Philips Lumea Precision IPL Hair Removal
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year break. Sadly it goes too quickly doesn't it?
I've been meaning to write this review for such a long time, but there's always some sort of seasonal shenanigans getting in the way so here it is finally, after relentless testing, my 100% honest review of the most famous at home IPL device, the Philips Lumea*!
What is IPL? How does it work? And how to use it...
IPL is a light based treatment which translates to 'intense pulsed light'. This method prevents and reduces hair growth by heating up the hair and root under the skin, allowing the melanin in the root to absorb the light pulses. The darker the hair the more light it'll absorb. This process causes the hair to go into the 3rd resting phase straight away.
Hair grows in 3 phases, the first phase or growing phase. This is when the hair grows actively from the root. During this phase the levels of melanin are at their highest. Melanin is responsible for the pigmentation (colour) of the hair. Melanin is also the determining factor for the success of IPL as only hairs growing during this phase are susceptible to treatment with light. Degradation is phase 2 during which the hair growth stops and the root shrinks before it sheds. Finally, resting is phase 3. During this phase the old hair separates from its follicle and sheds. The follicle remains at rest until your biological clock tells it to become active again and grow a new hair!
How I used it & did it work for me? My findings...
I was very lucky to receive this in February 2014 to trial over a long period of time. I began using it straight away, at first I was using the Lumea once per week but quickly realized as stated in the instructions that it won't actually make the growth process any quicker so everyone should start off using it once every fortnight. I quickly changed my treatment days to match the instructed. I began using the Lumea on the highest setting which is 5, best suited for people with very dark/thick hair. I have to say it's not painful, it does get a little bit hot sometimes and I have to stop for a few minutes but it's definitely painless, it just feels like a tiny zap! It's also super easy to use, the 'ready' strip at the back of the device goes green when the entire IPL screen is in contact with the skin allowing you to then press the flash button. Once the light has flashed it's only a second or two wait until the next flash.
If you find it hard to keep track of which area you have treated once you have gone all the way up the leg, grab a white kohl pencil and place two dots or lines on either side of where the device's head is touching the skin and when you go back up (or down, depends which way you're going) don't forget to slightly overlap the dots or lines you've drawn to ensure you've flash all areas.
The first 3 months...
I started noticing changes after the second treatment. I noticed that there were patches on my legs where hair didn't seem to be growing back and also the hair was taking much longer to grow back than the usual. I normally shave everyday but after 2 treatments I was only shaving 2-3 times per week! Encouraged by this, I persevered for the next 3 months until the end of May. The results were amazing! 3 months into the treatments my hair growth rate had significantly reduced AND there were several patches where hair didn't even seem to be growing back at all! My half an hour per fortnight seemed to really be paying off. For once I didn't have to shave everyday and that does make SUCH a difference to your day. I cannot express how happy I was with the Lumea results. What's even better is that with time, as you notice that you have even, long-lasting results, you can downgrade the amount of time you spend treating the area from once per fortnight to once per month as the results have now been achieved and the remaining treatments are just a case of 'maintaining' the achieved results.
However, for a 100% honest and reliable opinion, I decided that after a 3 month period with excellent results to test how long it would be before my hair started to grow back at its normal rate and to find out whether it would grow back as thick - because let's face it, although IPL is a fantastic, long-term hair removal process, it's not permanent, nor does it claim to be as this is what laser is for.
After the results...
I stopped using the Lumea completely in June to find out how long it would be before normal hair growth returned and to check if the Lumea would actually leave any near permanent results or if it's something that really has to be maintained on a monthly basis if you want to keep the results. By mid-August (2.5 months after stopping the treatments) my hair was growing back as quickly as before I started the Lumea treatments and it was also returning just as thick! Some of the completely hairless patches I had developed during the treatments took a little longer to return to normalr, but by September my leg hair was exactly the same as before the treatments, growth and thickness. This is not at all surprising as neither the Lumea nor any other IPL home system claim permanent riddance of hair, but instead a growth reduction as well as slowed regrowth so I can say that the Lumea definitely lives up to the expectation and hype, and 3 months of completely stopping before the growth started again is a pretty decent time if you think that hair grows back just 1 month after waxing or epilating.
I have to say that overall I'm very happy to have this in my life, I think it's a great, cost and time effective way of reducing and slowing hair growth, especially for those with hair that grows at supersonic speed. It may seem like a pricey gadget AND it definitely is, but think of all the money you spend on razors, waxing, epilating etc and not to mention the time. With 140,000 flashes, the Lumea is supposed to last you for an average of at least 5 years (based on Philips' research).
Just to put it into perspective for you, if you were to use the Lumea on your lower legs for one year once per fortnight for the first 3 months and reduced the treatments to once per month for 9 months you would use approximately 4,050 flashes per year out of the Lumea's 180,000
The Lumea Precision also comes with a small facial attachment to help you get rid of your tash and all other facial hair and it comes beautifully presented in an oval shaped box - providing the perfect storage or even travelling solution. It holds enough charge for both lower legs and half a lower arm so you can definitely treat 2 areas before having to charge it which is great. The cordless, hand-held shape is perfect for holding positioning and light to use. Trust me I've used other IPL systems which are just a pain to hold and position so the easy design of the Lumea makes it very easy and quick to use.
To close off this review, I'd just like to say that I'm definitely impressed with the Lumea, it delivers on its promise, it's brilliantly easy and quick to use, it's great value for money, mostly painless and is a complete must-have if you want a more long-lasting method of keeping hairy legs or arms at bay.
Have you ever used any at-home IPL systems? Would you give the Lumea a go? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!