Washing your face twice a day can be a drag, especially if you have to remove makeup or any residue from sunscreen. Facial cleansing brushes were developed to help wash your face, exfoliate to reveal softer skin and help minimize the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles.

SKIP AHEAD: Facial cleansing brushes best seller at Walmart, Amazon in 2021 (Dermatologists Recommend)

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The best facial cleansing brush

Are cleansing brushes good for your face?

Here's the thing about facial cleansing brushes: Even though they're loved for their ability to deeply clean and gently exfoliate, they're unfortunately too harsh for folks with acne, eczema, rosacea, or sensitive skin, says dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor at Yale University. That doesn't mean they're completely off the table though. If you have relatively "normal" skin and you follow the directions to a T, facial cleansing brushes can be a nice addition to your routine (especially if you opt for a model with all the bells and whistles, like facial massaging and various exfoliating modes).

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Facial cleansing brush 5 in 1

One thing to keep in mind? Dermatologist Gary Goldenberg, MD, says you'll want to wash your brush every time you use it—no exceptions. "A lot of times these types of brushes can harbor bacteria and even exacerbate acne," he says. And before giving any brush a try, it's always a good idea to chat with your dermatologist and/or do a patch test to make sure it's safe for your skin type and appropriate for your skin concerns.

Do facial cleansing brushes make a difference?

The pulsations are what breaks up the dirt, dead skin cells and makeup on the surface of your skin; the rotations are what sweeps them away to leave your face clean and soft. ... The main thing to remember is that the brush is 10 times more effective at cleansing, compared to just washing your face with your hands.

Ava Shamban, a board-certified dermatologist, and founder of Ava MD said touchless skin gadgets are beneficial. “Touchless options are a great tool to help keep bacteria transferred from fingers to face, potentially spreading Covid-19 or other conditions that can affect either our health or skin,” she said. “However, these home devices are only as good as the care taken by the operator using them.” While facial cleansing brushes may save you time from washing your face, it is important to make sure you take care of the device. This includes washing the brush after each use to help prevent bacteria from forming and extending the life of the device.

You can also find facial cleansing brushes at various beauty retailers like Walmart, Amazon.

How do I choose a face cleansing brush?

Face cleansing brushes are more benefits and effective in removing layers of skin care and makeup, along with sweat, dead skin cells and other debris. Some brushes mildly exfoliate using movement and friction to lift what is sitting on the surface of the stratum corneum, which is the outer layer of the skin. She suggests looking for the following features when shopping for a brush:

  • Aerodynamic shape and weight that feels good in your hand
  • Easy to use (and clean) design
  • Preferably, silicone bristles, which are non-porous, as opposed to nylon bristles
  • Multiple settings or areas for different types of skin and skin needs

It’s important to find a face cleansing brush that won’t cause unnecessary damage, especially if you have sensitive skin. Adam Mamelak, MD, an Austin-based dermatologist, said there are side effects and myths about using facial brushes, but the key is knowing your skin. “Sensitive skin types and those with rosacea have to be careful with brushes and exfoliating as they can lead to increased irritation,” he said. Mamelak’s biggest tip is to use your face cleansing brush of choice no more than once or twice a week “to make sure your skin tolerates it well.” Another pro tip? Find a face brush and face cleanser which plays nicely with your skin type. He also advises you use a different brush head for your body than your face, because body brushes tend to be harsher.

Is a silicone face brush better?

Unlike nylon bristles, silicone bristles are non-porous, meaning they are resistant to bacterial buildup and a whopping 35 times more hygienic than standard nylon brushes. When it comes to cleansing your skin, there's really no comparison when it comes to which material is the safest and cleanest option.

Overall, if you’re interested in having a better exfoliation at home, then a face cleansing brush could be right for you. To help guide you through your shopping process, we’ve rounded up nine of the best facial cleansing brushes of 2021.

FOREO Luna 3 Cleansing Brush Facial for Combination Skin

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FOREO Luna 3

Brush Material: Silicone | Skin Type: Combination | Features: Bluetooth capabilities, waterproof

The latest launch from the brand known for their facial cleansing tools and a favorite of Dr. Sheila’s, this is worth every penny. The silicone “bristles” are even softer than on any of the other models and it offers an even deeper clean thanks to 8,000 sonic pulses per minute that lift and sweep away dirt and oil. The device, which helps to smooth and lift thanks to its targeting firming facial massage, touts 16 different intensity settings to choose from, so you can easily find a perfectly customized level for your particular skin type.

Also nice: You get 650 uses from just one single charge.

Read more: Foreo luna 3 Reviews

PMD Clean Pro Anti-Aging Benefits Device

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PMD Clean Pro

PMD Clean Pro is a smart cleansing brush that uses a technology called SonicGlow to clear the skin of dirt and impurities while lifting and toning the skin with its 7,000 vibrations per minute. The other side of the device is a proprietary ActiveWarmth heat therapy massager with anti-aging benefits and feels soothing on the skin, like a heated towel pressed against your face. PMD says the odor-resistant, antibacterial silicone brush comes with four modes and can be used on all skin types.

PMD Clean Pro facial cleansing brushes are available in four colors: Navy with Gold, Teal with Brushed Aluminum, Berry and White. They also have a dedicated line of skin gadgets specifically for teens and men, so you can help your loved ones establish their skin care routine in-between virtual school and working remotely.

Read more: PMD reviews

FOREO Luna 2 Facial Spa Massager Facial Cleansing Brush

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FOREO Luna 2

Shamban recommends Foreo Luna 2 because of its softer silicone bristles which she says are antimicrobial and antibacterial yet non-abrasive to skin. Foreo says the two-sided brush gently exfoliates on one side which removes 99.5 percent of dirt and oil, resulting in softer, smoother skin. The other half uses gentle vibrations to massage the skin and leave behind anti-aging effects. Plus, the travel-friendly facial cleansing device comes in four pretty pastel colors that correlate to your skin type (combination, sensitive, oily and normal).

ageLOC LumiSpa

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ageLOC LumiSpa

Nu Skin ageLOC LumiSpa is a rechargeable and waterproof device that comes with two different silicone heads – “normal” and firm. The interchangeable heads of this dual-action skincare device function with either the intention of cleansing or exfoliating. Each cleansing session lasts two minutes, pausing momentarily after 30 seconds to prompt you to move to a different area of the face. If you apply too much pressure or generally are a little rough, the device would pause to indicate so. With its soft silicone bristles, the device does a great job of deeply cleansing the skin without stripping over the natural oils. For those with tinted sunblock or light makeup on, the makeup removal step can be skipped as the device is enough to cleanse the grimy layer away. The other half uses gentle vibrations to massage the skin and leave behind anti-aging effects

Plus, the travel-friendly facial cleansing device comes in four pretty pastel colors that correlate to your skin type (sensitive skin, oily skin, dry skin, blemish prone skin and normal/combination skin).

Reviews have claimed that skin is a lot softer and brighter after using the device. Read more: lumispa review

Best Antimicrobial: Michael Todd Soniclear Elite Cleansing System

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Michael Todd Soniclear Elite Cleansing System

Brush Material: Soft bristles | Skin Type: All skin types | Features: 6 speed settings, waterproof

Yes, if you don’t take good care of and properly clean your facial cleansing brush it can end up being a bacteria breeding ground, definitely not a good thing for your skin. That’s why we appreciate that the bristles on this option are antimicrobial, reducing bacterial growth by 99%. (Though, of course, that’s not an excuse to never clean it.) Also nice: The tool is available in a number of pretty floral prints, and the kit comes with a brush head for your body and a massaging head, too.

Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

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Clinique Sonic

Light and compact, the Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush fits comfortably in hand and touts a head of soft bristles, shaped in an ergonomic oval shape that contours to the face. The brush also comes with a green pointed tip with shorter and firmer bristles for effectively removing grime around the nose area, whereas the white area is softer for those with sensitive cheeks. While charging is conveniently via a USB port, the device annoyingly stops vibrating at the 30-second mark to signal one area of cleansing is completed, urging you to move on to the next which you cleanse within the same time limit.

Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift 2-in-1 Cleansing & Micro-Firming Massage Device

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Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift

Clarisonic has combined both a face massager and a face cleanser in one with its 2-in-1 Cleansing and Micro-Firming Massage Device. After cleansing your face with its array of brush heads, featuring ultra-soft, tapered filaments, the device can be switched out for the massage head that emits 27,000 micro-lifting vibrations. The massages are said to help lift skin.

Read more: Clarisonic reviews

ReFa Clear Cleansing Brush

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Refa clear cleansing brush

When your fingers don’t work like they used to before, you can rely on the new revolutionary face washing device ReFa CLEAR to give the face a thorough cleanse. The device uses elliptical sonic vibrations via its Kumanofude bristles to gently cleanse the skin, plus a 3D Sonic Ion Technology to deep-cleanse pores.  The elegant and stylish design of the device also makes your facial routine a luxurious R&R session.

Cleansing Brush Facial F&Q

How do you use a facial cleansing brush?

Dr. Sheila suggests making it a part of your shower routine, so that skin is already soft and wet when using one (this to help minimize irritation). Pair it with a gentle cleanser, and use it only a few times per week, rather than daily, especially if your skin is on the sensitive side.

Are facial cleansing brushes good for your skin?

They definitely have their benefits—only more effective cleansing and exfoliation. That being said, you can easily overdo it. Being overzealous with your cleansing brush or using it too often can potentially disrupt the skin barrier and cause redness and irritation. 

What products do you use with a cleansing brush?

Let the brush be the star of the show. Keep your cleanser simple and gentle; using formulas that contain chemical exfoliants such as AHAs or BHAs can up the likelihood of irritation, notes Dr. Sheila. She also adds that you shouldn’t use a scrub with a cleansing brush.

What do you use with a facial cleansing brush?

Once your skin is makeup free, apply a high quality cleanser to your face. Wet the facial brush and massage cleanser into skin with small circular motions using gentle pressure then rinse with warm water. Use a manual face brush 1-3 times a week.