“ Brand: Boots / Type: Epilator „
I would advise you all to DO NOT BUY THE I-PULSE MACHINE FROM BOOTS. I'm really disappointed with everything about this machine. First of all the 12 weeks effectiveness it's unreal. It might be real for hairless woman but for thick hair it probably takes way longer. My point is: The 10.000 flashes lasted only 5 months, I don't know how some people managed to use for one year without replacement, I have to say I was really surprised when the bulb was finished. I was doing my bikini line,underarm, half legs and upper lip it was bad enough that it lasted so little, but my nightmare started when I tried to get the replacement handset that costs more than half price of the whole machine or just the bulb that is also very expensive a 100 pounds. In store they've got no information about it, and they also gave me 3 weeks to get replaced wich means I would have to stop the treatment for 3 weeks. Before you buy it any of this machines research a lot ( not only boots website ).It's just a piece of advice from someone that really needs hair removal and had a bad experience after spending more than 300 pounds in one machine that doesn't really do what it says. It might do after a while, as I said I haven't finished the treatment yet, but you end up spending way more than you tought you would, with the gel and bulb replacement. Thanks
I started using the Boots Ipulse system at the beginning of January this year. I am zapping everything - upper lip, underamrs, stomach areas, high bikini line, upper & lower legs. So, this is a pretty huge surface area i've been covering. I started using it weekly for the first 5 weeks. By then hair growth had stopped completely in most areas & the hairs had fallen out. The only areas that still show some visible growth is upper lip & underamrs although it's sparse. From sessions 6-8 i've used it once every 2 weeks.
I have to say - i'm half Italian so my follicles are relentless & plentiful! And the results so far have been truly brilliant. NOT 100%, more like 90% so far but such a remarkable difference. I can't explain how much of an issue hair removal has always been for me so i am so happy i've found this very affordable product.
Now - if you are looking to buy one i just have to point out some things you should know, especially if you are doing as much surface area as me.
You should be aware that the 6-8 second delay between flashes is what lets this system down. If it wasn't for that i really could not fault it.
So, suffice to say you have to be 100% COMMITED! I do it all in one session and it takes 5 hours in total(with a few small breaks)
You have to prepared for being utterly, tediously bored and fed up by the time you get to your 1st leg.
I seriously thought about dumping it & buying a Lumea instead (with multiple flashes) but then thought it wouldn't be a great idea to interrupt the cycle when it was working amazingly well.
If you're doing just your underarms or small area's it'd be a piece of cake. Bring legs in to the equation & you need to be prepared to set a serious amount of time aside. All for a VERY good cause though - as you'll never have to use a razor again!
2nd issue is that my head unit expired after 6 1/2 sessions. So, i had to replace it. And i'm guessing i'll need around 5 more sessions until i'm done. Again though if you're doing only small areas it will last quite a lot longer.
I don't see the point in buying the Lumea if they only put the hairs to sleep - surely that defeats the object?
So, buy the Boots Ipulse if you want proper permanent results.
And get some good DVD'S to watch to keep you sane!
The Boots Smooth Skin IPL Hair Remover ...
I'm only reviewing this machine & my results from using it. All other details (like how it works, setting skin tones etc :) you can find in the other reviews here.
First of all I am a male (don't know if ther's been any male reviewers). I hate body hair with a passion & have tried all sorts of methods of hair removal...until now.
I discovered the Boots Smooth Skin. I can honestly say that it's amazing & it works.
It just takes a little patience & time.
I tried it out on my armpits to begin with. As the instructions said, I did it every week for 5 weeks (should've been 10). All the hair had gone. But after about 6 weeks the hair started growing back (much finer & patchy).
So I consulted a beautician & found out that hair grows in 6 week cycles.
I changed my method & zap the hairs once every 6 weeks.
18 weeks & 3 sessions later my armpit hair is no more. Completely gone.
I have found this the best method by far (saves cost on unnecessary zaps too) & have moved onto other areas of my body...
Did my feet & lower legs only 2 times & I'd guess about 60-70% of the hair is gone. There's still a bit on my calves but I hope just 1 or 2 sessions more will be enough.
I've only done my upper legs once so far. About 15-20% hair removed. Not quite as good results as my lower legs.
Yes, I did my bikini line too. Now this was an unexpected result. Almost all of the hair is gone. A good 90%. The thing is I only zapped it ONCE. Quite amazing really. That was 3 months ago & still no re-growth.
