Gone are the days when skincare routines consisted of just a facial cleanser and a moisturizer. These days, taking care of your skin entails a half-dozen products, cleansing not once but twice, and splurging on high-tech devices to make products more effective. Enter: facial cleansing brushes. They were introduced as powerful devices to boost your cleansing routine, but modern versions boast way more than a deep clean - and let’s just say, we’re hooked.
Facial cleansing brushes can be “used to help remove every last trace of makeup, oil, and debris on your skin,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist and the author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. “They help decongest the skin by getting rid of dead skin [and] they get your skin cleaner than if you just use your hands.”
You don’t have to be obsessed with skincare to invest in a facial cleansing brush, but it is important to choose the best brush for your skin needs and concerns. With electric, manual, silicone, and bristle options, it can be tough to discern which brush is best for you. Dr. Jaliman recommends silicone face brushes (like the Foreo Luna 3) because the material is easy to clean, but “if you use one with bristles, make sure they are sturdy enough that it will get the job done but gentle enough that you don’t irritate or inflame the skin,” she says.
Based on her advice, we scoured the internet to find the facial cleansing brushes that customers swear by for cleaner, brighter skin. From dermatologist-recommended electric options to affordable silicone face scrubbers, these are the best facial cleansing brushes in 2021:
Along with getting a deeper clean, there are other benefits to picking up a facial cleansing brush. According to Dr. Jaliman, using one of these devices will exfoliate your skin, which “help[s] your anti-aging products penetrate and work much more efficiently.” They also have a massaging aspect that “helps to promote circulation in your face.”
One of the most important things to remember about how to use a facial cleansing brush is to be gentle. “Place a nickel-size amount of face wash on your brush head or device, and in circular motions, gently massage product in,” says Dr. Jaliman.
Read on below to see why each of these facial cleansing brushes made the cut.
The Pixnor facial cleansing brush has over 18,000 five-star ratings, so it’s no surprise that it’s Amazon’s best-selling electric option. The device has two speed settings and comes with seven brush heads, each with varying levels of exfoliation and cleansing - including dedicated massaging and makeup-removing heads. The two speed settings give you control over the intensity, but both help with clogged pores and dead skin to really deep-clean your face. Plus, it’s available in 11 different colors. Shoppers love that the electric face brush is so easy to use, and one person said it takes “almost no effort” to cleanse their skin.
While old-school cleansing brushes come with nylon bristles (like the Clarisonic), modern versions, like this one from Foreo, rely on silicone to remove dirt and debris. According to the brand, silicone is super hygienic, gentle on the skin, and durable. Fun fact: Foreo brushes never need to be replaced due to bacteria, which Dr. Jaliman says makes them “much less expensive in the end.” Since silicone is non-porous, bacteria buildup - that unpleasant odor that appears out of nowhere after a few months of using a sinkside cleansing tool - won’t occur. As for the brush itself, it uses T-sonic pulsations to sweep away dirt and debris. With 16 different pulsation intensities, the brush allows you to customize your cleanse with each use. There’s a different color for each skin type, so choose accordingly: purple for sensitive skin, blue for combination skin, and pink for normal skin.
Whether you’re new to cleansing brushes or you’re just looking for a wallet-friendly option, this drugstore facial cleansing brush from Olay really delivers. Dr. Jaliman calls it a “no frills cleansing system that gets the job done.” It removes stubborn makeup, gently exfoliates, and gives a deeper clean than using your fingers or a cloth. Don’t expect tons of bells and whistles with this budget buy - advanced options and settings definitely come with a higher price tag. But with two cleansing speeds, this affordable option does just enough to get the job done.
This manual facial cleansing brush from e.l.f comes recommended by Dr. Jaliman, who says it works well on any skin type. “One side has super soft bristles for gently cleansing your face and [the] other side has flexible silicone ends that will help you achieve a deeper exfoliation and promote facial circulation via massage,” she says. And if you have sensitive or easily irritated skin, you can simply be more gentle as you cleanse. Since the dual-sided brush is manual instead of electric, there aren’t any vibration or rotation settings to change -it all depends on how you scrub.
