We all do it, and if you’re anything like me, it’s not your favourite part of the week.
I mean why would anybody voluntarily put themselves through this for fun?
My husband laughs at me when I finally drag myself off the sofa to endure my fortnightly ritual of de-fuzzing (yes I get a little hairy by the time I shave, but it was that or shave weekly – err no). It’s okay for men. For the majority, it’s a 5-minute affair in front of a shaving mirror, and Bobs your uncle. Done for another week.
Women have more places to think about, and we’re judged on it too. It’s hard to look good all the time; except in winter when I cheat by leaving my legs to hide under my trousers – we’re talking full-on Yeti (what the men don’t know will not hurt them, right). Anyway…
Keeping yourself de-fuzzed is a serious business, and not every shaving product’s the same.
They all promise silky smooth results and a pain-free routine. Rarely do they deliver. I mean, come on, it’s 2016. Surely there’s an answer for us ladies?
That’s why I decided to look into something a little more permanent, or at least long-term when it came to my hairy parts.
I never really liked the idea of visiting a professional beauty salon for treatments. Mainly because it’s ongoing, embarrassing if I’ve let myself become a little free-range, and bloody expensive. Taking this path isn’t just a whole lot of commitment, but financially taxing to keep up with. Once you start you really do need to stick with it.
No, no, and another no. Thank you.
There had to be a better way.
Like with anything else, technology advances, and I wanted to know if the humble razor (or waxing) could be replaced with something more cutting edge. Something that really would make life easier, and hopefully keep me smoother for longer, and with the minimum amount of pain.
Given the extortionate cost of visiting a beauty salon, I didn’t mind putting down the cash up front if it gave results. Enter the home hair removal kit from Philips. Namely the Philips Lumea Hair Prevention System.
Here’s my review….
So, which model did I choose?
As I bought this for personal use I opted for the middle of the road and went with the Philips Lumea Prestige SC2006/11.
Yes a sizable investment, but when you consider the alternative (that would be the beauty salon) I was willing to take the financial punt to make my life easier – thinking the big picture here.
And amongst other things this model promises:
- Around 88,000 UK women staying hair-free with Lumea
- Effective: over 75 per cent reduction in hair regrowth in just eight weeks
- Fast: 4 cm sq application window with slide and flash mode for even faster application as well as step and flash mode for precision treatment
- Convenient: salon IPL technology for home use – cordless, no lamps, gels or accessories needed
- Versatile: For face, legs, arms, bikini area and underarms. Five settings – for most skin tones and hair colours
There are cheaper models on offer, but as I wanted to go cordless, I opted to pay a little more. Not the most expensive in the range, but still a significant outlay at £450 (I must be mad, I know).
For the bulk of this Philips Lumea review, my comments relate specifically to the SC2006/11. Though in some cases they will also apply to the range (that, or I will specifically reference the range as a whole).
Initial thoughts out of the box.
It looks like something out of Star Trek (lol).
My little boy thought I’d bought him a new laser gun, and naturally, he wanted to play. It’s well packaged, though and feels good in the hand. It also comes with a storage pouch, charging cable, and an attachment for my top lip, and more delicate areas such as armpits and the bikini area.
Essentially it’s an attachment for anything that’s not your legs.
It’s worth noting that other models (yes more expensive) come with an additional attachment that’s specifically for your bikini area. I opted to save a little money though, and use the generic attachment – £50 is a lot of money, and it feels much happier living in my bank account.
So, what is IPL?
IPL is the light-based technology used to zap away those unwanted hairs.
It stands for Intense Pulsed Light, and it’s based on the same kind of technology used when you visit those expensive professional beauty salons. It’s not quite the same thing though as it’s been adapted for safe and effective use in the home – It’s designed to target just the hair follicles, and not blast a hole in you.
How does it work?
I’m glad you asked. When you position the Lumea onto the skin and zap, the light travels down the follicle to the root and causes the hair to shed naturally. Over time re-growth is inhibited for a time which gives you the desired silky smooth skin you bought it for.
Science bit over.
Are you going to see perfect results immediately?
In a word, no. Sorry guys, it just doesn’t work that way.
However, if you invest your time with the Philips Lumea, and keep at it, then buttery soft smoothness awaits. You just need to be patient and stick with it for a while – sorry, no shortcuts here!
Using the Lumea isn’t like conventional shaving. Your legs are not going to be smooth after the first session. The more sessions you administer, the better the results will be going forward.
Think about it like getting a large tattoo. The first session is the outline. The second you have some of the colour put in. Then you come back to have the finishing touches. After that it’s just a case of maintenance, and getting a touch-up now and then (if you want to keep the colour vibrant).
It’s the same here. I found that after the first session not all the hairs fell out, and those that did started growing again about a week later. After the next few sessions, I was noticeable patchy. Finally, I reached nirvana and got to show off my follically challenged legs and armpits.
You’ll notice I neglected to mention my bikini line. More on this in a bit.
So, how did my first few sessions with the Lumea actually go?
It’s worth mentioning here that you’re required to shave the area you plan to zap to prepare it for treatment. I know this sounds a little backward, but the reason is twofold. It clears the way for maximum exposure, and it provides a clear channel for the light to travel down to the follicle.
For my initial run, I opted to keep things simple. I just treated my legs and my armpit hair. I don’t really have hairy arms (I’m blessed like that – yay me). I also wanted to see how things went before tackling my more sensitive bikini area – if any part of this is going to hurt, it’s the bikini area.
Session 1 – I still had hair, then some of it fell out over the coming days, and then hair started to grow back again (drats!).
Session 2 – A little better this time. Hair started to significantly shed after the treatment, and the re-growth was noticeably less. Still a little patchy, but a step in the right direction.
Session 3 to 5 – Noticeably less re-growth over these sessions. By the fifth, I was as smooth as Uncle Fester’s head and very happy to boot.
Sessions are about 2 weeks apart. After this, you’re just performing maintenance. I’d say every 6 – 8 weeks. This helps keep you smooth and soft.
You have to stick with it to get the results, but luckily it’s a breeze to use, and only takes minutes.
What’s the Philips Lumea like to actually use?
Well, I have an average pinkish complexion, with dark hair. This makes me an ideal candidate for the Lumea’s IPL zapper. To begin with I wasn’t quite ready to tackle my most intimate parts, or my top lip for that matter. So I played it safe and zapped my legs and armpit hair first.
I’m not going to lie; it does hurt a little. It’s not excruciating or anything like that. It just stings a little. Nothing us ladies can’t handle though and not a patch on epilating. To help counter this, you have 2 choices. Turn the setting down a notch. This should make things more bearable (this is what I did), or you can cool the skin with some ice (or a bag of frozen peas).
Turning the intensity down does weaken the zap, but it’s not a race, and no beauty treatment is worth suffering for. That’s how I looked at it. That’s also why I’ve never been a big fan of waxing.
After I completed my first full course on my legs and armpit hair (and given how well it went), I felt it was time to try my bikini area.
This was NOT for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not for you.
I’ve always been a little sensitive around that part of my body. I just found it a little too uncomfortable, both during, and after the session. Even with the precision attachment to help with more delicate areas. For me, the bikini area was simply a no-go zone. It looks like I need to keep my Bic Razor.
I want to be clear here, though; I’m the kinda gal that cries when I pluck my eyebrows – so don’t rule this out for the bikini area just because I’m a bit of a wimp.
Which model should you buy – yes there’s more than one (just to make things confusing)
Okay, so you’ve decided it’s time to take the plunge, but which model should you buy? More to the point, what’s the difference? I mean, a zap is a zap. Right?
There are 4 models to choose from in the Lumea range, and each with 2 – 3 variants. These are the Prestige, Precision, Advanced, and Essential. Prices as of right now range from £200 all the way up to £525, if you’re feeling flush. I wasn’t which is why I opted for the middle of the road pricing. Still significantly less than paying a salon for the pleasure of de-fuzzing me.
Unfortunately none of the models comes in a completely “pain free” variant (sorry ladies – we still need to wait for that Holy Grail). The main differences between models are:
- Number of lifetime “flashes” (the Lumea doesn’t require replacement lamps)
- Number of attachments included
- Corded or un-corded (do you need to plug it in to use)
There are other subtle differences, but these are the main ones you should be considering.
When making that all important selection the main question you need to keep in mind is “what am I using it for”. Anybody who says ‘hair removal’ can see me after class. What I mean is, will you be just zapping your legs, or will you want to tidy that all important bikini line. Not everybody will want to treat their delicate area.
You also need to decide if you want to be free to use it without plugging it in first. If you want to go cordless, then you’ll pay a little more for the privilege.
Who is the Philips Lumea NOT for?
According to their website, if you have very pale hair (light blonde, white or grey) or you have very dark skin (rarely burn, tan very quickly) then the Philips Lumea may not be suitable for you. It would be worth contacting them first before you buy if this is you. If you are inbetween – i.e. you are mixed race with olive or light to medium dark skin, then you are probably fine (according to some other reviews I’ve read).
Also, it’s not recommended for pregnant women or breastfeeding women.
Oh, and yes, men CAN use this. 🙂
The verdict – drum-roll, please
I’ll be the first one to admit that the Lumea isn’t going to be for everybody.
You do need to stick with it if you want to see results long term. For some, it’s simply going to be easier and cheaper, to continue shaving, or waxing (if you don’t mind the pain).
However, if what you’re after is reduced cost and effort long-term (especially if you want to be able to go for a longer time without having to deal with hairiness issues) then the Philips Lumea will be perfect for you.
The cost of entry may be a little prohibitive when comparing it to a pack of Bic razors. But when you compare it against the cost of visiting a beauty salon, and the time-cost of having to shave or wax every day or few days, it really starts to make sense.
Unlike other manufacturers, Philips have opted to supply the Lumea with a sealed lamp. Hence the “lifetime flash” figure supplied.
Once the lamp dies it’s time to buy a new Lumea, but 140,000 to 250,000 flashes should keep you out of trouble for several years.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have the additional cost of replacement lamps every few months (or the accompanying gel). So while other products cost a little less, they actually sting you long-term with replacement parts.
Now everybody’s different.
We all come in different shapes and sizes. Different skin tones, hair types and more importantly we all have differing thresholds when it comes to pain.
Me? I hate pain, so I like to keep it to a minimum, thank you.
That being said I LOVE my Lumea. It’s by far my favourite beauty product. When my Lumea zaps its last hair follicle I’ll be straight off to town to buy another. I’m from Yorkshire so I like to look after my pennies. If that’s not endorsement enough, I don’t know what is. I don’t know how I managed without one for so long!
It comes down to this really. If you hate shaving, waxing, or you’ve been thinking of visiting a beauty salon, then I do think this wonderful little device is for you. Is it perfect? No. Can it be frustrating? Yep. Am I glad I bought one? Absolutely.
I mean it even has the Good Housekeeping Institute award… and that many house wives (or husbands) can’t be wrong, right? It also comes with a nice 2 year guarantee.
So, if you want to be silky smooth, but don’t want the embarrassment of visiting a beauty salon, then climb aboard my lovelies. Just watch out for your intimate parts if you’re as wimpy as I am.
It’s a big thumbs up from me, like you hadn’t figured that out already.
Happy zapping ladies. It’s a smooth world out there, and it’s ready for the taking!