Philips Lumea Advanced review – suits bikini & underarms

Philips Lumea Advanced Laura G
Philips Lumea Advanced

4.2

The Philips Lumea Advanced is a super choice for zapping face & small areas. But it's slow to cover large areas like legs. It's safe for light skin and dark hair. Quality, lightweight, mainspowered and with a retro gunshape, it has specialist attachments to fit face, bikini & underarms. Excellent quality choice.

Best for small areas

👍 Recommended for face & small areas, for light to medium skin tones and dark hair

A sample of the photos taken during this tried and tested review of the Lumea advanced
Real test. Real photos. Real honest feedback.

Lamp lifetime
The flashes last 15+ years of monthly treatments. It’s one of the best.

Ease of use
Quality, intuitive gun-shape, precise & comfortable, plus specialist flash windows. Average speed sessions.

Results
Lovely & smooth after 4 to 5 sessions every 2 weeks, plus top-ups every month or so.

Pros

  • Eye-catching, retro-styled, light-weight & comfortable gun-shape
  • Flash windows for different body areas
  • Won’t flash on too-dark skin
  • 100-day money back guarantee

Cons

  • Slow to cover large areas like legs & torso
  • Power cord sometimes gets in the way
  • You must choose your intensity level

Price from £200 to £300

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The Philips Lumea Advanced uses Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) that’s safe for use at home on the body and face. It slows and reduces hair regrowth after each treatment. Eventually your hair doesn’t grow back and periodic top ups are required less frequently to keep your skin smooth and hair-free.

Related: how IPL hair removal works in home laser hair removal 101

Fitzpatrick skin tone chart showing it's safe for tones I to IV, but not V and VI (the darkest tones).
Safe to use on light to medium skin tones (Fitzpatrick skin types I to IV). Not safe for the dark and black skin (types V and VI) or on dark freckles and moles.
Works on black, dark brown, mid-brown and dark blonde body hair colours. Doesn't work on light blonde, red, white or gray body hair colours.
Works on black to dark blonde hair

The first model in the Advanced range launched in 2013. The models have CE certification to meet EU safety standards. They don’t have FDA clearance yet.

You’ll need about 4 to 5 treatments (taking 8 weeks) to see significant hair reduction results.  Follow this up with top-up treatments to stay hair-free and smooth. The longer you’ve used it for should mean you need less and less frequent top-ups.

The Lumea Advanced range is the less costly cousin of the Lumea Prestige. Although it doesn’t have all the unique features of the Prestige (like the advanced skin tone sensor, cordless operation and curved window attachments), it’s still a fine, quality choice that will do the job and last for ages.

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In this Philips Lumea Advanced review:

Or keep reading this detailed Philips Lumea Advanced review.

— What’s it like? —

First impressions

The Philips Lumea Advanced is packaged in a small neat deep pink box. It’s well designed with concise and clear key information shown on the outside. Simple icons note the key features, the safe skin tones and hair colours are shown, and the treatment windows you get with the model.

Inside, it’s all just as neat and well thought through. The device and attachments are protected in moulded plastic, the power cable, user manual, cleaning cloth and pouch below it. It mostly made of recyclable cardboard.

Philips Lumea Advanced SC1999 packaging and boxshot
The Philips Lumea Advanced comes in a small, neat box printed with all the key information.
The contents of the Lumea Advnaced laid out; user manual, power cable, storage pouch, cleaning cloth, Lumea device with body attachment and facial attachment.
The contents of the Philips Lumea Advanced are packaged securely and neatly. The pouch is quite thin so I keep the cardboard box to store it in.

What’s in the box?

  • Lumea Advanced gun-shaped device
  • 4 cm2 body attachment
  • 2 cm2 precision / facial attachment.
  • 2 cmbikini area attachment (SC1999 only)
  • Multi-voltage power adaptor and plug, approx 2 metres long
  • Storage pouch and cleaning cloth
  • User manual
Photo of the gun-shaped Lumea Advanced, top-down and lying on his right-hand side.
The gun-shape Advanced is feminine, sophisticated, neat and classy.

The Philips Lumea Advanced wouldn’t look out of place in Captain Kirk’s hand on the set of Star Trek. It’s gun-shaped and about the size of a small hair dryer, with a playful, retro feel about it.

The handle and underside are white with a dusky rose-gold top and matching glossy trim. And I like how the air vents on the top make a pretty flower pattern too.

The pretty flower-shaped air vent detail on top of the Advanced

It’s pleasing and comfortable to hold because it’s light-weight and well-made. It feels awesome to hold.

