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Vibrating brush that changed the face of beauty (but did it do more harm than good?)

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vibrating brush that changed the face of beauty but did it do more harm than good

Snoop around the bathroom of any skincare obsessive and chances are you’ll find a curvy, ergonomic electric brush languishing by the basin or in the shower.

Too big to be a toothbrush, too soft to be a hairbrush, what you’ve stumbled across is probably a Clarisonic — the vibrating face brush that, a decade ago, took the world by storm, sold ten million globally and kicked off the trend for high-tech beauty gadgets.

Now, however, it’s all over.

The first that millions of beauty fans knew about it was when a note appeared on the clarisonic.com website announcing: ‘After more than a decade of game-changing innovation and industry-leading technology, the Clarisonic brand will be shutting down as of September 30, 2020.’

After 11 years on the market, fashion brand L'Oreal are pulling their Clarisonic vibrating face brush

After 11 years on the market, fashion brand L’Oreal are pulling their Clarisonic vibrating face brush

The news prompted an outpouring of grief on social media, with fans imploring: ‘Do not do this! Everyone knows Clarisonic is the best.’ while others lamented: ‘Nothing has helped me as much as the Clarisonic.’

No real explanation was given; the website simply said that ‘this difficult decision was made so that L’Oreal [who bought the Clarisonic brand in 2011] can focus . . . on its other core business offerings.’

So how did a beauty gadget develop such a dedicated following? And if it is so good, why on earth has L’Oreal jettisoned it?

The Clarisonic facial brush hit the UK in September 2009. Back then, I described it as looking like ‘an oversized electric toothbrush’ —– and that was no coincidence.

The device was developed by the team behind the Sonicare toothbrush, and used similar technology: oscillating bristles that created turbulence in any liquid they came into contact with. These micro-movements, the manufacturers claimed, helped to dislodge plaque from teeth or dirt from your skin.

It was an instant sensation. At the time, I wrote: ‘Dermatologists and celebrities alike can’t praise this little gizmo enough. Cameron Diaz, Gisele Bundchen and Demi Moore are apparently fans.

Fashionistas were given no warning that the electronic product was being stopped by L'Oreal (stock image)

Fashionistas were given no warning that the electronic product was being stopped by L’Oreal (stock image)

‘And just as compelling are anecdotal testimonies from women who insist it has improved everything from rosacea and acne to shaving rashes.’

The fact it cost a staggering £150 didn’t seem to deter anyone.

Former beauty columnist Hannah Betts was one of the first to get her hands on the Clarisonic. More than a decade later, she says she is still ‘a fully paid-up member of the cult of the Clarisonic, even if experts tell me it scours my skin.

‘I use it three times a week, with an oil product so that the effect isn’t too drying. Nothing else makes my skin feel as clean.’

But, as Hannah suggests, not everyone is a fan. Alongside the millions mourning its demise are experts who will be dancing on its grave.

‘The way people use it is just too heavy-handed,’ says facialist Dija Ayodele of London’s West Room Aesthetics.

Fans rushed to social media to beg the brand not to discontinue the vibrating face brush (stock image)

Fans rushed to social media to beg the brand not to discontinue the vibrating face brush (stock image)

‘They tend to press it onto the skin, damaging the skin barrier. I’ve seen micro-tears and pigmentation problems caused by these repeated mechanical assaults on the skin.’

There have also been reports of Clarisonic brushes, invariably kept in the moist environment of the bathroom, harbouring mildew and mould. 

Dija adds: ‘If you use something stronger than soap and water to clean it, you run the risk of getting residue on the skin which can cause inflammation. But if you don’t clean it properly, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, which is exactly what you don’t want.’

London dermatologist Dr Beibei Du-Harpur says skincare has simply moved on since the Clarisonic was first launched. 

At £150, the price tag didn't seem too steep for fans of the product, with sales numbering in the millions

At £150, the price tag didn’t seem too steep for fans of the product, with sales numbering in the millions

‘These brushes were promoted as a way of removing make-up gently and more effectively than you could with just your hands, but now melting make-up with oils and balms is very much in vogue instead, which is even gentler,’ she says.

‘At the same time, there is also more awareness of chemical exfoliation [using acids to get rid of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin] — physical exfoliation [the sort of manual scrubbing that face brushes offer] has fallen out of fashion.’

Love it or loathe it, you can’t deny that the Clarisonic was innovative and spawned a new beauty category — that of devices — not to mention a number of copycats.

Back in 2009, if you’d checked the skincare tools section of beauty boutiques such as Space NK, you’d have found little more than tweezers and eyelash curlers. Now it’s packed with micro-current devices, LED masks and much more.

Facialist Dija Ayodele of London’s West Room Aesthetics warned that some people who used the product were too harsh on their skin (stock image)

Facialist Dija Ayodele of London’s West Room Aesthetics warned that some people who used the product were too harsh on their skin (stock image)

London dermatologist Dr Beibei Du-Harpur says that skincare has moved on since the days when Clarisonic first hit the shelves (stock image)

London dermatologist Dr Beibei Du-Harpur says that skincare has moved on since the days when Clarisonic first hit the shelves (stock image)

Similarly, the website Current Body.com, sells hundreds of devices covering every aspect of skincare, from cleansing and hair removal through to anti-ageing and acne.

Within a few years, brands including Olay, Boots, Clinique, Philips and Magnitone had launched their own face brushes, often at a fraction of the price of the Clarisonic.

And while most of these devices used different technology — rather than a vibrating head, they tended to have a cheaper rotating head, which many argue is harsher on skin — it was hard to convince consumers to part with a three-figure sum for a brush, and then pay an extra £20 every three months to replace the head, when they could get something similar far more cheaply.

Which may be the real reason L’Oreal has pulled the plug on the first cult beauty gadget, rather than any naysaying by dermatologists and facialists.

Despite production of the product having now stopped, there are enough supplies of the devices and their heads to keep people topped up for another couple of years

Despite production of the product having now stopped, there are enough supplies of the devices and their heads to keep people topped up for another couple of years

After all, thanks to the pandemic and a rise in the number of us giving ourselves spa-style treatments at home, sales of facial devices actually rose in the first half of the year.

But if you refuse to be parted from your Clarisonic there’s some good news. While, in the U.S., replacement brush heads sold out on the Clarisonic website within 24 hours of the announcement, here in the UK, you don’t need to panic buy.

Laurence Newman, CEO of CurrentBody.com, Clarisonic’s official retail partner has told Femail that although manufacture of devices and heads has stopped, ‘we are well placed to ensure there is continued supply — for at least the next couple of years’.

(The clarisonic.co.uk website will automatically redirect you to CurrentBody if you want to buy anything.)

Within a few years of having been launched, brands including Olay, Boots, Clinique, Philips and Magnitone had launched their own face brushes (stock image)

Within a few years of having been launched, brands including Olay, Boots, Clinique, Philips and Magnitone had launched their own face brushes (stock image)

Who knows what will happen after that? If sales go well, another company may swoop in to buy the patents to continue producing Clarisonic devices. But if you’re interested in alternatives, there are plenty around.

Foreo devices — launched in 2013 — were developed by the same Swedish team that makes Lelo vibrators. And the fact that they have silicone bristles means that they’re far easier to keep clean than conventional brushes.

They’re also softer, so you’re less likely to damage your skin, plus you don’t need to replace the head. If you want to trial their technology, their smallest device, the Luna Play, is just £29, currently reduced to £23.20 on foreo.com.

Elsewhere, Magnitone has vibrating bristle and silicone brushes from £40 (magnitone.co.uk), while a mini version of Philips Visapure — my favourite, after trying pretty much every brush out there — is £39.99 at John Lewis.

If you are going to use one, slowly introduce it into your cleansing routine, using for no more than a minute (20 seconds on each side of your face and 20 seconds on the forehead) once or twice a week.

Use with a gentle cleanser or cleansing oil that doesn’t leave the skin feeling tight, and avoid any other exfoliation or acids.

L’Oreal’s decision to ditch Clarisonic may seem like the end of an era, but I get the feeling its legacy will live on for some time to come.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Disturbing pictures show Europe boiling over with rage at yet more coronavirus lockdown rules

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disturbing pictures show europe boiling over with rage at yet more coronavirus lockdown rules

As the coronavirus crisis drags on, the mood in Europe is turning ugly. Tempers are fraying. Frustration is at boiling point.

And, as the shocking photos on this page reveal, with new Covid restrictions being introduced across the continent, many countries are sliding into open rebellion.

Take Italy, for example, where this week at least a dozen cities have seen violent protests against the government’s reimposition of a tight lockdown.

The most serious occurred in Milan and Turin, where demonstrators committed arson, vandalised public transport, looted shops and attacked the police with stones and petrol bombs.

Protesters  clash with police during a protest against the measures implemented to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Rome

Protesters  clash with police during a protest against the measures implemented to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Rome

A police officer  during the demonstrations over the restrictions put in place in Rome

A police officer  during the demonstrations over the restrictions put in place in Rome

Demonstrators in Milan  protesting against the government¿s reimposition of a tight lockdown

Demonstrators in Milan  protesting against the government’s reimposition of a tight lockdown

Police officers stand by burning flares during a protest against the new measures in Rome

Police officers stand by burning flares during a protest against the new measures in Rome

The flames of discord have spread to Spain, where the declaration of a second state of emergency and the prospect of a six-month lockdown led to huge protests on the streets of Barcelona, with scores of rubbish bins set on fire.

