Local entrepreneur Jay Tapper is lighting the way with a new skin saver.
Jay Tapper’s illuMask is meant for beauty-conscious customers, but its design was inspired by his son’s Star Wars costume.
At only 23 years old, Jay Tapper was already a successful entrepreneur. He invented the Spin Pop, a mechanical lollipop toy, in his college dorm room and went on to create the Spinbrush, a pulsating toothbrush now sitting on countless bathroom counters across the country. But Tapper’s latest, the illuMask, an at-home light therapy mask that treats fine lines and acne with daily 15-minute treatments, may be his best.
The illuMask began the same way the Spinbrush did—from Tapper’s eagerness to scale down high- end products and make them available to a broader market. Tapper worked with Dr. David Shuter, a plastic surgeon from Florida, to create the technical elements, but it was his son who initially inspired the mask we see today. “My son walked in with a Star Wars mask that was lit up, and it was that moment of inspiration,” says Tapper. “So we started making prototypes in our garage with duct tape and blue lights.”
The final result is simple—therapeutic red and infrared light filters through the easy-to-wear mask (think futuristic sunglasses) during timed sessions that begin with the click of a button. The light treats the skin directly, making it firmer and smoother. For the anti-acne version, blue and red light therapy targets the bacteria that can trigger breakouts.
With deep roots in Philadelphia—he grew up going to the shore, has three kids at Shipley, and is a devoted Eagles fan—Tapper knew that being close to the city would push his product toward success. “My wife and I have been living in Wayne for 10 years,” says Tapper. “We wanted sports, culture, museums, but not the craziness.... I couldn’t live any place where they root for the Yankees.” illuMask is, above all, a Philadelphia company, with the majority of the original backers hailing from nearby, including his first intern, whom he discovered during a talk at Wharton. “Now she’s my vice president of strategic initiatives and regulatory affairs.”
Today, the illuMask has come a long way from Tapper’s garage and can be found in the beauty departments of major chains like Target, Ulta, and Walmart, and most recently on QVC. “Philly has been so good for my business and my network. It’s just such a wealth of talent.”