Over 40 Beauty: NuFACE Mini Device Review

Wardrobe Oxygen - NuFACE Mini Facial Toning Device ReviewOther than a tough year in middle school, I’ve had pretty good skin. I worked for a skincare company after college so I learned early the benefits of regular cleansing, polishing, and protecting. However, I was a sun worshipper and spent a good percentage of my college years inside a tanning bed. It seemed as though as soon as I turned 40 my skin changed. Suddenly I was dealing with dry patches, loss of elasticity, and wrinkles.

I’ve been using anti-aging skincare products for years, but they just didn’t seem to be accomplishing enough. I went to a dermatologist to get a full body scan (a very… exposing experience but one I recommend to get a very detailed check) and asked about Retin-A. Many of you had recommended it for improving skin. My doctor gave me a prescription, but informed me it would be at least six months before I saw results and in the mean time I would have to stay out of the sun and would deal with redness, peeling, and irritation. And then I found out my insurance doesn’t cover any of it and one tube would cost almost $200. It just didn’t seem like the right choice for me. I also don’t feel Botox or other injectibles were the right choice for me at this point in life. I figured it was a fact of life, this is my skin in my 40s, I just should baby it as much as possible.

Then I was reading Bobbi Brown’s interview with Into the Gloss and she mentioned NuFACE. I follow Brown on Instagram and she looks great – she doesn’t look 25, but she glows and looks healthy and well cared for. NuFACE is a device that sends microcurrents to the skin, helping tone the skin and lift jowls, contour jawline, reduce nasal labial folds and wrinkles, lift eye brows, and open eyes. NuFACE is almost $500 which is completely outside my pricerange right now, but I researched and many said the NuFACE Mini was just as effective and more than half the price. Around the same price as one tube of Retin-A, I figured why not try it? Selling anywhere between $160-$200 on sites such as Amazon, QVC, Ulta, and Sephora, I chose to buy it from Nordstrom ($199) knowing that if I had an issue with it I could easily return it.

This is a long but detailed video from when NuFACE Mini was featured on QVC and one of the few videos where the models aren’t 25.  It explains the difference between the original and mini and shows how microcurrents work.

The NuFACE Mini comes with the palm-sized device, a charging cord, a tube of their gel primer, and a laminated card with the general 5-minute daily routine to complete with the device. If you download their app (advertised in the package), not only will it send you notifications when it’s time to do your treatment (optional), it has videos for more elaborate treatments. To use the NuFACE, you must first cover that portion of your face with their gel primer, which has a consistency similar to aloe vera. The laminated card and videos on the app are very clear to follow.

I charged the NuFACE Mini for 24 hours before first use, and plug it in to charge overnight every few days. The NuFACE Mini is set to turn off after five minutes; when getting familiar with the device or if you wish to do the more elaborate just turn it back on and keep going (this is one of the things different between the Mini and the full-size version). You can safely use the device up to 20 minutes a day. The device stays charged for almost a full week, but I found it was best to plug it in overnight every Wednesday and Sunday to keep it ready to go.

nuface mini review - wardrobe oxygen

A screenshot from the QVC video; see how her left side of the face looks less puffy and the brow is higher?  Yeah, that’s exactly what I saw on myself!

If you use enough gel and stay far away from your eye sockets, there’s little to no feeling when using the NuFACE Mini. I have had a bit of a metallic taste in my mouth after using but it goes away pretty quickly. If you don’t have the gel or have a sensitive part of your face you may feel a slight pinch or twinge on the skin like a hair getting caught in a spring. You slowly glide the machine over your skin and the round metallic balls on the gel makes it very smooth and comfortable. When you do the more elaborate routines on their website or app, you may hold the NuFACE in one place for a few seconds, but again there’s no pain or discomfort.

So Allie, this is all fine and good, but does the NuFACE actually work?

NuFace Mini Before and After - Wardrobe Oxygen

I completely forgot I texted this picture to my friends back in March to show how it works.  So yes, there is a photo of the before and after.  I did my left side of the face in this picture, my forehead is all shiny from the gel you use with the device.

