Beauty Busting: Philips PureRadiance

I have been using Philips PureRadiance for some time now and am surprised that it does not get the same love and attention as Clarisonic.  Thus I decided to do an in depth review.

PureRadiance vs. Clarisonic

To the best of my knowledge, they are essentially the same product.  The history of the invention seems convoluted, but i think can be summed up as the Sonicare people invented both products, but sold Clarisonic to L’Oreal.  I think the bigger success of Clarisonic is due to good marketing.

The big difference between them is the head.  PureRadiance has a smaller head.  I like this because i find it easy to get around my nose and be a little more precise around my hairline. However, I have read reviews that prefer the Clarisonic because the larger head covers more surface area.  Both products time how long to go over your face, so theoretically either should give you coverage for an appropriate amount of time. It will come down to which feels better for you.

The other difference between the heads is that the PureRadiance spins.  This has lead to some reviewers wrongly claiming that the PureRadiance does not pulse like Clarisonic.  It is true that you don’t feel the pulsing, but they both pulse, and to the best of my knowledge, it uses the same sonic technology.

I got a PureRadiance over a Clarisonic because I like the idea of the spinning head and i thought the smaller head would be easier to use, but I don’t doubt that Clarisonics are great too.

Product Claims:

  • Dual Motion Technology
  • 1 minute full face cleanse
  • Waterproof
  • Easy to clean
  • 10 times better cleaning
  • Softer Skin
  • Increase absorption of skin products


Some of the claims are fairly easy to confirm. Yes, the head spins and vibrates.  Yes, it does take a minute to clean my face and it feels like that is a sufficient amount of time.  It is waterproof; I have taken it into the shower.  And it is easy to clean.  It is the last claims that are more subjective.

Do I feel like my skin is cleaner and softer when using the PureRadiance?  Absolutely.  I actually hate how much better my skin is.  I am unfortunately very lazy when it comes to skin care.  I go on kicks when i use all the products I apparently should, but the kicks don’t tend to last.  But whenever I stop using the PureRadiance, my skin gets noticeably worse.  I tend to breakout a little and my skin feels oilier and looks older (more texture).  Then i kick myself for not keeping up with using the PureRadiance.

Cons?  Yes a few.  The cap that covers the bristles to protect them is crap. It is hard to put on.  The bristles often end up getting caught on the cap, which damages the bristles and prematurely ages the brush head.  I also find that my skin is drier when using the product.  I will even get dry flaky patches of skin. This can be off-set by moisturiser, which I should be using anyways, but many moisturisers irritate my skin.

Overall, though, I am very happy with this product.

But, what does the Science say?

There is a lingering doubt in the back of my mind.  Is this product really good for my skin?  Is it all hype?  Is it actually damaging my skin in the long run for short term gains?

From what I have gathered, the underlying principle is that jostling the skin around in both a side to side and up and down motion is more likely to loosen the adhesion between the gunk in our pores and the pore walls than just the regular side to side motion of standard scrubbing. The up and down motion is created via sonic waves by using the right frequency. The sound wave applies pressure to the skin and the elasticity of the skin causes it to bounce back once the wave is stopped; this cause the skin to oscillate up and down (picture a drum after it is struck). This is a tricky balance to get right.  The oscillations must be strong enough to break up the gunk and open our pores, but soft enough to not damage the collagen in our skin.  So yes, theoretically the product should clean your skin better and not damage your skin.

However, I was not able to find research into the long term effects of using sonic face cleansers, and it seems that most of the claims of effectiveness are funded by the company making the product, which is not objective.

The Verdict:

Overall, I think it is a little too soon to tell exactly how good this and similar products are. However, because I have had such good results using my PureRadiance, I will continue to use (and love) it.  But this has made me more cautious.  Because the technology does have the potential to damage the skin’s collagen if the frequency is off (causing premature ageing), I would not recommend buying any product that is not from a trusted manufacture/seller.  This is particularly concerning given how many knock off Clarisonics are in circulation.  Thus, if you do decide to get a PureRadiance or a Clarisonic, pay the extra money and avoid amazon or other dubious online sellers.

Interesting Reads:

Akridge, R. E., & Pilcher, K. A. (2006). Development of sonic technology for the daily cleansing of the skin. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 5(2), 181-183.

If you notice any errors in this post please contact me so that I can correct the information.  Thanks!