Gillette Venus Braun Silk Expert 3 IPL review (BD3001, BD3005)

Gillette Venus Braun Silk Expert 3 IPL Laura G
Gillette Venus Braun Silk Expert 3 IPL


The Silk Expert 3 IPL is a good-looking above average spec device. It’s special because it’s so simple to use. The advanced skin tone sensor expertly balances safety and power. The ergonomic shape is easily manoeuvrable and it lasts 10+ years of full body treatments. Whilst not the fastest, it’s quick enough to treat smaller body areas like your face, underarms, forearms, tummy and bikini line. You can also split full body treatments into shorter sessions across days. Read the full review too see if you should buy the Braun Silk Expert 3 IPL.

“Above average plug-in-and-go simple device, best suited to the face and smaller body areas.”

Lamp lifetime
Excellent. The flashes give you 10+ years of full body treatments, more than you’ll likely need.
Ease of use
A great mains-powered, ergonomic design, with simplicity at heart. It adapts to your skin tone before every flash and chooses from 3 intensity levels.
Speed of application
About average so great for treating smaller areas, or splitting treatments across days. A full leg takes 14+ mins.
A trusted brand delivering prompt, thorough responses and a helpful treatment scheduling App.
Feedback & results
The majority of online feedback is positive. They love the foolproof no-fuss treatments.
Budget range: £££$$ Great value for a mid-range price and offers are common.

What is it?

The Gillette Venus / Braun Silk Expert 3 is an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) device that’s safe for home use. The IPL energy disables the hair follicle and breaks the cycle of hair growth. After each treatment your hair grows back slower and finer, until eventually it doesn’t grow back at all. Periodic use disables new follicle growth and keeps you continuously smooth.

Use it on your body and face below the cheekbones (women only).

Fitzpatrick skin tone chart showing it's unsafe on the darkest skin type VI. Hair colour chart shows it won't work in light blonde, grey and white hair.

You can use it on black, dark brown, brown, dark blonde hair and light to medium dark skin tones (Fitzpatrick skin types I to V).
You can’t use it on light blonde, red, grey or white hair and brownish black and darker skin tones (Fitzpatrick skin type VI), or on dark brown or black spots such as birthmarks, warts and moles.


First available in early 2017, the Gillette Venus Silk expert 3 IPL is FDA cleared and available for sale in the US and Canada. In the UK, Europe and Australia it’s called the Braun Silk expert 3 IPL and it meets EU standards with CE certification. Procter & Gamble market both, in partnership with Cyden Ltd who manufacture the device.

The Silk Expert 3 is the little sister of the Silk Expert 5. It keeps several of her excellent features but with a reduced spec. It’s positioned as a standard, mid-range device. Keep reading the full review to see how they compare.

You’ll need between 4 and 12 weekly treatments to complete your start-up phase. This’ll take up to 11 weeks. When you no longer see hair growing you can switch to monthly top-up treatments to stay smooth. You may need these even less frequently as time goes on.

The Braun Silk Expert 3 is a good choice at an attractive price. It’s not in the same premier league as the Braun Silk Expert 5, Smoothskin Gold or Lumea Prestige. But it’s more advanced than the available no-frills options. It’s very good value for money.

The mains-powered, ergonomic shape and advanced skin tone sensor make for simple treatments. And it’ll last over 10 years of use for full body treatments.

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But there’s more you need to learn about the speed of application and the power output of the device.

In this full Gillette Venus Silk Expert 3 IPL review:

Is it good value?

It’s great value. You get more flashes than you’ll probably ever need.

Bar chart showing the great lamp lifetime value of the Silk expert 3 compared to other devices. The Silk expert 3 is one of the best

The Braun Silk expert 3 provides super value for money and more treatments than you’ll likely need. 250,000 flashes combined with the 3 cm2 flash window means you can treat a total body area of 750,000 cm2, or 150+ full body treatments for 10+ years of use.


With the Braun Silk expert 3 IPL you get 250,000 flashes. Combined with the 3 cm2 flash window this means you can cover a huge total body area of 750,000 cm2. That’s enough for approximately 150+ full body treatments (full legs, bikini line, tummy, underarms and face).

That’ll see you through the start-up phase and for 10+ years of monthly top-ups across all those body areas. Braun advise it lasts 12 years. It’s more than you’ll ever need. Especially as the longer you’ve used it the less frequently you need maintenance sessions.

N.B. only the bulb life calculates the years of use. General usage and wear and tear can also determine how long the machine keeps working.

What’s it like to use the Silk Expert 3?

The Silk Expert 3 comes in a sturdy black and purple cardboard box. It clearly shows the device and which accessory it comes with. That’s either the storage pouch or the Gillette Venus Razor. The design prominently shows its FDA cleared or clinically tested.

The Gillette Venus silk expert 3 for the USA and the Braun Silk Expert 3 box for the UK, side by side.

The design and content of the UK and US boxes is very similar. Both boxes show the words “Safe and effective – Permanent visible hair removal”. This needs further explanation to set realistic expectations.


The back of the box explains the key features of the advanced skin tone sensor, gentle mode, mains-power operation and the 250,000 flashes from the lamp. The sides cover how it works, the safe skin tones and effective hair colours chart.

Both the UK / Europe and the North America messaging use the words “Safe and effective – Permanent visible hair removal”. The word permanent needs further explanation for which you need to read the user manual. Or you can learn more on IPL permanency here.

What’s in the box?

  • Silk expert 3 IPL device
  • Gillette Venus razor (IPL3001)
  • Storage pouch (BD3005)
  • Power adaptor
  • Mains connector plug
  • User manual

Inside the box, moulded clear plastic protects the Silk expert 3 device. Below that is the white power pack, country specific mains cable / plug and a grey storage pouch, all wrapped in thin clear plastic, and 2 user manuals covering several languages.

First impressions

The device itself is majority white with a matching purple flash button on the top and stripe banding round below the flash window. The head is slightly bulbous and angled slightly from the tapered end. There’s a strip of LED lights on each side, air vents underneath and a small round ‘feather’ button below the purple flash button. It’s a minimalist, sleek design that looks professional.

Side view of the Silk expert 3 with level 2 intensity illuminated on the side

The white & purple Gillette Venus Silk Expert 3 has a minimalist design and distinctive ergonomic shape that’s comfortable to hold. It’s smart and sleek.


It’s a good size, and although lightweight it feels solid. The cord fits securely in the bottom and it’s balanced as I practise different grips.

But first let’s read the user manual.


The user manuals are slightly different by region. I prefer the US version as it’s a little easier to follow. It has a more logical order of information and the clinical trial results, which I find both interesting and reassuring.

There’s lots of information in the user manuals to digest. You’ll find helpful diagrams, information on how IPL works and how to use the Braun IPL device. You’ll also find instruction on caring for your device and troubleshooting any problems.

A notable number of reviewers felt intimidated by the user manual. One commented “The instruction booklet is 80% warnings and 20% manual” ( UK) and another that it’s so much easier to use than the user manual suggests.

There is a lot to take in, and it could be a bit friendlier. But please make time for it because it’s important. Start by reading the important safety information, contraindications, warnings and reasons not to use IPL so you stay safe.

N.B. The US user manual advises a start-up phase of 12 weekly treatments. The UK manual advises 4 to 12 weekly treatments, adjusting it to your needs. Some people enjoy faster results than others so it’s important you can commit to 12 weekly treatments should you need them.


Braun advise not to use the Silk expert 3 on recently tanned or sunburned skin, including artificial tans. You should also avoid unprotected sun exposure by covering up after treatments and using a sunscreen of SPF 15+.

This is because your skin is extra sensitive after tanning, which increases the risk of side effects from IPL, such as burns, blisters, discolouration and scarring. Your skin is more sensitive after your IPL treatments too so there’s a higher risk of sunburn from the sun.

Braun say to wait 7 days after sunbathing before treatments, or to wait for your tan to fade. They also advise to avoid the sun for 7 days after your treatment.

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Next, make sure you follow the skin patch test instructions and understand how the skin tone sensor works.


You don’t need to work out which intensity level is best for your skin. The Silk Expert 3 does that for you using its advanced skin tone sensor. There’s more on the skin tone sensor later.

So your skin sensitivity test is very straightforward. Following the instructions in the manual test each body area you’ll treat with 2 side-by-side flashes. If after 24 to 48 hours your skin shows no reactions you can continue with your full treatment.


It couldn’t be easier. Here’s how you do it.

  1. Shave, cleanse and dry your treatment area.
    Braun customer support advises you can wax or epilate too, but wait 2 or 3 days after waxing / epilating before your IPL treatment. This allows the hair follicle to grow a bit so giving the IPL something to target. This information is not in the user manual but is shared in the customer reviews.
  2. Set yourself up. You’ll need to be near a power socket. Try using an extension cable so you can choose the most comfortable area, like your bed, or close by to a mirror.
  3. Plug it in and the device will immediately power up in ready mode. The side-strip LEDs will light up once on each side and you’ll hear the fan start up inside.
  4. Press the handset head firmly against your skin and the power intensity indicator lights will illuminate white to show your level, from 1 to 3.
  5. Press the button to flash.

If not in use for 10 minutes, the device goes into standby mode. One power indicator light will flash on each side of the device to show it is in standby mode. After 60 minutes, it goes into sleep mode with no lights on. To activate it again, just press any button or remove and replace the power cord. It doesn’t have an on/off button, so you need to unplug it from the mains and store safely after use.


The Silk Expert 3 won’t allow you to accidentally flash into open air and hurt your eyes. That’s because both skin tone sensors at the side of the flash window must be covered by your skin before it’ll flash.

Close up of the Silk Expert 3 flash window

2 small sensor windows sit on either side of the flash window. You must cover both with your skin before it’ll flash. This means you can’t flash into open air anywhere near your eyes.
The flashes you see as you treat are bright but harmless. Try wearing sunglasses if you find them uncomfortable.


Many reviewers mention the flashes are intense, uncomfortable and annoying after a while. The user manual does tell you to look away for each flash. But several users comment this becomes tiresome and it’s easy to lose track of where you’ve flashed. Several think protective goggles should be provided.

Rest assured these flashes won’t harm your eyes. But if you do find it uncomfortable follow these tips:


  • Make sure you use it in a well-lit room so the flashes don’t seem overly bright.
  • Several reviewers recommend wearing sunglasses too. This reduces the intensity and you can keep your eyes on where your flashing too.



Loads of reviewers love the Silk expert 3 because it’s easy to handle, not too heavy and comfortable to hold.

Hand holding the Silk Expert 3 with their thumb on the flash button.

The Silk Expert 3 is comfortable in your hand and it’s easy to see the intensity indicators and nozzle end from most angles. Take some time to work out how to best grip it and manoeuvre it around your body.


You can press the flash button with your thumb or fore fingers depending on how you’re manoeuvring it. You can see the white intensity indicators from most angles. And there’s good visibility of the nozzle end so you can see where you’re placing it and moving to.

A few petite-handed users found it took a few sessions to master it. I find that’s because you need to change how you hold it frequently, for example as you move around your legs. Your grip on the device includes your thumb or finger on the flash button, so it can be awkward to stop / start as you shift positions. But you soon work out the best way.

“Very easy to use, love that it adapts to your skin tone and its not over priced. Instructions included were very easy to understand and the product itself seems to be very well made and easy to hold.” – Silk expert 3 review from

As one reviewer comments, you have “2.7m worth of cable to play with”. The cord is long, thin and flexible. It does sometimes wind into the wrong spot, I found this most with the backs of my legs. I suggest using a mains extension socket and sitting on your bed or next to a mirror. This gives you extra manoeuvrability so the cord won’t stretch making it simple to reposition as necessary.


Most home IPL devices come with a basic skin tone sensor. If they detect a skin tone that’s too dark they won’t emit a flash.

The Silk expert does this too. The two skin tone sensors on either side of the flash window check your skin 80 times per second. If your skin is too dark, a power indicator light will show red on each side and the skin tone sensors disable the flashes.

But the Silk Expert 3 skin tone sensor is more advanced than that. It uses what Braun calls SensoAdapt™ technology.

When the SensoAdapt sensors detect a safe skin tone, the sensors actually choose the safest and most effective intensity level for you. And because the sensors check your skin 80 times per second they choose before every flash, for each varying skin tone on your body. All you need to do is position it on your skin.

Left side view of the Silk Expert 3 showing level 2 energy intensity is ready

The Silk Expert 3 has 3 intensity levels ranging from 3 J/cm2 to 4 J/cm2. The skin tone sensor scans your skin x80 per second and chooses the best energy level for your skin. The level it chooses illuminates on the sides. It balances safety and power with each flash. All you need do is move it along for each flash.


It has 3 intensity levels to choose from (in normal mode – more on the modes later). You’ll see the side-strip LED power indicators light up from 1 to 3, to show the chosen intensity level.

“the best feature to my mind and which gives it a well-deserved five stars, is the automatic calibration to your skin type when using, no faffing about doing your own calibrating. Supremely easy, genuine plug and go. Excellent product.” – review for Silk Expert 3


The Silk Expert 3 has a small round feather button on the top. Press this button and it illuminates to show you’ve activated Gentle mode. This reduces the intensity level so you’ll see fewer intensity indicator lights on the side. Press the button again to return to normal mode.

Close up of the 'Gentle' feather button on top of the Silk Expert 3 handset.

Press the small round feather button to activate ‘Gentle’ mode. This reduces the energy output so you’ll see fewer lights illuminate on the side. It’s good for more sensitive areas like the bikini line and underarms. If you’re a bit nervous about IPL you can also use it to get used to the treatments.
But note that you’ll get faster results on the highest intensity levels safe for your skin, so only use it if normal mode feels too uncomfortable.


Braun suggest use this mode if you’re new to IPL, perhaps a bit nervous, and want to ease yourself into the treatments. You can also use it on sensitive areas like your bikini line or underarms which can smart a bit.

Several reviewers mention the Gentle feature. Some think it a good idea but don’t feel the need to use it. Others use it on their underarms but find slower results compared to other areas like their legs. The user manual confirms this:

“Gentle mode reduces the light intensity. More treatments may be required to see the desired effects.” Braun Silk Expert 3 user manual

So, you’ll get faster results in normal mode with the higher energy intensity levels.


You get the usual single flash (‘Precision’) and continuous flash (‘Glide’) modes.

For Precision you position, press and release, then re-position and repeat. Do this to control the flashes precisely and get better coverage on uneven surfaces like knees, shins and ankles.

For Glide keep the button pressed and after each flash slide (or ‘hover’) the handset over your skin to the next position. This way you don’t have to press the click the flash button down each time. It’s more comfortable as it works with your grip on the handset and reduces potential strain on your hand.

In the online reviews, a handful of people shared they weren’t quite sure how fast to slide the flash window when gliding. That’s because Glide implies a smooth, continuous motion but in fact you need to wait up to 3 seconds between the flashes. As one reviewer comments, it’s more of a ‘stutter’ than a glide.

TIP: You need to slide it along 1 cm after a flash, wait for the next flash and repeat. 1 cm is the height of the flash window therefore this gives you adjoining but not overlapping flashes.

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So, is it fast to apply?

How quick is it?

The speed of application is average.

The Braun Silk expert 3 has a 3 cm2 flash window and it flashes every 2 to 3 seconds. It’s fastest on the lowest intensity level. So, to treat a pair of underarms roughly 120 cm2 it’ll take between 1:16 and 1:56 minutes.

Lady treating her underarms with the silk expert 3 IPL

The Braun Silk expert 3 has a 3 cm2 flash window and it flashes every 2 to 3 seconds. It’s fastest on the lowest intensity level. To treat a pair of underarms (roughly 120 cm2) it’ll take between 1:16 and 1:56 minutes. It’s time consuming for full body treatments. Read the tips below to help make them more manageable.


This is average. On they don’t mention the speed of application for the Silk Expert 3. I can’t find reference to how long it takes to treat a leg, and it’s not in the user manual either. But we can compare it to other devices with a similar speed such as the Philips Lumea Advanced. This takes around 14 mins per leg.

Comments from the online reviews say it takes around 20 mins to do both lower legs. Another does both lower legs, bikini line, face and armpits in 30 mins. Many who are treating larger areas say it’s quite time consuming . One specifically recommends it for treating smaller areas because of this.

It can be tedious and uncomfortable to treat your full body with a slower device. Faster options are available and they’re better suited to treating a full body in one session. You can learn more in my suggested alternatives section. But you can avoid long and dull full body treatments with the Silk Expert 3 by following my tips below.


  • Find a helpful assistant! This means you don’t have to bend and contort to reach all areas so it’s much more comfortable for you.
  • If you must go it alone try splitting your treatments into 2 sessions lasting around 30 mins each. For the first session treat your legs. And in the second finish with your underarms, face bikini line and tummy! This way you can concentrate on getting the best coverage possible, and not on how long it is taking.
  • As several online reviews mention, use the Braun Silk Expert App to plan and track your sessions so you don’t lose track of where and when you’ve treated.
  • Use an extension cable in front of a full-length mirror so you can use all the power-cord to manoeuvre around your body.


Tips for tricky areas:

From the onlin reviews, several find it tricky to activate on uneven knees and toes, bony ankles and shins, and curvy upper lip because both sensors must touch your skin. They share the following suggestions.

  • For shins, ankles and knees try turning the handset 90 degrees so it’s placed along the ridge and not across it. This also works well for hobbit-feet!
  • Squidge your toes together and place the flash window across them
  • For your upper lip try blowing out your cheeks or folding your lips in to create a flatter surface


Tips for best coverage:

A handful have trouble keeping track of where they’ve treated. I find this especially on legs when trying to work in up-and-down strips.

  • Instead, you can try working in rings around the contours of your legs, from front to back
  • Use a cosmetic pencil to mark off the sections you’ve flashed


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Or keep reading for a roundup of the feedback from the online reviews.

What do the online Braun Silk Expert 3 IPL reviews say?

The overall score from the collated online Braun Silk expert 3 IPL reviews is an impressive 4.3 stars

User score 4.3 stars

There are many online reviews for the Braun Silk Expert 3, the earliest from March 2017. Before I delve into the detail, there’re a few important points to share.

Quantity of reviews

I’ve researched the online feedback from (UK and US) and and

A first look on shows an impressive 971 reviews with an average score of 4.4. However, only 28 of these are for the Silk Expert 3 with an average score of 3.9. The rest are for ‘Gillette Venus Extra Smooth Women’s Razor Blade – 4 Refills’.

Maybe they share the product page because the IPL3001 comes with the Gillette Venus razor. Regardless, it’s a bit misleading and not obvious how to filter just the Silk Expert 3 reviews. I’ve excluded these erroneous reviews from the collated score and feedback.

Other websites feature reviews from e.g., and I’ve excluded the duplicates and researched the reviews from only.

So, the following collated feedback comes from a total of 235 online reviews. Amazon makes up around 24% and Braun 76%.

Quality of reviews

Of these 235 online reviews almost all (95% approx.) received a free sample from either Braun or Amazon Vine in return for an honest review.

This is a marketing strategy by P&G / Braun. They evidently understand online reviews are persuasive, engender trust and strongly influence us to buy. Therefore, to help build a bank of reviews they’ve incentivised people with a free product.

Most of the reviews seem genuine and there are loads of helpful comments. However, I did find the following patterns in the reviews that occur because of the incentive.

  • Many reviewers are just too soon into the start-up phase. They say they need more time. There’s usually a time constraint with incentivised reviews e.g. Amazon Vine reviewers must leave a review after 30 days. And since IPL takes a while to work, these reviews often haven’t seen any hair reduction results yet. They tend to leave either neutral or positive ratings depending on their current but incomplete assessment.
  • When you’re given something for free you don’t spend time researching, comparing and choosing the device. As a result, you start with much less background information. This manifests in the reviews where several simply share what they’ve learned. They repeat basic information about IPL, the features and how to use it. Or they fixate on essentials, such as shaving before treatments. They rate it positively but don’t share valuable and insightful pros and cons or hair reduction results. It’s frustrating to filter these out and find the juicy reviews. But don’t worry, I’ve done that for you in the next sections.

To save your time I’ve summarised feedback on ease of use and hair reduction results for the Silk Expert 3.

Let’s start with the negative bits.

The negative stuff

Less than 5% of the reviews leave low ratings.

The Braun Silk Expert 3 has an average user rating of 4.3 out 5 starsA few of these don’t relate to feedback on the device itself. One of these is a customer from who points out the erroneous reviews for the razor blade refills. One user has black skin and 1 more saw results on their lower legs but marks it down as they don’t like it’s not suitable for black skin. This is a restriction of IPL in general and not the silk Expert 3.

Just a couple report faults where the device won’t flash or power on. The warranty covers this.

A male Amazon Vine reviewer doesn’t feel the time and effort are worth investing for the results. I doubt he’d have bought it had he not got it free. A couple say it doesn’t work for them. One doesn’t say how long they’ve used it for, and the other is a not very specific ‘half way’ through their treatments.

Neutral reviews

There are more neutral 3-star reviews, around 10%.

A handful or so are positive, they like the Silk Expert 3 and that it’s easy to use, but it’s too soon for them to report any hair reduction results. Another likes it but unfortunately can’t use it on their moles.

Another handful share they find it slow and tedious, some do see results but don’t weigh this positively against the time and effort needed. One more prefers waxing and will stick with that. Again, if they all didn’t have it free would they have decided to buy and try it?

There are loads of positive reviews. Let’s move onto them now.

The Good bits

Just over 85% of total online reviewers leave positive 4 and 5-star ratings. There’s a lot of love for the Silk Expert 3.

So, what do they like?

It’s incredibly easy to use

Almost all mention the Silk Expert 3 is “incredibly easy to use”. The ergonomic design is not too heavy, it’s easy to handle and “fits comfortably in hand”.

They love the ‘plug and go’ simplicity to get started. This is down to the advanced skin tone sensor that selects your intensity level for you.

“I have to say its very simple to use. Plug in and go , its that easy.”- Braun Silk Expert 3 review from

Lots find the “instructions are easy and clear to follow”. Most share it just feels warm and there’s no pain. Any redness of the skin disappears after an hour or so. Those that do feel some discomfort comment it’s nothing compared to waxing and epilating.

Several appreciate the Gillette Venus razor for the shaving preparation. And a good few recommend the Braun silk Expert App to plan and track your sessions. The App also links to helpful ‘how to’ video tutorials to complement the user manual.

Silk Expert 3 and the simple pouch that comes with the BD3005.

The Silk Expert 3 BD3005 comes with a storage pouch. Some of those that opted for the Gillette Venus razor (IPL3001) comment that including a storage pouch would be a good idea to help protect the device.


Just a few suggest a cordless version would be better. Most prefer the mains-power operation as there’s no battery charging required. A few would prefer an on/off button so you don’t have to unplug it from the wall. And a noteworthy but minor gripe is there’s no storage pouch with the IPL3001 to protect the Silk expert 3.

Sceptics and incentives

There’s a notable number of sceptics on They are pleasantly surprised with the Silk Expert 3 and leave high ratings. Just like some leaving low ratings, I wonder had they not gotten it free would they’ve bought and tried it? However, there are a few previously undecided users who now wish they’d bought it and tried it long ago.

There are many who leave their reviews noting the 12-weekly treatment start-up phase is incomplete. But as per the incentive product agreement terms they must now leave the review. They give 4-star ratings because they’re happy but need longer to see the end results. Their rating may be different after a longer timeframe.

Around 15% of the positive reviews don’t mention results at all. A couple are first time users simply excited to receive a freebie. Others just share basic information about IPL and the product. Whilst some do comment on the ease of use, these reviews are less helpful and symptomatic of the incentivised approach.

So, what about the hair reduction results?

Hair reduction results

You’ll need between 4 and 12 weekly treatments to complete your start-up phase. This’ll take up to 11 weeks. When you no longer see hair growing you can switch to monthly top-up treatments to stay smooth. You may need these even less frequently as time goes on.

Most of the positive reviewers share the Silk Expert 3 works to reduce their hair. Around a quarter of these say it works but they don’t say how long they’ve been using it.

Feedback after a few treatments

A third report it starts to work after the first, second or third session. The results vary by user. Some see a slight slowing in the growth rate or hair feels less coarse. Others see more noticeable results with large patches of hairless skin. Shaving becomes less frequent. One goes from daily shaving down to once a week.

 “I’ve gone through this process twice and even after the first application you could visually see and physically feel the difference. There were fewer hairs coming up and the ones that remained seemed thinner and less robust” – review for Silk Expert 3

After 4 weeks one reviewer reports their hair has ‘practically gone’. But the results are faster for some than others. Many report it takes a while to really see and feel a change.

“It was totally pain free – and after 3 uses the hair growth is slower, softer and less bristlely!!! After 6 uses the hair hardly grows back at all and if it is it is so fine and thin you cannot tell!” – review for Silk Expert 3

Feedback after several weeks

Another third of the positive reviews left feedback at between 1 and 3 months. Most of these reports come from Braun UK reviews. This provides good insight into the longer-term results of the device.

After 2 months a lady suffering from PCOS shares she has ‘gone from shaving my legs every day to twice a week.’ That’s a great improvement. At around the same time (9 weeks) another reviewer shares ‘on my legs, the hairs are much finer, fewer in quantity and a whole lot less visible’.

And a month later at 3 months another lady barely needs to shave anymore.

The speed of results varies by body area and user too. Some experience slower results on their underarms, some on their legs.

Other happy comments include the IPL helps stop ingrowing hairs and as hair regrowth lessens it reduces shaving rash.

“in the first few weeks I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t feel that anything had changed and I still had to shave every few days, but after week 4, the hair growth slowed down a lot. Now at week 7, I can really feel the difference – I have smooth legs with no in-grown hairs or shaving rashes!” Braun uk Silk Expert 3 review

Loads of the positive feedback acknowledges the Silk expert 3 is not an overnight fix for unwanted hair. It takes time and dedication. But this shows that amongst all the incentivised reviews there are many who have given honest, fair and thorough feedback you can trust.

“The only downfall is that it is a time consuming process and will take months to achieve desired results but I’m happy with how it is super user friendly and comfortable to use. I CANT wait to see my results!!!!” – Silk Expert 3 review

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Or learn about the alternatives you should consider for faster or more powerful IPL.

What are the alternatives?

If you’re able to spend a bit more on the premium specification Silk Expert 5 you can check out my Silk Expert 3 vs Silk Expert 5 comparison here.

The Philips Lumea Advanced and Smoothskin Bare are available at a similar price and review score. They’re worthy of your consideration.

Philips Lumea Advanced

Consider the Lumea Advanced if you live in the UK, Europe and Australia (it’s not yet available in the USA and Canada).

The Lumea Advanced is another fine mid-range choice. It’s like the Silk Expert 3 because the lamp lifetime is great. It’ll last 15+ years of full body treatments. It has a slightly higher RRP but offers are common so check prices to help you decide.

Here’s what’s stand out about the Lumea Advanced.

Firstly, it’s very easy to use but for different reasons. It’s a mains-powered intuitive gun-shape design that feels great in the hand and is very easy to manoeuvre. It also comes with 3 interchangeable flash windows. They’re different shapes and sizes so it’s easier to apply on your body, face and bikini line. There’s a filter in the bikini line window which targets the stubborn hair here with less discomfort. Both have Glide mode and their speed of application is about the same.

Secondly, the Lumea Advanced is slightly more powerful than the Silk Expert 3. You get 5 energy intensity levels ranging from 2.5 to 5 J/cm2. The Silk Expert 3 has 3 intensity levels ranging from 3 to 4 J/cm2. Both work to reduce your hair regrowth. But if you have lighter skin tones, meaning you can use the higher intensity levels, the Lumea Advanced gives you more bespoke and targeted treatments.

However, with the Lumea Advanced you must choose your own intensity level because there’s no advanced skin tone sensor to do it for you. I love this ‘plug in and go’ feature of the Silk Expert 3 so I think it’s a hard decision between the two.

They’re both fine choices from trusted brands. Online reviewers score them positively, both with and average 4+ stars and they both offer excellent customer service.

Read the full Lumea Advanced review here and check out the comparison table below.

If you’re looking for a faster alternative at a similar price, keep reading.

The Smoothskin Bare

Don’t let the compact, simple design and low-price tag fool you. The Smoothskin Bare is a strong contender for different reasons again.

It’s available for roughly the same (or lower) price than the Silk Expert 3 (at RRP £199 / $299 USD / $399 AUD). It’s similar to the Silk Expert 3 in a few ways.

Both are suitable for light to medium-dark skin tones (I to V). They each have skin tone sensors to protect your skin as they won’t flash if it’s too dark. Both provide more than enough flashes (the Bare’s are unlimited). The Bare operates at a similar low energy output, but it has only one intensity level at 3 J/cm2. So, there’s no faff, it too is a simple ‘plug in and go’ choice.

Online reviewers love the simplicity of both devices and they score 4+ stars from feedback. The Bare looks basic but the curves fit perfectly into the palm of your hand and it’s easy to manoeuvre and see where you’re flashing. It’s just as easy to use, but the standout difference is it’s ultrafast.

The low energy intensity level means it flashes every 0.6 seconds. That’s ultrafast. It’s the perfect speed to glide over your skin in a fluid motion. A full leg takes from just 4 mins!

If you thought IPL was too boring and tedious, think again. The Smoothskin Bare makes it easier to commit to regular, fast treatments that keeps your stubble away! The customer support programme from Smoothskin is excellent too.

Check out the comparison table below. Read the full Smoothskin Bare review for further detail to help you decide.

Alternatives comparison chart

This table compares the specification for the alternatives and the Braun Silk Expert 3.

Braun Silk Expert 3 IPL
Philips Lumea Advanced Smoothskin Bare
Gillette Venus Braun Silk Expert 3
Scores 4.1

  • User rating of 4.3
  • £££ / $$
  • Available in UK, Europe, Australia, USA & Canada
The Philips Lumea Advanced SC1999
Scores 4.2

  • User rating of 4.5
  • £££
  • Available in UK, Europe & Australia
Smoothskin Bare white and black model
Scores 4.4

  • User rating of 4.6
  • ££ / $$
  • Available in UK, Europe, Australia, USA & Canada
  • Prevents accidental flashes
  • Integrated UV filter
  • Safe for skin tones I to V
  • Skin tone sensor chooses intensity
  • Prevents accidental flashes
  • Integrated UV filter
  • Safe for skin tones I to IV
  • Basic skin tone sensor
  • Prevents accidental flashes
  • Integrated UV filter
  • Safe for skin tones I to V
  • Basic skin tone sensor
  • Body & face
  • Black to dark blonde hair
  • Mains-powered
  • 3 intensity levels
  • 3 to 4 J/cm² energy output
  • Stamp & continuous flash, and Gentle mode
  • 11 week start-up phase (12 treatments)
  • Multi-use treatment window (3 cm²)
  • Braun IPL treatment App
  • Body & face
  • Black to dark blonde hair
  • Mains-powered
  • 5 intensity levels
  • 2.5 to 5 J/cm² energy output
  • Stamp & continuous flash mode
  • 8 week start-up phase (5 treatments)
  • Flat body attachment (4 cm²)
  • Flat facial / precision attachment with filter (2 cm²)
  • Flat bikini attachment with filter (2 cm²) (SC1999 only)
  • Philips Lumea IPL treatment App
  • Body & face
  • Black to dark blonde hair
  • Mains-powered
  • 1 intensity level
  • 3 J/cm² energy output
  • Stamp & continuous flash mode
  • Weekly treatments until desired results
  • Multi-use treatment window (3 cm²)
  • Underarms take 1:56 mins
  • Full leg takes 14+ mins
  • Underarms take 1:45 mins
  • Full leg takes 14 mins
  • Underarms take 24 seconds!
  • Full leg takes just 4+ mins
Lamp Lifetime
  • 250,000 flashes
  • Treat up to 750,000 cm²
  • 10+ years / 150+ full body treatments
Lamp Lifetime
  • 250,000 flashes
  • Treat up to 1,000,000 cm²
  • 15+ years / 200+ full body treatments
Lamp Lifetime
  • Unlimited flashes
  • Unlimited body area
  • Lasts decades / 100's of full body treatments


Prices & Buy Now

Or, to help you decide here’s a quick round-up of the Gillette Venus Silk Expert 3 pros and cons.


  • “Plug in and go” simplicity with the advanced skin tone sensor
  • Safety and power are always in perfect balance. The skin tone sensor checks AND selects the perfect intensity level for your skin before every flash. It’s particularly convenient for body areas with several different skin tones
  • Attractive mid-range price and offers are common
  • Elegantly simple and comfortable to use – great for beginners
  • Use ‘Gentle mode’ to reduce the intensity. Great for delicate and sensitive areas like the bikini line
  • Enough full body treatments to last 10+ years of monthly use
  • Suitable for a broader range of skin types (I to V)
  • All the safety and treatment features you’d expect
  • Integrated UV filter
  • FDA cleared and CE mark (EU declaration of conformity to meet safety requirements)
  • Online reviewers love it
  • Braun is a trusted brand with a responsive customer service team
  • A treatment calendar, reminders to track your progress on your phone with the Braun Silk expert IPL App


  • Just above average treatment times and faster devices are available
  • Not suitable for the darkest skin tones
  • Could be improved with a smaller treatment window for the upper lip and other uneven and tricky areas
  • Power cord can get in the way

Should I buy the Braun Silk expert IPL?

It’s a fine choice.

The Braun Silk Expert 3 is a good above average specification choice from a trusted brand. Its simple ‘plug in and go’ treatments are thanks to the advanced skin tone sensor so it’s incredibly easy to use and safe for your skin. There’s loads positive user feedback on results too.

The only downside is the slower application speed than other choices. So I recommend it for treating smaller body areas like bikini line, underarms, forearms and face. Or try splitting full body treatments into multiple sessions across days to make more manageable.

Check prices before you buy and compare it to the Silk Expert 5. Offers are common and if you find the Silk Expert 5 close in price consider if you can stretch your budget. It’s worth it for the faster application and more advanced intensity level selection.

You can check prices or buy the Silk Expert 3 using the links below.

Where to buy the Braun Silk Expert 3 IPL

Found this review helpful? Please shop via my links to support
Compare prices of all Silk expert IPL models on Amazon
Buy the White and Purple Braun Silk expert IPL 3 (BD 3001)Braun Silk Expert 3 BD 3001 with Venus Razor
Buy from Amazon: UK & International orders
Buy from UK & Global shipping
Buy from (no razor included): Australia orders, with 90 day money back guarantee
Check for any applicable taxes or customs duties for outside UK delivery.

Still not sure?

If you still aren’t sure, try my Best IPL and laser hair removal guide. These are the top devices available for home hair removal. All are tried and tested by myself and my small team of testers.

Best home laser hair removal guide

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