Yes, it does. It works really well on me. I can do one side of my face and it looks as though I have a half-smirk and have raised just one eyebrow. It reduces the furrows on my forehead, and makes my jawline more pronounced. My skin in general looked healthier, not so dry, not so flat.  The effects last for at least 48 hours. I recommend doing it at least five times a week keep the results; I would do the 5-minute treatment most days and when I had time, would go more in depth and do it for about 15 minutes.  But even five minutes fives times a week will be enough that people will ask if you’ve gotten more sleep, maybe lost a couple pounds, changed your makeup.  That subtle something different (unless your partner walks in after only doing one side and freaks out and wonders if you had a stroke).

The combo of the gel and the machine can cause some serious breakouts if you don’t clean very well afterwards. I was getting insane deep whiteheads around my mouth and I thought it was hormonal, I thought it was my diet, my new night cream. Then I was reading around online and found many other NuFACE users experienced the same. With a deep cleaning after use, the breakouts stopped.  So I NuFACE, wash my face at the sink with CeraVe, and then hop in the shower and wash again with CeraVe or a random facial scrub or wash sample I have, and sometimes with my Clarisonic.

If I wrote this post two weeks ago, I would end it right here. It’s great, the NuFACE Mini can be purchased at Sephora, Nordstrom, QVC, and plenty of other places. But I’ve been slow with my Over 40 Beauty posts and this time it’s a very good thing.

Because my NuFACE is possessed.

I used it fine for about three months. If you follow me on Snapchat, you’ve seen me snap myself using it and a few of you reached out for more details about it. I couldn’t rave enough; while $199 may be a lot at first, the results were better than all the random tubes and pots I had purchased over the years.

Then it seemed to lose its charge earlier than usual. I plugged it in; it ended up charging for two days straight. It wouldn’t turn on again. No light, no beep, nothing. I was pissed, how dare a $200 item break down after just a few weeks? I left it on the top of my toilet and figured that weekend I’d box it up and return it (this is why I bought it from Nordstrom after all).

I didn’t get around to it, and so it sat uncharged for over a week. Then one day Emerson was taking a bath in our bathroom and she starts screaming. I race up the stairs fearing the worst. “Mommy your machine started talking!” And sure enough, the NuFACE Mini was beeping the way it does when it’s in need of a charge. So I plugged it in again, excited it was working again. I waited 24 hours, tried it, and still it wouldn’t turn on. I left it there, plugged in to the charger. That night around 3am it started beeping. Beep beep, be-buh-la-la-beeeeeppppp beep. Beebeebeebeebebeeb… I went in and all the blue lights were flashing in different patterns. It was CRAZY! I unplugged it and it stopped… and wouldn’t turn on. I left it unplugged and went back to bed. That morning around 5:30 my alarm went off and I, half-asleep, wandered into the dark bathroom and sat on the toilet and the unplugged NuFACE started going bonkers again, lighting up the bathroom with blue strobes. I was no longer half asleep!  I turned it off and it was quiet for a few days… but then Monday night while brushing my teeth it started going off again.  I shared the insanity on Snapchat and saved the short videos from the app so I could show them to you.

My NuFACE is back in its original packaging and ready to go back to Nordstrom this weekend.  It’s been boxed up for more than 24 hours at the time of writing this and is still beeping, turning itself on and off, making crazy noises.  But I am exchanging it. I have to think this is a dud, and not all NuFACE Minis are possessed. And yes, it’s good enough that it’s worth it to try again.  I miss my NuFACE face.

So do I recommend the NuFACE? Yes… if you purchase it somewhere with a very lenient return policy. I hope yours isn’t possessed and I hope my future one isn’t as well. I will keep you posted.  If the next one isn’t a dud like this one I’ll provide more visuals (hopefully a video) to show how it works.

The NuFACE Mini is available at many skincare and department stores. Order at your own risk!

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Ask Allie: Staying Organized

I noticed you have a paper calendar as well as a smartphone in your tote bag. How do you organize your to- dos (both work and home) and your appointments using both? I go back and forth between paper and digital and can’t seem to find a good fit, I’d love to know how someone else does it. Thanks! (Oh, and I am a big list maker!)

