When it comes to cleansing, cleansing brushes are an amazing way to upgrade your routine. Not only do they do most of the work for you, but they provide a much deeper cleanse and more efficient exfoliation than a cloth or your hands can. They also boast plenty of other benefits, like improving circulation and helping your products penetrate on a deeper level.
As someone who never fully jumped on the bandwagon (I know, I know), I’ve found most of the cleansing brushes I’ve tested in the past to be too harsh on my skin or too much of a hassle to use. That said, I was excited to test out the FOREO Luna 3, Byrdie HQ’s top choice in the category. Made with soft, silicone bristles and offering 16 different T-sonic vibration-powered cleansing modes, this innovative (and tiny!) device has quickly become a fan favorite for being both super effective and gentle. Would it finally make me a believer? Read on to find out.
FOREO Luna 3 for Normal Skin
Best for: Oily and dry skin types
Uses: Deep cleaning, pore cleansing, improves dullness and uneven texture, firms, and lifts
Best features: Connects to an app for customizable cleansing and targeted firming massages, brush head features soft and hygienic silicone bristles that don’t need to be replaced, the device is small and ergonomically designed
About the Brand: Founded in 2013, FOREO is a Swedish beauty tech brand known for its innovative cleansing and firming skincare tools that utilize sonic pulsations and LED light therapy.
About My Skin: Not a big cleansing brush user
I strive to keep my skincare routine pretty simple, and though I recently reviewed a different cleansing brush and liked it, I ultimately felt that I’d much rather stick with using a microfiber cloth for my double cleansing routine. However, considering just how fancy the Luna 3 is, I was definitely keen to give cleansing brushes another go.
My skin can be dry at times, and I tend to struggle with texture issues—especially if it’s been a while since I’ve gotten a facial. With this in mind, I chose to test out the “normal” version (the brand also offers sensitive and combination skin models). Over the course of one week, I used it to cleanse my face both morning and night. Since I double cleanse, and the brand recommends removing your makeup prior to using, I would first use an oil cleanser and gently wipe away with a microfiber cloth, and then use the Luna 3 with a gel cleanser for the second step of my routine.
The Science: Cleansing brushes provide a deeper clean
Before I get into how well the Luna 3 fared, let’s first dive into why you should be using a cleansing brush in the first place. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Corey L. Hartman, there are many benefits to using one over a washcloth or your hands. “The brush allows for a more effective cleansing of the skin that removes dirt and makeup better than soap and water alone,” he says. “They also gently exfoliate to improve the appearance of dull skin, resulting in a more radiant glow. The gentle vibration and touch of the bristles boosts circulation and promotes blood flow beneath the skin’s surface to increase oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Plus, they do more to clean pores and treat acne and allow for better, deeper, more efficient absorption of products into the skin.” In short, everyone needs a cleansing brush, stat.
What really makes the Luna 3 stand out is its thoughtful design.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should be too liberal with one, either. “Overuse of cleansing brushes, especially those with more abrasive bristles, may lead to over-cleansing, broken capillaries, and excessive dryness, irritation, redness, and sensitivity,” he says. He adds that those with thicker, oilier skin are better suited for cleansing brushes, as well as those with more facial hair or who are more prone to acne breakouts. “If your skin is very sensitive or easily irritated, use with caution and stick to silicone bristles only. And even then, apply light-to-moderate pressure when cleansing so as to not increase irritation and inflammation.”
When it comes to the Luna 3, Dr. Hartman considers it best in class. “The design of the silicone bristles and the level of vibration make it ideal for thorough, yet gentle cleansing that suits most skin types,” he says. Plus, he points out that silicone bristles are non-porous, so they’re resistant to bacterial accumulation that can build up on traditional nylon bristles (gross!). “Nylon bristles do provide a more thorough clean, but that comes at the risk of increased friction and irritation as a result.”
How to Use: Connect to the app, then let the device get to work
When you’re ready to start using the Luna 3, first remove your makeup. Then with a charged device, connect it to the FOREO app via Bluetooth—you’ll need to unlock your device via the app the first time you use it. As someone whose phone is perpetually dead or dying (oops), I also appreciate that you can still use the device without being connected after it’s initially unlocked.
