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Clarisonic Is Making Waves

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | June 17, 2011

Device maker garners cult following with sonic skin care.

What do cherry Jell-O, blue-tinted water and a slice of nude pantyhose have in common? All were fiercely ravaged by standard skin scrubbers, but delicately caressed by the Clarisonic, the cleansing device that features tiny bristles that rotate back and forth at 300 movements per second, putting it at sonic frequency.

Originally used for pre-treatment by dermatologists and spas throughout the country, Clarisonic, the Seattle-based skin care system owned by Pacific Bioscience Laboratories, is now pioneering the prestige marketplace with professional-caliber, at-home personal care. Springing from the mind of the inventor of the Sonicare Toothbrush, Clarisonic’s celebrity fans include Oprah Winfrey, Demi Moore and Courtney Cox. The product line has also won beauty awards from Sephora and the QVC Customer Choice Award. The company was even named #60 in Inc. Magazine’s top 500 ranking of the fastest-growing private companies nationwide in 2009.

Clarisonic is gentle on Jell-O, so just imagine how it must feel on your skin!
The brand recently hosted an event for beauty insiders at Studio 450 in New York. Called “The Evolution of Skin Care,” the occasion celebrates the history of this illustrious category with launches from Estée Lauder, Dove, Pond’s, Buf-Puf and then Clarisonic, of course, with its latest innovation, a Deep Pore Cleansing Brush Head.

Designed with a unique gradation of bristle firmness and dual-action movement, this brush head is optimal for cleaning oily skin, skin with large pores or those looking to target hard to reach and uneven areas of the face, like the crevasses around the nose, said Ken Pilcher, co-founder and vice president of R&D at the company, who was on hand to offer presentations along with David Guiliani, co-founder and chief executive officer and Jack Gallagher, president, to name a few faces that were there that day from Clarisonic.

Consumers can choose from a wide variety of Clarisonics.
Presentations about these supersonic devices featured everything from product maintenance (just soak the brushes in a little white vinegar for antibacterial cleansing, noted Pilcher; to manufacturing—all Clarisonic products are proudly made in the US, boasted Gallagher.

“The goal of this event was to showcase Clarisonic’s pioneering sonic skin care technology and to highlight the brand’s points-of-difference in an educational, fun and interactive setting,” Chris Payne, vice president of marketing at Clarisonic, told HAPPI.

The Clarisonic era began in 2005 with the launch of the Clarisonic Classic Sonic Skin Cleansing System ($195), now available in white, gray and pink at Sephora, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. The company patented sonic technology works with the natural elasticity of the skin. Oscillating back and forth at a sonic frequency that produces over 300 movements per second, a flexing action is created between the outer and inner brushes that works deeply and gently to loosen dirt and oil from the pores. Clarisonic’s sonic movements are also said to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; create softer, smoother skin; help reduce oily areas, dry skin patches and blemishes; and are safe for cleansing sensitive skin every day. In clinical tests, Clarisonic removed six times more makeup and two times more dirt and oil than manual cleansing, according to the company.

Building on Clarisonic’s tremendous success in spas, dermatologist offices and consumer homes, Clarisonic diversified to meet the needs of a broader consumer, through the introductions of various sonic skin cleansing systems: the Clarisonic Plus Sonic Skin Cleansing System ($225) cleanses beyond the face to care for special parts of the body including knees and elbows; the Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System ($149) makes sonic cleansing portable. The company also has a charitable side—the Clarisonic Plus, Mia and Classic Sonic Skin Cleansing Systems in pink contribute to the Look Good…Feel Better program.

The next level of clean is the Opal Sonic Infusion System ($185). The set combines the sonic micro-massage with a proprietary anti-aging serum made from marine extracts. The Opal Sonic Infusion System combines a soft applicator tip, precision tuned sonic frequency and a proprietary gentle kneading motion to maximize transfer of serum into the epidermis. In clinical studies, most women reported seeing an immediate reduction in fine lines and wrinkles and firmer, brighter, more hydrated skin in just one minute, according to the company.

The Clarisonic display.
The company recently targeted the burgeoning male grooming marketplace with the Grey Classic Sonic Skin Cleansing System. Catering to men’s shaving needs, when used in conjunction with a normal shaving routine, the Clarisonic is said top provide a closer, more comfortable shave and can reduce the incidence of razor irritation and rash.

And then there are the complementary personal care products—the cleansers, body polishes and serums ranging from $25-$65. The SKUs vary from facial to body and were formulated to work with the devices. For example, the Gentle Hydro Cleanser ($25) is naturally scented with cucumber. This pH-balanced, non-foaming skin cleanser is a full-body hydrogel that removes impurities while soothing and comforting, according to the company. It contains sucrose cocoate, a patented mixture of sucrose and coconut derivatives; algae and aloe vera gel as well as vitamin E and Japanese green tea.

“Clarisonic has enjoyed great success and we are excited for the work ahead,” noted Payne.“One of our main focuses is targeting potential customers who have yet to try our product and experience the benefits of sonic technology. We plan to continue making a real difference in the future of skin care for those prospective clients as well as our existing consumers.”

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