Smooth Operator

A DIY cellulite-smoothing machine.


In the late Seventies and early Eighties, model Nancy Donahue’s all-American face graced the covers of magazines like Vogue and Mademoiselle. These days, however, she’s promoting her body—or what a vibrating gadget has done to improve it. In January 2010, Donahue and her business partner, Susan Anton Pasanen, launched the BelleCore HoneyBelle Body Buffer ($395), a handheld skin-smoothing device that looks like something the guys at Maaco would use to polish up a paint job, but was actually designed to alleviate the appearance of cellulite. Donahue, who until recently was also a personal trainer, was first introduced to a less refined version of the technology five years ago by a client who was using a vibrating machine to treat her post-liposuction edema. Donahue tried it on her legs and was impressed by how soft and smooth they felt. Four years, a team of mechanical engineers, and dozens of design tweaks later, HoneyBelle—which employs an oscillating, vibrating pad to relax the fibrous connective tissue that causes unsightly bumps—made its debut. This month the company is launching a travel version, the BabyBelle ($295), which is about the size of a folding hair dryer. Using it, thankfully, requires far less time than a blowout. “A minute on your legs, a minute on your belly, a minute on your bum,” says Donahue. “It brings blood flow back to the muscles, so it not only makes your skin look smoother, it makes your body feel good” (