When I started shaving, my mum led me to believe my hair would eventually stop growing.
…If you’re raising an eyebrow right now, I understand.
Can you imagine the horror I felt when my hairs started to grow back thicker, longer and in 2s?
Over the years, I’ve also tried waxing and epilating. Neither of these methods worked out the way I expected, so more recently I’ve been playing with a home IPL device.
What is IPL?
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light.
Quite simply, it’s a series of scattered lights of varying intensities that target the hair-producing follicles and put them to sleep.
This helps to prevent hair re-growth for a prolonged amount of time, but it isn’t a permanent hair removal solution.
IPL is not to be confused with laser hair removal, which can only be done in a controlled setting with a professional.
This hair removal method is supposed to be most effective on light skin tones with dark hair.
Braun Silk Expert Pro 5
Cost & Treatment Cycle
I took the plunge and bought the Braun Silk Expert Pro 5 from Amazon for a discounted price of £300. The full price was something ridiculous like £600.
£300 might still seem like a hefty price tag, but when you add up the cost of laser hair removal in a clinic and all the repeat treatments you need, it actually starts to seem like a more economical option (if it works, of course!)
In the box, you get the device with 2 interchangeable heads of different sizes, the power pack with a Type G plug & (I believe) Type I plug, a Venus razor, a gorgeous travel case and of course, instructions.
The advice is to do weekly treatments for 4-12 weeks, then continue as needed.
By the 12 week mark, hair growth should be significantly reduced and you should only need to treat every couple of months going forwards.
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I am in love with the travel case. It’s sleek with a lovely texture and fits everything in nicely.
I’m not sure why the dividers are attached to the sides with velcro though, as they’re sewn to the bottom of the case and can’t be removed.
The device itself is quite clunky, but easy to manoeuvre and not very heavy.
Preparation & Pain
You should shave before IPL to maximise success chance, as the light will have less distance to travel to the root of the hair. I find this to be the most irritating part – my skin doesn’t react well to shaving at all.
There’s a larger head which covers a decent surface area and helps speed up the leg process.
There’s also a smaller head for more intimate and hard to reach areas.
It’s super easy to change the heads. Just pull one off and click the other in!
The Braun Silk Expert Pro 5 is generally painless; like a light needle prick in most places. The device has 3 intensity levels, but I’ve only had to drop from the maximum intensity once or twice.
I’ve found my legs to be the most troublesome. It often feels like an electric shock, which makes me pause between pulses. According to the guidelines, this is a completely normal sensation and you can keep going.
Overall, IPL is a very quick process. I’m able to do my underarms, legs and bikini line in around 10-15mins.
The device is safe and fool-proof. There are plates on the left and right of the head which must both make contact with your skin to trigger the flash, so no worries about blinding yourself.
The SensoAdapt meter on both sides of the device will light up to show how close you are to both plates touching your skin, so you can adjust accordingly.
When powered up there’s a sound of air blowing, but it’s definitely a bearable level of noise.
There’s a slight learning curve with this device, simply because you don’t see hairs disappearing before your eyes. This makes it a little awkward for first time users to avoid going over the same spots and sensitising the skin. It takes a few sessions to adapt.
You should stay out of the sun as much as possible when using IPL, particularly in the 24h after each treatment, so I don’t recommend starting this process over the summer like I did.
The instruction manual states that you “should inspect the skin tone sensors and treatment window for damage and wipe them down with a dry, lint free cloth. If any marks or black spots are seen, clean them off straight away.
To ensure maximum performance, keep the heads and built-in reflectors free from dirt, hair or other debris. Do not clean in water, but use a dry cloth for cleaning them carefully.“
This has been somewhat impossible.
Firstly, it would have been good if Braun had provided an appropriate, lint free cloth. Aside from that, I’ve found that the marks and black spots that appeared in the treatment window are burnt in and I can’t remove them. Not to mention the fact that the windows are very small and I can barely fit my fingers in!
At the 16-18 week mark, I still had to shave a few days after each treatment.
A few more weeks in and results are not as good as I had hoped. In certain areas, there’s a noticeable reduction in hair growth or at least hairs are growing back significantly thinner, but there’s no consistency and I’m very patchy.
Its been almost half a year and the novelty is starting to wear off quite quickly. It seems to be worth taking the plunge and paying a bit more to get sorted by a professional.
On the other hand, if you find shaving impractical because it needs to be done so often, but epilating or waxing hurts too much, this could be a good alternative if you’re willing to part with the cash.
Have you tried home IPL? Or did you choose the laser route? Or are you just fortunate enough to get away with a more basic hair removal method?