I think thicker hair has a better effect on the Boots Smooth Skin.
Then I thought I'd zap my arms (which were quite hairy & made me self-conscious).
One single session has drastically reduced the hair by at least 50%. A quite noticeable difference. My arms are now a bit patchy. I would guess another 3 sessions should be enough for complete removal.
I think these areas will require a few sessions more. The results are not as good. There is a definite loss of hair but only about 5-10%. I have only just started this area, so I can't say for sure how it will go.
Overall I'm thoroughly impressed with this product. I have done all these areas & still haven't changed the laser head. I'm on my 2nd tube of gel.
For the price of this machine, you could buy 2 sessions in a salon. So it's really good value when you consider the heavy salon prices.
Hopefully I will be completely hair free & happy within a few months.
Always on the quest for as pain free as possible hair removal and fed up with shaving/waxing/epilating I decided to try out a laser hair removal device.
I first purchased the Rio Salon 60x Scanning laser hair removal which was slow work and I cannot say I saw any results.
Never one to learn my lesson I then purchased the Boots Smooth Skin IPL laser after reading some good reviews about the results. The laser is currently on sale at Boots for £274.99 which is a reduction from the full price of £324.99. This is obviously expensive however is a lot cheaper than paying for Salons to complete the treatment.
== The Product ==
The laser itself is purple and white and mains run. It comes in a lovely large white presentation box and comes complete with:-
Intense Pulsed light hair reduction unit
The handset is rounded and easy to hold and has a square glass panel at the bottom which is the treatment area. The size of this is around 3cm by 3cm (which is a fairly good size for a home laser treatment and is considerably bigger than the Rio I had purchased previously).
It uses Light Pulse Wavelengths limited to between: 530 - 1100 nm & the handset has fan assisted cooling (so is a little noisy).
There are 3 intesity settings to choose from (Pale/Med/Dark) and features a 6 second repitition rate to ensure the unit does not get too hot.
== How the laser works ==
According to Boots the laser gives permanent hair reduction in just 6-12 weeks, is easy to use and is for use on the body and face.
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light which is the method the laser uses to reduce or eliminate hair. The system works by firing a short pulse of filtered light onto the skin.
The light is then absorbed by the pigments in and around the hair which damages the hair follicle. Because of this the hair must be darker than the surrounding skin therefore this machine is not suitable for those with very dark skin, if you currently have a tan or if you are trying to treat grey hairs (as grey hairs do not contain the necessary pigment to be affected by the laser).
The hair must be in the growth phase therefore it is recommended that this product is used over several months and at least one treatment per month (no more than one a week). Apparently approximately 85% of hairs are in the growing phase at any one time but this leaves 15% in the transitional or resting phase (this phase takes around 5-9 weeks to complete on average). However I have not found that 85 % of the treatment area shows results after use therefore I suspect that the laser does not always manage to damage the hair folical on each treatment session.
Upon researching this I was surprised to find out that the growth phase can last between 2-7 years! Although hair on different parts of the body have different cycles and you should not expect your eyebrows to be growing for up to 7 years at a time.
== How to Use the Unit ==
Before using Boots IPL it recommends testing on a small area to ensure you have no adverse reactions.
** The possible adverse reactions listed are:-
** Strong pain in the area being treated
** Itching of the Treatment area
** Heat and redness of the skin which continues
** Blistering or burning of the skin
** Swelling, fragile skin, bruising
** Changes to the pigmentation (colour)
For this reason following the instructions of testing the product first is advisable although I did not suffer any adverse reactions and I suffer from sensitive skin and severe reactions are rare.
You then need to decide what setting to have the machine on. The instructions come with a skin tone chart to enable you to decide which of the 3 settings to use (Fair, Med or Dark).
Before starting treatment you should apply a thick covering of the activator gel to the area you wish to start treating (for added comfort the gel can be refrigerated before hand to help numb the area slightly before starting). You should not start with too large an area otherwise the gel dries out and is wasted. I have found strips around 6 inches by 4 inces works well to minimise gel wastage.
The Gel can get a little messy though so a spare towel to mop up any excess is also usefull.
Next place the glass square side of the hand held unit against your skin, ensuring that the contact points are in contact with your skin, and press the button on the top. There will be a quick flash of light and the treatment is complete. You continue this process until you have treated the area required (clearing the hand held unit of gel between treatments with a cloth).
The instructions say the unit is suitable for Men & Women and can be used on the face and body. However I have found that because the hand unit is not very small it can be tricky to use in small spaces (such as your top lip) however with perserverence it is not impossible! Keeping the two contact points against your skin can also be tricky in curved areas but a bit of manouvering of the hand unit usually makes areas treateble.
After each use the unit should be cleaned. To do this ensure it is disconnected from the mains supply and seperate its parts. Using a damp (not wet) cloth wipe down the outside of the hand held and base unit and dry.
After using on the underarm it is not recommended to use deodoratnt for 24 hours or to use hot baths or saunas for 24 hours.
== My Experience ==
I started by using this unit on my underarms and bikini line, as these are fairly small areas to treat and my intention is to build up to the bigger areas.
I decided to go for the medium setting and followed the instructions above. I found that sometimes I did get a sensation like being snapped with an elastic band against my skin however in general the treatment is fairly pain free (definitely less painful than waxing and epilating). The Gel helps to sooth any ping pains and seems to have an unnerving ability to be exceedingly cold even without being refrigerated first (expect to gasp a few times from the chill!).
As the treatment area is 3cmx3cm it did not take very long to complete both underarms and the bikini area (around 10 minutes for the underarms and 15 for the bikini area) which was a pleasant surprise. Using the laser is also very simple and compared with the previous Laser I had used this one is a vast improvement for ease and speed of use. I would estimate to complete a leg would take around 20-30 minutes (although I guess it may take longer if you are taller than my miniture 5 foot 1 stature).
I treated the same areas once a week for 3 weeks then as always happens life gets in the way and didn't do any further treatments for a period of 3 weeks. I then used this laser again twice a month for 2 months.
The glass area does get a little warm if you do too many treatments too close together but it only takes around 10 seconds for this to cool back down (and is never so hot it would burn). Applying more gel also helps keep your skin cool.
Refrigerating the Gel helps dull any pain you do feel from the flashes and as you need to apply this fairly regularly I would recommend buying plenty of spare tubes (you wouldn't believe how quickly you can get through these!). They can also be purchased from Boots and cost £2.99 per tube.
The lead on the hand unit is long enough to enable use without having to contort your body to get closer to the base unit.
== The Results - 1 month In ==
It is a little disheartening to start with as you see no difference after the initial treatment. In fact I found it took 2-3 weeks before any of the hairs started to fall out however was extremely pleased to find that patches I had treated did indeed end up hair free (although not the whole area). Having seen no hair reduction with the previous laser unit I had purchased I must admit I was sceptical they would have any affect and was therefore pleasantly surprised.
This result obviously spurred me on and I continued to treat the areas over the next 2 months (every couple of weeks)
== The Results - 3 Months In ==
I have been using this unit for 3 months now and although I have not found that the whole treatment area has had hair reduction there are now large patches that are hair free.
As the process only treats actively growing hairs it must be used over a fairly long time therefore I plan to continue to use this throughout the winter and to report back within this review as to the long term results (I will also move on to treating my legs and see how that goes).
As it has only been a few months of use I do not know whether the hair loss is permanent or whether this will grow back through (hopefully lighter and thinner as the instructions claim) but I have been pleased with the results to date. Some areas seem to work better than others for me so far (the bikini line has reacted particularly well to the treatment) however the instructions do say that you may need to use different settings in different areas so this may be the reason for this.
== In Conclusion ==
Having experimented with every hair removal device ever made (or at least it feels like I have) I was thrilled with Boots IPL for actually managing to remove hair where so many other devices have promised but failed. The addition of the quality, sturdy case is also a nice touch.
If you are looking for 100% hair removal with minimal effort then this product is probably not for you however having previously purchased another Laser and an electrolysis machine this is the only one I have come across so far which has actually removed hair.
I have not yet been using the IPL long enough to know whether the hair reduction is permanent therefore I am unable to comment upon this yet however I will update this review once I have "tested" the product further.
In the areas I have treated the process is fairly pain free, not too time consuming and although the unit is quite expensive I would still have to recommend this to anyone looking for laser hair removal without the Salon price tag.
So far I have been extremely pleased with this purchase.
I have been using this machine for over a year (16 months) and I am 75% hair free.
