Ease of Use: 20/20
Toning Effect: 18/20
I always thought facial toning devices were a bit of a gimmick—until my coworker told me about her experience using the NuFace Trinity. She said that the device visibly lifted her brows and sculpted her cheekbones…and that was after just one use. That got me curious, but I still wasn’t quite ready to buy into the pricey trend.
Then, I started seeing the Foreo Bear Facial Toning Device all over my Instagram feed. Everyone from influencers to beauty editors were posting about the palm-sized hot pink device, and after watching one especially convincing Instagram Story where a woman showed the visibly lifted effect it had on one side of her face, I was sold.
When my Bear arrived, I immediately broke it out of the box and charged it for a bit so that I could power it up and connect it to the Foreo app. To be honest, I was slightly annoyed at first (who wants to clutter their phone with another app?), but registering my device was easy—I just had to connect it to my phone via Bluetooth and snap a picture of the box’s barcode. Then it was time for the main event: attempting to tone my face.
First, the app prompted me to apply the included sample of Foreo’s Serum Serum Serum. (I don’t recommend skipping this step, since it’s a conductive formula that allows the device’s microcurrents to effectively flow into the skin and activate your face’s muscles.) Then I turned on my Bear to the lowest setting—it has five microcurrent intensity levels—and followed the app’s guided tutorial on the right side of my face, running the device along my jawline, cheekbone, and forehead in an outward motion.
Once I was done with the right half of my face, I paused to check out the difference. I thought my cheekbone looked more lifted and my jawline looked slimmer, compared to the left, but I couldn’t tell if I was just imagining the results I wanted to see. That said, I should probably disclose that I’m 23, so my skin is already fairly taut to begin with, which might explain the less drastic effect.
But in order to get a more objective opinion, I decided to poll my Instagram followers on which side they thought looked more lifted and sculpted. Of 155 people who voted, 109 (or 70 percent of those polled) thought the right side—which is the one that I used the Bear on—looked more lifted and toned. While it may be subtle, that was the confirmation I needed to prove this gadget creates visible results.
Since that trial run, I’ve continued to use the Bear a few times a week, although I don’t follow the tutorials on the app anymore. I prefer to go at my own pace and focus on my trouble areas, now that I have a basic idea of how to use the tool. I still see a slight difference in my face shape, and I feel more confident knowing my jawline (an area I can be self-conscious of) is a little more sculpted than it would be otherwise.
The only thing I’m not a huge fan of? Sometimes it feels like there’s tension in my face after I use the device, as if I’m clenching my jaw. But it doesn’t happen every time, and the sensation seems to go away if I use my device on a regular basis. And while I haven’t been able to find a definitive answer as to why it happens (believe me, I’ve Googled it many times), my guess is it has to do with the fact that the Bear is literally giving my face a mini workout, hence my facial muscles feel sore afterward.
Now let’s talk about price. The Bear is the least expensive facial toning device I’ve seen on the market. It costs $299, compared with other devices like the NuFace or the Ziip, which cost $325 and $495, respectively. And considering it would run you upwards of $150 for a single microcurrent treatment at the dermatologist, any of these options feel like a steal to me. Plus, right now it's on sale at Dermstore for 20 percent off!
The bottom line? I wish I’d given facial toning devices a try sooner.
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