This is not a sponsored review of the Lumie Halo Light, but does contain affiliate links to other Lumie products.
I’ve been waiting for the release of the brand new Lumie Halo Light Therapy Lamp with nervous anticipation. As one of those unfortunate souls who suffers from low mood when the difficult transition from summer to autumn begins, a light therapy light – or SAD lamp – is something I’ve wanted to invest in for years.
Having travelled almost continually over the last six years, I’ve usually been lucky enough to enjoy some light therapy in its most natural form: on a sandy beach somewhere, with plenty of sunshine (and a cocktail or two).
In fact, for the last few years, I’ve made it my mission to chase the sun each time the ‘dark season’ rolls around; a little like some desperate Vitamin D addict. By jumping on a plane to Florida or the Caribbean at just the slightest hint of a gloomy winter’s night, I’ve so far managed to keep the black cloud of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) at bay.
Until, of course, 2020 appeared.
Now finding myself in the midst of an (unrelenting) global pandemic, endless lockdowns and miserable isolation, my usual (undoubtedly smug) tactic of sun chasing is not an option. Instead, I’ve found myself pregnant, working from home and navigating a stressful house move.
Karma, you might say.
Feeling panicked as to how I’d manage the inevitable black cloud of gloom without my usual sunshine-filled escape, I frantically began to research the best SAD lamps on the market.
During my search, I stumbled across a new kid on the ‘light therapy lamp’ block: the Lumie Halo. With a slick design (inspired by the sunset), this gadget looked less like a therapy lamp and more like an art-deco light that you might find in a swanky boutique somewhere. I was immediately intrigued.
Despite its hefty price tag (£163.83 excluding VAT), I decided that this was an essential item to add to my ‘mental health toolkit’. In fact, I convinced myself that if I’m going to emerge from this winter feeling anything close to vaguely human and ready to birth a child, then I need to take extra care of my sunshine-starved brain.
Having now trialled the new Lumie Halo for just under two weeks, and having found myself genuinely delighted with the results, I thought I’d put down my own thoughts and provide you with a short review of the Lumie Halo Light Therapy Lamp.
A Review of the Lumie Halo Light Therapy Lamp
What is the Lumie Halo Light Therapy Lamp?
The Lumie Halo Light declares itself a ‘multifunctional light therapy lamp’, which can be used throughout the day to help better your mood, energy and general wellbeing. Designed to be a light that you can use from dawn until dusk, what attracted me most to the Lumie Halo Light was this versatility.
As a light that I could use around the house all day, rather than just for a limited 30-minute ‘blast’, I decided that this was a product I could get my money’s worth from. I now tend to use it mostly during the day at my desk in its ‘day mode’, before moving it to my bedside table at night and set to ‘evening mode’, ready to help me relax.
The day mode feature of the Lumie Halo is the aspect that, above all else, is designed to help treat SAD. Using warm-white and cool-white LEDs, it was a light that I did initially find a bit dazzling when I turned the lamp on for the first time.
Delivering 10,000 lux at maximum brightness, this little light kicks out a powerful punch. Dazed by its brightness, I blinked around my once dreary office to find myself transported to the centre of the sun. No wonder I was feeling down – if this was the level of light I actually needed to keep my brain happy, I was surprised I wasn’t already a mere husk of a woman.
(The light is said to be be most effective in the morning, so I’ve been trialling the day mode from 9am-11am).
How to Use the Lumie Halo in Day Mode
In order to reap the full benefit of the light, you should position the lamp at arm’s length (about 50cm from you) with the light shining on your face.
The instructions suggest you should initially begin with 30 minutes at maximum intensity, before increasing the duration if you feel you need more. The closer you are to the light (although I found 50cm already felt very close), the less time you will need in front of the lamp.
Although you don’t need to gaze non-stop at the light (farewell, retinas), you need to make sure the light is reaching your eyes. For this reason, I find the lamp easiest to use at my desk while I’m working.
As the full beam day mode is very bright, there’s also a handy ‘touch and slide’ function to reduce the brightness. I use this after I feel I’ve got my fix of bright light for the day, but still want to continue enjoying the day mode for a little bit longer.
Other suggestions from Lumie are to use the day mode whilst you are eating, watching TV or reading. I did try using the light with the TV on, but making sure the light was reaching my eyes, while also trying to see the screen, felt a bit awkward.
Looking at the range of the other Lumie products available, and as I already have the Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 700FM myself, I’d definitely say this is the brand’s most effective (and powerful) SAD light yet.
To suit all budgets, Lumie do offer a broad array of other excellent SAD lights that come in a little cheaper. The difference between them and the Halo, however, is that they don’t adapt as easily around the house and throughout the course of the day – so would be a ‘one off’ sort of light.
Cheaper Lumie SAD light options available:
(Note: in this review of the Lumie Halo, I did want to touch upon the fact that I was initially delivered a product that seemed to be a little faulty in terms of the touch and slide buttons. Although disappointing, I cannot fault Lumie customer services team, who sent me a brand new (and much better functioning) light within 24 hours).
After a day of bright white light, users then have the option of moving to the Lumie Halo’s evening mode. This is a much warmer LED light that creates a lovely evening glow (the sort you’d usually experience at sunset out in the great outdoors). This is described as a ‘non-alerting’ light, which means you can use it at night time without risking your brain being too stimulated.
During the dark nights, I find the warm glow a lovely addition to the lighting already in my home. In fact, it’s an excellent tool to help you unwind at night, reminding you to move away from your bright phone screen and begin to clock off for the day.
