What is it?
The Braun Silk Expert Pro 5 uses intense pulsed light energy (IPL) to damage and disable your hair follicle, slowing and preventing hair regrowth. Periodic top-up treatments keep your skin smooth. Learn more about how home IPL works here.
The packaging is professional, informative, attractive, compact and neat. It’s sturdy and economical too. I like that there’s very little plastic because the storage pouch keeps everything covered, clean and together.
What’s in the box?
- Braun silk-expert Pro 5 IPL with body attachment
- Fixed power cord and base station pack
- Power lead and plugs (UK & Australia)
- Precision attachment (some models)
- Wide attachment (some models)
- Venus razor and blade (differs per model)
- User guide
The white and gold IPL device is sophisticated and refined. I like the clean lines, subtle curves and gold accents. It’s compact and lightweight, but feels solid, quality – exactly what you expect from Braun.
Before you start
Before you start zapping away, first read the user manual and do a skin sensitivity test.
The user manual is a quick and easy read. It’s well organised and spaced-out, with helpful diagrams. You’ll find the safe skin tone and hair colour chart, a diagram of the IPL device, a brief explanation of how IPL works, contraindications and warnings, how to use it, about your skin patch test, the treatment plan, cleaning and storage, possible side effects and a troubleshooting guide.
Spend time checking the important safety information, warnings and reasons you should not use the Braun Silk-expert Pro 5. These include being pregnant, having epilepsy, taking photosensitising medications, skin conditions, on tattoos or after skin peels. Learn more about IPL contraindications here to ensure it’s safe for you.
You must follow the guidelines on tanning and sun exposure too, to keep your skin safe and avoid side effects. Braun advise:
- Wait 7 days after sunbathing before treatments, or wait for your tan to fade
- After your treatments, avoid the sun for 7 days
- Cover up and use a sunscreen of SPF 15+ after your treatments to avoid unprotected sun exposure
- Don’t use the Braun IPL on recently tanned or sunburned skin, including artificial tans.
- Don’t use tanning booths or solariums during your treatments
In short, during your start-up treatments it’s best to avoid tanning altogether. Both by sunlight and artificially with light or creams. There’s more on tanning and sun exposure here.
Wait 48 hours after your skin sensitivity test. If your skin is normal, crack on with your first session (but avoid the test patch until your next weekly session).
You can learn more detail about how to prepare for your sessions here. Shave your hairs for best results, although Braun say you can wax or epilate if you prefer. And if you’ll be zapping facial or neck hairs I recommend dermaplaning as an alternative to shaving. Learn more about all of this and about dermaplaning here, and you’ll find buy links for dermaplaning tools at the end of this review.
Here’s a quick summary on how to use the Braun Pro 5, and there’s loads more detail in the following sections.
Just follow these steps:
- Shave before every treatment (unless there’s no hair left!)
- Plug in and press the flash or feather button. The 3 small intensity mode buttons shine white and you’ll hear the fan start up inside
- Select your intensity mode by pressing the feather button. 3 lights mean high, 2 gentle, and 1 extra-gentle.
- Position flat on your skin at a 90-degree angle and press the flash button.
- Slide to the next spot and repeat. Cover your skin in adjoining flashes avoiding overlap.
When you’re done, unplug from the mains and the Braun IPL powers down.
For this review I tested the Braun Pro 5 IPL on my full legs, extended bikini line, underarms and face. And boy is it simple, straightforward and ultrafast. It’s the fastest, safest, high-power home IPL you can buy. Here’s my feedback.
Quality & design
The Braun silk expert is a compact and elegant shape. And despite being lightweight at 285g, it feels solid and well-balanced with no creaks or cracks.
Even the 2 metre-long power cord feels premium. It’s fixed into the base of the device with the power pack at the other end. So, unlike the earlier models, the weight of the power pack won’t pull the cable out mid-use. There’s also a smaller 90cm cord that connects the power pack to the mains so you get the full 2-metre supple cable to play with. Use an extension cable for more flexibility.
The IPL lamp gives 400,000 flashes. That’s more than enough for over 200 full-body treatments of full legs, bikini line, underarms and face. So, you’ll get over 15 years’ worth of monthly full body sessions. Braun actually say the flashes should last for around 22 years. It’s superb value, you’ll never run out of flashes. You get a good 2-year manufacturer warranty too.
It’s very easy to handle around all your body, even if you have small hands. The large flash button is easy to press with fingers or thumb. And it works in a few different grips. Here’s the first:
With all models, you get the standard matt-gold body flash window attachment. It measures 1cm by 3cm, so that’s a total flash area of 3 cm2. It’s an excellent multi-purpose window for legs, body, underarms and bikini line. But sometimes awkward to get a flash on your tache and jawline.
