If you have tried shaving, waxing or creams and are fed up with having to constantly shave to avoid unwanted body hair, then it is time to consider a change. Laser IPL devices have been out for some time now and they are making a big difference in the way that people go about removing hair.
It is a pain free option, hair stays away longer and although they are still an expensive purchase, they are dropping in price in the UK. IPL stands for "Intense Pulsed Light." By applying this treatment it helps stunt the hair cycle growth and more importantly regrowth.
Price is always a big deciding factor when considering this type of home laser treatment. The Philips Lumea models and the Braun Silk models are the most popular choices but these cost on average around £300 in the UK. There are however some other brands who have IPL devices in the £40 to £100 price range. That means, that should you wish to try this type of IPL treatment the lower price options offer a way of doing this.
IPL Hair Removal Devices - Things You Must Know Before Buying
It would be easy to say buy one of these because they are great and users love them. However, that is simply not the case and we know there are things you absolutely need to know, before deciding whether to buy one of these or not?
What exactly is IPL?
Many people confuse IPL with professional hair removal laser treatment. These are not the same thing. In professional clinics they use a more powerful laser, using different light source spectrums and focus on a more concentrated area at each session. It is a very effective treatment and also an expensive option.
The home IPL device is still a laser treatment but it uses what is called a "broad spectrum light." This light is targeted at the melanin substance of the skin. Melanin is a substance in your body that produces hair, eye and skin pigmentation. The more melanin you produce, the darker your eyes, hair and skin will be.
The IPL light damages the root of the hair and it is that which stops the regrowth of the hair, and makes it a more permanent solution than any cream or type of shaving. Waxing, shaving and hair removal creams do deliver instant results but in reality these are short term results.
IPL certainly offers a longer term solution but you do not get the instant gratification of hair removal. It takes time, patience and dedication on your part to get those longer term impressive results. The feedback from the many thousands of users is that these work well as long as you follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully, and do the really boring applications of the device when you are supposed to.
Is IPL Safe? - The really important question.
If you are doing anything to your body there is an element of risk involved. IPL is considered safe to use, providing the device you purchase is from a reliable trusted brand, and that you follow their detailed instructions to the letter. Some users have reported side effects such as a redness and slight discomfort after use. A few users have said they got blisters or burns, but thankfully those are rare.
Overall though, the majority of users say that they use the device at the right intervals and that it is a painless process with no side effects.
Is IPL Hair removal painful?
Every human being on the planet has a pain threshold. When using an IPL device most users describe the experience as a slight discomfort rather than a pain. Some users feel very little discomfort and others say that there is a little heat or tingly sensation. Each session is fairly short so any discomfort will be short lived.
A few people have said this is pain free but it really does depend on your definition of pain. Waxing or plucking is painful and we know that IPL is not at that level of pain. However, to say the IPL treatments are pain free is also a myth. The level of discomfort will vary from person to person, but suffice to say, there is a degree of pain involved.
Which areas of your body can you not use IPL devices?
These cannot be used on certain parts of the body. These parts include:
- The genitals, nipples or anus
- Around the ears
- Around the eyes or eyebrows
- On men's beards
- On damaged skin, varicose veins, sunburn, cold sores or cuts
- On tattoos
- On warts, moles or large freckles, lesions, and piercings,
So if your plan was to use around any of these areas, or anywhere nears moles etc, then don't buy an IPL device. There are scientific and medical reasons for this, but primarily the skin is much darker in these areas, and it could cause burning of the skin.
What Medical Conditions Prevent You from Using an IPL Device?
Anyone with any of the following medical conditions should not use an IPL device:
- Skin cancer of any kind or any chronic skin disease such as psoriasis
- Anyone taking radiation therapy or chemotherapy within the last 3-6 months
- Anyone who is sensitive to light
- Anyone taking pain killers
- Anyone taking anti-coagulation or Immuno-suppressive medications
- Anyone who is pregnant
Can all skin types use an IPL Device?
People that have pale to medium skin and dark hair are the best candidates for IPL. That is because IPL devices identify and target hair pigment that is a contrasting shade to your skin. In essence this really means anyone that gets dark hairs on their skin, and has a pale to medium skin type,
- People with white, blonde, grey, red and light hair growth have very little pigment and as such IPL can not detect those so not successful in removing those types of hair growth
- Anyone with a dark skin tone shouldn't bother with an IPL device as it is ineffective
- It is also worth knowing that IPL doesn't work on permanent makeup or tattoos.
Top 5 Home Laser Hair Removal Devices UK 2024
- Best overall IPL hair removal device - Philips Lumea Prestige IPL BR1944/00
- Most compact IPL hair removal device - Braun Silk'n Infinity 500,000
- Best Budget IPL hair removal device for beginners - Aminzer IPL hair removal device
- Best seller for sensitive skin - Braun IPL Silk Expert Pro 5
- Best for facial hair removal - Philips Lumea Advanced IPL
1. Philips Lumea IPL Hair Removal 8000 Series
Check Amazon UK for Availability - Price when reviewed £329.99 - 90% buyer satisfaction based on 1,500+ online buyer reviews
2. Braun Silk'n Infinity 500,000
Check Amazon UK for Availability - Price when reviewed £343.60 - 78% buyer satisfaction based on 100+ online buyer reviews
3. IPL Hair Removal Device 999,000 Light Pulses
Check Amazon UK for Availability - Price when reviewed £69.99 - 88% buyer satisfaction based on 400+ online buyer reviews
4. IPL Hair Removal Device 999,000 Light Pulses
Check Amazon UK for Availability - Price when reviewed £395 - 86% buyer satisfaction based on 6,500+ online buyer reviews
5. Philips Lumea IPL Hair Removal Advance
Check Amazon UK for Availability - Price when reviewed £263.99 - 88% buyer satisfaction based on 2,600+ online buyer reviews
How many treatments before seeing results?
If you closely follow the instructions then you will see noticeable result anywhere between 4-12 weeks. It take that length of time to have enough sessions to treat all of the visible hairs. Some hairs will not grow back at all. Some hairs may grow back but they will be smaller and finer. A top up session can then be completed and that will help remove those and prevent them from growing back.
The reality is that the number of treatments really depends on the quality of the IPL device you buy, how closely you follow the instructions, the type of hair that you have and the skin tone.
On average you can get about 80% hair reduction in around 3 treatments depending on the device. After a few touch up treatments, you can then be hair free for about 3 months.
How to properly use an IPL Home Laser Device
IPL devices work much better when they have visible hair to work with. That means allowing the hair to grow and you should not be shaving, waxing or removing any hair before starting with your IPL device. Timing is everything and for example you may have to suffer hairy legs for 2-3 weeks before starting with your new device.
When the hair has grown, you can then shave it to leave the hair follicle. The IPL device will then target the follicle and damage the root of the hair follicle. Don't use an IPL device on long hairs as that opens up the risk of burning the hairs and the skin underneath.
Initially regular IPL sessions are required to deal with all the unwanted hair. Each brand who sells these devices will give you clear instructions on how often to use their machine, and when you can expect to see results.
IPL Device Buying Tips
When these devices first appeared on the UK market they were quite generic and basic. That has changed a lot and now the machines are much more targeted at certain skin types and certain skin tones.
There are certain features that you should understand before parting with your hard earned money. We have explained these just below.
Which Brands are Best?
In the UK market, the IPL devices sold are dominated by two brands; Philips and Braun. The Philips Lumea ranges and the Braun IPL Silk are the best sellers by quite a long way. These devices are expensive ranging in price from £300-400.
A range of other brands have entered the UK market with much cheaper prices ranging from £60-100. These are brands such as Aminzer, Innza, Toutol and Zumyu. It is hard to find out much information about those brands online. On the other hand Braun and Philips are pretty much household names with UK customer service and guarantees.
The decision as to which device to buy will really come down to how much you are willing to spend on one of these machines.
The right device for the right skin tone
When these devices first arrived on the UK market, the key feature was the number of times the IPL device can emit a flash. Most have a minimum of 100,000 but once this runs out, you'll need a replacement lamp. You can’t get replacement lamps for all devices, while some devices offer unlimited flashes.
Today the devices have been modified and designed to use with the right skin tone. We have shown an example below using the Philips brand as an example.
White to mid-brown
Lumea Advanced BR1923/00
White to Dark brown
Lumea Advanced BR1921/00
You will find different models from the same brand and the main difference will either be the skin tone type or the type and number of accessories that you get with the IPL device.
Some devices come with all the attachments that you need. Others don't so just be aware of that when you are buying. The cheaper devices tend to have a manual or automatic mode but use the same head for all parts of the body. The more expensive machines have different attachments which are better suited to different areas of the body.
- Body attachments
- Face attachments
- Bikini attachments
- Pen trimmers
- Facial cleaning brushes
For example the Philips Lumea Advanced IPL Hair Removal Device comes with a Satin Compact pen trimmer, 1 Body attachment (4cm2), 1 Face attachment (2cm2), and 1 Bikini area attachment (2cm2), whereas all of the cheaper brands have just one head that is used for everything.
Most IPL brands use a corded version. In other words it has to be plugged into an electrical socket to be able to use it. As an example the Philips advanced range is this type. If you prefer the freedom of cordless then the Philips Lumea Prestige is the proper choice. You will find that a cordless option is going to be slightly more expensive.
IPL devices should have different energy levels. Usually there will be 5 of those. The reason for this is that you can pick the energy level according to your hair color and skin tone. The manufacturer will have instructions on which level to select.
Some machines also have a manual mode which is suitable for small and individual amounts of hair. This is the best choice for sensitive areas such as the bikini line, upper lip, and the armpit. The automatic mode is best for larger and less sensitive areas such as the arms, legs, and back.
Number of Flashes
IPL devices use light flashes to help remove the hair. In some older devices when the flashes ran out that element of the device would have to be refilled. Nowadays manufacturers have greatly extended the lifetime of these flashes and typically that can now sit anywhere between 400,000 to 999,000 flashes. (999,000 flashes is enough for 25 years of treatment
Warranties and Guarantees
The average warranty or guarantee is 2 years. This will vary from brand to brand with some only offering a 1 year guarantee.
Some brands also offer a money back guarantee which ranges in length. We always recommend reading carefully what the guarantee actually covers as well as knowing the length of warranty.