Before you start

Before you start, read the user manual. You MUST read the reasons you may not be suitable to use it (contraindications) and guidelines around tanning.

You must also prepare. This includes a skin patch test, shaving and finding a comfortable spot to do your treatment. Learn more in the next sections.

Read the user manual

Phto of the Lumea Advanced user manual open at the skin tone suitability and tanning guidelines page
The user manual is comprehensive and easy to read.

The user manual is clear and easy to follow. It runs through how IPL works, suitable skin tones and hair colours, the various bits of the device and attachments, care and cleaning, important guidelines about tanning, using the Lumea Advanced and troubleshooting problems.

Spend time checking the important safety information, warnings and reasons you should not use the Lumea (such as pregnancy, dibetes, other medical conditions, diseases and medications you are taking, on tattoos,  varicose veins and skin conditions).

It’s actually a good idea to check the user manual on Philips website before you buy.

Tanning guidelines

As with all home laser and IPL devices it’s important to follow the guidelines on tanning and sun exposure to keep your skin safe. Philips advise:

  • Stay out of the sun for 2 weeks before a treatment
  • Avoid the sun and tanning for 48 hours after your treatment
  • Cover up or use a sun screen SPF 30+ on your treated skin for 2 weeks after your treatments

These guidelines mean you should avoid tanning altogether (with sunlight or artificially, with creams) during your initial treatment regimen.

Your skin test patch

You must choose one of the 5 intensity levels based on your skin tone / type and test it on a patch of skin.

There’s a table in the manual to check your skin type based on your skin tone and how it reacts in the sun. For each skin type the manual also recommends the maximum intensity levels you can safely use. It’s pretty simple to work it out.

Once you’ve done that, do your skin patch test. Shave, then flash each of your safe intensity levels on each body part you’re treating. If after 24 hours your skin is all good, you can use the highest level that was comfortable for your full treatment. Follow the instructions in the user manual.

TIP: If you’ve not used the Advanced for a while and your skin has darkened (i.e. after Summer) you should do another skin patch test.

SHAVE IT!

Shabe immediately before your treatment.

Have a good clean shave. Get your treatment areas totally smooth with no hair above your skin. If there is, it can sting! The IPL energy must target your hair in the follicle (the bit below your skin). This is important because you want all the energy focused there. It’s how IPL works to give you hair reduction.

Once shaved, make sure your skin is dry. Don’t apply any moisturisers or deodorant to your skin!

So:

  • Use a good, sharp razor
  • Use shaving cream for a close shave. Try using hair conditioner – it does the job!
  • Take your time to get a close shave without any nicks!
  • If you don’t want to shave your face, try this instead

But do you have to shave before using Philips Lumea?

CAN I WAX OR EPILATE INSTEAD?

IPL treatments are most effective when you shave beforehand. This means results are quickest.

But, Philips do say you can wax or epilate first. However, expect much slower results!

Philips also advise to wait 24 hours after waxing / epilating before your IPL treatment. This gives your skin time to recover, and allows the hair in your follicles to grow a bit so giving the IPL something to target.

Make sure all traces of wax are washed away before your treatment.

I recommend shaving for fastest results. But I understand maybe it’s not possible because it causes irritation and rash. That’s OK. Just be aware your results may be slower if you wax or epilate.

N.B. DON’T use hair removal creams because they may cause skin reactions with the IPL.

PICK your SPOT

Next, choose a comfortable and private spot to do your treatment.

Some people set up in front of the TV in the living room. Others don’t have this much privacy so choose the bathroom or their bedroom. Whilst it depends on which body areas you’re treating, there are a few tips to help you get started.

  • In front of a mirror: I like to have a full length mirror. This is very helpful for a thorough bikini line , underarms and backs of legs
  • A mains extension cable: the Prestige has a very long power cord, but an extension cable from the mains gives you more flexibility on where you situate yourself. If you’re treating large areas you’ll want to use it corded because it’s faster.
  • Find privacy: back to the bikini line again! It’s far from elegant and not something you’ll want to share with housemates, kids, window cleaner etc.
  • Choose the right time: you don’t want to be rushed or interrupted, so choose a time when kids are tucked up in bed.

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So, if you’ve got all that sorted, you’re ready to go.

IS IT EASY TO USE?

Easy STEPS to follow

It’s very simple to get started with the Lumea Advanced.

  1. Shave before every treatment (unless there’s no hair left!)
  2. Plug in and press the power button. The buttons illuminate white and you’ll hear the fan start up inside.
  3. Press the power button to cycle through and select your intensity level
  4. Position on your skin at a 90-degree angle and press the trigger button.
  5. Slide to the next spot and repeat. Cover your skin in flashes avoiding overlap.

