ReFa Carat Review
Best for: Firming, lifting and toning the facial muscles and skin; improving circulation and detoxifying the skin.
How it works: The ReFa Carat is a handheld, wireless microcurrent device and facial massager created by the renowned Japanese company, MTG Co.,Ltd.
The device has a built in solar panel on the handle where, when exposed to light, the low-level microcurrent is activated and transmitted between the two nodes. Each node has a 360-degree rotation and is capable of kneading the skin and muscles similarly to how an aesthetician would to stimulate lymphatic drainage and promote increase blood flow to the skin.
The entire device is coated in a thin layer of platinum making it waterproof, stain and rust resistant and great for skin since platinum is less reaction on the skin compared to other metals, like copper or silver.
Inside of each node is a current carrying bearing that transfers microcurrent to the skin. Both nodes must be placed on the skin, the solar panel uncovered and exposed to light, for the current to be activated and transmitted to the skin.
The science: Microcurrent is a technology that has been around since the early 20th century. It was originally (and still is today) used for Bell’s Palsy patients who have experienced facial muscle atrophy from paralysis (Journal of Manipulative Physiology).
The low-level micro currents are imperceptible to the nerves, so there is no pain while stimulating the muscles (CNN). This stimulation happens at the cellular level. According to The International Dermal Institute , the current triggers the production of Adensoine Triphosphate (ATP) in the muscle which is the necessary energy for musclar contraction. Over time, these contractions tighten and rebuild sagging or weak muscles or elongate tightened and shortened muscles, thus giving the a taunt and lifted appearance.
“When a muscle lengthens or shortens, the skin lifts and firms. Working from the belly of the muscle outward will have a lengthening effect on muscles that have become increasingly contracted from years of making facial expressions. Working a muscle from the origin and insertion point inward will have a shortening effect that is necessary for those muscles that have become elongated over many years of age and gravity.” – International Dermal Institute.
While the results can be cumulative, like working any muscle in the body, one must be consistent to maintain the muscle tone. If you stop using the microcurrent device, then overtime the results gained will begin to fade as the muscle weakens.
(If you’re looking for more in-depth information on the science behind microcurrent, check out this great piece on dermscope.com.)
How to use the ReFa Carat for the face:
- Prep skin – bare or skin with makeup is fine
- Location – sit or lay in a room with natural or artificial light
- Hold – make sure the device solar panel is not covered by your hand so the light can activate it
- Motion – to get the most out of the device, use it with lymphatic massage in mind following these steps:
- Press one node at the base of the neck right above the collarbone 3x
- Roll over collar bone back and forth 20x
- Starting at the ear, roll device downwards along side of neck 10x
- Starting at the chin, roll upwards along jawline 20x
- Starting at corner of mouth, roll upwards along cheek towards ear 10x
- Starting at base of ear, roll downwards along side of neck 10x
- Repeat if desired.
Here’s a video I found that shows these exact steps. It’s in Japanese with subtitles, but the visuals are helpful.
ReFa Carat Review: I’ve been using the Refa Carat on and off for the past few months. When I’m consistent, I notice lifting and tightening of my face, and can tell since there is more upper tooth show when my mouth is resting, which Beverly Hills facial plastic surgeon, Ben Talei, told me in our interview on lip lifts, is a sign of youthfulness and attractiveness.
I also try to use it consistently on my neck to elongate the muscles. The lines on my neck aka “neck bands” are becoming noticeably deeper. When I interviewed celebrity aesthetician, Angelina Umansky, she told me these neck lines form because over time the vertical running neck muscles (from the collarbone to under the jaw) begin to tighten, shorten and contract pulling the skin downward. The ReFa Carat massages these muscles lengthening them and releasing the tight contraction.
Overall, I really like this device. It’s pricey, but extremely high quality – materials, usability, and function. While you can use it in the shower, I haven’t tried it. But appreciate the fact that the ReFa Carat device is waterproof and rustproof meaning it will last a long time.
Now, the results you’ll achieve with an at-home device can’t rival the improvements you would see if you had regular microcurrent facials with Joanna Vargas or Biologique Recherche microcurrent facials at Spa Radiance, but it doesn’t hurt to stay vigilant at-home; every little bit helps.
Tips: I like using my ReFa Carat on dry, clean skin. There’s more pull as the nodes are better able to grip the skin which allows for a deeper kneading sensation. My skin is always slightly flushed, clear, plumped and taunt right after massaging it this way for 10-15 minutes because of the oxygenating massage.
Price: The ReFa Carat is $290 at dermstore.com (they usually have a 20% off email signup offer), and there are smaller devices available for less like the ReFa S Carat. I personally think the ReFa Carat is the best buy since it’s large enough to be used on the body as well as face.
*There are counterfeit ReFa Carat devices out there, so be sure to purchase from a verified ReFa seller. To tell if your ReFa Carat is real or not, place both nodes on your iPhone screen and move the device back and forth. If the device is able to scroll and swipe, this signals the microcurrent is working and the device is real.
Written by Amy Chang
Want more? If you’re looking to stimulate collagen in the skin, check out my review of this at-home device.