As technology meets skincare meets people staying at home a lot, the demand for home beauty devices has never been higher. Specifically, microcurrent devices are having a moment that seems set to stay.
It’s coming up for two years since I bought my NuFACE Mini, so I know my way round this baby alright. I was also recently sent the Foreo Bear, a newcomer to the world of microcurrent devices, and I thought it would be useful to compare and contrast the two.
But first, let’s take a deep dive into the world of microcurrent devices so you know what you’re getting into.
What is a microcurrent device and what can it do? (AKA What’s (literally) the buzz?)
Often referred to as a 5 minute face lift, microcurrent devices tone and lift the muscles under the skin. They do this via a low level current that mimics the body’s natural electrical currency. They don’t treat the surface of the skin, but rather the scaffolding beneath it. If you’re finding that your scaffolding is starting to droop, this is what will lift it up again.
Although they are relatively new for home use, microcurrent devices have been around since the 1970s in a medical setting to help patients with facial paralysis.
Using a microcurrent device is completely painless. The most you’ll feel is a little tingling around the hairline. It feels like a pleasant facial massage. Expect a slight lift around the forehead, cheekbones and jaw that lasts around 24 hours.
In the longer term, you may notice refreshed skin as microcurrent devices can stimulate collagen production. My experience with both these devices is that they definitely do make a difference as long as you keep using them.
The ups and downs of microcurrent devices
The down side is that the effect isn’t permanent, and if you want to keep feeling the benefits then you have to keep using the device – usually 3 to 5 times a week.
So if you invest in one of these devices (and they’re not cheap) be prepared to also invest the time in including them in your daily skincare routine. In that respect it’s like any muscle workout. You wouldn’t expect to go to the gym once and have permanently toned muscles. You have to work at it, and these devices run on the same principal.
The up side is that it’s not a huge amount of time we’re talking about – around 2 to 4 minutes for the Foreo Bear and 5 to 8 minutes for a full NuFACE Mini routine.
But which is better? The Foreo Bear or the NuFACE Mini? I’ve been testing both to find out.
As you can see, the size is very similar – both fit in the palm easily, with the Foreo product being about as wide as the NuFACE is long. The Foreo definitely feels nicer to hold and use, since it’s made of soft silicone in contrast to the NuFACE’s hard plastic.
Whatever you do, use a primer
It’s essential to use some sort of conductor or primer gel with microcurrent treatment, otherwise you run the risk of damaging the skin. You can use something simple such as aloe vera gel, or both Foreo and NuFACE sell their own primers to go with the devices.
Personally, having used both, I was much more impressed with Foreo’s Serum Serum Serum than NuFACE’s gel primer. The Foreo serum is very light and nourishing, with added ingredients including squalane and hyaluronic acid. Just one pump is enough to help the device glide over the face. The serum then absorbs into the skin quickly, leaving it feeling hydrated and smooth. I just wish there was a bigger sample of it supplied with the device (you only get 2ml – enough for one or two treatments).
The NuFACE primer was much stickier and gloopy. I never felt as if it was doing very much, so as soon as the tube ran out I switched to a (much cheaper) tub of aloe vera.
How to use & how long does it take?
To use, glide the metal spheres in an upward direction around the face. For new users, the Foreo Bear has a very helpful app where you simply follow the onscreen routine. It takes about two minutes, and this is what I found to be the biggest plus point in the Bear’s favour – it’s so darn quick.
A cycle of the NuFACE takes around 5 minutes, which is doable in terms of fitting it into your daily routine. But 2 minutes is so much more doable. I’ve been picking up the Bear every morning and before I know it, it’s done. It never feels like a chore.
Foreo Bear vs NuFACE Mini – how do they compare?
Look, I made a table!
|Foreo Bear||NuFACE Mini|
|RRP £279||RRP £167|
|5 different intensities||3 different intensities|
|2.5 minute cycle||5 minute cycle|
|Extras? Includes charging cable, 2ml of primer, stand and travel pouch||Extras? Includes charging cable and 2oz of primer|
|Battery Very long lasting. Can go weeks between charges||Battery Will need charging every week|
|Unique features: Anti-shock system; Instruction app to personalise settings; soft silicone body; it’s cuter!||Unique features: Beeps when it’s time to move on; hard plastic outer shell|
The anti-shock system used by Foreo is something I think will reassure anyone new to using a microcurrent device. This works by scanning your skin as you use the device, measuring your resistance to electricity at the rate of 100x per second. It then adjusts the microcurrent intensity (in just 0.002 seconds) to best suit your skin. So although the Bear is quite a bit more expensive than the NuFACE, what you’re getting is noticably more technologically advanced and personalised.
Foreo Bear vs NuFACE Mini – conclusion
Where I’m at at the moment is that I’ve been using my NuFACE off and on for about 18 months. Then I stopped for a while, and now I’ve been using the Foreo for about 3 weeks. I’m really liking it so far, mostly because of the ease of use. I feel like with its app and cute design, the Foreo makes the NuFACE look, dare I say it, old fashioned.
Performance-wise I honestly can’t tell much of a difference so far. Both leave my skin feeling toned and refreshed. The Foreo seems particularly good on the forehead, with a reduction in lines around the centre. There’s been a slight lift in the jowls but I’d like to see more.
I feel like if only Foreo were a bit more generous with the amount of primer they supply with the device then I would definitely swing in their favour. But it is long term use that tells you the most, so now I’m planning to go on using the Foreo Bear and report back here in a few months. Watch this space!
Both of these devices are widely available online. Such is the popularity of microcurrent devices that they tend not to have special offers, but I will link to any I find.
NuFACE Mini RRP £167 – currently reduced by 25% to £125 here.
*Contains affiliate links. I bought the NuFACE Mini myself and the Foreo Bear was sent to me to review, with no obligation on what to say. All thoughts, words and pictures are my own.