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IPL Hair Removal: Your Solution To Removing Excess Hair At Home

IPL Hair Removal: Your Solution To Removing Excess Hair At Home
Writer and expert6 years ago
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If IPL hair removal is something you've considered, we're here to help. Discover how easy the Philips Lumea is to use and the results you can expect - all in the comfort of your own home.

Our Beauty Editor Claire has first-hand experience of IPL hair removal, from her days working with a skincare clinic specialising in this treatment.

IPL hair removal
I first tried IPL hair removal almost 20 years ago, though at that time it was only available in salons and clinics. Not only did it come with a hefty price tag, it needed several salon visits over a period of time. Not great for anyone having facial treatment (scarves and dark glasses NOT a good look in summer!) It often meant taking time off work and being less than smooth at awkward moments. Fast forward to recent times and IPL is now available in the comfort of your own home. Leading the way are electrical experts Philips with the Lumea Prestige. I've had my Lumea for around 2 years now and I wouldn't be without it!

IPL hair removal - how does it work?

IPL stands for 'Intense Pulsed Light'. Here's the science behind the treatment:

IPL hair removal guideIPL hair removal guideIPL hair removal guide
  • A split-second burst of light is flashed over the hair to be treated
  • The light is attracted to the melanin (colour) in the hair and travels down the hair to the root
  • Once it reaches the root, the light disables it. The hair falls out and regrowth is prevented
  • A special filter on the IPL machine ensures your skin and eyes are safe at all times

IPL hair removal - who can use it?

Almost everyone can use IPL hair removal. However, because the treatment works by being attracted to colour in the hair, there are a few exceptions.

You can use IPL hair removal unless the hair you want to treat is white, grey, red or light blond.
This is because there isn't enough pigment in the hair to attract the light.IPL hair removal
You can use IPL hair removal unless your skin is very dark.
This is because the light will be attracted to the pigment in your skin as well as the hair.IPL hair removal


IPL hair removal - what does it feel like and where can I use it?

IPL hair removal
All you'll feel when using the Philips Lumea is a quick burst of warmth. In my experience it's completely comfortable and any mild redness disappears within a few minutes. The Lumea comes with several settings, so if your skin is super sensitive you can easily lower the intensity of the light. Best of  all, you can use the Lumea to treat anywhere on your body below the cheekbones (yes we do mean Brazilians, Hollywoods etc...) Just don't use it over big moles or freckles as they're too dark and will attract the light. If you're concerned about smaller marks, you can use a white makeup pencil over them or cover them with a plaster.

IPL hair removal - isn't it really expensive?

In terms of salon treatment yes. Upper-lip treatments are in the region of hundreds of pounds, whereas full leg treatments can set you back thousands. However, the Philips Lumea boasts up to 20 years of use (calculated on lower legs, bikini, underarms, face), with no replacement lamps needed. You can perform treatments while you watch tv, as little or as often as you choose.

IPL hair removal - how many treatments do I need and is it safe?

To begin with, you'll need one treatment every 2 weeks to cover the hair cycle. You should see significant hair reduction after around 3 bi-weekly treatments. After that, you can perform one treatment every 4 to 8 weeks to maintain your results and zap any new hairs that may pop up (for example if you suffer from a hormone disorder).

IPL hair removal where
The Philips Lumea has been clinically tested on over 2,000 women over the course of 14 years and is now owned by a whopping 1.5 million users worldwide. IPL has been around for over 25 years and there are no reported side effects from long term use.

And if you're wondering about speed, to the left are approximate treatment times - you can easily perform a quick treatment without anyone ever knowing!

IPL hair removal - our top tips

  • Many people ask "can I shave, wax etc. before treatment?" The answer is yes. In fact the shorter the hair is, the better the result as the light has less distance to travel. If you're wondering how you can wax before treatment it's due to the hair cycle. At any one time, some hair is 'growing' and some is 'resting', and you will have hair growing below the surface of the skin that can't be waxed but can be treated
  • Hair can only be treated while it's in the 'growing phase' ie attached to the root, so if you treat an area but it appears to grow back quickly don't despair - it's completely different hair!
  • Smell burning hair? That's great! It means the treatment is working, so embrace it :)
  • Be careful of the sun - always wear sunscreen on any areas you're treating and don't use the device on sunburnt or very tanned skin. If you've recently been in the sun, it's best to wait 48 hours before treating that area
  • Large area to treat? Draw a grid on your body with a white makeup pencil to help you keep track of where to treat. Wipe off the pencil as you go
  • It may take around a week for the hair you treated to fall out - don't worry that's normal

IPL hair removal - where to shop

You can shop Philips Lumea IPL hair removal here at allbeauty, authorised retailers of Philips electrical. And if you have any further concerns, or if there's a question we didn't answer, then check the Philips site here for further help.

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