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I Tried the NuFace Mini+ and It Proves That Good Things *Do* Come in Small Packages

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At 33 years old, I’m proud to say that I’ve developed a pretty solid understanding of my skin and how best to maintain it. I’ve always had a very expressive face (thanks for passing that trait down, dad) so baby Botox on my forehead, seriously hydrating moisturizers, and a moderate dose of retinol are all must-haves in my skincare arsenal. And while I’ve mostly come to accept and appreciate the resulting lines and dips from my overactive brows and big ‘ol cheesy grin, I’m always looking for new ways to soften my smile lines and smooth my cheeks a bit. So, when the opportunity to try the NuFace Mini+ Facial Toning Device presented itself, I jumped. Could five minutes a day using this coveted beauty tool actually help tone and smooth my cheek wrinkles? Read on to learn about NuFace’s smallest (ahem, and most affordable) microcurrent device, hear expert opinions on whether or not it’s worth the hype, and get my personal take after using it for one month.


nuface mini+ facial toning device with bag and aqua gel

NuFace, Mini+ Facial Toning Device at QVC — $241.00

Colors: Midnight Black, Baby Blue, or Sandy Rose

Comes with: Travel bag, charger, 3 oz Aqua Gel Activator, and application brush

Power source: Wireless—will get you through two weeks of treatments on a full charge

Pros: 

  • Small, travel-friendly size
  • Holds a charge for two weeks of treatments
  • Instant firming and toning results

Cons: 

  • You’ll need to get refills of the activator gel
  • Requires regular use for a few months to see lasting results

How does the NuFace Mini+ Facial Toning Device work?

“The NuFace is advertised as a toning device that uses microcurrent technology to firm and tone skin on the face and neck with the ability to smooth wrinkles, contour your cheeks, and even lift your brow,” explains Simran Sethi, MD, MBA, founder and Medical Director of RenewMD Beauty & Wellness in Northern California.


Experts In This Article

How does it work exactly? According to Ashley Magovern, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Manhattan Dermatology in Manhattan Beach, California, microcurrent devices like NuFace stimulate the facial muscles by delivering low-level electrical currents to the skin. “The goal is to improve the skin by toning and tightening facial muscles, increasing circulation, and stimulating collagen production,” Dr. Magovern says.

You can use the NuFace, Mini+ Facial Toning Device on your own or with the guidance of the NuFace smart app, which helps plan and time your treatments. And, regardless of how you use it, the cordless device will last for two weeks worth of treatments on a full charge.

How to use NuFace Mini+

Like the other NuFace devices, the mini version is extremely easy to use. Again, it’s cordless, so all you have to do is turn it on by pressing and holding the power button (you can’t miss it—it’s the only button on the device) and then press again to toggle between three intensity settings. Once you’ve cleaned and dried your face, you apply the brand’s activation gel (which improves conductivity) and swipe the electrodes along your neck, cheeks, and forehead. NuFace recommends completing three rounds of three swipes in each area for nine swipes total. Sound confusing? Don’t worry, it’s actually much more straightforward than it sounds and, much like an electric toothbrush, the device will vibrate and beep when it’s time to move to the next swipe.

Applying the activation gel might seem like a skippable step, but it’s actually really important. As Dr. Magovern tells me, “The gels, like the NuFace activation gel, are conductors for the microcurrent to most effectively reach the skin, and I always recommend them to patients using an at-home device.” She also notes that you want to make sure the skin is fully cleansed before applying, because any oils or thicker lotions will block the current. “If you experience any tingling, which can happen, I recommend applying more gel activator so that the skin is fully primed during treatment,” Dr. Magovern adds. And I can attest—the tingling sensation when using the device on dry skin is… kinda weird. More on that in my review below.

Photo Courtesy of: Author

 

What are the benefits of NuFace?

“Although initially temporary, devices like the NuFace can provide instantaneous results in a short period of time and from the comfort of your home,” says Dr. Magovern. “You’ll experience a more sculpted, lifted look thanks to the increase in collagen production at the cellular level.”

