With the launch of Clarisonic's new Alpha Fit device for men, I just had to know: How does a Clarisonic made for men differ from a Clarisonic targeted toward women? To find out, I roped in my always-helpful BF to compare the Alpha Fit to my Mia 2. If you're unfamiliar with Clarisonics, they're like electronic toothbrushes for your face. That is, a handy device that cleanses and gently exfoliates the skin. But before we get to how well each performed, let's go over the basics.
The Mia 2 is a model that's been around for a while. It has an ergonomic handle, a built-in timer, and two speed settings: a "Delicate" speed for sensitive skin and a "Universal" speed for non-sensitive types. While it usually comes with a Sensitive Brush Head, I prefer to keep the Deep Pore Cleansing Brush Head on my device.
The new Alpha Fit forgoes a handle in favor of a more pod-like shape. It also has a built-in timer, but instead of two speed settings, it has two timer settings: "Daily Cleansing" targets shaved skin with 60 seconds while "Power Cleansing" targets bearded skin with 80 seconds. The brush head that comes with this device is most comparable to the Normal Brush Head.
To see how these two devices compare, both my boyfriend and I designated half of our faces to each one. Because he is heavily bearded, he used half of the "Power Cleansing" mode on the Alpha Fit (40 seconds) for one half of his face, and half of the "Universal" speed on the Mia 2 (30 seconds) for the other half of his face. Because my skin is more sensitive, I used half of the "Daily Cleansing" mode on the Alpha Fit (30 seconds) for one half of my face, and half of the "Delicate" speed on the Mia 2 (30 seconds) for the other half of my face. We used the Alpha Cleanse cleanser with both devices. Here's what we thought.
This was his first time using a Clarisonic, and for someone who isn't big on skincare, he let me know that the routine was surprisingly short and painless. Plus, it was a big bonus that the Alpha Fit was able to clean through his beard. He looked pretty impressed when he told me, "I can actually feel this cleaning my skin under my beard. Do you know how hard it is to clean under a beard?" Well I can't say that I do know, but it seemed like a pretty big deal to him. He also let me know that the stubble on his neck was standing up nicely after using the Alpha Fit, making him think that a shave would be pretty painless after using this device.
Having used a Clarisonic before, I felt like I knew what to expect. And sure enough, using the Alpha Fit was not too different from using a Mia 2. I did find the brush head to be soft (maybe a little too soft for my liking). And even though I usually use my device in the shower, using the Alpha Fit over the sink allowed me to find out that I can see what I'm doing much better without a handle in the way. However, for use in the shower, I do still think the handle is better for storage (I wouldn't accidentally knock it over and make it roll away).
After using the Alpha Fit, the BF found the handle on the Mia 2 to be a little cumbersome, especially for navigating the neck. However, it too was able to clean through his beard, and he even thought that the Mia 2 offered a deeper clean (although this can be attributed to the type of brush head). And even though the Mia 2 also offered shave prep by helping his neck stubble stand up, he was a little worried that the 30 seconds for half of his face was not enough time to thoroughly cleanse through his beard. Therefore, he preferred the idea of having 80 seconds to clean his face and neck with the Alpha Fit over the 60 seconds offered by the Mia 2.
I have to be honest: Because my skin is sensitive and I always use the lowest setting, I didn't experience too many differences between using the Alpha Fit and the Mia 2 that cannot be attributed to the brush head. However, while testing my Mia 2, I did catch myself thinking that its bulkiness does make it less travel-friendly than the more-compact Alpha Fit. Maybe all I really need to pack is my own brush head, and I can just use his Alpha Fit when we travel...
Even though the Alpha Fit is marketed towards men, and the variety of colors offered make it seem like the Mia 2 is geared more towards women, there really are no rules. Color is color, and it doesn't matter if something is "made" for a specific gender. If you like it, use it. That being said, the main differences to consider between the Alpha Fit and the Mia 2 are the shape and timers. While I find the handle on the Mia 2 to be more helpful for use in the shower, it can be more awkward when cleansing the neck, and makes the device a little more bulky. And while I don't need all 80 seconds that the Alpha Fit offers, the BF or others with beards can put those extra 20 seconds to good use.
At the end of the day, I'll stick with my Mia 2, and the BF is sticking with his Alpha Fit. But because both devices make the skin feel softer, prepare it for shaving, and can clean through a beard; if in a pinch, or if the mood ever struck, we'd both be happy sharing or swapping. Both really can get the job done.
Images: Miki Hayes