This machine really works. However, do not expect the miracle Boots is selling you of getting rid of your hair after 6 treatments because it is not the case.
I have olive skin and black hair so I have only used the dark skin setting and it is not painful in the slightest.
I used once by accident the fair skin setting and I was not pleased with the electro shock I received so it is very important that you respect the instructions for skin types as you can seriously burn your skin.
The best improvement so far has been my bikini line: I noticed a hair reduction after the first session and after 10 sessions I barely have any hair. The hair that grows back is rather thin so I only have to do it once a month now.
I noticed a great improvement on my underarms as well. However, some hairs still grow back so I have to shave once a month and do the machine every other month because I am scared that the hair grows back if you give up completely.
I am still working on my legs (I think I have done about 20 sessions) but the hair still grows back. I am going to carry on with the legs only once a month because I dont think it can get any better due to my skin type.
My overall experience is very good. The only downfall for me is how time-consuming it is, specially the legs as I have to spend an hour on each one!
I bought this item three months ago. I used to see it in boots and wonder if it would be the solution for my unwanted hairs, but witha price tag of £324 I had a lot of doubts.
It came quite quickly on the post. Very well presented in a little whithe, leather-like carrier bag containing the machine itself, the IPL handle and a tube of gel.
After reading the instructions and ensuring my type of skin and hair were suitable (It does not work with dark skin-as you would burn yourself- or blond hair), i started treatment. The procedure was simple, apply an even coat of gel over the are to treat, press the handle against the skin and zap. I used the machine on my stomach and bikini area, and always in the highest setting, which was not painful but neither comfortable.
After using the machine regularly for five weeks about 75% of the hair had fallen, some hair resisted to fall. I had used Ipl before and I knew the hair would come back evenyually, and that is the process of falling over and over that makes it go away for good.
I have not been using the Smooth Skin for over a month as I went on holidays and it is not recomended to use it if you sun bathe, you need to wait between 3 and 4 weeks to rest your skin and be as white as possible. The hair has come back, a lot slower than with waxing for the moment, and seems somehow finer as the roots are not as deep.
I think if I start epilatng normally it will go back to how it was but will definitelly carry on with the zapping. Boots states that 12 treatments are needed, I think many more will be required for a decent hair reduction. If you are treating big areas that means you'll need more than one handle and a lot of patience, as it is really time consuming. Each handle comes with 10.000 shots, after that you need a replacement that costs £160.
The machine itself is ok but the handle is not very durable; after 5 weeks of use in just small areas, gel got under the protective glass of the 'ipl' window (in the handle) and it slightly burned the reflective material inside. Boots customer service was been very helpful and replaced my device very quickly (The whole device, not only the faulty handle), which proves they are a serious company. Hopefully it will not happen again...
All in all this device works but not as quickly or effectively as stated by Boots. Also having had technical problems I am obviously not that thrilled with the product.
I bought the Boots Smooth Skin System over a year ago, just after it came out. I have quite dark body hair and the thought of not having to shave daily sold the idea to me. It cost £250 which is a fraction of what it would cost me to have salon treatments so thought it a good buy,
The system works using IPL technology - not as strong as the lasers you find in a professional salon but still strong enough to kill the hair.
Before use you need to shave the area as it only works on hair less than 1mm long. The instructions recommend using once a week for between 6-12 weeks.
The system has 3 settings depending on your skin colour, fair, medium and dark. The intensity varies depending on the setting you choose.
I decided to start on underarms and bikini line and move on to legs in the winter as it should not be used on tanned skin.
The instructions recommend using a white eyeliner pencil to draw a grid the size of the area that flashes on your skin to ensure you go over each area once only. I used this idea the first time but soon gave up and went by guess work on subsequent treatments.
You need to use the boots gel on the area to be treated. Then hold the hand held device until all 4 corners are touching skin. You then need to shut eyes and press the button as a very strong flash will come out of the device. Ensure no-one else is in the room with you.
The device does get very hot and sometimes I have needed to stop and wait for it to cool down. It is the heat that hurts more than anything.
So does it work? - well to start with I did notice that i had less hair. The areas looked patchy. But after several months of use I got fed up and also stopped having the time to use it once a week and so usage became less and less frequent. I found that a few months later all the good work had come undone and the hairs have come back. I think even if you did manage to remove most of the hairs they would still come back unless you maintain the loss by using it about once a month.
