At-home hair removal – a game changer!

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In August 2021, I bought the Braun IPL Hair Removal device – it was definitely the best purchase I made last year!

I am Native Alaskan, so I have thick, dark hair. I have tried so many types of hair removal. Shaving takes forever, and my hair grows back so fast. I hated the grow out period and the pain of waxing. I bought an epilator, and used that for awhile, but I was having to drink 2-3 glasses of wine just to get through it, lol – it was so painful! I started just letting my hair grow, unless I had an event to shave for.

Then we started planning for our vacation, and I didn’t want to shave daily. I had researched IPL devices and was ready to try one. When reading reviews on Amazon, I noticed a lot of the cheaper ones had some reviews for the IPL device, but then further back, the reviews were for a completely different product. I think the listings were switched to make it look like the IPL device was highly rated. I decided to go with a brand I was familiar with, Braun. The epilator I had before was a Braun device. So I bought the Braun Silk Expert Pro 5 IPL device.

I call it my laser, but it’s not actually a laser. IPL stands for Intense Pulsating Light. Light energy is absorbed by the melanin in the hair shaft. The light energy is converted to heat energy, and it puts the hair follicle to sleep. It works best on people with light skin and dark hair. It won’t work on blonde, red, or white hair. You shave the area that you want to use the device on, and then you can use the device two different ways. If it’s a small area (upper lip, chin, etc) you can “stamp” it. You place the sensor against the area. The lights on the side will turn white if the skin tone is suitable for treatment and the device head has good contact with the area to be treated. Then you press and release the treatment button, then place it on the next spot to be treated. For larger areas like the leg, you can use the gliding method by pressing and holding the treatment button.

For beginners and sensitive areas, there are gentle and extra gentle modes. I used those at first, but quickly switched to the regular mode, as it wasn’t painful, and I wanted the fastest results. My daughter has fibromyalgia, and is extra sensitive to pain, so we use the gentle modes for her.

It’s recommended to use it once a week for the first 4-12 weeks, and then maintain by using it every 1-2 months. I got great results on my upper lip/chin and bikini area right away. I stamp those areas. I use the gliding method on my underarms, and that area got great results quickly also. My legs took longer. I think I was gliding too fast, so I’ve started slowing down. There are two heads, the regular one, and a precision head. I use the regular for most areas, and the precision one for the shinbone area on my lower leg.

It takes me about 20 minutes to do everything, not counting the shaving time. It isn’t painful to me. Sometimes I do feel warmth, esp in thinner skinned areas, like the bikini line. Occasionally, I’ll smell burnt hair. I don’t know if that’s normal, or maybe because I missed a spot shaving.

The one thing I wish it had, that some of the other IPL devices have, is a flash countdown. The device I have has 400,000 flashes, so I’m not worried that it will go out anytime soon, but I’d like to know how many flashes I typically use in a session, so I can estimate how long the device will last for me. The manual says “up to 22 years treatment” but I still use it weekly on my legs, so I imagine it won’t last that long for me.

Now, a word of caution: because it works by sending the light energy to the melanin (pigment), DO NOT use it on areas that have extra pigment, like your nipples or labia. The manual advises not to use it on areas with moles. I have some freckles on my legs, and I did not experience any pain, but still, be careful. DO NOT use it on areas with tattoos. I have read about people who did, and it was very painful. I have a tattoo on my left ankle, and I am always careful to go around that area. There are other contraindications in the manual, so be sure to read all of those to see if they might apply to you.

What methods of at-home hair removal have you tried? Have you tried an IPL device? Let me know in the comments below:

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