The number of facial tools I own is honestly comical—my bathroom is basically a museum of the biggest innovations in skincare technology from the last decade (I can't help myself!). But as for how many of them I still use? Uh, less than a handful. Tbh, my skin is happiest with a boring, predictable regimen (it's called a skincare routine for a reason), but my brain is happiest when I experiment with newness, which means I'm always down to try whatever tool or product that beauty product TikTok hypes up. The latest device to make its way to my collection? Droplette—the skin-misting tool that pushes active ingredients deeper into your skin for better efficacy.
I'll be honest: I knew nothing about Droplette before going into this month-long process of trying it, other than what I had seen on social media. But I was curious—would this tool be just another one to end up in the exhibit of skincare tools on my bathroom shelf? Or would Droplette earn a permanent residency on my vanity? Read on to find out the answer to that and many more questions you probably have about this social media-loved tool.
Meet the experts:
What is Droplette?
Think of Droplette as your smartest skincare applicator (seriously, it's backed by NASA). The idea came to cofounders and co-inventors Rathi Srinivas and Madhavi Gavini while working on a medical device to treat epidermolysis bullosa, a genetic disorder in which the skin flakes off because it doesn't adhere to the muscle underneath, where traditional wound dressings and ointments are much too painful.
“The inspiration for Droplette came because we were like, why can’t we just deliver large molecules that could work to treat this condition in the skin without having it be painful?” Srinivas explains. “And once we developed it, we realized this applies not just to these rare diseases, but it’s a problem in all kinds of skin delivery—that big actives, big drugs are just too large to get into the skin effectively.”
On the outside, Droplette is an adorable, pastel, handheld tool, but inside, it's a powerful, intricate machine that turns skincare formulas into teeny, tiny droplets and converts them into an aerosol and high-velocity spray to penetrate the skin. All you do is pop the capsule in, press the button, and mist your face. The Droplette does all the hard work for ya.
What Is the Droplette Micro-Infuser?
When you order your Droplette (for $299, which, yes, I know is expensive), you'll get to choose from one of three colors (iris, mint blue, or infinity gray), and then decide if you want to select a serum subscription or a curated routine. With the serum subscriptions, you can decide whether to receive 12 or 30 recyclable capsules a month (for $39 or $79, respectively) in any of the three product formulations:
Collagen: Contains a mix of 10 percent collagen, peptides, and vitamin C for hydrated, plumper skin.
Heads-up: the brand will be launching another formula later in 2022 with tranexamic acid to target hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and melasma so keep an eye out for that. The curated routines include different combinations of the same three formulas above, only these sets take the guesswork out of your routine and help to target your concerns more specifically, like hydration, wrinkles, and uneven skin texture or tone. With these sets, you only get one option of 28 total capsules for $78.
Does the Droplette really work?
I'll be honest, the first time I used it, I thought it didn't work. What I expected: a shiny-wet face similar to when I blast on a makeup setting spray. What I got: a mist so super-fine that I didn't even feel it. Or see it. Or notice anything, really. The next time I used it, I held the device closer to my face and could feel the airflow a little more, but it still was nothing like I'd experienced before.
“It doesn’t feel like the way it feels when you put a serum or a lotion on,” Srinivas explains, adding that because the ingredients are packaged into these small droplets and moving really fast to get deep inside your skin, you don't feel much at all. But is it actually effective?
First, a word about your skin barrier because understanding how your skin works is going to help determine if the Droplette works. “The skin is designed to prevent things from getting into your body,” explains Dr. Lal. “We have many cell layers in the skin that act as a physical barrier to topical agents." To get even more specific, we also have "junctions between our cells that act as a filter and allow only small molecules of less than 500 daltons to enter,” he says (fyi, daltons = a unit of mass used in chemistry).
Confused? I know. But to put it into perspective, let's take the example of topical collagen. According to Dr. Lal, topical collagen as an ingredient is at least 5,000 daltons—and, again, your skin barrier only allows molecules of less than 500 daltons. So what does this mean? “It means it won't be absorbed into your skin,” says Dr. Lal, adding that skincare formulations are challenging for this very reason—"because not only is our skin inhibitory to absorption, but many ingredients out there are too large for absorption.”
And that is precisely the problem that Droplette set out to fix. Not only does the device expel the products in form of a mist, but the brand also says the airflow produced temporarily disrupts the skin barrier to allow the formulas to get into the skin. Dr. Lal says from a scientific perspective, this makes sense: “I think this is a brilliant idea," he says. “There are actually jet-like devices that we use in medical dermatology to help medications penetrate the skin without the need for injections.”