So personally I wouldn't recommend it and think I will go to a professional salon where my friend has had great permanent results.
After ignoring my advice my daughter bought this machine and has found it does not work, like all mum's i didnt want to see her waste her money so i looked into what IPL actually is. its a very high level intense light that needs a powerful machine to destroy the follical. if this machine was that powerful it would not be sold over the counter and IPL needs a qualified and trained specialist to use it. do as my daughter is now and go to a professional and spend the money on results.
I've spent 20 years removing hair on an almost daily basis and I'd say it's pretty much ruled my life: I have dark hair growing pretty much all over - my stomach, chin, arms and legs. The clothes I wear have always had to hide my arms etc and it used to make me really shy. things improved when I bought an epilator a few years ago but even with that I found I was having to do almost daily maintenance. I can honestly say the IPL has changed everything for me. I thought it was going to be another disappointment but after just three sessions the hair on my arms has 99% vanished and shows no signs of growing back after 2 weeks. Even more impressive was the effect on the facial hair. just one treatment completely got rid of all the hair on my chin (with the exception of about two hairs which vanished after the second treatment). These still haven't come back after a month. I've used it to neaten up my bikini line and again this took approx 2-3 sessions with minimal regrowth. I've only treated my legs once so far and haven't had time to see how much effect this has had yet but I'm expecting good things. I think it's worked particularly well for me because my hair is very thick and black so absorbs a lot of the light. I'm a medium skin tone on the chart (olive skinned) and so far haven't had any adverse effects. I don't find it all that painful even on sensitive areas. It's certainly less painful than epilation or waxing. I'm absolutely delighted and I have no idea how I managed before. I know results vary between people but based on my own experience I can't recommend it highly enough.
3 months ago I would have said that my ceramic hair straightners were the best invention EVER, the Smooth Skin machine is about to equal the no. 1 spot.
I'm in my early thirties and have had excess hair for as long as I can remember. I'm quite pale with dark hair (not recommended apparently for my skin type as I have a black relative but I am willing to try anything so at your own risk if you don't follow the recommendations).
I have spent £1000's over the years on removing body hair and I have adapted my social life around removing the dreaded hair, I am covered virtually everywhere in a fine downy hair and have coarse hair on my bikini line & stomach and have tried every gadget, hair removal lotion and potion going. I will not use public changing rooms, go to the gym, stay at friends or socialize unless I am hair free (which only lasts up to 24hrs unless I spend ½ a day waxing) and I am still mourning Boots withdrawal of their own brand Hair removal spray. (cannot stand VEET)
I bought my machine mid-March and honestly I have not been the religious user I expected to be, but hey ho, best laid plans an all that. The areas I focused on were bikini line & stomach (holiday coming up). If I hadn't seen results in 30 days it was going back. I have also tried a section on my legs, but only as a test at this stage and I am so happy with the results so far.
Bikini line - In the past I can shave in a morning and at the end of the day the hair has made a re-appearance in this area. After approximately 6-7 sessions, I can honestly say I am 50% hair free and have noticeable bald patches, it has worked incredibly well and the hair that remains is finer and grows at a much slower rate. I do believe it is only my own time constraints that have stopped me from being 75% hair free.
Stomach - an incredibly embarrassing area for me and although I am slim, I wouldn't dream of wearing shorter tops. I have probably carried out 10 sessions on this area, and I am about 75% hair free. The area that is left just does not grow. You can see the hair slightly below the surface, but I am shocked at the improvement in this area, it was worth the money for this alone. The only downside is I have developed some slight pigmentation changes, but again, a small price to pay and easy to cover up with Mac foundation.
I have tested my underarms and legs and have noticeable bald patches in these test areas. I decided not to focus on these areas as yet as I wanted to rid the embarrassing areas 1st. A soon as I lose my summer tan these areas will be my priority over the winter.
Pain- I don't believe I have that high a pain threshold (no kids) but I can epilate under my arms, wax my own bikini to a Brazilian with hot wax and wax my own legs and have had 4 tattoos in the past so not a complete wimp. However I was shocked at the level of pain. After spending 2 months reading every review out there I honestly thought I would feel nothing. Wrong - The pain is like I have read from a few other reviewers, like an elastic band snap, especially around my period. I only suffer on my bikini line and under arms (stomach & Legs are fine) and it gets worse the hotter the machine gets, but this is bearable and the 2 seconds whilst you talk yourself into pressing the button is probably worse than the 1 second of ouch. I leave it to cool slightly before I start on other areas so is manageable.
