check out my YouTube review of the Soniclear Petite here.
The Clarisonic is the "it" cleansing brush, it seems. Of all of the cleansing brushes I have used over the years people always want to know about the Clarisonic.
What's the big deal - what's with the hype about the Clarisonic?
I've used it, and I've used many others, including the Olay ProX, the Clinique Sonic System, and the Spin for Perfect Skin by Vanity Planet. What initially attracted me to these devices was their cost.
I liked the Spin for Perfect Skin at first, and I still do like it for certain reasons - but now that I've used the Michael Todd Soniclear Petite I've realized what I've been missing. Sorely. I'm sorry, Spin for Perfect Skin, but I've moved on and you should, too.
Sometimes you need to try a few cleansing brushes to find the one that works for you best. You'll like the brushes you try along the way, but the more you research and the more you try, the more you learn from past experiences. Let me break it all down for you - for why I like the Soniclear Petite above all of the other cleansing brushes I have every used.
First, let's get the technical stuff out of the way before we get into how well the products actually work. For the sake of saving space, I'm going to compare the three "favourites" I've got: the Clarisonic which I used a couple years ago when I first got acne, the Spin for Perfect Skin brush which I used a couple of months ago, and the Soniclear Petite which I've been using the last few weeks.
First and foremost, price means a lot to me. I'm a frugal person, and I don't like to spend a lot of money when I don't have to.
The Spin for Perfect Skin Brush is $100 USD (but it frequently goes on "sale" for 70% off making it only $30 - which is what drew me to it initially). For this, you get the brush handle, one facial cleansing brush, one exfoliating brush, one body brush, and a pumice stone. It seemed like a great deal, given all the extra heads you got. There is only one model available. However, I was starting to wonder why it was almost constantly on sale for only $30, which makes it a comparable price to the Olay ProX I used to use - which was actually very, very similar to the SFPS brush.
The Clarisonic Mia 1 is $99 USD. For this, you get the brush handle, one facial cleansing brush, a charger, and a 30mL cleanser sample.
The Clarisonic Mia 2 is $149 USD.
The Clarisonic Mia 3 is $239 USD
The Soniclear Petite is $99 USD. For this, you get the brush handle, one facial cleansing brush, a brush head cover, a charger and cord.
The Soniclear Elite is $149 USD.
The Soniclear Elite Deluxe is $199 USD.
They also have a neat men's cleansing brush available, the Soniclear Elite for Men, which is $149 USD.
The brush heads all have similar prices; Spin for Perfect Skin sells 2 for $20 (replace every 2-3 months). Clarisonic sells one for $30-$36 (replace every 2-3 months). Soniclear sells one for $25 (replace every 6 months-1 year). Considering the Spin for Perfect Skin brush heads and Clarisonic brush heads need to be changed more often, the Soniclear is the clear bargain here.
All are fairly similar in price, regarding the lowest end product. You can get the higher end products for more, and even the higher-end products of Clarisonic and Soniclear are comparable in price.
But, while cost is important (at least to me), I know that it isn't the only thing that matters when looking for products for our skin.
The Spin for Perfect Skin brush comes with a 1 year warranty from Vanity Planet.
The Clarisonic comes with just a 1 year warranty. If you get a higher end (more expensive) Clarisonic, the warranty is 2 years.
The longer the warranty, the more confident the company is that their product will last. This speaks volumes to the quality of the product.
Clarisonic and Vanity Planet both have fairly terrible customer service in my past experience. Vanity Planet frequently ignores refund requests. They are notorious for unshipped items. I tried contacting them on countless occasions, and not one single e-mail or phone call back. Not one. When a company does not value their customers, it tends to show their true motives.
Clarisonic is less guilty of this, but they are a fairly large company with a bit of stardom which creates a divide between customer and seller. I had a grievance with Clarisonic a few years back, and only after publicly complaining about them did they bother to respond. It seems they weren't interested in what I had to say until they realized they were getting bad publicity from me.
Michael Todd, on the other hand, I have nothing but good things to say about. They shipped the item fast, and they respond to e-mails even faster, within 24 hours in many cases. The two ladies I have dealt with have been so extremely friendly and accomodating.
I haven't heard much about how long the Spin for Perfect Skin brush works for before wearing down. The brush runs on disposable batteries, and when the batteries are replaced it seems to work as good as new. Unfortunately, the Spin for Perfect Skin brush breaks very easily, so you may never get to see how long it lasts. If you drop it once it breaks, and as mentioned earlier, you'll have a hard time talking with customer service. I'm sad to say that after a few weeks of using it, I dropped it on my foot and it hasn't worked properly for me since. It works almost as if running on low battery, despite having changed them. Despite its $100 price tag, it isn't a high-end product, unfortunately. This is fine, if you're on a budget and can manage to snag it for $30. But some of us are looking for a long-term investment and some big results for our skin!
