A Guide To High-Tech Beauty Tools, Part One: LED Face Masks
In the last few years, we’ve seen an influx of at-home tech devices in the beauty industry. Many of these innovations were once only available to professional aestheticians and dermatologists but now more and more high-tech beauty tools are available to devout beauty consumers. With plenty of new and exciting skin-care tools on the market, we know it may be hard to choose which devices are worth investing in.
Welcome to Part One of an ongoing series, “A Guide To High-Tech Beauty Tools” where we’ll be breaking down the best tech-based beauty tools out there right now.
LED Face Masks
I first read about LED face masks back in 2014 when Vogue magazine published an article about New York City celebrity facialist Georgia Louise and her affinity for the Deesse light apparatus that looked straight out of the horror film, “Jason.” At the time the mask was only available for skin care professionals and was extremely expensive but once on my radar I was intrigued.
In 2015 I started to see Shani Darden, the Los Angeles facialist with a Hollywood client list (and waitlist) that months long. Darden was also a huge fan of the Dessee mask and used it regularly on me during our sessions together. By this time the mask was available for consumers to purchase at a slightly lower cost than the year before but honestly was still very much an investment. I fell in love though, eventually ended up buying one and have been using it ever since.
LED Face Masks Work!
There is science to support claims that LED light therapy works. Red light is proven to improve the skin’s firmness and elasticity, while blue light has shown to help mild to moderate acne issues. I have personally experienced the benefits, and that is why I chose to invest in a LED light mask. While glowy skin is a pretty instant result, the more significant payoffs like tighter and brighter skin are more evident with consistent use. That means using the mask regularly a few times a week as advised.
What Does LED Light Therapy Actually Do?
These electronic beauty devices send low level but professional-strength wavelengths of light energy (Light Emitting Diodes) into the skin’s deeper layers to promote clearer and more radiant skin.
The most commonly sought after masks have three modes. Anti-aging, purifying and a post-procedure healing mode. The anti-aging mode emits red light, which is the mode I mostly always choose. It’s used to boost collagen, stimulate new skin cell growth, reduce fine lines and small wrinkles and helps with hyperpigmentation, one of the most prevalent skin issues for women of color. The purifying mode emits blue LED light and is used to kill bacteria and combat mild to moderate acne, the post-procedure mode is excellent for healing wounds, speeding up the recovery time from dermatological procedures and can even help ease sunburn.
How Often Should You Use a LED Light Mask?
Most estheticians will advise you to use it no more than three times a week and for only twenty minutes each session. If you want, you may use a product in conjunction to using the mask—the mask is said to help the product penetrate the skin better, but it’s best to use something that isn’t too heavy so that you don’t clog your pores. I like using a light nourishing serum like Biossance’s Squalane and Vitamin C Rose Oil.
If you are using retinoids, however, it is advised that you alternate between product application and using the mask. Do not combine or use them on the same day; this way you avoid photosensitivity.
Is It Painful?
Wearing the mask is absolutely painless, noninvasive and there’s no downtime for treatment. It might, however, freak some people out. My husband has many long-standing jokes about my LED masks and loves to throw up a mocking Instagram story or two when I wear one around the house. The emitted light is also painless, it’s very warm and comforting, but the light is very bright. And while it’s common to see celebs on social media snapping a flick with their eyes open, I would always recommend that you either use safety goggles or (what I do) keep your eyes closed the entire time of the session. It’s a perfect way to squeeze in twenty minutes of self-care. I usually use my mask in the evening to wind down.
How Much Do They Cost?
You’ve probably seen a few different masks and wondered about the cost, which one is worth it? LED experts and celebrity facialists all stand by the Korean Deesse Premium LED Mask. While there is a newer model that boasts eight different modes, going with the original 3-mode and substantially less expensive model is all you need.
Light strength, wavelengths as well the technology used to deliver the light all play a key part in the cost of any given mask. The pricer masks use more advanced technology and are made from better quality materials, but some less expensive options on the market are just as effective. They may, however, take more treatments to reveal significant results due to the levels at which they emit light.
Below you’ll find the mask I have and love as well as some budget-friendly options that will do the job just as well.
Deesse Premium LED Mask
This mask is the one that I have and love. With a price tag of $699 it is most definitely an investment, but when it comes to items like this, I like to look at the cost per use. If I used it every week all year round, then it costs me $14 a week. That’s less than $5 per session. It’s a lot cheaper than going to a high-end facialist. This model is the OG mask that you’ve seen on celebs on all over the internet, and it’s also a fraction of the cost of the newer model that boasts eight modes. Which in my humble opinion you really don’t need.I’ve had this mask for four years now and have no issues with it at all. I love that it has all three modes—anti-aging, purifying and the healing mode and that the light emitted is professional strength and what you get when visiting a well-known esthetician.
Project E Beauty 7 Color LED Mask
What we like most about this LED mask is that the light delivered for both red and blue light modes are at the same wavelengths as the Dessee model, (red light is at 630 nm and blue light at 415 nm), but at a substantially lower cost. Research shows that red light in the mid-600 nm is range is extremely effective so this brand and model hits the mark. The downside to this face mask is its weight, it feels heavier than others on the face, and the strap that keeps it in place from slipping is too tight.
The way around that though is to lay down and lay it on your face. If you can deal with just lounging out and resting for 20 minutes (which you should) then at $110 this face mask is the best bang for your buck.
Dr. Dennis Gross SpectraLite FaceWare Pro
FDA-cleared, Dr. Dennis Gross’ SpectraLiteLED face mask has quickly grown a cult following. The futuristic rose gold finish is widely appealing to a fashion-forward crowd. These handmade masks are inspired by Dr. Gross’ in office treatments. The mask also has three modes, red light therapy, blue light therapy or red and blue light combination therapy to zaps acne bacteria and reduces fine lines. The length of each session is only three minutes long, versus the 20 minutes recommended when using other masks. The pros are that the head strap is adjustable and it’s completely handsfree, unlike the previously mentioned masks that must be plugged into an electrical socket.
The cons? You have to charge the mask for two hours, and it’s a newer device, so there’s little to no information to support whether or not a three-minute treatment is as effective. And of course, there is the price tag of $435.
While these masks are incredibly fantastic treatments to have at home, we don’t ever want to take away from the fact that if you have severe issues with your skin like rashes or hormonal acne that is best to see a skin care professional.