We Tried It: The Illumask

07/31/2014 at 03:10 PM ET

What is it: The Illumask, a truly terrifying Storm Trooper-looking invention that, depending on the LED lights in the mask you choose, is meant to clear up your acne or fix signs of aging — all for $1 per use

Who tried it: Alex Apatoff, Style News Editor

Why I did it: Everyone is talking about it, and I hate to miss out

Level of Difficulty: 0 effort required, unless you count how hard it is for me to sit still for 15 minutes, in which case, I rate it a 10

Illumask reviewCourtesy Alex Apatoff

People are losing their minds about the Illumask, which promises to deliver the same results as your dermatologist’s LED light therapy, but without the inconvenient trip to the doctor or the expensive treatments (they can cost up to $300 a pop). Ostensibly, this hockey-mask situation blasts your skin with the same special lights your derm would use, and because it retails for $30 for one 30-day-use mask, the only real investment risk you run is being ridiculed by anyone who lives in your apartment.

Luckily for me, my husband has already seen me do this, this and this, he didn’t even blink when he saw me stretched out on the couch wearing a light-up face shield. “Are you going to put weird selfies on the internet again?” he asked.

No, Rich. I’m going to put weird photos that you’re going to take on the internet again. You can see them above and below. But the question remains: Does the Illumask live up to the hype — and is it worth the potential mortification?

RELATED: See even more “We Tried It” posts, from thigh rub-preventers to drinking clay!

Ultimately I’m not the best test subject because I don’t have a real acne problem and I’m not dealing with any major signs of aging at the moment. However, I am incredibly lazy about skincare (a point I make over and over again on this website) so I’m always looking for some good anti-aging prep that doesn’t involve serums, night creams, eye gels and whatever other insane things I’m supposed to have in my skincare regimen.

And if you want easy, this is it. You press the button on the remote, it clicks on and then turns itself off 15 minutes later. It counts down for you so you know how many uses are left. The hardest part is not being able to check Instagram for a full quarter of an hour. I have to say, my skin did feel softer and my emerging crows’ feet did seem less noticeable after just a week of uses, and I’ve heard from friends that it has worked great on acne. And if it keeps me out of the derm’s office for another year, I consider it a worthy investment.

Illumask reviewCourtesy Alex Apatoff

The Verdict: I don’t feel like I need it at the moment, but as soon as I’m ready, I can see this being a regular part of my skincare regimen. It’s super easy, it’s effective and derm-approved, and it’s incredibly affordable. The only downsides? It’s a pain to pack, so if you’re traveling within the 30 days of use, plan on leaving out a couple extra outfits to fit in the original box it came in (you don’t want the delicate arms snapping off in your suitcase). And of course, you look like me in these photos. What can I say? Beauty is pain — and occasionally looking doofy once in a while.

Add A Comment

Got something to add to this post? Fill out the fields below to make a comment, ask a question or share a tip. We'd love to hear from you.

Note: If this is your first time commenting on Style News Now, your comment will need to be approved by our moderator before it will appear. Thanks for your patience, and check back again soon.

Showing 6 comments

Anais on

How do you breath with that thing on?

StyleWatch on

@anais – It doesnt really rest directly “on” your face so you breathe normally, but it is a little disconcerting not being able to see anything!

Vedamoon on

So… It’s just colored light? I’m confused as to why you need to buy a new one every 30 days.

Mike on

You need to buy a new one every 30 days because that’s how they make money. Each time you click the thing on to use it…it counts down from 30 telling you how many uses you have remaining.
I would think that there would be a way to reset it yourself though. Or maybe figure out how many volts it sends to the lights and get it to work that way.

erin on

There are youtube videos showing you how to reset the counter. it does wear out/less effective eventually, but not for several months.

voxullus on

Can you reset this thing? Yes! It’s not hard even.
Does the device loose effectiveness? No! Only in sales.
Is it a scam? Yes! There is not reason to assume anything this thing claims is true.

There is NOTHING that intrinsically changes in the properties of the LED’s or the cheap podded electronics in the control that could alter any possibly effect the device has on skin, either good or bad, after 30 60 6000 or 10000 uses.

That being said, there is nothing to indicate that it does anything at all.

From Our Partners


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,513 other followers

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters