- Which Philips Lumea model should you buy?
- The story of how I started using Philips Lumea
- Detailed Buyer's Guide
- What is in the Philips Lumea hair removal range?
- What are the pros and cons of the Philips Lumea?
- Why Philips Lumea hair removal range and not any other brand or model?
- Burning questions you might have:
- What do other reviewers think?
- To wrap up
This article was updated on the 23rd of June 2021.
Want to buy a home laser hair removal or light (IPL) hair removal device but worried you will buy the wrong one? Wondering where to start with all the different options out there?
I’ve personally owned and used all the Philips Lumea models over the past 6 years. After more hair removal sessions than I care to remember, I can highly recommend that Philips Lumea Advanced gives you the most value for your money. The Advanced model has all the features you need for quick and easy home IPL hair removal without the premium price tag.
You can take my word for it or read on to discover why I recommend the Philips Lumea Advanced over the Philips Lumea Prestige even though almost every other reviewer out there is recommending the Prestige.
Which Philips Lumea model should you buy?
The Philips Lumea Essential has a lack of attachments, less ergonomic shape and most of all, shorter bulb life. It is a good model to start with if you are only trying home IPL treatment out. However, if it is within your budget, I would recommend the Advanced or the Prestige model. Even though they are more expensive, they last longer and you will feel the difference.
But which of these 2 models should you choose?
It comes down to your budget and which body areas you want to treat.
The Prestige is the top-of-the-range premium model that is suited for any body area due to all the different attachments. It can also treat up to Fitzpatrick Skin Tone Type 5.
The Advanced model, on the other hand, is a mid-range model. It doesn’t come with a cordless option and has fewer attachments. There is also no smart skin sensor and no tailored programs for different body parts. In general it is better suited for smaller body areas.
Both can be used in ‘stamp and flash’ and ‘glide and flash’ mode. The speed between flashes are different. The Advanced model flashes every 3.5 seconds while the Prestige model can flash every 2 seconds. The Advanced model also has a slightly smaller treatment window so for both these reasons, your IPL sessions take a bit longer with the Advanced model.
Having said that, I chose the Advanced model over the Prestige model for price difference. I couldn’t justify paying for the Prestige model despite its premium features and I have found the Lumea Advanced to be perfectly adequate for my needs. My guess is, most women would find the Advanced model just fine to use.
The Philips Lumea Advanced is perfectly adequate for my needs. My guess is, most women would find the Advanced model just fine to use – Sharon James (me)
The story of how I started using Philips Lumea
I used to have coarse dark hair on my legs and armpits. I would shave regularly but the hair grows back within a few days and my legs would feel stubby and scratchy.
I tried hair removal creams but got worried that all the chemical absorbing into my skin regularly was killing me.
I tried epilators and waxing very briefly. OUCH!
Then I looked into having professional laser hair removal and IPL hair removal. It didn’t take me long to change my mind when I saw the sky-high prices the salons were charging. There was no way I could justify spending so much on vanity.
In the end, I decided to buy my first Philips Lumea. That was way back in 2015. I’ve not looked back since.
For sure, laser hair removal and light (IPL) hair removal at home are not as quick to show results as professional salon treatments but the massive price difference and convenience of being able to carry out treatments at home in my own time makes it all worth it.
Fast track 5 years later, I currently own a Philips Lumea Advanced and have silky smooth legs. The icing on the cake? I got here with no pain and no mess.
Detailed Buyer’s Guide
What is in the Philips Lumea hair removal range?
The Philips Lumea hair removal range is the latest generation of IPL devices by Philips. In essence there is the:
- Entry model – the Lumea Essential
- Mid-range model – the Lumea Advanced
- Premium model – the Lumea Prestige
As expected, there are some differences in features between the models. I’ll talk about some of the key differences and how they might affect you.
Philips’ most powerful device (in their words)
Philips calls this model their most power IPL hair removal device yet and claims that it can reduce 92% of unwanted hair in 3 treatments and after 12 treatments, you will be hair-free for 6 months. This would be awesome if it were true! Imagine the time you save from not having to do maintenance as often! But I would take this with a pinch of salt as most women have found it takes them a little bit longer get results.
Cordless and corded option
The Prestige comes with a built-in battery meaning it can be used cordless or corded. The battery lasts 30 minutes and takes about 1.5-2 hours to charge. The device is slower when it is being used cordless. However, the cordless option comes in handy when you need to maneuver in those hard-to-reach places like your bikini line or your face.
Four ‘intelligent’ attachments
The Prestige comes with 4 attachments. When the different attachments are fitted on the device, they trigger a tailored program for that specific body part, making it more effective and safer, especially when used on delicate and sensitive areas. This gives you peace of mind as you won’t have to worry if the light is too intense when you use it on your bikini line or face.
The attachments are:
- The facial attachment which is flat. It has a small 2 cm² window size and a special light filter. This makes it safer when you perform facial hair removal as you won’t have to worry that you’re zapping your lips and nostrils in the process.
- The underarm attachment which is curved-out to fit around the contours of your armpit better. It has a bigger 3 cm² window size.
- The bikini attachment which is also curved-out and has a 3 cm² window size. The difference between the bikini attachment and the underarm attachment is the bikini attachment has an extra transparent filter to allow more light through and the light intensity is adjusted automatically when the attachment is added to the device as hair in the bikini area tend to be stronger and thicker than other body hair. Smart huh?
- The body attachment which is curved-in with a big 4.1 cm² window size. The curved-in feature improves device-to-skin contact as you will use this attachment on your legs, arms and stomach and these body parts all tend to curve out 🙂
The Prestige has a smart skin sensor to detect your skin tone. When the device is placed on your skin, it recommends the most effective safe setting for your skin tone. There are 5 settings with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest light intensity. Especially if you have different skin tones across body areas (which most of us do, due to sun exposure etc.), it removes the guesswork. You can still bring the light intensity down a notch or two when you use the device on your more sensitive areas.
The smart skin sensor and ability to adjust the light intensity enables the Prestige to treat slightly darker skin tones than the other 2 models. It treats skin tones I-V based on the Fitzpatrick skin tone chart.
The Prestige is shaped liked a hair dryer with a long handle. This makes it easy to maneuver, especially since it is a bit heavier at 560g due to the in-built battery. However, you can twist your wrist this way and that with ease while holding it and the long handle also helps prevent the device from being caught in the electrical cord when you are trying to get to hard-to-reach places.
Delivers more than 250,000 flashes
Whoa! That sounds like an insane number of flashes and it is. Philips estimates that 250,000 flashes covers 200+ full body treatments and more than 15 years of monthly top-up treatments. However, I doubt that the device will last you 15 years as this estimate is only based on bulb life and is not taking into consideration general use, battery life, wear and tear etc.
The Advanced model comes with 3 attachments, all flat (non-curved), which is obviously not as good as curved attachments, but is more than adequate for safe and effective use over most of your body. Unlike the Prestige model, there is no tailored program for individual attachments.
The attachments are:
- The facial attachment which also has a 2 cm² window and like the Prestige model, includes an additional light filter for extra safety. You can use it for facial hair removal to treat the upper lip, chin and sideburns.
- The bikini attachment which has a slightly smaller 2 cm² window and like the Prestige, has a special filter for treating the coarser hair in the bikini area.
- The body attachment which comes already attached to the device and stays attached. It has a slightly smaller 4 cm² window size compared to the Prestige. You can use this attachment for anywhere on your body below the neckline other than the bikini area.
Skin tone sensor
While the skin tone sensor doesn’t recommend a treatment setting based on your skin tone like the Prestige model, it still analyses your skin tone and if it detects a skin tone that is too dark for treatment, the device will automatically disable.
The Advanced model is able to treat Fitzpatrick Skin Tones Type I-IV
The Advanced model is also shaped like a hairdryer (some call it gun-shaped) but with a slightly different head design and a shorter handle compared to the Prestige. It is lighter than the Prestige and despite the shorter handle, is very easy to manoeuvre.
I love the floral-looking design on the Philips Lumea Advanced. It’s so easy to hold in my hand. It feels light but solid, not flimsy like some cheaper brands out there.
Surprisingly, the latest generation of the Essential model also has a SmartSkin sensor like the Prestige and can advise you on the best setting to use for your skin tone. As with the other 2 models, it comes with 5 different settings.
