Your final step!
Get unlimited product matches.
Save your product matches for later.
View your beauty feed, filled with content.
I’m already a member
Here’s a sneak peak of what’s in store
(For you doubters out there!)
SAVE your product recommendations and beauty heroes for later
YOUR BEAUTY FEED
A stream of Powder content, tips, tricks and trends, tailored to you.
NEVER MISS A BEAUTY BEAT
Get in on all the beauty action, offers and what’s new
The best decision you'll make today!
Hair removal is expensive. Whether you’re a regular shaver, fan of epilating, wax on the reg or a hair removal cream kind of gal, the cost of keeping your body fuzz-free, costs an arm and a leg. And guess what? They’re laborious, can be painful and none of them offer a long-term solution.
Which brings us to IPL - intense pulsed light - or more specifically IPL hair removal devices. The pigment in your hair follicles absorbs the light, which in turn kills off the cells that cause hair growth. In order for this to happen, you need the root of the follicle to be present. So if you wax or epilate – this ain’t gonna work straight away for you. Leave your hair grow before trying one of these out, as the hair grows back in different cycles. But if you shave it's fine to jump straight in. IPL works best when there is a strong contrast between your skin and hair colour, so isn’t suitable for those with dark skin or very fair hair.
Whilst IPL does not get rid of hair permanently, they stunt hair growth by putting your hair to sleep. So in theory, if you stick to the treatment plan, you’ll be hair-free for much, much longer.
I decided to put two to the test – a more affordable option and one at the top end of the market. So which one came out on top? Read on…
The best at home IPL treatment
Details: Philips has several different models in its range, but the Prestige model is one of three that offers several different filters to treat every part of your body, including bikini line and face. It also offers five different light intensities, so depending on your skin tone and hair colour you can adjust accordingly. (If you want a more in-depth read, check out my full review here.) You don’t need to sit next to a plug when using the Philips Lumea, as it’s cordless. Holding the nozzle against your skin, you press the button on the handle to zap the area. Easy peasy. You can use the ‘stamp’ method and zap as you go, or you can hold down the button and whizz along your skin – handy for larger areas like your legs.
Ease: The gun-shape makes it really easy to treat your underarms and face. However, the handle is a little awkward to hold when you’re doing your legs and harder to reach areas. There are buttons all around the flash window that need to be pushed down in order for it to work. Great for securely treating areas around your face, but uneven areas like knees can be difficult.
Time: For my skin and hair type (light skin with dark hair) I needed to use the highest intensity (number five), which meant it took a while for the device to recharge in-between flashes. It took around 15 minutes to do a thorough job on my lower legs – something to bear in mind if you’re short on time. Underarms and areas on the face, however, take seconds.
Effectiveness: Philips suggests doing it every fortnight for 12 weeks and then maintaining it with ‘top-up’ treatments once a month. I started seeing a difference after four weeks. My hair grew back slowly and gradually my hair only grew back in tiny patches. The treatments are time consuming, but they absolutely work.
Details: Smoothskin Bare’s offering is at the lower end of the price bracket for at-home devices. The flash window, rather cleverly, reads your skin tone and hair colour and adjusts the intensity accordingly. Which means that you can use this on your body, face and bikini line without the faff of changing filters. It isn’t cordless, but the lead is nice and long and there’s no charging time involved. Just turn it on and away you go. You can either ‘stamp’ as you go (place the flash window onto your skin, press the button, then move along to the next part), or hold down the button and glide along your skin.
Ease: It’s pebble-shaped, which makes holding and using it really comfortable – even on tricky areas like knees and elbows, and the light is activated on contact with skin.
Time: It flashes every 0.6 seconds, which means that I was able to do one of my lower legs in less than 10 minutes – seriously quick! So treating areas like your face or underarms will be even speedier.
The effectiveness: They recommend you treat the areas once a week for 12 weeks, then ‘top up’ every few weeks to maintain the results. I started seeing a difference after six weeks of and I noticed my hair grew back a lot slower and in manageable patches.
This was a really close race - if you’re time-poor and want to de-fuzz larger parts of your bod, then the Smoothskin Bare does a cracking job. I found it much more enjoyable to use, meaning I was more inclined to do my treatments. I have to admit I dreaded the thought of spending an entire evening with the time consuming Philips one. However, ultimately I prefer the Philips Lumea Prestige. While it’s not quite as nice to use as the Smoothskin Bare, and the treatments are time-consuming, you get immediate and effective results. It’s worked amazingly on my underarms and I’m now the proud owner of a smooth upper lip. Slow and steady wins the race.
And for the hair on your head, you need a good heat protector. Find the perfect one for your hair type with our quick quiz...