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We Tried 3 Of The Best Beauty Gadgets

Here’s how it went

By Anna Saunders

“I tried the handheld LED device that promises glow-ier skin’

Beauty editor Lucy Adams

I am not a gadget kind of girl. They just don’t excite me. I prefer a paper diary, read hardcopy books and give handwritten thank-you notes. (Maybe I’m just 35 going on 100!)

So, when SkinInc Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light landed on my desk, I was sceptical. After trying at least 20 different types of beauty gadgets over the year (everything from DIY shellac machines to terrifying hair-removal devices) I still can’t figure out how to get most of them working correctly (and quickly) and I often revert to old-school methods out of sheer frustration.

This wasn’t the case with the Tri-Light. It’s ready to use within seconds of opening the box – simply load the supplied batteries and turn on! What did excite me was being able to experience the benefits of one of my favourite beauty treatments – LED Light Therapy – at home. LED was initially developed by NASA (for plant-growth experiments on shuttle missions) but has also been used medically for severe wound healing, as an anti-ageing treatment (for its ability to regenerate new skin) and in the treatment of acne. And I’ve always loved the instant and long-lasting results on my skin.

As recommended, I applied the provided serum (you can use your own serum but ensure they are water-based) post-cleanse and customised my light. There are three targeted lights to choose from: Yellow, blue and red to ‘glow’, ‘revive’ or ‘soothe’ your skin respectively. Plus, two ‘power combo lights’ (orange and purple) address multiple skin concerns where needed. I choose the orange ‘Glow and Revive’ setting, a bespoke ‘power combo’ designed to brighten and regenerate your skin. I massaged the device in gentle circular motions around my face (avoiding my eyes) for 10 minutes, spending a couple of minutes on each area – forehead, cheeks, nose, chin – and I listened to a podcast to pass the time (which felt rather long). There’s a slight warm sensation and gentle humming from the device and it automatically shuts-off after 10 minutes – so you can’t over-do it!

It’s light, portable and easy to hold – and would be a perfect travel companion. I didn’t notice results instantly – unlike the post-facial glow from a professional treatment. After using it once a week for a month I have definitely noticed a change, though. My skin is plumper, my hormonal spots healed more quickly, and a few previous scars seemed slightly fainter. While the price is too steep for me (you can get the same results with a facial or at-home peel), I’d say it’s more of a long-term skin investment. Perfect for wedding-skin prep, constant long-haul travel or if you have a big few months of events and functions ahead – perhaps you could even share it with a few friends and split the costs?

SkinInc Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light, $512.

(Ordinarily, this is available from Sephora, too.)

“I tried futuristic glasses that reduce lines around your eyes”

Co-founder Anna Saunders

I’ll let you in on a secret: as I type this story I’m wearing a pair of sleek, white ultra-modern LED sunglasses that emit a bright orange glow. The glasses – futuristically named the SpectraLite EyeCare Pro LED Device – are designed by skincare expert Dr Dennis Gross and claim to reduce fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes.

Do I feel slightly smug about my ability to work while simultaneously indulging in a beauty treatment? Yes. Do I look completely ridiculous? Also yes. 

Unlike Lucy, I love beauty gadgets. Show me an overpriced high-tech device with ludicrously inflated claims and I’m IN. (You should see the graveyard of hair straighteners and curling tongs languishing at the bottom of my wardrobe.)

So I was excited to test Dr Dennis Gross’ glasses, and pleased to discover that they are super easy to use. The eye mask looks a little like a pair of Dirty Dog sunglasses (remember them?) but in reverse; instead of covering your eyes, the whole device wraps around your outer eye area and upper face, so you can still see – and ties at the back with an adjustable orange strap. 

The glasses are designed to be used for three minutes a day (and conveniently have a built-in timer, so you don’t have to keep track of time) and are charged via a USB cable. They are dotted with 80 tiny LED lights, which work by stimulating collagen production within the dermis of your skin. If this sounds like marketing-ese, you should know that (as Lucy pointed out) LED therapy was developed by NASA. 

I used the glasses every night for two weeks, and, admittedly, I haven’t seen much evidence of a reduction in fine lines so far. However, according to the manufacturer it can take up to 10 weeks to see results. The glasses are very easy to use and three minutes a day is manageable – even for someone like me, who can rarely be bothered to take the time to pain my nails. In fact, I actually found the three minutes of downtime every night very soothing (particularly in comparison to my usual pre-bedtime routine of scrolling through Instagram).

Although the glasses are $250, the cost is comparable to an LED treatment at one of Sydney’s top beauty salons – and at least you can use this device on an ongoing basis. So, if crows feet and lines around your eyes are a real issue and you’re keen to avoid injectables, I’d say they’re worth a try.

Dr. Dennis Gross SpectraLite EyeCare Pro LED Device, $243

‘It’s a bit like giving yourself an ultrasound’

Co-founder Felicity Robinson

“What’s that?” asked one of my children as I plugged in my new Nuface Trinity Mini to charge. To be fair, it is a little odd-looking, like a high-tech baby monitor or a state-of-the-art new sex toy. “It’s a facial toning device that uses a low-level electrical current to lift your skin,” I said, adopting my usual policy of full disclosure to all questions. But they’d already wandered off.

This gave me the chance to read the instruction booklet in peace, and it was quite long so I needed to concentrate.

As the Nuface mini uses electrical currents, it isn’t suitable for anyone with a heart condition, or who uses any electrical medical device, or who’s pregnant, as there’s a (small) chance it could interfere with other electrical impulses in the body. (“Electronic monitoring equipment, such as ECG monitors and ECG alarms, may not operate properly when the mini device is in use,” says the instruction booklet.) But I’m in good health and not pregnant, and to be honest, vanity overrides any low-level risk of death, so I closed the booklet and set to work.

First, I smeared liberal amounts of the gel primer, provided with the device, all over my left cheek. Then I glided the mini from the corner of my mouth to the bottom of my ear, and repeated the sweeping movement slightly higher, upwards to the middle of my ear, and then again to the top. Following the instructions, I repeated each of the three sweeps three times, then switched to my forehead, and the other side of my face. It felt a bit like giving yourself an ultrasound.

The device beeps every few seconds to indicate that it’s time to move to the next area and after five minutes it switches itself off, so you don’t get carried away. Not that I would. While the device doesn’t hurt, I felt a mild tingling and a sharp little jolt if I touched an area of skin that didn’t have gel on it.

At the end of the treatment you can rub the excess gel into your face, but I have really sensitive skin and developed a couple of spots in the first week. So I washed off the gel after each application and moisturised as usual, which was much better.

For the first 60 days, you use the Mini at least five times a week, then reduce to 2-3 times a week for maintenance. Some users experience results quickly, but to be honest I didn’t see much difference after a couple of weeks of use. That said, my skin does feel firmer and someone did complement me on my skin two days ago – and this is enough to encourage me to persevere for the next two months. That, and the fact I’m wary of needles, so anything that promises to help me stave off botox is worth the persistence.

NUFACE Trinity Mini, $299


BY Anna Saunders

Anna is the co-founder of PRIMER. She is also a sucker for any kind of beauty gadget.

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