Philips Lumea Prestige review – it just got serious

Philips Lumea Prestige Laura G
Philips Lumea Prestige

4.9

If you demand the best, well, this is it. The Lumea Prestige is packed with premium features like corded / cordless operation, advanced skin tone sensor, curved flash windows and almost endless zaps. The fastest, most precise and comfortable to use with unrivalled design & quality. It just got serious. Read the in-depth, tried-and-tested Philips Lumea Prestige review to learn all.

Best overall home IPL hair removal

Selection of images in this Lumea Prestige review. They're taken during my tried and tested user trial. Learn more in the full review.
This review shares real-life feedback because I’ve tried and tested it myself.

👍 Recommended for face, small and large areas, for light to dark skin tones

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 from 7 mins.
Support
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.
Philips Lumea Prestige price: £269 to £500
It’s unashamedly expensive, for those that demand the best.

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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 safe for tones I to V, but not VI (the darkest).
Safe to use on light to medium dark skin tones (Fitzpatrick skin types I to V). Not safe for the darkest skin (type 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. Not effective on light blonde, red and grey / white hair.

The clinically proven models have CE certification to meet EU safety standards and are market-leaders available in the UK and Europe. They don’t yet have FDA clearance.

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 almost hair-free skin after 4.

Hand holdinga cordless BRI956

This is an in-depth review with real-life hints and tips, photos and a round-up of the online feedback. Here’s what you’ll learn.

In this Philips Lumea Prestige review:

— What’s it like? —

First impressions

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

Front view of the Lumea Prestige BRI956 box showing the 4 treatment attachments
The Philips Lumea Prestige box is compact, pink and well-designed to show all the key information in a concise and clear way. And boy is it heavy!

One side visually explains the 8 week start-up 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.

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 with all the key information including suitable hair and skin colours, and highlights 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 concisely show the key features, describe how IPL works and make the treatment schedule clear, all on one side of the box. Top job.

Lift the box and you’ll notice it’s surprisingly weighty! What’s in there!?

“From the moment you get it out of the box you know it’s quality.” – Amazon.co.uk Prestige review

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

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 is the power adaptor, user manual, storage pouch and cleaning cloth.

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

The packaging is economical and robust. There’s no chance of anything moving around in transit.

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.

What’s in the box?

  • Lumea Prestige IPL device
  • Curved-in body attachment (4.1 cm²)
  • Flat facial attachment (2 cm²)
  • Curved-out precision attachment (3 cm², BRI954 & BRI953 only)
  • Curved-out bikini attachment (3 cm², BRI956 only)
  • Curved-out underarm attachment (3 cm², BRI956 only)
  • Power pack and 2 metre long cable
  • Instruction manual
  • Lumea App info slip
  • Storage pouch
  • Cleaning cloth

The Prestige device

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

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.

“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.” – Amazon.co.uk

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Before you start

Before you start, first get acquainted with the user manual. There’s important information you MUST read including reasons you may not be suitable to use it (contraindications) and guidelines around tanning.

You must also do a skin patch test, shave your hair and find a comfortable spot to do your treatment. Learn more in the next sections.

Read the user manual

The user manual is a comprehensive, 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 reasons you shouldn’t use the Lumea IPL.

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 Philips website before you buy.

The manual highlights you must protect yourself from the sun during your treatment regimen. Learn more next.

Important: tanning and IPL

When using any home IPL device you must follow the guidelines on tanning and sun exposure. They protect your skin because sun exposure increases risks of side effects to IPL. Philips advise you to:

  • Avoid the sun for 2 weeks before a treatment
  • 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 up when in the sun.

  • Don’t use self-tanning creams or gels as this darkens your skin.

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

Before your first treatment, do a skin patch test. This confirms it’s safe for your skin, and you won’t have any side effects.

I test at my highest safe intensity level (which is 5 for me) and a level or 2 below that.

Finding your 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 first treatment.

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

Shave it!

Immediately before your treatment, shave.

You want to get a good, clean shave. Your treatment areas must be 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!

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 a comfortable 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.

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

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Is it easy to use?

It’s very simple and intuitive to use. Here’s a quick summary and there’s loads more detail in the following sections.

