6 best microcurrent devices | Strategist

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I tried microcurrent for the first time in a brightly lit store, surrounded by 50 other beauty writers. The year was 2018, and NuFace and FaceGym, then using a cutting-edge technique, teamed up to showcase the brands’ latest technology. I lay still as the woman moved the NuFace across my skin, sculpting and sculpting my cheekbones as if they were made of clay, while I ignored the strange feeling as she got closer to my hairline. When she finally finished and gave me a mirror to look at her work, I was indifferent. I was 22 at the time, so there wasn’t much (or anything) I could lift and firm, and while I noticed some slight improvement, nothing prompted me to add a microcurrent device to my routine. But I was curious. Since then, I’ve been watching this space and watching it explode. I spent most of quarantine scrolling through TikTok with NuFace in hand while my algorithm posted videos about lymphatic drainage and facial massage. It seemed inevitable. I reached for my device, trying to follow their techniques. As I sat in the bathroom covered in the equivalent of fancy ultrasound gel, I wondered: How does this even work? Basically, it’s a workout for your face.

Microcurrent devices stimulate facial muscles and produce gentle contractions using low-voltage electrical current. “This may temporarily increase the resting tone of these muscles,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Daniel Belkin of the New York Dermatology Group. It’s like going to the gym and doing some curls. Immediately after training, your biceps are visibly toned, says dermatologist Mona Gohara, M.D., associate professor of clinical dermatology at Yale School of Medicine.

As with any exercise program, you need to commit yourself – usually at least five times a week – to see the cumulative benefits of microcurrent. The idea is that you tone your muscles over time. “Energy flows through the muscle to strengthen it, and the stronger muscle lifts the skin due to its increased size. It’s all very microscopic, so you won’t build massive facial muscles,” says Joie Tavernise, an esthetician in New York. “You can expect your skin to look smoother and firmer after using microcurrent devices. However, to maintain results, treatment must be performed frequently, says Marina Peredo, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical professor in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. In other words, microcurrent devices work best for people who have an established skin care routine that will stick to it and are looking for an extra boost of energy – not a miracle.

And while microcurrent devices are generally tolerated, some people, such as pregnant women or people with a pacemaker or other electrical implant, should avoid them altogether. If you have diabetes or heart problems, I recommend asking your doctor before using them, and if you have recently had Botox or filler, most aesthetic doctors recommend waiting a few weeks until everything calms down.

All warnings aside, below I’ve rounded up the best microcurrent devices for all types of users, recommended by estheticians who use them frequently.

NuFACE Mini+ Starter Kit

NuFace is the OG of microcurrent devices and is usually the starting point for most people interested in trying the technology. The brand has been on the market since 2005 and has become synonymous with microcurrents. The most popular NuFace devices are NuFace Trinity+ and NuFace Mini. The main difference between the two is that the Trinity+ has interchangeable attachments so you can tone your entire face or target specific areas, while the Mini has two fixed metal balls. Both deliver microcurrent pulses and for most people, the Mini will work well and provide noticeable results. It’s also half the price, making it an ideal option for someone who wants to start using devices or plans to be an occasional user and doesn’t want to spend more than $300. Compared to other microcurrent devices, the functionality of NuFace is simple. It turns on or off, you can increase the intensity of the pulses, but that’s all. “Mini is great if you want something extremely simple, without any other bells and whistles,” says Raquel Medina-Cleghorn, esthetician and founder of facial studio Raquel New York. Personally, I have used the Mini on and off for the last five years. I like to use it before important events or days when I’m looking puffy, moving the device around the area for about ten minutes until my face looks more lifted and firm. I use it in the same way as gua sha and the results are similar to a lymphatic drainage massage, but with less effort. Samantha Mims, an esthetician at Brooklyn Face and Eye, likes this device and uses it occasionally, especially before important events or when traveling. “The protrusions on the device are quite simple and allow you to get in and really sculpt your face and trace the muscles,” he says. “I notice results immediately after each treatment.” Elizabeth Hand, esthetician and founder of Stalle Studios, recommends it to regular users. “If you use it every few weeks, I think NuFace is good,” he says. “It’s a smaller investment.”

MyoLift mini microcurrent device

Two beauticians I spoke with mentioned the MyoLift Mini, which is most similar to the tools they use at work and provides results similar to in-office treatment. Unlike most home devices that use a single handheld device, this device uses two wands with smaller metal tips that allow for greater precision. “It adapts perfectly to the contours of the face,” says Sarah Akram, esthetician and founder of Sarah Akram Skincare, a facial studio in Alexandria, Virginia. You use the small wands in a similar way to how you would use a larger handheld device, adapting to the shape of your bone structure. It costs $329, which is about the same as the NuFace Trinity, but offers more flexibility. This is a good option if you want to invest a little more in microcurrent and have experience with other devices or want to take the time to learn the microcurrent technique. Since this device is aimed at skin care professionals, there isn’t much in the way of formal instructions (although there are some useful videos on YouTube), so you’ll have to figure out how it works for yourself.

ZIIP Hello

If you’ve never touched a microcurrent device before, something with a bit of instruction would be ideal. Medina-Cleghorn likes ZIIP, which comes with a pre-programmed mask and an app with a series of easy-to-follow tutorials. The brand’s founder, Melanie Simon, often creates new masks for the app, and once you purchase the device, you’ll always have access to a library of faces. Full face makeup videos are available, ranging from four to 10 minutes in length, as well as shorter videos that help target the treatment to specific areas and achieve specific goals, such as raised eyebrows or a narrower jawline. Medina-Cleghorn also likes the combination of micro- and nanocurrent, with the latter helping to increase collagen production. “Unlike traditional microcurrent technology, which mainly lifts, shapes and tightens, ZIIP can help fight discoloration, acne and swelling. It can be used on delicate areas, e.g. under the eyes, without additional adhesion,” says Edyta Jarosz, esthetician at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue in New York.


Home devices produce much weaker current than professional models, but this device has so many different methods and attachments that you save a lot of money. “I find myself using it on my clients,” says Natalie Aguilar, an esthetician based in Beverly Hills. “Since it offers so many different therapies, such as LED light, hot and cold rings, various facial massagers, and of course the microcurrent attachment, I use it constantly. It is very easy to use, does not require a cable and provides immediate results. Really soothes and tones. It is also timed so I know full treatment has been achieved.” Medina-Cleghorn is also a fan. “It has all these bells and whistles,” he says. “There are three different wavelengths of LEDs, and you can do it simultaneously with a percussion instrument.”

7e MyoLift QT Plus facial toning device

In addition to the two-piece handheld device, MyoLift QT Plus comes with conductive attachments for the eyes, mouth, and forehead for hands-free use. “Our favorite part of the QT is the accessories,” says Christina Uzzardi, esthetician and founder of Cheeks + Co, who emphasizes that regulatory compliance plays a big role in the equation, so the easier the device is to use, the better. Start with a light layer of conductive gel (Uzzardi prefers aloe and a bit of glycerin), then select a program and apply the overlays. “Watch your favorite show and let the device do its thing,” he says.

Solawave 4 in 1 Advanced Skin Care Wand

Solawave is best known for its red LED light wands, but the 4-in-1 Advanced Skin Care Wand features microcurrent technology. Unlike most recommendations on this list, this device does not provide global facial toning, but the small area is good for delicate areas such as the lip line or eyelid. “I like this for areas that are scary and harder to access,” Mims says. She also likes the added benefit of red light, which can help with inflammation and wrinkles.

• Natalie Aguilar, beautician
• Elizabeth Hand, esthete and founder of Stalle Studios
• Edyta Jarosz, beautician at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue
• Raquel Medina-Cleghorn, esthetician and founder of Raquel New York facial studio
• Samantha Mims, esthetician at Brooklyn Face and Eye
• Joie Tavernise, esthetician and founder of JTAV Skincare
• Christina Uzzardi, esthetician and founder of Cheeks + Co

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