Style file: Home is where the spa is - facial toning, face cleaning and laser hair removal

The bizarre beauty devices of old have been relegated to the recycling bin. Explore the world of modern-day DIY pampering, says Emma Akbareian

There are plenty of things we thought we did well the old-fashioned way, such as navigating with a map or communicating with one another, albeit hashtag-free. But in today’s tech age, it seems that not even our make-up bags are immune to modernisation. The evolution of technology is leading to advances not just in the formulation of products, but in the very “foundations” of the beauty industry.

Foremost among these is the advent of the home beauty treatment. Many procedures previously restricted to the confines of doctors’ surgeries and beauty salons are now available to DIY. Take hair removal: depilatory creams, home waxing and terrifying handheld epilators have been around for years but now you can zap your follicles efficiently and electronically with your feet up in front of the TV, thanks to Philips, Lumea and Tria. Home teeth whitening used to be a basic affair but Rapid White’s Blue Light Kit – using chlorine dioxide activated with light – has stepped things up.

From gel nail manicures to microdermabrasion, the list of DIY options is now extensive almost to the point of being exhaustive. “The at-home beauty device category is experiencing unprecedented growth,” Nicky Kinnaird, founder of the premium beauty chain Space NK, says. “The most successful realms to date are anti-ageing, anti-acne, hair removal, hair growth and cleansing.”

The latter, facial cleansing, is a category of beauty appliances that has taken the industry by surprise, both in popularity and effect. Calling on the help of a specialist for permanent hair removal or acne treatments is understandable; needing assistance with washing your face, less so past the age of five. Think again.

The Seattle-based company Clarisonic led the way with facial-cleansing devices based on oscillating brushes. The minds behind the brand invented the technology that powers Sonicare electric toothbrushes – selling this to Philips. The same technology is now used to cleanse your dermis rather than your dentures.

Sounds niche? Not so. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the company has reached a staggering level of success. Clarisonic is currently the fourth-biggest skincare company in the United States, with only Clinique, Estée Lauder and Lancôme beating it in retail sales – a feat all the more remarkable when you consider that a Clarisonic device is priced at four or five times that of a luxury lipstick and the brand doesn’t advertise.

Electronic cleansing brushes aren’t a new invention but the technology has evolved considerably since they first came into fashion in the Sixties. With Clarisonic, oscillation is the buzz word; it describes the movement of the brush back and forth, 300 times per second; this, in combination with sonic technology, allows a cleanse that clinical trials have proven is six times more effective than using your hands.

The appeal of Clarisonic-clean skin is cultish: once you’re in, you’re in for life. The benefits of the device are by no means miraculous, nor do its makers claim they will be. There are no claims that your wrinkles will magically disappear, or that you’ll never get another spot, but what it does promise is simple yet fundamental: cleaner skin and pores.

Efficacy is at the heart of the brand’s success: “All that growth, double and triple digit, occurred because girlfriend told another girlfriend, a mum told a daughter, a sister told a sister and that made it spread,” Dr Robb Akridge, one of the founders of Clarisonic, says. A comparison can be drawn with another electronic beauty device. The UK-based hair-straightening company GHD started as a small start-up, only selling in salons, but, as word spread among devoted fans, the company’s sales rose to more than £150m.

Although a home device now, Clarisonic started its retail life in dermatologists’ offices and spas, which has helped raise brand awareness. Dr Robin O’Reilly, who is a skin specialist at nationwide medi-spa Destination Skin, where the Clarisonic Pro is a key tool, says: “We use it across our aesthetic clinics to cleanse and prep the skin pre-treatment.” As Clarisonic-cleansed skin also absorbs subsequent products faster and more effectively, she says that “it maximises the results you get – we also recommend it to our clients to use daily”.

The rapidly changing nature of the beauty industry makes it almost impossible to predict what’s next: an “at home” liposuction kit is a scary, yet not entirely unrealistic, thought in a beauty industry where fillers and Botox are procedures administered in salons, rather than surgeries, and completed during lunch breaks. But for now, Clarisonic is looking to keep cleaning up by helping us keep clean.

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
Dominique Alderweireld, also known as Dodo de Saumure, is the owner of a string of brothels in Belgium
newsPhilip Sweeney gets the inside track on France's trial of the year
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge, Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 pictured in 2011.
musicBassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker say Tom Delonge is 'disrespectful and ungrateful'
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'
tvBroadchurch series 2, episode 4, review - contains spoilers
Sport
cyclingDisgraced cycling star says people will soon forgive his actions
News
Britain's Prince Philip attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran will play three sell-out gigs at Wembley Stadium in July
music
News
i100
News
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
people
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: International Customer Service Administrators

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an awa...

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

    £38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

    Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

    £35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

    Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

    £15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

    Day In a Page

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea