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Open up TikTok, and you'll probably see a microcurrent review of some variety on the app. NuFace, Foreo, FaceGym, Ziip and Theraface are just some of the most popular facial microcurrent devices around right now. Microcurrent treatments were mostly exclusively used in clinics, but their popularity has soared since lockdown, with many people claiming that they are beneficial in helping to lift, sculpt and tone the skin at home—with some even experiencing instant results. Sounds good pretty good for an at-home skincare tool, right?
Let's get into the science for a moment. How does microcurrent work exactly? The electrical microcurrent that runs through the device helps to target the facial muscles underneath the skin to help lift, de-puff and contour. Several microcurrent devices come with dedicated treatment videos that you can follow along with or sync with an app on your phone to start your treatment. You'll find that most microcurrent kits include a "conductive serum," which is used to allow the current to pass through your skin. Using a microcurrent device for the first time can be an unusual experience to say the least. (Expect involuntary lip twitches or weird twinges on your skin as the device moves over it.) As long as you are applying a generous amount of conductive serum before your treatment, you'll find it to be a far more comfortable experience, and you'll get used to the sensation after a couple of goes.
Many also tout microcurrent as a Botox alternative. However, it's worth remembering that microcurrent will give you results, but they are temporary not really comparable to more invasive treatments (like Botox) in-clinic. Like with training your muscles at the gym, regular practise and consistency are key to maintain the results with microcurrent. If you're thinking of investing in a device, do bear this in mind.
Microcurrent devices definitely fall into the investment-purchase scale in terms of affordability. You can expect to pay at least a couple hundred pounds, with some stretching to the £500 mark. Some devices offer microcurrent as their all-star technology, whereas other devices offer it as one of several alongside nanocurrent, LED or facial massage modalities. To find out which microcurrent facial devices are the best (and worth the money), I recruited some of Who What Wear UK editors and our beauty crew contributors to test the best microcurrent devices around right now for a solid week. Ahead, you'll find our unfiltered thoughts to help you decide on the best microcurrent device for you.
For years, I have both seen and heard about Foreo but mostly for its beloved Luna series of cleansers. The Bear is the brand’s microcurrent device that reached buzzy heights online back in 2020 thanks to its use of microcurrent technology to lift, tighten and smooth the skin. As someone who is still undecided on injectables, I was more than excited to get my hands on an at-home device with the potential to unlock a new level of dewy, sculpted greatness.
The pros: Over the week of testing the Foreo Bear, I found it extremely easy to use and quite a fun addition to my morning routine. The device comes with a handy QR code that links you right to the app where you register your device. After I successfully logged in and synced the device via Bluetooth, it was quite straightforward to navigate. From the Bear homepage, you’ll find that you can opt for two actions —treatments or massage—and find out more about the device.
The Foreo Bear runs on a three-minute cycle, and I alternated between its total facial knockout mode (2.5 minutes) and the gentle V-shaped yoga (2.5 minutes). The instructions advise you to use the Bear on a clean face, which as an oil-cleanser lover felt a tad sacrilegious, but nevertheless, I complied. I then went in with a conductive layer of Foreo’s water-based Serum Serum Serum. Despite the name, this is not a serum to scrimp and savour, as I found out after an initial run, so by day two, I was all about the slather in order to stave off any evaporation of the product before the exercise was done.
After making this adjustment, I found that the device glided across my face deftly and made the overall experience better. After using the device each time, I felt a slight tingle, which ultimately disappeared within 10 minutes and felt significantly less uncomfortable than hot, prickling shocks that sometimes accompany microcurrent, even whilst using the device on level eight of its intensity scale.
I loved using the device, and in order to fully see the promised results, I’ve now mentally committed to using it for a month—including bringing it on a trip away at end of the month—due to its friendly size.
The cons: Although it is fairly easy to use with minimal aftercare, I would hesitate to recommend The Bear to a skincare beginner. However, I think the device would make for a great investment piece for seasoned salongoers and skincare lovers—including me. I think in order to see the best results with this device, I would need to use it across a few weeks. However, the initial results are more than promising, so I can’t wait.
I've owned this little microcurrent device for a while, but I decided to give it a full road test for our Deep Reviews. Ziip was founded by Melanie Simon, a celebrity esthetician who has treated the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Kim Kardashian and Eva Mendes with her microcurrent magic. The device utilises the power of two modalities: microcurrent and nanocurrent. The microcurrent targets the muscles, while the nanocurrent treats the skin by boosting ATP, which helps skin cells repair (cue glowing skin).
The pros: The device comes with a conductive gel to use alongside the treatment, and it's packed with a lot of skin-loving ingredients. As my fellow testers mention, you'll want to liberally apply this before beginning your treatment. The treatment can feel prickly if you don't apply enough, so be generous! I loved using the device for my treatments, which are synced via the Ziip app via Bluetooth. There are several treatments to choose from, ranging between two and 10 minutes, so even if you're short on time, a treatment is always possible to squeeze in. The videos are conducted by Simon herself and are so easy to follow along. Instant Gratification, Sculpt & Lift and Contour are just some of the enticing treatments that offer the works, but you can also select treatments that are targeted to the eyes, brows and jawline if you want a tailored treatment on one area. Watching Simon's beautifully sculpted complexion was enough to convince me to continue with regular treatments over the week.
As for myself, I have hooded eyes and find I sometimes wake up with puffiness around my eye-and-brow area. I also have a penchant for salty foods (Itsu with lashings of soy sauce? Yes, please), so I can sometimes find my face is a little puffy if I overdo it. So I focused a lot on the brows, eyes and jaw during my treatments. I could absolutely feel the device working (particularly with the more extensive treatments), and I could feel my muscles responding to the microcurrent, which rather amusingly sometimes made my lips twitch. The treatment begins gently and gradually increases in intensity, which is where I could feel the sculpting magic happen. From the first day of testing, I could see a slight lift of my brows, a reduction in puffiness and defined cheekbones—I just generally looked more well-rested.
Towards the end of the week of testing, I was struck with a hormonal breakout on my chin. But Ziip was there to the rescue, as it has a dedicated breakout treatment, which harnesses the negative ions to kill off the blemish-causing bacteria (that are positively charged). As I ran the device over the spots, I could feel tingling in the blemishes, and I noticed these cleared up pretty quickly. After a week of testing, I sadly didn't exactly transform into Bella Hadid, but my skin was generally better behaved, and I love the instant gratification I got from my daily treatments. It's subtle, but I felt like everything was a bit more sculpted. Like our other reviewers have mentioned, you have to keep up regular treatments to maintain the results, but the device is so easy to slot into my routine that this isn't an issue.
The cons: If I had to be picky, I wish that the conductive gel was less heavy. I did most of my treatments in the evenings, so this wasn't an issue to have a bit of extra shine on my skin. However, it feels too slick to wear before wearing makeup, so I would recommend removing this if you're heading out. Gel top-ups can prove costly, but I love that this also doubles up as a treatment for the skin.
This is my first time using a microcurrent device, and at first it’s an unusual sensation. It takes a couple of sessions to get used to and to understand how to best use it, where it glides smoothly and where you need to ensure there’s plenty of gel (without this, it can cause friction on the skin and be a little uncomfortable). As long as you start on the lower level and gradually build up, the feeling is pretty unnoticeable. If you’re impatient like me and try a higher level too soon, then it’ll feel like a minor electric sting on the skin. But once you’ve had a couple of sessions, it’s super easy.
The pros: After using the device for the first time, I couldn't see any noticeable changes—this device requires regular usage to see results. After a week, however, my skin feels a little less saggy, so to speak. I feel like my brow arch is slightly higher, and my forehead lines are slightly shallower, but for more noticeable results, I think a month of usage would be required.
Once you know what to do, the device is easy to use. It can be a little tedious on the lower levels waiting for the device to beep, so you know to move again, but you definitely get used to it. I felt like after a few more weeks, the results could be equivalent to more invasive treatments, and I’d rather not have procedures that require incisions or anaesthesia. If you’re considering expensive in-salon treatments, then it’s definitely worth trying. Even with the cost of the Hydrating Aqua Gel that’s used as a primer, it’s cheaper to do it at home, and I like the ease of working it into my beauty routine and busy schedule.
The cons: The sensation when you go to a higher level can feel a little scary. It is electrical current, after all. If you don’t use enough gel, the friction can be painful, and I wondered how long the gel would last that comes free with the device. Replacing it with a big bottle when it runs out is quite expensive.
The many promises made by beauty brands always leave me a little sceptical. From LED face masks to rose-quartz rollers and celebrity skincare ranges to hairstylers, the beauty market has seen an influx of new tools over the last few years and even months. In comes FaceGym Pro, a device that is meant to have the same beloved effects of FaceGym's famous facial workouts, but in the comfort of your own home.
The pros: Initially, I incorporated this into my morning skincare routine, normally during the time (ideally 10 minutes) I spent standing in front of my wardrobe deciding what to wear. However, I think it works better as part of a nighttime routine. Despite the clear instructions, I have to admit I still needed clarification during my first try with this skincare device. I turned the device on just to see how it works, and while stroking it along my cheekbones, I wondered why I wasn't feeling anything. I could hear the frequency but couldn't really feel anything at all. That was until I used it in conjunction with the conductive serum it came with, and I was wowed by how the small silver electrodes could transform my skin.
I wouldn’t say I saw noticeable results straight after using the the device; it’s one of those things that take time for the results to come in. One thing I did notice and love after using the device was how soft my face felt.
After a week of testing, I was wowed by how effective this skincare device was. As someone with sensitive skin, I’m always careful with what I use, so I was hesitant to try the Collagen Infusion Gel that comes with the device. However, I was really pleased with the results. The conductor gel is packed with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin and is infused with collagen to help with skin elasticity, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and increase blood flow to the skin. (Note: When there isn’t enough serum on the face, the device will beep to let you know!) The results from this treatment are not instant, but with consistency and long-term use, I believe it can achieve its goal of delivering a toned finish to the skin.
Do I think it’s good value for money? The jury is out on this one. Yes, if you’re a FaceGym frequenter looking to emulate or maintain the studio experience at home and are willing to make the investment. If you’re looking for low-lift instant results? No. Another potential downside is that the device doesn’t work without the activator gel, so you’ll need to keep repurchasing it. At £515, the price is steep, but I can tell you now that the results are worth it.
The cons: I wasn’t keen on the size of the device. I wish it were a little more compact so it’s easy to carry around, and I really, really wish it came with a case you could pop it in.
I have to admit, despite coming into this with doubts, I actually really loved using this device. The Solawave is really a four-in-one device, combining microcurrent, light therapy, facial massage and therapeutic warmth into one little wand. These four therapies help to define the face, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and blemishes, help with hyperpigmentation and decrease puffiness.
The pros: For me, the biggest draw is how straightforward the wand is.There’s no room for error, which is important for someone like me who is a complete novice when it comes to tools like this. I also love how compact the device is, which meant it was really easy to pack when I went away for a few days. There is a recommended serum to use with it, but the brand also says you can use whatever, so you're under no obligation to purchase it in order to use the device.
I think this device is really good value for money considering you effectively get to benefit from four therapies. It is also a great entry-level price point compared to other microcurrent devices, so is a good option if you're new to the world of facial tools like me and want to start off with something straightforward.
I used it in the evening as part of my nighttime routine, but there's no recommended time, so you can use it whenever it works best for you. It’s very simple to use: Charge the device up using the cable provided before applying serum or moisturiser to your cleansed skin. This is a really important step, as the wand won’t work on dry skin. It literally will not turn on! The brand recommends its own serum, but you can use anything you already own already. Once you’re lathered up, pop the device on your face, and it will automatically turn on. You then follow the handy instruction booklet (you’ll only need to read this once, and it is really brief yet comprehensive) and effectively pull the wand up and out towards your cheekbones/top of your forehead. You should aim to use the wand for five minutes in total a day. It doesn’t hurt (you can’t feel it at all actually apart from a little warmth), but if your skin is a bit dry, you’ll feel a little bit of tightness. If this happens, just whack on some more product!
After using the device for the first time, I felt my skin looked plumper and brighter. After a week, my skin just felt and looked healthier in general. My eyes looked less puffy and my complexion looked brighter, with less redness and blemishes. Lastly, I think it was a great idea that it comes with a charging cable but not a plug. We all have random plugs from phones lying around, and I thought this was a good way to minimise waste and packaging.
The cons: Sometimes the device would turn off even when I had a lot of serum/moisturiser on, and when it did that, it was really hard to get it to start again.
Coming from the brand that produces the much-lauded Theragun, the TheraFace is as slick to use as you’d expect. With multiple attachments (the microcurrent device being one of them), I found it so easy to switch between them thanks to the seamless magnetic features. Plus, there are so many handy video tutorials on the brand’s dedicated YouTube channel that explain exactly how to use each attachment, which is helpful for a beauty-tool novice like me to watch on repeat.
The pros: To use the microcurrent tool, you add the required head to the device, apply a mask-like layer of the conductive gel (which comes included) to your face, set your strength (a nice feature that allows you to build up the current as you become more familiar and experienced with the feeling) and then follow the very clear and simple video instructions for guiding the device, which feels a lot like a facial massager, across the face. The whole process takes little more than five minutes, and you can repeat this every 24 hours.
As for what it feels like, honestly, the first time I used it I felt nothing at all. Worried I wasn’t doing it right, I turned up the strength and even then I only felt slight twinges on the skin where there was no conductive gel or where the gel had dried up, so I’d recommend applying liberally or in sections as you go to avoid this.
I didn’t notice any dramatic results after the first use, but there certainly weren't any negative side effects or noticeable redness or irritation. After a week or so, though, there was definitely a feeling of having tighter, brighter skin in areas like the jawline and cheekbones, where I often would feel swollen or puffy, especially in the mornings.
The device is so easy to use. As I said, I’m a complete tool and beauty novice, and I found it effortless to use with the help of the guidance videos. I also loved how slick it was to use and how adding such an easy step to my evening routine came with actual results. You can also use it in the morning, but I found it so easy to do sat in front of the TV once I had the instructions down.
I loved that this wasn’t only a microcurrent device, and for your investment you actually end up getting multiple different attachments that all target different concerns, from rejuvenating LED light therapy to cleansing rings and percussive facial massaging. All of which can cost a lot if you were buying them as individual devices alone.
All in all, I’d say if you’re looking for a do-it-all device that feels a little indulgent (i.e., it can help create that moment of much-needed self-care) but that’s also results-driven, TheraFace makes a smart investment. It works well both as an introductory, easy-to-use device that beauty novices will love and as an advanced tool that’s at the forefront of the industry with its technology and multiple attachments, so beauty obsessives will love to play around with its features too.
The cons: There’s not much to not like about the TheraFace device. Sometimes there are twinges using the microcurrent attachment, which, if you’re nervous about it, can feel uncomfortable. But it’s momentary and you can very quickly add more gel or turn the strength down accordingly. If you’re a traditionalist, it could also be a little frustrating to have to go online to find all the instructional videos, but I liked having the visual examples.
Rating: 8/10 for the microcurrent tool, but 9/10 overall for all the great attachments.