When I got my first Philips Lumea, I was ecstatic! And also scared. There were hardly any guides or tutorials around. I was terrified I would make a mistake and hurt myself, or worse, damage my most expensive home hair removal device yet.
Looking online recently, there were still not many tutorials about the Philips Lumea Advanced specifically. So to save you from the confusion I went through, I’ll go through a step-by-step tutorial, demonstrating with my Philips Lumea Advanced device. (Why I recommend the Philips Lumea Advanced over the Prestige)
N.B This is not a new package. I have had the Philips Lumea Advanced for almost a year now.
The box is compact and well-designed. It was also packed well, with no chance of anything getting moved and damaged in transit.
Before you start
Read the manual
The manual is quite boring and comprehensive. Unfortunately, it is important to read the manual, especially if it is your first time with an IPL device. There is a long list of warnings and contraindications. But there are also very helpful diagrams, explanation of skin tone and hair colour charts, information on how IPL technology works, troubleshooting and lots more important information to help you do home IPL hair removal treatment safely.
Do a skin test
Especially if you have sensitive skin, it is very important to make sure your skin does not react to the treatment. It also gives you a chance to test what is the highest light intensity setting your skin would tolerate.
- Choose a small area in the body part you want to treat. Make sure it is prepped (more on this later), clean and dry.
- Select Setting 1 and put the device against your skin.
- When the device stops blinking, press the flash button to release the flash.
- Slide the device over the skin to the next area.
- Increase the setting by one level, apply a flash and slide to the next area (look at the screenshot above for guidance).
- Repeat this for all levels until you reach the recommended light intensity for your skin tone. For example, if you have Skin Tone Type 4 (mid-brown), you can test the light intensity up to setting 4.
- Repeat the process from setting 1 in a small area in other body parts you intend to use the IPL device on. For example, if you tested an area on your leg initially, now test your armpit, arm, stomach, face and bikini line as well.
If there is no skin reaction after 24 hours, you are good to go.
If your skin did show a reaction, choose the highest setting that did not result in a skin reaction for subsequent use.
How to prepare your skin before IPL treatment (pre-treatment prep)
You’ll need to shave the body area you want to treat before applying IPL treatment. This allows the light to target the hair directly at the follicle. If IPL is used on longer hair, it can singe the hair and you’ll get a burning smell. Using IPL on longer hair can also be more uncomfortable and increase your chances of experiencing pain or discomfort.
When you shave, try to be careful so that there are no nicks, abrasions or cuts as they can sting during and after IPL treatment.
Even though Philips says you can wax or epilate to prep your skin, I don’t recommend waxing or epilating because for IPL to work effectively, some hair is required to allow the light to target it.
BUT if you are one of those women who can’t shave for whatever reason and need to wax or epilate, just be aware results will be slower. If you are waxing, wait 24 hours and make sure there are no traces of wax left when you start your IPL treatment.
Don’t use hair removal creams as they may cause skin reactions with the IPL treatment.
After a few treatments and your hair have stopped growing back, you can skip the pre-treatment prep.
Special word about natural or fake tanning and IPL treatment
You should really make sure that your skin is as tan-free as possible, whether you have a natural or fake tan. There are two major reasons for this.
- For safety. The combination of having a tan and using IPL light treatment increases your risk of having skin reactions.
- For better effect. Tanning darkens your skin so you will need to use a lower light intensity level. However, as explained before, the higher settings are more effective for hair removal so the fairer your skin is, the more effective IPL treatment will be.
If you are tanned, the official recommendation is to wait at least 2 weeks after tanning before using IPL treatment.
Time to start your very own home IPL hair removal treatment!
Choose where and when you set up
I usually choose a time when my daughter is asleep and I know I have the next half hour free. It would be almost impossible to do IPL treatment in peace with her running around and getting into things. I also don’t want to expose her sensitive and still maturing eyes to IPL because I imagine it can be quite bright to little toddlers.
I like to set up somewhere comfortable, usually the lounge chair in my living room, so that it is easy for me to bend over to do my legs. Some women might prefer sitting at the edge of their bed or even on the floor. Whichever place is most comfortable for you is fine.
I can do IPL treatment on my legs (including back of legs) and armpits just fine on my lounge chair but some women find being in front of a mirror helpful, especially for their bikini line, underarms, and back of legs. This is where having a cordless device (the Philips Lumea Prestige) is helpful so you can just unplug and move to the mirror as needed.
