Yesterday I kicked off Body Hair Week here on the blog with a lengthy post on my experience of salon-based IPL treatments. Def have a read of that if you haven’t already for an intro to all things IPL.
Before I started salon based IPL treatments, I was slightly obsessed with the IPL devices that you could buy in Boots for use at home. Way back then there were two main players: Philips with their Lumea and iPulse with their Smooth Skin. I wrote about them extensively on my original WIWT blog and there are some reviews comparing the two devices as they were in 2011 (!!!) here.
Reading those ancient blog posts reminded me of all the things that frustrated me about those devices, but it was mainly how unspeakably boring and faffy the whole ‘IPL at home’ process was. You needed gel, you needed time (SO MUCH TIME) and the onus was on you to figure out if you were pale or tanned if you didn’t want to burn yourself. I had been impressed by the results, but found the time investment so ridiculous that I was quickly looking for professional alternatives.
Fast forward to now and the two main players in the home IPL market are still the Lumea and SmoothSkin, but where they once had fairly comparable devices, the latest release from SmoothSkin – the SmoothSkin Gold – blows all its competition out of the water. And, wonderfully, it has a fix for all the things that used to frustrate me with it before.
Gel? Gone. You don’t need to faff around with gel to use the SmoothSkin Gold. It’s designed to be used without any annoying skin prep at all. (Except shaving, obvs).
Hours and hours of zapping? Gone. There is now just *one second* between shots, where you used to have to wait for SIX SECONDS. (Six seconds doesn’t sound like a lot, but when a treatment window is 4cm and you are doing your entire leg it very quickly adds up). There isn’t a faster device on the market.
Self-assessment? Gone. You really can damage your skin with an IPL machine so they’re not LOLsome beauty gadgets to just lark about with. I never liked having to assess for myself how dark I was – especially in summer – because it seemed like such a subjective thing to be deciding. The SmoothSkin Gold detects your skintone and adjusts the output accordingly. You can’t get it wrong! And it can change its output with every flash so it’s perfect if you’ve got, say, tanned shins but pale thighs. (Like me).
Oh and none of these improvements have come at the expense of making it less powerful, it’s still the most powerful home device on the market at 95000 milliwatts compared to the Precision Plus Lumea’s 5700mw.
This handy guide compares the key features of some of the more popular IPL devices…
It’s clearly, at the moment, the best home device money can buy.
From a practical point of view I was pleased to see how much smaller (and snazzier!) it is now compared to its predecessor.
I received my SmoothSkin Gold at a press event last summer but never used it as I was in a waxing schedule pre-wedding and then post-honeymoon I didn’t want to zap my tan (I know, I know – world’s smallest violin!) but I’m definitely going to start using it properly on my legs to see if I can zap those final strays I was talking about yesterday. I have a course of underarm and bikini waxing all paid for so until I finish those up I won’t try it anywhere else, but this device can be used everywhere (even the face) so it seems like a pretty good investment.
Pain-wise, I used it today and it does have a bit of a kick to it, but I like that as it makes me feel like it’s a decent powerful device. It feels the same as my salon machine felt which is reassuring. (I appreciate it won’t actually be as strong as a salon device).
Awesomely for IPL newbies or those with a low pain threshold, there’s a ‘gentle care’ button which you can activate to make it less ouchy, but obviously what it’s doing realistically is reducing the flash output i.e you won’t get the same results as quickly if you choose to use the gentle option all the time. It’s a good idea for when you start out though or for the more painful areas like knees and ankles.
I suspect it will be hard for me to review its efficacy accurately as I’ll be coming from the point of view of having had professional IPL done, but I will report back anyway in a few months. (Weekly treatments are recommended for 12 weeks then monthly maintenance sessions).
The device costs £299 and you can buy it at Boots (think how many advantage card point that is?!) or directly from SmoothSkin. Handily, SmoothSkin offer a payment plan if you buy it directly them so you don’t have to pay the whole lot up front. They also do a 90 day money back guarantee.
I assumed they’d have made it more expensive as it’s so much better than past versions, but they seem to have been pretty fair with the pricing and it’s the same as previous models. There never used to be such an obvious “winner” in the home IPL market, so at least it’s easier for consumers now. Researching the different models back in the day drove me bonkers.
I wonder what improvements the next few years will bring to the IPL market? And if one day we really will ever be able to ditch the razors completely?!
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post which is all about the best waxing in London.