Is this $200 app-connected skincare device really worth it?

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No, we haven’t quite reached the stage of robot-owned and operated spas, but we’re close. The Foreo Luna 3 – for men, specifically, which clearly means it’s black instead of pink, but they also have one for sensitive skin – proves it. Its vibrating core shakes silicone bristles or raised silicone ridges on the surface of your skin as you move it in slow circular motions. The pulsating massage that comes from this dual-sided device helps you cleanse, massage and tone your skin. It’s your own pocket facial treatment at home. Excessive? Perhaps, given both its price – $200, which is high but certainly not extreme – and the fact that you have to open an app and connect it via Bluetooth to use it. To be fair, though, two trips to the spa down the street will cost you more, and the Foreo Luna 3 can perform 650 sessions on a single charge.

The front side is used to clean…

Foreo

before
…and the back massages and sculpts.

Foreo

Ask any dermatologist which part of your skincare routine should be done first and most often, and they’ll tell you cleansing – a simple face wash. The 2-5 minute routine will slough off dead skin cells, unclog your pores, and leave the skin’s surface clear and receptive to whatever products you put on next. The same can be said of massaging your skin. (Our time with SolaWave’s Blue Light Massage Wand taught us this.) Doing either in excess, however, to the point of damaging your skin’s surface, is easier to do than you don’t think so.

“You’re going to do it twice a day, morning and night,” says Dr. Jeremy Fenton, medical director of the Schweiger Dermatology Group in Midtown Manhattan, of washing the face. “I usually recommend some kind of gentle skin cleanser. You don’t want something that will strip oils or be too harsh…Too many people think they have to get all the oil out of their skin in order to If you take all the oil out of your skin, you’re going to create an imbalance and end up doing more harm than good.”

.Dr. Fenton mostly talks about the damage an overly intense cleanser could do—something filled with ingredients that you really should or shouldn’t be meant for use on your face (i.e. body wash). But you can also be too hard on your skin, whether by scrubbing too hard with your crusty, dirty towel, massaging too intensely (you’re more likely to get bruises here), or incorporating an exfoliator for too long. Soft-bristled brushes — even loofas — designed to remove dirt from the skin’s surface can inflict the same damage if used incorrectly or for too long.

Cleansing your face should be easy. Foreo promises to make the process even easier…I think.

It’s what made me a purist, someone who eschews gadgets and tools (at least when it comes to cleansing) and washes my face with clean hands and a dot of facial cleanser from the size of a coin. I’m understandably skeptical of any device (like the Foreo Luna 3) that promises to remove “99.5% of dirt, oil and makeup residue” or “dramatically reduce wrinkles and wrinkles”. A small helping of physical exfoliant and a pair of clean hands does wonders for my skin. If I’m tense, a few squeezes on my temples will loosen things up. Why should I pay for a device that does things I already think I can do? I will be damned if a robot takes my job.

But, in the name of product journalism, I obviously gave the Luna 3 a try. I was glad I did – at first. Then a malaise set in. Is it really worth the money? This sentiment is known to spoil a lot of otherwise objectively good things: i.e. sneakers and posh, old-fashioned restaurants. But to really understand the Foreo Luna 3 is to spend more than a few mornings with it. The app you need to download to use it feels like an iOS update: long, complex, and about something you really want to do but don’t think much about. Cleansing your face should be easy. Foreo strives to make the process even easier…I think.

before
In the app you create your own cleaning routine. It’s like luxury cars that can move your seat to your preferred position with the press of a button.

Foreo

When you open the app, you’re greeted by a pairing page where you scan the serial number on the bottom of your device to register it. Once registered, the device appears in the top ticker of the app. Tap its icon to open an eight-item menu where you can manage device registration, watch how-to videos, read how to care for the device, locate it if you’ve lost it somehow. another, download additional treatments (like a forehead or neck massage), set the duration and vibration levels (from 1 second to 1 minute per zone and 1-16 intensity, respectively) of your standard treatment and, of course , start a cleanse or massage.

Level 2 has the power of a video game controller reacting to something on screen, while Level 16 is pretty intense. It’s not an intense massage gun, but that’s a bit of a thought here. A full minute on the 16 can give you a little dizziness, a little euphoria, and a little imbalance. My favorite program only lasted 75 seconds in total: 25 seconds on the forehead and chin (at level 13) and 15 seconds on both cheeks (at level 10). I’m someone who really enjoys exfoliation, so while I wasn’t nervous about the silicone bristles hurting me, I didn’t mind the constant buzzing that the avocado-sized device delivered at full speed to my brain.

I will admit it though. I felt cleaner than I had in weeks. (FYI, I wasn’t dirty, OK?) The device, at least to the touch, made my skin softer, smoother, and to the naked eye, maybe even a little more luminous. The “Nothing But Neck” treatment, which lasts 2.1 minutes, made me loosen my jaw a little. Has it changed my life as much as the 10 minute facial massage I received at a nail salon in New York? No, but the benefits are greater for the skin on your face than for the muscles underneath.

before moon 3
First, you apply the cleanser to a damp face. Then you go over the applied product in circular motions.

Foreo

The pulsations promote blood circulation, which increases oxygen levels and brightens your complexion. The bristles obviously do a better job of cleaning out the pores so they can better absorb the lotions and serums you apply after using it. Clear pores also mean less acne. But I’m one of the lucky few who doesn’t suffer from acne at all, if ever, so I guess what I was already doing was working fine for me.

While other reviewers touted the Luna 3 as the “ultimate skincare tool” or “revolutionary,” I felt less dazzled by this one. Is something I would totally recommend to someone who struggles to keep their face clean and could probably afford it? Definitively. It is a traditional brush imbued with many technologies. Plus, the head never needs to be replaced and it inhibits the growth of bacteria.

If you are that person, then buy. Please. But if you’re just beginning your skincare journey, this isn’t the right place to start. It’s a useful tool, yes, but no shortcut. To use it, you need to know a lot about your skin, own a smartphone, and apply the facial cleanser. If you made it this far, you might as well lather it by hand and save the money you would have spent on the Luna 3 on better products.

Still curious? Go ahead, have fun

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