The best anti-ageing treatments used to be the exclusive preserve of the lucky few.
If the pain and the price weren’t enough to put you off, there was the hassle of needing to be able to pop by the usually London-based clinics that offered them.
But now, thanks to an onrush of technological innovation, a slew of new beauty devices offer very decent versions of high-tech salon treatments: everything from permanent reduction of unwanted hair to wrinkle-busting, boosting hair growth and treating acne.
In fact, DIY devices have become the hottest sector in the beauty world. A democratic beauty revolution? Who’d have thought it!
You might have to use them a bit more often to get results, since none is as powerful as clinical-grade equipment — but that minor drawback is offset by the convenience of being able to use them in your own home.
Alice Hart-Davis revealed the best at home beauty devices and treatments for anti-ageing (file image)
Even Boots and Tesco are in on the act, selling cleansing devices and Neutrogena’s anti-acne mask, while beauty tech retailer currentbody.com, which offered just a handful of gadgets when it launched five years ago, now has a range of 350.
‘Thanks to all the beauty blogs, women are much more educated about beauty treatments,’ says facialist Teresa Tarmey, who looks after the complexions of model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and socialite Poppy Delevingne. ‘They’ve realised that with the right tools it’s possible to do these treatments on yourself.’
She is launching a home-use kit — including a derma roller, a massage device, 12 weeks’ worth of skincare products and a reusable silicone mask — to enable women to replicate her collagen-stimulating salon facials.
‘What I’ve put together enables women to give themselves, at home, the whole treatment that they would get if they came to see me. There will be a video to show people how to use it, so it’s incredibly user-friendly.’
Here are the other anti-agers that are worth checking out — in the privacy of your own home of course . . .
TOO SCARED TO TRY BOTOX?
Try: Natura Bisse Inhibit High Definition Patches for wrinkle lines (£350, naturabisse.com)
Natura Bisse Inhibit High Definition Patches for wrinkle lines (pictured) rejuvenates skin through tiny ‘needles’ on each patch which pricks compressed ingredients into the skin
What it is: These small, stick-on anti-wrinkle patches look like mini sheet masks — but they’re much more high-tech.
Built into each patch is a mass of tiny ‘needles’ composed of dried, compressed anti-ageing ingredients. You stick one beside each eye, one along each nose-to-mouth line and one between your eyebrows.
The ‘needles’ prick the outer layers of the skin to allow the concentrated, compressed ingredients to dissolve deeper over the next two hours.
The wrinkle-relaxing ingredient they contain, conotoxin, works in a comparable way to Botox to reduce muscle contractions, while hyaluronic acid plumps out lines from the inside.
What it’s like: There’s a prickly sensation as I smoothe them on to the curve around my crow’s feet. But once they’re on I can hardly feel them and am only reminded that they are there when I scrunch up my eyes. There are no marks when I peel the plastic off, and all the ingredients that made up the ‘needles’ have melted into my skin.
Do my crow’s feet already look softer? Not really, but using these twice a week for a month gives impressive results [according to the brand’s trials], which last a further month.
Verdict: This is a leap forward in skin-rejuvenating technology, which helps explain the high price point. It’s a great alternative to Botox if you’re nervous to take the leap.
NOT READY FOR LIP FILLERS?
Try: PMD Kiss (now £85, currentbody.com)
PMD Kiss (pictured) uses a pulsating vacuum to boost lip volume and colour by causing swelling
What it is: This little device uses a pulsating vacuum to apply suction to your lips, which makes them swell. It’s like a kinder version of the shot-glass trick (where you stick your lips inside a shot glass, suck out the air and wait for your poor lips to swell in protest).
There’s a serum that comes with the device to hydrate the lips and boost volume, for up to two or three hours. Daily use is meant to boost collagen production and help plump lips for as long as six weeks.
What it’s like: Easy enough to use. It vacuums up a chunk of your lip at a time. It doesn’t hurt and it takes about three minutes.
Verdict: It certainly boosts your lip volume and colour (due to the increased blood flow) for an hour or two.
Be careful not to go too near the edge of your lip as it could leave a red ring around the mouth that you can’t hide with lipstick.
I can see it being popular for older women with thinning lips or younger women looking to achieve a Kylie Jenner pout without injections of filler. Call me old-fashioned, but this is something I can’t really be bothered with.
TOO EMBARRASSED TO TELL A CLINIC ABOUT SPOTS?
Try: Neutrogena Visibly Clear Light Therapy Acne Mask, £59.99 at Boots, Tesco and Superdrug.
Neutrogena Visibly Clear Light Therapy Acne Mask (pictured) reduces the appearance of spots using LED lights to destroy bacteria and stimulate collagen formation
What it is: The mask is like a solid plastic face-shaped shield, with a slot at eye level so you can still see out. On the inside, there are LED lights which emit blue and red light. The blue destroys the bacteria that cause acne on the skin while the red helps stimulate collagen formation.
