Go Ahead and Buy That Red-Light Therapy Mask—but Proceed With Caution

As new home wellness trends surface, there’s no shame in trying something new, but make sure you’re getting what you pay for before you buy

A red-light therapy mask is one wellness product that can border on snake oil if not made with quality technology. GETTY IMAGES

Entering a new year, some might be setting goals to live a healthier, more-balanced lifestyle, whether that means exercising more or incorporating more methods of wellness into the daily routine.

And why leave home for all that?

“What we’re seeing is that things that were only accessible in spas, salons or clinics are suddenly available for people to purchase and take home,” said Anna Bjurstam, the wellness pioneer for Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, which is headquartered in Bangkok. “As we work, live and are at home more, we’re seeing that it’s more important to make it into your wellness sanctuary.”

But as more home-wellness products enter the market, it’s imperative to be hyper-vigilant when shopping. That light therapy mask might promise to change your life by slowing signs of aging on your skin—but will it actually?

It might, if you buy the right one.

Ms. Bjurstam said she loves her red-light therapy mask and doesn’t hesitate to recommend it, but she warned that not all are made the same—especially as it becomes more popular—and some masks might really be snake oil.

“One has to do one’s research because … a lot of them are done very cheaply and don’t work at all,” Ms. Bjurstam said. “Some of them only use red lights and some of them use infrared and red light that enhances it even further.”

Snake oil, or a substance or product sold promising a health benefit without any proof of such benefit, has long lurked the wellness industry. Ms. Bjurstam said creams and capsules are some of the biggest snake oil offenders, but home-wellness gadgets aren’t innocent of the connotation. Though such products fail to fulfill the life-altering health benefits they promise, they aren’t necessarily a threat, often making them more of a harm to your wallet than your health.

Along with poorly made light therapy masks, Ms. Bjurstam cautioned against sleep pods, which, while relaxing, could run a customer tens of thousands of dollars while promising benefits one could get from a normal good night’s sleep.

“When I read the description of these pods, they talk about mitochondrial buildup and cellular energy, using interesting words and terms that sound really good,” she said. “But it’s just the basics. When you say mitochondrial buildup in your body, it means that it creates more energy.”

By contrast, Ms. Bjurstam did recommend compression boots, infrared sauna blankets and even noise-canceling headphones, to help with focus, as beneficial home-wellness products that aren’t snake oil when produced correctly.

But even still, she said to do your own research before buying and stick to companies with a reputable history of quality.

“I would approach everything with skepticism,” Ms. Bjurstam said. “In this world, there’s so much that is not what it promised. … Do some research before buying because otherwise it’s just a waste of money or it won’t get the results that you want.”

Being based in Beverly Hills, California, Ernie Carswell of Douglas Elliman is no stranger to the wellness lifestyle and its importance among clients, both in real estate and in the everyday.

Mr. Carswell said pre-Covid, a luxury developer in Los Angeles sought to build a wellness home that was in tune with circadian rhythm, allowing its occupants to live in sync with this natural cycle, waking with sunrise, not an alarm clock.

This drew initial attention to the home—which was intended to be the first of many—but there was not much tangible interest and the concept fizzled.

“It sounded really good and got a lot of attention, so it was a great marketing trick. But to me, I think it’s total snake oil,” said Mr. Carswell, adding that potential buyers don’t want to pay top dollar for fad wellness features they didn’t pick themselves.

“They would much rather have a large primary bedroom suite or a large eat-in kitchen than two Himalayan salt rooms,” he said.

And homeowners looking for wellness can’t go wrong with old standards like gyms, saunas and steam rooms, the experts said.

John Gomes of Douglas Elliman said a high-quality gym is important to buyers no matter what city he’s working in, be it New York, Los Angeles or Miami.

Most recently, Mr. Gomes and his business partner, Fredrik Eklund, have been working as marketing specialists on a six-unit development in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood. While smaller Manhattan condominiums don’t always offer the amenities of larger, full-service buildings, they encouraged the building’s design team to create an extensively detailed gym for the building to attract potential buyers.

From the layout to the flooring and even the color of the leather on the equipment—brown, which Mr. Gomes said, is chicer than black—they’ve put thought into every aspect of the gym.

“The gym can’t look like an ugly white box with gym equipment in it. It has to be beautifully and thoughtfully designed,” Mr. Gomes said.

Besides a space to workout, the gym will include a massage gun, a sauna, a space to meditate and an “experiential shower” that creates a similar effect to that of a cold plunge by having cold water pour out from an overhead wooden bucket.

In addition to red-light therapy products, Mr. Gomes has also seen the rise in popularity of infrared saunas and cold plunge pools in luxury single-family homes. Such amenities may have some upside for owners who add them, helping  a home stand out on the market to those who are looking to incorporate wellness into their lives.

“I’m so happy that people are living this way and people are thinking about living longer and living happier, better, more convenient lives, and it really starts at home,” Mr. Gomes said.

Via Mansion Global

Joyce Rey
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