NuFACE Mini vs Solawave Radiant Renewal Wand: Which Viral Skincare Device Is Better?

They’re both impressive in different ways

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NuFACE vs Solawave Review: Woman using NuFace device and Solawave device on face
Paula Boudes/PureWow

With the help of microcurrents and LED lights, our beauty routines have come a long way from the days of just mud masks and cold cream. Yep, skincare technology that was once exclusive to dermatologist’s offices can now be accessed in the comfort of our own homes, in the convenience of a handheld device. And while there are countless gadgets on the market that claim to turn back the clock on your complexion, the NuFACE and Solawave are arguably the most well-known and used.

Among the most popular of the brands’ respective offerings are the NuFACE Mini ($255; $220) and the Solawave Radiant Renewal wand ($169; $110), two gadgets that have their own cult followings that include TikTok influencers and A-list celebrities. (Kate Hudson swears by the NuFACE Mini, while Reese Witherspoon has been known to use the Solawave wand.) Both devices promise to lift and tighten skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and leave you with a more youthful-looking glow, sans any downtime. Both devices also cost a pretty penny. So, which one is actually worth springing for?

Well, as a regular user of both the NuFACE Mini and the Solawave Radiant Renewal wand, I can tell you that it really depends on what results you’re after. Though the devices are often compared, they are very different, each with their own unique benefits and drawbacks. To help you do your due diligence before buying one or the other (or both!), I’ve reviewed and compared the NuFACE Mini and the Solawave wand ahead. The good news? I’ve found them both to be effective in improving the overall look of my face, just in their own ways.

NuFACE vs Solawave Review: Solawave wand presented next to NuFACE Mini
Stephanie Maida

What’s the Difference Between the NuFACE Mini and the Solawave Wand?

The NuFACE Mini is an FDA-cleared device that’s meant to lift and contour your face using microcurrent technology. It does this by sending low-level electric currents through the skin to stimulate the facial muscles underneath. The goal? To tone the muscles which act as the “scaffolding” for your skin in order to reduce the look of lines and sagging. Some studies also suggest that microcurrent treatments can help stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, the naturally occurring proteins in skin that are responsible for firmness and elasticity. Unlike the larger NuFACE Trinity device ($705; $525), which can be used with additional attachments, including an LED light panel, the NuFACE Mini only provides a microcurrent treatment. (Psst, you can read more about the NuFACE Trinity in this PureWow editor’s review.)

The Solawave Radiant Renewal wand, on the other hand, is a 4-in-1 device that employs multiple skincare technologies at once: red LED light therapy to "rejuvenate skin from within," galvanic current to "boost absorption of serums and creams," low vibrations to "boost the skin's natural radiance" and therapeutic warmth to "temporarily de-puff the skin." Similar to microcurrent, the galvanic current treatment involves using low-voltage electric currents that penetrate the skin in order to stimulate the cells, kicking their repair processes into high gear. Studies confirm that it could be an effective method of introducing topically applied medications deeper into the skin for better absorption, all while promoting healing and lymphatic drainage. Red light, meanwhile, has been shown to repair skin by boosting new cell growth, increasing circulation and stimulating collagen production.

TL;DR: The NuFACE goes deeper into the muscles to tighten the structure of the face, whereas the Solawave mainly focuses on improving the look and texture of the outer skin. 

My Review of the NuFACE Mini


  • easy to use
  • ergonomic design
  • compact
  • immediate results


  • can shock skin if you don’t have enough conductive gel on
  • doesn’t get into nooks and crannies


  • Value: 20/20
  • Functionality: 18/20
  • Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Portability: 19/20
  • Results: 19/20

Total: 96/100

I’ve had my trusty NuFACE Mini device for four years now. After trying a few professional microcurrent facials in the past, I decided to spring for the tool to reap the benefits more often and more affordably at home. Though it’s pricey, it still costs several hundred dollars less than just one microcurrent treatment at a spa, so there’s no question in my mind whether it pays for itself after just a few uses.

The palm-sized tool features two metal balls on top, through which the microcurrent is delivered, as well as a power button and light display, which you can click through to choose between three intensity levels (low, medium, high). I’ve always used it on the highest intensity, but you can work your way up.

Before using the NuFACE Mini, I thoroughly cleanse my face. The brand suggests using an oil-free cleanser, as oil can block the currents. Then, I prep my skin with a thick, “mask-like layer” of NuFACE’s Aqua Gel Activator ($55), a small bottle of which comes with the device; it’s a clear, gooey formula that looks (and works) like ultrasound gel, acting as a conductor for the currents. I make sure that the entirety of my face is covered in the gel. Here’s why: If an area of skin is missed or the gel gets too dry, you’ll get an uncomfortable zap from the microcurrent. But as long as you keep a moist layer of gel between your skin and the device you’ll barely feel a thing. (After the treatment, you can rub the excess gel into your skin or rinse it off.)

To actually use the device, I turn it to my desired intensity level and place the two metal spheres onto my face, making sure that both of them stay in contact with my skin as I glide. I start just below my chin at my jawline, situating the device so that my jaw fits into the space between the two spheres. The idea is to slowly glide the device upwards and outwards (towards your hairline) for a few seconds over each area of your face. Helpfully, the device beeps to indicate when it’s time to move to a new section. I pass the NuFACE over my jawline, my lower cheek and then upper cheek in succession, gliding it three times on one side of my face and three times on the other (that’s 12 passes total). I then move it over my forehead vertically, starting above my eyebrow on one side and working my way to the other, also three times. While I glide, I put slight pressure on the device. (My whole routine takes about five minutes, but you can find longer and more specialized routines on the NuFACE website and app.)

