Laser hair removal 2021: Does the Philips Lumea IPL machine work, even on facial hair?

Sun is out, time for smoother skin. But does the popular Philips Lumea IPL machine do a good job of stopping hair growth? And should you choose the Lumea Advanced, or the Lumea Prestige?

Monday, 19th July 2021, 3:38 pm

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Fed up of smelly depilatory creams, painful waxing, razor burn, and in search of hairless skin, I trailed both the Philips Lumea Advanced IPL hair removal machine, and the Philips Lumea Prestige, to see if they effectively saw off body hair and left me smoother for longer. Here’s how I got on...

How does the Lumea work?

A smooth, handheld ‘gun’ device, both the Philips Lumea Advanced and the Philips Lumea Prestige use intense pulsed light (IPL) - gentle flashes of light that target the root of the hair, to inhibit the cycle of regular hair growth. With continued use, it purports to result in completely smooth legs. The below review pertains to both models, as they are in essence very similar - I tested both. 

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Where can it be used?

With three different attachment heads, the Lumea IPL can be used on the face, body, and bikini line. It has five energy settings, and a ‘smart sensor’ which to advises which setting is best for your skin tone.

Does it hurt?

Pain thresholds are individual, of course, but I didn’t find this bad at all - indeed, I somewhat enjoyed it, a light pinging sensation and bit of heat. Many compare it to having a hot rubber band snapped against your skin, but I think that overstates the intensity somewhat. Certainly, it’s considerably less painful than an epilator (shudder) or waxing (the horror).

Does it make a mark?

No, though the skin will appear slightly red for about ten minutes after use.

How long does it take?

Facial hair is the work of mere minutes, but legs do require a bit more dedication - this is something you’ll want to do in a warm enough room, listening to a podcast or catching up on Netflix.

To do both legs took me around 25 minutes. Under arms took 2 minutes for both, and the bikini line can be done in about 2 minutes flat. Over the weeks as I used the machine, I got much swifter, especially as I found hair regrowth diminished.

Does the Lumea work?

Yes, it does. It requires a reasonable time investment - it will take three months before you’ll be slippery smooth. My leg hair took 12 weeks to stop growing back -from now on, it’s a question of monthly upkeep, so the grunt work is done.

Personally, I’ve found it a revelation on facial hair. I was not keen on cultivating a moustache (no disrespect to those ladies who happily have one), nor on the wiry, pipe cleaner hairs that have been sprouting from my chin with alarming rapidity as I edge through my thirties.

While taking to the moustache with depilatory cream was effective, and a set of tweezers to my chin whiskers curiously satisfying, I was fed-up with the aggressiveness with which the hair grew back.

But the Lumea, after about four weeks’ use, to my delight, broke the spirit of my facial hair. The moustache grows back as a whisper of its former self, and much more slowly. Same with the chin whiskers, which sprout up much less frequently, are thinner, and require a simple easy tug with a pair of tweezers, as opposed to the yank they once required.

Philips Lumea Advanced vs Philips Lumea Prestige: which is better?

There are two models of the Philips Lumea, the older Advanced (£270), and the newer Prestige (£449). 

Both work effectively to reduce hair growth. However, the Prestige has a larger treatment area (making it faster to use) and can be used on darker skin tones effectively than the Advanced. If you can stretch to the Prestige, you won’t regret it, but you will still get some impressive bang for your buck from the Advanced.

What’s bad about the Lumea IPL?

Unfortunately, because of the nature of intense pulsed light, it doesn’t work on very dark skin - it needs to be able to differentiate skin tone to hair colour. On a similar line, if you’re very fair - with blonde, grey, or light red body hair - it won’t work.

In summary

Both of the Philips Lumea IPLs - Prestige and Advanced are a terrific means of permanently inhibiting hair growth - particularly for smaller areas of hair. It requires quite a bit of time up front but less and less as you go on. Simple to use, and very effective.

Philips Lumea Prestige

Though both IPL machines will do you proud, the Prestige is better for tackling larger areas of the body faster - great if you want smooth legs. It also works on darker skin tones, (although if you are very dark, it won’t, unfortunately). And it looks sleek, sexy, and cool, too.

Buy now

Philips Lumea Advanced

The primary advantage for the Advanced is that it is considerably cheaper than the Prestige, and it will do a great job of getting you hairless, though it works best on smaller sections of skin.

Buy now