The Secret Your Aesthetician Doesn't Want You To Know About

Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
I’m a sucker for a good gadget. In 2009, I purchased the Clarisonic Pro — the one used by spa professionals rather than consumers — simply because I was convinced I needed six speeds and the option for a body attachment. (Why go for the basic model when you can get The Rabbit, amirite?) I became instantly hooked on Harry Josh’s insanely expensive blowdryer as soon as he told me it could blow at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. At home, I have everything from ultrasound devices to steam machines to microneedling rollers. 

You know that saying “boys and their toys?” Well, some boys have Game Boys, PlayStations, and fancy televisions. I have beauty products. I’ve tested quite a few in my day, and I’m still convinced that technology holds the key to better skin — it’s our leg up on the generations before us. 

So, imagine my curiosity when famed aesthetician Kerry Benjamin told me that one of her favorite technologies for facial treatments was available…on Amazon. She often uses New Spa's super-fancy High Frequency Home Use Device during her services: “It’s a very low level of current that mirrors the body’s own natural, electrical pulses,” she explains. “The electrical stimulation works by mimicking the way the brain relays messages to the muscles. The goal, then, is to speed up the body’s natural regenerative processes, which is why it’s used for anti-aging, firming, toning, and stimulating facial muscles.”

Essentially, it's a wand with different attachments (all serving different purposes) that delivers a quick zap of electricity to your skin. When you plug it in and turn up the frequency, you hear a faint little hum and begin to see a violet-blue light through the glass. Bring that wand closer to your skin and — zap! — a little burst of electricity gives you a slight shock and a little pinch. It’s delightful, if you’re into that sort of thing. 

The product comes with an instruction manual that shows different techniques on different maps of the face. To do a general stimulation of the facial muscles, work in broad strokes up the cheekbones and along the forehead; you'll feel a slight tingle as you go. If you need to tackle particular spots, there’s a pointed attachment and a spoon-like one — these are good for handling acne and cysts. You hold the wand away from the face for 10 seconds, and a tiny burst of electricity covers the area. “Argon gas is what causes the blue light,” Benjamin says. “It creates oxygen, which helps to kill the bacteria below the layers of your skin, thus healing the acne.” 

Luckily for me, I had two troublesome cysts on my forehead the week I got the device. After fiddling with them on my own — applying topical treatments and exfoliating diligently — I completely gave up. On Grammys night, one of them swelled so badly that it looked like Will Smith pre-Benadryl in Hitch. So, I applied a little bit of a clarifying serum, broke out the high-frequency wand, applied the appropriate attachment, and watched as the miniature blue lightning bolts danced on top of the bright red bumps. Satisfied, I went to bed. 
The next morning when I awoke, I confronted myself in the bathroom mirror, and what did I see? Two juicy whiteheads, ripe for the taking. I grabbed a piece of toilet paper, placed my index fingers on either side, and pressed down — blast-off! Full-on projectile pus, right into the mirror. I laughed at my victory, gleefully telling my roommate the battle tale. That night, I repeated the high-frequency treatment, and continued to do so for a couple of days after. The swelling went down remarkably faster than normal, as did the disappearance of the scarring. I had become a convert.

A couple of weeks later, I ended up in the spa bed of Demi Lovato’s aesthetician (and R29 contributor) Renée Rouleau, telling the same war story. She asked for a link to the product, and she bought one immediately. She liked it so much that, a week later, she had placed an order for five more, so her team could use them, too.

The best part? It only costs about $80 — less than a lot of fancy gizmos on the market, and even some serums and creams you may already have in your medicine cabinet. So, why should it only be for the pros? Go ahead — get zapping. 
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