Inke’s Beauty Corner: Lights On!

Beauty | 20.5.2019 | Inke

Inke is a helpless beauty product enthusiast, always up for testing out curiosities – with love and a sense of humour.

Okay, this might not come as news at this stage, but I love skin care and cosmetics. I like makeup and beauty products, but masks and facials in all their different forms are my all-time faves. With a mask or facial, you get some chillaxing me-time thrown in – along with all those nourishing, illuminating, skin-pampering effects of course. 

Sheet masks, clay masks, exfoliating and moisturizing masks, etc. etc. are nothing new to me, but luckily the cosmetics industry manages to even keep a beauty junkie who’s tried it all on her toes. And why limit skin care to jars alone when there are all kinds of gadgets out there! How do you like the sound of a light therapy mask?

A what? In a nutshell: a plastic, really creepy looking mask that projects multicoloured lights onto your face when you plug it in, apparently to help with all sorts of skin issues.

Treating the skin with LED light seems to be in part proven by science, in part based on hope and faith. I’m very curious and do believe light has an effect on skin, making it a logical treatment method.

Google is full of information on light treatment and its advantages, and there seems to be plenty of scientific research to back up the use of different coloured lights. It’s good to approach things with a pinch of salt, though, and form an opinion based on the most reliable sources you can find. I have to admit that I don’t have enough knowledge to assess which claims are true, so cannot confirm or question them accordingly. For me, it’s another thing a helpless beauty product enthusiast and eternal optimist is eager to try. I’m keen to find out if it works – and less keen on why it might or mightn’t work. 

After my fair share of googling, light therapy seemed like a harmless thing to try. I was curious to see if it made a difference for my skin. Light therapy is increasingly available at beauty salons (at a hefty price…), and LED light therapy is a growing trend at least judging by the skin care scene in the States.

There’s nothing new about light gadgets designed for home use, either. You may have come across the Espada light pen for acne launched a couple of years ago by Swedish company Foreo, and many claim it has helped. The machines in professional salons are likely to be more powerful, but then they aren’t meant for daily use.

Instead of targeting a specific issue, I was after something more holistic for my face, so decided to test a mask that projects seven different types of light with a promise of all sorts of miracles. Because, why not?

It might not come as a surprise that this phenomenon, too, came about in the haven of all things beauty, Asia. I had to go with my gut instinct when it came to choosing, as the masks are not manufactured by any of the cosmetics or electronics brands I’m familiar with over here. 

I did come across a few hyped, well-marketed western brands that had given their LED therapy masks a luxury price tag. Amazon, the endless treasure trove of therapy masks (among other things), also included a range of shockingly cheap versions that I wouldn’t necessarily dare plug into my wall and place on my face – electricity and all. I tried to play safe and went for the mid-range category; a device that costs about 100 euros sounds about three times higher in quality than a 30-euro one, at least on paper.

This time the product reviews on Amazon and my lucky stars aligned, and the Project E Beauty mask was a positive surprise right down to the packaging. The mask has a sleek, Apple-inspired aesthetic, is functional and refined and seems high-quality. I ordered mine on Amazon UK, and the package even included an adapter suitable for my socket. (And I have to tell you this, you should have seen the look on my husband’s face when I showed him my latest purchase. Really – I could order another one just to get to see that mixed expression of laughter, confusion and shock-horror again.)  

According to the instructions, you place the mask onto a cleansed face free of products. Skipping the lotions before the treatment sounds like sound advice. It’s not a sunbed or anything to do with UV, but I still wouldn’t start experimenting how different products react to light waves at home! The best and most comfortable way to use the mask is while lying down, so it stays in place. It weighs quite a bit and it’s not like you’ll be walking around with it on your face anyway, as it’s plugged into the wall. Even if the mask doesn’t turn out a long-term remedy, it does the trick for peace of mind: you won’t be rushing around, and the bright light beaming in your face means you don’t fancy fiddling with your hone, either. The time it takes effect is perfect for a little nap or spot of meditation. 

The mask is recommended for 15-20 minutes a couple of times a week. The remote control comes with a timer and you can set the brightness level as well. You don’t really feel anything on your face when using it – no burning or tingling sensations in store. 

My mask lights up with seven different colours, each apparently with its own therapeutic effect. What do each of the colours do?

Well, at least the manual and studies I found on Google promise the following potential benefits:

– stimulates collagen production
– smooths fine lines and wrinkles
– improves skin’s elasticity

– targets rashes, oiliness and sensitivity
– soothes inflammation and even kills unwanted bacteria

– rejuvenates tired, lacklustre skin
– activates lymph metabolism  
– relaxes and reduces stress

– improves circulation and strengthens tissues
– minimizes pores 
– counteracts a yellowish skin tone

– treats acne and impurities
– soothes inflammation

– fades scarring, freckles and blemishes
– repairs sun damage
– balances sensitive skin

– reduces signs of aging
– restores younger and vibrant skin

Few skin care products work miracles first or second time round, and I have a feeling that making the most of this gadget will take commitment, time and patience. I haven’t used mine long enough, but when I gushed about it and posted clips on Instagram, some of my followers messaged me to say they’d used the same or similar device and noticed it made a difference after regular use. 

used have meant I haven’t stuck to a certain routine yet. First I want to try out all the possible lights and settings, whether useful for me or not. Why own a seven-colour mask if I’d only use two?

It’s a bit too early to vow that light therapy makes issues go away and brightens the skin. But I can say that the cyan light helped with the surprise onset of spots on my jawline (although the effects of partying and junk food on the skin is not necessarily a surprise to anyone…), which seemed to disappear in record time after using the mask. The red light made me positively glow, and I even remember skipping foundation afterwards.

I’m not going through any major skin problems right now, and someone else may have been quicker to notice the pros and possible cons of using the mask. But I do get impurities, fine lines and dull moments, so there’s nothing to lose. And even if the light therapy doesn’t do anything in itself, at least it forces to meditate for twenty minutes! It’s a near impossibility to put the mask to proper test if I keep changing the colours and time settings, so I’ll be setting myself a treatment challenge.

I will test the cyan light for 15-20 minutes three times a week on the one-off blemishes that appear on my skin on a regular basis, committing myself to the challenge for at least a month. I could treat other ”flaws” as well, but came to the conclusion that blemishes are the most challenging and easiest to monitor. I’ll get back in a month and we’ll see if the light treatment has helped at all with impurities that continue to afflict my 35-year-old skin.

I have to say that the mask is definitely the most intriguing gadget I’ve ever tested. Whether or not it works, it really is something else. Neither do I remember any other topic drawing in as many Instagram messages – at least it’s been a laugh! So let’s turn the lights on and see if there’s more to it than a good giggle and hysterical mask selfies.

Have you tried light therapy? What’s your say: best thing ever or an utter hoax? 

Project E Beauty Led Mask, n. 115 €,