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Tech me beautiful: Gadgets that promise to make your skin look great

A bit off the beaten path at CES 2016 was the Beauty Tech Summit, which had an array of companies with gadgets designed to make you feel oh-so pretty. We took a trip through the summit to find what’s new in beauty tech, from virtual reality to lasers.

The USJ Visible Eye Care Massager (not to be confused with the Aurai water-propelled massager) stimulates blood circulation and massages the muscles around the eyes using vibrations of different speeds. It’s supposed to revitalize your dry, screen-strained eyes. The beauty advantage of strapping on the goggles is that they apparently help reduce under-eye bags as well. And at least the sensation is supposed to be pleasant. The product isn’t available now, though there may be a crowdfunding campaign.

If you want to tech up your moisturizer, you can try the JeNu Plus Ultrasonic Infuser ($195). Every second, 365,000 pulses of ultrasound energy vibrate the “microsphere conducting gel” you put on your skin, which helps with the absorption of your ordinary moisturizer by encouraging it to penetrate deeper. The company promises it’s painless, and an older version gets a 95-percent recommendation rate from community members at cosmetic treatment site RealSelf.

“It’s true that if the right kind of ultrasonic vibrations are used on the right kind of ingredient, penetration may be enhanced,” cosmetic chemist Randy Schueller tells Digital Trends in an email. He’s one of the creators of the website Beauty Brains, where scientists answer beauty-related questions. But he adds that the size, shape, and polarity of the ingredients’ molecules will affect penetration, as will the frequency and power of the ultrasonic waves. 

Related: New glowing dye safely allows doctors to see beneath your skin

Another device using pulses for skincare is Foreo, which had its Luna 2 on display. The $199 bristle-less silicone device has one side for cleansing and another for anti-aging. The cleaning mode uses 8,000 transdermal sonic pulsations a minute, while lower-frequency pulses supposedly help your skin by making it appear smoother and firmer. It’s the “appear” part that’s crucial, as Foreo isn’t claiming lines and wrinkles will actually disappear.

“Simply applying vibrations to the surface of the skin won’t restore those supportive elements,” says Schueller, referring to collagen and elastin, but “Luna’s massaging effect might plump up the skin and temporarily improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” 

Then we come to the lasers. Tria has a $495 Age-Defying Laser, which it describes as an at-home “fractional non-ablative laser treatment.” The laser penetrates the skin, creating “cellular disruption,” which the body then works to repair, and the company claims this process speeds up collagen and elastin production. The rep at CES admitted it can feel a bit prickly to start with.

If you want to know more about what’s going on with your face, Wired Beauty’s Mapo is a sensor-laden silicone mask that takes your skin’s temperature and moisture level to give you tips about how to treat it. Once you’ve found the perfect moisturizer, you can use the Mapo, which heats up, to supposedly get a more penetrating effect, though this could be similar to what is involved in utilizing ultrasonic waves.

Speaking of the perfect moisturizer, you can use Romy Paris’ machine to make it. Insert specialized capsules, like a type designed for winter weather or too much alcohol, to create a cream that works just for you. Once you’ve added the capsules, they mix with a serum and out comes your individualized liquid. The idea behind the $640 machine is that one day you might need the stress suspender and another the solstice harmony.

Perhaps the least labor-intensive is the ModiFace Mirror. Designed for stores like Sephora, it uses facial recognition software to let you try on a variety of makeup styles. Pucker your lips, and the lipstick color will change. The software could also work for more drastic, permanent changes, like showing you how you’ll look with a facelift or nose job. The company also has an app, so you can get a makeover from home.