Skincare Tools of 2021 moving into the New Year

This year saw several skincare items appear in my various subscription boxes. And to be fair I have given them all a chance to become part of my daily routine. The thing is, my skincare takes place in a powder room. There is a pedestal sink and one small glass shelf on which to place the skincare I am using. And that includes tools.

While a bathroom rethink is on the horizon, mostly involving a fresh coat of paint and replacing a boxy cabinet with two shelves with more functional shelving, every item I keep in my bathroom as part of my skincare line up has to earn it’s place. While each item may enter, it may not stay for long. So lets look at some of this year’s contenders.

First up, we have the jade roller. I have no clue what brand this particular one is. I think this past year I received three or four of them in boxes. The link is just to the Amazon site featuring a plethora of them. It is a nice handy tool that requires no batteries. It is nice and I really like rolling it over my skin. It is something I will use. However I do find that I I only reach for it in the warmer months. I just don’t reach for it when the temperatures drop. And I really like when the jade roller is cold. It has been very useful in helping to cool me down when I am over heated and it helps with my heat headaches. But it does work best when it is cold. So I am going to transfer it to the fridge instead of keeping it in the bathroom. It is a good little tool, but it won’t remain in the bathroom.

This leads us to two items that look very similar. One is the Rose Quartz Vibrating Facial Roller from Luxe and Willow and the other is the Complex Culture Sonic T-Bar vibrating massager. The rose quarts tool seems to be trying to give the same benefits as the jade in the jade roller. I like that it remains cool even if it is just in my bathroom and not the fridge. In fact it works just a well on some of my tension headaches which is why I have less of an issue relocating the Jade roller to the fridge. I also like the rounded surface of the tool and the way it feels on my skin.

While the T-bar design operates the same way, I find the metal bar on my skin not as comfortable to use and I simply do not reach for it. while these tools function nearly identically, it is the rounded design that causes me to reach for the Luxe and Willow. So the Luxe and Willow will remain in my bathroom while the Complex Culture will not.

Since we are still on stone based tools, I have to mention the Gua Sha tool (again no clue about the brand). It is a nice item and feels good in the hand. I tried it and I honestly can’t say I saw any change in my skin. There was no improvement or if there was it was less than what I had with the other tools. While I find I will pick it ip and turn it over in my hands, I tend to pick it up much as you would a worry stone and not like I would a skincare item. There is also no easy place to put it in the bathroom. If I lay it flat then it not only takes up a lot of space, but I often forget it is there and put things on top of it. It doesn’t stand uptight and the edges are all rounded so leaning it against something doesn’t work because it slides off. Over all I just don’t use it.

The PMD Massaging tool I find I am using more and more of. While I reach for it often, I find when I reach for it depends on the product I am using. If I am using a cleanser that is more creamy than foamy, I will use it with the cleanser. I massage the cleanser around and then rinse off (both my face and the cleanser) I generally find I get a better clean this way and have less evidence of makeup residue on my toner pads. I have also been using it with serums. I’ll apply the serum, wait a moment and then use the wand over the serum to massage the serum in.

While I don’t think it actually does anything major to the serums, what it does is gives the serum time to absorb in completely before I move on with the next step of my skincare. This is especially useful if I am layering serums. For example if I have one Vitamin C serum for brightening the skin and another hyaluronic acid serum from pluming lines, using the pmd wand on my skin between the two gives the first time to absorb before I reach for the second serum. This tool has certainly earned it’s place in the limited space of my bathroom.

And finally we come to the last tool. Technically I think I have had this tool longer than a year, but it is such a useful tool that I just have to mention it. Plus it was in the cup with the other tools and I happened to grab it when I picked them up. This is my silicone skincare brush. This one is from Cosmedix, but I highly recommend picking up any silicon brush to have one in your skincare routine. This one has a smooth and a textured side. The smooth side is fantastic for applying face masks. It helps waste less product and keep everything neat and tidy. The textured side is great for massaging in serums and creams into the skin. I especially like it for massaging in serums around the eyes, especially in the crow’s foot region. It is excellent for really getting the serums in the area you want them to concentrate on. For me I also like the tapered end of the brush as it makes getting into the nooks, especially around the nose, easier for both masks and serums. This brush will remain in my bathroom until it falls apart. Then I will get a new one. At the moment, it is by far my favorite skincare tool.

These six items came to me this year in various subscription boxes. In the end two will be eliminated from my routine, one will be located to the fridge for seasonal use and three will remain in my bathroom and my skincare routine moving into 2022. While I’m sure there will be more items in subscription boxes moving forward, I also have my eye on several skincare tools that I want to actually give a try. Some are highly praised by others, some just look like they could be good ideas. There were also a few items that looked like horrifically bad ideas. I’ll admit those did have a sort of train wreck sort of appeal, but for the most part there is a limited amount of trauma I am willing to put my skin through. So unless a medical professional I personally trust gives it a green light, I will avoid the items on that list.

The point is that these are the items I am starting off using in the new year. Others will arrive, some by choice and others by chance. And upon their arrival these are the items they will be competing for space with on my small skincare shelf. I can’t wait to see what makes it through the year. But we have a full twelve months for that.

Skincare Tools: LARUCE Beauty Face Disks

A while back I received this trio of Laruce Face Disks in a Boxy charm box. I have been using them off and on as I try to get a feel for them. In general I like these sorts of products because it helps me lessen the amount of waste in my bathroom routine. I have completely phased out makeup wipes (although I will admit that there are times when I really do miss them) and I have almost completely switched over to reusable rounds instead of disposable cotton wipes. (when cleaning out my skin care drawer the other day in my quest to round up all samples and foil packs I found an unopen tube of cotton rounds in the bottom of the drawer. I’m trying to use them on the few occasions when I actually need something disposable. Otherwise I am with the reusable ones.

So when I received this trio, it was right up my alley. The set retails on the LaRuce Site for $24. All three have different textures and all three are, as you can see, differently colored. They come in a reusable plastic envelope (which is actually pretty good for travel. It makes the trio easy to chuck into a bag without having them scatter throughout the luggage.

On the back of this bag, there is a recommended use for the rounds. The white round is recommended for makeup removal, the gray for toners and serums and the black for washing the face. So that is how I have been using them. Each of them have had varying degrees of success. So lets go through them each separately.

The first is the white round. This one is designated for makeup removal. I’m not sure about the wisdom of making it the white one. While this image of it use has it unwashed, I have used and washed it several times. Aside from some small lipstick stains from darker products, it washes well. When I used it, I used it in two separate ways. The first way is the same as I would use a Makeup Eraser (my go to makeup removing cloth). I wet the round and used it with no products, just water to take off my makeup. It wasn’t the greatest.

I had to work really hard to remove the makeup with no cleansing balm and just this round. The rounded edge was great for going in under the eyes though. If I used a cleansing balm or cleansing oil, then this round was great with makeup removal. It is soft and it took the balm and makeup off well. It is just not a round you can use without a makeup removing product. But that’s okay, it doesn’t have to be a stand alone product and as long as you remember it isn’t then you will be fine.

The grey face round is designated for use with serums and toners. It was my least favorite of the lot. While it feels good on the skin, it also absorbs a lot of product. It sucked in toners and serums and dispersed them throughout the interior of the round rather than keeping it near the surface. As a resultI ended up using at least three times as much product as usual, much of it staying in the round and ending up in the washing machine. It washed out well, but in general I prefer to use my skincare on my face and not in my washing machine. It is simply too absorbent to do the job it is designated to do. I will probably repurpose it as an additional makeup wipe type of product and use it that way so it won’t go to waste, I just simply won’t use it with toners and serums.

The third, black colored facial round was the best in the bunch and one that I will actually continue using. It is designated for washing the face. To use I wet the round and then dispensed the cleanser on top. I used both cream and gel cleansers during this test. I don’t think that cleansing oils would work terribly well, but the creams and gels were great. The round was dense enough that the product sat on top of the round and didn’t all fall to the center. I used the same amount of product as I normally use. There was something really nice about the fluffiness of the round and I really liked that if my makeup removing process (done prior to face washing) left any residue, it didn’t stain the round. I have had products stain washcloths before so this was a definite plus.

One drawback that they all had, was that I wished the loop of a tag was slightly bigger so that it could be more easily hung up on a hook to dry after being rinsed out. Otherwise I liked the size and I like that they have different textures. The black facial round I will be incorporating into my daily routine. The gray and white rounds I will use with a cleansing product to remove makeup. They won’t be the first things I reach for, but I do like them enough to keep them around.

Now comes the trick question. Would I repurchase these? That is a difficult one as I really like the facial wash round and am just okay with the other two and this trip is not sold separately. For travel this is a good trio to have in your bag. For everyday life I will probably use my Makeup Eraser and the facial wash round on a daily basis and only occasionally pick up the other two rounds. But I don’t think the $24 price tag is unreasonable and I think that while not my favorite set if you are looking to eliminate waste and not stain your washcloths, this is a good set to start with. Just don’t use any of the rounds with toners or serums and you’ll be fine.

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Let’s talk reusable…

For a while now I have been trying to reduce the amount of waste I produce. Some of it has taken only a bare minimum of thought. Packing boxes shredded and added to the garden compost or to lay under garden beds to prevent weeds from poking through. Refillable water bottles. I have to say as I do like carbonated water, my Soda Stream has been fantastic for this. I use the Soda Stream to make the bubbles and dispense it into an actual glass to drink instead of actually drinking from the Soda Stream bottle which causes that bottle to last a bit longer as well. To be honest I just use the carbonated water, I haven’t tried any of their actual flavors although I keep meaning to. I might put that on my list next time we reorder tanks.

However, while I lower the level of disposable water bottles and for the most part contain the trash from most of my subscription boxes, my bathroom does produce a lot of waste. I have been working to combat that. While I adore the ease of makeup wipes (well the good ones anyway) I have stopped using them.. Occasionally I will get a pack in a subscription box, and i can’t lie, they are usually a treat. They really are quite convenient. However, I have stopped purchasing them individually.

Instead I use my Makeup Eraser, they come in all shapes and sizes. I generally have one that has no makeup on it that I use for general touch ups (both wet and dry) and I use another Makeup Eraser to take off the makeup. At the end of the week I will use the one I kept clean to remove that day’s makeup and then chuck everything into the wash. I really want to get a set of the smaller seven packs of makeup erasers so that I can start each day with a fresh one, but the system I am currently using works really well.

The next item that I have been working on eliminating are the disposable cotton rounds. I use quite a few of them in a day. I’ve tried several different types of rounds but none of them worked quite right to replace the rounds for me until I received the Magnitone Wipe Out Swipes in a Look Fantastic box. I recently (as in arrived yesterday) received another set in a Birchbox so I now have six to rotate around. I’ll probably still order a full set of six ($20 on Birchbox – I can’t find the small Swipes anywhere else. The makeup removing cloths are everywhere, but not the Swipes)

So why do I like the Magnitone Wipe out Swipes?

The first is the size. You can see in the photo the size of the Magnitone Swipes compared to other replaceable rounds that I have tried. The Magnitone rounds are the same size as a normal cotton round, while the other reusable wipes are much larger. Now I know that sounds strange, but bigger isn’t always better. The larger rounds are a bit too large to use for things like toner (my primary use for the cotton rounds) They roll up when used and just aren’t as easy because they are too large. At the same time, they are too small to remove makeup. The larger rounds are just an awkward to use size and if I am going to replace the rounds I needed something that worked as well.

The Magnitone Swipes are the same size as the cotton rounds. So that starts off as a plus. They are very soft on the skin. My one issue with them is that they can be a little too absorbent. I have found with things like toner, putting the product on the cloth just means you have to use a little more product. At the moment I am using a spray toner So it isn’t an issue, I spray my face and use the round to pat it in and make sure there is no excess. With Essences, the other item I generally use rounds to apply, I’ve actually stopped using any rounds and dispensed the essence into my hand then applied it to my face. I’ve just found that any essence absorbed is too much. it doesn’t matter if it is a reusable round or not, I just use my hands so that if anything else absorbs the essence products it is my hands and not some sort of cloth.

In general the most difficult thing I have found about switching to reusable products like the Magnitone Swipes and Makeup Erasers is finding a place to put the used ones. I just keep a small plastic container under the sink and drop the used ones in along with my washcloths which I change out during the week as well. I find that it gives the washcloths and used rounds and Makeup Erasers a place to live and to dry out.

