Olay's Rotating Brush Takes on The Trusty Clarisonic

You have to exfoliate, but do you have to spend $200? The short answer is no, of course not, but sometimes it pays to invest in a gadget. So when it comes to an exfoliating face brush, should you splurge or save? We put the Clarisonic Aria Sonic Skin Cleansing System ($199) and Olay’s Pro-X Microdermabrasion Advanced Cleansing System ($40) to the test.

The main difference between the two is the speed and motion of the brushes. The Clarisonic oscillates instead of spinning, while Olay’s rotates in circles. This makes the Aria much easier to use: It glides over your face easily, while Olay’s brush can pause on your skin if you press too hard. Since they operate differently it’s hard to compare speeds—the Aria oscillates at 300 motions per second, while Olay’s rotates at 300 to 500 times per minute, based on the setting. Translation? The Clarisonic moves about 36 times faster.

The higher price tag of the Aria means more bells and whistles, too. It times out your usage in four sections: 20 seconds for your forehead, 20 for your nose and chin, and 10 seconds for each cheek, pausing between each so you can move to the next area. Olay’s brush is simpler: it has an on and off button. Both brushes have three speeds, are cordless and waterproof, but the Aria is rechargeable while Olay’s takes batteries.

And the results? Our skin feels smoother and more refreshed after using the Clarisonic, but Olay’s brush isn’t far behind. It removes makeup just as well, and gently exfoliated our skin. The slowest speed of Olay’s brush is incredibly gentle, making it good for sensitive or fragile skin.

Our verdict? While the Clarisonic is in a class of it’s own, Olay’s brush can provide great exfoliation when used with a light hand on the highest speed.