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The best skincare tools and accessories are relative. What’s best for you may not be what’s best for your mother, best friend, or sibling. Consider your age, skin concerns, the amount of time and money you want to spend on your skincare routine, and the products that work best with your skin, as well.
Skincare tools can definitely improve the condition of your skin and give you a healthy, youthful glow, but you’ll need to know just what you need. You’ll also want to consider when it’s best to experiment with something new and the guidelines to keep in mind when trying a new tool or accessory for your skin.
Here, we’ll give you an overview of what’s out there, who may benefit from it or simply enjoy using it, and a few tips for getting the most out of each tool.
The Earliest Skincare Tools and Accessories
The earliest records of skincare tool use come from Ayurveda (the Kansa wand) and Chinese medicine (gua sha and jade rollers) from around 5000 years ago. At first, they all seem like simple facial massage techniques that relax muscles and feel nice after a long day, but there’s so much more to them than that.
Guess what? Even though thousands of years have passed, hundreds of skincare trends have come and gone (some more effective than others and some downright wacky), and there have been so many advances in technology, we’re still using these skincare tools and accessories today.
High-tech skincare gadgets are fun and useful, but not always necessary. The ability to stimulate lymph drainage, relax muscles, promote collagen growth, and boost circulation are some of the common threads between the best skincare tools throughout history.
What Are the Best Skincare Tools and Accessories for Beautiful, Healthy Skin?
Not all skincare tools and accessories are best for all skin types or skin concerns, so you definitely don’t need one of each thing on this list to have gorgeous skin.
Kansa wands are similar in size and shape to large makeup brushes but thicker. Instead of bristles, there’s metal at the end. Apply oil or serum to your skin before massaging your face with the wand to prevent tugging. Work from the forehead down in circular motions, continuing along your neck.
The metal Kansa wands are made from helps balance the pH of the skin, which may help with acne, wrinkles, rosacea, and inflammation. A Kansa wand can help relax you, plump and firm your skin, and decrease puffiness where you don’t want it.
Gua Sha Stone
Gua sha stones offer similar benefits to the ones you’ll get from a Kansa wand. These, too, can relax your muscles, improve circulation, reduce inflammation, make your skin look plumper and more radiant, and improve lymphatic drainage.
These stones are not all the same and are available in different colors and materials (usually jade or quartz). They’re thin and flat, with curved or notched sides to fit the contours of the face.
With these, you won’t go in circular motions. Instead, you’ll sweep up and away from the centerline of the face, from chin to ear along the jawline, for example, to give yourself a temporary facelift and possibly even a thinner-looking face. You can also move the edge back and forth along particularly tight muscles (usually along the eyebrow area) to break up the tension.
Gua sha stones can also be used on the neck, chest, and elsewhere on the body. Up along the neck is lifting (do that in the front) and down along the sides and back of the neck will help with lymphatic drainage.
Here’s another skincare tool from Chinese history, with similar effects to those you can get from gua sha and the Kansa wand. In this case, you’ll have a wand with a wide, cylindrical stone at the end (think of a paint roller). Apply your favorite oil to your face and neck. Gently roll up the neck. Once that’s done, begin rolling out and up from the center of the face.
These can be a bit more awkward to maneuver across the skin since it’s one stone with one shape (jade rollers are usually dual-ended, with a smaller stone on the other end, which helps with this), but they are still relaxing to use, have a cooling effect, and can depuff the skin, boost circulation, and stimulate lymphatic drainage.
You can also get these in quartz instead of jade. Rose quartz is a popular choice. If the jade roller doesn’t work, try another stone before you give up the idea of using a roller at all.
This is a small, waterproof brush with soft bristles that you can use to clean your face (circular motions) along with your normal cleanser. You can buy manual brushes where all the scrubbing is up to you, or you can purchase one of the many brands that vibrate as you move over the skin for an even deeper, more effective clean.
Razors—but not just any razors—can be beneficial in your skincare tool collection. They can handle stray hairs where you might expect (like between your eyebrows), but they can also be useful for removing all the tiny hairs on your face if you’re interested in getting the softest, smoothest canvas for your makeup.
Facial razors work for DIY dermaplaning, exfoliating your skin, and removing the tiny hairs that makeup can cling to. These are different from the ones designed to be used on the body. There are even at-home dermaplaning kits that do the same thing if you want to take it up a notch.
Derma Rolling/Microneedling Tool
Microneedling tools—usually referred to as derma rolling tools when they’re used at home–are like rollers with tiny needles that puncture the skin to increase collagen production, tighten pores, brighten your complexion, improve wrinkles, fine lines, and other imperfections. Some even claim to help with acne and stretch marks.