Clarisonic is less prone to breaking, and more prone to wearing down over time. This is a famous problem with Clarisonic (although there are always people who've had no complaints for several years). People will have it for a year or less and suddenly need to buy a new one as their old one stopped working. And with a menial 1 year warranty, there's nothing you can do past that point by even a day. I can't count how many times someone has complained to me about how their Clarisonic doesn't seem to last more than year.
The Soniclear product is similar to the Clarisonic in that it isn't prone to breaking, due to how well it is made, but may wear down over time, as well. However, whereas Clarisonics tend to wear down within a year or two, most Soniclear customers report having no problems with their product for the two years it has been out.
Regardless, at the end of the day when you buy a new product you risk getting a lemon. Sometimes you can spend $50k on a new car and right off the lot it's a lemon with constant problems that breaks every other month. That's a risk consumers take. I may get a fabulous product that runs the way it was intended to, and you might get a lemon. It's unfortunate, but it's the price of doing business. That's why a warranty matters!
As for the brush heads:
The Spin for Perfect Skin Brush and the Clarisonic both recommend purchasing new brush heads every 2-3 months. However, in my experience, both brand brushes needed to be replaced much more frequently, around a month and a half before they began to feel "dirty".
The brushes on both products felt "stiff" between uses, despite being rinsed, washed and dried thoroughly and properly. Around the 2 month mark I began to feel like the brushes were actually doing more damage than good, which is why it was important that I replace them frequently. This essentially meant that I was ordering a new brush head every month, to ensure I had one handy all the time. It was a huge pain.
Conversely, because all of the Soniclear devices are antimicrobial, they recommend repurchasing brush heads only every 6 months. Some customers even report using the brush head for a year without needing to replace it! I haven't yet gotten to the 6 month mark, but I can assure you that after several weeks I haven't had any concerns about my brush head feeling dirty or needing to be replaced. I anticipate, due to the antimicrobial properties, that this will continue for quite some time.
The Spin for Perfect Skin brush has only two speeds: on and not on (ha!). This means that it can be difficult to adjust the product for your skin, making it not ideal for everyone. For some people with sensitive skin, it may be too harsh, while for others it may not clean as adequately as they'd like. Not to mention, the brush spins, which may be an undesirable motion that may aggravate skin. Personally, I never had an issue with it being too harsh for my skin - as in I did not experience any discomfort. With that being said, sometimes we do unseen damage to our skin by doing things that we feel are beneficial.
The Clarisonic Mia 1 has 1 speed, and the more expensive brushes have 2 and 3 speeds. It uses oscillating motions. On the Clarisonic, only the middle portion of the brush oscillates, while the outer rim is motionless.
The Soniclear Petite has 3 speeds, and the higher end products both have 6 speeds each (not to mention the Elite and Elite Deluxe both have collagen-boosting technology!). This makes it highly versatile for all skin types from sensitive to normal, even at the lowest end. Instead of the traditional spinning brushes, this brush cleans your skin in an oscillating motion (like the Clarisonic) that will help cleanse your skin a lot better, and gentler. Unlike the Clarisonic, the Soniclear's entire brush head oscillates. The Soniclear is a tad louder to use than the Clarisonic, but this isn't anything to gawk at, per se. It could sound like a chainsaw, I don't care - as long as it works.
Unlike the Clarisonic and the SFPS brushes, the brushes of the Soniclear are made with organic antimicrobial protection. That means that the brushes are built to stay clean and reject any bacteria or germs. This device is actually the first of its kind to offer this kind of patent-pending protection, and knowing how rough my Clarisonic and SFPS bristles look after a month, this was important to me, and should be important to anyone with acne or acne-prone skin.
Now for the important stuff. Everything else aside, how the brushes all perform is what's most important.
The Spin for Perfect Skin brush gave me good results initially. My face felt cleaner than before (before, I was just using my hands to wash, so it's not surprising this device did a better job of cleaning). I initially noticed a reduction in acne using the device, but the results seemed to dwindle as time went on (meaning my pimples started coming back). Again, this could have been due to the fact that my brush head needed to be replaced after a month and a half. However, over time my skin just began to feel more irritated than clean; this meant my skin felt redder, dryer, and itchier. I don't consider myself to have terribly sensitive skin, but what started out as a good relationship kind of ended in heart break with this device.
Even before my brush head was "due" to be replaced, it began to feel clogged up even after washing it 3-4 times. I was extremely disappointed with how the brush head held up after only a month and a half of use, and it discouraged me from using it because I am a bit of a germaphobe when it comes to my facial skin especially. Also, with batteries rather than a charger, this device is prone to sloppy, lackluster performance as the battery wears down. It works a little less effectively each time it's used as the battery life dwindles. Not to mention it's extremely wasteful to throw away batteries when you could easily have a charger like both the Soniclear and Clarisonic devices do.
