I used Clarisonic’s new Opal Sonic Infusion System ($245) for the first time yesterday evening. Even having slept on it, I am not yet sure what to make of the experience. According the Clarisonic’s own description, the hand-held device uses sonic vibrations to deliver an antiaging serum into “the outermost layers of the epidermis”. So here’s what happens.

The serum is dispensed from the top section of the device onto a small silicone pad. And when I say small, I mean pea-sized. A small pea. With the serum in situ, you switch on the device and rub the pad around the eye. Clarisonic instructs you to avoid the actual lid and getting too close to the under eye area. Basically, you are targeting the crow’s feet. Once activated, the device buzzes and vibrates gently against the skin. 30 seconds later it stops and the process is repeated for the other eye. Now, goodness knows, I like my treatments to be short and sharp, but this was almost anticlimatic.

I wrote about the serum that comes with the Opal the other day and it has a mostly impressive and long list of antiaging ingredients, so my overriding question is whether the sonic vibrations of this (not exactly inexpensive device) is really doing a better job than the pinky that came free with the rest of my body.

I get the Clarisonic brush: the sonic frequency generates 300 movements per second and the brush massages away to clean the skin of dead cells and debris. I am also the proud owner of a Phillips Sonicare toothbrush (the Sonicare part was invented by the guy behind Clarisonic). So even though I can’t quite buy that the vibrations help the serum along its merry way, I am prepared to suspend disbelief.

Hmm, I can feel a side by side test coming on…. one eye with my pinky, one with the Opal.

The other thing that initially struck me as odd, is that the instructions imply that the Opal is only to be used around the eye. Digging down a bit more, I found that Clarisonic says that it can also be used on the lip and forehead lines. To me, at least, the little silicone pad seems much too small to attempt to do the entire face.

To summarize so far: I like the ingredients in the serum; I like a treatment that takes 30 seconds a lot; I don’t really like that I have to spend a $100 to replace the part of the device that dispenses the serum (not very green to keep tossing all this plastic and unlike with, say the Baby Quasar, I feel I am being locked in to a particular product). Still, I like my other Clarisonic products very much and I am intrigued as to how this will perform over time. I’ll be back in a few weeks.