Skin & Fragrance Blog by Thom Watson

Beauty Gadgets, Clinique, Exfoliators & Scrubs, Washes & Cleansers

Clinique Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush: The Clarisonic Killer?

Clinique Sonic Brush 3a1

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Clinique UK Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush: Clarisonic Killer? – The BoxClinique UK Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush: Clarisonic Killer? – In dock with 3-StepClinique UK Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush: Clarisonic Killer? – Charging dock and plugThe Clinique Sonic System came as no surprise as it was inevitable that our lord and master, Estée Lauder companies, would eventually take on L’Oreal’s success with the Clarisonic facial cleansing brush. It was also pretty inevitable that Clinique would be the brand to do it; standing as one of the world’s biggest selling skin care brands with their unbeatable 3 step system and unrivalled success of the recently rebranded, Clinique For Men (formally Clinique For Men Skin Supplies).

What is a Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush?

If you’re new to the world of sonic facial cleansing brushes then allow me to welcome you in. Facial brushes such as the Clarisonic, FOREO Luna and Clinique Sonic System use the same technology we’ve come to love from our electric toothbrush, working with your favourite cleanser to dislodge dirt, debris and surface dead skin cells, all with sonic technology.

Clinique Sonic System Vs. Clarisonic

The waterproof and Swiss engineered Clinique Sonic is probably the most gently effective cleansing brush I’ve come across as I find the Clarisonic systems, even on their lowest setting, can often back a bit of a punch by comparison; I tend to only use a Clarisonic only two to three times per week. I definitely found the Clinique Sonic System perfect for daily use.

Speed Settings

However, the Clinique Sonic System only has one power / strength setting and I do prefer that I can really whack up the power on my Clarisonic Aria (review for the Aria coming very soon) which comes with three power levels. Clinique believe that multiple settings are unnecessary and that the single setting on the device will do the job perfectly; I have to say, I agree – it makes it much simpler.

Brush Heads

The Clarisonic has 4 different brush heads available (normal, deep pore, sensitive and delicate) vs. the Clinique Sonic System’s one, universal brush head. This is because unlike the Clarisonic, the Clinique device has the tilted head that allows you to use a different area of the brush as you feel is necessary; the green area for the T-zone and white for everywhere else.


The cheapest Clarisonic cleansing system will still set you back a hefty £112.50 (John Lewis have the systems at a 10% price match with free delivery, you’re welcome) a considerable beauty investment and one that I had to consider well, but I still think mine have been great buys and have certainly stood the test of time. Brush heads for the Clarisonic systems retail around £21 RRP.

The Clinique Sonic System, on the other hand, is available for £79 from all Clinique UK stockists and being Clinique, the price is universal and unwavering (Clinique Boots are offering free delivery and £3.16 worth of advantage points up for grabs). It’s availability in places like Boots is a huge advantage as getting hold of the Clarisonic can be a bit of a pain if you don’t live in a big city with larger department stores, or, don’t want to wait for it to be delivered. Also, Clinique have undercut the Clarisonic brush heads by a whole £1 making them just £20.

How to use your Clinique Sonic System

It’s super. Use once daily by applying your favourite cleanser / facial wash to the brush brush head and get to work. The user manual is pretty informative, including a note that under no circumstances must you ever use Clinique Sonic System “while sleepy or drowsy” *rolls eyes*. The head is comprised of a green area for the T-zone and a white area for everywhere else:

• Massage in circular motion for 15 seconds on cheeks and neck using white bristles.

• Massage in up-and-down motion for 15 seconds on T-zone using green bristles.

Skin Type and Skin Concern

The Clinique Sonic System is for all skin types and skin concerns: acne, sensitive, dry, oily… all of them!

I’d say be careful if you suffer with acne or any conditions causing inflammation of the skin’s surface but it shouldn’t cause any damage, just don’t go wild with it. I’d also say to stick with the white area of the brush with these skin concerns, making it super gentle and soft.

Skin Care Products

I know as an ex-Clinique-r that I’m a Judas for saying this, but you can 100% use this with absolutely any facial wash / cleanser. I’ve used it with both my Clinique For Men Liquid Facial Soap Mild as well as my Crème de La Mer Cleansing Gel.

It will enhance the Clinique 3-Step System as this is what it’s been designed for, but trust me, it’ll boost any skin care regime.

Can I still use a face scrub?

Interesting question. I have as I have a dry-combination skin type with dry cheeks and an oily T-zone.

I swear by the Clinique for Men Facial Scrub (save 15% with MKNEW at Mankind) but have found that I only need to use it once a week instead of two-three times.

I’d say avoid other scrubs for the first two weeks then after that, just use your common sense and see how your skin feels/looks.


I’m not 100% sure how long it takes to charge as I keep the base plugged in and leave it to charge over night; it’s not very long though. A full charge will give you 3 hours of battery time, which considering you need only to use it for 30-60 seconds cleansing a day, gives you a good while.

The charging dock base connects via USB and can be charged by a computer, so perfect if you’re travelling with your laptop. Unfortunately, unlike the Clarisonic Aria magnetic clip, the Clinique Sonic System dock is a little clunky and a bit of a pain in the backside for travelling.


I definitely wouldn’t be writing about it if there weren’t results. I found that in the first week, I saw a few spots and blemishes rise to the surface as my skin cell turnover improved and speeded up. I also found that initially I needed to use a little more moisturiser as my skin wasn’t as used to having so many new cells exposed at the surface (this is a good thing, fear not) and so dried out a little easier.

After a couple of weeks, I noticed my complexion was brighter and more even. I’ve been pretty stressed of late so this was a welcome improvement. My skin feels much softer to the touch whilst my moisturisers and serums sink in much quicker, not leave any trace of residue so often be caused by a build of of uneven, surface dead skin cells.

Is the Clinique Sonic System the Clarisonic Killer?

No, and I’ll tell you why. I think it’s like saying there should be only one smart phone; only one car or only one computer. They do different things. The Clinique Sonic System provides daily, ultra-gentle skin boosting effects, and so does the Clarisonic. I feel they both have their own benefits and drawbacks as you’ve read: with price, availability, usability and settings.

Would you recommend buying it?

I think if you’re feeling at a bit of a dead-end with your skin care and just can’t seem to make a difference, no matter how many products you’re using, this will undoubtedly give you that boost you’ve been looking for. It won’t only kick-start your skin, but offer long-term maintenance by keeping those skin cells turning over regularly and evenly.

It’s your choice and I’d say there’s not that much between them, except for £30 of course. The Clinique Sonic System is definitely a worthy opponent and rival of the Clarisonic and for more information, check out the Clinique UK Website.

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