The final feature of the Lumie Halo, which is lacking in the other Lumie SAD lamps, is its backlight feature. This is a lovely ringed, orange light that adds an extra feeling of warmth to the room. Although this feature doesn’t have any benefits from a SAD point of view, I find the backlight makes the Lumie Halo more useable as a general light; providing a warming aesthetic around the home.
How Often Do You Need to Use the Lumie Halo Lamp to Feel the Benefits?
You should be using the Lumie Halo every day in day mode in order to really feel the benefits, in terms of boosting your mood and general wellbeing.
I was initially worried about remembering to get my ‘light fix’, but as I’m working from home, it’s felt natural to pop it on the desk and switch it on each morning. In fact, the Lumie Halo has now replaced my normal desk lamp, so I find it fairly easy and routine to get my fix of Vitamin D.
As mentioned above, the advice by Lumie is to position the light around 50cm from you and to initially begin with 30 minutes exposure a day. If you find this isn’t enough, you can move to 60-120 minutes of bright light a day – although no ‘maximum’ time allowance is suggested.
Alternatively, if you’re happy to have the light closer, Lumie suggest 30-60 minutes if the light is positioned 32cm from you, or just 30 minutes if positioned 20cm from you.
In terms of being able to get on with other things while giving your brain a little boost, I think 50cm is easiest. I can’t imagine at 20cm you could do a lot more other than stare transfixed into the light.
(Although, perhaps that’ll be my SOS tactic if and when required).
How Does a SAD/Light Therapy Lamp Work?
A SAD or light therapy lamp is designed to be a substitute for natural sunlight, which us citizens of colder climates severely lack during the winter months.
Sunlight helps us to maintain healthy melatonin and serotonin (the happy hormone) levels within our bodies, leading to better mood and general wellbeing.
Without natural sunlight during the gloomy depths of winter, we can struggle to maintain a healthy balance of melatonin and serotonin. This can lead to low mood and ‘SAD’ (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which is classed as a form of depression.
For me, my SAD usually appears towards the end of September, when my body seems to sense a shift in seasons. I describe it as a black cloud that comes and sits in my brain for 4-6 weeks at a time. It’s a nagging sense of sadness, even though there’s nothing to be sad or down about.
A SAD or light therapy light works to help replace some of the natural light that we lose during winter. Creating a bright light for use indoors, a light therapy lamp replicates the natural bright daylight we miss in winter and therefore helps to boost our mood, enhance our focus and provide a feeling of wellbeing.
Note: Light therapy lamps cannot replace the Vitamin D found in natural sunlight – so it’s important to continue taking your supplements during winter.
How is a Lumie SAD Lamp Different to a Lumie Wake-Up Light?
One of the most common questions I’ve received since purchasing the Lumie Halo is how it differs from Lumie’s range of wake-up lights.
The biggest difference between the two is that although the Lumie wake-up lights are designed with gentle light in mind (to better start or end your day), they’re not SAD lights. Instead, they are intended to wake you up more naturally during the winter with an artificial sunrise. Due to this, the light emitted is not the same as the bright white light needed to help combat SAD.
I was kindly gifted the Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 700FM and have found it a brilliant, soothing addition to my Lumie collection. Waking me up with a gentle sunrise and the sound of birdsong, this lamp makes winter mornings feel so cosy and comforting.
However, if you’re looking for a light to boost your mood, I would definitely stick with a SAD lamp.
Is the Lumie Halo Portable?
In short, yes.
The Lumie Halo is incredibly easy to set up, with just the main base, two legs and a power cord. Even at six months pregnant, I’ve found it easy to pick up and move around the house with ease. Obviously, there’s a little faffing involved when plugging it into a power source but overall, and in review of the Lumie Halo, I’ve had no issue moving it between my desk and bedside table each night.
It is a fairly large light, however, so you may need to do a little planning on where it might best fit around the home.
Does the Lumie Halo Light Improve Your Mood?
And now for the section of this review of the Lumie Halo Light you’ve been waiting for (and the million dollar question): has the Lumie Halo actually improved my mood?
Having now used my Lumie for two weeks- weeks that have been marked by lockdown and endlessly bleak, rainy days – I’m adamant that the Lumie Halo has helped my mood and general feeling of positivity. Being able to switch the light on as my study descends into a gloomy darkness at 10am, has undoubtedly boosted my mood and I’ve felt more energised and focused as a result.
It’s been in the last week, in particular, that I’ve noticed that despite an almost endless amount of stress quietly stacking up in my day-to-day life, I’ve remained positive and upbeat.
Of course, I’m sure that not all of my mood is due solely to the light – exercise, fresh air and time to unwind in the evening have been additional important factors – but I do (genuinely) feel it has helped me hugely.
In my opinion, and in review of the Lumie Halo, if you can find anything that’ll help your mood as we ride the wild wave that is 2020, then you should grab and cling to it with both hands.
Is the Lumie Halo Worth the Money?
At £165 + VAT (there is an option to buy without VAT, if you have SAD), the Lumie Halo is certainly an investment and not something you want to be purchasing unless you’re sure you’ll get full use from it.
Having trialled the Lumie Halo for a few weeks, however, I believe this is a SAD light that can slot into your everyday, whilst also providing truly beneficial light therapy. More than just a SAD lamp, the Lumie Halo can bring a warm glow to your kitchen or lounge in the evening, and provides a lovely, calming light before bed.
Now a vital part of my mental health toolkit to see me through winter, I genuinely look forward to using the Lumie Halo during my working day. Brightening up my office and helping me to feel incredibly focused, I’m more than happy with this investment (hence why I wanted to write this review of the Lumie Halo lamp).
Fingers crossed it’ll see me through the winter before a spring of sunshine, vaccines and freedom.