Elizabeth Best is a journalist, beauty expert, foodie and travel lover with a mild obsession for all things shimmery. She likes long walks down the makeup aisle and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @thebeautypalate.
My first thought when seeing someone use the NuFACE, a microcurrent device for your skin and face, was “What on earth is that thing?” I’d been watching Miranda Kerr’s wedding makeup and skincare routine (because that girl has skin to die for), when I saw her pick up a strange looking device with two metal spheres on the end and use it in upward sweeping motions on her jawline, cheeks and under her brow bone. “Could that be the secret to her ageless visage?” I thought to myself. I mean, it’s probably mostly amazing genes but I am up for anything that could help the process along.
After a bit of research, I discovered it was a NuFACE Trinity, one of a handful of at-home microcurrent devices touted as a sort of “gym work out” for your face. These devices are said to use a low-level electric current to get your face muscles working to lift and smooth skin, as well as to contour the face overall, no makeup required.
Similar therapies have been used in medical settings to help restore facial features in people with Bell's Palsy and other muscular issues. But the treatment has made the leap into the trendy skincare arena and is said to work like a non-surgical facelift and intensive facial in one.
Another way in which the microcurrent is reported to work is in stimulating Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) which is a source of energy for optimum cell function; increase the circulation of blood for a radiant glow; and increase collagen production too, to about 10% to 15% higher than normal. Well, sign me up!
As I soon discovered, the device did not come cheap (from $292 at Mecca Cosmetica). But then again neither do facials, face lifts or surgical intervention later in life (not to mention better skin meant less makeup), so I thought I’d give it a whirl. After all, I could do this while watching Netflix so lazy-girl skincare WIN.
I opted for the NuFACE Mini, which is a moderately cheaper version using the same tech as the normal size but lacking some features (such as a removable head for attachments that target other areas and skin concerns).
I probably should read instructions before I do things, but because I am all about Lazy Girl Beauty™ I don’t at first. There’s gel, there’s my face, there’s the device, how hard can it be? Then I realise I am about to put electricity on my face and rethink this truly dumb strategy.
And since my brain clearly can’t cope with diagrams and steps (IKEA flashbacks) I opt for the video instructions. A very glam woman appears and goes through the first step, Prep, which involves her cleansing her face with an oil-free cleanser. She then applies the NuFACE Gel Primer in a thin, mask-like layer to one treatment area at a time (so, if you’re about to do your neck, only apply the gel to your neck, not your whole face). Then, with a medium pressure (we are told) she glides the device over her face and neck in an upward motion. I made a handy video for you because damn, without a video I’d have been like “huh?”.
So I do as I am told, apply the gel on my neck and start to glide the device from the centre of my neck, diagonally upwards and outwards. And… nothing. I can’t actually feel anything at all. This IS microcurrent electricity after all, surely I should feel something? I continue, doing the other side, then moving onto my jawline. I still feel absolutely nothing and since the Trinity makes no noise or movements other than the beep to tell you to move to the next spot, I wonder if somehow I have stuffed it up in classic Liz fashion.
I begrudgingly pick up the written instructions again and head to the FAQ section. “Help! I can’t feel anything! Is this normal?” says the question (or something similar anyway). Turns out it’s normal not to feel anything, or not very much but if you really want to test if it’s working, hold the device to a part of your skin without the gel primer for a bit
“Ok,” I thought. “Doing that… but how will if I know if it’s… CRAP!” Yep, that was me feeling the stingy zap of microcurrent on my unprimed face. Welp, at least I know it’s working!
I repeat the process all the way up my face, from jaw to cheeks to brow bone. At the end of the treatment, I don’t really notice a whole lot of difference BUT the instructions say to do this five times a week for the first 60 days, dropping off to one or two times a week after that to maintain results. They say you should pat the excess primer into your skin for extra skincare boosting goodness, so I do just that.
So does the NuFACE Trinity work?
After a month trying the device and using it the recommended five times a week (yes even when I was way too tired even function to ensure accurate results) I definitely noticed changes. They were subtle, probably not noticeable to friends but very apparent to the person who stares at herself in the mirror daily… moi. So here’s the rundown on what I noticed: what I call my jowl-y area around and under my jawbone felt and looked a little tighter; the corners of my usually sleepy-looking hooded eyes appeared every so slightly lifted at the outward corners; and a wrinkle that had been threatening to expand between my brows that I furrow WAY too much seemed to have retreated. In general, my skin tone was more even and somehow looked more vibrant, although I could not pinpoint how or why. I kind of love it. And look, it takes just FIVE MINUTES to do the whole routine! Most sheet masks take longer than that.
Also, after the first month I had a friend ask me if I was doing anything different because I was looking “more alive than usual” (aw thanks, you shouldn’t have!) and someone else ask what foundation I was wearing (only concealer and sunscreen, biatches!). So those are both plusses. All in all I am loving my mini-microcurrent at-home facial, and can’t wait to see what the results are after the 60 days.