Let’s talk shop about face cleansing brushes: They first came onto the scene back in 2004 when Clarisonic introduced their sonic cleansing device, Mia. After steadily gaining immense popularity over the next couple of years, the market for them exploded with everyone from drugstores to luxury brands carrying them.
When used correctly, a face cleansing brush can give you a deeper clean and physically exfoliate dead skin cells, which is particularly helpful if you have overly oily or dry skin. “The problem is that people tend to use and care for them improperly, creating more skin problems than solutions,” says Joanne deLeon, senior skin therapist at Heyday L.A.
To get the most from your cleansing brush, deLeon recommends choosing softer bristles and using it once a day if your skin can tolerate it, and no more than two to three times a week if your skin is on the sensitive side. You should also clean and rinse the brush with an antibacterial soap before every use and—this is the most important part—scale back on using any other form of mechanical exfoliation (i.e., a scrub) or chemical exfoliation (i.e., a glycolic acid) to avoid disrupting your skin barrier, which can cause more breakouts and irritation.
Now that we’ve got the basics down, let’s move onto shopping. We’ve culled together 10 face cleansing brushes to cater to every skin type and budget.
You can’t beat the price on this brush, which comes with not one, but seven (!) different attachments to meet all of your cleansing and exfoliating needs. More specifically, there’s three brush heads for your face, a pumice stone for removing calluses from your feet, a rolling massage head, a polishing tip and a sponge for makeup removal. Once you’ve chosen your brush attachment, the mechanics are simple. There are two settings (high and low) to adjust to your skin type and preference. Choose from seven shades from a soft pink to a sea foam green.
Best for Beginners
For two bucks more, you can get a slightly more streamlined option and a handy travel case that snaps shut for easy storage and travel. This kit comes with four attachments: soft for daily, gentle cleansing, exfoliating for deeper cleansing, silicone for sensitive skin and pumice for removing calluses. Easily powered by two AA batteries and with only two settings to toggle between, it’s a solid choice for your first foray into cleansing brushes.
Best for Travel
Tiny but mighty, this pocket-sized brush massages your face while removing any dirt, oil, residual makeup and dead skin cells in a minute flat. Padded with silicone nubs that are gentler than their bristly counterparts, they’re also a better option for people with sensitive skin. To use, wet your face, apply cleanser and move the device over your skin using circular motions. (Chrissy Teigen and John Legend are reportedly fans of the brand.)
With over 3,000 reviews and counting, this egg-shaped device is a clear favorite on Amazon. The Liberex wins major points for its ergonomic handle, which fits comfortably in your hand, and its free-standing design, so you can easily prop it up on your bathroom counter whenever it’s not in use. On that note, it also comes with a wireless charging dock that loads a full charge within 1.5 hours and a self-timer that beeps every 20 seconds to remind you to move onto the next part of your face. As one fan shared, “it’s cute, compact and very functional.”
Best for Normal Skin
Another top seller on Amazon with over 2,700 glowing reviews, the Caytraill looks like a handheld fan, but is actually a handheld cleansing brush. Made with food-grade silicone, the bristles are intermixed with small rotating magnetic beads that massage your face while gently cleansing. The result? Refreshed and noticeably softer skin. The brush also comes with a charging dock and an instructional e-book that walks you through all of its functions.
Best for Sensitive Skin
Fact: Silicone bristles have rounded tips that are less likely to scratch or irritate sensitive skin. (They also have the added bonus of being easy to clean and don’t need to be replaced as often.) Though electric brushes certainly have their advantages, a manual scrubber like this one can lets you adjust the cleansing pressure to your needs, so you never have to worry about overdoing it. As one Amazon reviewer shared, “I have such sensitive skin that most exfoliants I’ve tried really irritate my skin and can end up triggering eczema or psoriasis flares. This is a gentle enough way to exfoliate that it gets the job done for me without irritation.”
Best for Oily Skin
For those with oily skin, you may be tempted to scrub your face until its squeaky clean. However, doing so can cause inflammation and an overproduction of oil to compensate, which puts you back at square one. Enter the Proactiv Soft Cushion Gel Brush, which features a textured silicone head that rotates on two speeds to get you a deeper, but no less gentle, clean than if you were to use your fingertips so you get the best of both worlds.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin
Each brush head features antimicrobial protection that guards against bacteria so your bristles stay fresher longer. With 20,000 bristles packed in and powered by sonic technology, the brush swiftly sweeps away any impurities from your skin and pores. The device features three speed settings and an automatic timer that beeps every 20 seconds to signal that it’s time to move onto the next area of your face. Plus, the cordless and waterproof body make it a great shower companion. Bonus: It also comes with a sonic infuser head, which you can use to apply serums and creams onto your skin post-cleanse.
Best for Makeup Removal
Sure, this lo-fi brush doesn’t have the bells and whistles that some of the others on the list do, but that’s part of its charm. The stout handle holds a generous amount of ultra-soft nylon bristles that are densely packed in a wavy pattern to better reach into pores. To use, apply cleanser to your face and neck, dip the brush in warm water and sweep it over your skin using short upward strokes. The bristles help to create an abundant lather, which aids in dissolving makeup. Plus, it feels really nice.
If you’re looking to upgrade your daily cleanse into a mini spa experience, this is your brush. It’s the first cleansing tool to use 3D sonic ion technology, which operates under three modes (soft, clean and deep) to thoroughly remove any dirt or excess oils from your skin without stripping it dry. With a sleek ergonomic handle and ultra-fine bristles that conform to the uneven surface and planes of your face, it leaves your skin feeling clean and soothed. One Dermstore user even likened it to having a facialist come to your house.