Does IPL at home work? Philips Lumea Review

Does the Philips Lumea work? I googled this extensively before I bought my IPL machine and, I couldn’t really get a straight answer. So I decided to go ahead, buy one and write a Philips Lumea review myself. 

It’s taken me over a year to write this. Not because I’m lazy…or because I’ve been sat at home marvelling my silky soft legs. It’s because my review is mixed and I’ve wanted to give the Philips Lumea a good run for its money before coming to a conclusion. 

Philips Lumea Review – the short answer

Does IPL at home work - Philips Lumea Review 8
The whole kit. The zapper, battery and four heads for different body parts.

If you’re impatient and want the nutshell version of whether the Philips Lumea IPL works, my best ‘sum up’ answer is: yes, but not as well as you probably hope or expect. 

I know, that’s not the most helpful reply but you’ll understand why when you read the detailed review below. 

For me (and a lot of other people leaving reviews for Philips’ IPL at home device), it’s one of those products that has a list of pros and cons and whether it’s worth buying and trying comes down to your specific needs and, let’s face it, body hair. 

Should you buy it? I’d lean towards yes because it has significantly reduced my body hair and over the course of a year, it’s paid for itself versus waxing. There are a bunch of other benefits too.

But will it leave you hair free? The answer is no. However, no at home hair removal machine will do that. And any advertising material that tells you otherwise is telling big, fat hairy lies. 

Now I’m going to jump into the full review. I won’t bother going into what is IPL hair removal or the fact that it can only be used by people with certain skin tones and hair colour. I presume you already know that. Otherwise click on those links above if you don’t.

You can check prices for the Philips Lumea here for Amazon UK or here for Amazon USA.

Philips Lumea Review in detail

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On the top, the laser intensity. It seems to suggest a 4-5 for my dark brown hair.

A word on sponsorship: I paid for my Philips Lumea with my very own money. I’ve not been paid or sponsored by Philips to write this. If you do buy the Philips Lumea through a link on this page, I will make a small commission (at no extra cost to you). But that hasn’t swayed my Philips Lumea review in the slightest. If it did, you’d be about to read a glowing ‘go buy it’ review together with photoshopped pictures of sleek and smooth legs instead of the patchy fuzz on my dry, vein riddled lallies. 

Warning: I get personal. I’ve used my Philips Lumea machine on my legs, underarms and bikini area. In reference to the latter, and removing hair from that area, I’m going to give you some straight up details that might make any more conservative readers feel a bit uncomfortable. I apologise and hope you can skim reads the bits that make you squirm. You will, however, be pleased to know there are no pictures of any intimate areas – this is not * that * kind of blog. 

What I do include below is some pictures of my underarms and legs a few weeks after doing IPL (after doing a few courses of it). I haven’t edited the photos and they’re not pretty – pale legs that are in desperate need of some sun and am I the first person to take a series of underarm selfies? Not easy to do, I can tell you.

Why I wanted to try IPL at home

Does IPL at home work - Philips Lumea Review 1

I’m pretty damn hairy. There, I said it.

Sure, I’m British but I have dark hair and it gets darker the further south you go, if you know what I mean.

I also travel. A lot. Sometimes for months at a time. And usually to places that are hot, hot, hot. So, I don’t tend to want to carry a lady rug around in my underwear or nestled in the pit of my arm. Not in 30-40 degree heat. No, siree.

Add the fact that I often go to developing countries. or countries where I don’t speak the language and you can start to see why getting a regular wax is a challenge.

Not convinced? Here’s some of my worst waxing and hair removal experiences overseas:

  • watching the waxing lady put the used hot wax back into the pot after she pulled it off my legs in Bolivia. I had open wounds in the form of mosquito bites at the time. Cue: years of worrying I had a communicable disease every time I had any form of cold or flu symptom.
  • being waxed with strips of denim in India. That would have been cool if it wasn’t used/worn denim and didn’t hurt like hell.
  • having an old-school veet strip applied to my bikini area which removed not one bit of hair it was so old and dried. The beautician persisted like this for half an hour before turning to the tweezers (Peru).
  • laughing as a friend (in the same room because, ‘no space’) had wax pulled from her butt cheeks with sheets of A4 paper. She only wanted her legs doing. Paper cuts at stake (Cambodia).
  • agreeing to a wax then finding out it was actually a threading (Vietnam).
  • giving myself bruised welts because I thought I could use the microwave wax like all the other ladies did in Spain.
  • burning myself in a place I can’t even talk about trying epilation cream ‘down there’ when I’d become too jaded by my waxing experiences overseas but wanted to hit the beach (Mexico).

And all of this is without mentioning the dreaded ingrow. I suffer terribly with ingrown hairs in my bikini area. Given I tend to go for a Brazilian wax, I’ve lost count of the number of products (and amount of money I’ve spent) on post wax/shave/epilation gels, creams and balms. Some work better than others but none work completely. Which often leaves me with red lumps, bumps and spots. Painful and, I’m not afraid to be vain, very unattractive. 

What about professional IPL?

I’m probably in the same boat as the rest of you – I’d have zero problem going for professional IPL…if someone else was going to pay for it. 

I researched the price of professional laser hair removal before buying my Philips Lumea and there was a huge cost difference. IPL charges per area and is around £1,000 per zone ($1,500 equivalent). That would be around £3,000 to treat my lower legs, bikini and underarm. I suspect it would be more if I wanted more than just my bikini ‘line’ blasted away. And that’s not taking the upper leg into account. 

It’s worth noting, that the professional IPL price is for a finite number of treatments – 8 – which means that top up treatments at extra cost are likely. And most importantly, it still doesn’t promise to make you hair free. In fact, I can expect up to a maximum of 90% deforestation only. 

Compared to a Philips Lumea at around £300, which also doesn’t promise complete hair removal, but can be used for infinite sessions, it was a no brainer to give the Philips Lumea a go first.

Choosing the best laser hair removal machine

Does IPL at home work - Philips Lumea Review 3

It’s probably fair to say that the Philips Lumea is the market leading at home hair removal machine. Of course, I did my research and briefly considered buying the cheaper Braun product, as it was another brand I’d heard of. But it was only a tiny bit cheaper and the Philips Lumea reviews did tend to suggest it performed better. 

I’m also a fan of Philips products more generally. I have their Hue lightbulbs in my house (‘Alexa, turn off bedroom light…because I’m too darn idle to get out of bed’) and I use the Philips SAD Lamp in winter and for jet lag because…winter and jet lag and most recently I’ve splurged on the USB charging toothbrush for travel. I’ve always found Philips products deliver better compared to cheaper alternatives I’ve tried. 

What about the much cheaper IPL machines? Though I haven’t tried any of them, I’d seriously save your money. The Philips Lumea didn’t make me as permanently hair free as I’d hoped and they are regularly touted as the best IPL machine for use at home. If Philips can’t make it all go away, I’d bet a machine at half the price won’t do the job any better. Of course, I’m always open to being wrong so let me know if you’ve found the elusive unicorn of a good but cheap IPL machine. 

For the record, I ended up buying the Philips Lumea Prestige. Why this machine? Very simply, it was the one that was on offer on Amazon when I hit buy on Black Friday. IPL machines are the perfect buy on Black Friday or during holiday season sales. I saved well over £100 on my machine which made the decision to try IPL at home that much easier.  

Setting your expectations for IPL at home

What’s the point in throwing down £300-£500/$500-$600 if it’s not going to make you hair free? That was my biggest deliberation when I was trying to decide whether to buy a Philips Lumea or not. But here’s the thing, even that £3,000 professional laser treatment isn’t going to remove your hair permanently or totally. Nothing is. Or at least nothing that you want to try. Skin flaying, anyone?

So, it’s important to set your expectations. Doing IPL isn’t about getting 100% hair free. It’s about reducing your hair thickness and growth to a more maintainable level. I have a good, long list of pros coming up – focus on them. And also compare IPL to your current hair removal system. I can almost guarantee it’s going to be better, simple and cheaper in the long run. 

My Philips Lumea IPL experience

Quality of the Philips Lumea

Does IPL at home work - Philips Lumea Review 6

Out of the box, the IPL machine has a high quality feel – smooth, ergonomic looking and, best of all, a neat pouch to put everything in and keep the various attachment heads safe. It’s pretty compact though the battery on the plug is huge so often takes up more than one space on my power bank. 

Sadly, I tend to pack light so it’s overall too big and heavy for me to take on my travels, which means I still need to plan my IPL sessions around being at home, but for most people that won’t be an issue. 

Philips Lumea Instructions

Does IPL at home work - Philips Lumea Review app
The app.

The intruction manual is horrific. In fact, I think my car manual is both shorter and more absorbing with fewer safety warnings. 

Thankfully, there is a free app which is much more user-friendly.

The IPL hair zapping phase

Out of the box, it took me under 5 minutes to get set up and ready to zap my hairs. 

The general idea is that you give your hairs one good and consistent zap over the initial phase and then enter into a maintenance program.

The initial phase takes about 4-5 sessions every two weeks. So, about 8-10 weeks assuming you’re diligent, which I was – because I wanted those hairs gone.

The science behind the initial phase is that each follicle has two hairs and they grow at different rates. I knew this from years of waxing. By zapping the blighters over an 8-10 week period, you make sure you get all of them at every stage of growth.

The IPL maintenance phase

You’re then supposed to give yourself a top up blast every 4-8 week to keep the hairs at bay.

Was it easy to use the Philips Lumea?

Does IPL at home work - Philips Lumea Review 11
For me this is too big to take on my travels but if you pack a large suitcase, you could take it away with you.

The machine itself I’d give a 9/10 on ease of use.

Switch it on and select the right head (each corresponds with a body part with handy images).

Go into ‘inspector’ mode and hold the head of the machine over your body part so it can choose a setting that’s right for your skin and hair colour in that area.

Then zap away. You can do this by pressing the trigger to zap, then repositioning to the next area, and zapping again. In the case of larger areas like legs, you can keep your finger on the trigger and just move the head over your legs.

When you’re done, change the head to the next body part, do the inspection to get the right intensity and off you go again.

Tips:

  • you do not need a white pencil to mark the areas – it blocks the laser (I mention this because there are lots of articles about it on the inter webs);
  • it’s quicker (you’ll have less recharge time between each zap) if you use the Lumea plugged in –  the zaps will be almost instant. 

Tip needed – I struggle to get the leg head to align with the thinner parts of my leg, mainly around the shin. There just isn’t enough width/flesh of my shin for the machine to make contact. This means I have to point the IPL at odd angles to get it to work. I find this the most frustrating part of using the Philips Lumea so any tips welcome on how to do this better. 

Is IPL painful?

Does IPL at home work - Philips Lumea Review 2
Ready…aim…fire…

Answer – yes and no. On my underarms I feel zero pain. On my legs, a couple of zings that people have likened to having an elastic band snapping on you. I didn’t find it that bad…on my legs. But oh Lordy Lord does it hurt down there.

Now, I might be doing this against all sensible advice, but I’m trying to achieve a Brazilian bikini wax effect so I’m zapping everywhere (though absolutely not the inside areas that a waxing lady might get her wax into. But definitely my labia (or lips if we’re being less formal). The pain level around my thighs and the top front of my lady parts isn’t too bad but once I start to track further underneath, the pain intensifies dramatically. Or at least it does for me. I would liken the pain to being snapped by an elastic band, but the kind of band that is as wide as a car and that has been snapped from around a mile away.

The downside is the bravery it requires to point some sort of gun shaped device at your own lady parts and know it’s going to feel like being shot with 1,000 elastic bands. The upside is that it’s quick. Super quick. Far quicker than a Brazilian wax and in fewer than 6 yelps (3 each side), it’s done.

Until next time. 

Tips:

  • if you’re not doing anything vaguely Brazilian, I’m sure you’ll feel low to no pain.
  • I take the intensity level down as I reach my more sensitive areas. I’ve had to trade less results for less pain because otherwise I just can’t do it to myself. 
  • what about getting the Brazilian shape right? I’ve been wearing a skimpy g-string on backwards. It also makes me feel like I’m protecting the very sensitive inner parts from accidentally getting shot.

A word on pre-care. You have to remove all the hair from the area you zap before you do it. If you don’t, its not only less effective, you’re going to smell a lot of singed hair. (Do you really want your neighbours to smell something burning and call the firefighters in while your wearing a backwards g-string and pointing a gun-like machine at yourself? Oh? You do…go for it, then.) When I first started out, the advice was to shave, which I hate on my bikini area because it causes horrific ingrown hairs. I’ve just re-read the advice and apparently waxing is also ok, which is good news as I get less angry ingrows. But at the same time becomes a double-whammy of time and cost. So, I do tend to stick to the cheaper shaving option as I assume most people will do.

I use a cheap bikini trimmer before using the Lumea(the Philips one, funnily enough – promise this isn’t sponsored).For my legs and underarms, I use a plain old disposable razor.

Update: I’ve had a lot of comments asking about waxing before IPL and whether you really can do that, since IPL is supposed to focus on killing the hair follicle. I thought the same and I’ve checked the Philips website many times and it says over and again that it’s ok. Here’s the screenshot which says… “If you choose to wax…”

screenshot of philips website

How long does IPL take?

The Philips Lumea was really easy to pick up (as a skill, not just physically) and after a few sessions it would take me:

  • under 5 minutes to do both armpits.
  • under 5 minutes to do my bikini area (longer if you spend time chanting ‘I can’t do it – be brave – I can’t do it’).
  • under 10 minutes for each lower leg. (I’m 5ft tall. You probably need to add an extra minute per leg if you’re 6ft tall.)

So, definitely under 30 minutes to do those areas including set up and put away of the IPL. 

Does the Philips Lumea work?

Does IPL at home work - Philips Lumea Review leg
I’m pretty darn pleased with the lack of hair regrowth on my legs. It’s taken some effort but I can now go weeks without thinking about leg hair maintenance.

And we’re full circle back to the summary at the beginning. 

Does the Philips Lumea work?

Answer: yes and no.

If I wrote this review after the initial phase, this would have been filled with ‘don’t bother, waste of time, waste of money’ comments. I was genuinely disappointed. My hair didn’t seem any different. 

Knowing it was too late to send the IPL machine back, I decided to give it another full go. And that’s when I started to see results. I don’t know if I’m harming myself by doing this (hopefully not and nothing has happened to my skin in the year I’ve been doing this) but I think a few ‘initial treatment’ phases are required to really have a noticeable impact on your hair.

Does IPL at home work - Philips Lumea Review leg close no hair
There are whole, large areas on my legs that are now completely hair free. Shame it can’t disappear my veins too.

I imagine the results will vary from person to person and body area to body area but after three initial treatments with breaks in between (some caused by lack of motivation, some due to travel), my hair reached a point where it was noticeably patchy. Not ideal for your lady garden if it’s being regularly visited and you need to explain you don’t have downstairs alopecia. Or worse, something communicable (I still worry about that wax in Bolivia). But in terms of taking a lady rug to a hot country, it was noticably cooler (and, sorry to be disgusting, but less sweaty) down there. 

