Neutrogena WaveIn essence, the Wave is a pore cleaner that works by gently vibrating your skin to shake loose the contents of your pores. This is NOT meant to be an exfoliator or toner. It does its job exceedingly well, which surprised me. I have tested many, many skin care products over the years, and was quite cynical about this one working. Really, it does.
First, the theory. Your face is full of pores - i.e. holes that go downward into your skin. Dirt, sweat, make-up and other junk gets stuck in those holes. That is what forms blemishes. The more dirt and such you have in your pores, the more they are "pushed open" and the bigger they look. Keeping them as clean as possible also makes them as small as possible, so your skin has a smoother overall look.
This small handheld device lets you attach a pad to the face of it, then you moisten that pad to get the soap going. It isn't a "big foaming" soap, it's a very subtle one. Again, the aim is not to cover your face with foam. It's for the vibrations to get the small amount of gentle foam down into your pores. Pores are small :) You hold that vibration on one spot, to vibrate open the pores beneath the device. You don't want to "drag" the wave, like you would with an exfoliant. The aim is not to drag the pores open. It is to shake them up gently to loosen their contents, so that the washing stage gets those contents out of your skin. So you put the wave onto various parts of your skin, in order to do that. Then you rinse the junk all free. If anything your aim is to open the pores as little as possible, so that once the junk is shaken out of them, they can close up to a small size.
So that this process doesn't take all day, the wave face is relatively large - about the size of a half dollar. This is good in the sense that you can do your entire face in under 10 minutes, but bad in the sense that it doesn't fit well in those big-pore areas along the nose. I understand this was a tough compromise for them to make. If they'd made the unit smaller, people would complain about how long it took them to get their entire face done.
I like how easily the pads go on and off the sticky face, but it seems really odd to me the pads come in a non resealable foil pouch. There's no way at all to even "fold over the top" to keep them moist! That's a pretty simple fix for them to have made. That being said, there's really no way I'm going to go out and eternally buy pads for a device. I would just use cotton balls with my own Neutrogena acne soap (which I use daily and *love*). This would get me my favorite soap option along with the pore-cleansing capabilities of this device.
I really do find that this shakes loose dirt that normal cleaning cannot get to. My pores look much cleaner and smaller after using this device. I have no doubt that using this is gentle on your skin - I have rosacea and acne and my face will definitely flare if something bothers it. I haven't had any problems with this. I wonder though if most people will have the patience to use this properly. It's not a quick-use device. The whole way it works is to work section by section, shaking loose the dirt, cleaning out the pores in that one spot. I think most people want to do a quick pass with soap or exfoliant or whatever and get on with their life.
It's one of those investment things. If you invest the time to keep your skin clear and healthy, it will reward you by looking wonderful and doing its job of keeping you safe from germs. If you want a quick-fix to just soap off the outer layer of grime - or exfoliate off the outer layer of skin - you won't get the same results. So I highly recommend this as something which does take time to use, but you might be surprised at just how much better your pores are if you do invest that time and effort.
My only complaints are about the pads, and like I said, there's a solution for that.
Soap and Gel Reviews
Skin Care Lotions, Masks, Soap Reviews > Scrub Reviews