There have been explosive anti-lockdown rallies in the Czech capital of Prague, at least one of which had to be broken up by the police using tear gas and water cannon.

Even Germany, where the public is renowned for its obedience to authority, is experiencing unrest.

‘Why aren’t you telling the truth, Mrs Merkel, about how we are losing our freedom, jobs and health?’ read one placard at a demonstration in Berlin.

Across the Channel in France, where a state of emergency has also been declared recently, there have been major protests in several cities, including Paris and Marseille.

Indeed, one poll yesterday showed that just 37 per cent of French voters think that the government of president Emmanuel Macron has handled the pandemic effectively – hardly a surprise given that the daily total of infections passed the milestone of 50,000 on Sunday. 

A firefighter walking past a burning dustbin after a demonstration against curfew in Barcelona

A firefighter walking past a burning dustbin after a demonstration against curfew in Barcelona

 So how long will it be until Britain follows suit and street protests are triggered?

Thankfully, our country has not yet reached the stage of combustible revolt. 

But, as stoicism gives way to scepticism, it is clear that there is far less unity now than there was back in the spring when the first lockdown was introduced.

Anti-lockdown demonstrations are a regular weekend occurrence in central London, while the willingness of normally law-abiding citizens to comply with ever-more complex regulations is beginning to fray.

This week even the BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire admitted that if the rule of six were still in place by Christmas, she would ignore it. 

She later backtracked from this stance, but her initial statement reflected an increasingly widespread disenchantment with the current rules.

Protesters in Milan attacked the police with stones and petrol bombs

Protesters in Milan attacked the police with stones and petrol bombs

According to the latest polls, only 39 per cent of the public approve of the No 10’s Covid policy.

Even Tory MPs seem to have had enough, with a number of those in northern seats now on the verge of open rebellion against the Government’s perceived lack of a coherent exit strategy from the new Covid lockdowns being imposed on them with devastating economic impact.

As someone who has to self-isolate because of an underlying health problem – the onset of Parkinson’s Disease – you would expect me to support the current restrictions. 

Yet I have deepening reservations about the Government’s handling of this crisis.

For it appears to me that we have ended up in the worst of all worlds, governed by rules that are both draconian and ineffective.

A central part of the problem is that the public’s faith in officialdom has been badly eroded, largely due to the gross hypocrisy of those who devised Britain’s restrictions.

After all, it is impossible to maintain national cohesion when there is one law for the hard-pressed citizenry, another for the privileged elite. 

Police officers stand guard outside a Gucci boutique store during the protests in Turin

Police officers stand guard outside a Gucci boutique store during the protests in Turin

Too many of the rule-makers have turned out to be rule-breakers, refusing to tolerate the same sacrifices that they so piously demanded of others.

The most egregious purveyor of such double-standards was undoubtedly Downing Street’s chief strategist Dominic Cummings, whose notorious trip by car to Barnard Castle in County Durham after he had contracted Covid was a clear breach of the lockdown.

His lack of contrition, never mind his refusal to resign, has permanently undermined the Government’s credibility and, I would suggest, was a tipping point for the public mood which, over the past few months, has been increasingly restive.

There were, of course, others like him, such as Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, who visited his self-isolating parents in distant Shropshire at the peak of lockdown, or SNP MP Margaret Ferrier, who shamelessly made a round-trip between Scotland and London last month despite knowing that she had tested positive for the virus.

Just as reprehensible was the behaviour of doom-mongering scientist Professor Neil Ferguson, the real architect of the lockdown strategy, whose illicit trysts with his married lover made a mockery of his own stern injunctions against household mixing.

 ‘I thought I was immune,’ he said in his defence, having tested positive for the coronavirus and isolated himself for ‘almost two weeks’ – an utterance that we now know contained more political than medical truth.

Meanwhile, the morale-sapping impact of such hypocrisy on the country has only been compounded by the Government’s heavy-handedness in meting out new restrictions.

Protesters in Milan during a protest against the new coronavirus measures

Protesters in Milan during a protest against the new coronavirus measures

More than 8million people in England are now living under the highest Tier 3 rules, while the devolved nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have even tougher lockdowns.

Indeed the Welsh government appears to have become a mix of theatrical farce, communist East Germany and Cromwellian puritanism. Bizarre, contradictory regulations on essential sales have led to books on supermarket shelves being cordoned off with police tape. 

‘I can buy a Babycham, but not baby milk,’ complained one shopper, highlighting the nonsense.

At the weekend, a service at a church in Cardiff was even raided by police with searchlights because it broke Wales’s particularly draconian ‘firebreak’ restrictions.

This assault on essential liberties is wholly unBritish. Freedom is meant to be central to this country’s heritage. 

Yet today, ordinary people are being heavily punished without trial for the breach of some arbitrary edict.

SNP MP Margaret Ferrier

Chief strategist Dominic Cummings

Rule-makers have turned out to be rule-breakers-SNP MP Margaret Ferrier (left) and chief strategist Dominic Cummings (right)

Just ask Manchester University student Carys Ingram, who was recently fined £6,600 after she posted a photo of herself on social media breaking quarantine rules during a visit to see her family in the Channel Islands.

Of course, it could have been worse. Last week individual penalties of £10,000 were imposed on three Nottingham students for holding a house party.

And in recent weeks we’ve seen just how easy it is for this jobsworth mindset to descend into outright cruelty.

That trend was epitomised earlier this month during a funeral at a Milton Keynes crematorium, where the ceremony was interrupted by an appallingly cold-hearted official who rushed forward to prevent a son from hugging his grieving mother.

It was a deeply disturbing indication of how individuals are being made to suffer unnecessarily by the current social-distancing measures.

Yet we must remember, too, that Britain as whole is also paying an enormous price for the current restrictions, both economically and in terms of our general health.

At the start of this year, who could have thought that by October we would be living in a country where the national debt is bigger than the size of the economy?

And so, after failing so miserably on so many fronts, it would take a Government of some nerve to now demand absolute obedience from the British public.

For if it does, it will only stoke the fires of indignation.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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We made promises to voters in the North… we MUST keep them, writes DAVID DAVIS 

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we made promises to voters in the north we must keep them writes david davis

The North has always been Britain’s great industrial heartland. Yet that proud history has become its disadvantage during the pandemic.

If you work in an office-based job such as financial services, you may find it easy to do so from home. 

But anyone who works in a steel foundry, a garment factory or any business that relies on physical manufacturing has probably had a harder time of it.

And they are much more likely to be in the North.

Promises made to voters in the north must be kept, says former Brexit secretary David Davis

Promises made to voters in the north must be kept, says former Brexit secretary David Davis

That’s why, with 40 of my fellow MPs from the so-called ‘Blue Wall’ that stretches from the Irish Sea to the North Sea, I unhesitatingly put my signature to the letter sent this week to 10 Downing Street by Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen in Lancashire. 

Our letter sets out to ensure that our constituencies are not ‘left behind’ in the aftermath of Covid: That the Government does not for a moment slacken on its vital ‘levelling-up’ agenda in the North.

Yes, Covid-19 is an alarming threat to the country. But it also provides the Government with an exceptional opportunity to make good on its promise to the North.

When he was elected as Prime Minister in a landslide victory last December, Boris Johnson pledged to Northern voters that he would ‘work around the clock to repay your trust and to deliver on your priorities’. Boris knew that many Blue Wall voters had put their cross next to a Conservative candidate for the first time in their lives.

David Davis says Covid-19 is an alarming threat to the country but it also provides the Government including Chancellor Rishi Sunak with an exceptional opportunity to make good on its promise to the North

David Davis says Covid-19 is an alarming threat to the country but it also provides the Government including Chancellor Rishi Sunak with an exceptional opportunity to make good on its promise to the North

Their continued support was by no means guaranteed.

If we let them down, we would pay for it dearly at the next election.

Our letter set out two concerns. First, people feel real fear in regions where tough Tier 3 lockdowns have been imposed.

Their fear stems from the authorities’ lack of clarity: No one can say how long these onerous restrictions are likely to last.

We’re told that these local lockdowns are ‘circuit-breakers’, ‘fire-breaks’ or whatever new jargon has been dreamt up this week.

What matters is that there is no guarantee when these restrictions on people’s lives will end.

Second, people in poorer Northern regions are deeply concerned that the country will be paying the cost of Covid for years to come.

The letter sets out two concerns. First, people feel real fear in regions where tough Tier 3 lockdowns have been imposed

The letter sets out two concerns. First, people feel real fear in regions where tough Tier 3 lockdowns have been imposed

All the promises of ‘levelling-up’ and new investment will be forgotten, lost in the economic aftermath of this crisis.

Yet boosting the North will be good for the whole of Britain.

That’s why I emphatically dismiss any suggestion that we 41 MPs are some sort of ‘party within the party’, or that the old divisions of the Thatcher era between ‘wets’ and ‘hardliners’ is being revived.

That’s nonsense.

As Boris himself said in a speech in June: ‘Too many parts of this country have felt left behind: Neglected, unloved…

‘This Government not only has a vision to change this country for the better: We have a mission to unite and to level up.’

I and my co-signatories will now ensure that this mission is carried out.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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GBBO accused of ‘borderline racism’ for ‘Japanese week’ food choices

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gbbo accused of borderline racism for japanese week food choices

The Great British Bake Off has been accused of ‘borderline racism’ by viewers.

During Tuesday night’s episode, contestants decided to cook Chinese treats for ‘Japanese week,’ – with one amateur baker styling her first creations to look like Pandas – leaving fans of the Channel 4 show extremely offended. 

For their first challenge, contestants were tasked with creating Japanese steamed buns, but rather than opting for traditional Nikuman, the bakers chose to go for Chinese, Indian and American-style fillings.

Oh dear! The Great British Bake Off has been accused of 'borderline racism' by viewers

Oh dear! The Great British Bake Off has been accused of ‘borderline racism’ by viewers

The buns, named Nikuman, are traditionally filled with savory pork, shiitake mushroom, cabbage, and scallion. 

And so, viewers were bemused when some contestants opted for Chinese style fillings, while others went for Indian and American takes on the classic Japanese dish.

Hermine even styled her ‘chicken nikuman’ buns into Pandas, which originate from central China.   

Buns: For their first challenge during Thursday night's episode, contestants were tasked with creating Japanese steamed buns

Buns: For their first challenge during Thursday night’s episode, contestants were tasked with creating Japanese steamed buns

Pandas!? Hermine styled her 'chicken nikuman' buns into Pandas, which originate from China

Pandas!? Hermine styled her ‘chicken nikuman’ buns into Pandas, which originate from China

What the...? But viewers were bemused when some contestants opted for Chinese style fillings, while others went for Indian and American takes on the classic Japanese dish

What the…? But viewers were bemused when some contestants opted for Chinese style fillings, while others went for Indian and American takes on the classic Japanese dish

Taking to Twitter, those who tuned into the show voiced their fury, with one enraged viewer tweeting: ‘I am SO offended by tonight’s #GBBO So ignorant and racist. You’d think in the age – and climate – they’d do better.

‘It not only insulted us Japanese, they’ve insulted the Chinese – and everyone’s intelligence.’ 

Someone else tweeted: ‘I had hopes for Japanese week but generalising all Asian food with Japan feeds the racist narrative that all Asians are the same, which is not cool in any time but especially now as East Asians are being racially abused due to Coronavirus.’  

Burger buns? The buns, named Nikuman, are traditionally filled with savory pork, shiitake mushroom, cabbage, and scallion

Burger buns? The buns, named Nikuman, are traditionally filled with savory pork, shiitake mushroom, cabbage, and scallion

Dahl? Marc decided to go for an Indian take on traditional Japanese Steamed Buns

Dahl? Marc decided to go for an Indian take on traditional Japanese Steamed Buns

Racist narrative: 'generalising all Asian food with Japan feeds the racist narrative that all Asians are the same,' said one furious viewer

Racist narrative: ‘generalising all Asian food with Japan feeds the racist narrative that all Asians are the same,’ said one furious viewer

‘Why is everyone cooking Chinese on Japanese week? This is so rude/racist #gbbo.’ added another.

‘It’s JAPANESE week, people. Not CHINESE Week. #GBBO,’ pointed out another fan of the show. 

Someone else asserted: ‘This is an absolute trainwreck of an episode. It’s borderline racist #GBBO.’ 

Going into more detail, one viewer explained: This racist a** ‘Japanese week’ episode of #GBBO being: Bao (Chinese food) ‘Kawaii Cake’ (not a thing!) Matcha Mille Feuille (fair enough).  

Fan reaction: Taking to Twitter, those who tuned into the show voiced their fury

Fan reaction: Taking to Twitter, those who tuned into the show voiced their fury

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‘Imagine being this much of a flop when Japan has so much delicious cuisine. Plz try harder!’ 

Someone else tweeted: ‘But Pandas are from China, not Japan, bit racist really #GBBO.’

One viewer also claimed that Matt Lucas had blocked her on Twitter, positing that it could be because he ‘knew the user would tell him to stop making racist jokes on #GBBO.’   

MailOnline has contacted The Great British Bake Off for comment. 

Yikes! One viewer also claimed that Matt Lucas had blocked her on Twitter

Yikes! One viewer also claimed that Matt Lucas had blocked her on Twitter

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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