Sunday Self-care, Episode 10: A Woman In The LED Mask (And Other “Tools Of The Trade”)

Until recently, Clarisonic, an electric facial cleansing brush, was the only skincare appliance I’ve ever tried. Long before it became common knowledge, I figured out that washing my face with that brush produced the opposite of the desired effect: it was causing me to break out (and no, I didn’t forget to either clean or replace the brush head). I ditched the device and at least one unused replacement brush and never looked back.

But by the end of the first year of the “new normal,” after looking for many hours in the mirror and watching enough beauty influencers on YouTube, I got curious.

NuFACE Trinity, a device that “tones, lifts, and contours the facial muscles while also reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” was the first one I bought in the series of gizmos that, as I learned, have been created in recent years.

Rusty and NuFace Trinity

I’ve been using NuFACE Trinity quite frequently (though not 5 times per week, as recommended). After I bought it, I came across explanations (from the sources I trust) that face muscles are among a few that don’t require exercising: not only do they not get weaker with age, but extra muscle movements contribute to setting wrinkles rather than improving their appearance. And yet… I don’t know how or why it happened, and I cannot offer an explanation, but NuFACE has helped my jawline: it looks better.

Some people reported that they experienced some pinching or stinging, but for me, it has never been bad enough to notice. One thing I did not like was using the conducting gel: applying it by hand is messy, wasteful of product and quite cumbersome. For each part of the face you plan to massage, you need to put away the device (either turning it off or keeping it running), apply the gel, then wash your hands, use the device and repeat for the next area. But I found a way around it: I’m using a small pod to dispense the gel into and a brush to apply it to my face.

I know that the effect is temporary (and they do not promise otherwise), but I like this device: it seems well-made and is easy and pleasant to use. So, I will keep using it.

The next came Dr Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro, a “wrinkle-reducing and acne-fighting […] FDA cleared […] device” with “100 LED lights in red mode and 62 LED lights in blue mode that work together to help boost collagen production, improve skin density, smooth wrinkles, diminish discoloration, and clear acne for a clear, younger-looking complexion.”

I had some doubts… But I read multiple articles about the legitimacy of LED therapy for improving skin conditions. And then, my favorite YouTube dermatologists from the Doctorly channel voiced their support for this type of device. So, I went for it (in the photo below, I persuaded my vSO to try it too).

Dr Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro

I’ve been using DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro mask for almost two years. It takes just 3 minutes per day. Clearly, it is not too long, but the issue is that you’re supposed to use it after you clean your face. Which makes it slightly inconvenient for my mornings: being a night owl, I try to sleep up until I absolutely must get up for the morning meetings. So, it’s very unlikely that I have an extra 5 minutes in the morning for this ritual. And in the evening, it’s also not that straightforward: I need to wash my face, lay down with the mask, and then get up and continue with the evening skincare routine. It’s a little bit cumbersome. The device has straps that theoretically allow wear while standing, but they are amazingly poorly constructed and keep unfastening. So, if I do not want to risk breaking that quite expensive mask, doing it in a horizontal position is the safest bet. I see that the brand has probably realized the poor design decision with the straps because they changed them slightly compared to those I have. But still, those are too flimsy for the expensive device they are selling. The second complaint I have is the absence of the battery indicator. You never know when it’s time to charge it. So, periodically, after I had done all the dances finding time for it and cleaning my face, the mask would turn off in a minute instead of 3. Very annoying. If my electric toothbrush, which is also annoyingly expensive (but not even close to the price of the mask), can warn me that the battery is running low before there is not enough charge to function properly, that mask could have done it as well. And now, two years after the purchase, I noticed that it doesn’t keep the charge longer than for 2-3 applications.



But after all the grievances I collected and vengefully shared with you, does DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro work? I do not use it every day (for the above-stated reasons), but on average, I find time for it about 4 times per week. I cannot say that I see the effect. I cannot say that I do not see the effect. My skin does look better, so I could assume that it works. But since this mask is not the only tool or product I use daily, I wouldn’t be able to attribute all the improvements to any of them. But I’ll probably keep using the mask – just in case. But when it dies, I don’t think my next one will be from the same brand.

Rusty and GloPro


The most recent tool I got was a Facial Microneedling Tool from GloPro. I wasn’t even considering it until the last December when a department where I work decided to reward the employees with a gift. It wasn’t a gift card or some allowance. Instead, there was a link to a special rewards store where one could choose what they wanted from the offered selection. As I’ve seen before with that type of portal for employees, the value of provided rewards is very “uneven”: it might be a $50 headset, $90 designer perfume, or a $300 dish set. Prices aren’t shown – I just checked some of the offerings in regular stores. But regardless of the price, one can choose just 1 item. I usually struggle with those gifts because it’s hard to choose something I like or need, and I would hate to get something that would be just sitting and gathering dust. So, after going through the complete catalog back and forth several times, I finally realized that I wanted absolutely nothing. I sighed, went through it again and found that microneedling device.

Just in case you’re not familiar with this type of device (I wasn’t), you roll it over your skin, the head of the tool has tiny needles, and it vibrates. As it creates tiny traumas in the skin, it supposedly stimulates the skin to boost collagen production and improves products’ absorption. It is not painful while you do it.

I think my skin is too sensitive: the next day after I use the GloPro tool, I find red dots or even longer marks here and there on my face and neck. It’s not too bad or painful, maybe like a slight irritation (my crow’s feet are especially sensitive), it doesn’t happen every time, and it goes away in a day or two, but since those couple of days are not the most pleasant for my eyes, I tend to skip using the tool. The recommended frequency is 3 times per week. I manage to do it once a week (if that). Same as with the mask, I have no idea how effective the Facial Microneedling Tool is. But I’ll use it for a while.

Rusty and GloPro

Have you used any of these devices or any other tools?


Images: my own


11 thoughts on “Sunday Self-care, Episode 10: A Woman In The LED Mask (And Other “Tools Of The Trade”)

  1. My face is far too sensitive to use any devices, and even most skin care products, so I am very conservative and stick to the few things that work from La Roche Posay.


    • While not trying to influence you in any way, I want to mention that I don’t think any of LED masks would negatively affect your skin. Whether you believe that they help or find the results good enough to spend money and time on them is a different story. But based on everything I read/heard, I wouldn’t expect them to harm.


  2. No, no and no. It’s just too fussy and I just go with old fashioned make/up wipes and a cleanser. My evening routine (after shower) consists of La Mer eye cream (any formulation), the Gennaissance Serum (or Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair) and a lip balm. In the morning, it’s a splash of cool water, La Mer eye cream, treatment lotion, regenerating serum, SPF 50 and then a very light application of make up base.


    • I like your routine, though I wary about make-up wipes: I’m afraid they would exacerbate my periodical issues with eye sensitivity.
      I like and use the same La Mer and Estee Lauder products.


  3. My skin is very sensitive, and using the Clarisonic brush tool was such a disaster that I have never tried anything again, and don’t intend to! Even using muslin cloths with cleansing balms hurts my face, so I use a hot flannel to remove them; my favourite is Emma Hardie’s, which never upsets me and is also good slathered on and left for 10 minutes as a face mask. Lucky Rusty – he doesn’t need anything like that.


    • I love Emma Hardie’s balm! I plan to write about it in one of the upcoming posts in the series, but a quick “preview”: I had some problems with it (I think that one of the components used to cause eye dermatitis), but I couldn’t part with it, kept using from time to time – and now I can tolerate it just fine.

      As I commented above to Tara C, I think that LED masks are a safe (though expensive) bet for people with sensitive skin. But of course research it yourself.


  4. Rusty seems to be looking at you with such a puzzled expression.
    I have a Foreo cleansing thingamibob. I use it about once a week when I’m using tretinoin to get rid of the flaky skin the tret causes.
    I am a sceptic about them unless they have been through clinical testing & carry approval as medical devices.


    • Just to be transparent, I bought all the devices myself and do not have any commercial relationships with any of the brands or sites that sell their products.

      Both NuFace, DrGross’ mask and GlowPro tool were FDA-cleared. It means that they are safe to use. It might still not be enough for you since it doesn’t proof that they are effective. But at least you can be sure that buying them all you risk is money and some of your time (though, with the latter I would claim that the fact of spending time on doing some self-care procedure might have a positive effect).


  5. I have not tried any of these tools since my dermatologist warned me against using any needling or light based tools. Otherwise, I would have tried that LED mask for sure! Apparently with my auto-immune issues these devices would cause an inflammatory immune response and we don’t want that! I wanted to have a laser treatment from her aesthetician but my doctor said no, and I trust her.
    I use Caudalie gentle cleanser, water, and micellar makeup remover wipes morning and night, Sisley mild exfoliator (dry powder that you mix with water in your hands) 2 or 3 times a week, Augustinus Bader serum and firming cream and Sisley eye and lip cream morning and night. I use Perricone MD plasma cream for neck area. I like it better than any I have tried. Yes, I have wrinkles because I’m older than the rest of you :-) but I think my skin looks pretty good for my age. I use sunblock and UV light blockers and I just have to keep moisturized and be consistent with my skincare.


    • We all have wrinkles (or will have sooner or later, no matter what we do). Keeping ourselves as healthy as possible is much more important than fighting extra crow feet or uneven skin tone. So, it’s very wise that you follow your doctor’s advice. And I like your routine!


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