Aug 16, 2023
5 Best Microcurrent Devices of 2023, Tested by Experts
We've been independently researching and testing products for over 120 years. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process. Are microcurrent devices
We've been independently researching and testing products for over 120 years. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process.
Are microcurrent devices worth it? Dermatologists weigh in.
Have you ever gone to the spa or dermatologist's office for a facial and the esthetician used a professional microcurrent device? If so, you've likely seen the toning and lifting effects of this product for yourself. Designed to help contour and firm the face, microcurrent devices are available for at-home use too, so you can achieve similar results in the comfort of your own bathroom.
For those that may be unfamiliar with this handheld facial-like product, microcurrent devices use "low-level electrical currents to improve circulation and promote lymphatic drainage," says New York City-based double board-certified plastic surgeon Jennifer Levine, M.D. "It also can help with collagen and elastin production and wound healing as well as reduces inflammation." They are best when used consistently: "Remember that at-home microcurrent devices need to be used often, roughly five times per week, to be most effective," adds New York City-based double board-certified dermatologist Brendan Camp, M.D.
The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty, Health & Sustainability Lab has tested countless skincare and anti-aging products over the years, including microcurrent devices. In the Lab's anti-aging devices test, they evaluated, collected and analyzed a total of 2,430 data points to determine the top-performing picks on the market. This list includes a product from that test, bolstered by expert- and editor-approved picks along with online reviewers' favorites.
You can read more about how we picked the best microcurrent devices — plus everything you need to know to shop for the perfect one — at the end of this guide. Looking for more skincare gadgets? Check out our guides to the best at-home red light therapy tools and the best gua sha tools.
When you think of microcurrent devices, there's a good chance you think of this NuFace one. You can buy various attachments, like red light and lip and eye attachments, that are compatible with this microcurrent device. Recommended by Dr. Levine, it was also evaluated in our Lab's anti-aging test. "My skin seems a little firmer and definitely more radiant and smoother," one tester shared. However, some testers did not notice any real difference while using this pricey device.
Lift your face for less with this pink microcurrent device. Like taking your face to the gym (hence the brand name), it can help contour and tone in the areas you want most, like your jawbone. "I saw instant results after each time I use it," a reviewer writes, though note that these may be temporary effects as you need to use any microcurrent device consistently over time for best results. Keep in mind that the conductive gel needed to make this product most effective is sold separately.
Dr. Camp recommends this option for helping "improve definition by toning facial muscles," he says. Unlike some other devices, it features not just one but two settings — lifting and toning — to maximize effects. Compared to other microcurrent devices, this one is competitively priced; additionally, included in the purchase is a microcurrent gel, so you don't have to buy one separately. Note that the buttons on the control panel of the device can be sensitive to touch and may accidentally be turned off.
Are you a microcurrent device beginner? This option from Foreo is simple to use; the brand has built a straightforward app that guides you through how to use the handheld device effectively. It features a collection of simple exercises that "are a piece of cake to follow along," says GH Home & Apparel Reviews Analyst Amanda Constantine. "Although I wasn't excited to download another app in order to use the tool, I was pleasantly surprised by it." She also notes how easy it is to hold and adds, "When I use the tool consistently, I notice my feels looks and feels less puffy (results don't last if you stop using it)."
Bring the spa home to you with Therabody's all-in-one facial device. Inspired by the Theragun, the Theraface is, well, for your face. It features red light, blue light, percussion, heating, cooling, cleansing and microcurrent thanks to a set of included attachments, all tucked into a petite travel bag. "I love that it's such a multitasker," notes our Beauty Assistant. "Rather than needing several different devices to do each task, I can do almost everything with this one. It's a great space saver." Like many other microcurrent devices, it's on the pricier side, but it does do quite a few jobs, making the investment go a little further.
The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab has tested anti-aging devices, which included microcurrent devices. In this test, they evaluated, collected and analyzed a total of 2,430 data points to determine the top-performing anti-aging devices. Our scientists took into consideration factors such as ability to firm skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin evenness, radiance and skin texture.
Other products included come from editor and expert recommendations along with top-reviewed online picks.
✔️ FDA-cleared: For the safest experience, Dr. Levine recommends buying only FDA-cleared microcurrent devices.
✔️ Conductive gel: If your at-home microcurrent device doesn't include a conductive gel, make sure to purchase one separately. "The device needs a gel carrier in order to transmit the energy," says Dr. Levine.
✔️ Microcurrent: There are both microcurrent and galvanic current devices available on the market, and some products use the two terms interchangeably. Though the two types devices may create the same effect, they are fundamentally different in the way the current flows through them, so note that advice in this story is solely for microcurrent devices.
They can be, but commit to using them routinely. "Most of the effects are temporary," says Dr. Levine. "You may notice some immediate lifting and depuffing. There may be some benefit after using them consistently with firming and plumping."
It's important to use them "regularly for at least several months to get peak results," advises GH Beauty Lab Executive Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D. She recommends using five times per week for the first 60 days, then two to three times per week after that to maintain results.
GH Beauty Assistant Catharine Malzahn works closely with the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab to help deliver fact-based, science-backed beauty coverage. Over the years, she has interviewed experts, written product reviews and tested hundreds of skincare products. including professional and at-home devices, including microcurrent and red light therapy.
She interviewed double board-certified plastic surgeon Jennifer Levine, M.D., and double board-certified dermatologist Brendan Camp, M.D., for expert advice and product recommendations.
In addition to her 15 years of leading clinical and consumer testing in the Beauty Lab, GH Beauty Lab Executive Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D., has R&D experience through her seven-year stint at Unilever U.S. She has contributed to content in countless beauty categories, including anti-aging products.
Catharine (she/her) is the beauty assistant at Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day and Prevention, working closely with the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab to write science-backed beauty content. She was previously an assistant beauty editor at Group Nine Media and returned to Hearst in 2022 after having held editorial internships at Harper’s Bazaar and CR Fashion Book. Catharine received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
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11 Best At-Home Red Light Therapy Devices of 2023microcurrent devices use "low-level electrical currents to improve circulation and promote lymphatic drainageevaluated, collected and analyzed a total of 2,430 data pointsMy skin seems a little firmer and definitely more radiant and smoothercontour and tone in the areas you want most, like your jawboneimprove definition by toning facial musclesa straightforward app that guides you through how to use the handheld devicered light, blue light, percussion, heating, cooling, cleansing and microcurrent thanks to a set of included attachmentsevaluated, collected and analyzed a total of 2,430 data points✔️FDA-cleared✔️Conductive gel✔️MicrocurrentThey can be, but commit to using them routinely.GH Beauty Assistant Catharine MalzahnGH Beauty Lab Executive Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D.