The same as the Advanced model, the Essential model treats Fitzpatrick Skin Tones I-IV.
No extra attachments
The Essential model comes with one large window that can be used to treat all body areas including your face. However, as you can imagine, having a larger window makes it harder to perform facial hair removal and increases your risk of burning your lips and nostrils.
All models have these features:
Integrated safety system
All models have an integrated safety system that prevents unintentional flashing without skin contact.
Free support app
Philips also offers a free app for their Philips Lumea users. You can create tailored treatment schedules for each area of your body, get advice and tips. It also reminds you of your next IPL session. It is a useful app when you initially start using the IPL device to help get you into the groove and for advice. But the device is pretty simple to use and I can see this app falling by the wayside as you get used to your new routine.
What are the pros and cons of the Philips Lumea?
- The device is solid and the ergonomic hair dryer shape is easy and comfortable to use
- Having up to 5 light intensity options means it operates at a higher IPL power than many other devices and it can treat a wide range of skin tones and hair colour
- The attachments for different body areas made the Philips Lumea (Prestige and Advanced) much easier and safer to use
- The attachments are easy to switch
- For the Prestige, the different attachment curves fit snugly to the contours of bikini lines, underarms and legs. The intelligent attachments also tell the device what program to use
- The Prestige also has a cordless option so you can remove the cord for smaller or harder to reach areas. Keep in mind it takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes to fully charge and the battery lasts 30 minutes. The device also flashes slower in cordless mode.
- The Philips Lumea is quiet!!! I use it during baby and toddler naps all the time.
- It is effective. You will see a big difference even after the first use.
- It is painless… most of the time. But whatever discomfort you experience is fleeting and can be reduced by doing good skin prep. It is definitely less painful than waxing, epilating and threading!
- The Philips Lumea lasts a long time. According to Philips, their Advanced and Prestige models have more than 250,000 flashes, which covers > 1million cm² of body area, 200+ full body treatments and more than 15 years of monthly top-up treatments. You could share it and still get years of use. Of note, Philips have only based their assumption on bulb life, not taking into consideration general use, battery use, wear and tear etc.
- All devices in the Philips Lumea range comes with a 2 year global warranty.
- No more shaving rash or ingrown hair. Your skin is softer, smoother and less dry.
- The black dots associated with hair growth that you get with shaving disappears
- No scratchy armpit or bikini line stubble!
- It is on the pricey side. It took me awhile to buy my first IPL device. But it is good value. If you have been going for salon treatments, a home IPL device is definitely cheaper.
- Most IPLS have a specific number of flashes that they will deliver before the lamp dies and you have to replace it.
- The flash rate for the Philips Lumea Advanced model is a ‘slow’, 3.5 seconds. It doesn’t worry me but for some people, this can feel like a long time. The Prestige model is a lot faster at 2 seconds.
- If you glide too fast you will miss spots. This happened to me. I had patchy areas of hair that would regrow and I had to continue treating every 2 weeks up to 8 times.
- Home IPL treatment requires consistent effort and persistence over months.
- Some people say you won’t feel as smooth afterwards compared to a wax but hey, no pain!
- Not everyone can use IPL treatments (read about home Laser vs IPL here)
- The Advanced model isn’t heavy but the Prestige model is heavier at 560g. Some people have said that it is heavy to use for longer periods of time but once you are used to it, you don’t actually need to use it for long and it’s easy to rotate and pivot as needed.
- The handle on the Advanced model is a bit shorter so sometimes the power cord can get in the way.
- Some people (including me) struggle to get the body attachment on the skin properly around the shin, ankle and knee areas.
Why Philips Lumea hair removal range and not any other brand or model?
There are so many brands out there like Braun, Smooth Skin, Sensica, Silk’n, Illuminage, Remington, and lots more selling home IPL hair removal devices. Some are more expensive and others are cheaper than the Philips Lumea range of devices.
So why did I choose to review the Philips Lumea range?
For the simple reason that I have used one Philips Lumea device or another for the last 5 years and I’ve been very happy with all my devices. Before I bought my first IPL device, I researched the crap out of it because it was the most expensive hair removal tool I have ever bought in my life until then.
Looking at all the options available back then, I dipped my toes into the water by buying the older model of the current Philips Lumea Essential and have not looked back since. It is fair to say that Philips was and is the market leader in home hair removal products. It is a top-notch brand and it meets all the safety and manufacturing standards.
Burning questions you might have:
What safety features does the Philips Lumea range have?
All Philips Lumea devices have a sensor around the flash window. This means the device will only flash when it is completely against your skin. So you can’t flash accidentally into open space and potentially near your eyes even if you were a bit careless and clumsy like me.
All devices also have a skin tone sensor that detects if your skin is too dark. If it is, the device won’t flash. This prevents you from burning yourself by accident.
There is also a UV filter in the IPL flash bulb to stop UV light from hitting your skin.
Are Philips Lumea devices safe for children?
According to Philips, the Philips Lumea range is not intended for children under 15 years old. Teenagers between 15-18 years old can use the device with consent and/ or assistance from their parents.
I have not used my IPL device with my toddler daughter in the same room, partly because she would never let me flash in peace, but mostly because I don’t think the bright light would be good for her young sensitive eyes
*this is not based on scientific evidence but based on mommy instinct*
Does the Philips Lumea hair removal device work on my face?
Yes, it is very effective for facial hair removal. The Prestige and Advanced model comes with a smaller facial attachment with a special UV filter to make it safer.
Can I use the Philips Lumea for a full bikini area depilation like a Brazilian or Hollywood?
According to Philips, yes it is safe and gentle enough. I haven’t been game to try it and some courageous reviewers have said it hurts like crazy because of how sensitive the area is. Shaving your groin first would definitely help I’m sure but I suspect it would cost a bit of suffering. Has anyone tried this? I would love to hear your experience.
Can I wash my Philips Lumea?
Those of you who are thinking of sharing the device might wonder if you can wash it before use. Unfortunately the answer is no. Never immerse the device in water and do not rinse under tap. You can wipe it down with a damp soft cloth but don’t use scouring pads, soaps, petrol or nail polish remover to clean the device.
Can I carry my Philips Lumea with me while travelling?
Yes, you can. The package even comes with a bag you can carry all the bits in. Be forewarned that it is a bit heavy and bulky. I’ve never brought it along, even on long trips as I find it’s not a big deal to schedule my IPL treatments around trips.
What do other reviewers think?
There are quite a few reviews out there for the Philips Lumea range as the various models has been around for many years. Most reviewers seem pretty happy with their device.
Good Housekeeping Institute called the Philips Lumea Prestige ‘the best IPL hair removal device’ based on the reviews of their testers.
Marie Claire recommends the Lumea IPL range as an ‘Amazon fan favourite’.
The Philips Lumea Prestige is the ‘Editor’s Choice’ in ‘Our Good Living Formula’
Body Beautiful called the Philips Lumea Prestige ‘the best overall IPL device’ with premium features for fast, precise and easy sessions with excellent results.
On average, the Philips Lumea Prestige has 4.3 stars, the Advanced model has 4.2 stars and the Philips Lumea Essential has 4.5 stars on Amazon.
To wrap up
It is time to answer the most important questions on your mind.
Should you buy a Philips Lumea hair removal device?
Yes, if owning a home IPL device is in within your budget and you would like to start doing your own home IPL treatments. I have not tested other brands of IPL devices because I started off with Philips and really liked it. There are some brands that are cheaper and of course, others that are more expensive. I went with Philips because of their established global brand and haven’t regretted it.
Most sellers on Amazon offer a 30-day money back guarantee but you will have to check this when you buy. Philips itself offers a 2-year global warranty for the Philips Lumea range and as mentioned before, I have claimed this warranty twice with older models of the Philips Lumea and both times, the warranty was honoured.
Which Philips Lumea model should you buy?
It comes down to your budget and which body areas you want to treat.
I chose the Advanced model over the Prestige model for price difference. I couldn’t justify paying for the Prestige model despite its premium features and I have found the Advanced model to be perfectly adequate for my needs. My guess is, most women would find the Advanced model just fine to use.
Read my step-by-step tutorial on how to use the Philips Advanced Lumea.
Confused about home laser vs home IPL hair removal? Read this simple guide.
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