If you live in a small town or an island area of a big city, you will experience the intense emotional upheaval and embarrassment that occurs when the laser technician calls you and you know him.
Hello old friend from elementary school! Hello ex-boyfriend’s sister! I’m so glad you’re using my laser lady bits today!
My intense fear of this situation meant that for too long I only went to this one lady who runs a waxing operation on her own. I don’t know her and she doesn’t talk at the table, so there’s no way we’ll find out we have any friends in common.
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However, waxing is inconspicuous, the worst. It hurts a lot, you have to wait for all the hair to grow back before you can leave and it’s expensive. The shave isn’t much better and I’m not fit enough to slather hair removal chemicals anywhere but my legs.
Enter, the Holy Grail, the Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 IPL.
This is an at-home Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) device that uses light to target melanin in hair follicles and break the cycle of hair regrowth. This, like laser, is a long-term hair removal option that slows and eventually stops new hair growth.
The device itself is pretty smart, with SensoAdapt sensors that read your skin with each flash and adjust the light to one of 10 available intensity levels. This ensures a safer and smoother experience while being as efficient as possible.
You may be wondering? Is it just a small salon laser device in your hands?
The premise is correct, but whereas salon lasers use one wavelength of light, IPL uses multiple wavelengths, making it safer for home use. This varied wavelength also makes the process a bit slower than the salon laser, but in my opinion I would be happy to take a few extra sessions illuminating a storm at home rather than an awkward encounter.
Now – the question we all want to know! Does it hurt?
For so long I stayed away from the laser because everyone told me it was like getting hit with a rubber band. I’m thinking in my head, ‘this kind of stinging, cringe-inducing pain is the worst kind’, so naturally I was nervous to try the Pro 5.
First of all, the Braun IPL device has 3 comfort modes and honestly the lowest comfort mode feels like the smallest heat and nothing more. It’s very cold. I quickly moved on to number two, which at first I thought was more intense but really isn’t anything either.
After two weeks I was already using level 3 everywhere and I have to say you hardly feel it. I would call it tiny hot flashes. Sometimes you’ll have a sore spot like the armpit crease that might feel a bit more like a rubber band, but it’s MUCH softer than you imagine when you hear that phrase (or at least I imagine ).
Alright ladies and gentlemen, now on to the slight downside of IPL (and salon laser), which has to do with tanning and time at the beach. You cannot use the laser when you have a fake tan and you cannot expose yourself to prolonged sun exposure around the treatment. So how do you schedule it into your week?
I understood everything.
On Tuesday or Wednesday night, I exfoliate all my fake tan and shave. Then I use IPL before bed. I’m also unlikely to spend hours in the sun during this time, as Wednesday is a busy working day.
I re-tan on Thursday night and the cycle repeats on Tuesday. The best part about using the IPL is that after a few uses the regrowth is seriously reduced so I was only able to shave once a week!
skin tone vs hair
Another downside is that IPL laser devices aren’t the most inclusive. They work by targeting melanin in your hair, so having a contrast between hair color and skin color makes it more effective. If your skin and hair is lighter or your skin and hair is deeper, this may not be the product for you.
That said, IPL is becoming more and more effective and the SensoAdapt sensors have expanded the range of hair and skin tones that IPL will work on. You can always chat with the Braun or Shaver Shop team if you are unsure.
How to use
IPL is very easy to perform at home. Start by cleanly shaving the area you want to laser in order to have a smooth surface. Select the comfort mode (normal, soft, extra soft).
Then simply dab the laser head against the skin until you have white lights on either side of the device, which is the “OK” to start with. Click the laser button and you will get a flash of the device. Move the head of the device to the next skin area and do the same until you have covered the area.
The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 IPL also has a glide mode, ideal for the legs. Simply hold down the laser button and glide the head across the skin and it will produce spaced out flashes over larger areas.
For private areas such as the bikini line, it also has a precision head, and I would recommend using the dab and click method. You can use the laser on the outer skin of the vulva/labia majora, but avoid the labia minora. You can also choose to use a gentler mode on sensitive areas.
The device promises visible hair reduction in just four weeks and I must say they are not wrong. My shaving routine drifted further and further the longer I used the device.
Not content to stop there, I kept going and found that after 12 weeks with the Pro 5, I only needed to shave once a week. Areas I was more consistent with, like my legs, showed the best results, so that’s a key part of a treatment like this.
The hair growth will diminish even more over time and I can say with total, reckless abandon and joy that I will never have to go back to waxing or epilating again. Hooray!
For more information on the Braun Silk-expert Pro 5, which is currently on sale for $499, visit Shaver Shop
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