Meanwhile, I’ve buried the lead because my legs and underarms have achieved almost hair free states (having adjusted my expectation and knowing I wasn’t going to achieve hair free). After those initial treatments, my underarm hairs have become wisps that friends genuinely tell me they can’t see, even when I’m paranoid that I looked like a yeti. And when I went to have my legs waxed professionally (as part of a combi-wax for a wedding), the waxing lady joked about my legs: ‘there’s nothing there to wax’.

Does IPL at home work - Philips Lumea Review leg hair
There are still some patches (inner calf) where the hairs still grow but it takes a few weeks before they’re noticeable enough for me to do anything with them.

Overall, it was a pretty significant win, with better results possible if I could just persist at shooting elastic bands at my bikini area. 

It’s worth noting where I was hairwise before I started IPL – I’d been waxing for about 10 years (legs and underarms). I rarely look a razor to my legs but would regularly shave my underarms between waxing sessions. I was slower to the waxing table with my bikini area (pain and embarrassment were factors), so there was definitely more work to be done. Coupled with the fact that ‘those’ hairs are more fierce anyway and I wasn’t surprised to have less success downstairs.

What if you don’t do the IPL maintenance?

Does IPL at home work - Philips Lumea Review
My underarms are more wispy than hairy. I took this photo today and genuinely can’t remember the last time I shaved. I’d say weeks ago.

Let’s be honest, we’ve all go a million other things to do besides hair removal. Which is one of the reasons we want to do IPL in the first place. But here’s the thing – both with at home IPL and professional IPL, it requires upkeep. And this is where I fell down.

Months passed and I basked in the confidence that I’d zapped my hairs but month by month they started to gain strength. I shaved, I waxed but, especially in winter, I couldn’t bring myself to stand in the cold and use my Philips Lumea. And the hairs came back. Not quite as strong as they’d been before but enough that I’ve just decided it’s time to do another initial phase – I’ve let things get way past maintenance. 

I’m frustrated with myself. If I’d got my arse into gear and spent just 30 minutes once a month, I’m sure I could have kept things under control. As it is, I’m not back to square one. I at least have reduced hairs to work on, but I need to do that initial 8-10 weeks again. 

It’s easy to see this as a downside – the regular maintenance – but at the same time, it’s a huge plus having the machine already there and paid for and ready to go. I’d have been much more furious if I’d skipped the maintenance on a £3k treatment and started to see the hairs regrow with force. 

Also on the plus side, my waxing lady thinks I’m not too far off a genuine maintenance routine. She has seen how many of my hairs (even in my bikini area) have weakened significantly. And this had the bonus of making my wax trips that bit less painful. 

Is the Philips Lumea app any good?

Does IPL at home work - Philips Lumea Review hair
This is a pretty close closeup and still we’re talking about the kind of straggles you get as a teenager.

Compared to the user manual, the app is slick. It’s also used to remind you of your next IPL session, to keep you on track. The trouble arose when I skipped a session and I couldn’t see how to change the date (and therefore change further dates). After some fiddling around with it so I could write this review, it turns out you just go in and hit ‘start treatment’ and it logs the new date for you.  That simple, huh?

I do find the app a bit frustrating – it’s useful the first time as it tells you what to expect, what to do and gives you some encouraging words for your hair zapping journey. But by the time you’re doing your 3rd ‘initial treatment’ you don’t want to have to tap through 6 screens for each body part just to record it’s been done. If you’re organised enough, just use your calendar after the first few sessions. 

Philips Lumea pros and cons

Does IPL at home work - Philips Lumea Review 2 hair close up
This looks pretty disgusting and hairy this close up. I took it the same day as the other underarm pics above.  I’ve zoomed in on the photo but, to be honest, this picture is so close to my armpit, even Facebook doesn’t invade my privacy that much.

Pros of Philips Lumea

  • it actually thins and even kills lots of hairs, which shaving definitely won’t and waxing takes a long time to achieve
  • I can go weeks, even months without thinking about dealing with my leg hairs
  • if I keep up the IPL, my underarm hairs become wisps of nothing
  • it’s significantly cheaper than professional IPL
  • it’s quicker than going to appointments for waxing or IPL
  • it’s quicker and therefore less painful than waxing
  • there’s no waxing swelling or welts or rash (assuming the shaving doesn’t trigger that for you)
  • it’s less embarrassing than a wax (if that bothers you)
  • you have the machine for life so you can dip back in and out as the mood takes you – you’ll have slower results but less commitment than professional IPL
  • I’ve definitely recovered the cost in one year compared to waxing appointments

Cons of Philips Lumea

  • it’s not pain free
  • it’s not 100% effective
  • it requires persistence – over months and even years
  • you have to remove your hair before using it which is expensive if you opt to wax first
  • it’s less effective on the bikini area compared to the legs or underarms (or at least it was for me)
  • is it really suitable for the more intimate parts of the bikini area?
  • the leg attachment isn’t a good fit for bony shins
  • you’ll never feel as smooth afterwards compared to having a wax
  • it’s boring so your commitment and therefore hairlessness might wane
  • you need to time it right before sunshine exposure (probably also true of waxing?)
  • there are some areas to avoid – scars, moles, varicose veins

So, that’s my Philips Lumea review. If you want to go ahead and buy one, you can find some of the best prices usually on Amazon UK or Amazon USA. Try to buy around a holiday and you’re likely to get a heavy discount.

I hope my review has helped. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve got any questions or if you’ve got your own thoughts on using the Philips Lumea.

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146 thoughts on “Does IPL at home work? Philips Lumea Review”

  1. I’m considering buying this product and yours is the most useful review I have found so far, so thanks for that!

    I have been getting waxed for 10 years, in that time I have not used a razor oncr! I do use an epilator if I can’t get waxed. But I have a lot of ingrown hair (although admittedly I do not use any products to prevent that) and it’s even worse after epilating instead of getting waxed. I thought you were supposed to shave before an IPL treatment and couldn’t wax (because you need the hair to be there, just not “above the skin”)?

    I really like the smooth look after a Brazilian so I’m debating whether buying Lumea makes sense economically if I’m gonna still get waxed down there (bikini and butt), as in the salon I go to a Brazilian is only slightly cheaper than zhe Brazilian+legs package. I suppose I could go less frequently, though? I even thought of buying both IPL and epilator, but that would be quite costly.

    Also, I have quite a lot of moles all over my body, including legs. Apparently you shouldn’t use the machine on that area, so I wonder if it’s even feasible to use it around them (given how big the head is)?

    Reply
    • Epilation is evil for ingrows in my experience. I also thought the same about not waxing and then I checked the philips site again (as part of this article) and they said you can. Honestly, I’m at the ‘throw every kind of hair removal method’ at it and it should get where I want it to eventually. I have moles and use it around them. Maybe you could cover with a bit of cloth (I have no idea if that will work, technically, but seems like it might?) Good luck and hope you make a decision you’re happy with.

      Reply
  2. Thanks so much for this detailed review. I’m trying to decided between the Lumea Prestige and Advanced. Do you recommended either over the other? The drawback I felt with the Advanced was it being corded, but if the Prestige works faster with the cord I feel like I would be using it with the corda lot more often. Thoughts on the two? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Ella, if the corded/wireless was the only difference, I’d go for the cheaper one. Things that I think make a difference are number of heads/attachments (make sure they cover the areas you need) and zapping time. It’s chore enough without making it a longer job. If you can get both of these out of the older model (I don’t think the power is weaker?) then go for it. Good luck!

      Reply
  3. What a lovely review this is Jo! It’s definitely helping so many of us out there?. I just want to share my hairy story here haha?.

    My leg hair took off and went wild after 18. Before then I never shaved because I was not ashamed of it even though I knew I was a bit hairy. ?Ok, be honest, I’m Chinese Australian, body hair removal is not a fashion/custom to most Chinese people, or at least in my very own opinion?, and Australians are pretty cool about it, so I really didn’t care much.

    Anyways, I started to notice my leg hair growing longer and darker getting up to 3cm(sorry for the TMI) and I wanted to do something about it. I was even hesitant of shaving at the time_?my mama was no help to me, she has the hair-free gene but I inherited the hairy gene from my dad’s family?. So I finally stepped out of my comfort zone, picked up the shaver and started shaving just the leg…a year later when I was 19?. I’ve never comsidered waxing, pain is ok, I just can’t stand blood.

    Then I came across IPL at the age of 20, after researching for so many ”blood-free” hair removal solutions?
    I bought my SC1997 model last Christmas with a big cash back offer from Phillps here in Australia and ended up paying only 250AUD. The prestige model was tripled the price of what I paid and besides the skin tone hair color sensor function which my one doesn’t have, I think I really got a bargain.
    ?Unfortunately this lovely zapper then sat in dust for 4 months after I got it because it was record-breaking summer heat, and if I treat with IPL then I was not suppose to have that skin exposed to the sun for a few days. So, I decided to zap when it gets a bit cooler because the Aussie sun is really dangerous?
    Yet I broke my routine during the management stage when my old phone went bonkers, and I couldn’t get Google Play running on my new, lovely, China-Made phone. Yes, now I got the app running and I’m back to the initial bootcamp stage?

    Happy zapping!

    Reply
    • Hi Louisa, thanks for sharing and I’m glad my post is helping 🙂 Tip: ditch the app. I started adding the reminders to my calendar and I had much better success. I found the app pretty buggy for reminding me and I misses so many that I ended up confused. Happy zapping to you too!

      Reply
  4. Really great seeing such an open, honest and detailed review, I’m just starting and this really covered all of my question, such as how painful are the really really intimate areas and the photos are really helpful in managing expectation! Fingers crossed for some success because I so over hair removal!!

    Reply
  5. Hi Jo!

    Such a thorough article – thank you. I’ve been getting IPL professionally done on my hairy parts. And although I love the results (after multiple packages over the course of 6 years) some body parts (bikini line) are stubborn AF. So I’ve been contemplating a home device (those clinic visits are expensive, as you mentioned).

    If I may suggest for you and your readers, try applying an ice pack on the area you’re about to zap. This is what the therapist does for me at the clinic, to minimise the pain. I hardly feel any pain (ok maybe a slight pick at the sensitive lip area down under). Hope this helps.

    Reply
    • Hi Soraya, it’s good to hear from someone who’s done the professional IPL and is still looking at an at home device. Hope you get one and that it works for you (and saves you some money).

      Great tip on the ice…but a wimp’s question…is the ice as painful as the zapping? I’m currently functioning pretty well with my yelp out loud method of pain management though I think my neighbours might prefer the ice pack ;p

      Reply
  6. I cycle a lot and suffer from ingrown hairs as a result. I have never shaved downstairs and only wax because the stubble from shaving would be so uncomfortable. If you have to shave prior to zapping, would you still get stubble growing or are the hairs that grow back softer? It’s the thought of shaving my bikini line that puts me off this.

    Reply
    • Hi Lisa, I completely understand. Ingrowns were one of the major reasons I went with IPL. At first I did shave pre-IPL and the ingrowns were worse than ever. I now wax and that is better. Combined with the IPL over time I’m getting far fewer ingrows. On the topic of ingrown hairs, after a lot of research and wasted money, I’ve found using products with salycic acid in them are the best way to stop the ingrown hairs. I used to use a man’s face scrub (from Tesco) but it’s no longer available. I now use a soap bar but you’ll find some more options here:

      Reply
  7. Really nice review, Jo! although I still have a question. When it comes to ingrown hair, is it safe to flash it or do you have to wait till it pops out of your skin so that you can cut it with a razor and only then flash it?

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    • Hi Katie, good question. I have ingrown hairs that sometimes stick around for a while :/ so I’ve been zapping them. I initially did it in the hope it would kill the hair underneath though it doesn’t seem to have been very effective. But at the same time, it didn’t seem to caused me trouble when I zapped it either.

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  8. Thank you so much for your great review. It’s so helpful. I have a question, is it ok to use an epilator to remove the hair or it must be shaved by razor? I am using epilator for years and don’t really like shaving but I a bit of worry the using epilator and the IPL won’t give me the results. Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Irene, I’m afraid you do need to remove the hair first otherwise it burns (and I’m not sure the IPL is effective at zapping the route with the hair in the way. However, according to the Philips site, you can epilate before IPL as your form of hair removal. PS: I consider you very tough. I used to epilate and wasn’t able to handle the pain.

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  9. HI Jo…
    Thanks for such a detailed review. I have been getting laser treatment for facial hair for almost a year at a clinic and now I want to try at-home product for rest of the body. So my questions are;
    1. Can you share this machine? Between siblings?
    2. Is too much exposure to laser is harmful esp for sensitive areas such as bikini line, underarms? 3. Some women with medical conditions such as PCOS tend to get thick hair around not-so-common areas such as on face, chest, tummy etc. Can we use this machine to remove hair from these areas as well?

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    • Hi MZ, to answer your questions:

      1. Can you share an IPL machine – I’d say this is personal preference. I wouldn’t have a problem sharing my machine – the different heads come off and can be wiped clean with an antibacterial wipe. The laser itself doesn’t come into contact with the skin but does come with a small cloth for dry wiping.

      2. It’s safe to use the machine on your bikini line (but not the inner lip parts) and underamrs and I’ve used it in both places. There is a separate attachment for face, underarm and bikini so you are definitely ok on those areas. The Philips website says it’s safe for tummy and I don’t see any reason why the chest would be any different.

      I hope that helps!

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  10. Hi Jo!

    Thank you so much for the really detailed review!

    My girlfriend is seriously considering this product and did mention that I could benefit from it too.
    I don’t suppose you have any information on how effective this product is on the scrotum area? I myself have done IPL at a salon for about 3 years and they always apply ice before the zap, so I think I can continue that method to numb the skin before zapping. But if it doesn’t really work then no point for me to even go ahead. So after 3 years of 1 session a month I would say the hair down there (male) has reduced by 90%? And grows really slowly, although it does grow back. I would use tweezers and manually pluck them out but my neck can get strained from looking downwards at that angle. So am hoping that this may help!

    Another concern is for my gf. I read that you would zap certain lady parts but will not do so for the inner areas, which you would leave it to waxing by professionals. It sounds like my gf would still need to visit the waxing salon occassionaly? Is it right to say the purpose of the phillips lumea is to reduce the hair significantly, but still require waxing if you want to achieve butter smooth skin?

    Thank you so much for your input and sorry if its TMI!

    Reply
    • Hi Harlan, I’ve quickly come to realise that the second I wrote about this topic, all questions and all TMI was fair game, ha ha. Ok, my Instagram ads are forever going to be altered since I’ve just googled ‘can you use IPL on the scrotum’ but the answer, annoyingly is inconsistent. Philips say ‘no’. They say this also about the inner lips are for bikini IPL. I was curious, since you are able to get this done at a salon, you should in theory be able to do at home – but that’s where I can’t get an answer. Some people suggest you avoid the scrotum because of the skin colour – if there isn’t enough contrast between the darker skin and the hair, IPL is ineffective. Personally, I’d ask at the salon if it’s safe and going to work. I’d like to hope, after you’ve spent so much money with them, that they’d be able to give you a straight answer.

      As for your gf, I guess it’s personal preference. For me, I go to have the occasional salon Brazilian waxing to tidy and smooth up the area (maybe every 3-6 months). Coupled with using the IPL in between, I’m happy with the combination. If your gf wants that ultra smooth feeling more frequently, IPL doesn’t beat waxing because of the limits on where IPL can go and also because what initially removes the hair is shaving or waxing, not the laser.

      I hope that’s at least some help?

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  11. Hello! I really liked how you covered everything. You mentioned that u used lumea prestige but is there a specific model number for it?

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    • Hi Leen, I bought the one that was on offer ;p By looking at the models, it’s seems like they’re all pretty similar with new models released over the years. I’d suggest buying the newest model you can afford.

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  12. Thank you for a very thorough review. If you could please clarify again what you mean by the “initial 8 week treatment”. How often do you have to do these sessions each week initially vs maintenance?
    Also, from what I understood you have to do these sessions every 2-3 days during the initial phase. If that is the case, do you shave every 2-3 days prior to each session? Just wondering if there is enough hair growth between sessions to shave every 2-3 days?
    And lastly, I have facial hair with peach fuzz. I’ve been bleaching this hair for many many years so hard to say how much of it is actually dark. Any input regarding bleached hair getting zapped or do you suggest I just shave it and see what happens?
    One last question Is this safe to use on my 11 year old daughter?
    Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Hi Benish, to answer the question about your daughter, I’m not sure. I did a quick bit of research and the replies are mixed. Philips says 18 or older for using their device. My guess is this is for legal reasons – it’s safer for them to say that. I mention that not to be irresponsible but because I see that some salons will treat younger people. However, many of them recommend that young girls have gone through puberty before doing IPL. I have no idea why this is – best guess, the change in hormones will change the hair/growth. I know that’s not an especially helpful reply but there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer on this topic.

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  13. Thank you for a very thorough review. If you could please clarify again what you mean by the “initial 8 week treatment”. How often do you have to do these sessions each week initially vs maintenance?
    Also, from what I understood you have to do these sessions every 2-3 days during the initial phase. If that is the case, do you shave every 2-3 days prior to each session? Just wondering if there is enough hair growth between sessions to shave every 2-3 days?
    And lastly, I have facial hair with peach fuzz. I’ve been bleaching this hair for many many years so hard to say how much of it is actually dark. Any input regarding bleached hair getting zapped or do you suggest I just shave it and see what happens? Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Hi Benish, the initial treatment is zapping the hairs every 2 weeks for a total of 4 ‘zaps’. Not every couple of days. I did remove any hairs in between i.e. every 2 weeks. For bleached hair, I think you’ll need to let it grow back in its natural colour as IPL doesn’t work on blonde hair – it needs a colour contrast between the hair and the skin colour. Hope that helps.

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  14. Hello, the review was amazing and good job on that !
    I have been thinking of buying this IPL machine for quite some time now but i am on the fence since i have had a lot of laser sessions in the past ( Not diode or IPL, it was a laser called Alexandrite which i was told was way better than both of them ) I have had like 20 sessions on my face , around 10 sessions on my armpits and bikini and around 5-6 on my legs. After all this money and time i noticed that yes i have had a great reduction but i still have hair in those areas. I epilate now and it is very patchy and quite light to be honest and i am wondering if it will be worth it purchasing this device since my hair is not really that dark anymore. My problem is that i have to epilate my face and my legs like once a week for some reasons because i keep growing hairs in random areas while before with laser it was once every month and a half. I hope i have not confused you and you can help me decide if it would be worth it to buy it for someone like my with past laser experience and not much hair nowadays. My hairs are less on the armpit and lighter than the ones in the pictures you showed but my legs are in a worst condition. Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Hi Elena, I might be wrong but I have a suspicion that epilation somehow stimulates hair regrowth because I had the same problem. IPL has been by far the most effective way of keeping the hairs thin/dead that I’ve found. Also, doesnt hurt nearly as much as an epilator. It sounds like you’ve made great progress. I’d honestly get a machine and keep at it.

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  15. One more question if I may-can you choose the intensity or does the sensor do that for you?

    I’m aware it senses your skin tone and selects an intensity but can you override that and choose a higher intensity? (I’m not crazy I ramped up the intensity at salons too – will bare pain for results)

    Thanks

    Reply
    • The sensor selects if for you and I have noticed it does change e.g. if I’ve been on holiday and my legs are more tanned. I really wouldn’t up the intensity. It can damage your skin. Patience and persistence is the more sustainable route.

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  16. Hi Jo

    Thanks for your article very informative. I’ve also read all of the comments!

    What I wanted to ask is how well this machine works for the Brazilian area? I’d appreciate more detail. Does the laser work in this area? (some machines won’t zap when detecting the tone- I’m also pale). Also if one were to zap the entire area on full power do you think they could achieve complete hair removal?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Hi Saf, I’ve described my Brazilian experience in detail in the post. It does work but won’t give you full hair removal – no IPL will (also described above). Don’t just zap on full power, you need to zap at the level suggested for your skin tone so you don’t fry your skin! Good luck and let me know how you get on.

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  17. Great review!
    Just wondering on whether if you stopped with the maintenance would the hair come back? I am considering using on my bikini line for all the above reasons you mentioned just concious if the ‘fashions’ change I am abit nervous of the permenant aspect. Probably the opposite as to what everyone else wants from it!

    Reply
    • Ha ha, it’s a legitimate question and one I thought about because I know from years of waxing – if you thin the hairs long enough, they eventually don’t come back. For me, that was fine because I was ‘hot sweaty country, don’t want hair’ motivated so don’t really care what the fashions are. If you are persuaded by that then I don’t think IPL is a good option as some hair dies and won’t come back, leaving you patchy at best. Without wanting to sound like a preachy feminist (promise, I’m not), I’d think hard about what you want for your body and your hair long-term and go with what you prefer downstairs. Fashions will always change. Your thoughts on your body hair doesn’t need to be fashion driven. Hope that helps?

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  18. Hi, I’ve been debating whether or not to purchase this for a while now and I’m leaning towards a more yes after finally finding a descent review so thank you. But I have a few questions. Did you use it in between the ass cheeks? Sorry lol. I’m dark and so so hairy. My hair starts to grow back within 10 days of waxing and the pain is so much for me to handle that I go without. Like you I can’t shave due to ingrown and boils. My main problem due to neglect of waxing is my ass and whole bikini waxing so I’m wondering is the pain you described above as bad all over this area? I don’t know how I’m going to bring myself to do this.

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    • Hi Shay, (apologies for the TMI to anyone else reading this who doesn’t want this level of info, ha ha): I haven’t had the courage to use the IPL machine there and it is an area I have waxed during my Brazilian, so I completely get it. It has been an issue of fear more than anything else. Also, I feel that area is straying into ‘not for internal use’ :/ I don’t think it will be as painful as elsewhere – it’s a less painful area for me during a wax. However, do some research on skin tone because I suspect the area has a…different skin tone and contrast. I do still have top up waxes every now and then just to tidy up the areas I don’t manage with the IPL and also for a bit more precision on the shaping as well as stray hairs I miss ‘underneath’ with my IPL, so that’s when I include the butt area. But please do it with the IPL and come back and let me know if it was easy and pain free and nothing fell off, ha ha, and I might give it a go. In short: you go first! I know that’s not the answer you were looking for. Sorry!

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    • Hi Shay

      You can actually purchase non branded ones on EBay for a tenth of the price, if you’re not worried about delivery times you can get a really Eva multi head one, it doesn’t have the app but you can change the intensity, I used almost the highest first go, didn’t feel it on my legs apart from moles or my bikini line/crack but my air pits were actually horrifically painful, an hour later they’ve just settled down, it also only took an hour To do all of it as well and my leg hairs are worse than a mans xx

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      • Hi JeJe, thanks for jumping in. I have to say, the idea of buying a cheap (probably knock-off) on eBay terrifies me and the fact you had pain for up to an hour later makes me even more worried. Any pain with the Philips IPL was gone within seconds, like an elastic band snap. Please be careful and do your research if you’re buying imitation IPL machines online. The machines are designed to penetrate light below the skin and I’d hate for anyone to injure themselves. Take care, ladies and gents 🙂

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  19. Hello, Jo! I happen to find your review on this product and it’s really detail and helpful. But I still at lost to buy this or not.
    I’m not hairy. In fact, my leg looks like someone that religiously wax it where in fact, I never wax it. The only area I shave are my underarms and bikini line, and yes those parts are where the problem lays. Well, if you need to imagine it, it’s like a teenager that hit puberty and starts having this hair problems. Do you think it’s worth to buy this for that part only? Will the device response to wispy hair since that’s what my leg and arm parts looks like.

    Thank you for your review! Looking forward for your opinion.

    Kind regards,

    Kireta

    Reply
    • Hi Kireta, you mention wispy hair so I just want to check you’re not blonde haired – the machine won’t work for blonde hair because there’s not enough contrast between your skin tone and hair colour (essential for the machine to work, apparently). Assuming your hair is dark, I’d say it comes down to budget. I think wispy hair would be killed off really quickly with IPL and for a lot longer than for someone like me. At the same time, regular waxing will also be effective. If you’re not on a strict budget, I’d absolutely get the machine. If cost is a concern, why not give waxing a go first. If pain is a worry, then the machine would be better than waxing. I know that’s not a straight yes or no but hopefully helps you decide? Let me know what you got with.

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  20. This has been so helpful! I have just finished the initial ‘boot camp’ phase and have seen results, but not as much as I was hoping for before I go into maintenance. I was googling to see if I could redo it it when I found your blog so thanks! Just need to work out how to reset the app to 2 weekly reminders rather than 4 now…. ?

    Reply
    • Hi Jodie, keep at it – results do improve. Don’t get me started on the app. I ended up just managing it with my calendar on my phone. Good luck and do come back and let me know how you get on after another round.

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