High-tech facial devices always hit the market with a bang, piquing our interest with blue lights and spaceship designs that make us hope perfect skin isn't just some futuristic fantasy of ours. Some end up being bogus; others, brilliant. But how do you distinguish between the two before throwing down your cash? We're on a mission to find out. Over the next few weeks, R29 staffers will be road-testing the biggest innovations of the year to see if each delivers on its stellar claims. Up next is the Dr. Dennis Gross Pro Facial Steamer. Let us say this: There is nothing more indulgent than getting a facial in winter. Your skin is taking a beating each time you step outside — the lack of moisture in the air and those cold, whipping winds leave your every pore exposed, chapped and dry. That's why it's so soothing — dare we say, heavenly — to be steam-cleaned, sloughed, and slathered with a handful of masks, serums, and moisturizers. Now, the cleansers, scrubs, and creams, we can get our hands on. (In fact, we've got your cold-weather skin-care guide, right here.) But the steamer experience? Yeah, we've always considered that part of the spa price tag. That is, until we saw the recently launched at-home version from Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, which claims to deliver the same hydrating and softening benefits as a pro-grade steam. But does it work? We tapped marketing coordinator Michaela Rollings — who admits that dryness, redness, and flaking around the nose are her biggest skin concerns — to find out.
For an entire month, Rollings used the machine once or twice a week at nine-minute intervals. And every second, she says, was like a miniature spa treatment at home. "It was super easy to use, because all it required was some water and a power outlet to plug it in," Rollings says. "The machine auto-timed itself to turn off after nine minutes, otherwise I could have fallen asleep. It was easy to make time for it, too, because less than 10 minutes flies by."
Like a real facial, the skin-softening effects were immediate. As for any long-term benefits, well, the machine might be better for those treat-as-needed moments — like when you're extra parched, for example. "Right after every [session], my skin felt dewy and plump. It also felt more hydrated when I applied serum halfway through the process and followed with a moisturizer after the treatment, like you would at the spa." As for her redness, Rollings says she didn't see much improvement throughout the month, but added that she did see a slight difference immediately post-steam. Our take: At $139 — the cost of a reasonably priced facial — you get more bang for your buck than you do going to a pro, since you can reap the benefits of the real thing again...and again, and again. Say it with us now: Ahhh.