Is the Solawave a Good Option for an LED Stick?

Solawave review

I have shared my thoughts on Instagram in the past, but I always get messages asking for my thoughts on the Solawave. So I figured I should make a blog post so it’s easier for folks to find my review.

For an overview of what to look for in LED devices (as well as a review of over 30 masks), click here

TL;DR: I don’t think the Solawave is worth it if you are buying it for the LED benefits

I’m not a fan of the Solawave. In short, I think it’s a waste of money if you are getting it for any LED benefits. (Note: It is priced at $169 which is absurd. But they do have frequent sales, probably because it is dirt cheap to make)

I would have never bought the device based on its specs, but I was unexpectedly sent the device in PR, so I was able to use it out and look more into its key parameters.

I would say the *one* thing I liked was the vibration + warmth which felt nice in winter. But it didn’t feel nice enough that I would buy a device just for that.

The brand claims that the “Galvanic current  can help boost the absorption of serums” and that the warmth also promotes better penetration of topicals, but I would take that with a grain of salt.  

  • Also, IF you are buying it mainly for the skincare absorption claims, you could buy this device that claims to do the same thing and is under $25 (if you use the code VANESSA it takes 25% off too).

I also really didn’t like how flimsy it felt and how easily it turned on. I am happy to hear that at least they fixed that issue with later versions that actually added a button to turn it on so that it didn’t accidentally turn on on its own like it always did for me with the slightest touch.

My biggest Issue: I would never expect any of the LED benefits from this device and here is why: 

  1. Suboptimal wavelengths (it only has red at 660m and it doesn’t have Near infrared).
    • Red + NIR is what has the best evidence behind it. But let’s say you are ok with less than optimal potential…

2.  They don’t disclose the irradiance but given the size of the device I’m guessing it is very low which means you need to increase how long and how often you use it to make it more likely to have any results...But let’s say you are willing to use it daily for a long period of time…

3. You’d probably need to use it for about 10-15 minutes minimum PER INCH. So it would be incredibly time consuming (which is why I always opt for face masks rather than handheld devices except for spot treating).

So bottom line is that it is probably better to save the money for a high quality mask if you are buying the Solawave for the LED benefits.

Is there an affordable handheld LED device that I DO recommend?

Yes. If you are buying the Solawave for the LED benefits, here’s a better option to consider. Namely, the reVive Light Therapy Glō Anti-Aging LED stick.

If you just want to spot treat one area (like your 11’s) and you want an option that is cheaper than a face mask, this is what I would buy.

Glō Anti-Aging Wand


  • It has a bigger surface area than the Solawave
  • It uses both Red + NIR instead of just Red
  • It is not as flimsy/fragile as Solawave
  • The company wouldn’t disclose the irradiance due to intellectual property concerns, BUT after some back and forth with them regarding some publicly available FDA documents (& some reading in between the lines of conversations with the company) I am assuming the irradiance is at worst decent & more likely it is pretty good.

What about a handheld with Blue + Red light?

I don’t like to use blue light all over my face because it has the potential to cause hyperpigmentation with continued use, so I prefer to spot treat particularly bad pimples with a handheld device that has the ideal, and evidence-based, wavelengths for acne.

So, I purchased the reVive Light Therapy | Glo Acne Treatment Device to spot treat particularly stubborn blemishes and I am very happy with that device. It has the ideal evidence based wavelengths of 415nm and 630nm and while the company refused to tell me the irradiance, they said it was similar to the irradiance as the reVive Perioral LED Light Therapy system which has a high irradiance.  And the best part is that it is only $39.