When finished, press and hold the power button for 2 seconds to switch it off.

I tested the Lumea Advanced on my legs, bikini line and face and this is how it went.

Intuitive gun-shape design

It’s very easy to manoeuvre and you can see where the flash window is positioned

The Lumea Advanced feels superb to hold. It’s light-weight but not delicate or flimsy at all. The tapered handle provides a natural grip and my index finger rests easily on the trigger button. The power cord fits snug and secure in the bottom of the handle. The cord is very long at around 192 cm.

When treating my legs and bikini line, it was natural to grip the Advanced and press the flash trigger button with my index finger.

When pointing the device towards my face and underarms, it felt best to press the trigger with my thumb.

It’s easy to experiement and find what works best.

The flash button is easy to press in different grips
Close up of the flash trigger button with raised braille-like dots.
It has raised braille-like dots so you can feel it with your finger.

The trigger button is easy to find on the Lumea Advanced. The gun-shape means there’s no stress on your grip as you press the button.

Simple controls

There’s only one button to control the Lumea Advanced

On top of the Advanced is a singlt control button. Press it to power it on, long press it to power off. When powered-on, press it to cycle through the 5 power levels and back to level 1.

It’s super-simple and intuitive.

Face, Precision & bikini attachments

The Advanced models come with different flash windows.

Clear 4 cm2 large body flash window with all models.

All models come with a large 4 cm2 body window attachment. This gives faster coverage on large areas like legs.

Red-filter 2 cm2 small face / precision flash window with all models.

There’s also a smaller 2 cm2 precision or face attachment. This has an additional red filter so it’s gentle on more sensitive areas like the face. It’s also easier to position on bony and uneven surfaces than the larger body attachment. I found it helpful for toes, knees and ankles. And especially on the upper lip and chin to get full coverage but protect your lips too.

Photo of the larger body window attachment and the small precision window attachment with an additional red filter
Different size flash windows to suit different body areas.

The Lumea SC1999 and BRI923 also have a 2 cm2 bikini attachment. Bikini hair is coarser and more stubborn than other body hair and flashes in this area can sting a bit. Using a lower intensity level helps but this then has a lesser effect. Philips therefore designed a specialist bikini attachment. It has a special filter that makes it comfortable to use a higher more effective intensity level when compared to the body attachment.

The 3 specialist window attachments with the SC1999; body, face and bikini line.
The Lumea Advanced BRI923 and SC1999 have 3 flat treatment windows. Icons on the face and bikini attachment tell them apart.

The flash windows simply pull off. There’s a small lip to grip on the top. Each window has a chip sticking out on the back. Align this with the slot on the device and slide in.

The chip on the back of the precision flash window

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How long will the Lumea Advanced last?

The latest Lumea Advanced models have some of the best lamp lifetime out there.

Bar chart showing the Lumea Advanced model tops the chart for usage value.
The Philips Lumea Advanced lamp lifetime is superb. All models last 15+ years of monthly body sessions.

They all provide a minimum of 250,000 flashes. Combined with the 4 cm2 body treatment window that means you can treat a massive 1,000,000 cm2 total body area. You’ll get loads of treatments and be able to maintain your results for years to come.

1,000,000 cm provides over 200 full body treatments (full legs, bikini line, underarms and face). That’s enough for your initial treatment regimen and then 15+ years of monthly top-up treatments. It’s a fantastic investment.

The Lumea Advanced offers excellent value for money and beats most other devices out there too. Just like their cordless cousins the Lumea Prestige, you could share it and still get several years of regular use.

N.B. 15+ years of use is based on the bulb life only and doesn’t take into consideration general usage, wear and tear that effect how long the machine keeps working.

Is the Lumea Advanced safe?

Yes. It’s clinically proven safe for home-use.

There’s an in-built UV filter in the flash window to protect your skin. And other impressive and high-tech safety features.

Skin tone sensor and safety system

hand holding the Lumea Advanced with the flash window and showing and the smaller skin tone sensor window at the bottom of the flash window.
The small skin tone sensor just below the large flash window.

Before the first flash, the Advanced checks for a safe skin tone. It won’t flash if your skin is too dark. It shows the status of the tone check with the ‘Ready’ light on the back of the device.

It’s easy to see the ‘ready’ light when you position the device against your skin.

Close up photo of the large body attachment with small skin tone sensor window, the ready light illuminate red then white,and the 5 intensity indicator lights all lit up to 5.
The ‘Ready’ light at the back of the Advanced glows red if it detects a skin tone that’s too dark for safe treatment.
The ‘Ready’ light sglows white if it detects a safe skin tone and you have full contact with your skin.