The spinning motion of the brush was something I personally enjoyed - like a good scratch. Unfortunately, what feels good may not always be good, and although I may never know, the fact that my skin became slightly more irritated with continued use (using only once a day) seems to suggest that it was the brush that was the culprit. In the end, although it does seem to clean the skin better than washing by hand, it may actually aggravate the skin more than anything, and for anyone with sensitive skin I would suggest to steer clear. If I ever do get my brush replaced (hello, Vanity Planet, I'm talking to you!) I will probably only continue to use it with the body brush head, as it works as an excellent exfoliator! Unfortunately I won't be able to use it in the shower as it isn't completely water-proof.
The Clarisonic was not the miracle device I had been hoping for, but it certainly helped to clean and clear my skin, like it advertises. The reason I stopped using the Clarisonic was simply because of how expensive the brush heads were, and how often they needed to be replaced.
After about a month and a half of using it, the brush head is no longer white (even though I take my makeup off prior to cleansing), there is buildup in the bristles, and the bristles begin to fray out (kind of like an old toothbrush) and feel stiff and gunked up. Especially being a germaphobe, I couldn't justify spending that kind of money buying a new brush head every month or two. Needing to change a brush head every 2 months, say, would run me an extra $150 a year! Don't get me wrong, the Clarisonic is a good product in that it does clean and works well, but it doesn't offer anything special in terms of speed, price, or function that I can't get elsewhere for cheaper. I want a product that works, but I also want something that is more eonomically feasible. It was good, but it wasn't good enough to keep me using it. I ended up donating it, and I haven't missed it.
I’ve also tried different brush heads for the Clarisonic, from Sensitive to Normal, and my skin felt cleaner after the Soniclear - no contest. It’s just plain better in my experience. Perhaps it’s the way the entire brush incorporates the sonic power instead of just the center portion as the Clarisonic does, or maybe it's the fact that it’s made with antimicrobial properties. Whatever the reason, I really felt like the Soniclear removed all dirt and extra buildup on my skin, based on my results after using it.
Not to mention, using the Soniclear Petite I have noticed a direct reduction in acne lesions especially on my forehead and cheek area, where I am most prone to bacterial acne. I tend to get these flare-ups of little comedones that sometimes I have difficulty getting rid of. What can take me weeks to get rid of with topicals, the Soniclear got rid of in just a few uses.
The exciting part for me is how extremely gentle this cleansing brush is. On the lowest setting the bristles oscillated so gently I wouldn't have even known the brush was on were it not for the sound it made and the fact I could see it moving. At the highest setting, the bristles were still gentle, but very effective. I interchange between settings based on how my skin is doing (with pustules I use the gentlest setting).
The Soniclear Petite's antimicrobial brush head is also well worth the money. It surpasses the other cleansing brushes tenfold for its antimicrobial purpose alone - I have acne, and I am prone to bacterial acne, so this matters to me; the brush feels clean and new every single time you use it, whereas both the Clarisonic and SFPS brushes feel clogged up, or unclean, despite the fact that they have been washed. Every time it dries I smooth my fingers through the brush, half expecting them to feel stiff and gunky like the other brush heads do - but it doesn't! It feels brand new every time.
Even great things do have their cons, however: the Soniclear brush head, at least on mine, is very difficult to change. I thought I was going to break it, and it's a struggle I have every time I use it. It's irritating, that's for sure. I'm not sure if it's just the brush I got, or if it needed to be that tight to latch to be waterproof, but it's something to be aware of.
Another con is that the USB charger it comes with needs to either be plugged into a computer to charge, or you need to have your own cube to plug it into the wall. This is fine if you have an iPhone cube or something similar, but I would personally prefer it if it plugged directly into a wall and came with its own cube attachment.
Also, the charger charges via a magnet. I understand that this was chosen to ensure the product is waterproof (so water doesn't get inside). While this isn't a con of the product, I know that magnets can pose a problem for anyone with a pacemaker, so please be aware of this prior to buying it.
Overall, let's look at the facts: Soniclear is cheaper in the long run - the device requires less replacement, offers a longer warranty and better customer service, more speeds at a lower price, antimicrobial qualities, and more. I'm glad I was able to try this product out, and I'm thrilled that I can get better results than the Clarisonic without breaking the bank. I've been using the Soniclear Petite for several weeks now (I've been just so anxious waiting to share it with you guys but I wanted to give it lots of time to do its thang).
If you do get the Soniclear device, I recommend ensuring you rinse your brush head thoroughly after every use with warm water. It may also be helpful to rinse the inside of the device with water prior to drying to avoid soap buildup. This will help to ensure that your brush head lasts the 6 months (or longer) it should!
Below is the exact model and colour (lemon drop) that I have, and I truly love it.
The Bottom Line: For the features and price I would definitely choose any of the Soniclear models over any of the Clarisonic models (and certainly over the Spin for Perfect Skin model). Plus, there are sooo many cute designs you can pick and choose from to suit your individual style, like the super cute Hippie Chic Soniclear Elite (love!). And, BONUS, if you use my links for any of the Soniclear products, you get a nice 20% discount! Check their products out!
Please note that I was provided with the Soniclear Petite to try for consideration. All opinions are my own and not required. I may receive a small comission from the use of my links - however, you will also receive a discount!