If you're looking for smooth, hair-free skin, then the Philips Lumea Prestige is a flagship IPL machine which aims to give you long-lasting results, safely, from your own home.
It's the most powerful IPL hair removal device from Philips yet, and is one of the only IPL machines which can be used wirelessly. It is specifically designed for the body’s curves with three intelligent attachments which fit and adapt to each specific body part.
I've spent the last two years zapping my legs, and other body parts, in order to properly review Philips Lumea Prestige, and these are my thoughts…
- Best IPL machine: effective laser hair removal for men and women
- Find the best Philips Lumea IPL deals
Philips Lumea Prestige review: What is IPL?
IPL stands for 'Intense Pulse Light'. It uses multiple wavelengths of light to heat pigment within the hair – killing the growing cells and stopping the hair from regrowing.
It's different from laser hair removal, which uses a monochromatic light source and is more targeted and selective. This does mean that professional laser hair removal will lead to faster results. The key benefit to IPL, however, is that IPL machines are handheld devices which can be used at home, so you don’t need to make a laser clinic appointment. It’s so convenient you can do it whilst watching television, as there’s no mess.
It's worth noting IPL is a big investment in time and money – these machines reduce hair growth – they do not remove hairs immediately. It's not a quick fix, but, when used correctly, will make maintaining body hair much easier.
With that in mind, it's a good idea to start your IPL treatment a few months before you need smooth, hair-free skin.
I have pale skin and dark hair – which is ideal when it comes to IPL. These machines are less effective if you have grey hair, red hair or light blonde hair, or if you have a darker skin tone. Below is a graphic from Philips which shows which hair and skin types are compatible with IPL:
It's worth noting that this is an issue with all IPL machines, not just the Philips Lumea Prestige.
Philips Lumea Prestige review: Use
Okay, so how do you actually use the Philips Lumea Prestige?
When you first get the Prestige you'll want to download the Philips Lumea IPL app. This will walk you through using the machine and set up a treatment plan. It's a simple, well-designed app that's easy to use.
Initially, you'll need to IPL your chosen body part/parts every two weeks for eight weeks (four sessions). The app will remind you when a treatment is due.
The Lumea Prestige has a sensor, called the Philips SmartSkin Sensor, which measures your skin tone and hair thickness, and automatically selects the intensity setting.
You can use the device corded or cordless, which is useful if you want to sit comfortably away from a socket, but you can access higher settings when using the Prestige corded.
Once you're ready, simply place the device against your skin and pull the trigger. The bulb won't flash unless there's a seal between your skin and the light window – this is to protect your eyes and to ensure correct placement.
For smaller, trickier areas you can then move the Lumea and pull the trigger again, or, for larger areas such as your legs, you can glide the device slowly along your skin holding the trigger for a continuous run of flashes.
It can take a fairly long time to do your legs (around 15-20 minutes) as the light window area is quite small. I think this is perfectly bearable, especially as you can do it from the comfort of a sofa, armchair, or bed.
Describing the sensation of IPL is quite difficult – it's certainly not painful, but, occasionally, you can feel an odd stinging sensation, like a small insect bite that goes away after a few seconds. It's certainly much less painful than waxing or epilating.
I've found a close shave prior to your IPL treatment is key to minimising these stings.
After the initial phase, you need to complete top-up sessions every six to eight weeks. Again, the app will remind you when a treatment is due.
Philips Lumea Prestige review: results
I've been using the Philips Lumea Prestige for several years now, mainly on my legs, and I am very happy with the results. During the initial phase you might feel a little disheartened by the amount of hair reduction, you'll need a top-up shave in between treatments, but after the two-month mark hair is noticeably finer.
Beyond that, body hair is even finer and sparser, and the longer you use the Lumea Prestige, the better the results are.
Of course, it's worth noting again that IPL works on some skin and hair types better than others.
Philips Lumea Prestige review: Design and Attachments
The Lumea Prestige feels like a luxury device. It's solid and gives you confidence that it could survive being thrown in a suitcase and bashed around a little.
Philips has opted for an L-shaped design for the Lumea Prestige, which we prefer over the 'stick deodorant' design of some other IPL machines. The L-shape is comfortable to hold and makes extended use less strenuous.
That being said, the machine is still quite heavy, so can be wearing on your wrists. So, while I can happily cover both legs on my own, I do prefer having a partner do it for me.
The Lumea Prestige is the flagship product in Philips' IPL range, and, as such, it comes with all the attachments you'll need to treat your entire body. These include:
The Face attachment has a small, flat window for precise use on the upper lip, chin or jawline. It also features an additional red filter, which automatically adjusts the light treatment for gentle and effective use on your face.
The Precision attachment is a medium-sized, curved attachment designed for precise coverage of bikini and underarm areas
The Body attachment is the largest curved, contour-following design for fast treatment on large body areas like legs, arms, back and stomach.
You also get a pouch to store the device and all the attachments.
Philips Lumea Prestige review: Verdict
The Philips Lumea Prestige is the brand's most powerful hair removal device, and is quite simply the best IPL machine on the market. It offers easy, pain-free at-home IPL, with a number of smart features that make it stand out from the rest.
For a start, it is the only Philips IPL machine that can be used wirelessly, as well as wired. We found that really useful if, for example, you want to IPL in front of a mirror but don't have a plug socket nearby.
The Prestige comes with three intelligent attachments which fit and adapt to deliver a tailored treatment program for each specific body part, and it's the only Philips IPL machine with the SmartSkin sensor. This scans your skin type and automatically selects one of the five light energy settings.
Yes, the Lumea Prestige is undeniably expensive (although you can often find deals on Philips Lumea IPL machines), but it's ergonomic, the app works well, and we were incredibly happy with the results.