Therabody calls the TheraFace Pro a “percussive skincare device”. It was pretty popular on TikTok after it came to market and, to someone who doesn’t follow a skincare routine other than daily face washing, it just seemed a little over the top. I was really curious about it, though.
At its heart, the TheraFace Pro is a percussion massager, just like the rest of our best massage guns, albeit one specifically designed for the face. It comes with four interchangeable magnetic attachments – the percussive head, a LED light therapy attachment, a microcurrent roller and a cleansing ring. Therabody has even designed the attachments in such a way that the percussion massager and the LED light head can be used together, with the former keeping the light at the right distance away from your skin. Sold separately are hot and cold attachments too.
Call me lazy but, as I mentioned, my skincare routine is restricted to washing my face daily with a mild soap or just water, then following it up with a moisturizer. Facials, for me, are few and far between. So if you’re going to sell me a skincare tool, it had better target my problem areas – namely mild cystic acne (caused by hormonal issues) along my neck and jawline, and dark circles.
The TheraFace Pro promised to do said targeting. And included in the package was the promise of a relaxing face massage, contouring, and cleansing too. So, did it do what it says on the tin?
Since I’d never tried microcurrent or LED light therapy before, I decided to ask my doctor if it was fine for me to go ahead and experiment. I was told to avoid the microcurrent treatment as I’m prone to cystic acne along the neck and jawline – areas where you’d typically use the attachment – as it could irritate the skin. The LED light ring got the green light.
There are three settings to this attachment – red, infrared, and blue. Using the blue light for just a few minutes a day reduced the inflammation I would normally see on my face because of the acne – I consider that a win. I might be hitting middle age, but I don’t have wrinkles on my face, and minimal crow’s feet around my eyes. So I have no indication whether the red/infrared light does anything, but if the blue light is any indication, I’m willing to take Therabody’s word for it.
As for my dark circles, a Therabody educator suggested I try the cold attachment (sold separately). While I’m not sure I’m seeing any difference to the hollows under my eyes, it definitely is soothing after a long day staring at a computer screen. I no longer need to waste cucumber slices for that.
So long, headache!
The best part about the TheraFace Pro for me is its basic function of percussion massage. I’ve suffered from chronic muscle tightness for a few years now and have used massage guns (including the Theragun Mini) to help, but I find them all too aggressive to use on my neck. Tightness there tends to give me mild headaches.
The TheraFace Pro’s drumming is a lot gentler in comparison and I found it works well on the knots in my neck. I ended up with a cold recently and blocked sinuses weren’t helping the head any – the TheraFace Pro on its lowest percussion setting at the temples and just above the nose helped ease the headache. Now I use it almost every day because it’s just so relaxing! In fact, I often have it sitting on my desk, ready for use when I start to feel a little stressed at work. It's quite easy to zone out when the TheraFace Pro is doing its thing.
There are three percussive heads for the TheraFace Pro – the flat head for using all over your face, a cone-shaped one to target specific areas like pressure points (or the tightness in my neck) and a micropoint attachment to help improve blood circulation.
So if you’re someone who suffers from migraines, sinusitis, hay fever or anything else that might cause headaches, the TheraFace Pro can help.
Patience is a virtue… for a price
To spend $399 / £375 / AU$599 on something that just eases headaches doesn’t make economic sense. While some massage guns such as the Bob and Brad Massage Gun Q2 Mini (available in select markets) are quite cheap, other premium-quality guns like the Hydragun can reach this sort of price. However, those tend to need much more powerful motors to soothe sore muscles than more delicate face applications.
But when you factor in that this one small tool can help with reducing wrinkles and acne, it begins to sound a little more worthwhile. In fact, if you travel a lot, it could help ease puffiness in the face.
The cleansing ring, while not an exfoliating tool, can help remove oil, dirt, and dead skin using percussion movements. You can pour your choice of cleanser on it to wash your face. The TheraFace Pro itself is not waterproof though, it’s only water resistant. So you will need to be careful with the cleansing ring – while you can wash the attachment, you can only wipe the TheraFace Pro (the actual machine) with a damp cloth or cleansing wipe.
I can’t vouch for the microcurrent attachment. Considering everything else has done what it says on the tin, I’m going to give Therabody the benefit of the doubt here. As a test, I have tried the little jolts of current on my palm – they’re gentle and promise to help tighten your skin. Skincare experts say microcurrent is best used only along the cheek and jawline, not the whole face, and I'd err on the side of caution by asking a medical professional if this treatment is right for you.
Unlike Therabody’s massage guns, where you can start to feel the effects immediately, you need to be patient with the TheraFace Pro. It took me a couple of months before I could even begin to see a little difference in my acne. So you’re really going to need to commit to a skincare routine with this novel tool to get some return on your investment.
If it's sore muscles elsewhere that you're trying to target, then read our article on the five things you need to know before buying a massage gun in 2023.
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Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.