A facial device is a handheld beauty gadget that uses safe, low-voltage electricity to
stimulate muscles and cells face beauty. It’s been around for decades and used in some medical
procedures, like Bell’s palsy and facial paralysis, but has recently become popular as
a noninvasive treatment to tone, firm, lift, and sculpt the face—and reduce fine lines
The devices have two electrodes that emit small pulses of energy, and can be used
by a licensed aesthetician for a professional-level treatment, or at home with a kit
from a skin care brand. The goal is to increase muscle strength to sculpt and tighten
the face, and encourage circulation for a radiant glow, says Annie Gonzalez, MD, a
board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami. It’s also thought
that weaker facial muscles can contribute to signs of aging, so it’s helpful to build
these up with regular treatments.
“You can get similar results at home as you would in a professional setting for a
fraction of the cost,” says Jennifer Worden, a New York City-based aesthetician and
founder of The Face Gym. The devices work by stimulating adenosine triphosphate
(ATP), which can boost collagen production, tighten pores, increase blood flow, and
help lift and tone the face. “It’s an expert-vetted technology that’s noninvasive and
produces noticeable contouring and toning,” she adds.
But you need to know how to use the device correctly, says Dr. Weiss, who warns
against using them on people with very loose skin or those who have had plastic
surgery. They also shouldn’t be used in conjunction with Botox or fillers.
While the at-home devices aren’t as powerful as a professional facial machine, you
can still see noticeable results with consistent usage. And if you do opt to go for the
DIY route, it’s important to use clean, high-quality products that are designed to be
compatible with the device. Johari, of mbg, suggests choosing a hydrating
conductive gel that contains ingredients such as snow mushroom extract, five
growth factors, hyaluronic acid, niacinamides, and aloe vera. And avoid retinols and
exfoliants on the days you’re using the tool.
Several skin care brands make at-home facial devices, but our favorite is ZIIP’s
Trinity, which comes with everything you need for a four-minute facial. It’s small and
easy to store, plus it has preprogrammed face-sculpting tutorial videos, and an app
that provides a library of how-to guides and curated facial routines. Plus, it has a
gold-plated conductive gel that includes hydrating ingredients like niacinamide and
hyaluronic acid for extra glow. The brand also makes gua sha tools, which are rooted
in Traditional Chinese Medicine and can be used to promote lymphatic drainage, lift
the brow and jawline, and create a natural face-lift with gentle, upward strokes.