face cleansing brush

general sensitive skin

Best Facial Cleansing Brush: A Dermatologist's Perspective

Your skin has a tough job – it must protect your entire body, including your face. It deserves special attention and tender loving care. If you’re wondering how to get glowing skin and how to remove makeup efficiently, it’s not as difficult as you may think. A face cleansing brush might just be the right tool to help you. Just be prepared to spend a little time and attention! 


Why is it Important to Thoroughly Clean the Skin?

Cleansing is a necessary step in your skincare regime, and arguably the most important. Properly cleaning the skin means removing makeup, environmental pollutants, and excess sebum. It is the first step in maintaining and restoring the skin’s natural barrier.[1]

Thoroughly cleansing the skin also helps unclog pores and reduce breakouts and blemishes. Additionally, the products you apply after cleansing – serums, moisturizers, and creams – will be able to penetrate your skin better, increasing the products’ efficiency. There’s no point of buying lots of serums and creams if you’re not properly cleansing your face at the end of the day.

We understand - it can be a challenge to cleanse your skin and unclog pores, especially in areas of the face that are difficult to reach. One product you may want to try is a face cleansing brush. But can a face cleansing brush really help you get glowing skin? Let’s find out!

What is a Face Cleansing Brush?

A face cleansing brush is a device that deep cleans your skin. More specifically, it unclogs pores, improves circulation, and prepares your skin for serums or other beauty treatments.

How Does a Face Cleansing Brush Work?

Using sonic technology, effective sonic cleansers work to stimulate the skin as well as deeply cleanse the pores. According to the Clarisonic website: “Unlike spinning devices, our patented sonic technology works with skin’s natural elasticity, oscillating at a sonic frequency that produces over 300 movements per second. The resulting flexing action created between the outer and inner brushes work to loosen dirt and oil, removing deep-seated impurities from pores and priming skin to better absorb topical treatments.”

What are the Benefits of Using a Face Cleansing Brush, and Have They Been Proven?

We often hear the question: Is using a face cleansing brush really that much better than just using your hands? Multiple studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of using a face cleansing brush with sonic technology as compared to cleansing with your hands. One study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that wearing cosmetics and longwearing products require a deeper cleansing for your skin, and it may be “difficult to remove makeup, particularly in facial folds, wrinkles, facial pores, and acne scars.” The study also proved that “sonic cleansing brush is significantly more effective in removing makeup than manual cleansing.”[2]

If you've read our most dangerous summer skin myths then you know how risky it is to skip sunscreen when staying outdoors on a long summer day. But have you ever wondered why you get more breakouts in the summer? It could be because the sunscreen you applied haven’t been properly removed. We know, it is really difficult to fully wash off waterproof ones. It is well studied that inefficient removal of sunscreen at the end of the day may lead to skin problems such as clogged pores and breakouts.[3] Well, fret no more. Reading our guide on "How to get rid of acne" and using a face cleansing brush can help! A clinical evaluation published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology tested how well a face cleansing brush can remove sunscreen. They found that “cleansing removed significantly more sunscreen (chemical, combination of physical and chemical, and chemical with 80 minutes’ water resistance) from the skin than manual cleansing for all studies.”[4]

Another study that demonstrates the efficiency of using a sonic is a split-face evaluation of a facial regimen alone as compared to a facial regimen used with a sonic cleansing brush. The study found that “the sides of the face cleansed with the sonic brush outperformed the sides of the face cleansed manually in brightness/radiance/luminosity, skin tone evenness, skin texture smoothness, overall appearance of hyperpigmentation, skin clarity/fairness and skin transparency.”[5] There you go – a face cleansing brush improves skin brightness, radiance and luminosity! Definitely enough reason to go out the door and purchase one now, but not before you finish reading this article for some important tips.

As you can see, all the studies mentioned above prove that using a face cleansing brush is much better at cleaning the face! It also provides an efficient solution for how to remove makeup and sunscreen. Although it may seem like an unnecessary and time-consuming step in your skin care routine, using a face cleansing brush can actually save you a lot more effort and time in the long run!

How Do You Use a Face Cleansing Brush?

  • Remove makeup before use.
  • Rinse your face with water and apply your cleanser to your face as usual.
  • Wet the brush surface, turn it on and start to move it gently over the entire face in circular motions. Do not press hard on your skin.
  • Focus on the cheeks, the nose, the chin and the forehead for a few seconds each.
  • Avoid the delicate eye area.
  • Once finished, rinse the face with water and pat dry with a clean towel. Follow with your usual skin regime.

Do’s and Don’ts of Using a Face Cleansing Brush


  • For dry and sensitive skin, it is recommended to use 1-2x a week then slowly build up to every other day if your skin can tolerate it. Pick a gentle brush head, preferably ones that are labeled for sensitive skin. Although a face cleansing brush is a great tool, it is not for everyone. Those with rosacea and extra sensitive skin might want to skip using a brush altogether. (Read our complete guide on rosacea and sensitive skin
  • For normal/oily skin once a day or every other day (preferably in the evening).
  • Always clean your brush regularly with soap and water or alcohol as the brush can harbor bacteria and cause breakouts.
  • Change the brush heads according to instructions.
  • Use with a gentle cleanser that is pH-balanced and fragrance-free.
  • Light breakouts may appear as a temporary side effect as the brush causes bacteria to rise to the surface in the form of a pimple. If this happens, reduce the frequency of use. Discontinue use of the brush if the problem persists after two weeks.


  • Avoid overuse of face cleansing brushes as this break the skin’s natural barrier. (This can lead to irritation, redness, increased sensitivity, dryness, and broken capillaries. If one of these signs occur, stop using immediately. Let your skin heal for a few days and try reducing the frequency you use the brush.)
  • Do not share your brush with others.
  • Do not use it in combination with other chemical or physical exfoliants such as scrubs with abrasive particles.
  • Do not use on active acne, pimples and infectious open wounds.

Recommended Best Face Cleansing Brushes

Clarisonic Mia 2 Review

Clarisonic face cleansing brush Mia2

Clarisonic’s Mia first appeared on the market in 2004 and quickly gained cult status for a good reason. Then they came out with the Mia 2, which allows to you to choose between 5 different types of brush heads for a variety of skin types. It even has a brush head specifically for men. The patented T-Timer allows you to customize your skin care needs while still providing all the sonic cleansing benefits and compact, travel friendly design.

Foreo Luna 2 Review

                      picture of foreo luna 2 face cleansing brush

The Luna 2 is a great face cleansing brush choice because it offers 12 different intensities of speed, and you don’t have to worry about buying replacement brush heads. The Luna 2 also has a waterproof charging port, giving you 450 uses between charges. It’s easy to clean and comes in a lightweight, egg-shape.

Clinique Sonic System Review

clinique sonic face cleansing brush

This purifying cleansing brush is more affordable than the Clarisonic and Luna face cleaning brushes, and it offers 6 different brush head options with Sonic movement for deep yet gentle cleansing. While it’s affordable, the brush needs to be replaced every 3 months.



  1. [1] Journal of the Rosacea Research & Development Institute: Volume 1 Number 1, 2010, page 7, author Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D. 
  2. [2] “A novel fluorescent makeup methodology used to measure the cleansing efficacy of a sonic skin care brush.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, February 2007, Volume 56, Issue 2, Supplement 2, Page AB38
  3. [3] “Evaluation of the cleansing efficacy of a sonic skincare brush on sunscreen removal,” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, May 2016Volume 74, Issue 5, Supplement 1, Page AB32
  4. [4] “Evaluation of the cleansing efficacy of a sonic skincare brush on sunscreen removal,” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, May 2016Volume 74, Issue 5, Supplement 1, Page AB32
  5. [5] “Split face, randomized, clinical evaluation of the efficacy of a facial regimen alone vs a facial regimen used with a sonic cleansing brush.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, May 2015, Volume 72, Issue 5, Supplement 1, Page AB26