What's New In Beauty Tech


Optimistic citizens of the 80s thought that, at least by the turn of the century, we’d have a colony on the moon, flying cars, and time travel. Well, well, well! Wouldn’t they be confused to learn that instead, we’ve got smart fridges, NFTs, and a bunch of little gadgets that go zap zap on your face. Which! And, hear us out: Is still exciting. While attempting to stave off aesthetic entropy with cutting-edge tech might seem as silly an application for human brilliance as sending a Juvederm-plumped billionaire in a cowboy hat on an outer space drive-by… Those people have never experienced the ease of an Airwrap, the soothing hum of at-home IPL, or the satisfying flick of microcurrent. Some devices go far and beyond what would ever be possible with a topical, and the best ones rival in-office treatments (with no limit to how many times you can treat yourself). We’ve gotten good at using tech to make ourselves hotter.

Thing is, even though they’re less expensive than frequent pro treatments, beauty devices still tend to be pricey. With the big sale holiday season fast approaching, here are some clinically tested, pro-approved tools to keep on your radar.

For clearer skin

One option is blue LED light therapy. It isn’t going to work as quickly as benzoyl peroxide, or bring down serious acne like retinoids can, but its antibacterial effects might help down the inflammation associated with acne if you use it every day. Lightstim For Acne is a good place to start, while the Baby Quasar has slightly stronger LEDs for more stubborn acne. If you’d rather go hands free, there’s the Lustre Clear Skin Trio, which sticks onto your face like blue light barnacles. It’s a bit more expensive, but worth it if it’ll help you use the light more often.

Speaking of expensive, if you really want to go all out, you might invest in the Dr. Dennis Gross Spectralite Mask—not all LED fights acne, but this mask has the kind that does (blue) and the kind that helps inflammation and scars (red). Similarly, not all electrical currents can help acne, but the nanocurrent treatments programmed onto the Ziip are surprisingly effective when you feel a breakout coming on. The Coopala Facial Rejuvenation Machine combines blue light and electrical currents and radio frequency.

For firmer skin

Radio frequency uses heat energy to get your skin to produce more of the fibrous proteins, like collagen, that keep skin bouncy. The RF devices dermatologists use get super hot, but at-home versions are safe to use without special training. (And on all skin tones.) Two options are the Newa and Tripollar Stop X, the latter of which comes with a recommendation from makeup artist Nam Vo. Looking for something more Japanese? Try the Ya-Man Beaute Bloom. With a little extra oomph? The Titan Silk’n Skin Tightening & Lifting Device, which combines RF with red light.

Red light can also be effective on its own. The Light Salon’s full-face LED mask treats everything at once, while Dr. Dennis Gross’ Spectralite Eye targets just crows-feet and droopy eyes specifically. There’s also the SolaWave, which combines red light, heat, and a little microcurrent for a relatively reasonable $150. For just a microcurrent lift, the Nuface is tried-and-true. And, though we’d usually give a hard sell for not trying microneedling on yourself, if you simply must, please use this Hollywood EGF Kit from Georgia Louise. The .25 millimeter needles stamp (versus roll) and are single-use only, to limit the risk of spreading gnarly bacteria or getting dull and ripping your skin.

For skin that’s just generally glowier

Otherwise known as the devices that make your routine work harder, better, faster, stronger. There’s the Foreo UFO 2, a neat little device that supercharges your weekly mask with heat, icy coldness, light, and vibrations. The Droplette Micro Infuser is even more high-tech: backed by NASA (the NASA) and invented by two MIT-trained PhDs, it turns your favorite ingredients into an ultra fine mist to penetrate deeper into your skin. The catch is that with both devices, you need to use special compatible skincare products. If you don’t want to change up your products at all, there’s always this Dr. Dennis Gross Pro Steamer. Get a session in after you cleanse, or while you clay mask.

To look touched by a MUA

You need an airbrush makeup kit. If you haven’t checked out Temptu in a while, now their airbrush pods come with a neat lightweight, cordless machine. Easy! More sophisticated is the Opte Precision Skincare System, which is technically a skincare thing—using a high-speed camera and special algorithm, it applies a tinted treatment only where you have breakouts or discoloration. It’s very expensive. An easier way to make your makeup look better would be investing in a very well-lit Riki Mirror or smoothing dermaplaning tool (Michael Todd’s is expert level, this Dermaflash one works for beginners).

And finally, the hair tamers

Dyson is the reigning champ in the luxury hair device world: there’s the lightweight Supersonic Dryer, Top 25-winning Air Wrap, and totally cordless Corrale Straightener. GHD makes a cordless iron too, the Unplugged, which has a slightly bulkier build and slightly lower price point. The pros love Harry Josh tools, specifically this blowdryer, which will last you years and years. And the not-quite-pros love the Beachwaver, which rotates to make Bachelorette-esque waves lickity split. Waves not your thing? Maybe you’d prefer this Eva Thermal Straightening Brush, which is gentler on hair than the super cheap-o models but will set you back way less than an Air Wrap. And, if styling isn’t your thing, all hair types can benefit from a good water filter.

Photo via ITG