Why I´m Not A Fan Of IPL Hair Removal + Review Of Philips Lumea

   A while back I got the Philips Lumea Precision Hair Removal System to test for a couple of weeks, and I wanted to share my impressions with you.

   IPL means Intense Pulsed Light, a temporary hair removal technique that previously used to be done only in salons. The light destroys the hair follicle, and it takes a couple of weeks for it to regrow, depending on your hair type. IPL works best on someone with dark hair and a light skin tone, so if you have blond hair or dark skin this method is not for you.

   The Philips Lumea itself is well-designed and egronomic; it fits well in the hand, is light and easy to use. It looks a bit light a weapon from Star Trek. It is cordless, and the battery lasts a really long time -- I didn´t have to charge it the whole time I had it. The bulb is built-in and nor replaceable, and is meant to last 5 years.
   To use the Philips Lumea you first need to shave the area really well. You set the IPL intenstity between one and four. You then place the tip of the Lumea flat on the skin, and when the light glows you press the trigger. There is a bright flash, sometimes there is a slight smell of burned hair. I usually covered the head of the Lumea with the other hand because I found the flashes tiring for my eyes.Then you move on to the next patch of skin. The pain depends upon the setting. On 4 (the highest) it feels a bit as if someone just snapped a rubber band against the skin. On lower setting you feel almost nothing.
    You can repeat the sitting every two weeks, never more often otherwise you risk burning the skin. According to the manual you should not use the Lumea on the face.
   It usually takes around 6 sittings to be more or less hair-free, and then another couple of weeks till the hair starts regrowing again. It all depends upon your hair type. With fair skin and dark hair I am the perfect candidate for IPL; however my strong growth means that that I wasn't completely hair-free after 6 sittings, and the hair that was gone was growing back after around 4 weeks. During the time that the hair was gone, the effect was really nice.

   Now, though the tool is easy to use, I had my issues with it. First, it takes a very long time to do a larger area like a leg. You need to wait a bit after every flash till the tool "reloads" and is ready for the next shot. So basically only the bikini area and the armpits are small enough to make this method efficient. Secondly, I was always missing patches of hair. It is not always easy to remember which bit of skin you have already covered and which not, especially on a larger curved area like the legs. Only after a couple of weeks when the hair stopped regrowing in some placed and not others did I notice that I wan´t covering the whole area thoroughly.
   Another thing is that to use the IPL you need to shave. My preferred method of hair removal is epilating, which I do every one to two weeks, so shaving almost every day for a couple of weeks while I used the ILP was rather very annoying.
    Another issue is the sun: you have two wait at least 2 weeks after sun exposure to use the IPL. This would mean that I would not ebe able to use the IPL all summer long, and would probably epilate instead. Then in the autumn it would take a couple of weeks till the epilated hair grew back and could be IPLd, and IPL treatments for two months till I was hair free; and then I could squeeze out a couple of months use for the IPL till the summer came.
    Finally, the Öko Test recently issued a warning against home-use IPL tools, stating that using them over skin discolourations and birthmarks could potentially cause cancer. The IPL manual also warns against using them on birthmarks of any kind, which makes it useless for those with lots of body freckles.
   Though the Philips Lumea itself is a great little tool (apart from the fact that the built-in lamp makes it a prime example of planned obsolescence), the IPL method gets a thumbs down from me. It doesn't fit with my needs and lifestyle. I find epilating to be more time-efficient and safer, and for long-term results I feel that a good laser treatment would be a better investement. However I would recommend an IPL machine if your hair doesn´t grow very aggressively and you don´t have many birthmarks. Another very strong argument for IPL hair removal is no risk of ingrown hair.

   Do you use or have you tried the IPL hair removal method, and if yes does it work for you?

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