Review: Foreo ISSA Mini Toothbrush

Foreo ISSA Mini Toothbrush

As I was opening my gifts on Christmas Day, I came across one from my husband and he warned me before I opened it:  “You’re probably going to wonder why I bought you this.  I don’t know why I did.  It’s a weird gift.  You can return it if you want to.  But I thought you could blog about it.”

I loved that he recognized how much I enjoy blogging and like having new products to blog about.  But I was also a little worried because in my head I’m like, WTF did he buy me?  I didn’t know what to expect, but needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I unwrapped a Foreo ISSA toothbrush!

I had seen the Foreo toothbrushes at Sephora before and I thought they seemed like a neat idea but it’s definitely not something I’d buy myself.  I inspected it a bit, thanked him for what – in my opinion, was actually a nice and thoughtful gift, and it got tossed under the tree along with the rest of our gifts.  In the meantime, I was sucked into the vortex that is Christmas morning breakfast, hosting Christmas dinner and Boxing Day Shopping.

A few days later, after reading some of the reviews on the Sephora website, I was more than a little skeptical that I should keep this ridiculously expensive device.  The reviews were mixed, with the majority leaning more towards the negative than the positive.  I then took a look at the actual toothbrush itself and realized how large the brush head was.  I knew immediately that wasn’t going to work for me.  I have a really small mouth so I can’t use large toothbrushes.  At this point I was convinced that I was just going to return the thing.

Fast forward through me being sick and home-ridden for 2 weeks and my horrendous fail trying to return this at Sephora.  Somewhere in the midst of all of the above, I decided that I wanted to exchange this for the ISSA Mini (aka kid’s version).

If you’re looking for the short and sweet review, here it is:  I LOVE it!  But if you want more details, keep reading.

Let’s look at the claims first:

  • Brighten, polishes and whitens your smile
  • Child-friendly, compact design that appeals to kids of all ages that prefer a smaller brush head
  • Gentle, yet effective
  • Protects the gums from over-brushing
  • The natural properties of silicone and PBT polymer harbour less bacteria for more hygienic brush heads and overall better oral health
  • Each charge lasts up to 200 uses
  • Brush heads last up to 1 year
  • Reaches every part of the mouth

And the features:

  • Ergonomic design
  • 3-D Flexible Brush Head
  • Travel-friendly (USB Chargeable)
  • 2 Year Limited Warranty & 10 Year Quality Guarantee
  • Completely waterproof (can be used in the shower if desired – which grosses me out TBH)
  • Electronic Timer
  • Smile Helpers (more details below)

A bit about me and my teeth/mouth:  As mentioned, I have a very small mouth.  I also have VERY sensitive teeth as a result of having little to no enamel on my them.  If that’s not enough, I grind my teeth at night and as a result I’ve grinded away  some of my teeth on the bottom sections.  I have a custom mouth guard that I’m supposed to wear at night but I hate it and never wear it.  I also tend to over-brush my teeth (in terms of pressure, not time) which certainly doesn’t help the enamel situation. So as you can see, I don’t do myself any favours.

I’ve been using the ISSA for a little under 4 weeks and here’s what I like about it:

  • It truly does reach every part of your mouth.  I’ve always struggled to get a toothbrush to reach the back and sides of my teeth.  I have no issues reaching this area with this – and as a result, my teeth feel way cleaner!
  • It fits very comfortably in my hand.

Foreo ISSA Mini Toothbrush

  • It definitely prevents over and under bushing – I find the silicone bristles exceptionally gentle on my teeth and gums, and…
  •  I love the smile helpers!  Which I’m kind of embarrassed to admit – but they honestly do help.  Basically you see a happy face after you’ve brushed your teeth for 2 full minutes as shown below:

Foreo ISSA Mini Toothbrush

  • If you stop brushing before the 2 minutes is up, you’ll see a happy and sad face:

