It’s my shortcut to achieving perfectly smooth skin at home.

By Laura Reilly
Updated Apr 14, 2020 @ 6:30 pm
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I was at that exact gloop-brained halfway point between asleep and awake that a really good facial puts you in when I heard a buzzing noise approaching my left side. Just as quickly as I had settled into my blissed-out doze, I snapped out of it at the prospect of an electrified tool making contact with my face. The cushioned massage table suddenly felt like a dentist chair, and images of drills swam in my mind. Obviously, the facialist didn’t buzzsaw me — this was Chillhouse, not a low-rent horror flick — but the unexpected device she used would change my skincare routine forever.

The alarming-sounding tool my facialist was wielding, I found out later, was an ultrasonic skin spatula. Featuring a bent but flat-sided metal tip on one end and a rubberized handle on the other, the multi-purpose tool is designed to painlessly scrape away dead skin and oil from clogged pores when held one way and infuse vitamin-rich serums when held another.

At that point in my Make Me Glow facial, my skin was already damp and softened by cleansing products and water. As my technician maneuvered side A of the spatula across my cheeks, chin, forehead, and nose, it felt as though the gently vibrating device was ever-so-gently power washing my pores in part because of the water on my skin fizzing up on contact.

I discovered what was actually taking place on my skin after hounding my extremely gracious facialist, Tess Njuhi, over email later that week. “The scrubber uses ultrasonic wave technology to move and shake loose dead skin cells,” she explained. “It helps perform extractions easily and painlessly.”

The device, expertly employed by Njuhi’s accommodating hands, was extremely comfortable to experience. “That is one of the benefits that makes me love using it,” says Njuhi. “I don’t have to use pressure to extract a comedone, it removes imperfections painlessly without scarring the skin.”

Having left Chillhouse’s Lower East Side studio with the clearest skin I’d had in months, I quickly arranged to bring the device into my own home so that I could try to replicate the effects myself. Njuhi had used an unbranded device from an aesthetician supply store during my appointment, but Dermaflash’s Dermapore is a highly rated comparable version available to consumers.

In my bathroom at home several weeks later, I prepped my skin with a softening balm cleanser and made sure the areas I was targeting with the spatula were constantly refreshed with water. In uniform strokes, I guided the tool across my cheeks, chin, forehead, nose, and even my jaw. After a few tries, I found that working “with the grain” unclogged pores more efficiently, and eight or so minutes later, I found my face once again dramatically clearer.

At this point in my self-facial, I wiped down the spatula and prepared to use its alternate side. I got to the serum phase of my routine and activated the device’s second vibration setting — a steady pulse. To use this mode, I followed Njuhi’s lead. “I change my tool to a different mode and I slowly glide and spread the product gently, making sure all the active ingredients are being spread in the right areas on the skin,” she said. “[It] leaves the skin looking glowing and dewy.”

I’ve only mastered two functions of the multi-purpose tool, but Njuhi says it can actually be used four different ways. “I use it during cleansing, deep exfoliation, extractions, and sonophoresis,” the latter of which she explains is the “use of sound waves to increase the penetration of active ingredients into the skin.”

Since adopting the tool, it’s become an invaluable part of my skincare wardrobe that I reach for every few weeks for a deep yet gentle clear-out. With the current state of the world keeping me at a stone’s throw from my facial regimen, I’m thankful to be able to perform some of the key functions just as easily at home.

Shop the device facialists use for pain-free extractions (plus so much more) at Nordstrom.

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Shop now: $99; ulta.com

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