The 6 Best Microcurrent Facial Devices Of 2022 + Pro Tips & More
The mass appeal of microcurrent facial devices is easy to get: The power of professional-grade, spa-worthy technology to use in the comfort of your own home sounds oh-so-enticing, no? Microcurrent facials have grown in popularity at spas and dermatologists' offices as part of a growing assortment of noninvasive yet highly effective treatments for aging skin.
Those same tools that you used to have to wait for a coveted facial appointment for are available in hand-held devices you can use weekly. And with purported benefits like lifting, toning, and fine line reduction, any skin care devotee's interest would understandably be piqued.
But be warned: These pro-worthy tools come with a price tag to match. Any skin care item that will cost you hundreds of dollars is likely a serious investment for most folks, and you rightfully will want to pick one that is easy to use and safe and that will give you visible results. So before you make the purchase, read on for what you need to look for, what you can expect from these tools, and ultimately, our favorite options on the market.
A sneak peek at the best microcurrent devices:
A sneak peek at the best microcurrent devices:
What is a microcurrent facial device?
Microcurrent facial devices are essentially as the name suggests: tools that emit low (micro) levels of electrical currents. You may be thinking, what could that possibly do for my skin? Well, these currents are very similar to the ones your brain sends to your muscles.
"Microcurrent is a very tiny electrical current that mimics your body's own natural pulses. What that means is our brains use currents to communicate through our neurological pathways, where it's constantly sending signals. What we're doing with this technology is mimicking those currents and delivering them to our facial muscles," says biomedical engineer and holistic skin care expert Pooja Johari, M.S., founder of 7E Wellness. These pulses, she notes, stimulate our muscles to act younger. "The thing is, the facial muscles can't tell whether the signal is coming from the brain or this device."
Let's dive a bit deeper into the "act younger" part. On a cellular level, these work through the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), or a molecule that's naturally produced in the body and acts as an energy currency.
Essentially your body (skin and muscles included) uses it as part of its regenerative process, creating more collagen, elastin, and so on. Without it, our cells lose energy—and unfortunately, our natural production of these declines with age.
"[This loss] is the reason our skin is not able to hold up the structure," she says. "What we do with microcurrent is replenish and boost the ATP and therefore, the collagen and elastin."
It also works by stimulating and strengthening the muscles. "It stimulates the facial muscles underneath the skin, which will help to improve the facial contour, tone the skin, and reduce wrinkles," says celebrity esthetician Shani Darden about microcurrent facials.
See, many signs of aging aren't just due to collagen decline; they can also be attributed to the fact that our facial muscles weaken as we get older. When the muscles sag underneath the skin, so does the skin on top of it. So by building them back up through microcurrents, your entire face will appear more toned and lifted.
Finally, these tools can also help by driving products deeper into the skin and boosting circulation. Both of these can improve skin's overall appearance and health.
How we picked
Unfortunately, the rise in popularity of at-home facial tools has spurred lots of knock-offs. We are only recommending brands and products that are FDA-cleared, backed by science, and that have integrity.
There's a learning curve with microcurrent devices, so we looked for brands that prioritized educating the consumer with tutorials, apps, and resources.
The hard truth is that quality microcurrents are expensive. However, we tried to include lower price points (without sacrificing quality) for those who want an entry option.
Everything on this list comes recommended and tested by trusted professionals and our beauty team. Additionally, we utilized user reviews to inform our choices.
Our picks for the best microcurrent devices:
- Red LED light can help target discoloration.
- The hydrating conductive gel includes snow mushroom extract, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and more.
- The conductive gel also includes parabens, which most clean beauty users avoid (you can always use a different conductive gel with your NuFace if you decide to go with this option.)
This brand makes some of the most famous microcurrent facial tools on the market, and the Trinity is their best of the best. This kit includes everything you need: the device itself, a hydrating conductive gel, a target attachment for the lip and eye area, as well as an LED and infrared therapy attachment to deliver amber and red lights. Want proof it works? In a clinical trial, 85% of users experienced improved facial contour.
What users say:
NuFace is a beauty editor favorite, mbg's beauty editor Jamie Schneider included: "You know those before-and-after microcurrent videos you see on social media? It's truly not just hype—the NuFace really sculpts your face in minutes. Microcurrent can be a pretty confusing space to navigate, but the NuFace Trinity set gives you everything you need and more. I also love the brand's new app, which comes with step-by-step tutorials, selfie trackers, and custom reminders so you can 'plan' your facial workouts, much like you might schedule in some gym time. I'm someone who frequently wakes up puffy and swollen—a few minutes with my NuFace, and my cheeks and jawline become instantly more snatched." Additionally, users note that at-home microcurrent devices are great for upkeep between appointments, which is how one reviewer says she uses: "I have been using the NuFace Trinity for several years. I also get professional microcurrent treatments. This is great for in-between visits to keep me looking more youthful."
