Does Illumask work? We tried it out to see

By Alex Apatoff
July 31, 2014 07:10 PM

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

Courtesy 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?

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.

Credit: Courtesy 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.