I was both excited and apprehensive to try the Braun Silk Expert IPL Hair Removal System. Excited, as I was already a convert to professional salon laser hair removal and knew how well it worked. Apprehensive, as I was an untrained civilian handling what is essentially a powerful laser-type device at home by myself.
In salon, I get my bikini line and underarms done but thought I’d be cautious by testing it on my legs first and seeing how that went. I was concerned as I have a low pain threshold and in the salon they zap you simultaneously with a cold air jet when lasering.
The Silk Expert instructions say to do once a week, for between 6-12 weeks. This is how I fared over the course of nine weeks.
First impressions: the handheld device was bigger than I expected. I assumed from the pictures that it would be a similar size to my Clarisonic - it was more like the length of my forearm. The instruction booklet is also quite thick, which was daunting. I would usually just skim it, but the fear of burning myself made me read every page.
As with salon IPL, you need to remove all hair from the area to be treated. I epilate my legs but the pack comes with a razor if you choose to shave.
The device is actually very easy to use. You simply plug it into the powerpoint and start. The only concern was: the booklet says to not look directly at the device while it’s flashing (it’s very bright; in salon when you get IPL both you and the therapist wear protective goggles). However, it’s almost impossible NOT to look at the device when in Glide mode, which is recommended for legs and larger skin areas.
Basically, you position the light window head, with sensors either side in contact with your skin at all times, and drag it up your leg from ankle to knee as if you were shaving with a giant razor. Because you want to pull it up your leg in lines, to not miss any spots, it’s almost impossible not to look. It’s a lot to think about all at once but once I’d done a few I got the hang of it. I would position the device, then turn my head away while I dragged it up my leg.
Using the glide method I did both my legs, knee to ankle, in under 10 minutes. No pain or smarting sensation at all; it just feels like a hot mug of tea being pulled along your leg. You only feel the heat during the dragging when the device is in contact with your skin. As soon as you remove it you feel nothing at all. The flashing is very bright - if you can look away, do.
I expected my skin to feel like it does after salon IPL; tender and smarting a bit, but five minutes after I finished my legs I felt like I’d done nothing to them.
I shave first - even though I didn’t have much hair regrowth after a week (which is normal for me after epilating) you still need to remove any hair before doing IPL. You’ll know if you’ve missed any as you’ll smell burning hair. Feeling confident, I decide to zap my legs just 10 minutes before running out the door in the morning - it’s THAT easy! One tip: I prefer to position the light window lengthways up my leg (rather than width-ways) as it seems to have better contact with the skin. It takes a bit longer to do each leg as each patch (of skin surface area) being zapped is skinnier, but the device won’t fire unless both sensors are in contact with the skin.
Not much regrowth on my legs after shaving only last week, but removed what little hair there was. Feeling bolder, I also did my bikini line. I’m used to the zapping feeling now so was more thorough and went over some areas twice. It’s hard to tell if the hair is growing back slower or not at all as it’s already unusual for me to shave/epilate every week. Usually I would only epilate my legs maybe twice a month max.
Using the device feels like just another step in my routine now, as normal as brushing my teeth or washing my hair. I can’t believe just a month ago I was so scared to use this little machine - next thing you know I’ll be fearless and doing my upper lip! Either way, I was considering going back to the salon for a touch-up professional laser hair removal but now it looks like I won’t have to.
Had a look at my legs and there’s literally only two or three very fine stray hairs so I didn’t bother shaving. Did legs and bikini line. It must be working as it’s been two weeks since I last shaved. Impressed.
Skipped last week as was so busy I forgot. Surprisingly little regrowth - maybe a handful of very fine hairs on each leg. So fine I didn’t bother shaving or epilating them away, I just went in with the IPL. They seemed to sizzle and burn away! Mild smell of burning hair, nothing disturbing though. Very pleased overall.
This device definitely works, albeit slowly. You need to be consistent and do it every week. Based on my experience, expect to see a reduction in hair after 7-10 weeks if you’re not very hairy to begin with.