- An affordable price point
- Comes with several skin-supporting technologies
- Only covers a small surface area
- Brand skin care is pricier
This option suits facial tool newbies, as it targets a wider variety of concerns and comes at a more affordable price point. It uses microcurrent technology, alongside LED lights to help with inflammation and blemishes, facial massage to reduce puffiness, and therapeutic warmth to improve product absorption.
What our tester says:
Commerce editor Carleigh Ferrante wrote a full review of the Solawave, calling the device "worth the hype." Her takeaway from the experience: "I personally was shocked by the results the first morning after using my new device, and it's only gotten more impressive with time. Each use brightens up my dark under-eye circles and eases tension in my face, revealing a less puffy, more sculpted appearance. Over time, I noticed an improvement in fine lines and a more even skin tone overall."
ZIIP Beauty GX Series Microcurrent Facial Device
- This option from ZIIP comes with their Gold Conductive gel, an all-star formula that uses actual gold, five growth factors, peptides, niacinamides, aloe vera, and more.
- At $129, the conductive gel is a pricey serum to continually repurchase
This easy design fits comfortably in the palm of your hand, so you can maneuver it around the face with ease. Speaking of maneuvers: It works in tandem with the ZIIP app, which syncs with your device. When you want to use it, simply select your desired facial in the app (which ranges from targeting forehead lines to full face), and it will guide you with step-by-step instructions and haptic feedback.
What users say:
This is the microcurrent I personally use. I have mild rosacea that tends to show up most prominently on my cheeks, so I use the device on my forehead and jawline. The forehead is where I see the best improvements: I've started developing horizontal lines across (I'm in my 30s, which is when they start to form), and this helps me ease their appearance and prevent new ones from forming or deepening. I'm not the only fan, either! While it's currently sold out on Amazon, one reviewer noted in her glowing recommendations: "After a recommendation from a friend that raved about it, I decided to give ZIIP a try. The setup was pretty straightforward given the fact that there is a user manual that details everything and an iPhone app with videos outlining each step—how to place the device, the amount of pressure to use, etc. What kind of results did I get? Well, I can't say it turned me back into my 20's again, but my skin is absolutely glowing like it hasn't in a long time. Seeing that my bi-monthly facials are easily over $100 each, this product is quite the steal."
- USB rechargeable with up to 90 uses per single charge
- On the more affordable end of the spectrum
- The full-sized conductive gel isn't included (although a trail satchel is), so you'll need to buy it separately or use your own
What makes this tool special is the antishock system, so it's designed to automatically adjust to your skin's comfort level and offers 10 microcurrent intensities. If you have sensitive skin, you can dial down the power—but you can also amp it up if you're looking for more visible results immediately after.
What users say:
While true results take time, users are impressed by how quickly this works. As mbg's Schneider says, "I was able to try Bear during a recent microcurrent facial, and I was floored by how strong this cute little device can be! I could really feel the pulses in the belly of my facial muscles. Given the small, waterproof design, this device is also very user-friendly—it's a great choice to lift on-the-go." Another reviewer noted they saw a difference in one pass: "I was skeptical about this product but it is amazing! I saw results after the 1st use, especially in my nasal labial folds which is my biggest area of concern. It is great if you are starting to lose that lifted muscle tone in your face to bring back that lifted look."
FaceGym Pure Lift Face
- Comes with a collagen-supporting serum to amp up the firming affects over time
- Made with diamond-shaped probes for a smoother user experience
This advanced tool uses a patented triple-wave technology to target several layers of facial tissue. The lowest wave offers a calming effect on the skin. The second wave is a mid-frequency to target the dermis layer of the skin. And the third wave is high frequency to reach into the facial muscles. Plus it comes from FaceGym, the brand that helped popularize facial workouts and target the facial muscles via microcurrent devices to the masses.
What users say:
The pro to at-home pipeline is real for this option: "My aesthetician uses this when she does facials. I loved it so much I bought my own. It's easy to use and makes a huge difference instantly."
7E Wellness Myolift™ Mini Microcurrent Device
- Professional-grade tool
- 88% of users say they'd recommend them to a friend
- Not as user-friendly as the others
For the skin care pros and amateurs alike, no one makes better options than 7E Wellness. The brand offers a digital support portal, access to community groups for business support and inspiration (for aestheticians), and in-depth, one-on-one education sessions with trained pros. They also make a wide variety of accessories to shop, but the Mayolift Mini is a great starting point.