Luckily, with all models (excluding the PL5014) you also get a smaller white precision attachment. This flash window is 1.1cm wide by 1.5cm long with a total flash area of 1.65 cm2. It’s a particularly good fit on the upper lip and around the jawline. And works well on fingers and toes too. Some of the Braun Pro 5 models come with an extra precision attachment so you can use one for your face and the other for areas around your body.
And finally, with the most expensive models, you also get a white wide flash window. This measures around 4 cm2 and covers a bigger surface area with each flash, so it’s faster to zap your torso and upper legs.
Related: Learn how the different Braun Pro 5 IPL models compare
The flash bulb is part of the device and not the attachments. The attachments click into place over the top. They can feel a bit stubborn to remove at first until you get used to the pressure needed.
Power, eye & skin safety
The Braun Pro 5 IPL has 10 intensity levels and it operates at high IPL intensities, the maximum on level 10 being 6 J/cm2. This is one of the most powerful home-use devices (along with the Smoothskin Pure and the Lumea Prestige). This means, if you have light skin and use the higher levels, you’ll get longer-lasting results than less powerful devices. The lower intensities are for darker skin.
See also: See how the Braun Pro 5 and the Braun Pro 3 compare.
Rest assured, the Braun Pro 5 is clinically tested safe for home-use and it passes the necessary European manufacturing and safety standards for the CE mark. It’s FDA-cleared in the US too.
So, how does it protect your eyes and skin?
You must hold the flash window flush against your skin so the two skin sensors are covered. If not it won’t flash. This means you can’t accidentally flash it into open-air anywhere near your eyes.
The Pro 5 also has reassuring independent accreditation from Skin Health Alliance because it’s skin-safe.
There’s an inbuilt UV filter. And the advanced skin tone sensor stops IPL flashes hurting your skin too. It’s also the reason why the Braun Pro 5 IPL is so darn simple and straightforward to use. Here’s what it does:
This means it chooses the most powerful intensity that’s still safe for your skin tone. And from 10 increments versus 5 as with other IPL machines. This means a more precise match to your skin tone and the best possible results in the shortest time.
This clever tech takes all the faff and guesswork out of which intensity level to choose. Just plug-it-in and start zapping!
But what if it smarts too much?
Gentle modes for sensitive bits
IPL can smart a bit on more sensitive body areas like your bikini line and underarms. Luckily, Braun IPL has 2 additional comfort modes to adjust the intensity. They’re simple to activate.
1 light means extra gentle mode. This chooses the lowest IPL intensity level 1.
2 lights mean gentle mode. This reduces the intensity so you’ll see fewer white indicator lights illuminated.
3 lights mean standard mode. The Braun IPL balances maximum power and safety for your skin tone.
Extra gentle mode adds further reassurance if you have darker skin. However, if safety and comfort for darker skin are your concern, you should consider my recommended devices for dark and black skin.
TIP: Braun suggest use the gentle mode for your first few sessions to get used to the treatments, but bear in mind you’ll get faster results in standard mode with the higher energy intensity levels.
The Braun Pro 5 IPL is one of the fastest high-power home IPLs you can buy. The flash rate is very fast at every 0.6 to 1.2 seconds, fastest on the lowest intensities. Keep the flash button pressed for continuous flashes in glide mode. After each flash glide the handset 1cm along your skin to the next position.
You’ll appreciate how the compact and lightweight design is easy to handle at speed. It’s not quite a fluid motion – but it’s fast and manageable.
Braun say you can do both lower legs in 5 mins on the lowest intensity level. For me, it selected the higher intensities and one lower leg took just over 3.5 minutes. A meticulous full leg took me around 9 minutes.
I did my full body in just under 28 mins (full legs, extended bikini, underarms and face). That’s one of the fastest high-power IPLs I’ve tested. It’s beaten only by the Smoothskin Pure. So, if you don’t have much time to spare and speed is what you need most, this is a solid choice.
For this updated Pro there’s a newer, rebranded App called ‘Braun Silk-expert Pro’.
It has all the product information and ‘how to’ videos available on the Braun website. And the most helpful bit is where you schedule your sessions and reminders. The App even lets you change the frequency of your sessions to accommodate the switch to your top-up maintenance.
It helps a lot to remember and stick to your treatment plan so you get the best possible results.
What does it feel like?
You’ll hear the cooling fan whirring inside the device. And you’ll hear each flash ‘pop’.
The flashes are bright, but harmless to your eyes. You don’t need to buy specialist goggles or glasses. Use it in a well-lit room so the flashes don’t seem so intense. Sunglasses can help ease any irritation you might feel.
It feels warm and tingly against your skin. Some more sensitive areas, like ankles, thighs, bikini line and underarms can smart a bit. Hair is generally thicker and denser on the bikini line and underarms so these areas can be uncomfortable. Simply select gentle or extra gentle mode if it feels too intense. Sometimes starting with the more sensitive areas is easier.
It’s really fast so you won’t get bored. But it still demands concentration because you must remember which areas you’ve flashed. This avoids too much overlap and missed hairy bits.
