clarisonic logoClarisonic has made many products under their brand name.  The “Mia Clarisonic,” the “Clarisonic Plus,” and the “Mia 2” have all become highly advertised facial cleansing devices.  Today, we take a look at this well known brand name and share our opinion on it’s value to consumers. 

General Information on the Company

Clarisonic is the commercial name of Pacific Bioscience Laboratories Inc. which is a company based in Richmond, Washington, U.S.A. It was founded in 2000 by Robb Akridge, Ward Harris, Steve Meginniss, Ken Pilcher and David Giuliani and as of 2011 it is owned by L’ Oreal. It has received several awards over the years for their products, the majority of which coming from magazines like Allure, InStyle, QVC, Health and Inc.

No matter whatever the reviews and awards may be for this company, it is important to emphasize that they have donated over $1,000,000 to fight breast cancer and another million dollars to the American Cancer Society’s Look Good…Feel Better campaign.  It is a noticeable difference from other companies who may run their own charity programs but have not donated such amounts of money to official foundations.

Another important issue to keep in mind is that the majority of the products is not sold directly to the customers. It is sold to spa owners and physicians, i.e. for professional use. This is important as professionals care to uphold the brand name they have created for themselves and it is unlikely that they would have chosen ineffective products or ones of a lower quality than specific standards.

The product lines

Clarisonic’s products apart from the cosmetics include electric devices for skincare. There are six product lines:

  • PLUS
  • Mia
  • Mia 2
  • Aria
  • Opal Sonic Infusion device
  • Pedi

These lines include products for the following uses:

  • Acne & Blemishes
  • Body
  • Anti-aging
  • Skin brightening
  • Dark Spot Correction
  • Dryness
  • Eyes
  • Pore minimizing
  • Foot care
  • Congested and oily skin

There is a total of over 1,500 products in these lines and the three top selling ones are the Deep pore Daily Cleanser, the Acne Daily Clarifying Cleanser and the Refreshing Gel Cleanser.

How do they do business?

As aforementioned the majority of these products are sold to professionals. Regular customers have access to these products through retailers (almost exclusively Sephora and Nordstrom) or their online site. It is one of the very few U.S. companies left that have not resorted to network or direct marketing solutions for the sale of their products, but still follow the old way of department stores and retailers.

However, you can buy on Amazon!  (Find one using this link.)

Each of the product lines has a clinical study attached to it. These may be addressing professionals and not mention where they were conducted, but there are at least three references by study number (PUBxxx-xxx, PBLxxxx-xxx) per line. This may mean nothing, but it is an indication that their products are being tested for safety and effectiveness which is more than can be said for other product lines which have no such references attached.

Public opinion

And here is the great catch (or the other shoe dropping). The reviews talk about great products to the point of 4 to 4.5 out of 5 in satisfaction and effectiveness under one condition: that they were applied by the synchronous use of the Clarisonic electric devices. 9 out of 10 reviews talk about very smooth faces, smoother application of makeup, products penetrating deeper into the skin, very gentle procedures that have an immediate effect. As long as the products are applied by the devices.

On the other hand, products that have been applied the regular way (i.e. without the devices) do not seem to be as effective. The satisfaction and effectiveness rating dropped to 2.7 to 3 out of 5.

Actually this makes sense. These product lines were designed for spas and physician offices were they would not have been applied by hand. They would have been applied using the assorted devices. Therefore, this is how people should think about these products. As escorted by the appropriate applicator.


Clarisonic products have been designed for professional use. Period. They have been designed to be most effective when they are applied by someone who has been trained to apply skincare products and knows what they are doing. If there is an error in their ways, is that they do not emphasize enough on the importance of using the appropriate devices that come along their products.

Another upside is that they have different lines for different skin so there is no generic use. This means that if they are not effective: 

a) the wrong product has been bough.

b) it has not been applied the way it should.

When buying Clarisonic, people should take care to buy the appropriate product for their skin. Which makes it imperative to have the correct skin profile. It is not enough to know that the skin is dry or sensitive or acne prone. People is spas are trained to recognize skin types. Common people are not. And this is probably the major disadvantage here.

To find out about more products we’ve tested, click here to find a master list.


4.3 (85.71%) 7 votes