However, NuFace, Dr. Sethi, and Dr. Magovern all agree that dedicated use is absolutely necessary to really reap the benefits of a tool like this. “I typically recommend patients utilize their device five or so days a week, especially in the beginning, to experience the most noticeable results,” says Dr. Magovern. And Dr. Sethi agrees: “It does require consistent usage for months to see results, but if you have the discipline, it is worth the investment,” she adds.

Who should (or shouldn’t) try NuFace?

According to our experts—and clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—the NuFace, Mini+ Facial Toning Device is safe for use on all skin types and all skin tones. “This is an effective device and would not be capable of hurting your skin no matter your skin tone—it does not produce large amounts of heat that can potentially worsen hyperpigmentation in darker skin tones,” says Dr. Sethi. “It is safe to use, but limit your use to five minutes per day and make sure you’re applying enough of the massaging gel when using the device to prevent excessive mechanical force that may risk breaking down your skin barrier,” she continues.

Dr. Magovern adds that, while the concept of an electrical current entering the skin may sound intense, the microcurrents are quite calming for those who suffer from inflammatory skin conditions like acne and rosacea.

However, both dermatologists say that if you have melasma or any sensitive areas on your skin, you’ll want to be especially cautious. “With any at-home device such as microcurrent devices, I advise speaking to your medical provider before use on moles or any other areas of concern. Spots like moles or open acne wounds may be more sensitive to the device, so I recommend avoiding those areas if possible,” Dr. Magovern adds. Additionally, anyone who is undergoing any sort of clinical skin treatment, like fillers or Botox, should avoid the device on the day of the treatment.

Photo Courtesy of: Author

My experience with the NuFace Mini+ Facial Toning Device

I started using the NuFace Mini+ a month ago and have tried my best to stick to the recommended five minutes, five days a week (although I’ll admit, I haven’t been perfect). It’s really easy to use, and the instructions out of the box were clear enough. As Dr. Magovern mentioned earlier, moles can be a bit sensitive to microcurrent devices. I have several large moles on my face so the first use was a little startling—I didn’t realize I had it on the high setting and the larger, more finicky ones on my left cheek stung when the microcurrents ran over them. First lesson quickly learned—I now avoid my moles as much as I can as I swipe.

While I wouldn’t say the device is relaxing to use (like a gua sha), it’s certainly not a hassle and it feels kind of nice to slide along my cheeks and forehead. I don’t love the feeling of applying the activation gel, but the one time I tried to use the NuFace without it the currents were rather stingy and freaked me out a bit. Second lesson learned—use the dang gel. I wipe it off a bit afterward and follow up with Sunday Riley’s Vitamin C serum and Image Skincare’s SPF moisturizer.

Also, smaller-faced folks like me might find the timer a little long relative to their available skin real estate. I had to learn to slide the NuFace reallllly slowly to sync up with the timer for each swipe. No big thang, but something to note!

All in all, I will echo the experts’ earlier comments that the NuFace provides pretty instant results. I use the device on the middle setting and I do feel like I see a lift or added perkiness to my cheeks immediately after using it (in fact, I recently saw my therapist right after I used it and she commented on my glowing skin). But, the immediate benefits don’t stick around for long. As our experts mentioned, lasting results require months of dedicated use. I guess I’ll just have to keep on swiping to see if that’s true. It’s also worth noting that I don’t think there’s anything the larger (and pricer) NuFace devices can do that this little guy can’t handle.

Where to buy the NuFace Mini+ Facial Toning Device

NuFace is sold by a handful of different vendors, but we found some of the best deals at QVC where you can find a starter kit (that includes the brand’s activation gel, a brush, a cute travel bag, and the NuFace Mini+) for $9 less than other vendors. It’s also available at Dermstore, Sephora, and the NuFace website. The device itself comes in a variety of colors, including black, baby blue, light pink, and a dusty purple.

What else comes with it

Regardless of where you buy your NuFace Mini+ it will come with a power adaptor. You’ll likely also get a starter-size of the Aqua Activator Gel (which contains moisturizing hyaluronic acid) and an applicator brush. You can replenish the gel through major beauty retailers like Dermstore.

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