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Should you use a vibrator in your skin routine? An expert weighs in

Toni Braxton uses a wand as a ‘face tingler’ and to depuff her undereyes

Sex toy sales have been up in lockdown, but maybe not for the reasons we’ve been thinking. Last week, singer Toni Braxton filmed her beauty routine for Vogue, and it was all fairly standard procedure – cleanse, moisturise, you know the drill – when suddenly she whipped out a vibrator. A Trojan Vibrations Power Wand Deep Massager to be exact.

“Okay, it is a vibrator! But I call it a face tingler,” Braxton says as she rubs the bright-purple silicone device across her skin, assuring us that she hasn’t used it for anything other than her face. “It tingles the muscles in my face and gets them activated and working.” Sometimes, Braxton says, she even puts the vibrator in the freezer to cool it down and help debuff the undereyes.

But could this actually work? Should we all be rubbing our bullets on our faces? Will a knobbly Rabbit get into those fine lines? We had to find out. 

“The oscillation from the device is what is causing blood flow. Increased blood flow to the skin can provide a temporary glow and plumpness to the skin,” says Tiara Willis, a New York-based esthetician. The effect is similar to using a jade roller, or massaging your face with your hands to increase blood flow, however, Willis explains, it won’t dramatically tone the muscles.

Instead, if toning the muscles is what you want, Willis recommends microcurrent treatment or wave therapy. “It works by using low-level electrical neuromuscular stimulation to stimulate motor nerves until a contraction of the muscles can be seen,” she explains. “As we age, the natural electrical impulses from our brain to our muscles slow down. This is non-invasive and simply mimics the way the brain relays messages to the muscles. It's like a passive form of exercise!”

At-home microcurrent devices such as the NuFace one and professional esthetic treatments will both do the trick and work to firm the muscles, boost cellular activity, increase blood flow, aid in lymph circulation and assist with product absorption. It’s important to note that electrotherapy treatments should never be used on the following: heart patients, those with pacemakers, metal implants, braces, those with epilepsy or seizure disorders.

If you are looking to get into face massage, Willis says there are many benefits to be had from it. As well as being very relaxing, it can help stimulate blood flow, assist in lymphatic drainage, relieve tension, aid product absorption, helps muscles tone and soften skin cells. “You can break capillaries if you’re too massaging too deeply, but this is rare,” she says. “I recommend not using vigorous or strong massage techniques if you have inflamed acne, sensitive skin, a sunburn, or severe redness.”