Skin redness is a common skin reaction to IPL. Your skin may also feel a bit hot and tingly. It’s normal and should wear off within 24 hours. You can cover it with a cool facecloth or ice pack. Cooling water sprays are good too, Aloe Vera gel or a non-scented moisturiser.
After your treatment, avoid things that could irritate the skin you’ve flashed. For example, using hot tubs and saunas, spanking, wearing tight-fitting clothing, using bleaching creams and perfumed or exfoliation products.
Avoid tanning and wear a SPF, 30+ ideally, if exposed to the sun! If you don’t you risk experiencing some of the rare home IPL side effects.
Schedule, effort & results
Home laser and IPL devices demand effort and commitment. There’s a start-up routine to get you to smooth, and then top-up sessions maintain your results. Your overall effort depends on the number of start-up sessions and how fast each session is. Therefore, I’ve calculated this effort based on my controlled tests, so you can compare and decide if the Braun Pro 5 is right for you.
Braun say you need between 4 to 12 weekly sessions to get to smooth and hairless skin. You may get there before 12 sessions but most people see significant results after 6. A whole body sessions takes around 30 mins. Therefore, over the start-up you’ll spend between 3 to 6 hours zapping.
|No. of sessions (start-up)||Time per session||Total effort during start-up|
| 6 sessions over 5 weeks
12 sessions over 11 weeks
|30 minutes|| 3 hours
Once you’re there, switch to less frequent top-ups. These could be every 1 or even 2 months. After several top-ups, you’ll likely need them even less frequently. The Braun Pro asks for such a small amount of your time and effort for excellent results. It’s one of the best so easier to fit around your busy life.
What results can you expect?
Shave before every treatment, and /or between sessions as you need.
Our tester’s experience matches the advertised results. They noticed slower leg hair growth after 2 sessions. It got softer and lighter after session 3. They had big, smooth hairless patches after 5 sessions which made shaving super quick and without ouchie razor bumps. After 6 sessions there was very little hair left.
Once smooth, do top-ups as you need them. Shave if you need to before these. Try spacing some a month apart, and eventually increase the gap to 2 months and even further.
So far our tester says…
“I’ve now done 6 sessions and 3 top-ups 1 month apart. At first, I’d notice some hairs around tops of my ankles. So, I shaved and flashed them and now they’re no more. I’ll keep going and try dropping the top-ups to every 6 weeks. I’m smooth and shaving rash free in time for Summer. I can’t wait to get my legs out!”
Just a few not-so-big negatives to report.
First, as mentioned earlier, the Braun Pro 5 is fast and magic on large areas like legs. However, sometimes the flash rate is unpredictable so you can glide it too far, or not far enough in between the flashes. I think this is because of how the sensors scan your skin and select the IPL intensity before each flash. Try to keep close contact to your skin to keep it consistent. It takes a little practise to find your technique and rhythm (especially if you’re used to a slower IPL device).
And next, it’s a bit pricey at full RRP. But offers around £300 and even lower are common. Check prices of the different models because they fluctuate. If it’s over £300, check out the Smoothskin Pure as a cheaper but very worthy alternative.
Braun Silk Expert Pro 5 IPL Review Summary
The Braun Pro 5 IPL is a super choice for silky-smooth skin on your face and small or large body areas. The clever tech matches the powerful IPL to your skin tone so it’s super simple and safe, with a gentle mode too. It’s top quality, easy, fast and gives excellent results too. You can try it with a UK 100-day money back guarantee.
Here’s a quick recap of my test results and pros and cons of the Braun Pro 5 IPL:
One of the best with IPL flashes lasting 15+ years of monthly use. More than you’ll ever need.
Ease of use
Mains-powered, fast, light-weight & nimble. Perfectly balanced safety & power in every flash. Easy flashes with small window for face & tricky areas, and wide window for faster coverage on legs.
Effort & Results
Silky skin after 4 to 12 weekly sessions, then top-ups every month or so to stay smooth. One of the lowest effort home IPLs.
- Foolproof, super-safe plug-and-go operation
- Compact, lightweight, robust & elegant
- Fast sessions – one of the best
- Powerful IPL adjusts to your skin tone before every flash
- Gentle & extra gentle mode for stingy bits!
- Very easy to flash all round your body
- Precision attachment for tricky upper lip
- Wide attachment for fast coverage on legs
- Easy flashes on knees, shins & ankles
- Clinically proven, CE certification & FDA-cleared
- UK 100-day money back guarantee
- Variable speed flashes aren’t always steady
- Expensive at full RRP, but offers are common
Buy Braun Pro 5 IPL 🏷
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Choose from various Braun Pro 5 models. Each has a nice storage case, Venus razor, standard and precision flash window (excluding PL5014). Some then have additional flash windows too. See the options below👇.
You can also check out this Braun Pro 5 IPL models comparison review.
Standard, 2x precision & wide
Standard, precision & wide
Standard & precision
Standard head only
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