The drying is the big issue. I didn’t want to add the wet cloth to my laundry basket. In the plastic bin they can dry out together and not cause musty moldy sorts of issues. I just need to remember to add it to the laundry when I am ready to wash. I will say that while the set that just arrived is new, I have been using and washing the Magnitone Rounds I have for over a month now (they came in February) and they have come out of the general wash looking as clean as new and with no wear showing at this point. I’m sure there will come one wash too many and they will need to be replaced, but for the moment, they are holding up quite well.

There are a multitude of reusable products out there that can help you cut down on waste. These are some of the ones that really work the best for me. I clearly haven’t tried all of the products out there and will no doubt try more, but this is what works for me right now. I’m sure you will find what works for you. If there is one piece of advice that I would give to anyone who is trying to use more reusable products in their bathroom routine it is to find a designated landing spot for the used reusable items to stay between use and washing. when the reusable pads came in just added them to the jar where I was keeping cotton rounds and didn’t think about it until I had a pile of used rounds and nowhere to put them. For a while I wasn’t using them simply because I didn’t like piling them up behind the fawcett and didn’t want to ut damp cloth in the laundry basket. Having that designated spot to put them really helps incorporate the reusable rounds into a process. Once you have a process it can become routine. Routines become habits and before you know it, reusable is the way you live.

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One Month of PMD Daily Clean: Was it worth it?

While I have had this PMD Clean for a while, I’ll be honest, I only occasionally used it. I tended to forget about it. Which I find a little amusing actually. I used to have A Foreo Vibrating facial cleansing tool and I used it twice daily without fail. Then came the last move and it was lost. Several of our boxes were destroyed and a couple were missing. I lost most of my perfume collection, hair tools and sadly my Foreo. I know I should have put it in my carry on but it was already full so I packed it with the bath stuff instead. Big mistake.

It was kind of a mess.

I somehow never got around to replacing my Foreo even though I always intended to. I think the washing machine and dryer went belly up about the same time the reimbursement check from the movers came through so we ended up using the money to replace them since they were more immediate concerns. Sometimes in life, you have to make the adult choice.

The PMD Clean came to me in a Boxycharm a while ago. I thought “Great I can use this and then get the UFO sonic masking tool from Foreo instead.” I have to admit, I’ve had my eye on that since it came out. Given my love of masks are you surprised? And of course now I also want to try out the new Bear Facial Toner too. I swear they have come out with some really interesting products that I just want to try. A lot of facial tools I kind of avoid because they look a little bit scary, but these just sort of pull me in and say try me. But that is not the point to this post. Admittedly sooner or later I will make several purchases and it will no doubt be the subject of a later post.

To the PMD clean.

So I set the PMD Clean up in my bathroom and then promptly forgot about it. Now, to decide if it is worth keeping around I moved it front and center and used it twice daily for a month in order to find out. So lets look first at what the website has to day about it.

The PMD Clean is a smart facial cleansing device. With over 7,000 vibrations per minute, our SonicGlow™ technology not only ensures a deep cleanse, but operates at a perfect frequency to lift, firm, and tone problem areas for a more youthful appearance.

PMD Website

Okay, not the most elaborate description. The website further goes on to tell you that to use with a cleanser you apply the cleanser to the tool, and then apply to the face. The back of the head of the tool is supposed to be useful for massaging in serums and moisturizers. The bottom of the tool is rounded and I believe it is supposed to be useful for something or other but it wasn’t on the site and I’m not sure where I heard that. The device also comes with a little stand.

Let’s address the stand first to get it out of the way. It is nice and small and fits the bottom of the PMD Clean perfectly. However if you don’t fit the device in just right then it will fall over. It is kind of annoying when your hands are wet from rinsing your face or covered with product from applying moisturizer or serum. I usually just lay the tool down and then fit it back into the stand once I was done. However you have to dry off the tool before you fit it in the stand otherwise the stand gets gunky really quickly.

I like that it is battery operated and waterproof. While a part of me really prefers rechargeable tools over battery powered ones, the lack of a charging port means I can comfortably take this into the shower with me. Sometimes I like to apply makeup remover just before I step in the shower and then rinse it off when I shower. So I find that beneficial.

I like the thought of the four settings but to be honest, I really just chose one setting and used it everytime I picked up the tool. The options are nice, but I didn’t really use them. This month used the PMD Clean with makeup removers, both oil and balm, cleansers, moisturizers and serums. And yes I washed the head after each one.

