The Case For Low Tech Beauty Tools


For every Kitchenaid mixer there’s a fork, for every Tesla, a bicycle, and for every high-tech skincare gadget there’s a low-tech counterpart to try before you go full-on electric. If you don't want to empty your pockets or get choice paralysis from complex tech, try an old school tool instead. These tools focus on basic concepts (like massage or hot/cold therapy, for example), without burdening your budget with enormous price tags. And as a bonus they're fun... and effective! But (and this is a big BUT), not all of them are worth your time. With that in mind, we rounded up eight tools that do exactly what they’re supposed to—nothing complicated, everything you’ll love, and most certainly worth the buy.

The Deep Reacher: Wildling Empress Stone

The tech: You’ve seen gua shas before—but this one’s different. The pointy tip of Wilding’s Empress Stone releases tension in jaw muscles (goodbye, TMJ headaches), and it encourages drainage when pressed into sinuses. The long side with the rake texture allows you to really pull on your underlying facial muscles, causing blood to rush to the surface of your skin. While you get a healthy looking flush, new blood carries oxygen to skin cells and drives waste products away.

How to use it: The brand’s founder, Britta Plug, posts tutorials to her Instagram. Follow along until you feel comfortable to go solo.

The Muscle Warm-Up: Lanshin Handheld Massager

The tech: Lanshin’s massager draws from heat therapy techniques in traditional Chinese medicine, and for that reason is unlike all the other massagers on this list. It looks like a cute little octopus and is defined by its two components: a hollow ceramic base and a silicone handle. Filling it with hot water (the ceramic can take it) soothes the muscles in your face like a heating pad does for your body. You may also notice a slimmer looking jawline or more defined cheekbones as the muscle fibers in your face begin to relax. Feel free to use this guy on your body, too.

How to use it: Lanshin recommends using the massager with your favorite serum, moisturizer, or oil. Then, circle it around areas where tension naturally accumulates—that might be your jaw, temples, or under your cheeks. You can also use it on the base of your neck to simulate a tingly massage you’d get from a professional facial.

The Detailing Tool: Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar

The tech: This sleek gold bar massages with vibration, stimulating the skin gently and effectively. If you don’t like the way traditional massage tools work, or are trying to target delicate areas like under the eyes, above the lips, or neck lines, Dempsey’s bar is a good option. It’s also made of gold—luxe!

How to use it: After lubing up with your favorite moisturizer, move the bar upwards and outwards from the center of your face. On horizontal lines, use it in quick up and down movements, kind of like a zig-zag.

The Instant Peel: Stacked Skincare Dermaplaning Tool

The tech: A Dermaplaning tool is essentially a razor, but smaller. It removes peach fuzz and dead, flaky skin so skin appears brighter instantly and makeup goes on smoother. You could get those little plastic disposable ones, which are basically the same thing, but Stacked Skincare’s version is more sustainable. After three or four uses, simply take off the blade and replace it with a new one for a clean shave every time.

How to use it: Pull skin taut and use the dermaplaner in short, quick motions. Make sure not to go over the same area twice—shaving is still exfoliation, and as with all exfoliation, you don’t want to overdo it.

The At-Home Cryo Facial: Georgia Louise Cryo Freeze Sticks

The tech: If heat opens up, cold closes—low temperatures contract blood vessels, an expert trick for neutralizing redness. Georgia Louise's Cryo Sticks are made with stainless steel to retain their low temperature when rolling on warm skin. The cold metal also brings down inflammation to treat puffiness, and is a quick fix to make pores appear smaller. They're easier (and less messy) to use than an ice cube, too.

How to use it: Pop them in the freezer overnight, and then roll back and forth across cheeks, undereyes, and your neck for instant de-puffing.

The Quick Dry: Aquis Lisse Luxe Hair Towel

The tech: This towel dries your hair quickly, sans the expensive blowdryer. It’s all due to Aquis’s close-knit fabric that absorbs water better, and since it's smoother than regular towels it is also gentler on strands, minimizing frizz. Also great for curly hair—save the diffuser money for something else.

How to use it: After showering, wrap your hair up in the Aquis (a hook and button makes this easy to do) and forget about it while you cook dinner, watch a movie, play with your dog, etc. When you take it out, hair will be less wet. Simple as that.

The Hangover Miracle: Gel Eye Mask

The tech: Ever use an ice pack? This is one of those, just shaped like an eye mask. A standby favorite for hangover victims, frequent criers, or just anyone with a little bit of eye puffiness. Lots of different versions exist, but this one covers a good amount of area, has convenient eye holes, and is available on Amazon Prime.

How to use it: Put it in the freezer and leave it there until it is needed. Then, just strap it on your face and keep it on until it’s not cold anymore. Try wearing it while you’re getting ready for work after a particularly rough night—this thing really works miracles.

—Ali Oshinsky

Photo via ITG.