Beauty Gadgets: Worth the Splurge?

  • So Much to Choose

    The number of high-tech beauty items hitting the store shelves this fall is dizzying. Which beauty goods are worth the splurge, and when is it better to save? Our resident beauty guru gives you the scoop so you can look great without breaking the bank. Photo Credit:
    Sonicare Technology: For Teeth
  • Sonicare Technology: For Teeth

    Sonicare Essence Toothbrush For skin and teeth care, sonic means rapid oscillation. The way Sonic products move and vibrate cannot be duplicated by the human hand, which makes this technology unique.  My romance with Sonic began when my dentist recommended it. I went with the Sonicare Essence Series rechargeable power toothbrush, which claims to remove 80% of coffee, tea and tobacco stains. Sonicare claims it uses 31,000 brush strokes per minute and an extra-wide sweeping motion to create dynamic fluid cleaning action. The machine is also said to improve gum health by reversing gingivitis and also shrinking periodontal pockets.  The claims are true and now my teeth feel incredibly clean after each brushing. Even better, my cleanings at the dentist are more pleasant. $79.99 (on sale for $56 at the time this was written) Photo Credit:
    Sonic Technology: For Face
  • Sonic Technology: For Face

    My next foray into Sonic technology was with the Clarisonic Facial Cleansing System. The sonic micro-massage action ($195) gently cleans pores - loosening dirt, makeup and oil, while reducing the appearance of pores and wrinkles. It's proven to remove six times more dirt, sebum and makeup than traditional cleaning, which allows moisturizers to work better. My skin felt incredibly clean and invigorated after using the tool before bed, as if I had just received a professional cleansing and massage. After I applied my moisturizer, my skin felt soft and smooth. In the morning, my skin looked great. The Clarisonic Facial Cleansing System is strongly recommended by Self Magazine.  You can check out their beauty polls for readers' opinions on Self's website. Photo Credit:
    Sonicare Technology: For Eyes
  • Sonicare Technology: For Eyes

    The Clarisonic Opal Sonic Infusion System with Anti-Aging Serum ($243 including shipping) targets the eye area. At 41, I'm just starting to show age around my eyes, but I don't have too much to tackle just yet. The Opal was soothing, and the skin around my eye area felt noticeably firm and looked hydrated. For someone over 40 noticing aging around the eyes, this tool is worth it. Photo Credit:
    Home Resurfacing Technology
  • Home Resurfacing Technology

    I love at-home microdermabrasion products, like scrubs and peels, so I was happy to try the Dr. Denese Skin Science Clinical Resurfacing System. This machine felt vaguely uncomfortable, like a re-surfacing treatment at a dermatologist's office. If you're dissatisfied with the results of at-home microdermabrasion peels or scrubs and feel that they are not adequately exfoliating your skin, this machine would be a logical step, if you're up for making the investment. If you invest in a machine like this, I would not only use it on the face, but I would target areas where you wouldn't use a scrub or peel, like the neck area. The machine's "head" could use some improvement, however. There were certain areas on my face where I was not able to get the suction to function, namely right above my eyebrows and around my nose. Photo Credit:
    Laser Technology
  • Laser Technology

    Laser technology is energy-based and generally geared towards hair and vein removal.  Laser treatments are commonly given clinically, however some at-home treatment gadgets are starting to become available so we can skip the doctor's office altogether. Once such gadget is the Tria Beauty Laser Hair Removal System. The Tria is recommended by the beauty team at Real Simple magazine. It's a whopping $595, but compared to what you would spend at a doctor's office, this is actually saves. Just think, general in-office pricing is as follows: Bikini ($350-500), upper & lower legs ($600-$850), underarms ($250-$250). These prices are spread out over several visits. Because hair follicles grow and regrow on cycle, hair removal treatments can only disable those follicles that are active at the time of the treatment - hence the repeating visits. Keep in mind that laser treatments (in-office or at-home) are better for those with coarse hair who have fair-medium skin tones. If the hair is fine, this is not an effective treatment. Those with dark, keloid-prone skin are not good candidates for this treatment. My suggestion: Buy a home laser system with a friend. Other beauty editors swear by the Silk n' Laser Hair Removal device ($499), so that's worth looking at, too. Photo Credit:
    Heat Technology 
  • Heat Technology 

    Heat technology is milder than laser and has been found to be effective against blemishes and some surface veins.  The approach is that an optimum (but comfortable) level of heat and and light is delivered to the skin, which targets and kills the veins, or blemish. Heat treatments are offered clinically, but as with laser, at-home treatment devices are starting to become available. One such gadget is the Zeno Hot Spot, which was tested and rated very favorably by the discerning panel at As Angela from Buzzillions said, "Users say that its easy to use and effective at stopping pimples, especially if it's used when a blemish is forming. Users like the fact that unlike similar products it doesn't require charging or changing the tip." At $39.99, it's not a major splurge, and if it works like they say, worth a shot if you're struggling with blemishes.  $39.99 There is also a more potent version for those with stubborn acne, the Zeno Acne Clearing Device ($129). Photo Credit:
    Ionic Technology
  • Ionic Technology

    Is your hair prone to static or frizziness, especially after towel drying? This is caused by the friction of the towel. It pulls away the negative ions, leaving your hair with a positive charge that helps create ugly frizz and static. Ionic hair dryers, flat irons and other hair products emit negative ions that neutralize the hair's atoms, which makes the appear hair smoother. Ionic technology also helps dry hair faster. The Umberto Beverly Hills ICU 10 Ionic Ceramic Styler (see info. below), straightens well, and offers additional styling options thank to its curved edges. The ionic and ceramic infused plates lock in moisture and natural oils so your hair does not feel dry after using it. It also distributes heat evenly. The Umberto Styler is affordable at $99, when keeping in mind some "better" flat irons cost up to $200. My favorite full-size hair dryer is the Vidal Sassoon VS501 1875W Ionic Sensor Touch Hair Dryer ($69.99). This 1875 Watt dryer dries hair fast and has three temperature settings, three speeds, a cold-shot button and an Ion Sensor button. My hair is very prone to frizz and this dryer helps me avoid it. The Ken Paves Travel Series Professional Hair Dryer ($59.95) is my choice when traveling. Designed for touch-ups on the go, it has a thermal-proof pouch, a foldable handle, turbo ionic technology, two speeds and two temperatures. Photo Credit:
    Ceramic Technology
  • Ceramic Technology

    Our second choice for flat irons, the Remington Style Therapy Free flat iron ($49.99), uses ceramic technology, to ensure healthy, shiny looking hair. The iron achieves this with a high, consistent temperature. The iron does not use ionic technology, but it does boast ceramic plates and frizz-resistant micro conditioner. It's not as substantial to handle as the Umberto, but at $49.99, I think it performed very well. Photo Credit:
  • Airbrush 

    Airbrush makeup application used to to be relegated to professional makeup artists. Pros like me always turned to TEMPTU for flawless, superior results. Now TEMPTU brings its airbrush to the consumer with AIRbrush Makeup System ($225 with shipping). Airbrush makeup is applied with an battery-operated, or electric air compressor, to spray a fine mist of makeup onto the face. What's great  is the flawless application and long-lasting wear. The compressor is lightweight and portable. The ergonomic AIRbrush, or sprayer, lets you easily adjust the coverage.  The TEMPTU AIRbrush Makeup collection includes foundations, blushes and more, to create luminous, perfect looks like a pro. Photo Credit:
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