Long term product trial: Philips Lumea IPL home hair removal treatment
Hair removal is one of those constant annoyances, as no matter how regularly you shave/wax/epilate, those stubborn hairs seem to return almost instantly (at least in my case). The idea of laser hair removal thus seems really attractive to many people as it's one way to permanently reduce the amount of hair that you grow. Yes, that's right- REDUCE. Laser hair removal, whether at home or in the salon will lead to permanent reduction, not permanent removal. Everybody responds to treatment differently so some may find themselves bare for a long time, whilst others may just have to shave once a month or so.
There are a lot of devices on the market at present, but Philips have just created something they feel will blow their competitors' out of the water- entitled the Lumea. This has been in development for quite some time, as I first heard murmurs about it a year and half ago, but it has just been released as they wanted to perfect it.
So how does it work, and what can it do for you?
For starters you need to check that you're a suitable user for this device which sadly rules out people with a black skintone. This is because the laser works by using light energy which turns into heat energy inside the skin, and this is attracted to the colour in the pigment of the root follicles which it then destroys. Black skin has a lot more melanin to it, and if a laser is used on it, this can lead to scarring. Equally, those with very light hair- blonde, grey or red don't have enough colour in their follicles and should also avoid this.
There are also a number of requirements to fulfil, such as only using it on the legs/underarms bikini and not the face or other areas, and to make sure you're in good health. (The list is long, so I'll let you read it yourself).
To prepare the skin it needs to freshly shaved and free from deodorant, oils, fake tan and sunburn You then choose the are you're going to concentrate on (in my case the underarms ) and take hold of the Lumea. It's weighty but not too heavy, and is comfortable to hold for a period of time.
There are 5 settings to choose from, and depending on how sensitive you are, you'll probably want to start low and work your way up to the higher levels. Press the head of the Lumea on the skin, and when all points are in contact a green light will flash on the back of the device and you then press the release button. The idea is to go over a whole are, slightly overlapping in small circles till the laser has penetrated the whole area.
The zaps aren't to painful and are over quite quickly, and I liked the fact that the large head meant you covered a large area quickly. I've previously tested out the Tria laser hair removal device, and whilst I'm a big fan of that, the small head did make covering a large area a rather long job. The Tria also emits a beep when all points are touching the skin, and flashes of light are much more soothing to the ear than constant beeping.
The Lumea charges via an AC adaptor, and you then use it cordlessly. I was told that one charge is easily enough to cover both legs, and that it charges very quietly (the Tria is rather noisy when it charges, making strange whooshing sounds). I didn't have a chance to test that however, so I'll just take their word for it!
The lamp used has a lifetime of around 40,000 flashes which is approximately five years. You can also get extra heads for it if you want to share it with a friend, to make it more hygienic.
It's not a cheapo tool, but if you consider the costs of salon visits (approx £150 per session for legs, £40 for underarms) then you can see how using this will save you money. In salon you'll have the treatment every six weeks to capture the hair growth in its different stages of cycles (anagen, catogen and telogen) but as the home device has a lesser intensity (and no salon goggles needed) you can do it more regularly.
I've already noticed that I could wait five days before shaving, and I'll report back to you soon after a couple more sessions.