Give me a jade roller, ice globes, or facial sculpting tool—when it comes to skincare gadgets, I can hardly resist. And the more that it looks like a prop straight out of a science fiction movie, the better. So when I saw Bella Hadid casually sporting the Omnilux's Contour Face Mask($395), wearing flannel, and riding in some sort of moving vehicle, I was intrigued. Hadid uses it between her facials and takes it with her while she’s traveling. Not only did it look cool, but the mask has been proven to reduce redness, pigmentation, sun damage, and aging signs. All of which I have been actively working to correct during what I call "my year of treatments."
I'm no stranger to LED face masks or LED therapy in general. I've experienced it during facials and when I've tried other at-home devices—from Neutrogena's bargain-priced Light Therapy Acne Mask (which has since been recalled) to the Dr. Dennis Gross DRX SpectraLite Faceware Pro ($435)—a favorite in my collection. Many dermatologists and estheticians are proponents of LED therapy for skin and use them in their practices, as it can boost collagen, improve texture and appearance, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
As the book Healing With Therapy by Stephanie Hallett states, when it's applied in the right place and for the right amount of time, "red and near-infrared light has been shown to speed tissue repair, reduce inflammation and edema, increase blood flow and reduce pain." All in all, there's been a ton of research on the benefits of near-infrared and red light therapy, including a famous one by NASA that showed this type of targeted light therapy to be effective in improving wound healing. Keep scrolling to learn more, and to find out what happened when I tried Bella Hadid's favorite LED mask for 14 days straight.
According to Tracy Evans, a board-certified dermatologist and the Medical Director of Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology in San Francisco, home light-emitting diode LED devices emit wavelengths of light that correspond to colors with different levels of skin absorption. "Red light can potentially affect fibroblasts which can promote collagen synthesis, target inflammation and redness in the skin, and promote hair growth of the scalp, while blue light is used to treat conditions such as acne, as it may be efficacious against the bacteria that causes acne cutibacterium (C.acnes)," she explains, but there is a caveat.
"While these devices have been deemed relatively safe and the FDA has approved some products for home use, they have very little power, so the true ability for these devices to improve your skin needs more research to substantiate." When it comes to potential risks, Evans presses the importance of protecting your eyes while using these types of devices, as they could negatively affect people with certain eye sensitivities to light as well as people using certain medications. (FYI: Omnilux has a section on their site on the risks of drug-induced photosensitivity.)
Ever since at-home LED face masks began popping up on our favorite celebs' Instagram feeds a few years ago, the market has expanded with a variety of options, all that will make me look like a glamorous robot from the future, thank you very much. I decided to try out the Omnilux Contour for a couple of weeks to see if it would help with some redness and texture, and toning; overall maintenance between my facials, lasers, Botox, and fillers.
I also had a red bumpy scar from a ginormous zit that was bugging me. At this point, I will try almost anything for good skin, but Omnilux's medical-grade products have a great reputation among derms and skincare enthusiasts alike. Aside from Contour, the brand makes light therapy devices that target the neck and decolletage, a glove for the hands, and a new mask called Omnilux Clear ($395) for acne-related issues like active breakouts and scarring.
From the jump, Omnilux's Contour model caught my eye because of the way it looks: flexible and formfitting to the face, like a traditional sheet mask. Because of this, it feels much easier to use than other devices which feel more like hardware sitting on top of our face. You don't have to sit and wait with your eyes closed for the treatment to end. You can go about your business (well, as much as possible with a face mask on) until your 10-minute session is up.
I wasn't about to cook a full course meal or anything, but doing some work on the computer was fine. Along with the silicone mask (that uses velcro straps to fasten to your face), Omnilux Contour comes with a charger, carry bag, and several country-specific adaptors (clearly made for world-traveling supermodels like Hadid!). The mask uses two types of light: red, which boosts overall cellular repair, targeting inflammation, redness, and pigmentation, and near-infrared, which goes deep into the skin cells and stimulates collagen goodness.
Omnilux suggests using the mask three to five times a week (again, it takes just 10 minutes) and for four to six weeks for best results. I've only tried it for about 14 days, three times each week. Now, I didn't notice anything extremely dramatic in terms of improvement, but I didn't have any severe skin issues. But the monster scar bump I had did flatten and is lighter in color, and my skin does feel plumper. But is it the masks, my current luxe skincare routine, or a combination of both? I do think that maybe if I were more consistent, the results would be even better. Still, I'm definitely going to be continuing with the mask. It was easy to wear, looks cool, and my skin does feel smoother. I'm calling it a win.