If excess hair is a problem I would recommend this machine, as I have the Paleish skin, dark hair combo I think this is why I have had fantastic results. The test now is how hair free I can become, as I'm due to go on holiday I will resist using until I'm pale again but this time next year I aim to be hair free. Best buy of the year so far.
I've spent years epilating my legs in the belief that one day the hair would give up and stop growing back, after 8 years the hairs was showing little sign of stopping so I decided a different strategy was needed. I found a local business the offered IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and went down for a session, it cost me £250 for legs and under-arm, took 2 hours (in which I had a nice nap!) and the hair started to fall out after about a week-great so far! But the number of sessions needed to reduce the hair more made me a bit concerned about the cost, so I decided to try and find a slightly cheaper alternative.
The Boots Smooth Skin system cost £300, (but I bought mine when it was £50 and when they had a special points thing going on so got £60 worth of points as well) and the bulb has 10,000 shots of light in it, so will do you for (by my math's) about 10 sessions. It can be used on legs under-arms, bikini line and face.
Its really easy to use, they recommend using white eye liner pencil to draw lines on your legs so you can keep track of where you've been easier, the apply the Boots Smooth Skin Activator Gel (£2.99- they say you can't use any other gel, one tube lasts me for about 3 sessions on legs). On goes the machine, wait until the flashing red light says ready, pop the applicator in the right places on your legs and press the button. This will send a pulse of red light on to you legs, then repeated until finished. I use a towel to wipe the gel of afterwards and always end up in a big mess, since you do use a lot of gel and it's kinda hard to see on the towel afterwards. There are 3 setting on the machine fair/medium/dark depending on skin tone, its meant to work best on fair skin where the difference between the skin colour and hair colour is more pronounced, so won't work well on blonde hairs on fair skin.
Most importantly it works, after each session I saw hairs falling out after about a week, and after 8 sessions I stopped using it as not much hair was left. The downsides are you have to shave while you're using it, so the laser works on growing hair (which was a pain and when I forgot it did not go down well with my other half!). its also really boring to treat your legs, because it takes ages, I suggest a glass of wine handy and some good tv. Legs didn't hurt much but after years of epilating I think I've killed all sensation on them, the under arms HURT like stabbing myself with burning hot needles, I haven't been brave enough to try other places yet!
I wish this product had been invented 15 plus years ago! Boots Smooth IPL Hair Reduction System is, in my view, little short of amazing. When I think of the amount of painful laser hair removal I endured in my twenties (I am now thirty-eight) that didn't work, I could cry. I must admit having tried several permanent hair reduction products/treatments I was sceptical but within three treatments I could see a good reduction of re-growing hair. Not only that, but the system is far less painful than most epilator products (and has three power settings in respect of skin type: fair, medium and dark, dark being the most gentle) . The system is easy to use although you must be patient as after so many 'laser shots' the system has to re-charge itself for a minute and then several minutes. 12 sessions later, I barely have any re-growth on my legs or underarms and am now confidently waging a war against my bikini line. Although the initial cost is £250-300 it is well worth it, especially if you otherwise pay regularly for wax or salon laser treatments. You do also have to buy the gel but at £2.99 from Boots this is a minimal outlay for such fantastic results. I have recommended this to all my friends! I suffered from hundreds of in-growing hairs, especially on my legs and this has been virtually eradicated. This product is not suitable for people with very pale hair and is also not suitable for hair on the face. Moles have to be either covered with a plaster or a white eyeliner pencil. A leaflet with a questionnaire about suitability and appropriate setting for your skin type is available from Boots before you buy.
*** Review also posted on Ciao ***
Getting rid of unwanted body hair is often a lifelong chore we come to accept. It's unfortunate for us (particularly women) that we sprout hair in places where it's not wanted, or needed. So we spend our entire lives plucking, shaving, dilapidating, waxing and trimming just to rid ourselves of the wretched stuff.
Many years ago I even bought myself a home electrolysis hair removing kit where you had to insert a very find needle into each individual hair follicle one by one. Yes I was that desperate. I persevered for a few months but finally gave up. It took too long and the damn hair grew back anyway.
