We Tried It

This MIT-Born Skin-Care Device Is Making Me Doubt Every Serum I Thought I Loved

Droplette's technology is changing how at-home skin care should be applied, full stop. It's a handheld tool that ensures active ingredients actually penetrate your skin's barrier, without needles or pain. The results are astonishing. In collaboration with Droplette.

Ama Kwarteng
Graphics:
Ashley Combs

I recently learned a not-so-fun fact: 90 percent of the skin-care products we slather onto our faces never absorb. According to Leonard Miller, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon and Harvard Medical School faculty member based in Boston, they're either wiped away or sweated off. Blame it on your skin's outermost layer; it acts as a barrier, keeping out the bad stuff (think: toxins and infections), but that also means that it can leave the good stuff (think: active skin-care ingredients) on the outside of the club, unable to get in. Suddenly, the products in my medicine cabinet are looking pretty pointless.

You can think of your skin's barrier as a coffee filter—the molecules that make up your skin-care products are usually too large to make it past the screen. But before you swear off skin care forever, there's a solution to your woes and it comes in the form of a device that has a punny name: Droplette. It works by shooting teeny-tiny droplets packed with active ingredients directly into your skin; the droplets are so small and fast-moving, they're able to pass through the barrier and get 20 layers deep without pain, making them way more effective than your run-of-the-mill topical product.

I know—this sounds too good to be true. To help explain exactly how Droplette works, I chatted with Dr. Miller, and then I tested out the device myself to see if it lived up to the hype. Hint: I think it deserves even more.

droplette
droplette

Droplette's Mist: Not Like a Regular Spritz or Steam

Micro-mist technology is Droplette's secret weapon, but it's not what you're used to. While a traditional facial mist may help achieve a hands-free dispersion of product on the skin, the droplets are too large and slow to change how ingredients penetrate. Surely, you've felt the "pooling" (e.g. dripping) after spraying a toner—case in point. These sprays feel nice, but are quite basic alternatives to topicals. "Nano" spray devices are similar, but they create smaller droplets, like a fog or heatless steam. But still, the droplets aren't tiny enough to absorb, and they lack the force to pass through the stratum corneum.

Droplette is different. It transforms potent serums into a powerful micro-mist that is both small and fast, and it's this combination (size and velocity) that gets ingredients into (not just onto) your skin. The tech is earning Droplette patents, NASA funding, NIH grants, and a partnership with the US Army for dermatological medical applications. But the benefits for at-home skin care are just as impressive. According to Dr. Miller, because the ingredients are actually penetrating the skin, they're more effective—Droplette's 8 percent glycolic acid can give you results similar to a professional chemical peel, no trip to the dermatologist needed. And Droplette's retinol formulation? Well, it delivers a higher concentration of the ingredient into more cells alongside skin-soothing ingredients that reduce irritation, boosting its anti-aging and dark spot–fading effects.


Droplette Reduces Irritation, so You Can Use the Good Stuff

If your skin is reactive or super-sensitive, the idea of having active ingredients pushed even deeper into your face might sound like a recipe for disaster. Don't worry, though—according to Dr. Miller, Droplette's formula is less likely to stress out your skin. The formulations are all water-based and only contain ingredients that your skin needs, so there are no unnecessary additives or fillers that could trigger a negative response.

Plus, the formulas are super-hydrating, and they help increase your skin's moisture levels. Inside of Droplette's skin-care capsules, you'll find ingredients that counteract possible side effects. For example, retinol can be harsh on certain skin types, so Droplette's formula also includes collagen and rose oil, two ingredients that help balance out potential dryness or irritation. When you think about it, many topical reactions are exacerbated by products sitting on the skin's surface, and Droplette takes this step out of the equation entirely. Suddenly, all those effective ingredients you wanted to use but thought you couldn't are back in play.

Micro-infuser

Droplette
$299


You Don't Have to Replace Everything, but You May Want To

So, even though Droplette and its active ingredient capsules are meant to replace traditional skin-care products, you can work it into an existing routine, says Dr. Miller.

When I tested out the device, I hit pause on my other products, in order to get the full Droplette experience. After cleansing my skin, I'd insert a capsule into the device then turn it on. I used the collagen capsule every day, AM and PM and the glycolic capsule every three to four days in the morning. And on the days that I didn't mist glycolic acid onto my face, I'd use the retinol capsule in the evening. I know Droplette's technology doesn't lead to irritation on most skin types, but the ingredients still react to each other; because glycolic acid and retinol are both exfoliants, I'd recommend alternating the days on which you use them.

droplette
droplette

While the device was misting, I'd hold it about half an inch away and slowly move it across the surface area of my face. (With the glycolic acid capsule, Droplette suggests holding the tool directly against your skin while closing your eyes and mouth.) Then, I'd finish up with a hydrating moisturizer. The whole process went a lot more smoothly than I first expected; it was shorter than my typical skin-care routine (under a minute!) and the device wasn't complicated to figure out.


Droplette Is the Key to Getting Ingredients in Your Skin

I'm delighted to report that I'm seeing a noticeable difference in the look and feel of my skin. The increased hydration, thanks to the deeper delivery of active ingredients, is making my skin feel firmer and plumper, especially around my under-eyes. When I touched my face (with clean hands, of course), the texture feels smoother than before. And I'm even finding that I can skip foundation in the morning, which never, ever happens. I can't believe these results are from an at-home routine and not a doctor visit!

Droplette has decidedly secured a spot in my skin-care lineup: I'm already reaping the benefits of the micro-mist technology and I'm one step closer to accomplishing my goal of achieving skin that's comparable to that of a newborn baby. Trying new skin care is fun and all, but when I want results, Droplette proves that it pays to trust real scientists and medical experts. The future of skin care is officially here—mist is in (literally), and serums are out.


Use code COVETEUR100 for $100 off your Droplette device.


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