Tried and tested: At-home IPL

at home ipl review

Does it work? Our editor finds out…

Beauty Crew Editor / July 02 2019

There are a few things I tend to enjoy leaving to the professionals. My balayage and my brows mostly (shout-out to Tarryn at MOB Hair and Jazz Pampling respectively for keeping those in check!), but also anything that could potentially end up with me injuring myself. Historically, laser hair removal has fallen into that category. 

The problem, however, with getting long-term hair removal laser professionally done is twofold. First, there’s remembering to book my appointments and actually committing to going to them, and then there’s the whole cost element of a laser treatment. It adds up. 

Which is why using an at-home device for permanent hair reduction has always intrigued me. There’s no need to juggle my life schedule to accommodate an appointment, plus, with just one financial outlay I’ve covered myself until I’m as silky smooth as a dolphin. 


So, when SmoothSkin Bare came into my orbit and it clicked to me that summer’s around the corner, I put my fears to the side and decided to put the at-home IPL device to the test.

The SmoothSkin Bare

Here’s a rundown of my four-week experience with the SmoothSkin Bare hair removal system.

The product

The SmoothSkin Bare 

is a nifty little hair removal device for home use that utilises IPL technology. Shaped like a slightly larger version of a computer mouse, it’s easy to hold and manoeuvre, and superficially, it’s a pretty schmick-looking tool. 

According to the official product description, it releases 100 flashes of the activating intense pulsed light per minute, which means you can treat the hair follicles on your lower and upper legs, bikini line and underarms in a very short amount of time (SmoothSkin claims less than 10 minutes). 

If you weren’t aware, laser hair removal isn’t necessarily for everyone – it will only work to remove body hair on certain skin tones (this has to do with the melanin in your skin, which usually makes it quite difficult to work effectively on dark skin tones as there's little contrast between the dark hair colour and darker skin tones) and certain hair colours (dark hair is typically best, light hair is typically hardest).


GOOD TO KNOW: The SmoothSkin Bare has a safety feature that checks your skin tone before each flash is released, so it will only activate if it’s safe to use.

In terms of how often to use it? Just once a week, with results starting to show in as little as four weeks. 

The process

I decided I would do my legs (full), which have never been treated before, some facial hair, and my underarms, which have reaped the benefits of laser hair removal years ago, but a few unwanted hairs were coming through so I needed a top-up. 

Full disclosure: I put off doing this for a few days because I was overcome with sheer laziness. But once I bit the bullet and hunkered down for my first session, it was hands-down one of the easiest processes. Probably the equivalent ease of shaving. 

Simply plug in the device, flick on the power point, and you’ll hear some faint whirring (I couldn’t seem to find an ‘on’ switch, so I relied on the power point to power it on and off). Honestly, I was a little put off when I opened the box to discover it wasn’t cordless, but it really wasn’t an issue once I got going. The cord is long enough to get a pretty extensive range of movement, so it really doesn’t interfere with the hair removal process.

TOP TIP: It’s a good idea to shave the areas you’re treating before you get started with the IPL device.

When it came to my underarms and facial hair, I used the ‘stamp’ method. This basically means you place the device on the area, push the button and release (it will flash), and then move it onto the area adjacent. It took me about two minutes total (max!) to do both underarms and less than a minute to do my chin and upper lip. 

As for my legs, I found it easier to use the ‘glide’ mode (this is recommended for large areas), which means you hold the button down as you slowly move the device along the larger areas. It flashes consistently as you go, making it a much more efficient way to treat the legs than the ‘stamp’ mode. Using the ‘glide’ mode, I could do both of my legs in about five minutes, total. It really wasn't a time-consuming process.

After doing my legs and underarms, I did experience a tiny bit of tingling, but I understand that’s fairly normal and it disappeared after a few minutes. 

I repeated this process once a week for three more weeks, having four treatments in total.

The payoff

After the first two weeks I noticed that the hairs on my legs were starting to grow back a lot slower after shaving. Typically, pre-IPL, they would start coming through two days after shaving, whereas after two weeks of using the IPL device, I didn’t notice any significant regrowth at the two-day mark. 

Now that I’ve used the IPL hair removal device for four weeks, and it’s been about five days since my last treatment, the length of my hair is a lot shorter than what it would be if I hadn’t been doing the IPL. Instead of the hair growing back finer than before, I’ve found that the SmoothSkin Bare has slowed the rate of the growth. As for my underarms, I haven’t had any regrowth – but don’t forget that I have had laser hair removal there previously and this was just a ‘top-up’. 

Besides shaving just before using the SmoothSkin (which was weekly), I did find I needed to shave once between treatments if my legs were going to be on show, but the hair regrowth at that point wasn’t as noticeable as it used to be before I started using the device.

The final verdict

The SmoothSkin has definitely worked in reducing the rate of hair growth on my legs in just four weeks! While I wasn't completely hair-free, I was pretty happy with this result. I’d be keen to continue using it for a few more weeks to get in a few more hair removal treatments to maximise the results – would certainly make my summer a lot easier! Would I say this is as effective as a professional laser treatment? Probably not. I don't think any at-home hair removal machine would be as powerful as what you could get in a clinic, but this one definitely helped minimise the hair growth and the ease of being able to use it at home was a big plus for me.

Would you try at-home IPL? Please share with us in the comments section below.

Image: Sevak Babakhani

Carli was BEAUTYcrew’s Editor from launch in 2016 until May 2020. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.