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Is My Sauna Blanket Still Effective After Three Years?? Here’s My Review

Two years ago I did a super low-budget, last-minute “fun” review of this HigherDOSE sauna blanket shot with Mal’s iPhone (some pandemic content still haunts me and yet makes me smile). I had been using it for a year and a half at that time, and since every single person who saw it asked me all about it, I figured you’d be curious as well. So I wrote the OG post with more of a minute-by-minute review (and in that post, I talk about the benefits – both the ones you can prove and the ones you can’t). And listen, I get this isn’t for everyone and that’s fine! Simply come back tomorrow. So when they reached out recently to sponsor some social with their newest version I said yes (despite obviously not being a home or design partnership) because it’s still something I really like and use, and maybe you are into this stuff, too. I, personally, have found that is a huge mood booster (in the winter months, especially) and gives me something to look forward to every night. And I’m not alone – saunas are obviously taking off in America (long since loved in Northern Europe) and are universally credited for being good for your physical and mental health. This isn’t pseudo-science, y’all (while many other things I agree can feel like that). But many of us don’t have the room or budget for a home sauna (although, I’m working on it TBH) so this blanket is IMHO is a GREAT alternative for those of us wanting the physical and mental benefits of a sauna, but on our sofa or in a bed.

How It Works:

Sauna Blanket

Again, the first post is more detailed, but essentially it’s a sleeping bag that uses infrared heat to penetrate deep into your body through your skin (a traditional steam sauna is also really good for you). The benefits that I feel are mood-boosting, sweating (which always feels good), and most scientists accept that it’s great for circulation and cardiovascular health (the blood flow expands and loosens your blood vessels like a workout does). Yes, you burn more calories than if you were just laying there, but that’s hard to track and not why I do it. I just love the happy hormones released (especially after) which stay with me for a few hours and I tend to sleep deeper and longer at night. This is all my personal experience and perspective (and this post is not sponsored by HigherDOSE, just the social media on Instagram – so yes, we are giving them a free post but I HAD to redo the first one to give better photos).

So What Do You Do?

Well, you choose your temperature (I’m a solid 8 or 9) and it takes 10 minutes to warm up before you need to get in. In that time you get dressed, head to toe in something light but full coverage (Including socks) or if you have their towel you can go naked inside it (I haven’t done this yet but will next week as I just found my towel again and this sounds pretty darn fun). Before you get in make sure to have all your necessities (kindle, remote, water, phone, apple watch, or heart monitor if you do that) within reach, and lay in it for 50 minutes (make sure to track what time you pressed the button to begin because it turns off 60 minutes after that but there is no timer or count down indicator on the plug thing, which I wish there were).

I highly recommend watching mindless TV (either Magnolia Network design shows but realistically something in The Bachelor franchise) as I find concentrating on a book, podcast, or a good show to be more difficult. Or maybe it’s because I never get to watch TV and I have at least an hour or two of podcast time a day walking the pups and Brian and I read every night in bed, so this is MAMA’S GARBAGE TV TIME.

Here I’m looking all peaceful like I’m napping, but trust me, Love Island is on right in front of me. The new blanket model, as you can see, has a zipper instead of velcro which is so much better. If you are curious about a minute-by-minute breakdown, again read the first post. But the summary is that it’s super pleasant for the first 30-40 minutes, but the last 20-30 can be challenging (but so worth it). Obviously, you can do a lower setting if you just want it to feel pleasant, but I like to sweat it out and really know that my body was being challenged (but I’m also an endorphin junkie and love to cold plunge in my bathtub, so again, this isn’t for everyone).

By the end, I was extremely sweaty, felt hot as hell, and ready to get out and get that burst of “relief endorphins”. I was in an excellent mood for the rest of the night. And a lot of people wonder if it’s gross and smells and the answer is “mine doesn’t”. Most of my sweat is on my clothes and hair or on the towel, but the bag itself stays dry, but they do sell a spray cleaner for those just wanting to, you know, not be disgusting.

And there you go. Usually, I do this at night – either 6:30-7:30 pm after dinner if the kids are watching something in the family room or 8:30-9:30 pm after they are down. But this day we shot it during work hours with Kaitlin and Emily, and I have to say it made the rest of the night of solo parenting so much happier and healthier. It’s like doing a mini workout at the end of the day which I find checks a big box and totally curbs my desire for a glass of wine.

The Infrared Face Mask

Red Light Face Mask

Now for one of the most terrifying-looking wellness inventions out there – the red light face mask. I, like many of you, have been hearing about this for a while and it seems like the anecdotal evidence is mounting on the benefits of this as well. I’ve only used this a couple of times so I can’t honestly say that it changed my skin but I will say that there are so many people who say it increases collagen (something I’m very into in a non-invasive way) and helps with acne.

You strap it on your head (which isn’t uncomfortable) and it penetrates with infrared light.

Feel free to terrify your dog or child while wearing it. My kids are NOT a fan 🙂

So basically you just sit there and wear it, either for a 10 or 20-minute session. I found that I didn’t like to have my eyes open (it comes with tanning salon-style eye covers if you want) so it’s more of a podcast time for me rather than working or watching TV. I’m not a scientist so I’m unsure if the light is bad for your eyes, so please be sure to read the instructions and wear the goggles.

But all in all, I’m giving this a serious GO this year because I keep reading more and more articles (not by any brands, but by dermatologists) saying that it’s highly effective in producing collagen (which keeps your skin looking full and bouncy and what we get depleted of as we age). So maybe in a year I’ll have an actual review for you where I can say this easy twice-a-week terrifying mask aged me backward. IMHO the problem with topical beauty products is that it’s really hard to track what is truly effective unless you isolate its use, take photos every day, or don’t change anything else in your routine (including diet/nutrition/lifestyle). I can tell you how much I love how a face lotion feels on my skin, but saying that “Lotion XYZ” reduced wrinkles in a couple of weeks is hard to say if I am also trying out other products or not staying consistent. That’s all to say that unless I commit to using this twice a week for six months I won’t be sure what positive effects I can attribute to it and see its effectiveness for myself. So that’s my plan this year – use it more frequently in hopes that I can see a difference. And if I do notice improvement, like a lot of other people have, I’ll tell you, I promise.

Thanks for going along with me on this odd pursuit of reviewing new wellness products that I know some of you roll your eyes at while others really appreciate my experience. It won’t become a habit, but I sure do enjoy it all. And thanks to HigherDOSE for sponsoring the reel and stories (not this blog post). Now, I can’t stress this enough – this blanket is not cheap and she’s big, so it’s not something you want to own and NOT use. If you can go to an infrared sauna spa before you buy for a session or two and make sure you like it before you make the investment (that’s what I did). If you don’t enjoy being really hot, you likely won’t use this and I don’t want you to waste your money on it:)

*Oh and lastly, if you bought the first one that has a velcro closing, I don’t think you need to upgrade to this newer zipper version. Sure it’s more streamlined and sleek without the air gaps that can happen, but the first model for me still works splendidly.

Goodbye from me and my happy, sweaty face:) If you’d like to try out one of these at home, you can use code EMILY15 for 15% off your purchase.

*Photos by Kaitlin Green

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Sadie
8 days ago

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mindbodygreen-podcast/id1246494475?i=1000591570436

Love posts like this! If you are into this kind of self care you may enjoy this episode. Talks a little bit about red light therapy, but also so much more in a reasonable way. I almost skipped it because detox usually means doing something extreme in this kind of context- this is not that.