Once Emerson was on the scene, Karl and I realized we needed a way to synchronize our schedules. No longer would a post-it note or text work, we had a human being who needed at least one of us 24/7. And with my day job, his freelance photography, and my blog, our life was like a game of Tetris. Once Emerson was old enough for dance classes and play dates it got insane.

Everywhere I read recommended Google Calendar for families.  So one weekend I set it up and added the times for all our classes, meetings, after-work events with my personal Gmail email and Karl’s Gmail email. I forgot that brands I work with send Google Calendar invites to my Wardrobe Oxygen email, so I had to include that one too. I then had my phone show things from both my work Outlook calendar and Google calendar. Thing is, Karl doesn’t love being attached to his phone and doesn’t sit at a computer all day like me so when he had appointments, he’d email them to me and I entered them. On top of that, like you I am a list maker. I often make bullets of what to discuss on a call or list of what to take for an event and I couldn’t easily access them or update them with everything on my phone. This was not saving us time or keeping us more organized.

I went back to my paper planner and was much happier. Our front door is steel, and it became Command Central, with magnets holding post-it note reminders, appointment cards, and such. I’d send Karl an email each Monday with the week’s schedule. It was not perfect, but it was easier than Google Calendar.

Wardrobe Oxygen: How We Stay Organized as a FamilyA couple months later I went to a kid’s birthday party and the family had a gigantic dry erase board calendar in their dining room. It was magnetic; they’d write down events, pin field trip permission slips and theater tickets to it, had markers of different colors to represent each family member. It wasn’t anything that would get oohs and aahs on Apartment Therapy but I found it utterly brilliant. That weekend I was at Target and saw they had magnetic dry erase calendar squares (think these may be the same ones) and purchased two and a few markers in different colors. I made one for the current month and one for the upcoming month. Pink for Emerson, orange for me, blue for Karl, black for high priority. We hung them up in the kitchen just a few steps from the front door at a height where even Emerson can access them.

I kept the paper calendar because on it I add work and blog-related events that don’t affect the family; it has a week at a glance which I use as my blog editorial/meeting calendar as well as a mini journal. I also liked how portable it was; first thing at work I lay it open on my desk. Once a week I synchronize the calendars to be sure we’re on the same page. The only things I put on my electronic calendar/Outlook are weekday things that affect just me: phone calls, concerts, after work events. The only work things I put on the paper or magnetic calendars are things that require me to get to work super early or leave unusually late or where I need to be offsite.

At work I live by Outlook. I schedule phone calls, schedule due dates, schedule all sorts of reminders. It’s funny, at my last job I lived by Outlook Tasks but now I put tasks as appointments.  My day job is a lot of meetings, webinars, and calls and we schedule them by looking at coworkers’ availability. By scheduling my tasks on my Outlook calendar, I schedule in time to get them done and don’t end up working extra hours to catch up.

I also go paper at work.  I have a five-subject spiral that sits on the edge of my desk and goes with me to every meeting. Each day I start a new page with the date in the upper right corner and make a task list. There’s something so delicious about physically crossing things off a list. I put a post-it on that page so I can easily find it; behind it I will have notes from meetings, projects, and things from that day’s activities.  Each day gets a fresh page and anything not crossed off from the previous day’s list goes to the top of that list.  These spirals are like a journal and since they’re in chronological order I can easily go back a month or two and refer to notes.  If for some reason I don’t have my spiral on me, I transfer any notes into the book behind the right date’s page to keep order.

I like to doodle.  A lot.  While there’s plenty of pen doodles in my spiral, I have a stack of Xerox paper and a cup cull of colored pens and fine tip markers on my desk for more elaborate doodles for long conference calls and when my brain is full and I need a break to regain my mojo.

Wardrobe Oxygen: How We Stay Organized as a FamilyAfter a couple months with the magnetic calendars we were in love… and we wanted more. One month in advance wasn’t enough, so I went back to Target and bought what I thought were two more of the same tiles. They were not the same. Different size, and while the first two are Sunday through Saturday, these were set up Monday through Sunday. We put them up under the ones seen and they were too low; when we tried to remove the ones we currently have up our wall paint started peeling. And having calendars with different week setups was a quick way to go insane.  We also found the colored markers weren’t necessary and decided to stick to just black and two boards. We kept the front door as Command Central; it’s visible and just a few steps from the calendar so the combination works for us.

