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:
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
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