Like many of us, I am skeptical of most trends/ products that I see on Instagram. My first reaction is to immediately dismiss it as a scam, but occasionally I find myself in a deep research rabbit-hole itching to learn more. Insert ZIIP Beauty, an at-home nano-current anti-aging facial device created by Melanie Simon, favorited by everyone from Emily Weiss to Kim Kardashian to Sophia Amoruso and Vanessa Williams (my favorite!), all who suspiciously have great skin. Needless to say, I was intrigued.
As luck would have it, I happened to have lunch on the calendar with a well-known publicist who represented the brand. She raved about it (as you would anticipate one would about their client!) describing it as the “ultimate at-home 4-minute facial” and offered me my very own to try. Since they retail for $495, she didn’t have to twist my arm to accept. Sadly, it literally sat in the box she gave me for the remainder of the summer.
One lazy Sunday in the comfort of my apartment I figured, why not? I’d watched enough videos and decided to try it out for myself—but not before asking exactly how devices like ZIIP work. “Microcurrent facial devices stimulate the facial muscles using microtechnology,” explains RealSelf Contributor and Dermatologist Michele Green, who BTW is not affiliated with the brand. “The device releases a small amount of electrical current which stimulates the facial muscles. The stimulation increases cell turnover enhancing collagen production.”
OK, let’s get this party started.
I sync my phone with the ZIIP Beauty app (so clutch!) and slathered myself silly with Golden Gel ($129)—100% mandatory and necessary for the device to work—then started, following along with Melanie in her cute video. My first session called “Energize” freaked me TF out. Why was my face twitching/spasming? Am I electrocuting myself? Did I use enough of the conductive gel? SOS! Would my face freeze into one of these weird expressions? HELP! Wait, do I love this? Do I hate it? Am I going to cry? I was all over the place.
Yet, a few days later I found myself getting back on the horse since the recommended cadence was multiple times per week. This time, I opted for the “Instant Gratification” treatment clocking in at 4-minutes much shorter than the original 12-minute situation I got myself wrapped up in before. And guess what? I enjoyed it, like really enjoyed it. It was just me and Melanie (via my iPhone) keeping our skin looking youthful indulging in our little self-care secret. I was sold and started posting my sessions on IG stories fielding a gizillion questions.
I couldn’t tell after a few uses if I was hallucinating or if my skin truly did look better. I found myself wearing less makeup and getting more frequent compliments on my skin, despite not using anything out of the ordinary. I quickly hit up British esthetician and skincare founder, Kimberly Sayer, who works with Paula Abdul, Ione Skye and Shalom Harlow, for more intel. Is this all in my head?
“Microcurrent facials can help to temporarily tighten and tone muscles in the face, but there isn’t enough data to demonstrate the long-term effectiveness of a microcurrent facial,” she explains. “As we age, we will start to experience wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, loss of volume and thinning of the skin and an at-home microcurrent facial device will likely not be able to address all of these concerns,” she adds.
Now once a week (and sometimes more), I find myself slathering myself with conductive gel, giddy to start my next treatment. Should I clear away a pimple? Give myself cheekbones to kill for? Or, get rid of pesky hyperpigmentation? With ZIIP, it feels like my options are endless. Oh, did I mention I’m not a huge fan of facials? This was the perfect win-win in my book. I get to stay home and work on my endless conquest for great skin.
While I’d like to recommend ZIIP to the masses, unfortunately, my derms couldn’t recommend it to all skin types with a clear conscious. “If you have sensitive skin or rosacea you should not try these devices at home as they can leave you with more problems,” Dr. Green reminded me via email. “In addition, users tend to be more aggressive with at home use and often do not follow instructions for use which can cause more harm to the skin.”
All noted, but if you’re looking for me, I’m likely busy using my ZIIP in my bathroom.