Okay, a facial cleansing brush may not necessarily fall into the category of a skincare “necessity,” but for those looking to up their face washing game, it can be an invaluable asset. Along with helping to more effectively remove dirt, oil, and makeup than your hands alone, they offer the added benefit of exfoliation, too. “Facial cleansing brushes act as mechanical exfoliators to help remove dead skin, while also increasing blood flow to leave skin glowing,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sheila Farhang, founder of Avant Dermatology & Aesthetics.
You can find best facial cleansing brushes at various beauty retailers like Sephora, Ulta and Dermstore. They’re also found at Shopping reader-favorite stores, including Walmart, Amazon and Target.
Top 10 best facial cleansing brushes of 2021
Read on for the best facial cleansing brushes worth adding to your skincare routine.
1. Facial Cleansing Brush by Olay Regenerist
Olay’s cleansing brush has two speeds, so you can choose a deep cleanse or opt for a gentle exfoliation at a faster speed. “I was skeptical about adding this brush into my routine as areas of my face are more sensitive than others, but I am beyond ecstatic I bought it,” says one reviewer. “My skin looks revived! There’s a natural glow and my skin is so soft.” In Lab tests on a similar model in 2015, testers loved how light and easy to use the brush was. “It was gentle on my skin but effective at the same time,” one tester said.
2. Proactiv 360 Degree Deep Cleansing Brush
Proactiv, a skin care brand known for its three-step system to fight acne, developed this cleansing brush to help you get softer and more radiant skin. The cordless brush comes with two brush head attachments that move in a 360-degree rotation to exfoliate the skin gently and help make your pores look smaller. Proactiv recommends using the product once a day. However, if your skin is prone to drying out, then you can minimize use to once or twice a week.
3. Vanity Planet Ultimate Skin Spa System
This is another one of Dr. Hogan’s favorite options. “The Ultimate Skin Spa Facial cleansing brush from Vanity Planet contains three interchangeable brush heads that are customizable for different skin types, from acne-prone to sensitive,” says Dr. Hogan. “The speed settings allow the user to cleanse with control and to avoid overdoing it. Plus, it comes in a cute and portable case.”
4. Shiseido Essentials: Cleansing Massage Brush
Another manual option, people love how silky-soft the bristles on Shiseido’s brush are. These bristles are designed to give you a face massage while remaining as gentle as possible. “This brush cleanses, exfoliates, and massages my face in one step,” says one reviewer. “I look forward to cleansing my face with it. I have suffered fewer breakouts and my face is much smoother.”
5. PMD Clean Smart Facial Cleansing Device
One of Dr. Sheila’s picks (she likes the hypoallergenic silicone bristles), she points out that the sonic vibrations not only help cleanse but also increase blood flow for an anti-aging effect. And to that point, the dual-sided tool also has a massager end that can be used to help maximize the penetration (read: efficacy) of any lotions or serums you apply afterward.
6. Proactiv Charcoal Pore Cleansing Brush
As is the case with sensitive skin, you do want to be cautious when using a cleansing brush on acneic skin; over-zealous exfoliation can only make matters worse. But this pick is a good option if you’re prone to breakouts, given that it’s effective yet gentle, and has bristles infused with charcoal to help up the detoxifying effect. FYI, per Dr. Sheila’s advice, it’s best to use any kind of cleansing brush with a plain and gentle cleanser. If a medicated acne wash is part of your routine, save it for days when you’re not using the brush.
7. ProX by Olay Advanced Facial Cleansing Brush System
A product that delivers bang for your back. The Olay brush provides a deep clean and exfoliation that’s perfect on all skin types. Amazon readers compare the brush to the one from Clarisonic and see similar results after continual use. The Olay product is quite small and only comes with two settings: high and low. It’s definitely a cheaper version of more expensive brushes, but it’s a good entry-level device at a totally approachable price. The brush doesn’t use sonic vibrations, but a two-speed rotating system to cleanse the skin.
8. True Glow By Conair Skinpod Silicone Facial Cleansing Brush
This compact brush is perfect for deep yet gentle cleansing in harder-to-reach areas (think: on and around your nose). Even better, it’s got two speeds (I suggest starting slow and working your way up) and it leaves your skin feeling noticeably softer and smoother.
Three brush zones for different skin types: 1.) rebalance oily skin 2.) Re energizing normal skin 3.) refine dry and sensitive skin
9. Elf Cosmetics Cleansing Duo Face Brush
If you’re worried a facial cleansing brush may be too intense for your sensitive skin, you gotta try out this one from Elf. The bristles are ridiculously soft and clean out your pores without freaking out your skin. Plus, there are silicone bristles on the back of the brush, in case you need an even gentler cleansing tool.
“This has become a MUST in my skin care routine, I started breaking out so bad on my forehead with several little hard bumps and once i started adding this little guy to my routine every morning and night my skin has looked sooooo much better. It’s definitely great if you are on a budget” – Amanda.
10. Conair True Glow Facial Brush
Conair is more known for its array of hot tools rather than skin care gadgets. However, this facial cleansing brush may be worth testing out, especially given that it is the most affordable model on our list. The AAA battery-powered device is equipped with three brush heads — cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing — and has two speed settings: high and low.
How to look for in a Facial Cleansing Brush
Typically made of either nylon or silicone, there are pros and cons to each. Nylon ones are generally more exfoliating, though silicone tends to be gentler on the skin as well as more hygienic and easier to clean.
Vibrating vs. oscillating:
Some brushes simply spin, while others deliver sonic vibrations. There’s nothing wrong with either, though the sonic vibrations will typically offer more, good-for-your-skin benefits.
Ideally, you want at least two (though many brushes offer many more) so that you can best customize the intensity of the brush for your skin type and needs.
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 transfer 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.