6 months of using Hello Silky at home IPL device have passed, so I decided to share my personal experience now that i completed a whole 24 session treatment at home.
When I started getting it done the main question people had was “does IPL work?” and annoyingly it’s not quite as simple as a yes or no answer, but now that’s it’s been six months since I started my sessions I feel like I’m in the best position possible to properly comment on my experience.
As a side note, I should point out in case it isn’t obvious that salon-based IPL machines are slightly stronger than at home devices, and the main reason is safety. That being said, stick to your at home IPL routine and you’ll achieve results similar to mine.
Let’s start with some basic facts about IPL hair removal…
IPL hair removal (often bandied around as ‘laser hair removal’ though IPL and laser technologies are not the same) is promoted as providing 80-90% ‘permanent hair reduction’ (reduction is the key word, we’ll come onto that later) to suitable candidates that complete full IPL treatments. Full at home treatments are typically 10-12 sessions spaced one week apart, so you should expect treatment to take at least 3 months.
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light and during a treatment you are basically being ‘shot’ with flashes of intense pulsed light. The light is absorbed by the pigment in the hair, quickly turning to heat which then kills the growing cells that make the hair. For this process to work, you need to have hair for the IPL to ‘target’, i.e you can’t wax between treatments as waxing completely removes hair from the roots. Because of the way the light is attracted to dark pigment, IPL works best on those with dark hair and fair skin, but it also works on most skin tones and hair colours.
Treatment time will vary widely depending on the size of the area, but as a guide it took around 15 minutes to do my full leg sessions. it doesn’t hurt to be quite honest, it just feels a little bit hot. Nothing to worry about. I do need to point out that the laser glass gets hot after a while so it’s important not to put too much pressure on the device when placing it on the skin to avoid direct contact with the hot glass window.
The cost of professional laser is quite staggering if you asked me, and you can expect to pay thousands of dollars if you want a decent sized area (i.e legs) done. There are often offers like ‘buy five treatments get one free’ which help with the cost, but be wary of Groupon deals and so on where you may be going to cheaper salons with outdated equipment. Once you’ve completed all sessions, it’s worth noting that annual maintenance sessions are required to keep the results tip-top. It’s not as simple as splashing a few hundreds and never looking back.
So! With that all being said, let’s bring this back to my experience…
During my treatments, I was pretty convinced it was the best thing ever. You don’t have to let your hair grow as you do with waxing and you actually have to be clean shaven for the treatment to work, so that’s a bonus…especially in summer :D. The process was surreal, as the hair would grow after the treatment then magically fall out some time after. You could see it happening. Without wanting to be too graphic and disgusting, it was actually quite rewarding to find shed hair in my knickers. (Sorry, but it WAS). I got so smooth everywhere, truly fantastic. The results came quicker than I expected.
Let’s start with the long-term results on my legs…
I’ve always suffered from dark, thick hair on my legs and armpits and before I started IPL I was one of those people where even if I’d just shaved you could still see the dark hair follicles under the skin. The Gillette ads infuriated me as a teenager because I couldn’t fathom clean shaven legs looking like anything other than a sea of black dots. My legs always felt rough and stubbly, despite using shaving gel and expensive blades, and I was pretty self-conscious about it.
But I don’t have leg hair like that any more. (YEY!)
I have large patches on my legs which are completely hair-free now and where I do have hair it’s definitely considerably finer. Even if I don’t shave my legs for weeks at a time (and I often don’t now) any hair that’s there is lighter and very soft to touch, so I never have to worry about accidentally grating someone who happens to have the pleasure of making skin-to-skin contact with my shin. Before IPL it was typical for me to shave my legs twice a day during the summer, now I have to remember to pack a razor at all if I’m going away for a fortnight. The results really have been that incredible.
So, without further ado, here are my “I haven’t shaved for a month” legs!
As you can hopefully tell, there are some ridiculously long hairs but other patches are completely bald. If I hadn’t had IPL then – no word of a lie – after TWO DAYS I would have looked like Patty and Selma.
So, all in all, yes I am pretty happy with how my legs have turned out. I shave my legs when I can be bothered and have clear seemingly follicle-free skin to show for it. My legs aren’t bald but as they are SO much better than pre-IPL days.
I’m a happy Hello silky user!
The hair that grows back is thinner and lighter than it was pre-IPL. I think the simple fact is that even though pubes are strong, they still get affected by the light. I still think a some extra sessions are needed.
The final verdict?
All in all, I’d say as long as you start your IPL sessions knowing what to expect, then you won’t be disappointed. If you want hair reduction, you’ll be pleased. If you want permanent hair removal to happen magically, you won’t be. I was told that various things like medication can affect the results further down the line and that hormonal life events like pregnancy and the menopause can completely undo everything in some women, so at the end of the day you just have to appreciate that if your body wants to grow hair – it will probably find a way in the long term.
If your body hair truly bothers you or makes you unhappy (as my legs did) then you’ll probably be pleased to just make any sort of dent in it. And I think that’s what you need to weigh up when it’s such a procedure.
I should point out in case it isn’t obvious that everyone’s experience is different, but if you’re looking for reviews from women who have had IPL based treatments just make sure they completed their sessions.
As a last note, at home IPL machines will vary from brand to brand and you want to buy it from a reputable place when you’re spending your money as, after all, you want this boring process to actually work!