Beauty feels beyond my reach. This isn’t about self-deprecation, I swear. I’m talking about accessing the tools that can help you feel beautiful. Facials and fillers and blowouts seem expensive and exclusive to celebrities and influencers. Like Ariel from The Little Mermaid, I want to be a part of that world, but my jaw dropped the first time I paid more than $100 for a haircut. There’s no way I could ever afford (or justify) frequent skincare and hair treatments, right? The at-home beauty market disagrees.
Companies like Therabody and Dyson have expanded into high-end beauty in recent years with trendy tools like the Airwrap and the TheraFace Pro, and other companies have quickly popped up and followed suit. Now, you can get Drybar-like hairdos, LED light treatments, and even dermaplane your skin from the comfort of your home.
The Shark FlexStyle, TheraFace Pro, and Dermaflash Luxe+ are favorites among self-care-loving staff members at WIRED. Each beauty tool offers its own unique treatment without a hefty service fee for every use. Don’t get me wrong—the tools themselves are still an investment, but they eventually pay off the more you use them, especially when you consider how much you’d spend at salons and spas over a year. Here’s what makes them worth it.
I want what Matilda Djerf has: influencer hair. It’s luscious, bouncy, and beautiful. But I know I’ll never be good enough with a round brush or velcro rollers to get achieve this level of hair perfection. WIRED reviewer Medea Giordano says the Shark FlexStyle Drying and Styling System can give you all that glam without the high price of a Dyson.
The FlexStyle experience is extremely customizable. From the start, you get to choose from three models that each have a bevy of tools, ranging from standalone curling and blow-drying attachments to more specific bundles for curly and coily hair or straight and wavy hair. Luckily, you’re not locked into what you pick forever—you can purchase standalone attachments.
Once you’ve sorted out all of your accessories, that’s when the real fun begins. Like the Dyson Airwrap, the FlexStyle features a vortex of air called the Coanda effect. There’s less direct heat on your hair, so it’s not as damaging as most curling irons. Giordano says the only difference between using the Airwrap and the FlexStyle was that she had to coerce her hair here and there. It’s also an incredible hair dryer and diffuser, all for under $300.
Light It Up
It’s no secret that I like the TheraFace Pro. My mom always told me I had expensive taste, so I railed against that, only for all my Instagram ads and preferred pajamas to be, well, expensive. The $400 TheraFace Pro joins the regalia of my most-coveted items.
This is a multi-use beauty tool that comes with different attachments—a cleansing head, percussive heads, a microcurrent head, and an LED head. The cleansing attachment isn’t necessarily new technology, the percussive heads are a fancy way to massage your face and remove dead skin, and the microcurrent has questionable efficacy. But the LED lights? That’s something that I, and science, can get behind.
Certified dermatologist Jeffrey Hsu concurred that LED lights are effective at treating fine lines, promoting collagen production, and fighting acne-causing bacteria. He also notes that the wavelengths used in the TheraFace Pro are in line with those used by professionals and that with targeted, steady use, the Theraface Pro can do the same for you. Over the course of a month’s use, my skin was fuller, brighter, and cleaner than it was with my regular skincare routine.
You know how Paul Rudd looks the same since his Clueless days? I’ve also heard the line that men just seem to “age better.” Most of that is just plain sexism, but I can’t deny that I want to keep my skin looking as youthful as I can for as long as possible. One option is dermaplaning, which involves using a blade to scrape off the top layer of your skin, including small hairs.
WIRED reviewer Louryn Strampe grabbed the Dermaflash Luxe+ when she felt her facial hair was getting a little too noticeable for her liking. Not only was it extremely satisfying to physically see the dead skin peel off after each use, but Strampe found that it generally improved her skin’s appearance—peach fuzz aside. She says her skin was “flawless, glowy, and smooth,” and who doesn’t want that?
The downside? The Luxe+ is $200 and employs single-use blades, which is wasteful. The process isn’t terribly expensive if you have it done by a professional, but it adds up quickly. You can save money in the long run with this tool, though it’s worth talking to your dermatologist to see if it’s right for your skin.
You don’t need any of these items, and some of them might feel daunting to use alone. For us, they’ve been a welcome way to enter the world of beauty without having to go to a spa and spend hundreds of dollars over the course of a year, and it offers a little more control over our own appearance. That alone is worthwhile.