TRIED AND TESTED: I had a HydraFacial, the 'vortex pen' that sucks the gunk out of your pores.


Mamamia’s Tried and Tested series is your weekly review of the latest to hit our desks in beauty, health and wellness. You won’t find any #sponsored content here, just honest, relatable and independent advice. This week, Senior Lifestyle Writer Amy Clark tried a HydraFacial.

For what I imagine has been hundreds of years, women have enjoyed inspecting the pores on their faces in the mirror. Or before that, perhaps a puddle of water.

Our obsession with pores knows no bounds – we want to know what’s in them, how big they are and how to make them look like they’ve never spent a single night asleep with makeup on. In your search for the perfect pores, you’ve likely heard of or tried a number of pore scrubs, primers and patches. Now, let me introduce you to the HydraFacial, the new way to have the gunk cleaned out of your face.

Take a look at Amy getting her pores cleaned out during a HydraFacial in the video below (sound on for the ‘sucking’ sound!). Post continues after video.

Video via Amy Clark

HydraFacial is now available in Australia after gaining popularity overseas. According to the brand, one Hydrafacial is performed every 15 seconds. But what is a HydraFacial, can it really suck crap out of your pores and should you get one?


Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about HydraFacial and what it actually feels like to get one.

What is a HydraFacial?

A HydraFacial is a unique hydra-dermabrasion procedure that uses patented technology to cleanse, extract, and hydrate the skin.

Matt Moncrief, Managing Director of High Tech Medical and the person credited with bringing HydraFacial to Australia, told Mamamia the treatment is “soothing, refreshing, non-irritating and immediately effective in creating evenly-toned, glowing, dewy skin.”

Dr Bruce Williamson of SkinSmart clinic added, “The Hydrafacial gives an instant improvement in the visual look and tone of the skin, whilst delivering ongoing improvements in skin health over time with a series of six treatments.”

OK, but how does the HydraFacial machine work?

HydraFacial is actually the name of the machine used in this facial. The HydraFacial machine looks like a computer on a trolley with tubes coming out of it and uses a patented Vortex-Fusion® delivery system that creates a swirling vortex effect to easily dislodge and remove impurities deep into the skin.

This is done using a pen with a spiral attachment on the end that’s able to suck stuff upwards and deliver serums down into the skin at the same time. This dual resurfacing and replenishing system is why HydraFacial is considered a non-irritating treatment with little downtime.

Yep, it's a computer for your skin. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
hydrafacial machine
This is what the suction vortex pen looks like! Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
hydrafacial machine
Here's a closer look at the spiral attachment. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.

As for the actual facial, the Hydrafacial involves three steps that together take around 30 minutes.

Step 1: Cleanse and peel.

  • The skin is cleansed twice using the vacuum technology.
  • First cleanse = algae extract and lactic acid serum.
  • Second cleanse = a mixture of glycolic and salicylic acids.

Step 2: Extract and hydrate.

  • This is when the hectic suction starts!
  • Debris and sebum (oily gunk) are removed from your pores with the 'painless' suction system that also delivers moisture back into the skin at the same time.
  • Uses a salicylic acid serum to help remove the gunk, and a hyaluronic and peptide serum to hydrate the skin.

Step 3: Fuse and protect.

  • The final step saturates the skin with antioxidants and peptides to give you that post-facial glow.
  • A serum specific to your individual skin concerns is also applied to the skin.

Want more info about the different types of facials on the market? Leigh Campbell takes us through it in this episode of the You Beauty podcast below. Post continues after audio.

What does a HydraFacial feel like?

Literally, a HydraFacial feels like a vortex pen sucking the crap out of your pores.

Unlike some other facials that combine the use of facial massage and tools, every step of this facial is done using the HydraFacial machine. The sucking sensation isn't painful, but I found the treatment slightly uncomfortable at most.

The tip of the pen felt a bit tingly and scratchy on the skin, but how it feels to you will depend on how sensitive or reactive your skin is. You'll also feel a light tugging sensation, which is the vortex technology doing its job.

My HydraFacial results and downtime.

I really didn't know what to expect when I jumped up on the bed and was confronted with this vortex pen, but it's unlike any facial I've had before. It's not relaxing and there's no hand massage or tranquil music - a Hydrafacial is all about getting the results and getting out.

Immediately after my treatment, my skin felt hot and looked red but both of these 'side effects' went down within a few hours. Results-wise, my skin had that poreless, glass-skin finish straight away, but you can really feel the difference in skin texture when you run your (clean) fingers over your face. I may or may not have been obsessed with touching my nose for 24 hours after the treatment.

BEFORE - my face wearing makeup. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
DURING! Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
AFTER - plump, glowy and quite rosy. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
And here's me about 30 minutes later, still a bit pink. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.

My makeup applied smoothly in the days following the treatment, but my results only lasted for around a week or so. Speaking to the technician, the best results are achieved by having regular fortnightly or monthly treatments, if you can spare the cost and time.

Now, onto the best bit about getting a HydraFacial. (Well, the best bit if you're the kind of person that enjoys gross beauty stuff.) Once your treatment is finished, your technician can show you the canister of liquid, floaty bits of dead skin cells and gunk that legitimately came out of your face. Honestly, I was disappointed when I saw mine... mostly because I'd heard some people's canisters come out completely black.

Behold, my skin gunk. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.

HydraFacial cost.

HydraFacial isn't available everywhere yet, but you can find practitioners at dermatologist offices and skincare spas around Australia on the HydraFacial website. This treatment isn't cheap - a session will set you back around $175 or more depending where you go.

Final thoughts on HydraFacial...

To answer the questions I put to myself at the start:

Can a HydraFacial really suck crap out of your pores?  Yes. Yes, it can. Any scepticism I had about this claim was gone after A) feeling how smooth my usually bumpy nose was and B) seeing my skin gunk floating in the cannister at the end.

Cool, but should you get a HydraFacial? Like with any skin treatment, no one needs a HydraFacial. But if you can afford to spend the cash and/or struggle with skin congestion, it's a really fun and effective treatment.

Feature image: Supplied/Amy Clark.

Have you ever had a HydraFacial? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Mamamia's Tried and Tested series drops every week. Want us to trial and review a product or treatment you've seen everywhere? Easy, just send an email to 

You can catch up on more from our Tried and Tested series here: