Philips Lumea Prestige BRI956 review, BRI953 & BRI950 – it just got serious

Philips Lumea Prestige BRI956 Laura G
Philips Lumea Prestige BRI956


This is it. The new Philips Lumea Prestige has arrived. It's the biggest step forward in home IPL hair removal in ages. It keeps all the good bits from the earlier models such as cordless operation, intuitive gun-shaped design and almost endless flashes. And Philips have found room for some unique additions you won't find on any other device. Overall, I love it because it's the fastest, most precise and comfortable to use with unrivaled design & quality. It just got serious. Read the full tried-and-tested, in-depth expert review to learn all.

Best overall home IPL hair removal

Who should buy it: I recommend this if you always buy the best, want to be silky-smooth all over your body, and you don’t want to spend ages doing it.

Here’s how it owns the scoring criteria.

Lamp lifetime
More flashes than you’ll ever need, lasting 15+ years of use. It’s one of the best.
Ease of use
Most intuitive and comfortable I’ve used, packed with premium features. I love the curved treatment attachments.
Speed of application
The fastest available that operates at high intensities. A full leg takes around 7 mins.
Expertly, trusted and prompt advice, helpful treatment calendar and ‘how to’ App, with Philips 100-day money back guarantee.
Feedback & results
Loads of love, only minor niggles from the user feedback.
Budget range: ££££ It’s unashamedly expensive, for those that demand the best.

What is it?

The Philips Lumea Prestige 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 hair stops growing and periodic use will keep you fuzz and stubble free.

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 freckles and moles.


The models have CE certification to meet EU safety standards and are available in the UK and Europe. They don’t have FDA clearance and so aren’t readily available in the US. But they are available on for Global shipping.

You’ll need about 4 to 5 treatments (taking 8 weeks) to see significant hair reduction results. Then less frequent maintenance treatments will keep your skin smooth. I experienced noticeable results after just 2 treatments and hair-free skin after 4.

Hand holdinga cordless BRI956

Keep reading this in-depth Philips Lumea Prestige review for detailed photos, a round-up of the online feedback and a comparison to the best alternatives out there.

It’s a few years since we’ve seen any major advancement with the Philips Lumea. But it’s been worth the wait. It looks awesome, feels magnificent, performs like a dream and it’s fast. This new Lumea BRI956 and BRI950 is something special and it wins my Best Buy award for overall best home IPL hair removal system.

Keep reading my full review to understand why I’ve gone nuts for it.

What you’ll learn in this Philips Lumea Prestige BRI956 review:

Is it good value for money?

Yes. It’s better than everything else.

Bar chart graph showing the Philips Lumea Prestige BRI956 lifetime value compared to other devices. It's one of the best.

The Philips Lumea BRI956 and BRI950 lamp lifetime give superb value for money. It’s perfect for full body and large area treatments. 250,000 flashes combined with the 4.1 cm2 body treatment window means you can treat a total body areas of 1,025,000 cm2, or 200+ full body applications for 15+ years of use. It’s unbeaten.


You get a minimum of 250,000 flashes. This covers a humongous 1,025,000 cm² of body area when using the 4.1 cm² body attachment.  In other words over 200 full body treatments (full legs, bikini line, underarms and face) or over 15 years of monthly top-up treatments.

And it’s important to note results get better the more you use it, so monthly top-ups are probably too often. With this in mind, I don’t think you’ll ever run out of flashes! It’s superb value and a great choice especially for treating your full body. You could share it and still get years and years of use.

N.B. 15+ years of use is based on the bulb life only and doesn’t take into consideration general usage, battery care and wear and tear that effect how long the machine keeps working. Philips advertise a lamp lifetime of 20 years.

Buy the Lumea Prestige

What’s the BRI956 like to use?

Philips Lumea Prestige BRI956 review; compact but weighty box

The Lumea BRI956 box is neat and well designed with all the key info clearly laid out. And boy is it heavy!

The box is small and sturdy. It clearly shows the device and labels the 4 different attachments for body, face, bikini and underarms.

One side visually explains the 8 week recommended treatment schedule and follow-up treatments. And I’m happy because nowhere do I see the word ‘permanent’. Instead, Philips say, “Prevent hair growth to feel continuously hair-free”. This still needs further explanation but it certainly doesn’t set misleading expectations like other brands do.

I lift the box to remove the tamper-proof clear tabs. This thing is surprisingly weighty! What’s in there!?

Inside the box, first I see the gun-shaped device fitted with the body attachment, then 3 separate additional treatment heads. They’re shielded in clear, moulded-plastic.

“From the moment you get it out of the box you know it’s quality.” Lumea Prestige review

Underneath is the cardboard-secured power cable, small A5 size instruction manual, Lumea coaching App leaflet, battery recycling leaflet, and warranty paper. Finally, at the bottom and wrapped in thin protective cellophane is a white cleaning cloth and padded storage pouch.

The packaging is robust. There’s no chance of anything moving around in transit. The design is neat, economic, easy to get into and it’s mostly made of recyclable cardboard.

I weigh the device in my hand. It’s bigger and heavier than I expect. But it still looks and feels great.

What’s in the box?

  • Lumea Prestige gun-shaped device with
  • Curved-in body attachment (4.1 cm²)
  • Flat facial attachment (2 cm²)
  • Curved-out bikini attachment (3 cm²)
  • Curved-out underarm attachment (3 cm²)
  • Power pack and 2 m long cable
  • Instruction manual
  • Lumea App info slip
  • Storage pouch
  • Cleaning cloth
Front view of the Lumea Prestige BRI956 box showing the 4 treatment attachments

The Philips Lumea BRI956 box is compact, pink and well-designed to show all the key information in a concise and clear way.


Back view of the Lumea Prestige BRI956 box showing images and information for each of the 4 curved treatment attachments

The box is well designed and shows all the key information including suitable hair and skin colours and more information on the 4 curved treatment attachments.


Side view of the Philips Lumea Prestige BRI956 box showing the recommended schedule, how IPL works and the key features of the device

Philips do a great job of concisely showing the key features, describing how IPL works and making the treatment schedule clear, all on the side of the box.


Lifting the lid off the box to reveal the device to see the device and contents safely secured.

The packaging is neat, economic, easy to get into and it’s mostly made of recyclable cardboard.


With the box lid fully open, you see the BRI956 hand-held device with 3 additional treatment windows all shielded in clear moulded, protective plastic.

The device and window attachments are cradled in moulded protective plastic. Beneath this is the power adaptor, user manual, storage pouch and cleaning cloth.


The full contents of the Lumea Prestige BRI956 box laid out flat: BRI956 device and window attachments, power pack and cable, user manual, warranty card, Lumea App card, protective pouch and cleaning cloth.

The full contents of the Lumea Prestige BRI956 box: BRI956 device and window attachments, power pack and cable, user manual, warranty card, Lumea App card, protective pouch and cleaning cloth.


The white and rose gold colour-way is feminine yet refined. There are just 4 control buttons and, along with the 5 intensity indicator lights, they sit on the top. They’re easy to see but hard to unintentionally adjust.

It’s cool to the touch, and I instantly recognise the same quality materials I love from the Advanced and older Prestige. It’s solid. Nothing creaks or cracks when you squeeze it. It feels great.

Where to buy the Philips Lumea Prestige

It’s time to get acquainted with the user manual.

Start with the user manual

The user manual is comprehensive and an easy read. The instructions are clear and it’s well illustrated.

Photo of the Lumea Prestige user manual open at the contraindications page

Don’t forget to read the important safety information and information about who should not use it!


You’ll find comprehensive device diagrams, skin tone and hair colour charts, information on how IPL works, what to expect from your Lumea, instruction for your skin test, how to use it and aftercare guidance.

Spend time checking the important safety information, warnings and reasons you should not use the Lumea. It’s actually a good idea to check the user manual on the Philips website before you buy.

Important: tanning and IPL

When using any home IPL device you must follow the guidelines on tanning and sun exposure. Philips advise you to avoid the sun for 2 weeks before a treatment, and to avoid the sun / tanning for 48 hours after your treatment. Use a sunscreen of SPF 30+ on your treated skin for 2 weeks after your treatments, or cover them up in the sun.

It’s best to avoid tanning altogether, both sunlight and artificially, during your start-up treatments. There’s more on tanning and sun exposure here.

Do a skin test

The user manual says to perform a skin patch test on every treatment area using each of the safe intensity levels for your skin. If you have fair skin and all 5 intensities are suitable, it implies you should do your skin test with each.  This guidance is thorough but it’s a bit of a faff. You’d need some way to mark each intensity test patch for a start.

Personally, I test at my highest safe intensity level (which is 5 for me) and a level or 2 below that. If I had any reaction from this, I’d think twice about using it anyway, regardless of the intensity level. But to stay safe, you should follow the instructions as best you can.

Finding the maximum safe level is easy.

Choose the right attachment and power on the device. Press the Smartskin sensor button and place the treatment window on your skin. It scans your skin and white indicator lights show which of the 5 intensity levels are safe. Press the confirmation button to choose the suggested highest level. Then just follow the instructions in the manual to complete your patch test.

If after 24 hours there’s no reaction, you can continue with your full treatment.

Where to buy the Lumea Prestige

Getting started

Wait 24 hours after your skin test and if it’s good you’re ready to get started. It’s simple. Here’s how you do it.

  1. Shave, cleanse and dry your treatment area.
    TIP: IPL treatments are most effective when you shave beforehand, meaning results are quickest. However, you can wax or epilate but expect results to take longer. Also, 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.
  2. Set yourself up. You’ll need to be near a power socket. Try using an extension cable if necessary so you can choose the most comfortable area, like your bed, or close by to a mirror.
  3. Plug it in and press the power button. The buttons illuminate white and you’ll hear the fan start up inside.
  4. Press the Smartskin sensor button and place the treatment window firmly against your skin. Then press the confirmation button to select the suggested intensity level. Or to use the manual controls, press the toggle button to scroll up through the 5 levels until the desired level illuminates white.
  5. The back of the device illuminates white when the treatment window has full contact with your skin. Press the trigger button to flash the device.
  6. When finished, press and hold the power button for 2 seconds to switch it off.

I treated my full legs, extended bikini line, underarms and face. Here’s my thoughts and feedback. I hope you find it helpful!

Intuitive gun-shaped design

It looks futuristic, yet elegant and feminine. The shape resembles the retro-styled Lumea Advanced, but this is larger and heavier. I admit this worries me. Is it too big and unwieldly? I keep an open mind, and off I go!

The gun-shape is decidedly intuitive and comfortable. My hold feels relaxed and my grip secure on the long, tapered handle. My index finger rests naturally on the trigger. It’s easy to find because there’s a small braille-like circle on the trigger.

Close-up of the BRI956's braille-like trigger button.

The flash button is easy to find without looking because of the 6 flower-shape braille-like buttons on the trigger. It’s comfortable to press with either your index or middle finger, or thumb if you rotate your grip.


The gun-shape makes it easy to use too. I can check the controls with a glance because they’re clearly visible on the top of the gun. The long 2 metre power cable fits snuggly into the end of the tall handle, keeping it well out of my way during use. And I can clearly see the edges of the flash window end. I can precisely position each flash for perfect coverage.

A petite hand holds the Lumea BRI956 in a gun-like grasp on its long, tapered handle. Close-up of the simple and clear controls on the top of the gun.

I love the Prestige’s gun-shape. It’s comfortable to hold and feels balanced despite its weight. The long tapered handle gives great leverage. On top of the gun are the simple controls; 5 intensity level indicator lights, power button, battery indicator light, manual up and down selector button, smartskin sensor button and check-select button.

Is it too heavy?

It weighs 560g.

That’s heavier than the Lumea Advanced (368g) and the Smoothskin Gold (374g). The weight comes from the in-built rechargeable lithium battery. You need that use it cordless. And that’s a handy feature for hard to reach areas.

Frankly, I forget about the weight during use. I can rotate and pivot my wrist without any strain. I find it almost effortless to manoeuvre throughout my treatment. And that’s because the gun-shape is perfectly balanced and secure to grip. Oh and it’s fast too, so you won’t be holding it for a long time anyway. More on that later.

Skin tone sensor

The BRI956 now comes with an advanced skin tone sensor. It’s the small window above the flash window.  To use it, press the Smartskin button and place the treatment window firmly against your skin. The intensity lights illuminate the maximum suitable level. You then press the tick button to choose it and start your treatment.

It won’t flash if the skin tone it detects is too dark, and the ‘ready’ light shows red.

3 images showing how the Smartskin sensor works. The magnify glass button activates the sensor, the 1 to 5 intensity level indicators illuminate white in a round as it works. The 'tick' button lights-up white once it is done along with the maximum appropriate intensity indicators. Press the 'tick' button to choose it.

Press the sensor button and place the window against your skin. The sensor button illuminates and the 5 intensity level indicators light up in sequence as it detects your skin tone. When it’s finished, it illuminates the recommended intensity level and the ‘check’ button. Push the check button to choose that intensity level.


Close up of the top back of the BRI956 showing the red 'ready' light.

The ‘ready’ light shows red if the Smartskin sensor detects a skin tone that’s too dark. The device won’t flash.


This is a neat feature. It’s a reassuring safety check, which then helpfully recommends the optimum level to use. You don’t have to guess or work it out yourself. It’s particularly effective if your skin tone changes with the seasons or varies by body area. But what I really like is that you can then adjust the suggested setting manually. I think this is an improvement compared to the Braun IPL and Smoothskin Gold.

Hands holding the BRI956 and using the manual up / down arrows to select the highest intensity level 5.

The Lumea lets you reduce the suggested intensity level just a notch using the manual arrow controls to find the perfect level. You don’t have to use the Smartskin sensor. You can simply use the manual up / down arrows to choose your intensity level.


The Braun IPL and Smoothskin Gold have a similar advanced skin tone sensor, but they select the intensity level for you. You can’t manually adjust it. If it feels too high, you can activate ‘gentle’ mode. But, this effectively halves the intensity so you may end up using a much weaker level than is ideal.

With the BRI956, you can’t set it any higher than the suggested intensity, so your skin is always safe. But, you can take it down just a bit if it stings. I felt this on my bikini line and loved I could take it down just a single notch to a comfortable, but still high intensity level. Personally, I prefer this extra control.

You don’t have to activate the skin tone sensor. You can use the up / down controls and manually set the intensity. The sensor will still check for a suitable skin tone periodically throughout your treatment though.

Buy the Lumea Prestige

Eye safety

Your skin must fully cover the flash window or it will not flash. This safety system means you can’t accidentally flash into open space, potentially near your eyes.

Close up of the bikini treatment window showing the larger flash window and smaller sensor window.

Next to the flash window is the smaller skin tone sensor window. Your skin must fully cover both windows before it will flash. This prevents any accidental flashes into your eyes.


On your skin the flashes are bright, but harmless to your eyes. Use it in a well-lit room so they don’t seem so intense and try not to look directly at the flashing end. (That’s difficult I know, because you need to get good coverage!) You don’t need protective goggles but can wear sunglasses if it’s more comfortable.

Mains-power or cordless?

Mains-powered and cordless each has their own benefits.

Cordless means no tangles as I twist and bend to get to those hard to reach areas. But it also means it needs charging before you use it, sometimes the power annoyingly runs out mid-use, and the battery degrades quickly if you don’t charge it every few months rendering it useless. It’s more expensive too.

Mains-power operation is less hassle, just plug it in and go with no interruptions. But… sometimes the cord gets in the way! Don’t you wish you could have both in one?

I do. And now I can because the BRI956 / BRI950 does both. Genius.

Hand holding the BRI956 with the power cord attached to the bottom of the long tapered handle.

I use the Lumea BRI956 with the flexible cord on all but the most difficult to reach areas at the top of my legs / bikini line. The cord is supple and doesn’t get the in the way thanks to the long tapered handle. The cord is long enough at 2 metres in length.

I use it corded on my legs because they’re easy to reach. Also the flashes are faster when corded and I want my pins over and done with as quick as possible! The long handle keeps the cord well out of the way of the treatment area when sitting and standing. No problems there, not even on the backs of knees and thighs.

I tried it cordless when treating the general vicinity of my bikini line. This involves twisting and bending (I’m very thorough). I really appreciated no cord being twisted, tangled or obscuring my view. Top marks. I love having the choice.

Corded / cordless tips:

Here are a few important things to note about the dual operation of the BRI956.

  • Charge the lithium battery before using it cordless, it takes up to 1:40 hours to charge
  • Fully charged batteries provide at least 130 flashes at light intensity 5
  • Or you can plug it into the mains and use it corded whenever you want
  • The flashes are almost 2x times faster when using it corded (every 2 seconds vs every 3.5 seconds cordless)
  • It’s designed to use corded mostly, with the option to use cordless when it’s more convenient
  • You still need to care for the battery, fully charging it every couple of months
  • If the battery does degrade over time you’ll still be able to use it corded

I love the simple, thoughtful changes Philips have made, and the Lumea stands out because of them. And there’s more.

Attachments to match your curves

With the BRI956 you get a body, face, bikini and underarm attachment. The shape, size and filter for each is different. Most devices have just one moderate to large size flat treatment window and possibly a smaller facial attachment too. They get the job done. So do you really need these various specialist attachments?

Yes. These make all the difference. Why? Because they are curved and we are made of wonderful curves too! Perfect partners. I also love that the bikini attachment has an extra filter to better target the thicker and stubborn hair in this area too. It’s designed to give the fastest results.

The attachments:

  • The body attachment is a large 4.1 cm2 curved–inwards window, which fits the contours of your legs, arms and tummy / top of bikini area. By laying my legs out flat, I easily and properly cover my knobbly-knees, without rotating the device stretching my skin and other general faff! The curve makes it easier to ‘glide’ over my skin too.
    The body window attachment is large and curved outwards to fit the contours of legs and knees

    The Lumea Prestige body window attachment is 4.1cm2 large and curved-out. This means it’s easy to get great coverage on your legs and knees.


  • The underarm attachment is a medium-size 3 cm2 curved-outwards window, and it fits all the indentations in this area. However, I do find the body attachment works just as well and, as it’s bigger, it’s a bit quicker to cover too.
    The underarm window attachment is medium-sized and curved outwards to fit the contours of underarms.

    The Lumea Prestige underarm window attachment is a medium 3cm2 and curved-outwards to fit the contours of your underarms.


  • The bikini attachment is a medium-size 3 cm2 curved-outwards window, which fits the contours of your bikini line where it joins your leg. It has an extra transparent filter for increased effect on those coarser, more stubborn spider-leg hairs! It’s effortless, but I use it in combination with the body attachment in this general vicinity i.e. tops of inner legs / bum, for a thorough, ‘no follicle missed’ application!
    The bikini icon identifies this attachment. The window is medium-sized and curved outwards to fit the contours of your bikini line.

    The Lumea Prestige bikini window is medium-size (3cm2) and is curved outwards to fit the contours at the top of your legs. The extra filter is designed to target the stubborn spider-legs!


  • The face attachment is a small 2 cm2 flat window for precise positioning, with an extra, integrated filter for safe facial use. I don’t think a curved surface would help here, but the smaller size certainly does. I still need to pull a few faces when doing my upper lip, but it’s easy by treatment #2.
    The face icon identifies this attachment. The window is a small 2cm2 and flat. It's easy to position on your upper lip and has ared filter for safe facial use.

    The Lumea Prestige facial window has a red filter for safe facial use. It’s small and flat to get coverage on your upper lip and chin.


Buy the Lumea Prestige

Glide and precision

You get a stamping mode, where you position and press the flash trigger, then move to the next spot and repeat. This is best for your face, bikini line and other delicate areas.

Then there’s glide. Position it, and holding the trigger down glide it over your skin. It’s magic on large areas like legs. The curved design of the body attachment really makes it slide smoothly over your skin. It makes for fast treatment times. Read on to learn how fast.

How quick are the treatments?

Fast 'as lightning' treatment iconThe BRI956 is fast. Much faster than the previous SC2009 model and it beats all others which operate at higher intensities too.

The body attachment is big at 4.1 cm2 and when used corded it flashes every 2 seconds. It covers a pair of underarms in under 1 minute (about 59 seconds). Lickety-split. That is fast.

Philips say a full leg should take 6.5 mins. It’s fastest when used corded, so expect it to be slower if used cordless, at around 11.5 minutes.

It took me about 7 mins per full leg. The flash rate combined with the curved body attachment and glide mode are simply the best I’ve tried. I’d say even my legs are now the easiest area. I didn’t get bored, or lose my place because it’s fast.

On my bikini line I used stamp mode and never had to wait for it to be ready. I used the body attachment on glide for my underarms with no problems. And I used stamp mode and the face attachment for my upper lip and chin. I was done in under 35 mins.

This beats all other comparable devices that allow you to set higher intensity levels for treatments, including the Smoothskin Gold and the Braun IPL.

What do the online Philips Lumea BRI956 reviews say?

The score from the collated online Philips Lumea BRI956 reviews is a very reassuring and worthy 4.6 stars.

User score 4.6


There’s a lot of great quality, helpful reviews. The majority come from reviewers who received a free sample in return for an honest review.

So what didn’t the reviewers like?

The bad bits

There aren’t any low ratings for the BRI956 or BRI950 at the time of writing.

There are a couple of neutral 3 star ratings. One reviewer has plenty of positive things to say about using the Lumea, but can’t award it more than 3 stars as they’ve used it only once. Another has used it on their legs for 8 weeks but hasn’t seen any notable effects on their hair regrowth.

There are a few noteworthy gripes with the Lumea Prestige.

Whilst a handful of reviews say it’s lightweight easy to manoeuvre, first impressions from some are it’s larger and heavier than expected. However, this doesn’t result in any difficulty or problems using it.

“…it’s weighty as well but the weight is re-assuring and it feels like a quality product…”
Lumea BRI956 review from

It is more robust and sizable than other brands and many love this because it adds to the luxury, high tech feel of this quality bit of kit. I have to agree.

A few wish the quality of the padded storage pouch was better. One reviewer notes, “it does the job, but at this price, I want a luxurious case!”

The zip-close white padded storage pouch protects the device and treatment windows

The Lumea Prestige comes with a white padded storage pouch. It fits the device neatly and has pockets for the treatment windows. Although there’s room for the power pack and cable I prefer to keep this separate and store everything in the card board box.


Pink Lumea packaging card board box with the power pack and cable, user manual, storage pouch with the device and treatment windows.

Keep the card board box to store everything in and keep everything together.

And the most frequently mentioned is the premium price tag. Starting at £520 for the BRI950 and up to £575 for the BRI956, it’s one of the most expensive on offer. Most reviewers haven’t actually bought it, so I’m curious as to what a paying customer would feel. But several reviewers think it’s worth it because of the luxurious and thoughtful design. Not to mention it’s a great investment compared to years of salon waxes or just a single a course of professional IPL treatments.

Philips aim the BRI956 at those who unashamedly demand the best, and it’s a hard choice to ignore.

The best bits

The collated user score for the Philips Lumea Prestige BRI956 is 4.6 out of 5 starsBoy. There’s a lot of love for the Lumea BRI956 and BRI950.

Most reviews feedback on how easy it is to use and on the specific features they like. They accept and acknowledge the Prestige works to reduce hair growth, with just a handful noting how long it took to see results. Some see noticeable hair regrowth reduction from the first treatment, and for others it takes a few treatments more. Hair growth is softer, finer and slower.

I think the general acceptance the Lumea works is no doubt down to the strong and long reputation of the Philips Lumea brand. Hundreds of positive and quality reviews are available for the earlier models.  There’s bags of trust and confidence in the Prestige.

“This is a high end device at a premium price. It maintains the usual Philips quality and works better than any other IPL device I have used before.” review for Lumea BRI950

So what specifics do the reviewers love?

close up of the 4 interchangeable treatment window attachments.

Online reviews love the different shape and size body area treatment windows. Only the Lumea Prestige has these.


They love the complete freedom of movement from the cordless design. But that it’s ALWAYS ready to go with mains-power – no need to wait for a charge.

The controls are simple to use, easy to see and the device fits comfortably in the hand.  The luxurious design and feel ‘oozes superb build-quality’. The contoured attachments impress too. For those used to IPL they note they’re easy to change, fit to your skin and make it easy to get a flash.

“The product is supplied with several easily exchanged heads. Each has a different shape and size, and they are designed to use on different parts of the body. They make quite a difference to the ease of use of the machine, particularly in the all important requirement to have a good contact with the skin. Nice touch has to have a little symbol on the heads to identify which is which.” Philips Lumea BRI956 review

Then there’s the reassuring skin tone sensor. No more looking at skin tone charts and guessing any more – it tells you your optimum level and prevents use on too high a setting for your skin tone.

I’m surprised not more reviewers mention how fast it is to apply. But if it’s their first experience of home IPL I appreciate they may not realise just how boring it can be! Some comment it’s much faster than the SC2009 and other devices too, and no one mentions it is slow or tedious.

I’ll monitor the online feedback and update this review over time to give an accurate snapshot summary. But in conclusion, the online reviewers love it and can find only very small niggles to complain about.

Buy the Lumea Prestige

Lumea BRI956 vs Lumea BRI950

So what’s the difference between the 2 and which one should you buy?

Top down image of the BRI956 device with the body window attached, and the 3 additional treatment windows next to it on the right hand side.

The BRI956 has a rose gold colour-way and the 4 window attachments for body, face, bikini and underarms. The BRI950 has a pink colour-way and 2 window attachments for body and face. Everything else is exactly the same.


The BRI956 is the most expensive at RRP £575, the BRI950 slightly cheaper at RRP £520. They are identical except for 2 things; they’re different colours, and because of the specialist attachments that come with each.

The BRI950 has the curved-in body attachment and flat facial attachment with extra filter. The BRI956 comes with those and the curved-out bikini attachment with extra filter and the curved-out underarm attachment. So for £55 more you get 2 extra attachments with the BRI956.

Do you need them? No. You don’t need them. The BRI950 gives you everything you need to treat your body and face. Personally, I wouldn’t miss the underarm attachment. But I do like the idea of the specialist filter to treat stubborn bikini spider-legs. You only get that with the BRI956.

The packaging and pricing is persuasive, and like me, no doubt you’ll want the BRI956. But you choose.

Lumea BRI956 vs Lumea SC2009

You’re probably wondering how the BRI956 compares to the Lumea SC2009.

Both are great devices. Both are ergonomic, have a lamp lifetime of 15+ years, get results, and are of exceptional build quality. But the BRI956 is simply better. Here’s why.

  • Both are cordless, but the BRI956 also works corded too so you can just plug it in and go when you want.
  • The great gun-shape is updated for the BRI956 making it even easier to use and more handsome.
  • They’re safe for all but the darkest skin tones, but the BRI956 also comes with a skin tone sensor for extra peace of mind. Not only that but it suggest the optimum intensity level for you. But you can still lower it just a notch until it’s just right.
  • The specialist attachments get an update too. They still include filters to get the best safest results, but with BRI956, they fit the contours of your body because they’re curved. They glide with ease over the skin so it’s not awkward or tricky to make it flash.
  • Finally, the BRI956 is faster. A lot faster. Treat a full leg in around 7 mins vs 14 mins with the Lumea SC2009. So you can easily complete a full body treatment without feeling bored, tired or aching at all.


The Lumea SC2009 is usually around £100 less expensive. But I think the Lumea BRI956 is worth the extra cash. It’s worth it simply because your treatments will take half the time, so you’re free to get on with something more interesting.

Lumea BRI956 vs Lumea SC2009 comparison table


This table compares the features and specs of the Lumea Prestige BRI956 and the previous Lumea model SC2009.

Philips Lumea BRI956 Philips Lumea SC2009/00
Scores 4.9
  • User rating of 4.6
  • ££££
  • Available in UK, Europe
Philips Lumea SC2009
Scores 4.5
  • User rating of 4.4
  • ££££
  • Available in UK, Europe, Australia
  • Prevents accidental flashes
  • Integrated UV filter
  • Suitable for skin tones I to V
  • Skin tone sensor with intensity selector
  • Suggests best intensity level
  • Prevents accidental flashes
  • Integrated UV filter
  • Suitable for skin tones I to V
  • No skin tone sensor
  • Body & face
  • Black to dark blonde hair
  • Mains-powered and cordless in one
  • 5 intensity levels
  • Stamp & continuous flash mode
  • 8 week start-up phase (5 treatments)
  • Curved-in body attachment (4.1 cm²)
  • Flat facial attachment with filter (2 cm²)
  • Curved-out bikini attachment with filter (2 cm²)
  • Curved-out underarm attachment (2 cm²)
  • Body & face
  • Black to dark blonde hair
  • Cordless battery powered
  • 5 intensity levels
  • Stamp & continuous flash mode
  • 8 week start-up phase (5 treatments)
  • Flat body attachment (4 cm²)
  • Flat facial attachment with filter (2 cm²)
  • Flat bikini attachment with filter (2 cm²)
  • Underarms take 59 secs (corded)
  • Full leg takes 6.5 mins (corded)
  • Underarms take 1:45 mins
  • Full leg takes 14 mins
Lamp Lifetime
  • Treat up to 1,025,000 cm²
  • 15+ years / 200+ full body treatments
Lamp Lifetime
  • Treat up to 1,000,000 cm²
  • 15+ years / 200+ full body treatments


What are the alternatives?

The SC2009, Smoothskin Gold and Braun IPL are alternatives to consider. They are suitable for full body and face treatments, with just slightly lower scores than the BRI956.

I compare the SC2009 and BRI956 above and the BRI956 comes out on top. However, if only the SC2009 is available where you live, don’t worry. It’s still a fine choice.

I recommend the Smoothskin Gold and Braun IPL for slightly smaller budgets where you want fast treatments at higher intensity levels. And I recommend them for full body treatments if the Lumea BRI956 is not yet available where you live.

Smoothskin Gold and Braun IPL vs the Lumea BRI956

Here’s my comparison round up of the 3.

Cyden Ltd manufacture both the Smoothskin Gold and Braun IPL, so you can be sure they give the same great results and performance. They’re almost identical in shape and operation and although ergonomic, they aren’t quite as intuitive or as comfortable as the BRI956’s gun-shape. Nothing beats that.

The silk Expert 5 IPL and Lumea Prestige BRI956 held in different grips according to their design.

The Silk Expert 5 (shown here on the right) is ergonomic and sleek. The Smoothskin Gold is almost identical in shape. I find the gun-shape of the Lumea Prestige (left) more comfortable to grip, to flash with my trigger finger and manoeuvre around my body.


All these devices operate at higher IPL intensities and  are suitable for skin tones I to V. They also feature advanced skin tone sensors. They check then select the best intensity level for you. Yet only the BRI956 develops this further and lets you manually adjust it to find the perfect and precise strength for you.

The BRI956 has a long lamp lifetime lasting 15+ years (Philips say up to 20). The Braun IPL has a lamp lifetime of 15+ years and the SS Gold has different models lasting 6, 10 and 15 years (reflected in the price). All of these are excellent and far superior to most other brands, such as Remington and LumaRX. The Braun IPL is especially great value at below $400 USD / $500 AUD.

various views of the Lumea BRI956 and the Silk Expert 5.

The Smoothskin Gold, Braun Silk Expert 5 and the Lumea Prestige are fast. They have the fastest available application times for devices that operate at higher intensity levels. You can finish a full leg in under 10 mins. They’re all of excellent premium design and fine choices.


You can finish a full leg in around 8:30 minutes with the Smoothskin Gold and Braun IPL. That’s fast, and I’d be more than happy with it. But the Philips Lumea Prestige is better. It has the same fast flash rate, but also a larger body attachment (4.1 cm2 vs 3 cm2) so it covers your skin faster. You can do a full leg in around 7 minutes.

The Prestige also has the curved specialist attachments that match the contours of your body. It’s a doddle to get perfect skin contact. Each of these features complement one another so it’s almost effortless. The outright best I’ve tried and tested.

All these devices are rated 4+ stars by online reviewers, so I’m confident whichever you choose, you’ll be happy with your choice.

In summary, this is what I think makes the Philips Lumea Prestige BRI956 so special:

  • Quality materials and craftmanship
  • Intuitive, easy to manoeuvre gun-shape design
  • Advanced skin tone sensor that suggests the best intensity, but you can turn it down just a notch of two if needed
  • Fastest application speed amongst the most powerful IPL energy intensity devices
  • Curved specialist flash windows to match the contours of your body
  • Longest money back guarantee of 100 days


Here’s a quick recap of the pros and cons of the Lumea Prestige BRI956.

Buy the Lumea Prestige


  • Striking, refined, retro gun-shaped design
  • Ergonomic design is comfortable and effortless to use
  • Distinctive build quality – feels solid and safe in your hand
  • Lamp treats a massive 1,025,000 cm2 body area for 15+ years of use
  • Fast application – treat a leg in under 7 mins.
  • Mains-powered so you can finish in one session, and  ‘Use it anywhere’ convenience of cordless operation when you want it
  • Specialist bikini attachment with filter to effectively treat stubborn hairs
  • Curved attachments fit your body for faff-free position and flash – they make a big difference.
  • Philips Lumea 100 day money back guarantee – visit to to learn more
  • Suitable for a broader range of skin types (I to V)
  • Skin tone sensor to check your skin tone is safe
  • Skin tone sensor suggests your best intensity level
  • You have total control over the intensity level you use
  • All the safety and treatment features you’d expect
  • Integrated UV filter
  • CE mark (EU declaration of conformity to meet safety requirements
  • Online reviews love it – read the full review for my round-up
  • Cleaning cloth and padded storage pouch provided
  • Excellent reputation and customer service from Philips
  • Treatment calendar and reminders on your phone with the Lumea App


  • Very expensive at the full RRP
  • Priced so you’ll want the most expensive one with all the specialist attachments!
  • It’s quite heavy because of the rechargeable battery inside
  • Not suitable for the darkest skin tones
  • Not yet FDA cleared

Should I buy it?

the Lumea BRI956 lying on it's side with the 3 additional treatment windows next to it.

I recommend the Lumea Prestige BRI956 and BRI950 if they’re in your budget range. They’re top spec and the best performing devices I’ve tried.

Yes. If it’s available and in your budget range, then absolutely. It scores top marks in almost all categories so I highly recommend, especially for silky-smooth results all over your body. Or if you want a fast device so you don’t need to spend ages doing it.

This is aimed at those who demand the best. Those who won’t shy away from the price, because they know quality when they see and feel it. It sets a new standard in home IPL hair removal.


You can check prices or buy the Lumea BRI956 and BRI950 using the links below.

Where to buy the Philips Lumea BRI956 & BRI950

If you found my review helpful and decide to buy, please support by shopping through my links (I earn commission for sales but this doesn't increase your price).
Please also check for any taxes or customs duties applicable for delivery to your home country.
Philips Lumea Prestige, for body & face
Buy the Philips Lumea BRI956 here Buy Lumea BRI956 from Amazon: UK & Europe, USA, Canada, Australia & other Global orders.
Philips Lumea 100 day money back guarantee.
Buy the Philips Lumea BRI950 here
Buy Lumea BRI950 from UK & Global shipping, Philips Lumea 100 day money back guarantee.
Buy Lumea BRI950 from Amazon: UK & Europe, USA, Canada, Australia & Global shipping.
Philips Lumea 100 day money back guarantee.

Still not sure? Check out my recommended Best Buy home laser and IPL hair removal machines here

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