A Few Things you Need to Know Before Doing At-Home IPL Hair Removal
The Magical Device that Permanently Eliminates Unwanted Hair
We’ve all heard the myths – that unwanted body hair can be a thing of the past, all thanks to an at-home device which zaps away at the hair follicles. These devices have been on the market for a few years now, and by far the leader of the pack is the Philips Lumea, which you may remember from this very vintage video (no, you’re not drunk, I just didn’t know how to stabilise on iMovie back then), I’ve been using for over a year now. I’ve since switched to a newer, more fancy model of the Lumea, but other than that not much else has changed.
To be honest, who doesn’t want to be hair free? Waking up in the mornings and knowing you can fling on a cute summer dress and not having to worry about shaving? Or that annoying moment when you realise you’ve left the house without seeing to your underarms, and you’re wearing a scrappy top…. notes to self to keep arms by side all day.
If you’re looking for a more permanent solution for unwanted body hair, then IPL at-home hair removal could be a really good solution for you. From my learnings over the past year, as well as some additional research, here are a few things you need to know about IPL.
15 Things you Need to Know
- If you want results, you have to be consistent. Yep, it’s not a magical device that you use once and then forget about it. In fact, I admit that not long after I published the aforementioned video, I kinda thought to myself, OK, job done. Well, no, it wasn’t. Because your hair follicles are on their own individual growth cycles, you have to continue ‘zapping’ (this is what I call the process, thanks to the flash of light which kind of ‘zaps’ your leg when you use the Lumea at home) every four weeks in order to maximise the potential of targeting the most follicles.
I used the smaller Lumea device for around 6 months before letting it slide, and although my body hair is far more sparse than before, it’s still there. So this time round, I’ve made myself a promise that I’m going to stick it out.
2. You’ll see permanent results from month three. This does NOT mean you will be hair free after three months. This is what I originally thought. After the first few treatments, the impatient ones amongst us may be disappointed as you may not see much of a difference, but after the three month mark, you will start to notice that a lot of your body hair is not growing back. My legs felt smoother and I could go far longer without shaving my underarms, and over time it just kept on getting better.
3. It’s not a quick fix. At home, I like to make myself comfortable, throw flowers all over the bed (hehe not really but they look cute don’t they?!) stick on a YouTube video and start zapping. My legs usually take 20 minutes, where as the underarms and bikini line if you wish to do it are far far quicker.
4.Spoiler Alert – it doesn’t actually work by Magic! Although it certainly seems that way. But scientifically what is actually happening is that the laser light pulses from the Lumea convert to heat which stimulates the hair root, triggering it to go into resting phase. Hair then falls out naturally and regrowth is slowed, and then totally prevented after a few uses.
5. Some hair and skin types are a little more tricky to treat. Darker hair follicles are the easiest to treat,because the laser targets the hair’s pigment, while grey, blonde and red pigments can be tricky, as can darker skin tones. However the Philips Lumea has five settings and clear instructions on which setting to pick for each skin and hair type, and they also have a handy chart here which you can use to decide if the Lumea is right for you.
6. Autumn/Winter is the best time to start. Because you have to be free of a tan, natural or fake, when you use laser hair removal. The device works best when the contrast between your darker hair and lighter skin is greatest, and while the Philips Lumea is designed to work on darker skin tones too, it’s always safest to wait. So while I am still zapping my underarms at the moment, I’ll be starting on my legs again in Autumn.
7. My favourite thing – you can shave between IPL sessions! Not just can, in fact, you must. The best thing to do is shave the day before you get zapping, or the morning of, so that you’re silky smooth ahead of the session.
8. Different skin types experience different levels of pain (or lack of). Personally, thankfully, I feel no pain. I have fair skin and fairly light brown hair and I’d describe the sensation as a warm zap, but in no way painful or ‘uncomfortable’ as they like to say! Some friends that have also tried the treatment, who have much thicker darker hair than I do, describe it as an electric rubber band snapping you, but still not painful. With the Lumea’s 5 settings, you can adjust the strength to where you feel comfortable.
9. Avoid plucking and waxing after your treatment. Shaving is your new favourite hair removal method, anything else pulls hair from the follicle and hinders the IPL process, which you don’t want.
10. Lather yourself in suncream after you zap. You should always always always be using SPF, but especially after you treat an area with IPL, it will sensitive, so take extra precaution with sun protection. Or do what I do, and wear jeans.
11. Avoid perfumes, deodorants and hot showers. Just for the first 24 hours after your treatment, again due to the sensitivity of the skin. I usually zap before going to bed and use a more natural deodorant the next day (I know, not strictly 24 hours later).
12. I trust the Philips Lumea. There are lots of options out there, but there’s something about the Philips Lumea that I hand on heart, just love. I trust the brand, most importantly, and I trust the product. If you’re zapping your skin at home, you want to know you’re doing so safely, and having read tons of reviews and advice. I’m really glad I chose the Lumea.
13. Yes, it’s safe. Developed with expert dermatologists, the Philips Lumea is safe, effective, convenient and fast.
14. Yes, it works. After a few uses, most of the treated area will have a reduced amount of body hair, and if you stick with it, eventually all the hair will be gone. You can always top up if you notice a few stragglers coming through, but they’re pretty much unnoticeable. I can get away with going a month without shaving my legs, and this winter I’m going to be more strict with my routine, to hopefully banish them for good.
15. Is it worth it? A million times YES! And that’s coming from someone who has never really ‘struggled’ with body hair. It’s just so darn convenient! The underarms are the game changer for me, but if you’ve got dark hair on your legs, then using the Lumea could be an actual life changer. Just imagine the FREEDOM from stubble and having to wear jeans on hot days because CBA to shave…. Yes, it is so, so worth it.
I really hope this post is useful if you’ve been thinking about purchasing an at-home IPL device, and I honestly truly recommend the Philips Lumea as a device that works wonderfully, and is safe and easy to use. I’m thinking about doing an updated video on my experience with the Lumea and the SC2009 in particular, is that something you’d like to see?
If you still have any burning questions, you can pop them in the comments below and I’ll try to get back to you, or you can tweet me if you like too.
This post is in collaboration with Philips but, truly, all thoughts are my own, and I am a genuine user and lover of the Lumea device, and have been using it far before collaborating with the brand.