A good cleansing brush can not only remove makeup and grime more effectively but also help prep your skin for whatever the next step in your routine is — but it's not always clear what makes one tool better than another. One way to narrow down your options is to focus on dermatologist-recommended face cleansing brushes. These brushes get the experts' seal of approval not just for their ability to deep-clean your skin, but also for doing so gently. Some of them work manually, while others are electric and use light vibrations or sonic technology to completely remove the day's accumulation of oil and debris from your skin.
According to Dr. Rachel Maiman, M.D., a general and cosmetic dermatologist at Marmur Medical, no matter what your skin type or the type of brush you go with, the key to achieving the best results is to use a light touch. "Scrubbing the skin too aggressively or for too long with anything, whether that be a cleansing brush or washcloth, can damage the skin's natural acid mantle, [which] protects the skin from environmental stressors, such as pollution, as well as bacteria and viruses," she tells Bustle.
For those who prefer the feel of a traditional brush, look for one with softer bristles, which are less harsh (and if it's an electric one, choose the lowest speed setting to ensure you don't over-exfoliate). Just keep in mind, per Dr. Maiman, you should replace the brush head every one to two months in order to "reduce the risk that overused, damaged and frayed bristles become too abrasive," she says. Dr. Ava Shamban, M.D., adds "Not cleaned properly, any and every material of bristles can attract unwanted friends. They can become long term housing for bacteria or fungus."
Silicone cleansing brushes, on the other hand, lean on small, textured nubs for their dirt-lifting abilities. They aren't as firm as bristles, but they also aren't as porous, so they're the more hygienic option (plus, the only thing that needs regular replacing — or recharging — is their batteries).
Below, Dr. Shamban, Dr. Maiman, and a few of their cohorts weigh in on which of the devices they consider to be the best facial cleansing brushes and why!
1. FOREO LUNA 3
“The FOREO Luna is a favorite facial brush and one I recommend to my patients. It has soft silicone nubs for bristles which are non-abrasive, antimicrobial, and antibacterial. They gently exfoliate skin and remove dirt, oil, and all makeup or environmental sludge. The other side is a low-frequency massage tool for stimulation and to assist with product absorption.”
— Dr. Ava Shamban, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in Beverly Hills, CA
"It's gentle enough to use daily and it’s easier to clean. It's much less expensive in the end because you don’t have to change the brush heads like with many other sonic systems.”
— Dr. Debra Jaliman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York, NY
2. e.l.f. Cleansing Duo Face Brush
“The e.l.f. brush is a great choice if you are looking for a manual cleansing brush. One side has super soft bristles for gently cleansing your face and the other side has flexible silicone ends that will help you achieve a deeper exfoliation and promote facial circulation via massage. Any skin type can use this and if you have skin that gets irritated easily, you can massage as gently as you need.”
— Dr. Debra Jaliman
3. PMD Clean Smart Facial Cleansing Device
"The PMD Clean has 7,000 vibrations per minute and uses an active warmth combined with sonic technology to help with product absorption. You won't have to swap out the head, just clean with a gentle cleanser and warm water. It's a good choice for those looking for anti-aging options or people with acne-prone skin."
— Dr. Ava Shamban, M.D., board-certified dermatologist based in Beverly Hills, CA
4. TAO Orbital Brush System
"If you prefer the feeling of actual brush bristles, the TAO orbital brush cleaning system comes with a bonus station [with a built-in UV-C light] that holds and disinfects the brush, keeping it protected and contaminant-free. It actually dries the bristles while it charges so no unwanted friends come calling.”
— Dr. Ava Shamban
5. Vanity Planet Ultimate Skin Spa Facial Cleansing Brush
“I like this Vanity Planet cleansing brush largely because of its customizability, which makes it much more suitable to a variety of skin types and renders it slightly more foolproof in the sense that it gives the user control of the settings rather than defaulting to an often too aggressive setting. The lightweight spin can generally be tolerated by even the most sensitive skin. It also contains interchangeable brush heads including a silicone one that is ideal for daily use [and] an exfoliating brush, which can be appropriately limited to once or twice weekly."
— Dr. Rachel Maiman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City
Dr. Debra Jaliman, M.D., board-certified dermatologist
Dr. Rachel Maiman, M.D., board-eligible general and cosmetic dermatologist
Dr. Ava Shamban, M.D., board-certified dermatologist