it’s a sign. i just went back to your last higher dose post 2 nights ago to read your review because i didn’t bother reading it back when you posted it, but last year and this year have been about really focusing on my health, and i keep reading and hearing about how good cold plunging and saunas are for your health. anyway, so i went searching for your post. i like your tip at the end about trying one of those sauna places before buying one of these to make sure we like saunas to begin with. a new membership sauna spot just opened up by me, and i’ve totally thought to myself, no way, because the membership price is so expensive. but i’m going to try it there first. also, that face mask IS terrifying, and every time i’ve seen people wearing those (like in insta posts or wherever), i always think of silence of the lambs (ew!). but it does sound intriguing. i can’t wait to hear your follow up on that. i like your goop-y type of wellness posts because i’m the same age as you and i’ve been getting all into this stuff in the… Read more »

🥰 Rusty
8 days ago

2 years?!? Two years already?? I thought it was last year in your Portland rental??
Not for me, coz heat and I don’t get on well together (I just made it tgrough a 40 degree Celcius day – 104F ), but I’ve read heaps @ the benefits of sauna + cold plunge.
Um, that face mask reeks gimmick and is hell-scary!!!😵

8 days ago

Yes! I’m still loving my HigherDOSE sauna 3 years in. I interviewed the badass, beautiful founders here, for anyone interested in their routines (from 2020):
https://dana-leigh-lyons.medium.com/higherdose-how-to-get-high-naturally-eaef8f8091f

And I wrote about my purchase as a hardcore minimalist here (also from 2020, when my hair was still short before 3 years of “pandemic grow out”):
https://dana-leigh-lyons.medium.com/what-i-bought-as-a-hardcore-minimalist-during-quarantine-and-how-it-changed-my-life-3275b8e761b

While I use it slightly less lately, it remains my most used purchase from the past 3 years (and maybe ever). Hard recommend!!

Emma
8 days ago

I don’t mean this as criticism. But how does this kind of business arrangement work? You just gave them a TON of free PR which they have not paid for. I realize that there is a lot of overlap between various social media outlets (those of your followers who are not blocked on Instagram will have seen this content there) but I still don’t understand the purpose/value of a post like this from a business perspective. I guess an overall business relationship is more important than nickel and diming clients/partners, but I have noticed some clear divisions in the blogosphere between bloggers who let those boundaries be fluid (they get paid for a post on platform X but happily crosspost to platforms Y and Z) and those who would never go an inch without getting paid. I guess there is a decent commission/kickback through the rstyle links and that is how this kind of post is “worth it”, business wise?

I apologize if this question does not sit well, but we have had such productive conversations about social media and consumption/business models in the comments before that I felt OK asking. Please feel free to ignore.

Julie P
8 days ago
Reply to  Emma

Emily has said before her Sauna blanket was the most purchased item of all time off her blog. So sorry I boost rstyle income I’m guessing they re-upped with another post. This sauna blanket thing actually makes me totally crazy. Yes we love Emily but we love her for her voice and her design sense, not her sauna blanket 😝

Natasha
8 days ago
Reply to  Julie P

It’s a lifestyle blog too at this point, so it makes total sense. So easy to skip right over a post that doesn’t interest you / makes you totally crazy. If the content isn’t offensive, why complain about the way a blogger makes a living?

Dena
8 days ago
Reply to  Julie P

I love her for her voice, design content and sauna blanket!

Monique
7 days ago
Reply to  Emma

There’s probably a link to purchase these from – and she would receive commissions from it. So maybe they didn’t “sponsor” this post per se, but the business still benefits. I have the infrared mat from Higher Dose, and it’s sooo good.

🥰 Rusty
7 days ago
Reply to  Emma

People are blocked on Instagram???😳
Why???

patty
8 days ago

A practical question: Where do you keep it when not in use? Seems like its really heavy (like those weighted blankets) Your house is so beautiful and then there’s this big ugly black plastic thing. Just wondering.

Dena
8 days ago
Reply to  patty

Just a guess but since she was using it in her guest bedroom, I’m thinking she keeps it in the closet in that room. I’m sure there are closets in every bedroom and possibly hallway closets. She is probably not lacking in storage areas!

