Review: Myotone Facial Toning System
It’s not every day someone asks if you’d like to put some electricity right into your face. Of course, that wasn’t the wording verbatim, but it boils down to the same thing. Microcurrent facial toning has been a thing at spas for a long time, apparently – I don’t get spa facials, so I’ve never looked into it seriously before. But the way all beauty gadgets do (optical teeth whiteners, laser hair removal, blue light acne treatment), microcurrent toners are making their way into the home consumer market. I had a chance to test the Myotone Facial Toning System, and obviously I did since you’re reading this review. Always up for new and interesting ways to get rid of those pesky lines (and hopefully keep new ones away).
I’m always a little skeptical of beauty gadgets that need a power source – I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with those electrode ab workout things they used to have infomercials for (do they still have those?). I wasn’t quite as leery of this one since it’s similar to TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), which I’ve had before for muscle pain and found to be extremely helpful. The Myotone website has a much more complete explanation of the science behind the device, but I’ll drop the highlights for you here.
- Electrical stimulation, usually provided by neural impulses, causes muscles to contract and relax.
- As you age, the body initiates fewer neural impulses that maintain, contract or relax muscles.
- The skin of the face and neck are attached directly to the muscle, so improving muscle tone will cause the skin to move along with it.
- Applying microcurrent electricity (up to 1000 microamps) to the muscles stimulates them, and causes the brain to increase the neural impulses sent to the muscle.
- Microcurrent also speeds up cell metabolism, encouraging the production of collagen and elastin (the stuff that makes your skin not sag and wrinkle).
So mix together a dash of electrical current, a pinch of moisturizing ingredients in the conductive gel, a bit of time each night and voila!
Using the device
To start with the device itself – I was impressed with how well-designed it was. The power/setting button (there’s only one) needs a good press so it’s hard to turn it on and off by accident (I have yet to do that, anyway). It’s surprisingly light-weight for its size. At first I was tempted to interpret that as ‘flimsy’ but once I started using it, I realized that’s a feature, not a bug. If it were heavier, it would be less comfortable to hold and use. All the construction is solid; no plastic pieces have separated and nothing rattles around, even though there’ve been a couple accidental drop tests (passed with flying colors). The ergonomics are nice, too. Depending on where and what direction it’s moving, sometimes it’s more comfortable to hold it by the handle, but for some places it’s better to hold the top section in the palm of my hand. Basically, I can do the whole routine without the device feeling awkward or unwieldy. The user manual says it should last two weeks on a charge, but mine was still going strong after a month of nightly use. I decided to charge it after that just to be safe; I’ve never gone to use it and found it dead. Really the only con is the size – it is sort of bulky so I had to rearrange a drawer a bit to store it (first world problems).
There’s a little bit of a reading assignment to do before you start using it. It comes with an instructional DVD and a user manual that explains how to use it. Usually my motto is ‘when all else fails, read the instructions’ but this is one case where you really need to do that first. For one thing, the placement of the electrodes matters, and for another, the manual has some information about areas to avoid and ways NOT to use it. Some of them are obvious (don’t use it in the shower, while driving, on your eyeball, near electronic medical devices like ECG alarms) but others aren’t. Such as, don’t use it on your chest (risk of heart rhythm disturbances) and avoid the midline of the neck so it doesn’t disrupt thyroid function. Etc, etc. That’s not all of them, so still go read it.
Once you do all that, you can get into the really fun stuff, which is actually putting on your face. There’s a ‘basic technique’, which is just touching the electrodes to certain points and holding them there, or the ‘advanced technique’. That one involves holding the electrodes at one point, moving them across the skin, and ending at a certain place. The written instructions and diagrams in the manual are pretty self-explanatory. It seems like a lot to remember, but I only needed the book for a few days before I had the advanced routine down pat (someone give me a gold star). The basic routine takes just a few minutes, and the advanced one needs more like 10 or so. I jumped straight to advanced because I wanted to see the results as fast as possible.
The process is fairly simple. Wash your face, slather on some conductive gel and get to work. The gel does dry really quickly, but adding a bit of water activates it again. For that reason, I always do this in the bathroom. You don’t need a ton of it, so the bottle of aloe gel (which is sold separately from the device, $25) is still 1/4 full after several months. I’m not sure how much is in the bottle, but it looks like 2-3oz; the 4oz conductive gel that comes with the kit should last even longer. Like the book says, I don’t really feel much while the Myotone is on. Occasionally there’s a little pinch, like a static shock, and using it near my eyes sometimes caused a little bit of flickering (which went away immediately, and didn’t happen if I used it on the 1 or 2 power setting). Nothing unpleasant, just a little unusual.
Results & thoughts
Sadly I did a terrible job of taking progress photos for this (had some personal things going on that kept me away from the blog for a while, if you hadn’t noticed). As a result, most of the selfies I have are with makeup and not necessarily from the same angle and light source – but I’m going to give you some pictures anyway, dammit.
About two weeks in:
The differences are subtle, but definitely noticeable (at least to me). The main things I saw:
- The skin on my forehead – it feels much more taut. The deeper horizontal lines are still there, but overall it’s less droopy.
- ‘Turkey neck’ area – I still have a bit of sagging under the chin (and tbh some of that’s probably due to my level of fitness, or lack thereof), but it does seem less noticeable now.
- Around my jawline – this was the biggest change. It’s firmer and gives me a bit of a stronger jawline.
- Smile lines – I’ve always had these even when I’m not smiling, but they’ve softened up and look less like they’re from sun damage/aging.
All this was using it 6-7 days a week on the highest setting. I was pretty surprised at how quickly I noticed the differences – skeptic me was sure it would take at least a couple months.
In short: There’s quite a bit of time investment involved here, but if you’re willing to put in the work, it delivers.
The Myotone Facial Toning System ($289) is available at myotone.com. I received a complimentary Myotone system in consideration for review. I do not, however, receive a portion of any sales and received no compensation for the review. As always, my opinions are entirely, 100% my own.