If you are using IPL treatment on your face, being in front of a mirror definitely helps I definitely don’t recommend doing facial hair removal ‘blind’. Just saying.
Photo above: those are the 3 attachments – body, bikini line and face (L – R)
Choose the body attachment you want to use
I usually start with my legs first, then armpits. With the Philips Lumea Advanced, the body attachment comes with the device so you can just start flashing.
If you are using the face or bikini attachment, gently pull the body attachment off then snap the new attachment onto the light exit window.
Step-by-step guide to using the Philips Lumea Advanced
Plug in the power cord and press the power button. The buttons will illuminate white and you’ll hear the fan start up inside.
The power button is at the back, just behind the setting numbers.
Select your intensity level manually based on your skin tone and comfort levels. For Prestige users, the SmartSkin Sensor will analyze your skin tone and suggest the highest, most effective and safest intensity for your skin tone in that area. You can choose to follow its suggestion or bring the level down a notch if you want, especially for the areas that are more sensitive.
Make sure your skin is dry and clean. Don’t apply any moisturizers or deodorant beforehand. For your armpits, make sure you have washed them and they are free of deodorant, especially the long-lasting kind as it can increase your risk of reaction.
Press the treatment window on your skin at a 90 degree angle (screenshot above). Wait for the ‘ready to flash’ light to stop blinking and press the flash button. You will hear a soft popping sound with each flash. If there is no blinking light, it means the sensor detects that the device is not properly placed on your skin. Reposition the device.
You can then use the ‘slide and flash’ or ‘stamp and flash’ mode depending on which body area you are treating. I definitely find the ‘slide and flash’ mode easiest and fastest on big areas like my legs, arms and stomach. The ‘stamp and flash’ mode is better for small or curvy areas like the knees, ankles, armpits and face.
With the ‘slide and flash’ mode, you keep the flash button pressed while you slide the device against your skin to release several flashes in a row.
With the ‘stamp and flash’ mode, you place the device on your skin and flash once. Then you remove the device and place it beside the area you just flashed and press the flash button again.
Slowly slide or stamp the Lumea device across the treatment area while flashing. Avoid flashing the same spot twice. Don’t mark off treated areas as it can cause a skin reaction.
Once you are done with one area, move on to the next body area.
When finished, press and hold the power button for 2 seconds to switch it off.
And you’re done! That’s how easy it is Most beginners can take up to half an hour for the legs and 5-10 minutes for the armpits. The time you will need for your bikini line and face varies, depending on how big an area you want to cover and how sensitive you are. As you continue with treatments and become surer of yourself, your speed improves as well.
With the Philips Lumea Advanced, it takes 3.5 seconds between flashes. It doesn’t sound like much but you definitely feel the wait between flashes. It doesn’t worry me in general but some women might find this pause a bit annoying. If you want a quicker session, the Philips Lumea Prestige only takes 2 seconds between flashes.
You might feel a slight occasional sting, but there is no way that you will find IPL treatment as painful as waxing, epilating or threading. It can smart if you have a small cut or blister so avoid these areas. It also tends to be more uncomfortable in the more sensitive areas like your bikini line and underarms so use a lower setting if need be.
What is the recommended treatment schedule for Philips Lumea?
Every 2 weeks for the first 4-5 treatments.
Why does the initial phase go on for 8-10 weeks? Because IPL technology is only effective when the hair is in its growing phase. Not all hairs are in the growing phase at the same time. That is why the initial 8-week treatment schedule.
I actually treated myself every 2 weeks for about 8 treatments as I was a wuss and used a lower intensity than recommended for my skin tone. I was also being super careful about not overlapping flashes and ended up leaving small strips of skin unflashed during each treatment. Obviously hair grew back quite quickly in these areas.
Every 4-8 weeks when you see hairs growing back.
Times between treatments may vary based on your individual hair regrowth and also across different body areas.
When I eventually got to touch-up phase, I only needed to touch-up once every 4-6 weeks initially then I left it for months on end because I got lazy. If you stop touching up, over time you will find that more hair will grow. If you leave it for too long like I have on more than 1 occasion, you will need to restart from the initial phase to get your rogue hair under control again.
To wrap up
Hopefully this article helped you make sense of your new Philips Lumea Advanced. Don’t expect to see silky smooth legs from the get go. Depending on how stubborn your hair is, it can take many months of regular use to get the results you want.