This incredibly trite headline is brought to you by… I kid, I kid. But I had to use it and share the adjoining photo, to underscore this here product review. Normally I’m shy about sharing photos of myself, and without makeup? Forget it.

But that’s me, at the Bullpen Bar in Chicago’s Comiskey Park. The Sox just won, it’s last call at the bar and I’ve been sweating all day. My hair’s been pulled back in a sun visor, so it’s all askew, and my makeup is practically melted off. I might have the barest trace of eyeliner left on, but that’s all. But the miracle of the photo is my skin! It’s almost clear, and I definitely have that happy glow (and that “sa da tay” pose, apparently. It was a silly, fun kind of day). I could attribute it to the many Jack and Cokes I drank during the game (lo and behold, that’s our good friend Bill ordering some final drinks over my right shoulder). But the glow has come from prolonged and dedicated use of a specific skin care product that I was lucky enough to review. Bear with me, we’re about to get into pricey territory.

I suffer from regular breakouts. My skin issues are cyclical. Let me put it this way — for me the “First of the Month” doesn’t just refer to a fresh-to-death Bone Thugs n Harmony song. In that first week I get all of the typical PMS issues – craving unhealthy food, feeling crabby and tired, and yup yup, breaking out like crazy. A big part of the problem was my skin care routine. I was washing my face regularly, but I didn’t have an exfoliator I really could stand behind. I was using harsh scrubs that sloughed the skin off my face, but didn’t leave a feeling of lasting smoothness, or made a difference in my skin’s appearance and texture. Until I got the Clarisonic brush.

I was super excited to give it a whirl after reading the glowing (sorry, I had to) reviews on The Girlfriend Lounge. Andrea the Organic Beauty Expert calls it “the only facial brush you’ll ever need.” And she’s right! Three weeks of using the Clarisonic, and my face is flake-free, soft, and miracle of miracles, many of my acne scars are fading. Like seriously, my chin and the side of my face were definitely all marked up, and slowly but surely, those areas are improving.

So how do you use the Clarisonic? Read the instructions first. After you’ve let it charge up, you wet, then slather your face with the included Clarisonic cleanser. Turn the brush on, and it beeps. Gently use it in little circles on your face — the brush beeps to tell you when to move on to another area of your face, and the guide comes with a whole recommended pattern of use. But I’ve been kind of doing my own thing – using the brush where I need it most, including on my neck. The brush’s bristles are so gentle, it doesn’t feel like you’ve really scrubbed your face at all. But when you rinse the dirt from the brush, you’ll see that it’s been working. And when you rinse your face, the softness will amaze you.

My husband’s been using it too, and not only has it improved the texture of his skin, but it’s also helped to give him a closer shave. (check it out, there’s a Better Shave Study).

I think the Clarisonic brush rocks! If you’ve got problem skin and deep pockets, it’s definitely worth purchasing. But yeah, the price is the downside. The Clarisonic System Kit costs $195! Yikes. But satisfaction is guaranteed within 30 days of purchase. And if you don’t have a spare $200 lying around, consider the affordable alternative, the Dove Skinvitalizer.

Unilever recall aside, my sister Petal owns this brush and says that YES the brush’s cleansing pillows do loosen during use, but if you’re very careful with the use of the product, it does work well. That’s the word from my sister, who bought it before the recall and continues to use it. So take that for what it is, and you can’t say you haven’t been warned about the risk. Like my sister said, “what did they expect for twelve dollars?” I personally think you should expect a product that works for your money, but hey. That’s just me. If any of you have used the Skinvitalizer, please let me know your thoughts.

Clarisonic didn’t clear up my skin all on it’s own — there are some other topical skin solutions that have helped tremendously. So stay tuned for more skin care reviews!

Do you have a favorite exfoliator that’s helped to turn your skin around? Do tell!