8 days ago

Great info! I’ve been using red light therapy for well over a decade and it works. I use a wand type that is a professional style tool and I like it because after I’ve treated my face I can go back and do problem areas. Plus it has three settings for different functions, like sprains. It is really worth it no matter which style is used, this is a tool that will keep your skin healthy.

Addie
8 days ago
Reply to  Shala

Do you mind sharing the name of yours? I’ve been interested in the multifunctional wand types for a while, but man is there a lot out there to sort through.

Melley
7 days ago
Reply to  Shala

Hi Shala,
Could you please share the name of the wand you’re using? Thanks!

Dena
8 days ago

I love all of your health and well being posts and personally really like that you waited a year and a half in to make sure you loved it and felt the benefits. I’m holding out for purchasing a very small standing infrared sauna (researching companies now) and would love if you posted all about that when it comes time! I know a lot of people prefer your blog to be about design only but I would rather it be infused with lifestyle posts even from your staff that is much younger than me. It’s refreshing! Also, would like more soup and salad posts. It’s all inspiring.

8 days ago
Reply to  Dena

Yes! But only if they’ve actually tried making the recipes they share first!

Dena
8 days ago
Reply to  Sonia

Agreed!

emily jane
8 days ago

first -and repeated!- thought:
I wonder if this blanket could be used to prepare for the menopausal symptom of hot flashes..?
Regardless of topic I pretty much appreciate every post on the blog (aka: my morning coffee companion) especially when it is something the author is jazzed about : ) but the idea of a hot flash lasting an hour.!? Oy vey!
Loving all the glimpses of you in your home, doing your thing (organizing and/or hot flashing on purpose 🙂 and am weirdly excited about The Team’s upcoming visit!

8 days ago
Reply to  emily jane

I personally find that it does help with feeling overheated. I’m not menopausal but am 47 so getting there 🙂 and do have night sweats, etc. For me, a big sweat from the sauna or hot yoga “gets the heat out” and lets my body settle into a much cooler, more easeful place. It didn’t have as big an impact as cutting alcohol did, but still helps tremendously.

8 days ago

Sorry, Emily Jane! Just re-read your question and think I misunderstood what you were asking! I suppose it could help prepare you in that way too!

emily jane
7 days ago

Actually Sadie, your comment made me think “Ah, maybe I could train NOW to learn to endure my hot, if-I-don’t-wildly-tear-my-clothes-off-to-a-hopefully-socially-acceptable-minimum-layer-I-might-catch-fire flashes!”. (As of yet, my best coping strategy is anything that embraces the absurdity/intensity/remarkableness and quixotic nature of menopause. That said, my hot then-freeezing COLD flashes are not nothing -I often pull over while driving to reduce layers to ‘survivable’ levels and my tempurpedic mattress that was once perfect for my always cold, pre-menopausal self increases the number & severity of hot flashes so dramatically I’ll sleep anywhere in my house except my bed! I was hoping (stubbornly?) my symptoms would lessen but it’s been years so I am finally looking into one of those cooling blankets I learned about here on the blog : ).

Lia
8 days ago

I like saunas. But I have never stayed in one for an hour. Nor have I seen anyone else do that. Is the hour what they recommend or is that just Emily ‘s thing?

Jessica G
8 days ago

It’s cold, blah and winter right now where I live and I’ve been really noodling over getting one of the sauna blankets since your 1st post a few years ago– so today you influenced me to take the plunge! Looking forward to some sweat & Bach time. I also want to install a home sauna… someday. So hopefully this will tide me over! I enjoy this wellness content from your blog!

DonnaJ
8 days ago

I really think this all depends on if you are a gadget / ritual person, and how much time you have to devote to self care. I have hard time using gadgets as self care rituals unless they are fast, simple and right at hand. I bought a similar ( cheaper) sauna blanket during the pandemic and I simply don’t use it . It is just such a thing to get it out, set up the underlayment, change clothes, plug it in, heat it up, go through the whole rigmarole… A hot bath is less hardcore, but easier. I bought a red light facial wand years ago, and don’t use it either, same reasons. I’ m def the kind of person who would need to set up a room with all the stuff in there ready to use and then schedule it . I do use my pandemic rowing machine and very fancy electric toothbrush – they are all set up and right there. Speaking as a 54 year old, I have had great results with gentle retinol creams , which I have been using for 20 years. I spent my 70’s youth being sexually harassed so I walked about… Read more »

Zoe
8 days ago

Don’t mind these diversions at all! I actually bought the sauna blanket after the first post, which I very much enjoyed reading. I would not buy the sauna blanket again though. For me, it was a big pandemic splurge purchase and when it arrived, I hated it. Every dang minute of involvement. I hated getting into a a hot plastic sleeping bag. I hated trying to store it in my small place. I hated seeing it and being reminded of how much I spent. It didn’t capture any of the relaxing or enjoyable parts of going to a sauna for me. Hopefully it enjoys its new home with a coworkers who hates the cold! I think there are plenty of people this is probably a nice treat for, but if you are on the fence and live in a small space and would consider this a significant purchase, I’d pass.

Ani
7 days ago

I love this kind of content! Yours is the only blog I read every day so I like that you have a mix of different posts. Also Saturday posts seem to be more lifestyle focused so I know when to expect them or skip them (although I never do) if I’m not feeling it that day. I like reading posts even if they don’t apply to me because 1) I love following along people’s thoughts & experiences, especially if they are in a different place in their life than I am or 2) they might be relevant to me one day. Case in point: I started reading this blog while living in my parents’ basement as a student for some vicarious living/design content, then referenced it a lot while moving into my first apartment with my boyfriend and needed some good but temporary small space design ideas, and since then we’ve purchased our first house and I’ve used a lot of your tips from the mountain house renovation and trend posts even though our renovations were much more smaller scale. So vicarious living became real-life living for me over the years I’ve been a reader 🙂 This is just a… Read more »

7 days ago
Reply to  Ani

What a beautiful comment, Ani. And me too.

Amy
7 days ago

I got a LED red light mask for Christmas! And it’s still too soon to say whether it’s making a difference, I did want to pipe up and say that it probably needs to be more than a two-times a week thing. Everything I’ve read suggests that it’s more like a five times a week commitment. I’m trying to do it every day, which ends up being about five times a week. But I’m only doing ten minute cycles so it’s not so bad.

We put in an outdoor sauna and cold plunge a couple of years ago, and really love it! Can highly recommend! 😉

Melley
7 days ago

I bought one last winter and I love it. I only use it in the winter but for me it has been worth it. I read your post last year and it was very helpful in making the final decision to buy it. The way you described the process was really valuable to me. I like to listen to mediations while I use it — I have a “sauna” playlist on my meditation app. The only thing I wonder about — do you really wear your Apple Watch while you’re in there? I’d love to see a record of my heart rate but I would be so afraid it would melt or get damaged in there.
I think I’d get the facial wands before one of those mask things, so if anyone has any recommendations I’d love to hear them. Thanks!

Brie
7 days ago

Definitely stick with that mask and I’d recommend daily use vs twice a week. You’ll see results SO much faster. My forehead lines are far less prominent now after using red light therapy daily!

Emma
7 days ago

That face mask! I really want it if it works! I guess update sometime. I would love a outdoor sauna but don’t have space for the sauna blanket.
I’m sure my kids would freak out at the face mask but when you have young kids time to yourself is SO important

Elizabeth
1 day ago
Reply to  Emma

I got a cheaper version of the blanket on amazon- it looks identical down to the logo placement and works great. So if you want to try it out, you can for $160 instead of $599. They are def a set up and take down commitment but I have started keeping mine flat and ready to go and sliding it off the bed onto floor and directly under the bed after use. I use it more if it is right there and not folded away in a closet. 3 times a week is all i can commit with a small child, but you do feel awesome if you stick it out! Especially when stuck in a freezing winter.

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