The Advanced also checks your skin tone regularly during your treatment.

Eye safety

There are also contact sensors around the flash window. These prevent accidental flashes into open air and near your eyes.

If you don’t have full skin contact it won’t flash. This means you must hold the gun at a 90-degree angle to your skin to cover the contacts.  I found it comfortable and easy to hold with just the right pressure against my skin.

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Stamp & slide modes

Like all modern devices, the Lumea Advanced comes with 2 treatment modes; a stamping mode and a continuous flash mode.

  • For Stamp & Flash you press and release the trigger for one flash, then re-position and repeat. It’s best for bits that need a bit more care.
  • For Slide & Flash you keep the trigger pressed and after each flash slide it across your skin to the next position, and repeat. This is more comfortable for treating larger areas.
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Contrary to the imagery and videos, I prefer holding the device sidewards and working in rings around the contour of my legs. That way it’s easier to keep track of where I’ve flashed.

Both modes are easy to use. Between each flash, you need to move the attachment head with just the right amount of overlap so the flash window lines up with the previous position. It treats only skin directly in front of the flash window so it pays to concentrate and get this right for the best coverage. It’s easy once you get the hang of it.

The ‘Slide & Flash’ mode was good for treating my legs. I had to wait a few seconds between flashes, but it’s easy to get into a good rhythm – just wait for the flash, slide along, ‘flash’ then slide, ‘flash’ etc. Without it, treating my entire legs with Stamp & Flash mode would be very tedious!

The tricky bits

Reaching some areas is tricky, like the backs of your knees and upper legs, and involves twisting and turning in front of a mirror. The gun-shape helps because it provides excellent grip and extra reach when I needed it.

The power-cord didn’t cause any notable problems either. It’s long enough and easy to work with once you find the best way to reach all the necessary areas.

Tips:

  • Use an extension cable in front of a full-length mirror so you can use all the power-cord to manoeuvre around your body
  • I prefer holding the device sidewards and working in rings around the contour of my legs. That way it’s easier to keep track of where I’ve flashed.

So how quick are the treatments?

How quick are treatments?

Philips-Lumea-Advanced-SC1997-review-underarms

The Lumea Advanced has a very large 4 cm2 body treatment window and it takes up to 3.5 seconds between flashes. This means it can cover 120 cm2 (a pair of underarms) in about 1:45 mins.

This matches the older cordless Philips Prestige Sc2009 / Sc2007 models and compared to other devices these times are good.

Philips advise it takes about 14 mins per full leg. That’s about right. It took around 30 mins for 2 full legs on level 4, using the precision attachment on knees, ankles and toes. The flash rate is slowest on the higher intensity levels so, although it is most effective on the higher levels, you can compromise and use a lower level if time is short.

According to the user manual, the total time to treat full legs, bikini line, armpits and face is 36 minutes. Realistically it was over an hour for me. It got uncomfortable and dull towards the end too. Read on for a helpful full body treatment tip.

A tip for full body treatments

The Lumea Advanced models are mains-powered. This means there’s no battery to charge so you can treat as much of your body as you want in one sitting. However, it takes time and it does get tiresome after a while.

Finding a helpful assistant is the ideal scenario here. It’s more efficient and much more comfortable – for you at least! But if you have to go it alone, try splitting your treatments into 2 sessions, lasting around 30 mins each. Full legs in one session and bikini line, armpits, face etc in another. This way you can concentrate on getting the best coverage possible, and not on how long it is taking. It’s all about the smooth skin results after all!

If you want something faster, choices are available from Philips, Smoothskin and Braun where you can treat a full leg in under 10 mins.

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Related: The Best home laser & IPL hair removal machines 2019

What do the online reviews say?

The overall score is an impressive and reassuring 4.5 stars from the collated online Philips Lumea Advanced reviews.

User score 4.5 stars

First up, let’s cover off what the reviewers don’t like.

The bad bits

There’s not much to say here. There aren’t any low 1 or 2 star ratings. A few neutral 3 star ratings came from people who were unsuitable to use it and couple more who hadn’t or were just about to start using it.

The bulk of reviewers left 4 or 5 star ratings.

The best bits

Loads of online reviewers love that the treatments are painless, straightforward and easy. Some comment that the treatments are quick, and others that they are time-consuming. This obviously depends on where it’s being used and the reviewers’ expectations.

user-rating-4-5

They love the lightweight and comfortable to hold gun, and only a few reviewers think a cordless design would be better. In fact, many reviewers specifically say they chose the Lumea Advanced because it is corded and not battery-powered. They prefer a mains-powered operation so they don’t need to worry about the battery running out during their treatment.

A few mention it takes time to get the intensity level right on different body areas. They suggest simply starting on a lower level and moving up to a level that is comfortable. They report great results too.

The regimen is a treatment every 2 weeks for the first 4 to 5 treatments, so that’ll take 8 weeks to complete. After treatments 2 and 3 you should start to notice some reduction, and after treatments 4 to 5 the reduction should be significant. Follow this with regular top ups at 4 to 8 weeks, or when you see hairs growing back. This guide is realistic based on online feedback.

For some it took just a few treatments to see softer, slower and patchy hair regrowth. Many needed to shave only just before their next treatment, and then eventually didn’t need to at all. Best results come once the regimen is complete, and periodic top up treatments keep skin hair-free and smooth.

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The reassuring online reviews love the Lumea Advanced. But is one model better than the other?

Philips Lumea Advanced BRI923 vs BRI921, SC1999 & SC1997

All models have the same excellent design, features and performance. The only differences are the specialist attachments with each, different prices and the latest models come with a Philips Satin Compact Facial Trimmer.

Here’s a comparison table to show the differences:

BRI923 BRI921 BRI922 SC1999 SC1997
RRP £350 RRP £300 RRP £380 RRP £385

Clearance offers

RRP £350

Clearance offers

4 cm2 body 4 cm2 body 4 cm2 body 4 cm2 body 4 cm2 body
2 cm2 face / precision 2 cm2 face / precision 2 cm2 face / precision 2 cm2 face / precision 2 cm2 face / precision
2 cm2 bikini - - 2 cm2 bikini -
+ Satin Compact Pen Trimmer + Satin Compact Pen Trimmer + VisaPure mini facial cleanser - -
 

Lady treating bikini area with the Philips Lumea Advanced
The bikini attachment comes with the BRI923 and BRI921. you don’t need it, but check prices of the models to help you decide.

The BRI923 is a the same IPL as the SC1999. They both have 3 attachments for face, body and bikini. You get a Philips Satin Compact Facial Trimmer with it.

The BRI921 is the same as the SC1997. They both have 2 attachments for body and face. You get a Philips Satin Compact Facial Trimmer with it.

Think of the bikini attachment as an optional extra. It’s designed to be more comfortable and effective than the body attachment. But it’s still safe to use the body attachment or the precision attachment on the bikini area.

So how much extra cash is it worth? Anything more than £50 difference is  hard to justify the benefit of the bikini attachment. So check the offers and then decide if you need the extra attachment for the difference in price. 

The Satin Compact Facial Trimmer is a nice bonus, especially if you’ll be zapping chin whiskers or your ladytache. But if you aren’t bothered, you can find clearance offers for the SC1997 and SC1999. You could grab yourself a bargain.

— In summary —

Should I buy the Lumea Advanced?

Yes. If your skin type is safely within the suitable range (I to IV) I think it’s a very strong choice for small body areas. It looks pretty too.

The Lumea Advanced is perfect for small areas like bikini and underarms.

You get more than enough treatments and a very high specification with just above average treatment times, all the expected safety features, extra attachments and super online feedback. It’s suited to smaller areas like bikini line, underarms, tummy, forearms and face. That’s because it’s sloooow on large areas like legs.

Pros

  • Super premium & durable build quality
  • More than enough treatments for 15+ years of use
  • Attractive retro gun-shaped design
  • All the safety and treatment features you’d expect
  • Integrated skin tone sensor
  • Integrated UV filter
  • CE mark (EU declaration of conformity to meet safety requirements)
  • Precision attachment makes it easy to treat the face and areas like knees and ankles
  • Specialist bikini attachment to stop stinging treatments 
  • Very easy to operate and comfortable to use
  • It’s mains-powered with a long cord, so simply plug in and go
  • Online reviewers love it
  • Excellent reputation and customer service from Philips
  • 100-day money back guarantee

Cons

  • Tediously slow on large areas like leg and torso
  • Power cord can get in the way
  • Skin tone sensor doesn’t select your intensity level
  • Not suitable for as broad a skin tone range

Loads of reviewers choose the Lumea Advanced precisely because it’s the less costly cousin of the very desirable Lumea Prestige model. Be sure to compare prices for both before you buy.

You can check prices or buy the Lumea Advanced using the links below.

Where to buy the Philips Lumea Advanced

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Advanced BRI923, BRI921 with Pen Trimmer or Cleansing brush

Philips Lumea Advanced tried and tested review

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