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Donna says:
July 17, 2007, 10:54 am
I've read the reviews on Organic Beauty Expert and think I'll do the 30 day trial I can't imagine making such an investment but if it's all that both of you say it is, definately sounds like it's worth it in the long run.
Mary says:
July 17, 2007, 11:11 am
For those who cannot afford the tool reviewed, MaryKay Cosmetics has an absolutly AWESOME Microderm Abrasion product!
Sisreese says:
July 17, 2007, 11:58 am
I hadn't experienced any real skin drama until I turned 21 (3 years ago)... It was a disaster, my skin looked like a scene out of saving private ryan (lol) !!! It wasn't until recently, that my older cousin suggested that I try proactiv since it worked for her... I KNOW, I know - watching Puffy endorse the product for years has been quite hilarious (and a bit of a turn off for me...) but lo and behold - the exfoliator as well as the other steps have not only reduced my blemishes - but has left me glowing!!! I can't lie - drinking plenty of water, working out and taking my vitamins also help... :)
afroelegance says:
July 17, 2007, 12:06 pm
Bella, you're adorable with or without makeup =)
jack says:
July 17, 2007, 12:14 pm
thanks for sharing. i am all for trying anything to help with my hormone-induced breakouts. right now i'm on 3 prescribed in an effort to preserve my sexy (that makes me laugh), but if i can accomplish some pretty skins sans the drugs, i'd be a happy girl.
Mrs518 says:
July 17, 2007, 12:36 pm
Cute pic Bella, I just recently moved back to DC, before that I lived in Upstate, NY and there was this tiny Spa in Saratoga called Patrician Skin Care. Well Patty has this wondeful Cucumber Bamboo scrub/exfoliator that is amazing and actually leaves your skin moist supple and radiant. If any of you are intrested let me know, im a good friend of hers.
flygyrl72 says:
July 17, 2007, 1:07 pm
Ooh, Bella! Such a pretty picture! You look great. I'm also a problem skin sufferer, maybe I'll give this brush a go. Although, lately, I've been breaking out majorly on my chest, upper arms/shoulders & back, & I don't think it's my hair, as I'm not using any different product & I'm always careful to wear long sleeves when I'm styling. And my face is cool, it's been pretty clear. My dermatologist put me on antibiotics, & that helped some, but the downside was a yeast infection from hell. So, now I'm on another drug called Oracea (supposed to be a milder form of antibiotic). But I'm seriously considering Accutane, cause it's Cali, it's the summer & it's not cool not to be able to rock my strapless tube dresses, etc...
July 17, 2007, 1:59 pm
bella you are soooo pretty!! lovin the picture! And flygyrl72 I've been having that problem lately also, have you ever tried using a body scrub? Since Im an 18 year old college student ya know I do not have $200 to drop on a skin brush lol,even though I would love to try it. My skin gets really bad around that time of the month too, and my pores are rather large also. I use a tea tree oil facial scrub that I got from this store call THe Body Shop that is for Oily and Blemished skin and since my skin is all of the above it works really well for me. It also gives me that glow! I use the Tea Tree Oil cleanser as well. Great post bella!!!
July 17, 2007, 2:01 pm
O yeah and I also drink lots of water and take Skin Hair and Nail Vitamins..... that's the icing on the cake
afrobella says:
July 17, 2007, 2:15 pm
Awww, you guys. I was feeling cute that day too - the drinks got to me, lol. But good looking out on The Body Shop body scrub, Brittany! I get backne and I totally need something like that in my life. It's all because of my hair products, I'm sure of it... but I tend to break out and get marks all over my back and I haven't yet found a lasting solution.
WildMagnolia says:
July 17, 2007, 2:19 pm
Bella Mia, you are adorable! I just wanted to throw my two cents in here. My only skin problem is dryness. So I'm constantly on the look out for a great cleanser that will exfoliate and not leave my skin dry and tighter than a drum. I'm glad you've had so much success with that brush. I could never have guessed that you have problems with your skin. Thanks for the heads up! X
Queenshawtii says:
July 17, 2007, 2:25 pm
I love st. Ives medicated apriciot facial scrub. That usually keeps m y skin together when i use it 2-3X a week. The un-medicated on rocks too..
Mrs518 says:
July 17, 2007, 2:49 pm
I agree with Brittany, drinking lots of water and taking Vitamins, (Key ingredient being Biotin) does wonders.
Mrs518 says:
July 17, 2007, 2:51 pm
WildMagnolia- that scrub that I mentioned above is for dry skin, my skin is so dry it peels sometimes especially in the winter. Get at me and i'll give you detalls its a miracle scrub/cleanser.
islandgirl550 says:
July 17, 2007, 3:22 pm
I'm going to try this product. I spend too much money at Bliss Spa for their microdermabrasion treatments! Hey Bella... have you done a product review on BARC? It's for men and their razor bumps but it's great for our ingrown hairs as well. I swear by it!!!
July 17, 2007, 4:20 pm
Wow bella actually mentioned my name!!!! Im like star struck lol!!! I'm goin to south carolina right now for a fam reunion... so i wont be able to read any more posts for like the next 5 dayz. I'm def. going to go thru withdrawl lol. But I love ur site bella cant wait to get back to read some more!!!
Naomi says:
July 17, 2007, 4:35 pm
You look great Bella! I've been lurking for a month or so and I love your site. I myself am an indigenous bella in Minnesota, and I am a skin care/hair care/ makeup junkie, and its great to find a site for women of the browner persuasion (even though I know I am not black, I do like to get product advice from other women of color) Well to be on topic, I love Aveda's liquid Exfoliant. It is like a toner but it is a after wash/pre moisturizer salicylic (spelling?) acid toner that has worked wonders for me. It exfoliates just enough to get dead cells off and not be too harsh to irritate my skin. I always had dry patches and acne before, but this is a great product for me, and I have semi-sensitive skin. Additionally, laying off the diet cokes and getting a lot of water has done wonders. :^) Love your site, and just wanted to add my two cents!
Bebroma says:
July 17, 2007, 7:05 pm
I use Oil of Olay Regenerist line, their thermal skin polisher really works for me, I use it on my face and neck. It has smoothed out the texture and even my mom (and nobody is as brutally honest as your mother) commented on how much brighter (glowier) and clearer my skin looks. It is also affordable. WildMagnolia, you might give it a try, too. Or Avon's exfoliation line, my mom has dry skin now after years of oily skin and she says it works well.
dignity says:
July 17, 2007, 7:54 pm
Good old fashioned baking soda. And it costs like a dollar.
Natural Sista says:
July 17, 2007, 8:40 pm
Afrobella, great skin!!! I think I will start a savings envelope for the Clarisonic!! dignity...dido with baking soda! Baking soda and aloe vera gel have really helped to get rid of acne and lighten up brown spots. But, like afrobella, when it's that time of the month, I break out. Currently, I don't have access to a dermatologist so, I am doing trying out natural products. So, I started taking Vitex, b-complex, zinc, burdock root, pro-biotic and copper viatmins. Hopefully, I will see more improvements in the next couple of months. Any recommendations on good facial cleaners and mositurizers (I have very sensitive skin). I use Aveeno foam wash and Oil of Olay facial mositurizer but, I will like to change...thanks!
SusieQ says:
July 17, 2007, 10:39 pm
Whenever I drink herbalife aloe drink, my skin clears up and glows. When I was younger I would soak the aloe in orange juice and that did it too. For a scrub I would mix lime juice with cornmeal and massage in circular motion.
afrobello says:
July 17, 2007, 11:09 pm
If ever I saw cheeks that could use a good pinch, they couldn't as much as yours! Is the word "cute" offensive at your age?...
michelle says:
July 18, 2007, 2:10 am
my favorite facial wash/scrub of all times is Lush's Angels on Bare Skin! it is absolutely fabulous! exfoliates your skin soooo GENTLY - it barely feels like its being exfoliated & you can use it everyday. Plus it smells lovely, like fresh lavender & since Lush is an all natural company, you don't have to worry about anything in it being bad. The other scrub i love, which i use once a week, is a little more heavy duty, it's Lush's Oceansalt cleanser. I LOOVE this too b/c the finly milled salt feels soo great & it smells like a margarita! you all really MUST try these products! and theyre pretty cheap (about $10 for AOBS and about $15 for OS)
bella says:
July 18, 2007, 7:58 am
