Saturday, 9 June 2018

A year on..Was it worth buying the Braun Silk Expert IPL?

Being a brunette, I am a naturally hairy person. Too much hair on my legs, toes, face etc etc. From a very early age (1st year of secondary school) I became sharply aware that I was a hairy person when my then "boyfriend" referred to me as Tash - he was referring to my top lip. I mean the cheek of it because he looked like Nookie Bear (younger audience will need to google this reference).

With hair removal on my legs and underarms, I've always shaven and been quite happy with this method. My face on the other hand has gone through all manner of removal techniques. I started with bleaching my top lip, then Immac cream hair removal, then what was for all intents and purposes, sandpaper on a plastic handle. And my most recent foray in to facial hair removal has been shaving. Now known as "dermaplaning". And with this tiny specific facial razor I have been removing my top lip hair and the downy peach fuzz. And this has meant smoother, clearer skin which foundation applies to much nicer and gives a better finish. However, I really don't want to be doing this for many, many more years and so started to investigate IPL at home devices.

What is IPL?

Intense pulsed light uses a light source to disrupt the melanin in the hair follicle, which in turn damages the hair root, and after a few treatments, means that the root is unable to produce new hair. You do need to check the skin tone guidance first though to see if this is suitable for you. It's great for me - brunette with light olive tone skin but would not be suitable for those with very blonde and light skin tone, redheads and very dark skin tones.

Why IPL and what's the difference between IPL and Laser treatment?

IPL is a safe to use at home, by yourself, without any training, treatment for long term hair removal. Note I said "long term". Before I purchased this device I had read enough to know that an IPL is not, as they advertise, permanent hair removal. An in salon course of laser treatments is permanent because the laser is able to precisely and accurately target the hair root. However, a course of laser treatments is very expensive.
What IPL offers is a significant reduction in your hair removal regime and a noticeable, visible lessening of hair re-growth.
Braun Silk Expert IPL
Braun Silk Expert IPL
Why did I choose the Braun Silk Expert IPL?
I researched IPL devices pretty thoroughly and read a lot of reviews and I was just about to press add to basket on the Philips Lumea (£389), although deciding on the right particular model number was a nightmare when I remembered a friend had said she loved her IPL device. After speaking with her she recommended the Braun Silk Expert. Apart from the obvious difference in price (the Braun was £246), I liked that the Braun was not cordless, as I had read that the cordless Philips did need charging often and people needed to re-charge mid hair removal. Also the Braun has 300,000 light flashes compared to the Philips 250,000.
How to use?
Before using you need to shave off all hair and have clean, dry skin. The Braun Silk Expert that I bought also comes with an exfoliator to remove dead skin but I haven't used this.
Sonic Body Exfoliator
Sonic Body Exfoliator
You need to stick religiously to using the IPL on the areas you want to remove hair once a week for between 4-12 weeks and until you see a significant reduction in re-growth.
I am now in week 10 but at week 9 I was able to stop the weekly treatment and am now doing it once a fortnight.
It takes me about 45 minutes to treat my legs, arms, underarms, toes and face (you can't use an IPL above your cheekbones). There are three settings on the device - I use the highest setting for arms, legs, toes and underarms and the middle setting for my face. I will soon start treating my bikini line but for now I wanted to treat the areas that most bother me!
The device omits a warm flash of red light. The heat takes a little getting used to at first. It's not hot but warmer than I had imagined. I've had no irritation after use on any areas.
This device also has a constant setting, so you can do legs/arms by just pressing on the button once and glide the device along which will then omit the pulse light at regular intervals. I don't use this as I prefer just to press, wait a second, move the device, press again.
Does it actually work?
Yes. It does. Thank goodness! I noticed a marked reduction in my underarm re-growth from week 3 and whereas pre IPL I was shaving my underarms every other day, I am now shaving once a week. 
Legs are the same, and I have noticed some areas have had very little or slow re-growth with patches of more obvious re-growth.
Arms have been great. I only used to shave these hairs every few weeks and since using the IPL I have noticed very little re-growth and all re-growth has been not as thick.
Face - slightly disappointed with this area. And it's the area and reason why I bought the device. I used to hair remove once a week and am still doing this/sometimes can stretch to every 10 days. But I will continue and hopefully will see as much reduction as in the other areas.

Should you buy an IPL?

If you have some spare cash and/or your body hair really grates on you, then yes. I am really pleased I bought this and with the results I have already seen after 10 weeks. I'm also glad I bought the Braun and not the Philips, because I can't see how spending £100 more would have made a difference.
You do need to be committed to the "start up" phase and make sure you use this once a week initially but it's no bother - I do this whilst watching some Youtube (although I do close my eyes each time I press the button when using on my face, because the pulse light is bright).

This does work.

I will do an update to this post in a few months time, so you can catch up and see how my "permanent" hair removal is going.

Here's the link to the Braun IPL available on Amazon. 


Update June 2018 - 10 months on
As promised here is an update on my use of the Braun IPL. It's a bit longer than a few months but almost a year on, I think I can now give you a good update.

As I stuck pretty religiously to the start up phase, once I'd hit 12 weeks of weekly use, I was then able to just use the IPL on a "as and when" basis. During the winter months I hardly used it at all because frankly in the winter you need that layer of fuzz to keep you warm! But even in winter I only needed to shave my arm pits twice a week.

Legs - It was recently, when wearing shorts and in bright sunlight, that I noticed that although my legs did need shaving, the regrowth was only in certain areas, and didn't cover a very large area. So I have areas on my legs, specifically upper legs and back of legs that have no regrowth, at all. Legs I can go 10 days until I need to shave.

Arm pits - I now only need to shave once every 5 days and even then the regrowth is not much and very light.

Arms - I used to shave my arm hairs once a month, now.. gosh I go so long maybe once every 2 months and even then the regrowth is hardly noticeable.

Facial hair - this is the area I'm least impressed with. I actually stopped using the IPL on my face because I think it made the peach fuzz increase. I have started to use it again and will monitor. Maybe I just need a good phase of using again to see a reduction in regrowth.

I'm still really glad I bought this and as long as you stick to the initial phase, you will see results. I still wouldn't say this is permanent hair removal but absolutely it significantly reduces regrowth and for me, in some areas, appears to have completely stopped the regrowth.


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