Ladies (and gentlemen), summer is around the corner, which means sun-kissed skin, thirst-quenching cocktails, salt water… and razor burn?
Summer has always been synonymous with trying to stay on top of my fast-growing hair. Because let’s be honest, there’s nothing worse than lounging by a pool only to glance down at your bikini line and realise you forgot to shave (queue that Charlotte scene from Sex & The City).
I’ve got naturally fair hair, and while it is fine, there is a lot of it, which has led me to try a range of hair removal techniques in the past, from creams to shaving, waxing and even professional hair removal treatment a couple of years ago.
While I loved the results of laser hair removal, fast forward a few years, and my hair growth is almost back to pre-treatment. And these days, popping down to the High Street once every month for 12 months just doesn’t fit my schedule.
So when I had the opportunity to review an allegedly pain-free at-home hair removal device, I was more than happy to put my body on the line in the name of beauty.
But First: What is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)?
According to SmoothSkin, IPL is ‘a light-based hair removal method which targets the melanin (pigment) inside the hair to interrupt the hair growth cycle and prevent hair regrowth without damage to the skin’.
It works by transferring light energy through the skin’s surface, which is then absorbed by the melanin present in the hair shaft. The absorbed light is converted to heat energy which disables the hair follicle preventing further growth. It’s recommended to do the first treatment once every 12 weeks to catch each hair during its growth phase.
However, IPL technology is not suitable for all skin types so it’s best to check your skin tone on the CurrentBody website. Crucially, SmoothSkin’s device is very safe as it has an in-built skin tone sensor to prevent accidental activation.
Before jumping in, I spot-tested a patch of hair to ensure no unwanted reaction and, after 24 hours, was in the clear. Any SmoothSkin treatment must be on hair-free, clean skin, so after a long shower exfoliating and shaving, I was ready to go.
Although the device has a smaller, more precise head to target smaller areas, such as on the face or fingers, I started with the bigger head. I lasered my underarms, bikini, snail trail and legs in under 45 minutes the first time.
SmoothSkin has multiple different settings, including ten energy settings, three comfort modes (power, speed and gentle) and two operating settings (stamp or glide), so you can customise the experience for different parts of your body. The only downside is getting familiar with all the settings, which can be time-consuming.
Once I got used to the device, I could laser those sections of my body in around 20 minutes, which, while slightly longer than a professional session, is super quick for an at-home session (plus no travel time). It claims to be one of the fastest IPL machines on the market, with up to 100 flashes per minute
It was straightforward to use as there are sensor lights which light up when the device has good contact with the skin. It was tricky in some areas, such as the ankles and knees, but after rotating the head a couple of times, I got to them.
Is it Painful?
Having done laser hair removal treatments, I knew what to expect. You feel a warming sensation and the feeling to the effect of a rubber band flicking on your skin. It was uncomfortable but not painful. As you only zapped the spot once, the pain threshold for me was a three out of 10.
During the first couple of sessions, there were some sensitive parts of my body, such as around the bikini line. But after a couple of sessions, my skin had adjusted, and it was not something I dreaded doing (the shaving before was still worse).
Every week, you get excited to see the results, as even after the first session, I noticed my hair was taking slightly longer to grow back in some areas. By three weeks, there was a noticeable reduction in hair growth, and now I was starting to see the patches I had missed in the previous sessions.
At the halfway point, six weeks in, I had very slow hair growth and was amazed at how quick and effective the at-home treatment compares with the more expensive professional treatment.
The downside to at-home laser hair removal treatments is you have to undertake maintenance sessions more frequently, every one to two months, to keep regrowth at bay. But it seems like a small tradeoff to shaving every week.
I would highly recommend the SmoothSkin device for people looking for a semi-permanent solution to hair removal. The device is quick, simple and safe to use, plus you can do it in the privacy of your own home. There are multiple settings and heads so you can customise the treatment to any part of your body. For me, if it takes away the hassle of shaving every week and the dreaded holiday anxiety of not having shaved, then to me, it is worth it.
The SmoothSkin Pure Fit IPL Hair Removal Device is currently on sale at CurrentBody for £222.