Afrobello =) I'm not offended. I don't see "cute" being offensive any time in the future. Plus, I have the classic "Grell family" face, so I have 75 year old uncles who have the same chubby pinch-able cheeks. Dignity and Natural Sista - I've used baking soda on my teeth before, but never on my skin! I'll have to give that baking soda and aloe mixture a try! And Michelle, that Lush stuff sounds amazing too. Where is it available?
jamrock says:
July 18, 2007, 8:03 am
I have been getting spots like crazy these last few months and using Neutrogena's Visibly Even exfoliating treatment leaves my skin looking bright, smooth and the spots fade SO much faster. I use it twice a week and my skin feels fresh after. To clear up the pimples, two weeks ago I picked up some samples of murad's acne products at Sephora and after using them for a week I am a convert (at least for the summer when I break out more). They have 30-day kits for $30 (although it could last waaaay longer than that b/c you don't need so much product). Me likey although it was hard for me to change from my beloved Kiehl's- this stuff works!
Mademoiselle M says:
July 18, 2007, 9:30 am
Michelle, I'm SO with you with the LUSH products. I just wrote about it on my blog this past Sunday. Friday was my first time visiting the store (i'm in London now and it's a UK brand) and I fell in LOVE. I'm using Angel's on Bare Skin right now so I'll tell you guys how it turns out but everyone that's I've spoken to praises this product. I will give the Ocean Salt a try. I wanted to buy that (as well as everything else in the store) but I had to give myself some restrictions. I bought that as well as some hair products which I would love to tell you how it goes Afrobella! Maybe you can try it out for yourself and do a review. Go to There are some locations in the US and Canada - according to the wonderful lady who helped me. She said it's more expensive in the US though since the factory is in Canada. So that means I'm stocking up before I get home for school in September!!!
Nycole says:
July 18, 2007, 3:25 pm
I've been using Philosphy's microdelivery exfoliating wash since March and I've seen a tremendous difference in my skin. It is not only clearer but it is also smoother and softer. Usually your not supposed to exfoliate but 2-3 times a week however, with this you can do it every day preferably in the morning and followed by at night wth the purity made simple gentle cleanser. I recieverd it in march as QVC TSV " Change your skin forever kit'
Tlexi says:
July 18, 2007, 3:30 pm
I use all Avalon Organics skin is superb I love the lavendar wash and moisturizer..makes my skin oh so silky smooth. Used to be a fqan of Christian Dior IOD but they changed the line so Avalon Organics is for me. They sell it at Whole Foods, and some health food and beauty stores on the west otherwise its online.. Congrats on your glow!
SusieQ says:
July 18, 2007, 5:37 pm
Bella have you ever visited "skin deep" the environmental group website? They scare me and I am a product Junkie and now I don't know what to believe. Almost all the products on the market seem carcinogenic. I need another opinion, if you can find the time, I know you are very busy.
Andree says:
July 18, 2007, 5:46 pm
I just bought a Clairsonic. I can only hope that my skin looks as good as yours after using one.
Traci says:
July 18, 2007, 11:49 pm
I really want to try a Clarsonic brush now. Perhaps it will save me some money in the long run. I use a glycolic wash 2 to 3 times a week and a grapefruit toner every day by Mario Badescu. It's a great way to exfoliate my skin without using an abrasive scrub. My skin tone is even and clear. I love it, and have used the products for a couple years now.
lee says:
July 20, 2007, 11:20 am
you don't need make up
pets says:
July 25, 2007, 9:06 pm
Can you look into moles & the bleaching or other treatments of moles? Thanks
Joe says:
November 13, 2007, 1:16 pm
Hi very interesting - I really enjoyed your blog. Well Done !!
Erika says:
January 14, 2008, 2:49 pm
A friend of my mom's overheard her dermatologist recommend the Dove product to a family member and stated that it worked just as well as microdermabrasion. After hearing that, I ran out and bought one. I don't always use the handheld part, but rather hold the pillows in my hand and gently scrub with that. I have been pleased so far with the results and have been using it for a couple of months now. I really don't have any deep scars, so I can't comment on how it works on those, but rather oily skin with small acne.
karen says:
February 14, 2011, 9:12 am
I love the clarisonic and afroelegance is right your adorable either way.
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