These can be affordable or, if you want a whole kit to take the guesswork out of it, on the more expensive side. The needles improve the absorption of any serums or moisturizers you use, which means you may see even better results from the products, but you’ll need to be picky about which ones you use after the treatment.
If you decide to go the professional route for this particular treatment, your results are likely to be noticeably better. Always be sure your skin is clean and your micro-needling tool has been disinfected before use to avoid infection. Derma rolling and microneedling aren’t for everyone. To see more of the risks involved, check out this Healthline article.
Facial Dry Brush
This isn’t the same thing as the cleansing brush. Instead of cleansing and exfoliating your face (though it does exfoliate, as well), this one is meant to be used on clean, dry skin to stimulate blood flow.
If you’ve ever tried dry brushing your body before a shower, this is similar. The brush is smaller and the strokes are shorter, but the benefits are the same. Some brushes have interesting bristle shapes to enhance the massage.
Isn’t it funny how the best skin care tools are also some of the most relaxing things you can use? Take the facial steamer, for example. Its combination of warmth, steam, and even fragrance (if you choose to use essential oils, tea, or herbs) turn opening the pores for better cleansing and boosts circulation into an at-home treatment.
Pull your hair back if it’s long, cleanse and exfoliate your face, fill the steamer, plug it in, and get comfortable. You’ll be in front of the steamer for a few minutes. Follow your specific facial steamer’s instruction guide to find out how far away your face should be and how long to steam it.
Instead of spending the money if this isn’t something you’d prefer to splurge on, you can get a similar effect from a bowl of hot water. Drape a towel over your head and the bowl to keep the steam directed toward your face.
LED Light Masks
These are good for inflammation, acne, and anti-aging. A lot of the at-home masks on the market let you choose from different colors of light, like red, orange, pink, white, yellow, or blue light, since each one treats a different skin condition. Some LED light tools only offer one or two colors.
These come in options with and without wires. Prices range from under $50 to $400.00+. If you’re not thrilled with the idea of wearing a mask for this treatment, there are wands, too, like the SolaWave wand.
The Major Differences Between Using Skincare Tools vs Accessories and Keeping It Basic
Can you have gorgeous, smooth skin without any special skincare tools or accessories? Yes, of course. You may be able to maintain the complexion you want with just a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, eye cream, and maybe a toner or serum.
But that’s not why you’re here. You want to know how to take it up a notch and improve your skin or learn about new things that might just be fun to try.
The major differences between using skin care tools and accessories and keeping your routine basic are:
- Skincare tools and accessories will make your regimen more expensive, whereas a basic routine that works for your skin may cost less.
- Skincare tools and accessories can help products absorb into the skin better, whereas a basic routine may not give you the extent of the benefits you could receive from the products you’ve chosen (be sure to exfoliate regularly if you go the basic skincare route to help products absorb more).
- Skincare tools and accessories can become part of a relaxing nighttime routine, whereas a basic routine will be over quickly (it’ll allow you to get to bed a few minutes earlier, but may leave you with more tension in your face than a routine with gua sha, a jade roller, or a Kansa wand would, for example).
- Skincare tools and accessories can help you give yourself a temporary facelift, whereas a basic routine is unlikely to.
- Skincare tools and accessories will require more planning as far as your weekly routine is concerned (since you don’t want to overdo it), whereas a basic routine will allow you to cleanse and moisturize your face on autopilot every day, or almost every day.
- Skincare tools and accessories can do things like reduce puffiness, increase lymphatic drainage, stimulate collagen growth, and so on, whereas a basic routine is unlikely to have such a profound effect on skin and the appearance of the face overall, even though some basic cleansing and moisturizing products may improve skin, too.
Advantages of Skincare Tools and Accessories
There are plenty of advantages to using skincare tools and accessories in your daily or weekly routine.
They Can Stimulate Collagen Growth
Some tools, like micro-needling and LED light devices—and even facial razors–can stimulate collagen growth in your skin, leading to plumper, more youthful-looking skin.
They Can Assist in Absorption or Spreading of Serums and Creams
Some of the tools, like the jade roller, gua sha stone, or Kansa wand, can help you spread serums and moisturizers evenly across your skin. When you apply those with your hands, you may be prone to making it a quick application, which could lead to missed spots.
Some people may not take the time to massage the product into the skin when they’re doing the quick application, which could mean it sits on top of the skin rather than absorbing as well as it could. At bedtime, that could mean the product ends up on your pillowcase instead of working magic on your skin as you sleep.
Reduction of Puffiness
Tools that massage the skin can stimulate lymphatic drainage and reduce puffiness. This will have a temporary slimming effect and sharpen the jawline and cheekbones.
