About a month ago I was walking through Boots when something caught my eye: the No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing brush.This little marvel is Boots No7's answer to the famous Clarisonic, but at a much more purse-friendly price of £25 (I got it for £15, as they were offering it at a reduced introductory price at the time, but even full price it's a fraction of what the Clarisonic costs). I wasn't expecting miracles at that price but just had to try it anyway, so it jumped into my basket and came home with me.
For your £25 you get the brush, with one head, and a set of batteries. They also sell replacement heads at £8 for two; pretty good value since I can't see the head needing to be replaced very often anyway. I've been using mine almost daily for a month now and it still looks brand new. (The batteries are still going strong, too).
The brush is a good size and has densely packed bristles; they are stiff enough to give your face a really good scrub, but soft enough that they still feel soft on your skin. Unlike the Clarisonic, which oscillates from side to side in a more obvious scrubbing motion, this brush turns continuously in one direction. I was worried this might feel abrasive on the skin, or else make it less effective at exfoliating, but I needn't have been concerned: as long as you move the brush in little circles while you're cleansing, the end result is just the same. The motor has two speeds: I have used both. I prefer the slower one for daily use (this would be the better speed for sensitive skin, too) and the fast one is great for a really, really thorough clean!
The box suggests that you should use either No7 Melting Gel Cleanser, or No7 Foaming Cleanser, however I have neither of these products and instead decided to test the brush out with a range of other cleansers to see how it fared. Over the last three weeks I have used the brush with Nivea Visage Refreshing 2 in 1 Cleanser and Toner, Nivea Visage Daily Essentials Gently Cleansing Cream Wash, African Black Soap, Garnier Skin Natuals Pure Anti-Blackhead Deep Pore Wash, and Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser. All of them have given good results, although I noticed that my skin felt a lot cleaner and more effectively exfoliated with the non creamy facial wash and the black soap than it did with the more creamy cleansers. Having said that, the brush also feels much more abrasive when used with non-creamy, foaming products, so these would be better for sensitive skin.
The verdict: after three weeks of using this brush, I am very, very pleased with the results. I have not been transformed into a magical goddess of skin perfection, but then again I wasn't expecting that anyway. But my skin is softer, smoother, and cleaner than it has felt in ages. My make up applies more smoothly, too, and the blemishes on my cheeks seem to be fading, along with the stubborn blackheads on my nose that just. won't. go. One major plus is that I have had a LOT fewer breakouts since using this brush, too - just one spot in the three weeks of testing, whereas normally I get at least one or two per week (the one spot I did get was right at that time of the month when most girls are pretty much guaranteed to get breakouts anyway, so I wasn't really surprised when it appeared. It's a brush, not a miracle).