I tried the GHI’s best IPL device and here’s what I thought (2024)

With beauty salons set to remain closed for a little while longer, it looks like we’re still on our own when it comes to hair removal for now (I’m sorry, eyebrows). We can’t even hide fuzzy legs in our trusty jeans, as the warm weather has us all reaching for sundresses instead. So if you’re missing your wax appointments — and dread picking up a razor — you might want to consider at-home IPL instead. I tried the GHI’s top-performing model, the Philips Lumea Prestige, to see if it’s up to the job.

What is IPL hair removal?

IPL, which stands for ‘intense pulsed light’, aims to banish unwanted hair by stunting the growth cycle. The machine directs light at the melanin (the pigment that gives skin and hair its colour) in the follicle, damaging the root and breaking the regrowth cycle for up-to six months. This makes for a longer-lasting removal method than waxing or shaving and it shouldn’t irritate your skin.

A few pointers: don’t expect immediate results as not all your hair will be at the same point in its growth cycle at the same time, so you’ll have to space out treatments every 14 days for six weeks to ensure all the hair is targeted. You’ll also have to defuzz with your regular method before beginning, so the machine can zap the follicle properly (or deal with the smell of burning hair). Those with darker skin tones shouldn’t use IPL, as it could cause hyper-pigmentation of the skin.

Philips Lumea Prestige

The machine is lightweight and feels high quality, as you would expect from a product that costs £400. In the box you get the device itself, a charger and three different heads for targeting different areas — one for the face, one for legs and one for your underarms and bikini line. It looks sleek and nonclinical and there’s a little bag to keep all the bits together neatly in your drawer.

There are five light intensities; the best for you is dependent on your hair colour and skin tone. Generally, the lighter your skin and the darker your hair, the higher the setting. I’ve very dark brown locks and a pale complexion, so I was recommended the strongest mode.

During treatment, you can use a one-off flash or a gliding motion. The stamp is best for the upper lip and underarms, while the other helps you run down your legs quickly and easily.

Philips Lumea Prestige IPL Device

I tried the GHI’s best IPL device and here’s what I thought (1)

Philips Lumea Prestige IPL Device

Before you begin, download the Lumea app to your smartphone. It walks you through how to use the machine, reminds you when your next treatment is due and recommends the best light setting. Then you’re ready to go.

Using the Philips Lumea Prestige

I was worried the process would hurt, but actually it was completely painless on my legs and any slight discomfort on my underarms — a quick, hot, flicking sensation, like a very minor electric shock — was very manageable and dissipated almost instantly. The shape makes it easy to position correctly against your skin and it’s not uncomfortable to hold, even towards the end of a session. I finished my legs, underarms and upper lip in around 20 minutes, which wasn’t too bad, although I had spent time shaving beforehand to prep.

I have been really enjoying just getting up and throwing on a dress without worrying about whether my legs were stubbly — and I’ve been able to spend less time in the shower faffing with my razor, too.

All things considered, if you commit to the process, you’ll be rewarded with silky smooth limbs free from stubble, razor nicks or ingrown hairs for three months at a time. So, I think the Philips Lumea Prestige is well worth the money. You can pick one up from Amazon (on sale, currently!) here.

The GHI's top IPL devices

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Braun IPL Silk Expert Pro 5

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Sensica Sensilight Pro IPL Hair Removal Device

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I tried the GHI’s best IPL device and here’s what I thought (6)

Charley Ward

Homes Ecommerce Editor

Charley is former Homes Ecommerce Editor. During her time at Hearst UK, Charley wrote over 300 buying guides and reviews, getting her hands on as many new launches as possible to help you find the best products for your home.

I tried the GHI’s best IPL device and here’s what I thought (2024)

FAQs

What is the best IPL device on the market? ›

  1. Philips Lumea Prestige: Best all-round IPL hair removal machine. ...
  2. SmoothSkin Pure Fit: The best value IPL machine. ...
  3. CurrentBody Skin Laser Hair Removal Device: Best laser hair removal machine. ...
  4. Philips Lumea 9000: Best cordless IPL hair removal machine. ...
  5. Silk'n Infinity: Best compact IPL hair removal machine.
Apr 9, 2024

Do at home IPL devices really work? ›

IPL treatments, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology, show that people get 83.3% less hair growth after one month and 78.1% less after three months. Results can last for years or even permanently. This makes IPL an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy long-lasting smoothness.

What are the downsides of IPL? ›

One of the most significant concerns associated with IPL treatment is the risk of burns or skin discoloration, particularly in people with darker skin tones. This risk stems from the procedure's reliance on light absorption, which can lead to excessive heat in areas with higher melanin concentrations.

How do I choose the best IPL? ›

A machine with an appropriate window size will let you treat the area quickly. Operational power (in Watts): The more power the machines use, the more effective they are. If the power is lower, then the treatment will take longer. A device with 2000 Watts or higher would be a good choice.

What is the strongest at-home IPL device? ›

Most powerful: SmoothSkin Pure Fit IPL Hair Removal Device

The Pure Fit is an easy to use IPL device that achieves up to 99% hair reduction in 12 weeks, and visible results in just 2 weeks. It stands out as one of the most fast and powerful hair removal devices on the market.

What is the best IPL laser at-home? ›

JOVS Venus Pro™ II IPL Hair Removal Device

Whether you're looking to remove hair on your face, arms, legs, or bikini area, this at-home laser can get the job done. This device uses Optimal Pulse Technology (OPT)—an advancement in IPL technology—which emits higher intensity light to speed up the hair removal process.

Can you use IPL on pubic hair? ›

IPL hair removal is a progressive treatment that offers full body hair removal - but you can use IPL to treat separate areas, such as your arms, legs, or pubic area, depending on your individual needs. When using IPL, you'll hold a flashgun device that delivers a spectrum of light to the skin.

What happens if you use IPL too often? ›

Don't use IPL every day: Using IPL too frequently can actually slow down the hair removal process and increase the risk of skin irritation or other adverse reactions.

Are home IPL machines as good as salon? ›

Professional IPL Salons

For the best results, they can be customized to meet your requirements and particular hair colour. Moreover, with an energy output of 40 J/cm2, these machines are more potent than those used at home. They are also safe to use on any desired body part.

Who should avoid IPL? ›

Safety of IPL Treatment

This treatment does not involve a light spectrum that causes or increases skin cancer. However, IPL treatment is not safe for pregnant women and those on blood thinners.

Can IPL laser go wrong? ›

A full-thickness or third degree burn would be the most severe adverse event that could occur to the skin through misuse, error or malfunction of an IPL or laser.

When should you not use IPL? ›

Contraindications (reasons why IPL may not be suitable for you)
  1. Recent sunburn.
  2. Unprotected sun exposure or solarium use 4 weeks prior to treatment.
  3. Pregnancy.
  4. History of seizures.
  5. Severe dermatitis or eczema (within the treatment area)
  6. Active infections.
  7. Roaccutane use in the last 6 months.

Does IPL work on GREY hair? ›

Have you wondered will laser hair removal work on grey hair? Unfortunately the answer is no when it comes to grey/white hair and laser hair removal.

Is IPL worth the money? ›

Some scientific studies have shown that IPL can effectively reduce redness associated with rosacea. Other studies have confirmed that IPL can significantly improve facial skin with fine wrinkles, uneven texture, and dark spots.

Are all IPL machines the same? ›

Not all IPLs are created equal.

There are different levels of quality of IPL machines. You can find them for as cheap as 10K or as expensive as over 100K. You get what you pay for. I believe my IPL from Lumenis Lasers is the best (and most expensive) on the market.

What's better than IPL laser? ›

While both technologies have their advantages, laser hair removal is faster, more precise and can cater to darker skin tones while delivering permanent hair reduction. IPL and laser technology are also both available for safe, self-administered home use on the face, arms, legs, bikini line, chest and hands.

Are at-home IPL lasers worth it? ›

But with less power also comes less effectiveness: The at-home devices don't work as well as the pro models. More downsides: It's hard to cover a lot of territory — like an entire leg — with the small at-home devices, Dr. Ward says. And they might not be strong enough to get completely hair-free.

Does IPL really remove hair permanently? ›

IPL isn't going to make every single hair on your legs (or bikini line, or wherever) permanently vanish, but both in-office treatments and many quality at-home IPL devices are FDA-approved for permanent hair reduction. You may need a few sessions to see results, though, and IPL treatments aren't for everyone.

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