NuFace Trinity with Facial Trainer

A gadget for those dying to look young (satisfaction not guaranteed)

The context

If beauty is skin deep, this device promises to needle your skin a little deeper and bring out the holy trinity of female aspiration: unblemished, wrinkle-free, radiant skin.

Beauty is a very personal thing. On the one hand, all of us want to appear naturally radiant—if possible, stunning, with the least amount of external influence—as if we were born beautiful, which, technically, we all are. Have you seen an ugly baby, except in animated movies?

On the other hand, I would wager that all of us use some sort of product in order to help us look better. It could be something as simple as Ponds cold cream, or something as complicated as botox or plastic surgery. My view with respect to beauty aids is to choose external tools rather than internally injected toxins.

There are several products in the market today that claim to improve the texture and condition of your skin without actually cutting it with a plastic surgeon’s knife or injecting anything.

The first are sonic cleansing systems, with Clarisonic being the leading brand. These are facial cleansing brushes that use “sonic power", whatever that means, to remove six to 10 times more dirt and grime from your face.

This is surprising for several reasons: First, I didn’t know that my face could harbour that much dirt, except inside the nostrils after a ride on a steam train. Second, how much soap would I need to clean all this muck off?

As it turns out, all these products rely on brushes and “sonic" whistles to remove dirt from your face.

Are they any good? I checked with an American dermatologist friend of mine and she assured me that using this product would not damage my skin. They range in price from Rs5,000 to Rs20,000, so take your pick.

The new wave of beauty products that promise you a new face have to do with penetrating the epidermis through pleasant and unpleasant tingling and dredge out new skin. This microcurrent dispenser falls right within this cohort.

The fantasy

The path towards ageing is lined with wrinkles. You can crow about eating well and staying on your feet all day, but that doesn’t stay the onslaught of crow’s feet. The eyes may be the mirror of the soul, but the face takes a special beating, particularly when other people’s eyes mirror their judgemental souls—reflecting questions about why you have let yourself go. Women are prone to this type of judgement, which is probably why they are targeted by beauty companies.

Don’t get me wrong. No one in this readership would be so shallow as to be worried about wrinkles, lines and other perks of ageing. Certainly not me. I am more substantial than that. I don’t stoop to using fairness creams. I merely squeeze lemon on my face. I have never done botox. But I am not above using authorized beauty tools in the name of life, liberty and the pursuit of supple skin.

The reality

I came across the NuFace while surfing the Internet. I must have been feeling low, or so I like to tell myself. Else why would I splash out $600 on a product with decidedly nebulous benefits?

Bergdorf Goodman’s online portal does all the right things. It promises without overpromising. It takes parental pride in all its brands, and yet manages to let you know who the stars are. It uses official words to lend gravitas to marketing faff. The site is full of creams, potions and unguents that promise to knead massage and tighten sagging skin.

The product

NuFace Trinity looks like a cartoon character with two heads. They inject microcurrents into your skin, thus shocking it into tightness; or at the very least, making it produce the collagen that is essential for supple skin.

NuFace is an American brand that deals with this microcurrent technology. At $325 for the base unit and $149 for the wrinkle reducer, it is hardly cheap. It claims to pack a “mini toning system" into a box. The logic is that it will tighten your skin over time and save you visits to the beauty parlour. The wrinkle-removing product claims to use “a precise combination of red, amber and infrared light that penetrates different depths of the dermis, targeting fine lines and deeper wrinkles".

The thing with this, and any other beauty product, is that there is no way to personally verify these claims. Even if the manufacturer states that the products are “clinically tested and FDA cleared", what does that mean?

Facial exercises such as opening your mouth wide into a simhasana (lion pose) can work on your facial muscles and prevent them from sagging. The only problem is that these need to be done on a consistent and long-term basis. If you need an instant jolt of beauty, consider all the new treatments with long words, such as micro-dermabrasion, vitamin C serum, hyaluronic acid and others.

That said, there is no getting away from the fact that our mothers and grandmothers used none of these products and still managed to look good into their 60s and 70s simply by rubbing turmeric and other herbs on their face on a regular basis. Current or Curcurma indica? Your choice.

The details

NuFace is available online at Sephora, Bergdorf Goodman, Amazon and other specialized beauty portals.

The verdict

Decidedly mixed. I didn’t get a new face. I am not even sure that the product works. But it forces a certain regularity into your beauty routine. You have paid for the damn thing, so you might as well apply some cream on it. Maybe that is why my skin glows. 

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