Whatever method of hair removal I've tried in the past, it always returns. I had heard of laser hair removal but it always seemed terribly expensive and involved several trips to specialist salons or clinics. It also meant exposing bits of your body to a stranger which I wasn't prepared to do!
I first caught sight of the Boots Smooth Skin Intense Pulsed Light Hair Reduction System while on one of my weekly trawls around Boots. There it was, proudly on display, promising a hair free body in the privacy of my own home. I'd not heard of before, nor even seen any advertising elsewhere, so I wasn't convinced. The price of £250 didn't do much to persuade me to part with any cash either.
But the idea stayed with me and when I arrived home I began some online research. I came across several reviews on various Rio laser hair removers, none of which looked particularly promising. Then I found the Boots system with a fair few reviews already online. And they were extremely good with only a couple of negative experiences. In fact, the reviews were so good I wanted one right then and there. I felt it would be a worthwhile investment if it meant I could spend the rest of my life never having to shave again.
The following week I returned to Boots and bought it in store. This earned me lots of Boots points - 996 to be precise. If I'd been prepared to wait I could have purchased it online through various cashback sites but I didn't have the patience. I wished I had though because the next day in the post I received a load of 'double points' vouchers from Boots. I could have screamed!
~~~ What is it? ~~~
So what exactly is the Boots Smooth Skin IPL Hair Reduction System? It's a small laser machine which uses iPulse Hair Reduction Technology designed to be used in the privacy of your own home. It's a slightly scaled down version of what's used in salons.
It consists of the base unit together with the hand held laser handset which is plugged into the base unit. And there is another cable to connect to mains electricity. Also included is a tube of Boots Smooth Skin activator gel and the instruction leaflet. Extra tubes of activator gel are available to purchase separately at around £2.99. There is also a white faux leather storage vanity case to store it all in when you're not using it.
~~~ How does it work? ~~~
Quote from the Boots website: "The Boots Smooth Skin system works by directing an extremely short, intense pulse of filtered light into the skin. The light is absorbed by the coloured pigments in and surrounding the hair and disables the hair follicle, helping to prevent hair re-growth."
~~~ Where can you use it? ~~~
The iPulse system can be used almost anywhere you have hair growth. You are strongly recommended not to use it on eyebrows or head hair because hair will not grow back. It can be used for underarms, legs, facial hair and bikini line.
It's recommended not to use the system on head hair or eyebrows as you cannot reverse the results if you make a mistake!
~~~ Who can use it? ~~~
There are very strong warnings and guidelines in the instruction booklet as to who is most suitable for using this system, or more to the point, who is NOT suitable. For instance, anyone with dark skin or a suntan cannot use it. Those with very fair hair, red, grey or white hair are unlikely to have any success either. This is because the pulses work best on dark hair follicles growing from a fair skinned person.
~~~ How do you use it? ~~~
The Boots Smooth Skin system is easy to use. You simply follow the same steps for each area of skin you plan on treating.
1. On the base unit there are three settings - dark, medium or fair. You choose the most appropriate setting for the area of skin you're about to treat. For instance, if treating your armpits, then you choose 'fair' if you're a white skinned person and unlikely to have a suntan there. However, there is a skin colour chart provided which is handy for comparing your own skin colour against. It also provides examples of skin colours that aren't suitable.
2. You need to make sure hair is trimmed as it works best on hair no longer than 1mm.
3. Next you need to cover up any areas of skin that are unsuitable for the laser but which might fall into the area needing to be treated. One such area is moles. If you have moles or large freckles, you need to cover them up with something like a white eye pencil.
4. You apply the activator gel to the area to be treated. I store mine in the fridge as it's recommended it's cold when you apply it.
5. Press the button on the main unit and when the red light stops flashing, it's ready to use. If you press the button again, it goes into standby mode and the green light appears next to standby.
6. Take the handset and apply the laser head to your skin. You must make sure all four corners are touching the skin. If they're not, the red light on the handset won't appear and the laser won't work. Once the red light is showing on the handset, you can press the button on the handset which then emits a flash of light. This light is very bright so it's recommended you turn away or close your eyes. Also make sure others aren't in the room with you, especially small children as it may hurt their eyes. You repeat this over every section of skin where you no longer want hair to grow.
7. When you've finished you apply a fragrance free moisturiser.
There are many precautions listed in the small booklet and you really need to take the time to read through them all before starting the laser treatment.