Relaxed Muscles, Which May Mean Fewer Wrinkles
If you’re regularly coaxing your muscles into relaxation with a massaging skincare tool, you may find that lines in your face (especially those pesky “11” lines in the forehead) could soften over time. If you don’t have them yet, maybe you can slow them down or stop them from happening at all. If nothing else, relaxing the muscles in your face feels amazing and could help you sleep better at night.
Brighter, Smoother Skin
Because skincare tools and accessories can stimulate blood flow, spread your products across your skin more evenly, help serums and moisturizers absorb better, and/or exfoliate your skin, you could see a brighter, smoother complexion.
They Add to the Self-Care Experience
Are you feeling run down from lack of “me time” because so many daily demands distract you or make you push it to the bottom of the list because—at least in the moment–it doesn’t seem as important to take that time for self-care as it does to take care of everyone else?
You have to care for your skin, right? Build some relaxing self-care style rituals right into your normal routine with the use of skincare tools that soothe your muscles and just feel good.
Experimenting is Fun
Part of the fun of skincare and beauty as a whole is the freedom to experiment and try new things. Trying a new tool is an easy way to shake up a boring daily routine, and you’ll probably be rewarded with a happier complexion, too. Win-win.
Disadvantages of Skincare Tools and Accessories
The right skincare tools and accessories can definitely improve your skin. However, there could be some downsides to venturing too far beyond the basics of caring for your skin.
They Can Cost More Than They’re Worth
Some tools cost hundreds of dollars and only provide minimal improvements. In some cases, you may have been able to get the same effects from serum or scrub for much less.
They Could Irritate Your Skin
In rare instances, you could even irritate your skin with a skincare tool or accessory that’s too much for your skin type. For example, the wrong bristles on a cleansing brush could lead to redness and irritation, not the glowing, flake-free finish you were hoping for. Tip: If you have sensitive skin, look for brush heads labeled specifically for sensitive skin.
Packing for Trips Just Got More Complicated
When you get comfortable using a few tools to maintain your complexion, you could feel that you need them every day (or at least every couple of days) to keep your skin looking great. That makes traveling light a bit more difficult when it comes time to pack for a trip. Not only will you be packing the tools, but you may have special products that you use specifically with those tools.
Upkeep and Storage
This is minor, but the more tools you introduce to your collection, the more space you’ll need to store them. You’ll also have to keep them clean to avoid introducing bacteria to your skin. That could be as simple as a quick wash with warm water and soap each time you use them (or as little as one or two times per week), followed by time to air-dry, depending on what you choose to use.
Safety Tips for Using Skincare Tools and Accessories
In most cases, there’s really nothing to fear when you want to try a new tool. However, there are some good rules of thumb to keep in mind when you want to explore new skincare options.
Don’t Introduce Too Many at the Same Time
Just as you shouldn’t introduce too many products at the same time, you should avoid introducing too many skincare tools and accessories at the same time, too. Trying out simple massaging tools back-to-back probably won’t do any damage, but you won’t know which one works the most magic if you try them all at once.
Adding something like a facial razor and microneedling at the same time, however (or any combination of other types of accessories, really) could irritate your skin.
Keep Them Clean
If you don’t clean your skincare tools and accessories regularly, there’s a risk you could introduce bacteria and oils (not the kind you want) to your skin. This could cause breakouts.
Skip the Extractor Tools
Though blackhead extractor tools are tempting, readily available at any pharmacy, and inexpensive, it’s best to steer clear. They can work, but there’s also the risk that they’ll damage your skin or cause infection.
If you feel this is just what your skin needs, visit a professional to have it done and then maintain the results at home with regular exfoliation, a commitment to washing your makeup off at the end of the day, and the right products for your skin.
You’ll need to go back to the aesthetician periodically to keep your skin clear and fight the blackheads that will come back over time, but your skin will thank you for going this route instead of the DIY one.
If in Doubt, Ask Your Dermatologist or Aesthetician
Throwing caution to the wind and trying new skincare tools and accessories can be tempting, thrilling, and lead to just the results you were hoping for.
There’s usually no harm in trying something new, either, especially when it’s something as simple and non-invasive as rolling a jade roller, gua sha stone, or Kansa wand across your skin to reduce puffiness and relax your muscles.
There are some more intense tools out there, though, that may (rightly) give you pause before you jump right in. Don’t hesitate to ask a dermatologist or aesthetician what they think of the tool you’d like to try at your next appointment.
Research How to Use Them Before You Dive Right In
As mentioned above, there’s usually nothing to fear with most skincare tools and accessories, but it’s wise not to jump in without the proper research.
Even with something that appears simple and straightforward, like a jade roller, some may dive in and start rolling down the cheeks instead of up–which can affect the effectiveness—of rolling without oil or serum, which tugs on the skin.
