By now, we’ve all gotten pretty used to beauty devices — massaging tools such as the gua sha, microneedlers, or high-tech facial cleansing devices that effectively cleanse our skin, aren’t eyebrow-raising technology any more. They’re simply part of the beauty routine hustle. What then qualifies as next-gen skincare? FOREO’s latest BEAR microcurrent range, consisting of two devices, the BEAR and the BEAR mini.
If you haven’t yet heard about microcurrent devices, the gist is this: these at-home devices work by sending out a low-voltage current of electricity, similar to the natural electric currents in the body, to subtly lift and firm the face in less than five minutes. The anti-ageing, non-invasive therapy is a lot safer than is sounds, and is meant to stimulate energy production so our skin gets its signal to create collagen and elastin, for more toned skin.
In fact, FOREO likens it to a facial workout, since it’s able to “exercise the 65+ muscles in your face & neck”. What’s different about the FOREO system is that both devices, the BEAR and the BEAR mini, utilise the brand’s patented T-Sonic™ pulsations for firmer skin. There’s also an enhanced safety feature, an Anti-Shock System™, that automatically adjusts to your skin’s electricity resistance, so you don’t feel any shock, making this really safe even for first-time users.
We’ve talked about the flagship device, the BEAR, in an earlier review. But if you’re looking for something more budget-friendly, especially if this is your first foray into microcurrent devices, the BEAR mini is a suitable alternative.
Both devices feature the most advanced technology from FOREO Sweden, but where the BEAR mini differs is its smaller size and 3 levels of microcurrent intensities, compared to the BEAR’s 5 levels. This means that, compared to the BEAR, you’re looking at a more targeted area of treatment, on smaller areas of concern — the BEAR mini works on the areas around your mouth and chin, to firm and smoothen the skin, especially smile lines.
Still, it retains many of the BEAR’s lauded properties, including the long-lasting USB rechargeable battery life, app connectivity, and my personal favourite feature of FOREO devices, that ultra-hygienic silicone surface that prevents bacteria buildup. Both the devices are similar in shape too, with those recognisable metal spheres that look like a bear’s ears and an ergonomic design, though the BEAR mini is slightly rounder than the BEAR.
Read on for our reviews the BEAR mini, where we compare and talk about its targeted experience:
Amelia Tan, Deputy Editor
comparing the BEAR to the BEAR mini:
“Having already tried the BEAR earlier, I was already used to the feel of a microcurrent facial device — this time, I barely felt the mild tingling sensation (a normal part of the treatment), and could afford to be more relaxed throughout. One possibility could be because there are only 3 intensities for the BEAR mini, and I was already used to the highest of 5 for the BEAR. Once again, the ergonomic shape and ultra-hygienic silicone made it a breeze to use; the T-Sonic pulsations were pleasant and familiar too.
Both devices aim to tighten and firm the skin, though I noticed that the treatment for the BEAR mini was a lot more targeted. When following the 2-min treatment on the app, I was tasked to use it on areas around my mouth first, before spreading it across the bottom of my cheeks, both on the right and left side of my face. This helps to target creases and laugh lines, as well as lift the skin around the cheeks for less saggy skin.
After trying it out for a couple of days, I noticed that my skin was firmer to the touch and definitely more plump — unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be as noticeable on camera, but it’s worth noting that facial devices take some consistency to see results, quite like an exercise routine. If you feel like you haven’t yet seen a difference, have patience!”
why it’s worth its price:
“If that’s so, is the device worth splurging on then? I do feel like an at-home device like the BEAR mini, when used regularly, can be more effective over time than an ad-hoc facial treatment, which is why they’re considered a good alternative. Think of it this way too — the BEAR mini can also be used to supplement the more dramatic results of your facials, so the effects of firm and smooth skin can last for longer.
Compared to the BEAR, I also felt like the BEAR mini’s smaller size was convenient for travelling (or packing in your staycation skincare kit), while its more affordable price point makes this a good entry device if you’d like to try out the relatively-new technology. I did come across no-brand microcurrent devices listed on e-retailers, going for even below $50, but personally, I trust FOREO a lot more, especially with their safe Anti-Shock technology. You want something that’s been proven to work, without harming your skin in the long run!”
Adele Chan, Editor-in-Chief
how the bear mini tackles fine lines:
“I started using BEAR about a month ago and it has since become a part of my nighttime skincare regime. It can be used in the day as well, but I’m usually rushing in the morning and don’t have the luxury of using devices then. BEAR mini is a miniature version of BEAR, and it’s super cute! I love that it feels comfortable in the hand (not too small, not too big, but just right — just like baby bear), and has spheres that are the exact size to fit the contours of the face, such as under and around the nose. Just like BEAR, it connects to and is controlled by the FOREO app, although it can work independent of the app — you just can’t program it. Also like BEAR, it doesn’t “shock” or “zap” the skin; it instead feels like a slight tingle with no pain whatsoever.”
“I used BEAR mini along the fine lines on my forehead and they actually reduced in appearance almost instantly; but like all skincare, consistency and persistence is key; the fine lines don’t actually disappear, but appear reduced because of the instant toning I’m giving my skin. But after 10 days of constantly using this on the same spot, I see a more permanent improvement, which is really rather impressive. Just in comparison, I’ve previously tried NuFace mini but didn’t go past using it for a week because it made no visible difference to my skin.”
Clarence Lee, Makeup Artist
this beauty expert tries out a microcurrent facial toning device for the first time:
“I tried it about 4 – 5 times in a week. For a first-time user, this was my experience: when I turned the device on — both with and without the app — I could feel a very mild microcurrent. It did kinda zap me on certain parts of the face occasionally, and it could be due to my facial hair or mole as some treatments can be reactive with dark/black areas. Overall, I think it’s a pretty good and fast treatment! I felt it was a bit short though, since the total time with the device on the face was 1.5 mins — the rest of the time was 15 seconds of applying the serum, and another 15 seconds at the end to calm down the skin.”
“Even without connecting it to my phone though, it can be used when you just wanna run it along your facial contours like a massage, without those T-Sonic pulsations. On some occasions, and I’m not sure if it’s psychological, I thought I could feel very mild buzzing under my skin even after use, as if the microcurrents were still at work after I set down the device. I do wish that there will be more treatment videos soon so we can use it on other parts of the face such as the forehead, jawline and neck.”
BEAR mini BY FOREO SWEDEN ($299) AND SERUM SERUM SERUM ($99), AVAILABLE AT FOREO.COM.