4 things you need to know about IPL hair removal

In partnership with
John Lewis & Partners
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Offering enviable results with no downtime, IPL is easy to slot into your routine without any faff. Here’s what you need to know…

Hair removal can be an awkward, messy process at the best of times. 

You either submit to the cycle of shaving, stubborn rash, annoying regrowth, rinse and repeat, or have to deal with the situation of stripping off in front of a stranger.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way any more. IPL has historically been a salon-only procedure, but now that power has been harnessed for you to use in the comfort of your own home. 

The results are long-lasting and the process is effortless - here’s what you need to know before you get stuck in. 

How does IPL work?

IPL (which stands for intense pulsed light) makes use of scattered light in a very specific way.

Essentially, the light transfers into heat when it comes into contact with your skin, denaturing the hair follicle so it stops growing hair. 

Over time, it renders the hair follicles almost totally inactive, so once your initial course of treatment is done, you’ll most likely only need a top-up every few months. 

In fact, the Philips Lumea Prestige (available with a two-year guarantee when you buy it at John Lewis & Partners) offers up to 92% reduction in hair in just three sessions. Then once that introductory phase is complete, the hair follicle enters a resting phase that only needs refreshing every eight weeks or so.

Quite a difference from the rigours of daily shaving or weekly waxing, we’re sure you’ll agree.

How is IPL different from laser?

You might have heard laser hair removal being lumped in with IPL, and while the two share something of a common ancestor, the science between them differs significantly.

IPL and lasers both use light to denature hair follicles, but it’s the kind of light used that makes a difference. 

IPL uses pulsed, naturally-occurring light, which is why it’s so safe and easy to use at home. 

By contrast, lasers actually aren’t naturally found on the light spectrum: they’re man-made and engineered to have regular wavelengths with all the peaks lined up, and as a result, are much more intense. 

On top of that, IPL uses a much broader spectrum of light than the more focused beam used by lasers, meaning it can be used to treat a larger area in a single session. Handy if you don’t want to be at it for hours…

How will your skin react to IPL?

Take a straw poll of your friendship group, and whatever method of hair removal they use, chances are there’s a certain level of discomfort involved.

As IPL implements scattered light, it’s not very squirm-inducing at all, and while some people do report a mild feeling of warmth, it’s generally not as sensitising of your skin as any of the alternative methods.

In terms of how it looks to the naked eye, it differs from shaving or waxing in that you won’t actually see hair being removed. 

IPL works on a deeper level, but you’ll need to maintain your usual hair removal routine throughout your course - the light needs to reach the root and hair on the skin can impede this. 

How long does IPL work for?

Unlike other forms of hair removal that have to be repeated bi-weekly or daily, IPL brings a lot to the table for busy women. 

Your initial raft of at-home treatments will usually be spaced about two weeks apart, and from there, top ups are usually every four to eight weeks.

Some of us have more stubborn and faster-growing hair than others, so your mileage may vary. 

Either way, you can still expect to see your depilatory routine be scaled all the way back.

Enjoy a two year guarantee as standard when you shop the Philips Lumea Prestige range at John Lewis And Partners.