Front side

While the site recommends applying the cleansing product to the tool and then putting the tool to your face, I found this didn’t work the best for me. I found that if I applied the product to my face and then used the tool it worked better for me. Perhaps that is personal preference, but I really didn’t like the way the product dripped when I lifted the tool to my face. I felt like it applied well to the tool when it was horizontal but once lifted upright gravity took hold and product was wasted and things got messy.

So I very quickly learned to apply the product to my face and then reach for the tool. Using it this way also insured I had proper product coverage on my face. Because it is silicone the tool does not absorb product but there is no measuring it out either. Applying it to the wand first meant that where I touched it to my face was the area that received the most product. So I had to add more product.

As I said before I did use the Foreo before and I didn’t really have that problem, but I think that is due to the surface area being so much larger. I applied the product to the top and it still rolled down the surface, there was just more surface so it didn’t drip off.

back side of PMD Clean

When applying the product to my face I used the exact same amount of product that I would normally use. There was not a lessening of product usage. With cleansers, both makeup removers and general cleansers, I used the front of the wand head. To be honest, I really liked using it. I am not entirely certain it made the products work better, but I did find that once I reached for the tool I spent more time working the cleanser into my skin. Using it extended the length of time I used the product and I think because of that I felt the products “worked better” than they did without the tool.

Do I think that it is going to make a bad product better? No. I think that using the PMD Clean tool caused me to spend more time washing my face than I would without it. I enjoyed the vibrations on my face. One interesting result is due to it being allergy season. Using the intense vibration of the PMD Clean tool on my sinus area when i was all blocked up helped loosen things up a bit so that after i rinsed off my face I ended up blowing my nose. Not to be too gross about it, it seemed to shake out the snot a bit. So I was a little less congested. Which I appreciated. And yes there were mornings where after I finished washing my face I pressed the tool against my blocked sinuses just to help clear my nose out.

But that isn’t the point of the tool.

Just the cleanser on damp skin

With cleansers I noticed that I got more foam out of the cleansers than I normally would. Which I kind of like. I’m currently using the La Roche Posay Toleriane Foaming cleanser. It goes on creamy to damp skin and then as you begin to rinse it foams up to wash away dirt and makeup residue. I saw a lot more foam on my skin when I used the PMD Clean than when I didn’t. Just something to note.

However, this tool has a flip side to the head. A flat side with a series of bumpy lines. This side of the tool is supposed to help apply moisturizer and serums. I’ll be honest, I hated this aspect of the tool. It worked fine on the fleshier parts of my face like my cheeks but it didn’t feel pleasant on my forehead or around my nose. I tried using it a couple of times and then just switched back to using the front side of the tool. I didn’t really like using the tool with moisturizer, but I did like using it with serums.

Increased foam with the PMD Clean

Again the reason is time. When you apply serums generally you need to wait a bit before moving on to the next step of your skin care routine. (Mine has many steps). The time lets your skin absorb the serum fully before you move on. Often I am guilty of rushing this step. When I used the PMD Clean tool, I automatically gave myself the time. Again the vibrations may have encouraged the product to absorb more fully, but I just don’t know. I do know that because I took more time, the serum had more time to fully absorb before I moved on.

Moving forward I will use the PMD Clean wand with cleansers, both makeup removing products and general cleansers, and I will use it with serums. I saw no benefit to using it with a moisturizer. I also only like the front side of the tool. I can see the thought behind the back side and even the rounded nubby bottom, but I didn’t enjoy using them. I only used the main side of the PMD Clean. It is like the multiple speeds, they are good in theory but in practice i just didn’t really need them. I chose my speed and stuck with it just as I chose the side of the tool I wanted to use.

The wand shape is nice and easy to hold. It is an easy to use tool and I will continue using it. Truthfully though I might end up getting some sort of tooth brush stand and using that as a holder rather than the little plastic stand it comes with. The precise balancing needed to keep it upright is going to drive me mad one morning if I don’t. Do I think that the wand shape is an improvement over the traditional shape of the Foreo? Not really. I would prefer more surface area and I think even the Foreo minis have more surface area.

The PMD Clean is a good skincare tool. Do I think it magically makes your skin perfect and blemish free? No. But I do think it encourages you to spend a little extra time letting your products work, which as we are mostly talking about cleansers, can lead to better skin.


La Roche-Posay- ACD