Next, dampen your face and apply your favorite cleanser, and hit the start button twice to turn the device on. The device will then begin to vibrate, and you can then gently glide it over your face in circular motions until the built-in timer shuts off. While, yes, you’ll have to manually move the Luna 3 across your face, it’s the vibrations that really do all the work. Through the app, you can also adjust the intensity settings, as well as watch a timed face map that alerts you when to move on to the next quadrant of your face to ensure you’re cleansing every area efficiently. Once you’re done, rinse off your cleanser and pat your face dry before continuing with your skincare routine.
Also nice? The Luna 3 also moonlights as a facial massager, and through the app, you can follow a number of different lifting and firming massages, step-by-step. Using the ridged, bristleless back of the device, it glides nicely over the face without pulling or tugging.
Design: Thoughtfully ergonomic and gentle
What really makes the Luna 3 stand out is its thoughtful design. Its ergonomic flattened egg shape is designed to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, making it easy to maneuver over different parts of your face. Rather than one small brush head at the end of a handle, the entire front surface is covered in soft, silicone bristles that, along with T-sonic vibrations, deep clean your face without being too harsh (which means your arm has to do less work to properly hit all the points of your face). And, as Dr. Hartman points out above, silicone bristles are the way to go since they don’t inhibit bacterial growth and are way more gentle than their nylon counterparts. Plus, they never need to be replaced. The back of the device, the same soft silicone material, is slightly ridged to be used for facial massages.
After using it for the first time, my skin immediately felt noticeably smoother and softer—clean, without feeling too clean.
The fact that it’s a smart device is what gives it such a steep price tag. Sure, you can use it on your own whenever you feel like it, but following the step-by-step guides in the app ensures you’re getting a proper cleanse or massage while making the experience entirely customizable. It’s also worth noting that a single charge will last for 650 uses, another nice perk.
The Results: Skin is left clean, smooth, and glowy
With the Luna 3, it was love at first cleanse. After using it for the first time, my skin immediately felt noticeably smoother and softer—clean, without feeling too clean. Over the course of the week, I never once noticed any irritation or that my skin felt stripped, even when I upped the intensity. Plus, using it is equal parts fun and relaxing. While, visually, I wouldn’t say I saw a major difference in the look of my skin in such a short period of time, my overall complexion looked radiant and glowy every time I used it.
I also took the time to dabble with the facial massages, as well. While I can’t say I noticed much in terms of lifting or firming in a week, they’re all super relaxing and a really nice treat to start your morning or end your day with. I’ll definitely continue to fit these into my routine whenever I have time.
The Value: An investment
At $199, the Luna 3 is definitely an investment. It’s super effective, totally customizable, and offers plenty of bells and whistles that most other cleansing brushes don’t. Plus, the fact that the brush head never has to be replaced (and also won’t grow bacteria) is another great perk, as cheaper, nylon bristles will require you to purchase replacement brush heads over time. Still, while I think it’s worth the splurge if it’s a purchase you’re able to afford, I do think the price could be a bit lower—even by just $50.
Similar Products: You’ve got options
Olay Regenerist Face Cleansing Device: The Olay Regenerist Face Cleansing Device ($34), a budget-friendly cleansing brush I had the opportunity to test, is a solid no-frills option if you’re looking to dip your toes into using cleansing brushes. It’s bulky, which TBH, is why I lost interest in using it over time—it took up a lot of precious shower space! But for the price, it’s still a great product. Simple in design and use, this battery-powered device offers two brush speeds that you can easily toggle between, though I found that the higher speed was way too rough for my skin (and I’m not particularly sensitive).
PMD Clean: For half the price of the Luna 3, the PMD Clean ($99) is a waterproof, silicone bristle cleansing device that, while much different in shape, offers similar benefits to the Luna 3. This one is much larger, but it also offers a larger brush surface than most cleansing brushes. It cleanses with 7,000 vibrations per minute, ensuring a deeper cleanse that also lifts, firms, and tones problem areas with four different modes (as opposed to the Luna 3’s 16). It’s also worth noting that it isn’t linked to an app. While I personally prefer the shape and customizable aspects of the Luna 3 better, the PMD Clean is a great option for anyone seeking a luxe brush with silicone bristles that’s less of an investment.
The FOREO Luna 3 for Normal Skin has completely changed how I cleanse my skin, leaving my complexion at unparalleled levels of clean and glowy without it ever feeling stripped or irritated. The only reason it didn’t earn 5 stars is that I think the price tag is a bit unattainable for most.