Hello everybody! I'M super excited to write this post, because the decision to purchase the Philips Lumea Prestige SC2007/00 has been one that I have ummed and ahhed over for at least a year. Three days ago I bit the bullet, went in halves with mum and purchased the little device. It arrived today (Easter Sunday) which I was very happy about, talk about speedy on a national holiday!! So I decided to write a post explaining what it is, what I hope to achieve with it, why I went for this model in particular and also first impressions too. I plan to write multiple updates and let you know how we get on with this, as often as I can and I hope these posts will be useful for anyone who's been thinking about investing in one too.
Hair Removal and I
So it's important to start this blog post off with a disclaimer - I am a South Asian female, therefore body hair is something I have learned to just deal with. Us brown girls grow so much hair it's a little overwhelming when you hit puberty and start wondering how best to deal with it! Of course when I was a teen I was mortified, my skin is a light brown shade and my hair is dark so it was pretty visible. As I've gotten older I've definitely developed more of an ehhh attitude towards hair on my body, because I'm not a fan of shaving it grows back too quick and feels prickly, at home waxing is too time consuming and going to a salon? Girl I am on a student budget, I'd much rather be slightly furry arms and highlight on point, than have smooth arms ya feel me?? The primary method of hair removal I use is an epilator - except it frequently gives me ingrown hairs, causes my skin to be sensitive and is honestly more pain than it's worth as it rarely catches the majority of hair. Despite the attitude of I CANNOT BE BOTHERED, that had developed by the age of 20, I don't particular enjoy letting all the hair grow out, I just have more important things to care about...like third year assignments and what I'm going to do post University.
So that brings us to the last year and a half, when I have seriously been thinking about more permanent forms of hair removal. Hair removal on the regular can get expensive, can be painful, can take forever, can be uncomfortable and I just had enough of the regular process, which lead to the decision to purchase this IPL!
Laser Hair Removal At A Salon or IPL At Home?
The idea of going into a clinic serval times to get professional laser hair removal done did not phase me, I mean I'm not the most comfortable person with a stranger zapping me, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do right? Laser hair removal at a salon is basically the use of a very strong laser, at least 6-8 times (over the period of a few weeks I believe) on an area of the skin, to permanently remove the hair. It is expensive, there is no doubt about it, with a full body laser course costing at least £1.6K+. Of course you don't pay it all upfront, you pay per session and the advantages of going into a salon are firstly, there is a professional who knows what they are doing and have experience and secondly the strength of the laser means you are more LIKELY to have your hair removed permanently and for a longer amount of time. I really was considering saving up money and getting laser done, at least on my upper lip and side burns to begin with, but after tweeting about it I found out that apparently when some women get pregnant, the hair all grows back! Hearing this totally stopped me in my tracks, of course one day I would like to have children i'a and I just don't think I could risk spending so much money on a treatment which could be reversed due to hormonal changes. So I decided to spend a couple of weeks doing as much research as I could into the lumea, which my auntie has been using for over a year now. Her feedback was one of the reasons I gave this a shot and also the fact that it's currently on sale on Amazon from £300- £269.95 and the same price on John Lewis too!
What is IPL?
It stands for 'Intense Pulsed Light' therapy and it is one of the most effective methods to 'continuously prevent hair growth'. The pulses/flashes of light are applied to the skin and absorbed by the hair root. This will stimulate the hair follicle to go into a resting phase and prevent hair growth. To Philip's credit, at no point do they claim that this will permanently rid you of hair forever and after reading as many reviews as I could, I have concluded that this device will probably remove 60-80% of my body hair if I stick to it! This amount sounds amazing to me, I am not fussy if I have a little bit of hair regrowth here and there - the fact that a large portion of my hair could be banished for good sounds almost too good to be true! I didn't know this, but apparently hair grows in cycles and of course not every single hair on the body is growing in the same cycle, which is the reason why it takes several repeated regular treatments to get long term results.
Who can use the Lumea?
This is an important one, fair to dark skintones can use this safely, however very deep skintones cannot. It works on dark hair only - not white, red or blonde. This is to do with how well the light picks up the dark pigment of the hair. Pregnant or breastfeeding ladies, those with skin canceer, areas of excema, burns, wounds, diabetes, lupus erythematodes, porphyria, congestive heart disease and anyone with a history of immunosuppressive diseases (including HIV or AIDS). Also if you are on Accutane or have used it in the last six months, you can't use it AND if you're using skincare products containing AHAs or BHAs you should avoid those areas. (No more liquid gold for me for a while). Finally if you tan from sunbeds or creams you can't use it until its all faded, something I wish I had known before, because my face is still half tanned from the Bareminerals faux face tan ._.
This list should be written clearly online, because I can imagine a lot of people buying this and then being unable to use it!
How does it work?
According to Philip's instructions you must first remove the hairs on the surface of the skin. A lot of people think you have to shave, I did too, however you can use an epilator, short-trim or even wax before using this! But more on that later. You cannot use hair removal cream though, as the chemicals in cream mixed with the light could cause a skin reaction. Once your skin is hair free, you select the correct light intensity according to the table above. Now based on this table I'm light brown so I should be using 4/5...but of course I'm starting with 2/3! Once you've selected the intensity, you press it down on the skin and when it's ready, a green light on the back turns on, at which point you press the button and zap. At this point there is a bright flash of red light and there is most definitely a sensation. Not exactly pain, but it's like a quick zap of heat, gone as quick as it comes but nonetheless still enough to make my mum flinch at each zap!
The Philip's guide comes with a recommended treatment schedule. There are two phases, the first being the initial one in which you are supposed to use the Philips Lumea once every two weeks for the first 4-5 weeks. After each of these treatments hair will grow back and fall out, as the weeks go on, most of the hair will permanently stop growing. The second phase is called the touch-up one, which is recommended every 4-8 weeks. Its the part of the treatment which targets the small percentage of hair which hasn't stopped growing and as far as I know, these touchups are essential to keep skin smooth all the time.
So to break this down, you need to go through 8 weeks of regular shaving and zapping on a fortnightly basis (essentially 4-5 sessions) to get the majority of the hair permanently removed. The touchups keep it this way but it is not really essential to keep it up, as far as I can tell...although I guess time will tell!
I read a review on Amazon in which this lady stated that she didn't notice a difference by following the recommended schedule. So she decided to use it once a week on a notch higher than she had been, and within 8 weeks she had absolutely zero hair left on the areas she treated. Therefore I will be keeping an eye on my treatment and adjusting it based on how it's going.
Which Model is the best?
The way Philips have numbered their models is quite confusing, because although they seem to go up in consecutive order it is not necessarily a case of the higher the number the better the model. I bought the 2007 model because it contains 250,000 flashes before it is exhausted, which means that for two people it should last approximately 4 years. The 2008 model has a third attachment for the bikini line but only has 140,000 flashes...and you can easily use the face attachment on this model for the bikini line (with regular cleaning of course). So don't rush into buying the latest model, make sure you take you time and read into the differences. Personally this one is the best in my opinion, it has all the attachments you really need and a long life too which makes it better value for money. All philips lumeas are brilliant for the fact that they don't need replacement parts and the latest versions are all cordless.
I started off with using this one both arms, I actually shaved them, which was bizarre and something I am not used to at all but it was nice to have smooth arms for a good 7 hours, before they started feeling prickly and uncomfortable *eye rolls*. Anyway, I turned on the lumea and put it onto level 1. The process of pushing it onto the skin and the green light switching on was super quick and simple and it didn't feel uncomfortable at all. As soon as it zapped and the flash came on, there was the slightest outline of the window, which was helpful because straight afterwards I moved it down a little and flashed again. I cranked up the intensity to a 3 and it was pretty quick and easy to zap my forearm in a couple of minutes. I used a taupe coloured eyeliner to draw lines over my arms, marking out which areas I've done. I'll definitely be using a nude pencil next time though! In terms of covering all my arm, it did take a little manouvering sometimes horizontal was good, other times vertical was good. It wasn't too hard, but it did take a little bit of patience. All in all my first experience was good, there were pings of heat and it does take a little getting used to but it's over before you really think about it AND it's less painful than using my epilator too. In fact I wouldn't call it painful, just a tiny bit uncomfortable, but definitely bearable. Plus the knowledge that with dedication and patience, in a couple of weeks the hair will be gone for the most part is super motivating.
This morning I shaved my upperlip using an eyebrow razor (horrific to do, seriously even atom of my being was urging me not to do it, but I have faith!). I then attached the smaller piece on and turned the intensity to a 2. I was amazed at the speed, within 30 seconds I had zapped my whole upperlip area and I will definitely be moving up to a three next time.
My mum's experience wasn't quite the same, she didn't like the idea of shaving so she epilated and then used the Lumea about 10 minutes later. Mum experienced a lot of sensitivity, which I found odd considering she has quite a high pain tolerance and doesn't even wince during epilation! We both realised it was because her skin was still tender from epilation and for future treatment we'll wait at least 24 hours (which is what they recommended for waxing).
Next Sunday I think I'm going to do other areas and my arms and upper lip again, so I'm all in sync and then I'll see what the progress is on Sunday the 10th - the date you can expect my next update. Feel free to leave me any questions you have, I think I've covered everything but let me know if I haven't! Also if you're interested in this particular model - the Philips Lumea Prestige SC2007/00 IPL Hair Removal System for Face and Body, get it now whilst it's reduced because it's a somewhat affordable price here.
Have any of you used this before? I'd love to hear your experiences ^_^
First update post is available to read HERE!
Thank-you for reading ♥