Foreo ISSA Mini Toothbrush

  • If you don’t brush for 12 hours or more, a sad face will appear. This thing honestly makes me feel guilty if I don’t spend the full two minutes brushing – and two minutes is a lot longer than I imagined!  So I’m fairly certain that I wasn’t brushing my teeth this long before.
  • I also love the timers; there’s a pulse at each 30 second mark meant to prompt you to move on to another quadrant of your mouth. I know that I sometimes focus more on the the front of my teeth rather than the back, so these help me focus on each section of my teeth for an appropriate amount of time.  After the 2 minute mark, it pulses 3 times and then continues to operate up until the 3 minute mark after which it shuts off.
  • Battery life.  Love the fact that it’s likely going to be a couple months before I have to charge this!
  • They market this toothbrush to kids and I could see kids really liking and actually using this.  The smile helpers are great for ensuring they brush their teeth for the right amount of time and it makes brushing your teeth kind of fun (well as fun as it can be).  Despite the fact these are kid-friendly, they work really well for adults too!

In terms of drawbacks:

  • The price.  I find these crazy expensive and I personally couldn’t justify keeping a toothbrush that cost over $200, which is why I swapped the original for a mini.  $139 still isn’t cheap but I feel better about it, despite the fact that this was a gift.
  • I haven’t witnessed any evidence of my teeth being whiter or brighter.  I’ve only used this for a month so perhaps that will come with greater use.
  • I’m not a scientist so I can’t speak to if these are actually more hygienic and harbour less bacteria.  I guess I’ll take their word for it.
  • This is not a toothbrush for lazy toothbrushers.  I believe with electric toothbrushes you can just turn it on and move it around your mouth and it does the cleaning for you.  You still have to move this in a brushing motion in order for it to clean your teeth.  I suspect that’s part of the reason for the bad reviews – people aren’t using it properly!
  • No instructions included.  There were very limited instructions included in the actual package; it refers you to their website and I still haven’t been able to find the manual for the mini toothbrush.  I found that frustrating.
  • USB Charger.  I kind of don’t understand the point of a USB charger.  Why not just provide a regular plug-in charger (#technicallanguage)?  Now I have to steal a plug off one of my iPhone chargers when I want to charge this.  Not a huge deal, just annoying.

Overall though, I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised with this!  After using this for a straight month, I have no desire to go back to my regular old manual toothbrush.  I’m due for a dentist appointment within the next few months so it’ll be interesting to see if she notices any difference as a result of using this.

Note: The main differences between the regular ISSA and the mini ISSA is that the regular has 8 speeds (versus 1 on the Mini).  The regular ISSA also has a much larger brush head and does not have the smile helpers.

Do you have a Foreo toothbrush or have you tried one?  Let me know below.

As always, thanks for reading!



  1. stashmatters says

    I remain skeptical about this… so you went from a manual toothbrush to this? You’ve not use an electric toothbrush before this? I’m just wondering if you should try an electric toothbrush like the Oral B so see how it compares to this. My electric toothbrush has timers and settings for 30 second intervals for each quadrant of my mouth as well. Those silicone bristles are good for the gums but I’m not sure about the enamel, nor can it get into the crevices as well. Of course, this is me judging this without having tried it. 😛

    • ClassicMaggie says

      I was waiting for your comment because I knew you’d be skeptical! Haha!

      I used a electric toothbrush years ago when they made their comeback but I hated how often I had to charge it so I stopped using it and I’ve used manual toothbrushes ever since.

      I’ve read many reviews where others complain that their teeth don’t feel clean after using it but I’ve never had my teeth feel that way. They’ve always felt just as clean as after I’ve used my manual toothbrush. Cleaner actually because I get the back and sides of my teeth easier with the ISSA. It definitely doesn’t eliminate the need to floss but I’d be skeptical about any toothbrush that claims to do that. I noticed that they do have a brush head specific to heavier plaque buildup, I’d be interested to see how that works so I might give that a try when I have to replace my brush head.

      Personally I’m liking it but I don’t think it’s for everyone, and I can see why some wouldn’t like it, especially if you’re used to a really vigorous clean from a manual or electric toothbrush. The true test will be when I visit my dentist in a few months! 🙂

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