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Big under-eye circles. Furrowed forehead creases. Totally un-funny laugh lines. These and other skin-care woes are recurring issues for me, so when I heard about Ziip, the home skin-care device that lets you treat your face and neck with electric current, I was intrigued. I’ve loved the mini-facelift effects of similar salon treatments (a favorite of celebs before red-carpet events). But don’t those salon facialists have special training? How could I possibly replicate it at home? Here’s what I discovered.

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selfie mirror ziip beauty
Ziip Beauty

Fire Up the App
Inside my Ziip box, I found a little computer-mouse-looking device, a bottle of lotion and instructions to download the Ziip app, which contains seven videos that walk you through the treatments. Star facialist Melanie Simon (Jen Aniston is a client) developed the device, and in each video she demonstrates exactly how to use it. Sessions last between two and 12 minutes and include treatments for clearing acne, brightening eyes and evening out skin tone, as well as an all-round rejuvenation protocol.

It’s All About the Gel (and Timing)
First, you slather your face and neck with Golden Gel, Simon’s proprietary formula of 24-karat gold and synthetic cone snail venom. (Yes, this sounds like something from Macbeth’s witches, but bear with me.) Supposedly, the gel is necessary to create a pathway for the electricity to move through, and the gold and venom are active ingredients that will penetrate the skin (they also happen to be star ingredients in other luxury skin products). Next, you pick a protocol from the app. I selected the 12-minute Energize, since I’d like my skin to look way peppier than I feel.

hand holding ziip beauty
Ziip Beauty/ Facebook

Using It Is a No-Brainer
It’s surprisingly simple to use, because all of my questions were answered either in the videos (which play while you use the Ziip so you can follow along) or by the device itself (it’s programmed to beep or vibrate to signal when you need to move on to the next stroke). I started with half of my neck (two swipes upward) and then proceeded to my lips, nasolabial fold, under-eye area, cheekbone and forehead. The key move? Always keep both silver knobs on the skin during each ten-second swipe so that they create a current through the gel on your face.

Well, Um, Almost a No-Brainer
I loved the feeling of having a little jolt run through my skin as I swiped and stroked the Ziip while watching Melanie Simon’s video narration. The process made me feel relaxed, and the humming was actually lulling me to sleep. But maybe I should have stayed focused, because on my right cheek I paused the device longer than recommended…maybe I thought I’d get extra lift if I gamed the instructions? In any case, when I was done with my right side, I noticed a few tiny broken blood vessels like a bull’s-eye where I’d stalled the device. I knew they’d calm down, so I wasn’t too concerned…and frankly, I was mesmerized by how my whole right side was perceptibly lifted and rested-looking.

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How It Works
While there’s a temporary plumping because you’re drawing blood to your dermal tissue, there’s also a longer-lasting effect since the electricity stimulates something called adenosine triphosphate, one of the nucleotides linked to cellular replication and skin repair. Long-term benefits are cumulative, and whereas I’d spent a couple hundred dollars on a single in-office treatment, this device lets you zap away to your heart’s content anytime you want (after your initial investment of $500 for the Ziip and first bottle of gel, of course).

The Results
The makers say you’ll see results using it as infrequently as once a week, but I set my sights on the upper recommended frequency of three times a week. After the first week, I saw a lift and glow. (Also, my little bruises went away pretty quickly.) So of course I slacked off the next week. Then I performed three sessions again and noticed a visible lift and also a more even skin tone, markedly improved from my usual rosacea-and-pale-splotches complexion. Of course, I slacked off again the next week, but I’m pretty much sold on using the Ziip as part of my self-care regimen going forward. And I’m definitely happy to have it before big events that may have (horror of horrors) candid photography. Want to try the Ziip yourself? Check out a retail location near you where you can feel the pulse.

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