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If you’ve been the victim of more than a few Instagram jump scares from visuals of skincare girlies winding down with a bionic-looking face mask, you know exactly what this article is about. (And if you’re out of the loop, prepare to go down an exciting beauty tech rabbit hole.) Yes, I too am one of those women who now considers herself the proud owner of a red light therapy mask. But is the new viral skincare obsession worth the hype—and hefty price tag? As a beauty guinea pig of sorts, I took it upon myself to investigate.

For context, I’m two months past my 29th birthday (and amid a complicated, but exciting, Saturn Return). It’s a funny age, because, in many ways, I feel exactly as I did in my early twenties—with the same unbridled hope for the future and excitement for every day. But of course, much has changed in this first decade of Real Adulthood. I’ve learned a lot about life through experience (re: trial and error) and the years are beginning to show their wear and tear. But—and this is perhaps the most important development to note—I’ve also amassed many truths and learnings about what it means to age well. And no, that doesn’t involve an attempt to erase the years from my face. Instead, I’m leaning into the new versions of myself that show up each day along this path of growth.

Featured image from our interview with Alicia Yoon.

Isabelle Eyman red light therapy mask.

Red Light Therapy Mask Review

Spoiler: my red light therapy mask is one of my favorite tools in my aging-well arsenal. But I’ll kick things off with a disclaimer that I don’t consider it an essential. When it comes to skincare, we support a minimalist approach, but that requires understanding the products and treatments that work best for your individual needs. So if you’re considering a red light therapy mask, read on for my honest review.

What is red light therapy?

Red light therapy is a non-invasive treatment utilizing light-emitting diodes (LED) to mimic the wavelengths that naturally occur in sunlight. Compared to other forms of LED light therapy, red light penetrates further into the skin. As a result, it’s commonly used to treat signs of aging, including wrinkles, redness, acne, and scarring.

While red light therapy has been used by dermatologists in in-office settings for years, social media has seen a recent surge of at-home devices making the treatment more widely accessible. Across all the most popular brands, including Dr. Dennis Gross, Omnilux, Therabody, and the Higher Dose mask I tested, the common design is a medical-grade silicone mask with attached LED bulbs. Some commonalities exist across all the major brands carrying red light therapy masks:

  • Prices range from $350 to $600, with some models costing up to $1900 (hi, Shani Darden)
  • All offer at least one light mode treatment, with some masks offering up to seven different light modes
  • The average recommended use is three to five, five to-10minute treatments per week

My Red Light Therapy Goals

While I love the instant glow that comes with my favorite vitamin C serums, I’m playing the beauty long game. That means alongside other periodic treatments, I want products and tools that support the long-term health of my skin. Enter: My Higher Dose red light therapy mask.

Because we know that collagen production starts to decline after 25, one of my primary skin goals is to retain as much tightness and bounce as possible. What’s more, my skin’s also seen a recent prolonged bout of hormonal acne along my jawline that’s remained stubborn over the past several months. As a result, I was hoping to see the following results from my two-month red light face mask experiment:

  • Visibly brighter, clearer, and more vibrant skin
  • Reduced redness in my cheeks and forehead
  • Enhanced glow

My Experience Using a Red Light Therapy Mask

It’s probably obvious given the content of this article, but I’ve entered my high-maintenance beauty and wellness era. One of the game-changing truths I’ve learned in my 29 years is that spending money in thoughtful ways means that I can intentionally indulge in the occasional splurge while still staying on budget. As such—and as you’ll read ahead—my red light face mask makes sense not only in the context of Girl Math, but in the zoomed-out perspective of my long-term happiness and health.

My Red Light Therapy Routine

Though I’ve managed to slow down and practice presence over the years, I’m still a twofer girlie, meaning I love when I can do a beauty treatment while also indulging in a self-care ritual. I opt to wear mine typically in the evening as I get into bed. The Higher Dose red light mask is designed to be worn for 10 minutes, 3-5 times a week. However, the mask also includes a 20-minute setting, which I’ve worked my way up to after two months of use. And though the mask comes with eye goggles if you’re sensitive, I’ve found that I can wear the mask and either read or journal without discomfort. Practicing affirmations while supporting my skin health? We love it.

To begin the ritual, I apply three to four drops of the accompanying Higher Dose Glow Serum to my face post-skincare. Developed with hydrating and skin-strengthening ingredients including niacinamide and aloe vera juice, the heat- and light-activated formula is designed to work in conjunction with the face mask. However, I would only consider it a boost—not a necessity. Following the treatment, I like to apply a moisturizer to lock in hydration. (This is my current fave.)

Perhaps my favorite part of this mask in particular is its comfort of use. While others seem to be made of a more rigid material, this mask’s silicone is flexible, meaning I don’t feel that I have to stay 100% still throughout the entire 10-minute session. Overall, it’s an easy habit stack that I’ve had no issue incorporating into my nighttime routine several evenings throughout the week.

Red light face mask before.
Red light therapy mask after.

My Results

I’ll be candid: while some claim to have experienced noticeably brighter, more youthful-looking skin after just two weeks, my radiance took a little longer to set in. But, after some time, this red light therapy mask met all of my skincare hopes and dreams. I noticed brighter, tighter skin after four weeks. While you might not be able to see the tightness as well from the pictures, I can certainly feel it. Parallel to that, I noticed a significant reduction in puffiness, particularly around my jawline. And good news! Hormonal acne—gone. I’m excited to see the results only amplify now that I’m consistently using the mask. Trust me, if you aren’t seeing results from your night cream or anti-aging serum, red light therapy is a solid next step.

The Verdict

Short story: it’s a yes from me. Some high-maintenance skincare treatments require downtime or are hard to incorporate into your routine. But using a red light therapy mask is a quick (and enjoyable) ritual I only need to do every other evening for results. No regrets here.

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