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Toxins, Be Gone! A Review of the Clarisonic Deep Pore Detoxifying Solution Kit

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When asked which beauty products or gadgets I would take to a desert island, I always mention my Clarisonic brush — perhaps a ridiculous answer since there might be no electricity on said island, but the very nature of these questions lends itself to the inane. At this point, my attachment to the brush is downright sentimental. Similarly, when someone unplugs my Clarisonic while I’m charging it, I’m likely to be so outraged, you’d think they’d taken someone off life support. It’s that serious.

Given my devotion to Clarisonic, I’m always ready to try any of the brand’s new offerings — like, for instance, the Clarisonic Mia2 Deep Pore Detoxifying Solution ($169 at Sephora.com). This particular kit is recommended for women with oily or combination skin and is designed to help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, remove the excess sebum and dirt clogging up pores, eliminate blackheads and blemishes, and control oil production. Now, the cornerstone of this kit is, of course, the Mia2 Skin Cleansing System, an updated take on the portable Mia brush that incorporates two speeds (so you can choose whether you prefer the brush head bristles to oscillate at a slower pace or if you want them to move swiftly) and one-minute T-timer that beeps every 15 seconds so you can perfectly divvy up your time to make sure you cleanse your entire face within the 60-second period. The Mia2 brush is, in and of itself, worth the investment since the timer feature really does help you allot your time efficiently. And, as with the previous model, this brush ensures a much deeper cleanse that what you’d get using hands alone. For added convenience, the Mia2 comes with a universal voltage charger and a protective travel case.

But, of course, the emphasis on this kit is the accoutrements: the Deep Pore Brush Head, Deep Pore Daily Cleanser, and Detoxifying Clay Mask.

Let’s start with the Deep Pore Brush Head. This particular brush head (which, of course, you can interchange with any other Clarisonic brush head should you wish to do so) incorporates three sets of dual inner rings that oscillate in counter-rotation for a deeper cleanser (which is, of course, necessary when pores are congested). The bristles vary in density as you move from the outer perimeter to the center, becoming firmer at the core in order to really loosen up set-in debris.

Now, because I don’t have large pores or oily skin (I tend to be overly dry, if anything), this wouldn’t necessarily be my top brush head choice, but I just had to try it. My experience with the brush head was decent enough — the brush feels really gentle on the skin and is arguably softer than some of the previous brush head options. Still, in terms of results, I didn’t see much of a difference but, again, I’m not the target audience here. I’ve heard women with oily skin rave about this brush head, so I’m tempted to believe it will provide a deeper cleanse when used by the key demographic.

So far so good, right? Well, let’s get to the two skincare products within the kit: the Deep Pore Daily Cleanser and the Detoxifying Clay Mask.

The Deep Pore Daily Cleanser features a Sebucon2 Complex meant to decongest pores and control sebum production and keratolytic fruit acids like apple extract and lemon peel extract that work as natural exfoliants, removing dead skin cells. Also included in the formula are sugar cane extract, which works as a gentle exfoliant, literally sloughing off dead layers of skin; peppermint and chamomile extracts that soothe and cool the skin; and amino acid-rich oat extract s that gently condition the epidermis. And, predictably, since the cleanser is meant for women with acne-prone skin, it contains salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid extracted from the willow tree that has long been used in over-the-counter acne medications. Salicylic acid basically works by killing acne-causing bacteria and exfoliating at a deeper level, loosening the hardened sebum and dead cells that stick together in clogged pores, thereby decongesting poes.

On a textural level, you’re likely to appreciate the cleanser since it has an aloe-like gel consistency but foams up as you massage it onto damp skin. And the lemon-y fragrance is pleasant enough.

But I would not advise anyone with dry or normal skin to use this cleanser. I tried it out for months and found that I was breaking out more often, so that it was essentially backfiring on me. Why did this happen? Well, the most likely explanation is that the salicylic acid dried out my skin (which was already on the dry side), leading it to react by producing more oil which, in turn, led to breakouts.  And, since I responded to these breakouts by applying the cleanser, I created a vicious cycle of sorts. When I finally threw in the towel and switched to a different cleanser, my skin cleared up within a week’s time and remained blemish-free thereafter.

Bottom line: this cleanser doesn’t include a ton of ingredients that restore the skin to its optimal pH balance or that strengthen its moisture barrier, so steer clear unless you are the customer described: someone with combination or oily skin who is prone to acne (particularly blackheads) and who has enlarged pores.

My colleague, who fits the bill perfectly, tried out the cleanser and raved about how it left her skin glowing so it does, in fact, deliver results but, again, you have to fall within the target demo. That said, even those within this demo, might experience a bit of a “purge” period. A few weeks after they begin using the cleanser, they might notice an increased number of pimples; this doesn’t, however, mean that the cleanser isn’t working — just the opposite, in fact. Your skin is simply undergoing a transition and is purging all that bacteria and excess oil in one fell swoop; after it does, balance will be restored and skin will appear clear.

How do you know whether your skin is drying out too much and it’s time to discontinue using the cleanser or whether you should stick with it? Well, it’s a time-will-tell situation above all else. It takes the skin a good six weeks to adapt to any new product so, if you’ve been using the cleanser for two weeks, you may want to give it a bit more time. If, however, you used it for almost three straight months (as I did) and found that the blemish cycle continued, then it might be time to stop.

Last but not least, this set includes the Clarisonic Deep Pore Detoxifying Clay Mask, which the brand recommends using twice weekly in order to keep pores free of any congestion.

Although the mask is part of this kit, any woman can benefit from this product since it’s effective but surprisingly gentle. The facial mask features: kaolin clay, which is actually recommended for both dry and oily skin, and which is believed to increase blood circulation, thereby detoxifying the skin; and bentonite clay, which features negative ions that are drawn to many positively-charged, problem-causing microorganisms (toxins, allergens, bacterias, and viruses) that lead to problems ranging from acne to psoriasis and eczema, so that they clay’s ions bond with those of these toxins, effectively removing them. Alpha hydroxy acid-rich fruit extracts (orange water and lemon peel extract) naturally exfoliate the skin, leaving it looking radiant, a process that’s abetted by the sugar cane extract in the formula. Aloe, cucumber, and chamomile extracts, meanwhile, soothe the skin so as to fend off any irritation. Other ingredients include rose flower oil, which balances the skin’s moisture levels; lavender oil, a powerful humectant; and antioxidant-rich turmeric extract, which is believed to protect and repair cells from free radical damage.

I’d actually continue buying this clay mask for regular use — and I can since it’s available for $27 at Sephora.com— since it does a great job of removing toxins without needlessly drying out the skin. Aside from theMia2, it’s the best part of the kit!

 
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