What users say:
One user raves about not only the Myolift Mini but some of the extensions: "I have had the Myolift Mini for about 3 weeks now and I am enjoying using it. What I like are the different options I have. Sometimes I use the probes, but other days I enjoy using the eye and lip mask. I also like the option of using gloves as well. It is easy to use and my face always feels great afterwards. I haven't noticed that my marionette lines are diminishing yet, but everywhere else, my skin is so much more firm and lifted. I went back and forth for months about ordering this device, but am so glad I did."
What are the benefits of a microcurrent facial device?
While it's important to know the "how" behind any tool you use, most folks are interested in the "why"—essentially, what changes can you expect to see from using your microcurrent device? While we hinted at several in the section above, here's the full list of presumed skin-enhancing benefits:
- Muscle toning. The microcurrents engage the facial muscles, helping them to become stronger and more lifted, as Darden noted above. Essentially, these are like a workout for your face.
- ATP production. ATP is a naturally occurring molecule in the body that's vital for cellular energy (it's like an "energy currency"). It naturally declines with age, but microcurrents can stimulate the muscles to enhance production, as Johari tells us.
- Collagen and elastin production. Increased ATP production supports collagen and elastin in the skin, says Johari.
- Increased product efficacy. Microcurrents can help enhance product absorption.
- Wrinkle reduction. Likely due to a combination of the factors above, research shows that microcurrents can contribute to wrinkle reduction. One clinical study with 30 women under the age of 45 found that with 30 consecutive sessions (each session being 20 minutes), participants reported improved skin appearance and reduced wrinkle depth.
While many skin care professionals support using microcurrent devices, we should note that at this time there isn't a huge body of research behind their use. It's a growing, and promising, area of study, but certainly more research is needed to make definitive claims.
Cautions about using microcurrent facial devices.
While microcurrent facial devices are generally considered safe for most, these are professional-grade products and should be treated with care. First and foremost: "It's important to check with your doctor before using microcurrent if you have epilepsy, heart conditions, or you're pregnant," Darden previously told us.
In addition, here's what to keep in mind when folding them into your routine.
- Be mindful of skin type. These are best suited for those with concerns most often associated with aging, such as sagging, fine lines, and dullness. Those with otherwise healthy skin can benefit from them long term, too. However, Johari says that those with moderate to severe acne and rosacea should avoid use (an occasional breakout or flare-up is fine; just be sure to avoid the areas when using your tool).
- Use clean, high-quality, water-based formulas with it. Johari told mbg, "You want conductive gels that are clean and don't contain any ingredients that may have long-term negative implications. Additionally, microcurrent tools help ingredients penetrate further into the skin, so you want to make sure that the ingredients are non-irritating.” A few ingredients we like: niacinamide, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and peptides.
- Avoid retinols & exfoliants on the nights when using them. It's best practice to avoid potent exfoliants and actives prior to a facial, and at-home facial tools are no different. On the nights you use your device, keep your topical routine simple and gentle.
- Don't use after Botox or fillers. Skin care professionals advise waiting at least two weeks after getting Botox or fillers before using microcurrent devices again.
As with most at-home skin care treatments, it's best to consult with a professional about your unique skin care needs before using.
How long till you see results from microcurrent facial devices?
Experts, like Johari and Darden, note that you can see improvements almost immediately, such as a more contoured and toned complexion. But for long-term benefits you’ll need to use it consistently for about one month. "Generally speaking, it's best to [use at-home devices] five times a week for the first several weeks, and then you can reduce the frequency after that to maintain," Darden says.
How often should you use a microcurrent facial device?
As with any tool, you should use your microcurrent device as directed by brand instructions. But generally speaking, microcurrent facial devices are safe to use three to five times a week for about 10-minute spans. Do not use your microcurrent on nights when you're exfoliating or using retinol.
What should you use microcurrent facial devices with?
You should use your microcurrent with a generous dose of conductive gel. Conductive gels are water-based formulas that allow the currents to penetrate the skin. Many brands include gels with the purchase, but if not, you can use most aquaus serums. Look for hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. Avoid serums with AHAs, BHAs, and retinol.
What are the differences between at-home and professional microcurrent facials?
Typically professional microcurrent facials use more powerful devices. In addition, facialists are expertly trained and more purposeful in their movements, which will likely result in better results. However, at-home tools are incredible investments for maintaining tone and lift between appointments.
If your budget allows, microcurrent facial tools are a worthy investment for their skin-boosting benefits. Just be sure to use as directed by the brand and with a clean serum that uses high-quality ingredients (since it drives the formula deeper into the skin). And if you're in the market for more high-tech tools that complement your new microcurrent device, check out our favorite LED masks.