If you follow any skincare or wellness trends, you've likely seen red light therapy pop up somewhere in the past few years. Known by its signature (ahem) right light, this type of therapy is believed to have numerous health benefits, including optimized cellular function for better cognition and sleep, increased blood circulation to promote muscle recovery, and anti-inflammatory and skin invigorating properties, and has popped up at dermatologists' offices, in fitness and sweat studios, and even as at-home facial masks and tools.
Joovv is one of the better-known brands making personal right light therapy tools to use at home and, as someone who (self-admittedly) will try anything skincare- or sleep-related, I jumped at the chance to try out a device myself. I gave myself three months and multiple use cases to test out the Joovv Mini 3.0 — here's how it went.
(While I did receive the Mini 3.0 in exchange for an honest review, all of the following thoughts and opinions expressed below are my own and are not influenced by Joovv, in any way.)
First, of course, I want to explain what exactly the Joovv tool is and how it works. For the purposes of this review, I will be explaining the specs of the Joovv Mini 3.0, but there are several sizes that the brand offers depending on your needs, so be sure to check them all out on the site to learn more.
The Joovv Mini 3.0 is considered the "medium" size, — compared to the Joovv Go and full-body models — stands at 14.75 inches tall and 8.7 inches wide, and weighs approximately seven pounds. It offers red, near infrared (NIR), and an option to use both wavelengths simultaneously, all of which are designed to support better cellular function, healthy skin, enhanced recovery, and optimized sleep.
I briefly described the benefits of red light therapy above, but in more detail: Red light is visible, feels warm, and has been studied in thousands of clinical trials and medical studies. It first piqued scientists' interest in the early 1990s, when NASA found that red light could activate plant growth in space, without the need for sunlight. Since then, red light has been "shown in numerous studies to enhance cellular function, by stimulating the mitochondria in our cells to produce more ATP cellular energy, which powers everything humans do. Research has also found numerous skin health, inflammation, and recovery benefits," some of which include more collagen production, wrinkle prevention, and even cold sore relief. (You can read even more about the background and benefits of red light, here.)
Near infrared light (aka NIR) is invisible to the human eye and has a much longer wavelength than red light. That allows wavelengths of NIR light to "penetrate deeper into the body, for further-reaching deep tissue healing and regenerative effects," which can help support muscle health and enhance the body's natural recovery and healing processes. It's important to note that Joovv does recommend protective eyewear while using this setting and provides glasses as part of your kit. (Read more about what NIR means, here.) At its most simple understanding, red light is great for targeting trouble spots, wrinkles, and inflammation on the skin, while NIR is great for injuries, sore muscles and joints, and inflammation caused by injury or surgery — and both combined is even better.
No matter which setting you're using, Joovv recommends 10-minute treatments from 16-24 inches away — 15-20 minutes for symptomatic areas may be beneficial, but beyond that, the evidence points to diminishing returns (your cells can only absorb so much light at once). To get the most bang for your buck, consistency is key and the brand recommends using at least once daily, although two to three times per day may be beneficial for symptomatic areas.
When first trying out the Joovv Mini 3.0, I was originally most interested in the anti-aging and skin-glowing benefits. As a woman in her late 20's, I don't have a ton of wrinkles yet, but my collagen production is beginning to decrease and I'm constantly trying to get ahead of issues. I also have occasional blemishes and can get cold sores from stress or sickness, so the red light therapy sounded right up my alley. I began using the device for 10 minutes each morning — timing it with some kind of guided meditation or relaxing morning music is honestly a solid form of self-care in and of itself. Occasionally, I would add in a second 10-minute session before bed at night, but found that to be a harder time to stick to. After about a month of use, I truthfully didn't notice a massive change in any deep lines, but my skin tone was definitely more even and it has become such a lovely morning ritual that I look forward to it every day. Although the 30-day difference wasn't drastic, I also know that is a preventative measure, so I'm sure my future self is benefitting greatly. I also did, unfortunately, get a cold sore during this trial period, and after using the device as normal, felt that the healing time was cut in half — a huge win in my book.
At about the 60-day mark of trying out the Joovv Mini 3.0, I also underwent pretty major surgery on my jaw that I had been planning for years. I decided to incorporate the NIR therapy into my routine every day — I did it along with the red light therapy for 10 minutes each day — to see if it would help with swelling, bruising, and overall healing times. (Be sure to check in with your doctor/physician before using after surgery.) Since it was an operation that I had prepped for in advance, I did take several measures to lessen swelling and bruising, so it's hard to attribute the recovery to one particular thing, but it was miraculous. I had barely any bruising whatsoever and the swelling was a little as expected — it was major jaw surgery, after all — but it went down very quickly and all of my doctors seemed impressed by the results. I don't want to get into too much of the nitty-gritty (to spare you), but I overall had a much easier recovery than I was expecting and am choosing to believe that the Joovv played a massive role.
Although I would say there are very few cons to anything that boosts your overall health and wellness, the price is definitely steep and therefore a contributing factor one should keep in mind before purchasing. The Joovv Mini 3.0 starts at $850 and goes up from there depending on which stand of stand or wall mount you purchase. There are options to finance it and pay for it over several months with no interest, which is helpful, but it is certainly an investment.
Other than the price, the only other "con" worth mentioning is that it's rather large and bulky, although that didn't really bother me. I usually keep it right next to my bed on the floor, so it's easy to use each morning. For my recovery after surgery, I was staying somewhere other than my apartment, so I had to pack it up and lug it along with a suitcase, but if you don't need to move with it, it's perfectly sized in my opinion. (There is also a handheld, portable version if you'd like one that is smaller and more affordable if you travel a lot.)
Overall, I love the Joovv Mini 3.0. I am a huge wellness and skincare junkie and love knowing that I am taking preventative measures for my skin's health in the future. I also am so glad this testing period happened to fall during my surgery. It was something I was so anxious for and I can't imagine not having the Joovv with me as I recovered — it made a world of difference.
If you're someone who struggles with inflammation, aches, or pains, is interested in preventative skincare, or someone who spends a lot of time and money getting treatments that involve red light or NIR therapy, I think a Joovv device is absolutely worth the investment. It brings a piece of wellness into your home and is a healthy and smart way to combat skin and joint issues right at the source. Plus, there is a 60-day return policy, so if you don't absolutely love it, you can always return it — although, I have a feeling you won't be doing that. Try it out for yourself, below.
Katie is a Los Angeles-based writer who covers shopping trends, deals, and product reviews for Hunker. She's written for PureWow, Food Network, and Well+Good. When not online shopping, you can find her collecting vintage glassware or rewatching Nancy Meyers' movies for design inspo.