Hair today, gone tomorrow: We tested the Philips lumea IPL device and got results, fast

·4 min read
It can be used on legs, underarms, the bikini line and face (iStock/The Independent)
It can be used on legs, underarms, the bikini line and face (iStock/The Independent)

Hair removal has dramatically advanced in recent years, with shaving and waxing no longer our only at-home options.

If you’re looking for a painless and more long-term solution to keeping your skin hair-free, intense pulsed light, aka IPL, is one of the most effective ways to achieve it. Over time, IPL destroys the hair at the root.

Philips is a leading brand when it comes to at-home hair removal, with an extensive range of trimmers, epilators and IPL machines, and over the past few weeks, we’ve been testing the lumea BRI/923 device in a bid to see if it’s better than its competitors.

How we tested

Firstly, preparation is very important. Your skin needs to be as smooth as possible during and in between uses, so we found it easiest to slot the treatment into our post-shower routine, after shaving.

Secondly, IPL requires continuous use, typically weekly for up to 12 weeks, but it can vary depending on the devices. With this particular model, the first four treatments need to be carried out every two weeks, then touched up every four weeks.

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Our main areas of concern were legs, underarms and the bikini line, so throughout our testing, we paid close attention to the regrowth seen in these places, but we also considered how easy the corded device was to use and any sensation we felt during each treatment.

Philips lumea BRI/923

Buy now £300, Argos.co.uk

Firstly, this model is very lightweight and has been designed to sit comfortably in your hand. It comes with a more extensive accessory kit than the other IPL devices we’ve tried, with two extra heads: one for the face and the other for your bikini line.

Also included is a satin compact pen trimmer (£24.99, Philips.co.uk) that’s designed for touch-ups on areas that are hard to reach or easy to miss, such as the eyebrow, around the knee, or upper lip. It doesn’t come with the AAA battery required for use, however, so you will need to buy one.

We have to admit, at first we thought the trimmer was a bit of an unnecessary gimmick, but it actually came in very handy around the knee – a particularly tough spot to reach with the IPL device. It also does a great job at tidying up your eyebrows without having to pluck.

The setup is easy: simply plug the corded machine in, press the on button on the head of the device and choose from five intensity settings.

It’s lightweight and simple to use. To treat each area, make sure it's sitting flat on the skin and the flash and a white light on the back of the device will indicate it's working.

Read more: 8 best laser hair-removal and IPL machines to use at home

There’s a slight warm sensation for settings one to four, but by five it’s hot with a bit of a pinch – but not so uncomfortable we had to stop at any point. For bigger areas like our legs, we held it down flat and glided the device over our skin, but for our underarms, we used a stamp-like motion to press, let it flash, lift off and place down on a different area.

It’s designed to be used every two weeks for the first four weeks and, if we’re being honest, the big gaps make it easier to forget when you last treated limbs, so we found it helpful to set a reminder in our calendar.

After two treatments, we began to see hair growing back thinner – particularly along the bikini line – and after the third treatment we started to see less regrowth every week.

The verdict: Philips lumea BRI/923

As the Philips lumea BRI/923 requires fewer treatments than other IPL machines, it takes fewer tries to see a difference in hair growth and overall we were pleased with how our hair decreased in thickness and density after three treatments. It’s a pretty straightforward process but it’s not the speediest, so give yourself at least 30 minutes to treat your legs. We found it easiest to complete while watching Netflix, as it made the process less laborious.

Our only qualm? For the price tag, we would have liked to see protective glasses included.

Buy now £300.00, Argos.co.uk

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