Instead of spinning, this facial cleansing brush vibrates at three different speeds to remove dirt and debris from deep in your skin. It comes with three heads, including silicone and bristle options. There’s even a built-in timer that briefly pauses every 20 seconds so you don’t concentrate on one area of your face for too long. It takes just an hour and a half to fully charge, and the battery should last around 45 days. One customer said they love this vibrating facial brush even more than the Clarisonic device they used for years: “My skin feels so clean afterwards!”
This sonic cleansing brush from Michael Todd Beauty uses sweeping motions to rid skin of dirt and grime. While it may not be measurably more effective than pulses and other vibrations, sometimes it just feels like it’s doing harder work, which can be satisfying while you cleanse. According to some skincare experts, the rotating brush actually helps draw out oil and debris instead of sloshing it around your face. The brush itself is waterproof with six speed settings and two brush heads. What really sets this model apart from the rest is the built-in antimicrobial protection guards on the bristles that keep odor and bacteria at bay for up to six months, making this the perfect option for those of us that tend to procrastinate.
If you’re looking for a tool to amp up your beauty routine but you’re not interested in investing in a high-tech device, these popular Innerneed silicone face scrubbers are for you. On one side, you’ll find little silicone nubs to massage your face and clear out pores, and the other side has a convenient grip for your fingers. You can even purchase a set that comes with a larger size to scrub your entire body. “I'm a licensed esthetician and know a thing or two about skincare,” one reviewer with sensitive skin wrote. “This is a gentle enough way to exfoliate that it gets the job done for me without irritation.”
Proactiv is a go-to for busting breakouts, and this facial cleansing brush is no different. The brush features long bristles with 360-degree rotation that truly sweep pores clean. The bristles are infused with charcoal, a detoxifying powerhouse that deep cleans skin to reduce blemishes. Unlike other brushes, Proactiv recommends only using this brush once a day for a clearer complexion. Another plus to note is that the brush can stand on its own without a dock. Not only does it limit clutter on the bathroom counter, it makes storing it a breeze.
Similar to those with sensitive skin, dry skin types should opt for products and devices that won’t irritate or overdo it. That’s why this silicone-bristle brush from PMD pairs best with dry skin. The smart device uses over 7,000 vibrations per minute to cleanse, lift, and firm skin. And since no porous bristles are involved, the chances of the device drying out skin are minimal. This option is also battery-operated, so you don’t have to clear up space for a charging dock. There’s also a version with a rose quartz stone and a heating function that makes cleansing your face feel even more soothing.
When you’re dealing with sensitive skin, picking any ol’ cleansing brush won’t do. Using a brush that’s too harsh will irritate and inflame skin, but using a brush that’s too soft will leave skin feeling barely clean in the first place. Thankfully, this Tao Clean facial cleansing brush features soft bristles that aren’t too soft or too firm and gently cleanse skin without irritation. There are two settings, super-clean mode and sensitive-clean mode, and a built-in timer so you won’t overdo it. The best part about this system is the ergonomic handle and patented docking station. After cleansing, return your brush to the dock, which dries your brush to eliminate mildew and uses a UV-C lamp to kill germs. This may be one of the most tech-advanced options on the market.
The ReFa Clear is a great option for mature, aging skin because it features 3D sonic ion technology that moves bristles in both vertical and horizontal directions, along with vibrations to deep clean. Another unique feature of the brush is its varying lengths of super fine bristles. The tapered bristles conform to the skin for the closest cleanse possible. Trust us, no clogged pores here. Plus, we love how gentle this sonic facial cleanser brush is on aging skin. There’s no pulling, no tugging, and no irritation for these pillow-soft bristles.
Another affordable option, this tiny facial cleansing brush is great for pulling excess oil out of pores and buffing away dead skin. We love the compact size, which makes it ideal for packing in your gym bag or taking along on your weekend travels. You won’t find any buttons or modes on this device, as it’s manual, so you can apply as much or as little pressure as you’d like. And of course, like all Ecotools products, this brush is PETA-certified, which means it’s cruelty-free and vegan.
Thanks to rotating magnetic beads, this facial cleansing brush is a great choice for anyone who loves a good face massage. It also has four vibration modes and a silicone brush head, but shoppers say one of the best parts about it is the magnetic charging stand it comes with. “It's so easy to just leave it on its little stand to charge quickly,” one wrote, while another said the gold design “makes a great addition to [their] bathroom counter.” Plus, the device is waterproof, so it’s safe to take in the shower.