If I could go back, I’d buy four all at once or consider three and a fourth to be a cork or magnetic board the same size. Especially with a kid, we often have to plan far in advance and I often wish I could keep the previous month up for at least a week.  The reason the paint was peeling from the wall is because these boards come with thin and cheap mounting tape squares so we added 3M Command strips to keep them up.  The Command strips work great but did not want to cooperate and leave the walls nicely.  So two it is for now.

It’s nice to have your dry erase markers as fine tipped as possible, and attached to your calendars. We found some that hung from a magnet by a chain, but they were too thick of tips. Each of our boards has a pen clip on top where we keep a marker; there’s a few calendar boards that have ledges for pens and erasers but again consider your space (for us a ledge would likely cause a lot of bruises in our narrow kitchen).

For magnets I highly recommend these which I found on Amazon. They’re small, can be used for color coding people or activities, and are uber strong. And we don’t have an eraser; a finger or the edge of a dish towel works for small edits and at the end of the month I clean the board with a bit of white vinegar and an old rag.

Everyone’s life is different, and while I love technology Karl doesn’t. Going ‘old school’ with our calendars makes the most sense for us. I love having the paper planner for lists, for a blog editorial calendar, and as a bit of a journal (I keep all my old planners like some keep diaries). Sure, there’s some work to ensure we’re synchronized, but I actually like that because it forces us to communicate, review, and be aware.

How do you keep your household calendar? Do share your ways in the comments as your tips may be the exact thing a fellow reader needs in her life!

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What I Wore: Stripes and More Stripes

Wardrobe Oxygen, over 40 curvy fashion blogger featuring a J. Crew cashmere sweater, Banana Republic pants, and a Dagne Dover 15" totesweater | pants | bag | shoes

Wardrobe Oxygen, over 40 curvy fashion blogger featuring a J. Crew cashmere sweater, Banana Republic pants, and a Dagne Dover 15" tote Wardrobe Oxygen, over 40 curvy fashion blogger featuring a J. Crew cashmere sweater, Banana Republic pants, and a Dagne Dover 15" tote Wardrobe Oxygen, over 40 curvy fashion blogger featuring a J. Crew cashmere sweater, Banana Republic pants, and a Dagne Dover 15" tote Wardrobe Oxygen, over 40 curvy fashion blogger featuring a J. Crew cashmere sweater, Banana Republic pants, and a Dagne Dover 15" toteSweater: J. Crew (XL) | Pants: Banana Republic (14P) | Shoes: Ivanka Trump | Necklace: bellezamia | Watch: Citizen| Tennis bracelet: gift (similar) | Bracelet: Gorjana (similar) | Bag: 15″ Tote c/o Dagne Dover

What’s better than a striped top?  A striped top with striped pants!  #Stripes4Lyfe! This is the cashmere sweater I mentioned in Friday’s post and the pants from this post.  If you follow me on Snapchat you know I wore this look last Tuesday to work.  Whenever I can’t figure out what shoes to wear with a look I always go to leopard and it rarely steers me wrong!

A few of you sent me emails and comments after last week’s What’s In My Bag to see how the 15″ Dagne Dover tote looks near my body, if it’s too big, and if it fits over my shoulder.  As you can see it’s not too big and fits quite comfortably over the shoulder even when full.

Many of you have also reached out complaining how the current delicate necklace trend isn’t kind to those of us who are larger or curvy.  So many of the popular brands only carry 16″ chains; some carry 18″ but it’s still too short for many.  My solution? Etsy! This necklace is from Etsy seller bellezamia, the quality is excellent, the price cheaper than a lot of the trendy brands, and I could choose my chain length (this is 20″).  Etsy is also my go-to for on-trend rings in sizes larger than 7 or 8.  A variety of sizes and you get to support a small business or independent artisan?  Win/win!

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