A little research will go a long way once you’ve chosen a few tools you’d like to try. Then you’ll be able to see the true effects of the tool and decide if it’s a keeper or if you should try something new.
My Top Recommendations
Here are some of my top skincare tool and accessory picks:
These are sonic facial brushes that give your skin a deeper cleanse than you’d get from a quick cleanse using your hands, a cleanser, and some warm water. If you’re bummed that Clarisonic is no longer selling their brushes, you may like these.
- There are so many to choose from, for any skin type
- Easy to clean
- Deep cleanse and exfoliation
- Come in a variety of colors
- Kind of expensive, especially compared to a manual brush
- Some models are not rechargeable, so you’ll get around 600 uses out of it, and then you’ll need to replace it
Dermaflash LUXE Anti-Aging Dermaplaning Exfoliation Device
This device will remove peach fuzz and dead skin cells and make your skin glow.
- Covers the surface of the skin quickly and effectively
- Two speeds: Gentle and Enhanced
- Comes in four colors
- Comes with a cleanser and moisturizer to use before and after treatment
- Razors can only be used once, so purchasing refills is an extra expense
These are inexpensive and you can get them at any pharmacy or the beauty section of a big box store in a package of four (for less than $10.00!).
- Low commitment and easy to use in other areas if it doesn’t work out when you use it all over your face
- Easy to replace
- Good for getting hairs between the brows due to its small size
- Easy to pack if you’re going on a trip
- Not as easy to manage for shaving your whole face as other options may be because the blade is narrow and you’ll need to concentrate harder on keeping the angle just right
- Could take a long time to cover your whole face
Gua Sha Stone and Jade Roller Kit
This kit gives you the opportunity to try out two types of rollers and also comes with a gua sha stone, and it’s affordable.
- Gives a chance to try a couple of options
- Pretty, secure packaging
- No how-to instructions on gua sha included in the box (listing mentions an e-book, though)
Dr. Dennis Gross Pro Facial Steamer
This tool offers a hydrating and relaxing experience that can give your skin a glow.
- Directs the steam at your face better than the bowl-and-towel method
- Lightweight and compact
- Works quickly
ORA Facial Microneedle Roller System
The ORA Facial Microneedle Roller System is designed to boost collagen and elastin production, acne, wrinkles, and more.
- Inexpensive, comparatively speaking
- Could make your skin glow
- A straightforward tool without a lot of bells and whistles to go with it
- This kind of tool is not recommended for all skin types (so research and/or talk to your dermatologist first)
- Only available online
Question: What are the best skin care tools?
Answer: For overall depuffing and a glow, it’s a tie between the Kansa wand and the gua sha stone. Facial razors are also perfect for making your skin so smooth, and your makeup looks flawless.
Question: What skin tools actually work?
Answer: Rarely will any skincare tool give you dramatic overnight results, but you can see brighter, glowing, clearer, more youthful-looking skin when you use a Kansa wand, gua sha stone, jade roller, LED light mask or wand, dry face brush, facial steamer, dermaplaning tool, cleansing brush, or derma roller.
Question: What is the best skin toning device?
Answer: The NuFace Mini Facial Toning Device is the best.
Question: What’s trending in skincare?
Answer: Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine tools are popular, offering the benefits of facial massage done at home.
Question: What facial tool is the best?
Answer: The gua sha stone is the best tool all around due to its price, maneuverability, and ability to relax muscles and reduce puffiness. You may need to try different stones and shapes to find the best one for your skin type and face shape.
Question: What is the best home device for wrinkles?
Answer: An LED light mask can help.
Question: How can I tighten my skin?
Answer: Try the NuFace Mini Facial Toning Device.
Question: Do LED facial wands work?
Answer: You may see some improvement, but you’re unlikely to get dramatic results. With consistency and patience, you’re likely to see results, but it won’t be quick. Take a before photo and track your progress over time to look for small indications that the wand is working.
Question: How can I remove wrinkles from my face at home?
Answer: You probably can’t completely remove them, but you can soften them and make them less noticeable with quite a few skincare tools, like a gua sha stone, derma roller, or LED light mask.
Conclusion: The Best Skincare Tools and Accessories for Your Needs
Finding the best skincare tools and accessories will boil down to what you need. In general, I recommend starting small and less invasive (like a jade roller, gua sha stone, or Kansa wand) before advancing to the more expensive options with needles and lights. These can do so much with minimal commitment of time or money.
However, whether that approach is right for you will depend on what you’re targeting. If it’s acne and you have the budget for it, you may prefer to jump right to the LED mask. If your issue is dull skin, a steamer, dry brush, or razor may be what you need. You can always go back to revisit the massaging face tools later.