~~~ How long Does it Take? ~~~
The actual process of using the laser on your skin varies depending on which area you're treating. For instance, underarms will take about 10 minutes a session. The lower half of your legs takes around an hour for both legs.
The actual time it takes to become hair free also varies. The guide states that it can take between 6 and 12 sessions for hair to stop growing. This is because hair grows in cycles. So a few weeks later you may notice hair growth appearing which wasn't present during your previous laser treatment. You mustn't use the laser more than once a week on the same area so it can take up to 12 weeks to ensure all hair follicles have been treated with hair in a growing phase.
Example Precautions post-treatment:
* Don't expose the treated area to the sun for 24 hours;
* No hot showers for 24 hours;
* Use a high factor skin cream (min SPF 30)on areas likely to see the sun or a fragrance-free cream for other treated areas
* No deodorant underarms for 24 hours
* No sunbeds or suntanning for 4 weeks
There are many more precautions within the booklet which must be read before treatment.
~~~ Information Booklet ~~~
The booklet comes with a useful treatment record card where you can write down the date, area treated and skin tone setting used to help you keep track of how many sessions you've had. There is a troubleshooting section should anything go wrong. You'll find a list of medical problems and medicines. If you have any of these medical problems or are taking any of the medicines, you shouldn't use the laser system. There is also a useful skin tone questionnaire to help you find out your skin tone if you're unsure.
~~~ Cost and Where to Buy ~~~
I purchased the system from Boots in store for £249 which was apparently £50 off. However I've never actually seen it advertised at a higher price, although I won't be happy if they drastically reduce it! You can also buy it online of course.
~~~ My Experiences ~~~
I've been using the iPulse system for the past three months, concentrating on my lower legs and underarms. Using the chart to work out my skin type was straight forward. I'm quite fair skinned but still had a bit on a suntan on my legs. So my legs fell into the medium category and underarms into the fair category.
I'd shaved my legs and underarms a couple of days previously before my first session. Finding the best position to hold the laser takes practice but the handset is comfortable to use. It can be tricky doing under your arms and I find it best looking in a mirror while putting one arm behind my back while making sure the door is firmly locked.
The gel is easy to apply and should be as cold as possible to counter the heat from the laser. When pressing the button on the handset you feel a short burst of heat which is quite bearable. You then move the laser to the next area taking care not to go over anywhere more than once but also not to miss out a bit.
Doing my legs takes some time - around an hour to do both lower legs. It's quite tricky because it's easy to lose track of where you've already used the laser so I tend to draw white marker lines using an eyeliner on my legs and work up and down within the lines. This way hair removal should be fairly even.
I also use this white eyeliner to cover over any moles or freckles. This is to protect them from any laser damage. I didn't do this the first time I used it because I hadn't read through the instruction thoroughly. After a week I noticed one of my moles looked black and panicked thinking I had skin cancer. Fortunately it returned to its normal colour a few weeks later.
Anyway, after about 6 weeks, my underarms appeared free of hair and stayed that way for 3-4 weeks. Then it started regrowing (the next cycle) and I used the laser again. I now have hair free underarms.
The results are slightly different on my legs. The backs of my legs are practically hair free after only 6 sessions but the front is still growing. I'm not sure if this is because the front of my legs are darker than the back due to seeing more of the sun in summer. However, hair regrowth is incredibly slow and it can take more than a week for any hair to reappear. Now I am using the laser just once every 2 weeks on my legs until it stops growing permanently and I will venture onto other areas.
What you do find if you're using it for a long session is that it can get quite hot. However, it has a built in system that halts the process, stopping it working for a period until it's cooled down sufficiently. It usually only takes around 5 minutes and your ready to go again.
It can get quite messy with the gel so remember to take plenty of tissues to wipe it away after.
I'm absolutely delighted with this laser machine and can't recommend it highly enough. Something they don't advertise and which you need to be aware of when considering the relatively high cost of the machine is the fact that it doesn't live forever. After the handset has fired 10,000 shots, it needs to be replaced. Replacements cost around £100 so if you have a lot of hairy areas to treat, you may have to fork out some more. It really depends on how serous you are about not having to bother with hair removal again and whether it's worth the cost for you. I reckon I use around 150 shots per session for legs and underarms so I should have plenty left.
For more information here is the link to the Boots website: