I first came across NuFace four years ago when I was at New York Fashion Week.
I had bought a US magazine to while away the jetlag. Inside its glossy beauty section was a rave review about an at-home device that sends microcurrents of electricity into the skin to lift and firm it.
It was all I could think about.
I wanted a slice of the anti-ageing action, so I did an emergency pitstop at Neiman Marcus on route to the airport. Suddenly the NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device had been added to my beauty haul of Crest Teeth Whitening Strips and Maybelline Baby Lips.
NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device, £315, Current Body
Better still, it didn’t resemble a sex toy so there would be no embarrassing explanations in airport security.
It was probably the best $325 I’ve ever spent.
The tech claims
Microcurrent has a pretty impressive resume, even if it sounds like a kooky thing to do to your face. It was originally used to treat sufferers of Bell’s Palsy, whose muscles had atrophied. Then in the ’80s, the FDA approved it as a muscle stimulator for beauty treatments.
Its mile-long anti-ageing credentials (more radiance, contoured cheekbones and improved wrinkles) also grabbed my attention.
‘Microcurrent sends tiny electro waves into muscles to make them contract, the same way they would if you were doing a gym work out,’ says Debbie Thomas, a laser facial specialist who incorporates microcurrent in her treatments.
‘Each time the muscle contracts and relaxes it becomes stronger and tighter. With multiple sessions you will see improved lift, definition and circulation.’
How to use NuFace
Quite the claim, so I initially treated just one side of my face to see the difference.
After cleansing, I applied a custard-thick layer of the NuFace Primer Gel. (FYI, I’ve also found that any kind of conductive gel works just as well at giving the device slip over your skin).
I rolled the NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device upwards three times from chin to ear. Then from the lower cheek to the hairline and finally upward above the brow. Then repeated the sequence for the 20-minute treatment.
The idea is that the two metallic spheres at the tip of the NuFace device work together to create a current. This, in turn, sends low-level electricity into the skin.
FYI you can barely feel anything aside from the pleasantly cooling sensation of the metallic spheres hoiking up your skin.
The currents are completely painless, too, unless you happen to roll over a patch with no gel on it. But even then it’s no worse than a short, sharp snap from an elastic band.
Why I love it
After I finished, I looked in the mirror. Let me tell you, this gadget is it!
It carved razor sharp cheekbones and coaxed lax skin into a more lifted position. It also smoothed any forehead wrinkles, like I’d had the best facial massage ever but with longer-lasting results.
Better still there is no down time so I was able to go about my normal business.
Some devoted NuFace enthusiasts have likened the device to a five minute face-lift. But a little perspective is needed here, says Thomas.
‘At-home microcurrent devices have a small impact on collagen production. But they primarily work on tightening your muscles, not your skin. You also need to use them regularly to see good results. But ultimately they will help with overall skin health.’
According to the NuFace website, users should initially use the device for five days a week for 60 days (then downgrade to two or three weekly treatments). Never one to stick to the rules, I use it every other night and switch treatment heads to work on the muscles around my eyes, too.
NuFace Trinity Eye and Lip Enhancer Attachment, £142, Current Body
I must be doing something right as I recently saw Georgia Louise, facialist to Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow, who last treated me 10 years ago.
After poking and tugging on my face, then asking me to smile and frown, she spent the rest of my facial waxing lyrical about how my muscle tone hadn’t changed much in that time.
Cue fist pump. It seems microcurrent isn’t so kooky an idea after all.