Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Philips Lumea IPL - first impressions

Disclosure - this product was tested during supervised sessions provided free of charge by Philips.

As mentioned earlier in the week, I'm currently trying out Philips' new home-use IPL device, Lumea. Yesterday I had my first session, and came face to face with the Lumea handset for the first time.

My first impressions are very good - the Lumea is about the same shape and weight as a travel blowdryer, and feels very solid, smooth and well-made. It's cordless and has an intutive control system - there's a trigger button, an on-off switch and a range of intensity settings (1-5) which can be adjusted according to skin and hair type.

The window at the head of the device is quite large - it took me about 15 "flashes" to do each armpit and I'd done the whole of both sides in under 3 minutes. Much much quicker than expected.

Lumea has a few advantages over its competitors - it doesn't need a contact gel, it's a cordless all-in-one unit, and needs no bulb replacement within its 40,000-flash lifespan (estimated to last about 5-7 years with normal use). However it's not a "permanent" solution. Instead, it's something you need to use every 2 weeks to prevent hair growth. If you stop, the hair comes back. Unlike more intensive treatments, Lumea doesn't claim to kill the hair root - rather it forces the follicle into a resting phase so that it doesn't produce hair.

Lumea has the same limitations as all IPL devices - it can't be used by women with very dark skin, or by those with blond, red or grey hair. For Anglo-Irish types like me, it's great news, but its potential user base is demographically pretty narrow, especially as it's only recommended for women.

Using it is fairly simple. The only bit I found tricky was angling the head correctly; In order to work, the window bit needs to be in full contact with the skin. When it's ready to flash, a green light on the back of the "head" comes on. I needed a few contortions to get it properly aligned at first, although it's something that I think gets easier with practice.

Did it hurt? No - and it shouldn't if you're using it at the correct intensity for your skin and hair type. The flash sensation is warm, but not unpleasantly so. It's like a very quick exposure to bright sunlight. If it does sting, you can turn the intensity down a notch using the buttons on the handle.

I haven't seen any results yet, and probably won't for the next couple of sessions, but I will let you know how it performs in future posts. Again, feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I'll field them to the experts at my next session.

In summary - so far so good, and I'm feeling very positive about the product after the first session.


  1. LUMEA = a well made expensive cosmetic accessory

    I am a male who bought the Lumea with great hesitation since it is not recommended for men but the name “Philips” played a role in my decision making. I have previously had IPL treatments at a professional salon and I know that “permanent hair removal” does not exist, it is safer to say ”drastic hair removal”.
    Was about to buy the Tria in November when I read that Philips would introduce the Lumea. I waited and waited and have now used the Lumea for 5 weeks and wanted to share my findings.

    It works on men as well, I have pale skin with dark hair. About 30% of hair falls after about a week. Yet, the Lumea’s light is not strong enough to make a long lasting difference. After second treatment, I decided to zap every spot two times, same spot within a couple seconds. I thought that double zapping the same spot within a couple seconds would increase the chance for more permanent results.
    It hurt but I thought it was worth the pain expecting to have a double effect on the hair roots. It took a couple days to realize that the extra pain I was feeling was not due to a stronger effect on the hair, instead it was my skin burning from being exposed to the extra heat (it is not Lumea’s fault).

    The Lumea, as well as other home use devices are only good for treatment of small areas.
    If I knew then what I know now I would not have spend my money on a home use device because in the end, when considering cost, effort and time, it would cost the same at professional salon and with better results.

    I have found out that at least 7 joules are required to achieve near-permanent results. The Tria is strong but has an extremely small light window. Then there is Lumea with 2 – 6.5 joules (depending on setting) and Boots Smooth Skin with up to 10 joules (depending on setting). So one might conclude that the Boots Smooth Skin is a better choice. Yes it is BUT again only for small areas because every 10000 flashes its handset must be replaced at a cost of around £150.
    In my case, using the Lumea on back and chest, I have already gone over 6000 flashes within 5 weeks.
    So, in the end isn’t better to go to a professional salon for better results and let someone else do the work? Keep in mind that after stopping using the Lumea, the hair follicles become active again causing hair growth to return!! In addition, if grey hair is a possibility for you (look at your parents), then the day will come when the Lumea or other such small devices will not have any effect. Being treated, at an early age, at a professional salon with aggressive treatment, the roots will die (most of them) minimizing the risk of the re appearance of hair, thus less hopeless grey hair in the future.

    Simply said, the Lumea does what it promises BUT expect only TEMPORARY results because it stuns/shocks the hair follicles thus suppresses hair regrowth between treatments. Philips never claims permanent hair removal!
    For very small areas it is ok for now but for larger areas….. forget it!
    I can understand that you are desperate to do something about the hair problem, just like I am, and tempted to try anything that provides some hope. I can’t return my Lumea and get a refund so I will continue using it on small private areas, knowing that the results are temporary and hopefully I will have some money in the future to return to professional salon treatments.
    Good luck!

  2. I'm trying the Lumea right now, I've already had three sessions in my underarms and bikini line, the hair grows much slowlier but it still grows back and it's not as fine as I expected it to be at this at this point. Maybe that's because I have dark skin and I always use the lowest settings (2 or 3)...

  3. Thanks anonymous male - i will take you advice and stick to the salon treatments. If you dont need goggles and it doesnt hurt, its clearly not going to be a strong at killing the hairs - especially a handheld rechargeable unit

  4. Ive only done a test area on my leg with the Lumea and it didnt hurt , only felt a bit of heat and I feel positive about this product as Ive tried other brands before and wasnt satisfied with them. I want to try Lumea on my chin although it says on the manual that its not suitable for face, just wondering if anybody has tried Lumea for the facial hair

  5. today i have used lumea for 4 times and i am so happy with it, i have been using it on my face and even though i know that it isnt licenced to i thought id give it a go as i was paying a lot of money over the years for laser at a salon and have been having treatment for 4 years and only now have i noticed hair reduction with lumea!

  6. Hello Anonymous,
    have you tried philips lumea on the face?
    Did you have any irritation?
    I would like to know,because I m gonna buy it and use also for my face .

  7. I'm using it on the face and it's working just fine! I first tried in a little area and wait a few days to see if I had an irritation or something


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