My Hair Removal "Journey"
As a brief recap, here are the weapons I have used so far in my battle against body hair:
- Shaving: Cheap and fast, but it doesn't last very long. It is also very uncomfortable a few days after you do it as the hair grows back.
- Nairs "Wax Strips" plus shaving and tweezing: This was much better than shaving, but still left a lot of hair for the razor.
- Professional Waxing Salon: If you can find a good one, this is a great (if expensive) solution.
- Home Waxing: With considerable practice, this could be as good as a professional waxing salon. My first and only attempt was not a great success. If you want a laugh you can read about it here.
- Epilating: This has been my method of choice for a couple of years now. It delivers waxing salon smoothness at a fraction of the cost. It does hurt (but so does waxing).
All of the above methods suffer from one glaring defect: Not even a Yoga Master can get rid of the hair on their back with any known DIY method. So, when people would ask for my number one recommendation, I would always say that if money was no object, a high-quality waxing salon was the best, easiest and most pleasant way to have your hair issues resolved. But, for most of us, money (and time) is an object, and my second choice was epilating. None of these are perfect. They all hurt, take a lot of time, and the hair grows back inconveniently fast. Even when I was spending the money on a salon, it was hard to find time to make an appointment, which meant I walked around feeling gross and disgusting for a week or two (or sometimes more).
Hair Removal Heaven
But I am now in heaven. Hair-removal heaven. The hair-removal angels are singing. I am singing. I now spend about 90 minutes every four weeks removing my hair. Best of all, at the end of those four weeks, there is almost no hair to remove! This is never the case with any other hair removal method. So you don't ever feel gross or disgusting any more. It's absolutely wonderful!
This is all made possible by a wonderful device manufactured by Philips called "The Philips BR1956 Prestige". SheDaddy sent me a video about it last August (about 6-months ago) and I was intrigued enough to purchase one. It works using light (IPL - intense pulsed light). I had seen these devices but was skeptical about them. My skepticism is completely gone. Right after the first use, the hair reduction was so obvious that I didn't wait and wrote an in-depth review: you can read it here. And if you are like me and like to understand how things work, you can read about the science here.
For more details, please read my review, but here's a quick intro to using the Lumea: You first remove your hair. You can epilate or shave. It is quicker and less painful to shave, and it works as well or better with the Lumea. You then set the Lumea to the appropriate intensity for your skin and hair color, and drag it across your skin. That's it! Once in a while, there is a slight "sting," but the pain is vastly less than any other hair removal method (except shaving).
Repeat this four or five times every two weeks, then move to four week periods. Philips claims that you will be able to move to eight-week intervals and says that some people can go hair-free for as long as six-months!
As with everything, there are drawbacks.
Not everyone can use it. If your skin is very dark or your hair is very light, the Lumea probably won't work for you. Philips gives a chart in their manual (which I reproduce in my review) which you can use to help decide if the Lumea will work for you.
Upfront costs are high. The Lumea lists for around USD 600. It comes with a two-year warranty, but Philips claims it will last for at least 15-years and perhaps longer. If you are a waxing-salon aficionado, the Lumea will pay for itself in one or two months. If you're a home waxer or if, like me, you epilated, the economics are murkier. I paid 110 USD for the Braun Silk-epil, and Braun advises changing the head every 18-months. I've found that to be good advice and it costs about 40 USD. That means that in 15 years, you'll change the head ten times (because (15*12)/18 = 10), which will cost you 400 USD making your total cost over the 15-years 510 USD. So that doesn't look so bad, but there's a little detail here known as the "time value of money." To illustrate this, let's say you spent 110 USD on the epilator and took the 490 USD you saved by not buying a Lumea and put it in a savings account somewhere. At 3.2% interest, assuming daily compounding, in 15 years, you would have $793.29. This is the amount of money you save by not buying the LUMEA. To figure this out to the last nickel and dime, you should include the 40 USD replacement head, but I think it's plenty obvious from this that, unless you are going to a waxing salon, it's pretty much impossible to justify the Lumea on a strict cost-accounting economic basis.
On the other hand, the Lumea will save you hours of your time and those are worth something. Adding those into the financial mix might help you with your decision. But the real bottom line is, do you have 600 USD sitting around to spend on a Lumea? Not everyone will have (or want) to do that. If you are seriously disgusted with body hair, then you will probably feel (as I do) that the Lumea saved your life. If it's not such a big deal for you, there are cheaper solutions.
It doesn't solve the back issue. You will still have a hairy back to deal with. My back isn't that gross, but I still don't like it. If you have a bf or gf, perhaps they can help you out. The love of my life lives thousands of miles away from me, so that's not practical. I solved my back issue by asking my former waxing technician at the salon I went to use the Lumea on my back. You spend a lot of time waxing, and we grew to be good friends. She agreed to do my back for 50 USD, but later on decided it was more fun to do it in exchange for a dinner, which works great for me. I get my back done, and I get to spend time with a friend. It works.
The Lumea is fantastic. It's expensive. It's a luxury but one I would not want to live without. Hopefully, the success of the Lumea will generate interest from other companies, and competitive pricing will make IPL hair removal devices more affordable. I hope so because they are wonderful.
Here's the chart from my waxing article, updated to include the Lumea. One thing this chart doesn't reflect is the hair-reduction that the LUMEA provides. When you re-wax every four weeks, you are getting rid of the same amount of hair each time. With the LUMEA, you have less to remove every time you do it. Here's the chart:
|Philip's LUMEA||Pro Waxing||Home Waxing||Home Epilating|
|Recovery Time||Instant||4-5 days||4-5 days||1 day|
|Pain||Almost none||Ouch||OUCH||OUCH OUCH OUCH|
|Ease of Cleanup||Nothing to it.||Not Bad||Pain in the butt.||Nothing to it.|
|How long does it last?||Potentially: 6-months||3-4 weeks||3-4 weeks||3 weeks or less|
|How Hard to learn?||Easy||NA||VERY Hard||Easy|
Thanks for reading!
I hope this has been helpful. I'm always happy to get good suggestions and nice comments. If you have some, feel free to message me on Twitter