As the tech and beauty worlds continue to innovate, the increasing hype surrounding at-home skin care tools and devices has soared. Previously considered ineffective and costly gimmicks, at-home devices have matured over the years — with powerful gadgets and treatments like LED lights and microcurrent tools that were once reserved for doctors now available to the masses. Yet, don’t expect skincare magic with these; at-home tools still won’t provide the same results as an in-office procedure, but the benefits are undeniable.
“At-home skincare tools are an excellent way to maintain your skin’s health and appearance and target specific concerns,” says New York City dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, who adds that regularly incorporating tools into your routine will “help prevent signs of aging and boost your skin’s health” both in the short and long term.
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And according to Los Angeles-based cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Simon Ourian, these skin care tools are about to get even more sophisticated in the new few years.
What to look for in the best skin care tools
As with most skin care categories, however, he notes that “there’s still a lot of stuff that doesn’t work or can be a waste of time.” As such, he always suggests consulting with a dermatologist or aesthetician and doing your own research before buying.
With a vast number of tools, devices and gadgets available — many with price tags in the hundred-plus range — missteps can be costly. Not to mention, using the wrong product for your skin concern or wielding a tool incorrectly can do a doozy on your skin — which may take some time and TLC to reverse.
“The treatments you’re doing at home are non-invasive and should focus on a holistic skin-care approach, as opposed to at-home tools that do aggressive exfoliation,” advises SkinLab’s celebrity aesthetician Joshua Ross, who recommends mixing both high and low-tech skin care tools into your routine.
“Think of low tech, such as facial rollers and gua sha massage tools, as your ‘diet and exercise,’ while high tech, like LED and microcurrent devices, as your ‘supplements, steam rooms or massage.’ One is the basic essential and the other is to amplify and enhance results.”
How often should you use at-home skin care tools?
A targeted approach and consistent use can also help extend and maintain professional services, but as with everything else, home devices only work if you actually use them.
“I find that many make the purchase, but don’t invest the time into actually using them as directed,” says Engelman.
If you’re down to make the price and time commitment, it will definitely pay dividends in the long run.
“I’ve always been taught that about 70% of positive results come from the client’s at-home regimen,” says Gigi Hadid’s aesthetician Kristyn Smith. “The pandemic and the reduced access to skincare professionals gave us a unique opportunity to see and realize just how much these advanced at-home options really do for our skin.”
So, if you’re thinking of elevating your at-home skin care routine, follow our guide to the best skin care tools and devices beloved by celebrity dermatologists and aestheticians. Keep scrolling to shop them.
Manual Devices + Skin Care Tools
If you truly have nothing else, “you can use the other end of a knife or spoon, as long as you have oil or something to slide on, as an anti-inflammatory treatment,” says celebrity facialist Joanna Czech. Meanwhile, “ice cubes are a great moment for the morning, but can be used day and night for any form of inflammation, which is swelling, redness, breakouts and fragility of capillaries.”
She adds that your nighttime routine is particularly important for skincare because skin absorption will be up to 60% higher than other times of day, especially if you prep with proper tools and treatments.
Additionally, massaging your own face is a beneficial and healthy way to connect with your body, and a perfect way to begin a nightly ritual, says aesthetician Mila Moursi. Start by warming an oil in your hands then use circular movements all over your face and neck, followed by long strokes from the jawline to the temples and ending with long strokes from temple to temple across the forehead, instructs Moursi.
Still, investing in a special manual skin-care device may be more beneficial. While these only offer temporary benefits, you’ll see immediate results by rolling, massaging or swiping these babies across your visage. And with consistent use, you may be able to sculpt the high cheekbones of dreams.
1. Mount Lai Gua Sha Facial Lifting Tool
Perhaps one of the oldest skincare tools on record, the gua sha is a Traditional Chinese Medicine massage tool designed “to relax stiff muscles and promote tissue drainage in the face and body,” explains Shafer Clinic aesthetician Edyta Jarosz, who counts Madonna among her main clients. “Gua sha relieves tension in the face and reduces puffiness and inflammation.”
Although you’ll notice the best results if you use the tool every day, if you’re crunched for time, don’t worry.
“You can still reap the benefits if you use it two to three times a week,” says Jarosz. “I like to use it in the morning to reduce puffiness and energize my skin, or at night, just before sleeping, to relax my facial muscles.”
With so many newer options, this TCM healing tool is still the go-to for renowned aesthetician and founder of the eponymous skincare line, Joanna Vargas, as it “fits on the face so nicely, and you can get a deeper release of the tension in the face that could be blocking healthy circulation,” says Vargas.
2. Popchose Natural Bristle Dry Skin Exfoliating Brush
“Dry brushing is the best self-care anyone can do at home,” says Moursi of the body tool. “It’s safe and effective, and there are numerous benefits to dry brushing: body exfoliation, blood circulation, overall skin improvement as well as contouring.”
As if that list of benefits wasn’t enough, Jarosz adds that dry brushing has an impact on a cellular level, increasing cell turnover to help plump skin and aid with lymphatic drainage. “If you have very sensitive skin, try dry brushing your body once every couple of weeks,” she says, adding that if your body tolerates it well, boost to twice a week.
More than 12,000 Amazon shoppers agree that this handheld dry brush is an energizing and cellulite-busting tool that will give your skin next-level glow.
3. Joanna Czech Facial Massager
Revered as the godmother of facial massage, Czech put her spin on a traditional facial roller that will glide over your facial planes and muscles with superb ease.
“It stimulates blood flow, while automatically hemoglobin brings more oxygen to the surface, so the skin becomes brighter, rosier and healthier,” says Czech.
To get results from a facial roller, Czech says it comes down to consistency, but importantly, how you’re rolling your skin.
“When you do the facial roller right, you get the cheekbone, or area you’re targeting, between the two roller balls and you roll it with pressure across,” she says. (Otherwise, if the rollerballs go directly over the area, it will flatten when the goal is to plump and lift.)
Czech also adds that when purchasing a facial roller, make sure the balls are able to move so that you aren’t causing friction against the skin.
“It’s a super easy piece of equipment, and the closest thing to manual massage,” she adds.
4. Epione Sonictouch Facial Cleansing Brush
Don’t let its petite size fool you. This is one of the best facial cleansing brushes around that goes above and beyond simple cleansing. Developed by Ourian for his star-studded clientele, the brush uses a three-speed rotating system, making it useful even for sensitive skin types.
“It is fast and easy, and an effective way to give yourself a quick facial exfoliation,” says Ourian, who uses the tool daily.
You can look forward to skin that is clean, refreshed and overall more vibrant in appearance.
5. MDNA Skin The Beauty Roller For The Eyes
“My favorite at-home tool is MDMA Skin’s The Beauty Roller,” says Jarosz, who adds that it’s the “first-of-its-kind carbon roller that emits ultra-infrared energy.” It also emits light vibrations and is specifically designed for the delicate eye area, brow bone and even the harder-to-reach smaller spots around the face.
“The surface of the roller is covered with grooves, which allow it to grip the skin and improve contact to give you a better treatment,” she says. Sign us up!
6. Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar
This 24-karat vibrating bar from world-famous makeup artist Jillian Dempsey offers a little bit of everything: facial toning, lifting and calming. By mimicking the effects of a massage via subtle vibrations, the facial muscles relax, releasing tension and the appearance of early morning swelling.
Designed to be used in tandem with a hydrating oil or serum for a bit of slip across the cheekbones, jawline and chin area — as well as on visible tech lines in the neck — Dempsey recommends using the bar for 10 to 15 minutes in sweeping, uplifting motions from the center of the face outward. This, she says, should create a taut, sculpted effect that will last all night long.
LED Light Skin Care Tools
Light-emitting diode skin care tools are usually masks or handheld wands that shine a visible, colorful light — or a combination of lights — to the skin at various wavelengths to target a variety of skin concerns. Red LED lights are typically designed to reverse the signs of aging, blue LED lights acne, and green LED lights to reduce inflammation.
“At-home LED light devices are a great way to target specific skin concerns,” says Engelman. “Different wavelengths of light offer different benefits, so when choosing a device, be sure to pick one that targets the skin concern you want to address.”
7. Epione Tricolor LED Mask
LED masks are truly a gift to the world, and this do-it-all LED mask makes it easier than ever to target multiple skin concerns at once across the entire face thanks to its trio of light settings (most other masks use only one color light).
“I use this mask on myself as well,” says Ourian, adding that the red, blue and orange light therapy “penetrates deep into the skin to target signs of aging and help prevent blemishes and discoloration.” According to Ourian, the red light increases collagen production, while the flash of orange smooths skin and reduces redness. Meanwhile, the blue light kills bacteria and tightens skin — all within 10 to 20 minutes of daily usage.
8. Trilogy Wand
“I like combining tools, such as LED therapy, gua sha massage tools and ice rollers,” says Ross. “I love using the Trilogy Wand because it combines all three of these therapies into one device. It features red and blue LED light therapy and lymphatic massage, combined with Cryo and warming modalities all in one.”
He adds that consistency is key with at-home skin-care tools, and to get the most bang for your buck and time, look for devices “with multiple modalities to make the process seamless.”
9. Omnilux Contour Face
A favorite of Gigi Hadid, this FDA-approved mask is made to erase fine lines and wrinkles, even out redness and discoloration and provide healthier skin all around in just 10 minutes a day for three times a week.
“Of all the current techniques, I’ve definitely noticed the greatest improvements have come with the incorporation of infrared light,” says Smith, who swears by the Omnilux. “Not only is this device portable and easy to use, but my clients and I also all notice it offers an almost immediate decrease in puffiness and a beautiful luminosity to the skin.”
10. LightStim LED Device
“There are so many LED devices on the market, and very few are well-made and trustworthy,” says Moursi. “However, I like the LightStim handheld LED tools,” he adds.
These easy-to-use handheld devices have FDA-approved varieties that simultaneously emit multiple wavelengths of light — one that shines a red-hued light to banish fine lines and wrinkles and another that radiates a blue-purple haze to zap acne-causing bacteria. They also have built-in timers to make sure you don’t overdo it, but rather give your skin exactly what it needs for the right amount of time.
11. MZ Skin Light Therapy Golden Facial Treatment Device
It may look glamorously futuristic, but the MZ Skin Light Therapy Golden Facial Treatment Device doesn’t fool around. With five colored light setting options, you can target a specific skin concern with a single light or use a combination of lights throughout the week to cover all of your skin-related bases. Its red LED lights strengthen skin by stimulating collagen and elastin, and its blue LED lights work to improve blemishes and acne. Meanwhile, green LED lights rebalance pigmentation, broken capillaries and sunspots, as yellow LED lights neutralize redness in sensitive skin and boost circulation. Finally, white LED lights deeply penetrate skin to promote wound healing and skin repair.
Microcurrent Skin Care Tools
Although the microcurrent category may sound a bit intimidating (putting electric currents on your face doesn’t exactly sound sane), it’s actually clinically proven to stimulate facial muscles and accelerate wound healing. Usually in the form of handheld wands, these feature metal on the ends through which small currents “charge” cells to “improve muscle tone and facial circulation, while stimulating your facial muscles for a natural lift,” says Jarosz.
12. Foreo Iris Illuminating Eye Massager
Inspired by the lymphatic eye massages practiced in Asia, this ophthalmologist-approved device replicates the feeling of a professional finger-tipped facial massage with two settings and eight speeds. The pure mode prevents signs of aging before they develop with light tapping motions to make the skin around your eye appear smoother and less puffy, while the spa mode combines tapping with light pulsations to minimize crow’s feet, tighten under eye hollows and reduce dark under-eye circles.
“The Iris is great for de-puffing, especially when paired with a good refrigerated eye gel,” says Smith.
13. NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device
One of the first FDA-approved at-home skin-care tools, the NuFace harnesses microcurrents to contour and tone the face, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.
“My patients and I love this device because it improves the look of your skin without downtime or pain, in only five minutes each day,” explains Dr. Engelman. “I recommend it as an easy, non-invasive home solution for aging signs, like fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.”
Bonus: It’s nearly foolproof to use, and with a compact design, you really have no excuse not to use it once you purchase.
<img class="size-medium wp-image-1234949596" src="https://wwd.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/nuface-trinity-toning-device.jpg?w=300" alt=". - Credit: Courtesy of Amazon" width="300" height="300" srcset="https://wwd.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/nuface-trinity-toning-device.jpg 300w, https://wwd.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/nuface-trinity-toning-device.jpg?resize=150,150 150w" sizes="(min-width: 87.5rem) 1000px, (min-width: 78.75rem) 681px, (min-width: 48rem) 450px, (max-width: 48rem) 250px">Courtesy of Amazon
14. Conture Kinetic Toning Device
Ask any dermatologist how to prevent premature wrinkles or sagging, and we’ll bet they’ll tell you to get ahead of the game and start an anti-aging skincare routine ASAP. Ask Engelman, and she’ll recommend an at-home toning device — such as her personal favorite design from Conture — to help sculpt and tone your face.
“The Conture Kinetic Toning Device is a great tool for all skin types,” she says. “It reduces signs of aging, like wrinkles and sagging, and contours the face and neck while boosting the efficacy of topical ingredients by up to 300%. I love this tool because I truly see results in a short time span when my patients use it.”
Microneedling Skin Care Tools
Often called collagen-induction therapy, microneedling involves tools that use tiny pins to create deliberate microtraumas to the skin, forcing it to heal itself by pumping more collagen into the injuries to yield a smooth, glowing complexion.
15. Environ Cosmetic Gold Roll-CIT
Extremely luxurious and chic, this Gold Roll lives up to its name with its 24-karat gold plated design. Made of surgical-grade stainless steel, 260 ultra-fine needles penetrate the skin to create micro-traumas, causing the skin to heal itself and triggering improvements in skin tone, texture and even fine lines. Engelman is a big fan of the tool, as he says it provides visible and fast results.
“It’s designed for the areas of your face that need a little more attention,” she says, like the eyes, nose, and mouth. “I recommend using this roller whenever you apply topical products, as it will boost their efficacy by allowing them to penetrate the skin more deeply.”
16. Hollywood EGF Micro-Needling + Ion Infusion Kit by Georgia Louise
Those who say ‘you can’t be everything to everyone’ clearly haven’t met Georgia Louise’s Hollywood EGF Micro-Needling + Ion Infusion Kit. It’s a two-step process to address essentially every skin concern a person could have, from dullness to enlarged pores to fine lines and uneven skin tone. With 20 single-use microneedles, the device pricks the skin in rapid fire movements — 5,000 times per minute, in fact. And it’s ridiculously easy to use. Just apply the accompanying EGF serum (a protein-based ingredient that incites skin repair and rejuvenation on a cellulite level) and roll the tool up, down and across your face.
Laser Skin Care Tools
Laser resurfacing is a powerful, in-office treatment to reduce facial wrinkles and skin irregularities, like acne scarring and uneven texture. It directs super strong beams of light at the face, effectively removing the top few layers of skin. Because lasers are so vigorous, at-home lasers are less common than other modalities, and definitely less effective than their in-office counterparts.
17. Lyma Laser
“I am in love with the Lyma laser and everyone knows I hate lasers,” says Czech, who uses the medical-grade infrared laser every single day. “The heat of lasers completely destroys the skin, but the Lyma lenses completely liquidate the heat from the laser,” making it totally safe to use anywhere on the body, even around the eye area.
The laser features four high-intensity blue LEDs to zap surface bacteria-causing acne, strengthen skin elasticity and tighten cellulite, as well as neutralize the appearance of rosacea and hyperpigmentation.
And Czech isn’t the only fan of Lyma’s laser. Engelman calls it “an absolutely amazing tool that gives anyone the power to substantially improve their skin’s appearance at home.”
Think of the coldest you’ve ever been. Now, multiply that by 100. That’s essentially what cryotherapy feels like. Cryo tools, typically wands or rollers, are designed to be stored in ultra-cold temperatures before being used on the face to calm inflammation, puffiness and irritated skin — while also improving blood circulation and tightening pores.
18. Joanna Vargas Magic Glow Wand
Designed by celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, the Magic Glow Wand is designed to keep the skin’s lymphatic system healthier.
“It doesn’t have its own pump, meaning it relies on our own body movement to perform this vital function,” she says. “A stagnant lymphatic system will cause acne breakouts, puffiness and dry skin.”
She recommends starting along the side of the neck to mimic a lymphatic drainage massage, moving from the middle of the face outward to the sides for the best results.
“I also like using my Magic Glow Wand over a sheet mask for about 10 minutes on the last setting — cold plus massage — so I can de-puff, contour and wake up my face,” she says. “I even do it around the eyes because it’s lifting, especially on the lid.”
19. Charlotte Tilbury Cryo-Recovery Face Mask
Made of silicone for flexibility and comfort, this new face mask from renowned international makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury blends cryotherapy and acupressure technology with cooling metal beads above the brows. And that’s not all: The mask is embedded with cooling gel bead pockets to target acupressure points along the chin, forehead, cheekbones and nasolabial lines to lift and tighten skin in quick 10-minute sessions.
“It’s great for those who want visible results, but don’t have time for lengthy treatments,” says Engelman, adding that it’s “easy to use, efficient and leaves skin looking smoother and more youthful over time.”
20. Omorovicza Cooling Derma-Globes
Think of this skin-care tool as a next-level facial roller that will immediately wake you up with a chilly but extremely effective massage and instantly calm inflammation (which may be a result of those late-night salty food binges). “Ice rollers are great for temporarily tightening skin,” says Engelman.
Store them in the fridge, and starting at the corner of your eye near your nose, firmly pull them across the under-eye area to the top of your ear. Repeat that same motion under your cheekbone for a slimmer, more contoured look.
What’s more, the cold offered by this tool “improves the efficacy of your topical skincare products by causing your blood vessels to constrict, which pulls product deeper into your skin,” says Engelman.
Skin Care Accessories
They can make any tool a home run for your skin.
21. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Pro Facial Steamer
Perfect for anyone who swears by at-home facials, this professional-grade steamer brings the spa straight to your home. Its micro-steam technology wafts straight onto your face to intensely hydrate and purify skin by decongesting clogged pores and priming it to better absorb product. Not to mention, the moist, warm air just feels great; the radiant glow afterwards is an added bonus.
<img class="size-medium wp-image-1234949573" src="https://wwd.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/dr-dennis-groass-facial-steamer.jpg?w=300" alt=". - Credit: Courtesy of the Dermstore" width="300" height="300" srcset="https://wwd.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/dr-dennis-groass-facial-steamer.jpg 300w, https://wwd.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/dr-dennis-groass-facial-steamer.jpg?resize=150,150 150w" sizes="(min-width: 87.5rem) 1000px, (min-width: 78.75rem) 681px, (min-width: 48rem) 450px, (max-width: 48rem) 250px">Courtesy of the Dermstore
Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Pro Facial Steamer, $149, sephora.com
22. MDO Sculpting Wand
Ourian’s favorite facial sculpting wand from MDO uses nanometer technology to boost blood circulation with 6,000 vibrations per minute, brining fresh blood to the surface and activating cell turnover to give your face an all-over firmer and lifted look.
“Not only does it allow the skin to relax and help with the lymphatic drainage, it also helps hydrophilic skincare products to penetrate faster and deeper,” says Ourian.
It should also be safe for every skin type, he says.
23. Nurse Jamie Eyeonix Eye Massager
Put dark circles in your rearview with this gentle but effective massaging tool designed specifically to target and de-puff your under-eye area. The high frequency vibrations are delicate enough for the tender skin around the eyes, while the massaging motions trigger collagen production to firm the entire eye area.