Monday, 8 September 2014

Review: Olay Professional Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System

I've been meaning to write this review for a while, having now used the Olay Cleansing System fairly consistently for 3 months, & I've finally found time to sit down & evaluate my experience. If you'd asked me a week ago my review would have been overwhelmingly positive, however I've been having some issues with my brush recently - which I'll discuss in more detail later - & those problems have somewhat tarnished my previous enjoyment. That being said, I still think this is a good value & effective product - continue reading for my full review.

I purchased the Olay Cleansing System on Amazon where it retails for £18.74, plus £4.16 p&p, & that seems to be the only place to buy it if you're in the UK, although it is available at a wider range of retailers in the US (including the Olay website). Included in the set is the body of the brush itself, one brush head, & a sample size (20ml) tube of the Olay exfoliating cleanser.

The body of the brush is made of white plastic & is super lightweight, which is great as it stops your arm from getting tired when you're doing a deep cleanse. It seems fairly sturdy too as mine has survived being thrown in & out of a variety of boxes while we moved with minimal visible damage (we'll get to the invisible damage later!). The shape is also really comfortable to hold & the rubberised grip means you don't have to worry about it slipping out of your hand. On the bottom is a clip open compartment which contains the two AA batteries that power the brush, & on the side are two buttons - the top one is the on/off switch, & the lower one switches between two speed settings. 

The heads clip easily on to the rotating stem at the top of the body. The brush heads are around 2 inches across, which is the perfect size for getting into tight corners (like around the nose) while also allowing you to quickly cleanse your entire face. Olay recommend replacing your head every 3 months & you can buy two-packs of replacement heads for £10.99 on Amazon.

The exfoliating cleanser sample is obviously included to try & convince you to buy the full size product once you run out, but at £15.77 I just don't think it's worth it. It's a fairly standard gel exfoliator - very similar in fact to the Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub which you can get for £9.50 or Clean & Clear's Exfoliating Daily Wash which is only £2.99 - & while it does work well, I personally just need something more targeted at acne-fighting & less pricey.

The cleansing brush market is so over-saturated at the moment that any product needs to be on top of its game to really succeed, so how does the Olay Cleansing System stack up?

The big positive of the Olay brush versus its competitors is obviously the price. The cheapest Clarisonic on Amazon is £120, with two-packs of replacement heads coming in at around £20. While Clarisonic are undeniably the market leader, those prices just aren't accessible to everyone, so it's nice to have a more budget-friendly alternative.
There's also no denying that this brush does what it claims. It's a great gentle exfoliator for daily use (although I'd advise using it less regularly if you have sensitive skin) which can also be used for more serious exfoliation if combined with something like the St Ives Blemish Fighting Exfoliating Scrub (which is one of my all time favourite scrubs, & only £3.99). It's also great for cleansing at the end of a long day (although I'd recommend removing the bulk of your makeup first using a wipe), & there's no denying that my skin looks brighter & more even when I'm using the brush regularly. I've also noticed that my moisturiser sinks in super quickly after using the brush, which is great as I'm working really hard at the moment to keep my skin hydrated.
The final big plus, for me at least, is that it encourages me to be more consistent with my skincare routine. In the past I've definitely been guilty of sleepily patting at my face with a makeup wipe & then falling into bed, but since buying the Olay Cleansing Brush I've got a lot more consistent with my skincare. I just think there's something quite soothing about giving yourself a mini face massage before bed, followed by toner & moisturiser to complete the routine.

There's no denying that you get what you pay for with this brush. I mentioned earlier that I'd been having some issues recently with my brush, & I definitely think these are down to the less than premium build quality. A couple of days ago I went to use my brush & it wouldn't switch on. I wasn't hugely worried as it had been packed away during the move, so I just assumed the batteries had gone. However, when I opened the battery compartment it was damp & there was some rust around the connectors, & now - despite having dried it out & replaced the batteries - the brush is still a bit temperamental, turning on & off as it pleases meaning I have to store it with the batteries removed. Now this is obviously avoidable if you're super carefully to keep your brush out of contact with any water, but for a product which claims to be shower-proof to have an ineffective seal around the battery compartment just isn't ok. The overall system is also a lot more basic than some of the pricier ones, with only two speeds on the brush & one type of brush head available, if it doesn't work for you then tough.

Another issue I've found, although I suspect this is universal to all cleansing brushes, is that the brush head itself is very difficult to clean. The spinning motion means that product gets pulled down to the base of the bristles & once it's there it's pretty tricky to remove. I've found the best method is to remove the head & then hold it close to a strong tap or shower-head, but that's obviously not ideal - not only does it risk damaging the bristles, but it also puts the brush dangerously close to all that gross stuff that lives inside taps - nope.

The final issue is one that I've seen raised on a couple of blogs, & that's the suggestion that the cheaper cleansing brushes pull on the skin. The story I saw was that a Clarisonic representative had demonstrated the difference between their own brand & cheaper cleansing brushes by using both a Clarisonic & a budget brush on a rubber glove, & while the Clarisonic glided smoothly over, the other brush quickly twisted up the glove into a tangled mess. Now it's certainly true that when using the brush, there is some gentle tugging, particularly if you use it on looser areas of skin like around the eyes - hence why I tend to avoid using it there - & I can certainly see this being an issue if you have more sensitive or mature skin, but for the average user I don't personally feel it's that big an issue.

So that's my review. Overall, I would say if you have the money for a Clarisonic then go for it, but the Olay Cleansing System is a great budget alternative. While it might not have all the added extras of more expensive models, it's certainly more effective than cleansing or exfoliating by hand, & more enjoyable too. Just make sure to take care if you're using it in the shower & open the battery compartment regularly to check water isn't building up in there.

I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts, either on the Olay cleansing brush or on similar products you've tried - let me know in the comments! 

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