Are cleansing brushes worth the hype?

Mary Kay Skinvigorate
Cleansing brushes have been gaining popularity over the last few years and I have seen lots of blog reviews as well as marketing for the various different versions on the market. It has always intrigued me, but the price point for some of the higher end versions is enough to make me wince, and frankly, I’d rather spend my money on something else! I was lucky enough to win the Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush in a blog giveaway so I was pretty thrilled to be able to try one out without spending any of my hard earned cash!

The Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush claims to remove makeup 85% better than cleansing by hand. The motorised cleansing brush spins rather than oscillates like the Clarisonic to remove makeup and impurities from the skin. It also buffs away dead skin cells to leave skin looking and feeling softer and more even. It even claims to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. All sounds pretty good, but the website states that these results were gathered from a one day study of the product… I am always skeptical of these studies and small sample user testing, so I decided to thoroughly test it out and come to my own verdict.

I really like that the brush is waterproof, so you can bring it in the shower with you to speed up your morning/evening routine. The set also came with two brush heads and batteries so you can get cleansing straight away. The instruction manual states to used the brush for 15 seconds on each zone of your face. The brush has two speeds, so the faster one can be used on the oily areas, like the t-zone and the lower speed on the cheeks and neck. One think I instantly disliked was that it can’t be used to remove eye makeup. My trusty Ultrabland cleanser from LUSH can remove literally everything in one simple process. I find skincare a bit of a chore so I want to get everything done in as few steps and products as possible. So I was a bit annoyed to have to dig out an eye makeup remover to use first.

Mary Kay Skinvigorate unboxed

For my first test, I used Ultrabland and quickly slicked it across my skin as usual and then used the brush to buff it in, but it turned out to me a hot mess. The Mary Kay brush doesn’t much like oily balm cleansers. The brush got all goopy and nasty and then it too me like 15 minutes to clean the brush head properly. Then I still needed to use a facecloth to remove the cleanser. So much for speeding up my skincare routine…

So the next day I bought a basic Boots own cleansing lotion to use with the brush. I didn’t want anything fancy because I wanted to prove that the brush was doing all the work. It did work a lot better than Ultrabland, but I still wasn’t blown away and I was still a bit irritated that I had to do my eye makeup separately. Snore!

After using the brush for a few weeks, I think does do a good job of cleansing the skin, but I think the brush is too abrasive on my sensitive skin, even when used at the lower speed setting. I think the fact that the brush spins rather than wiggles could be part of the problem. I found that sometimes after cleansing, my skin would become quite red and feel as if it had been scratched at. Not a good look.

So back to the company’s claims:

  • “Removes makeup 85% better than by hand” – maybe it does but without the scientific equipment to scan my face I will never know. I will say that I can remove my makeup by hand 85% faster because it is a one step process.
  • “Boosts absorption of your next skincare step” – yeah it did because the rough action made my skin hot and sensitive so it was pretty grateful for a splash of moisturiser!
  • “Starts improving skins appearance immediately” – tell that to my poor red cheeks….
  • “Helps polish away the look of past skin damage for a more even-looking complexion” – it did remove dead skin cells but nothing further than that.
  • “Softens the appearance of lines and wrinkles” – luckily I don’t have any yet, but I cant imagine that it would really make that much of a difference if I’m honest…

So I’ve been a bit of a negative Nancy in this review, I know, but this is just my view on how it works on my skin. If you have less sensitive skin then it may work wonders for you. I do think it does a good job and buffing off the dead skin cells, so I think that I would use the cleansing brush on a less regular basis as an exfoliating aid instead of in my daily cleansing routine.

Have you tied any cleansing brushes? Do you think they are worth the hype?

  • Karen

    It’s a shame you didn’t have a better experience with this :( I’ve avoided brushes like this, largely because of their price, but also because I fear for my sensitive skin :) At least you know now and didn’t waste any £££ 😀


  • Laura Hadley

    I know what you mean! I have both the Magnitone Lucid and the new Clinique brush and it is frustrating! I need my eye makeup removed and these types of brushes don’t give my skin enough of a thorough clean.

    Laura | ♥ xx

  • Kate

    I have quite sensitive skin and have always felt that cleansing brushes would probably be too harsh for me. Thanks for the honest review! x

    Kate Louise Blogs

  • Bethan

    I have never tried one of these brushes mainly because of their hefty price tag. I do like the idea but I worry that it might be too harsh on my skin! x

  • Brand & Beauty

    This product sounds good but it’s a shame that it didnt work for you. Your very lucky to win it in a giveaway anywaysI have heard of these cleansing brushes but never thought of buying one. I might have to attend a giveaway one time to win one of these. Normally I use skin products from Cosmedix which have improved my skin a lot. It’s a part of the skin challenge I’m doing with a salon I’m working with. Great post!

    Brand & Beauty |

  • Beth

    It’s a shame this didn’t work out, it does sound quite harsh! I use the Foreo Luna Mini, which is very gentle, and I love it, my skin is a lot smoother since I started using it. Like this brush, it doesn’t work too well with Ultrabland (my favourite cleanser for make up removal!) but it does a good job with S&G’s Peaches and Clean :) xx


  • Hanna

    I have really sensitive skin, too, and had the same problem with cleansing brushes! I tried using a Clarisonic and it really dried out my skin and made me break out. For other people, it’s a great product, just not me, sadly. Still on the lookout for that magical product that can exfoliate my skin without drying it! hehe I love your blog! I just discovered it and I really enjoy all of your posts, keep up the amazing work!:)

    Hanna |