Clinique Sonic System


Well, how utterly annoying!

I bought the Clinque Purifying Cleansing Brush for a smidgeon under £80 in April. I couldn’t really afford it but the vastly extravagant Eve Lom cleansing balm and washcloth method wasn’t sufficiently clarifying for my combination skin when compared with the Clarisonic brush I’d used before.

I stopped using my reluctantly-sent Clarisonic review freebie because I found it really difficult to clean the bit behind the brush head. The brush didn’t ever dry out properly, and mould would grow if I didn’t make sure I cleaned it every week. It’s the sort of thing for which Lakeland designs specialist cleaning gizmos and, let’s face it, you don’t want to be putting a mouldy vibrating brush on your skin every night, do you?

I admit, my inquisitive, acquisitive nature makes me a marketing person’s dream: I love gadgets and, partly due to this blog (or using this blog as an excuse, if I’m truthful,) I like to try out new things to review them honestly. So imagine my unalloyed joy when I came across this brush at the Clinique counter of John Lewis. OK, so it was Clinique and therefore hardly a niche luxury brand but all those white coats and dermatologically-tested pictures of water splashes caught against a pristine background are persuasive in making the poor customer think that this company knows all about skincare.

I used Clinique in my 20s when I had rampantly oily combination skin. It was fine, I used it for years but, in truth, I became bored of using such a vanilla product. Blame my infamous #lowboredomthreshold if you like. For this reason it was a little retro and comforting to return to Clinique: like some long lost Auntie who brews tea in a brown teapot with a cosy on it and produces a lemon drizzle cake whenever you pop around to visit every 20 years.

Now, I’ve had the Clinique Cleansing Brush in mind for a blog post ever since April because I’ve loved it so much. The charge on the brush seems to work forever, which is just as well because it’s difficult to see the little light that tells you whether or not it’s fully charged. It’s compact enough to fit into my make up bag for India without worrying about taking the charger and, with its Foaming Sonic Soap wingman, it’s a pretty cool and effective product.

I have found a real improvement in the general squeaky cleanness of my skin, although I admit that the foaming sonic soap does leave it a little dry. Using the No2 Clarifying Lotion was also a bit of a step back in time for me, but a welcome one given the improved state of my skin. Turns out Auntie Clinique knew best all along.

As I say, I’d been meaning to review the brush and its mates on this blog for ages and was about to do it this weekend when a very strange thing happened. I was sitting in my bedroom hiding from the allergen dust of my building work on Friday when I heard a strange drilling noise. After a while I realised that it was emanating from my bathroom and when I investigated I realised that my Clinique brush had switched itself on and was buzzing way like an unsophisticated sex toy on top of my wash basin. “Buzz!” it went. “Buzzzzzzzzz.” As I am Queen of the Unnecessary but Desirable Gadget, I took this as a clever warning that I should charge my brush forthwith so I placed it in the cradle of its charger, checked that the orange charging light was blinking – it was, intermittently – and left it.

At about 4am, I was woken up by a very plaintive “Buzz!” The brush had turned itself on and was vibrating away like something from Lovehoney on my bedroom floor. I’m not going to elaborate further on that mental picture. And so it continued throughout yesterday. I thought perhaps that it had exceeded its charge so I removed it from the charger and placed it back on my wash basin. The next time it switched itself on, it buzzed its way into my basin, more lemming than Titanic survivor.

I was out last night but the startled OH was so disturbed by the highly charged buzzing that he secreted it deep in the ottoman, which served as an amplifying soundbox. In the end, he wrapped the amorous brush in a towel, thrust it deep into a bag and left it downstairs to calm down.

So, with some difficulty, I eventually tracked down the Customer Service number on Clinique’s website to find that they available to their customers only on Mondays to Fridays. I sent them an email and I tweeted them with this video of the machine but as yet I have heard nothing back from them.

To add insult to injury, I am told that this is a common fate for these nifty little machines. Plenty of reviewers on the John Lewis site and others report marvellous effects on the skin until one day the brushes turn themselves on and cannot be turned off or cannot be recharged; or cannot be turned on again because they have died. For some reason this scenario reminds me of the fate of Nana the courtesan in Zola’s eponymous novel: fantastically high class while she lasted but ultimately fated to return to society’s dustbin after a short, glittering career. £80 is a lot to pay for something that dies after 4 months. As I write the brush is sitting plaintively in its charging cradle. We shall see if we can bring it back from the dead.

For this reason it is with great and extreme sadness that I cannot recommend the Clinique brush. If Clinique ever bother replying to me, I shall post their response here.

Update 29/10/2016

I have sent my fourth Clinique Sonic Brush back to the company. The other three went nuts after charging; the third one took until its third charging session before it went the way of the others. I bought a replacement and charged it only for it lot lose charge after 10 days.

Estée Lauder, Clinique’s parent company, have been more than gracious in their speedy refunds but I wish they had tried this product BEFORE putting it on the market. My experience seems typical. Instead, I’ve bought a Clarisonic Mia Fit, with which I’m very pleased even though it seems to be drying my skin a little. We shall see.