Before you start trying to guess my age, just know that I'm not old. OK, so I haven't been to a club in years and high schoolers these days feel like they're from a completely different planet, but I'm still pretty young, I swear. However, I started incorporating anti-aging tools into my skincare routine as a preventative measure... just in case.
The world of techy beauty inventions isn't new to me. I've even been invited to some pretty forward-thinking spas over the years to try some of the newest innovations on the market. Lasers. LED lights. Ultrasound infusers. Massagers. You name it, I've tried it. But while those treatments give me some incredible results, I can't treat myself to them weekly. Luckily, the market is buzzing with at-home versions. I've narrowed my favorites down to three and even found one for every budget — even if your budget is only $12.
The Microcurrent Device
Thanks to modern technology, there is now such a thing as a handheld, at-home microcurrent device that gives you a face lift without needles, downtime, or a visit to a plastic surgeon. Yep! See, when it doesn't involve creepy drones and the ability to hack your webcam, technology can be fun!
So here's how it works: It infuses your skin with tiny electric currents, pulses the muscles, and creates a lift. This technique works by using two metal wands, which pass negative and positive charges between each other, thus activating the muscle tissue between them. Because the voltage is so low (1/1,000,000 of an amp), you only feel a mild tingling. It's all very scientific, but just think of it this way: It's squats for your cheekbones, without the pain or trip to the gym.
I was first introduced to the device when I visited a spa. The technician applied a gel to my face and began gliding the tiny machine all over my face. I didn't feel the tingling, I just remember thinking it felt cold. Before I knew it, I was so relaxed, I dozed off. She gently shook me back to life to show me the results on the left side of my face, and OMG! it was literally sitting millimeters higher than the right side. My brow was higher, the corner of my lip was more turned up, and my jawline looked tighter. Thankfully, she did the same thing to the other side and I walked out with a symmetrical, more-youthful looking face.
I was able to take the device home but I never got into the routine of using it regularly. Rather, it has become my go-to for a big night out. I'm obsessed with the instant results, but because it requires a few steps (first apply gel, glide the microcurrent along your face, remove gel), I don't use it as much as I should.
With continued use two to three times per week, the NuFace Mini Facial Toning Device ($199; Sephora) keeps the skin lifted and delivers anti aging results that last.
The Face Massager
First of all, be warned: This thing looks... strange. It's called the ReFa CARAT ($290; Dermstore) and it has a high price tag. Based on that information alone, there are a handful of things you could guess this device is for, and I doubt skin care would be a part of that list.
Mine came with a demonstration and a much less vague description. It sounded intriguing, so I took the metallic tool out of the box and rolled it down my forearm. The metal balls rotate in opposite directions and create a suction-like effect, giving my arm a really deep massage by pinching the skin as I continued to roll it around. I did this for a few minutes and my arm felt tingly and looked a bit red.
Once I worked up the courage to put it on my face, I started by rolling up and down my jaw. It was a strange sensation. The massage felt good, but when it pinches in saggier areas (especially on my tech neck — you know, that sagging you get from constantly looking down at your phone), it kind of hurt. I rolled it around my face for a few minutes and noticed I was getting a red glow. Things were circulating, but more importantly, I felt like I have a lift. I couldn't tell if my eyes were playing tricks on me, but I'm felt pretty good.
The best part is because I don't need gel, I can pretty much use this product any time. I've gotten into the routine of picking it up whenever I sit to watch TV. Similar to the NuFace, I can see a much more defined jawline and my face feels much less puffy. However, it's a bit too big (and a little too intense) to get those areas around my eyes, so I feel like this area is slightly neglected.
The Jade Roller
Now, on to a device that is much less techy and a whole lot cheaper. A jade roller ($12; Walmart) is an actual stone mounted on what can only be described as a tiny paint roller, and it is perfect for my low-maintenance ways and the very slight sagging that has begun on my face. An integral part of Chinese beauty regimens since the 7th century or so, this pale-green tool is known for boosting circulation, improving elasticity, relieving puffiness, and even helping your skincare products penetrate deeper into the skin for maximum absorption. While this all sounds great, I love the idea of not having to plug it in, charge it, or tread with caution.
The jade stone stays cool naturally, which instantly cures any puffiness or redness. From the second I roll over my jawline and temples, it feels like an amazing massage — I can feel the tension and kinks being worked out. After a month of using the jade roller, my face is already seeing some really positive results. My jawline is much more defined (this is the area where I was experiencing the sagging I mentioned earlier), and my cheekbones look naturally contoured.
But the biggest improvement I’ve seen is in my under-eye area. Not only are my bags almost completely gone, but my dark circles are much lighter.
Last, but certainly not least, my skin is glowing! I don’t know if it’s just the better circulation or the fact that my moisturizer is on overdrive, but I have a dewiness at all hours of the day that no highlighter can mimic. Either way, this jade roller is staying on repeat. And the best part? It's affordable, it doesn't need charging, and it works all alone.