Okay, so we know the theoretical science is solid, but from a real-world perspective, did Droplette work for me? Guess you'll have to keep reading to find out.
How often should I use Droplette?
At first, I only used Droplette once a day in the mornings, and I started with the least aggressive formula of the three (the collagen serum) to see how my skin would respond. After a couple of days, I experimented with using the retinol and glycolic acid capsules at night. So, all in all, I used Droplette two times a day after making sure my skin tolerated it well.
Check out the capsule regimens, and you'll see the instructions recommend twice daily. If you're worried about knowing when to apply what, the regimens make it super simple and provide weekly routines with daily breakdowns of a.m. and p.m. applications.
Can you use your own products with Droplette?
Honestly, the biggest downside to Droplette is that you're limited to only using their formulas. I already have a skincare routine that works well for me (shoutout to Curology), and I was hesitant to give all of that up and switch to completely new formulas—and that's coming from someone who loves switching up their routine and trying new things.
But there's a reason (well, multiple reasons) you have to use their products. For one, the formula has to be a certain viscosity to leave the device, Srinivas explains, and secondly, not every ingredient is meant to be delivered into your skin (again, your skin barrier exists for a reason).
My biggest fear was that completely shaking up my skincare routine would cause my face to freak out and break out, but I experienced none of the above. The retinol didn't cause any of the redness or dryness I've experienced before, and that might be because I already use retinol, or it could be because these water-based formulas counteract the drying effects, Srinivas explains. And the glycolic acid? I've never used the stuff without turning the hottest, deepest shade of red, but with this one, I was just a splotchy pink—a major improvement for me.
How do you clean Droplette?
You can't get Droplette wet (you're not even supposed to store it in a bathroom), so it must be difficult to clean, right? Wrong! The 30-capsule packs come with five cleaning capsules, and the 12-packs come with two that work the same way as the skincare capsules. You pop a cleaning capsule in, press the on button, and shoot the mist into your sink to clean it. So easy.
My Droplette review
Honestly, I don't really have anything negative to say about my experience with Droplette. After using it for a month, the only cons I can come up with are pretty nitpicky, and overall, I'm pretty into it. First, the pros: I'd probably say the collagen capsules are my favorite for how well they moisturize my dry skin without leaving a greasy residue (or any residue at all, really). Some skincare tools are too much work or too tedious to stay consistent, but Droplette takes less than a minute from start to finish. Even someone who's always running late has time to squeeze an application into their skincare routine (I know this firsthand).
And now for the cons (I use the term “cons” lightly). Not only is the device expensive, but the single-use capsules are $2.60 to $2.80 a pop if you break it down, and they recommend you use two of them a day. For lots of reasons discussed above, you have to use their capsules, so there's no way around the price. While trying to take a selfie with the device, I tried holding it at different angles and completely poured out the product, and wasted $2.60 in the process. From my experience, once you pop the capsule in, you want to use it asap to avoid any spillage or leakage of the precious juice, and don't waste a drop(lette).
Between the weight of the device (it's not heavy, but it's not featherlight, either), the charging base, and all the single-use capsules, Droplette isn't ideal for travel, so it wouldn't totally replace your need for buying other skincare.
Finally, holding your breath while you mist your face so you don't breathe in the product takes some getting used to, I won't lie. Even still, I couldn't help but inhale some of the product, and when I did, I noticed the rose fragrance of the collagen capsule. Although the formulas are said to be fragrance-free, all three of the formulas contain rosa damascena flower oil. I, personally, love a rose scent, but if you're sensitive to fragrant essential oils, that's something to keep in mind.
All in all, I'm impressed. Do I have drastic before-and-after photos? No, but I've only been using it a month. I am, however, pleased by the immediate results. My skin just looks better. While I can't say for certain that all these ingredients did actually penetrate deeper into my skin than my traditional topicals (I'm no scientist), I can say that I like how my skin looks and feels when I use it, and that's the ultimate goal here, right?
I've had a month or so to let it all sink in (heh), and overall I'm happy with it. I have a hard time saying everyone should or anyone needs to spend $299 on a skincare device, plus $79-$158 a month on the actual skincare part. That said, if you have it in the budget, it's worth the investment. Is it going to replace your entire skincare routine? No, and it's not meant to. You still need a face wash, moisturizer, and sunscreen, but if you've got the basics down and you want to step up your routine to target some additional skin concerns, Droplette might be worth the real estate on your bathroom counter. I know it's worth the space on mine.
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