I’ve spent the last 10 years trying beauty products. Some work, some don’t. Most products are really just a blur. I catch a glimpse of them on the Sephora site, and think “Huh, I’ve tried that before.” Everything seems magical and necessary in my routine when I’m first using it, but they fade in the background if I don’t repurchase them once I use them up. But there are a handful of products that really stick out amongst the rest. The ones that I can still talk about endlessly even though I tried them years ago. Beauty gadgets rarely come to mind in that list, but my NuFACE Mini Toning Device is the best beauty product I’ve ever got my hands on.
I spoke with licensed esthetician, Samantha Dench, and had the pleasure of a Zoom tutorial with Tera Peterson, NuFACE’s Co-Founder, to get the low-down on microcurrent, best practices for using the device, and why it’s so good.
Microcurrent has been in beauty for over 30 years, but only the who’s who of Hollywood was getting it before NuFACE. “Microcurrent uses an electromagnetic current to stimulate facial muscles, which over the course of several treatments, lifts and tightens the skin,” said Samantha Dench, licensed esthetician in Illinois. Microcurrent reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, tightens sagging skin, and lifts and contours facial features. It also stimulates collagen, which Dench explains is important, especially since you start naturally losing collagen at 25. “This is a natural way to keep your face looking younger in a non-invasive way,” Dench said, unlike botox, a facelift, or injections.
“Microcurrent is the equivalent to getting a gym workout for your face muscles,” Dench said. The way it stimulates your facial muscles is similar to the way lifting weights would stimulate your biceps in the gym. This is why microcurrent should be used consistently—you can’t lift weights one time and immediately see definition in your legs. “You have to continuously work the muscles, stimulate and challenge them with a variety of movements until they begin to regain their shape and tone.”
In-office, a microcurrent treatment could cost anywhere from $175 to $200—meaning the NuFACE at-home device could be just a bit more (or less) than you’d pay for one treatment, and Dench recommends 8-12 treatments.
Who can benefit from microcurrents?
Microcurrent is effective at any age—whether you’re in your early 20s or late 50s. It’s often touted as a way to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, but Dench explained that there’s a lot more it can do based on your skincare goals. Microcurrent can help lift sagging skin in the neck, jowls, the naso-labial folds around the mouth, as well as aids in lymphatic drainage to reduce puffiness in the face, clears acne, and reduces the look of hyperpigmentation from acne and scars. “Microcurrent is calming to clients suffering from inflammation, such as acne, rosacea, and sensitive skin, as well as hyperpigmentation (which is also inflammation of the skin).” Peterson also suggested NuFACE is good for clients with acne, as long as the acne isn’t an open wound.
In-Office vs. At-Home Microcurrent Treatments
The key difference between NuFACE and in-office microcurrent treatments is the level of microcurrent used. At-home treatments should be done just about every day to see results (when I first started using NuFACE, I used it five days a week for 60 days and now 3-4 times a week, which is what NuFACE recommends). In the office, you’ll experience a much higher level of the current. Drench said brides and mothers’ of the bride and those attending special events or reunions are the most likely to come for in-office treatments to feel and look their best on a big day. She recommended doing a series of in-office treatments and using an at-home device to get the best results.
Started in 2005, NuFACE is a family business owned by Tera Peterson and her mother, Carol Cole, both estheticians in Encinitas, CA. Both had been practicing in-office microcurrent for decades, but they wanted to develop a product that their clients could use in-between appointments because microcurrent is best when used consistently.
NuFACE has three devices for the face: the Trinity, the Mini, and the Fix. The Trinity is larger and offers more attachments to target fine lines and wrinkles. Tera recommends this for customers over 35 or the truly beauty-obsessed. The Mini is easy on the go, more affordable, and good for those under 35 who want to start preventing skin from losing tightness. The Fix is for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face.
The way you use your NuFACE device is imperative to getting the results you’re after. For as long as I’ve used NuFACE, I’ve followed the tutorial recommended on the box packaging and with Susan Yara on YouTube: three glides on the neck, under the chin, under the cheekbone, and above the eyebrow. You hold the device at the end of the swipe until it beeps and move onto the next. This has worked wonders for me: it’s easy to follow, easy to remember, and produces great results every single time.
I only apply the activator to the area I’m working on, so the device glides easily across the face the entire time I’m using it. NuFACE previously included a gel primer with all of their devices, but it was sticky, uncomfortable, and weird to use (it had like a lube texture mixed with aloe vera—yeah, not my favorite thing to put on my face). They’ve recently launched two new activators that work as a conducting gel and skincare—and they’re divine. Peterson explained that these are far easier to use because you can utilize it as skincare instead of having to wipe it off afterward.
When I spoke with Peterson over Zoom, she showed me a slightly different technique that I’ll be using from now on. I was always using the device at the medium setting, and she immediately told me to switch it to the highest (when the two lines on the far right light up). I noticed such a difference in this treatment that I’ll never go back to using the lighter setting.
Instead of the three-glide method, Peterson showed me how to utilize the device in a way that fits my face better. I focus on holding the device around my jawline where I want more definition, and around my cheekbone to make them pop. Now that I’ve been using the device for a while, I can experiment with other methods to get my desired look and focus on the areas that I need. I even use it where I have acne, and I noticed it helped me get rid of a spot faster.
When I use the NuFACE, I get an immediate result that can only be described as shocking. On my Zoom with Peterson, even she was amazed by the lift in my eyebrows. “Everyone lifts completely different… People either get a crazy lift in the brow or they see it in their [cheekbones], but some people get both.” I’ve never had injectables, but I predict they give that same feeling of awe that I get when I use my NuFACE. I feel infinitely more confident, my makeup applies better, and my skin is smoother.
I’ve now been using NuFACE for about a year and a half, and the results have been extreme. I’ve lost some weight and started eating a little less salt in that time which has definitely changed the shape of my face a bit, but I have definition in my cheekbones that I’ve never had, even in my teens.
I use NuFACE mostly for the contours of my face because I’ve always been insecure about the roundness of my face and my complete lack of jawline definition, but I’ve also begun to notice the other benefits too, like a more even skin tone, clearer skin, and less texture. I’m excited to see how my skin is in 10 years when I can say I’ve been actively using microcurrent for a decade because I’m already noticing that my skin is tighter and firmer from using it for the last year.
I use the Mini because I’m young and don’t need all of the attachments just yet, it’s easier to bring on the go, and the initial investment was a little easier to swallow. But even at that, it’s still $200. However, the Mini goes on sale often and is always included in Sephora’s 20 percent off sales and at Nordstrom and Dermstore. While it’s certainly high, I know I’d pay it again and again for how good my results are.
I love my NuFACE Mini as much as I love my dermatologist. It is the single only skincare device that has ever worked for me over a long period of time, and I will sing its praises from the rooftops until the end of time. There isn’t much of a verdict to give beyond saying that I love it, everyone should try it, and the results speak for themselves. While it’s on the pricier side for a skincare product, the NuFACE Mini is the cheapest microcurrent device on the market (and that’s when it’s not on sale), and as far as beauty gadgets go, it’s on the lower end.
If you want a device that will make a noticeable difference in your skin—now and later—NuFACE is the one to beat.