The NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device Whips My Lazy Face Muscles Into Shape

The microcurrent tool gives my face a sculpting workout that helps lift and firm up any skin slumping.

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NuFace Trinity device on green background
Courtesy of brand
Best of Beauty
  • Best of Beauty
  • 2020
TL;DR:
  • What It Is: A skin-care device that uses microcurrent technology to stimulate and tone facial muscles
  • What It Does: Temporarily firms the skin to give the appearance of a more sculpted face
  • Who It's For: Anyone looking to reduce the appearance of fine lines and contour specific areas of the face, like cheekbones

Opening up this year's Allure Best of Beauty-winning NuFace Trinity felt very reminiscent of cracking open a new smartphone. For a skin-care tool that promises to firm up any less-than-taut skin, I was sold on its abilities from the looks alone — but that's certainly not enough to give it top honors, so I put it to the test. And with assistance from a virtual house call from the brand's cofounder and microcurrent aesthetician, Tera Peterson, I was able to give my face a HIIT workout right from my couch.   

The details of the device are a bit technical, but all very interesting to a self-proclaimed skin-care geek like myself. The tool uses a microcurrent technology that Peterson calls "fitness for your face." In the same way that consistently hitting weights and cardio whips our body's muscles into shape, the metal nodes on the head of the Trinity send electrical currents through the various layers of facial skin, down to the muscles, to basically give them a work out. The idea is that by working these face muscles that are directly connected to the skin, the skin appears tighter and smoother, too. "If the muscles are sagging, then the skin will sag," says Peterson. 

Zain Husain, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of New Jersey Dermatology & Aesthetics Center, previously told Allure that "the microcurrent stimulates energy production to drive the creation of collagen and elastin in the skin." This happens through an increase in something called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the skin. ATP helps create collagen and elastin, which is like the glue that keeps skin firm but flexible so that it doesn't droop over time. The brand recommends starting out treating five days a week for the first 60 days, and then two to three times per week for maintenance. 

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I've never had a professional microcurrent facial, so I really had no clue what to expect or what it would feel like to have currents pulsating through my face, and honestly, it took some easing into. The device comes with a head that has two round nodes on top. You can get separate attachment heads also. One has two prongs for the eye and lip area, and there's also a red-light therapy option that's made to treat fine lines and wrinkles. The device also comes with a hyaluronic acid-enriched gel that you apply before using the Trinity. The gel is key for getting the best results and for a pleasant sensorial experience. 

"The gel is a conductor that will transfer the current from the device to the muscles," Peterson explains. The salts and polymers in the formula are what help move the ions into the muscle. Cosmetic chemist Ginger King confirms that these gel ingredients are needed to direct the current through any metal (gold, copper, silver, or iron) into the skin and to the muscle. "The salt helps with ionization, and the polymer is a delivery system," says King. 

Before starting the treatment, your skin needs to be completely clean and free of any oils. Peterson says that oil will block the current from getting to the muscles, so cleanse your face with a formula that will break down any excess sebum. If you want a deeper treatment, try exfoliating with a scrub or chemical exfoliator first. "An exfoliation really enhances the results and balances the skin's pH before the treatment," says Peterson. 

After cleansing, I read the instruction carefully, which said to apply the serum and not rub it in. Your skin should look and feel wet when it makes contact with the nodes. I powered up the Trinity, which, after fully charging beforehand, was automatically set to a level five — the highest setting. Ouch. I was not expecting the little shock-like sensation that I felt on my skin. A little jarred, I powered down to a level two, and then once I got going, I inched it up to a three.  

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During our video chat, Peterson explained to me why this happened. "If you're feeling the current while you're doing the treatment, then it means it's just bouncing off of your skin and you need to apply more gel," says Peterson. I was able to use it at a level five once my face was properly coated with the serum. You also want to apply the gel in sections; otherwise, it just dries down or absorbs into skin before you get to that area. It makes for a less-than-smooth roll if the area is dry, so don't skimp on the lubrication. 

Each five-minute treatment is pretty easy to complete. The instruction manual has a visual guide that shows you how to move the device over the skin. Essentially, you're doing upward rolling motions from the jawline toward the ear, neck to chin, and brow to the hairline. The tool beeps every few seconds so that you're aware of the pace you should be rolling. I went over each section about three times in one session. When using it on the eye and lip head, you should work in a circular motion around each area. It's a more targeted treatment for these specific areas. You don't need to apply any product before using the red LED head, and that treatment is a bit longer (about 20 minutes).

Left: Before. Right: After

My biggest takeaways are to start low then work your way up, and keep an ample layer of product between your skin and the device. The Trinity definitely feels like I've added a professional facial step to my routine and some facial toning. I like the idea that I'm "exercising" my face without much effort and helping to maximize how well my products absorb and work on my skin.

Check out the full list of Allure's 2020 Best of Beauty winners.