The first time I used the NuFACE Mini, I swore I saw instant results; four years later, I stand by that. Now, I’m not saying that it’s a miracle worker, but I will say that after every treatment, my face feels pleasantly tingly and tight, my cheekbones look more chiseled and my right eyebrow, which a dermatologist once confirmed is droopier than my left, looks more lifted and on par with its neighbor. The best results, of course, come with consistent use, but even when I don’t use it for weeks at a time, the device works wonders to re-snatch my visage after suffering through the rigors of travel—or a particularly boozy night out. Whenever I do use it consistently, I get compliments on my jawline.

I will note here that the brand has since released the newer NuFACE Mini+ ($250), a slightly smaller (and more colorful) version of the device that connects directly to the brand’s app for more personalized treatments and tracking. For the most part, though, the microcurrent power of the original NuFACE Mini and the Mini+ seems to be the same.

nuface before and after
Before and after using NuFace Mini

My Review of the Solawave Radiant Renewal Wand


  • easy to use
  • compact
  • travel-friendly
  • tackles multiple skin concerns at once


  • red light can bother eyes
  • magnetic charging port disconnects easily


  • Value: 18/20
  • Functionality: 18/20
  • Ease of Use: 20/20
  • Portability: 20/20
  • Results: 19/20

Total: 95/100

You can read my in-depth review of the Solawave Radiant Renewal wand, but for the purposes of this comparison, I’ll recap and add to my previous points here. Starting with what the heck a Solawave wand is.

As its name suggests, the little gadget resembles a wand, with an elongated tip that rotates 180 degrees (locking into place vertically, horizontally and at two angles). When it’s turned on, the Solawave tip gently vibrates and emits the glow of seven red LED lights. These are quite bright, and can cause discomfort if looked at directly, so I try to glance away or close my eyes when handling the device.

Just as I do when I’m using the NuFACE, I prep my skin for the Solawave treatment by cleansing and thoroughly coating my face in a layer of conductive product. With this device, I use the Solawave Skin Therapy Activating serum ($29; $19) and/or the Solawave Solabiome Nourishing moisturizer ($36; $23), occasionally layering them to keep my skin nice and slick for easy gliding. Unlike the NuFACE, the Solwave wand won’t zap if you miss a spot of product, but it will be more difficult to swipe across your skin.

My technique when using the Solawave is pretty much the same as it is with the NuFACE Mini, with the main difference being that I’m able to glide it across my skin faster and with a lighter touch. I turn the head horizontally before moving the tool in sections over my jawline, cheeks and forehead in an upward and outward motion. When using it under my eyes, though, I lock it into a slightly diagonal position to get into the tighter crevices. I also pass over every section of my face about ten times each, which is more than what I do with the NuFACE. Using the device is enjoyable and relaxing, thanks to the warm vibrations, which feel particularly good when applied to tired, puffy under-eyes (I would know).

Immediately following my first session with the Solawave Radiant Renewal wand, I noticed that my skin felt softer and tighter, while my cheekbones looked slightly more defined. It’s been about a month since I’ve started regularly incorporating the gadget into my routine, and the best results have been reflected in the look and feel of my skin. My complexion has become brighter and more even-toned, while my frequently flaky skin looks more smooth and hydrated, diminishing the appearance of the fine lines that rear their heads when my skin is extra dry.

While I usually tap out after five minutes, Solawave says you can use the device for up to 12 minutes a day (three minutes per area of the face) at least three times a week. Results will vary from person to person, though many users (including moi!) claim they notice smoother, brighter and less puffy skin, as well as a reduction of dark spots and wrinkles over time.

before after solawave
Before and after using Solawave Wand

Which Device Is More Effective?

As I mentioned up top, I find that both the NuFACE Mini and the Solawave Radiant Renewal wand are effective in improving the look of my face, but in different ways.

Despite the fact that the NuFACE Mini only provides a microcurrent treatment (as compared to the Solawave’s multiple functions), I do think that it packs a more powerful punch, providing instantly noticeable results akin to a mini facelift. Due to the size of the spheres, however, the device doesn’t get into all the nooks and crannies of the face; it’s meant to be used over broader areas and muscle groups. So, while I do notice less pronounced-looking nasolabial folds and jowls when I regularly use the NuFACE, I don’t really see much of an effect on fine lines and wrinkles, and I don’t think it does much in terms of improving my actual complexion.

The Solawave wand, however, has worked wonders on the tone and texture of my skin. Its thinner, rotating head gets into tight corners, and because its galvanic current feels gentler than the microcurrent, I’m able to use it in smaller, more sensitive areas like my under-eyes. I also like that I can target dark spots with the red light, which has led to a brighter, more even complexion. And while it does help to depuff some areas of my face, the Solawave isn’t exactly a sculpting tool; it won’t chisel my jawline or lift my brows the same way the NuFACE does, but it will leave my skin looking and feeling smoother.

NuFACE vs Solawave: Which One Should You Buy?

In my opinion, both the NuFACE and the Solawave offer a great value, especially when compared to professional treatments that use the same technology. (Don’t get me wrong, your dermatologist or esthetician is using professional-grade tech that is more powerful, but considering the frequency and convenience with which you can use these at-home devices, the benefits even out IMO.)

Both tools are lightweight, compact and easy to use and travel with, so which device you choose ultimately depends on the results you’re looking for. Want a lifted, more sculpted appearance? Go with the NuFACE. Craving a smoother, brighter complexion? The Solawave’s your answer. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to choose between one or the other. If you want the best of both worlds, you can always work both gadgets into your rotation like I do; just use them on alternating days.

I Tried The Solawave Radiant Renewal Wand and It Transformed My Skin Texture in Just 2 Weeks

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