What it’s like: Surprisingly comfortable and you can see enough not to feel shut off from the world. But read the instructions several times before you start. I didn’t and inadvertently set off the mask. When I stopped it, I found I’d used up one of the 30 sessions you get from the Activator — when those run out, you need to buy a new Activator for £14.99.
Verdict: Very helpful if you use it regularly and consistently. (If you went to a clinic, you would need 20 minutes of blue light twice a week). In Neutrogena’s tests, 98 per cent of acne sufferers saw improvements after using the mask every day for 12 weeks. If this sounds like too much faff for the odd spot, you might be better off with the Neutrogena Visibly Clear Light Therapy Targeted Acne Spot Treatment (now £19.99, only at Boots for the moment), which offers the same combination of light therapy in concentrated doses, for quick zapping of specific spots.
TOO SQUEAMISH FOR MICRO-NEEDLING?
Try: GloPro Micro-stimulation Facial Tool (£199, glopro beauty.co.uk)
GloPro Micro-stimulation Facial Tool (pictured) is clinically proven to stimulate the skin’s natural healing response using LED light and tiny steel spikes
What it is: A smart microneedling device which stimulates the skin’s natural healing response. The roller is covered in tiny steel spikes, and as it’s rolled across the face it creates thousands of tiny holes in the skin. These help skincare products sink in, so they will be more effective.But the GloPro also vibrates and beams soothing, collagen-boosting red LED light at the skin as it is used, to enhance regenerative benefits.
What it’s like: Easy to use and only lightly prickly on the skin. I roll it enthusiastically around my face for the recommended minute, then slap on my retinol night cream and retire for the night.
Verdict: Fabulous. It’s sophisticated and clinically proven. I have found myself using this with dedication and also experimenting with the larger body-roller head which is meant to be brilliant for stretch marks and cellulite.
You could get all the same benefits of the microneedling, minus the LED light and vibration, with a £10 dermaroller off the internet. I love this version, but it depends on your budget.
CELEBRITY FACE MASSAGES TOO EXPENSIVE?
Try: Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift (now £240, currentbody.co.uk)
Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift (pictured) tightens skin through three minutes of use daily
What it is: Clarisonic is famous for its cleansing brushes, but this goes one step further — it comes with a massaging attachment that has three rubbery bumps on it. It claims to tone, tighten and lift skin, while softening wrinkles. The rubbery bumps vibrate and deliver 2,700 ‘micro-massage motions’ into your skin and these in turn stimulate collagen production. You can use it with any skincare serum, cream or oil that you like, for three minutes at a time, morning and night.
Results from trials look encouraging — users report tighter, smoother skin and less visible pores.
What it’s like: Very easy; you clip on the attachment, apply a product to your face to give it some ‘slip’, and off you go. Although three minutes seems a long time to spend pushing this around my face and up the sides of my neck, it is addictive.
Verdict: Needs commitment but lovely to use. I haven’t seen a huge change, but a real bonus is the way it softens the tension in mid-face and jaw.
NO TIME TO GO TO A LIGHT SALON?
Try: Dr Dennis Gross Spectralite Mask (£168, spacenk.com)
Dr Dennis Gross Spectralite Mask (pictured) reduces the appearance of crows feet within two weeks using LED lights
What it is: This curved, lightweight eye mask is kitted out with 72 tiny LEDs to deliver rejuvenating amber, red, deep red and near-infrared light to the skin.
These light wavelengths can stimulate the production of collagen. The mask covers the crow’s feet at the sides of the eyes and the vertical lines that form between eyebrows.
Using it for three minutes a day, you should see results after two weeks, with the best results kicking in after ten weeks.
What it’s like: So easy to use. You pop it on, switch it on then relax. It’s very comfy to wear, and I could still see out though not clearly enough to read.
Verdict: Fabulous. The technology is proven, it’s easy to use, it looks cool and is charged from anything with a USB port. An absolute winner.
NOT BRAVE ENOUGH FOR RADIO FREQUENCY?
Try: Newa device (£349, newabeauty.com)
Newa device (pictured) reduces the signs of aging by creating heat within the skin
What it is: Radiofrequency energy devices are popular in salons for reviving an ageing complexion. They create heat within the skin which works in two ways. First, it has an immediate ‘shrink-wrapping’ effect on the collagen within the skin, to give a slight lift.
They also stimulate the production of new collagen, for stronger, smoother skin. The Newa uses a watered-down version of the salon technology. It is safe to use at home, but you need to read the instructions carefully and not overuse it.
What’s it like: It feels pleasantly warm, like a hot stone massage.
You’re meant to do it for eight minutes, five times a week for a month, then twice a month.
Verdict: If I kept going with this, I would get results (I have a friend who is dedicated to hers). But I fear I don’t have the patience.
That, I suppose, is the catch with these at-home anti-agers. It’s easier to carve out space for an appointment than to force yourself to spare the time at home. The technology is sound, and it will work, but, for salon effects, you need to be disciplined enough to do it regularly.