Here’s what’s good:

  • Striking, refined, retro gun-shaped design
  • Ergonomic design is comfortable and effortless to use
  • Distinctive build quality – feels solid and safe in your hand
  • Flashes last for 15+ years worth of full body treatments
  • UV filters & eye-safety skin contact sensors
  • Skin tone sensor protects dark skin
  • Manual and auto-suggest intensity controls
  • Mains-power lets you finish all areas in one session
  • ‘Use it anywhere’ cordless convenience when you need it
  • Curved attachments fit your body for faff-free flashes
  • Fast application – treat a full leg in 7 to 10 mins
  • Treatment calendar and reminder App for your phone

And there’s just this to improve..

  • It’s quite heavy because of the rechargeable battery inside, but treatments are fast so it’s not an issue for most

“In summary, effective, fast and easy to use.” Boots

There’s more detail on the features and ease of use in the next sections.

Simple steps

To get started, follow these steps.

  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. Select your intensity level either manually or use the Smartskin sensor
  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 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.

Is it too big and unwieldy?

Nope. The gun-shape is decidedly intuitive and comfortable. It feels relaxed with a secure grip 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 it.

Close-up of the BRI956's braille-like trigger button.
The flower-shape braille-like button on the trigger makes it easy to find just with touch. Press it comfortably with your index or middle finger, or thumb if you rotate your grip.

The controls are clearly visible on the top of the gun, so you can check them with a glance. And you can easily see the edges of the flash window too. I can precisely position each flash for perfect coverage.

Photo of the controls on top of the Lumea Prestige device
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.
Hand holding the Lumea Prestige from a top down angle showing the power cord is safely out of the way.
The controls and flash window are easy to see at a glance and the long 2-metre power cable fits snugly into the end of the tall handle, keeping it well out of the way during use.
3 photos of the Lumea Prestige in different, comfortable and easy grips
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.

Is it too heavy?

It weighs 560g.

That’s heavier than the Lumea Advanced (368g) and the Smoothskin Muse (374g). The weight comes from the in-built rechargeable lithium battery. You need that to use it cordless. And it’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.

How long will it last?

It’s one of the best.

Bar chart graph showing the Philips Lumea Prestige lifetime value compared to other devices. It's one of the best.
The Philips Lumea Prestige lamp lifetime is superb. All models are perfect for all body areas, and one of the best choices for full body treatments to last 15+ years of use.

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. Therefore, it’s unlikely 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 decades 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.

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Is the Philips Lumea Prestige 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. Let’s start with the SmartSkin sensor and then learn how it protects your eyes.

Smartskin tone sensor

The Prestige has an advanced skin tone sensor. It’s the small window above the flash window.  

Here’s how to use it:

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.
1) Press the sensor button and place the window against your skin 2) the 5 intensity level indicators light up in sequence as it detects your skin tone 3) Press the check button to choose the intensity level.

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

Close up of the top back of the BRI956 showing the red 'ready' light.
The ‘ready’ light shows red if the Smartskin sensor detects your skin is too dark. It won’t flash.

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.

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.

Hands holding the BRI956 and using the manual up / down arrows to select the highest intensity level 5.
Manually select your intensity or reduce the suggested intensity just a notch using the manual up / down arrows.

Several online reviewers with darker skin tones need to lower their intensity levels like this. I also felt a sting on my bikini line and loved I could take it down just a single notch to a comfortable, but still high intensity level. Other devices with advanced sensors don’t do this. I love the extra control.

And you don’t have to use the skin tone sensor. You can manually set it using the up / down controls. The sensor still checks for a safe skin tone for the level.

Eye safety

Your skin must fully cover the flash window or it won’t flash. It has skin contact sensors around the flash window. 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.
Your skin must fully cover the flash window before it will flash. This prevents any accidental flashes into your eyes.

The ‘ready to flash’ light on the back of the device illuminates white when you have good contact on your skin. If it doesn’t light-up, check you’re holding it completely against your skin at a 90-degree angle.

The 'ready to flash' indicaot illuminates bright-white when you have good contact with your skin.
The white ‘ready to flash’ light let’s you know your have full contact with your skin.

On your skin the flashes are bright. But they’re 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.

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Mains-power or cordless?

I like cordless.

Cordless means no tangles as you twist and bend to get to those hard to reach areas. But it also means it needs charging before you use it. And sometimes the power annoyingly runs out mid-session!

So, I like mains-powered.

Mains-power operation is less hassle, just plug it in and go with no interruptions. But… sometimes that darned cord gets in the way!

Don’t you wish you could have both in one?

Now you can. Because the Prestige does both. Genius.

Hand holding the BRI956 with the power cord attached to the bottom of the long tapered handle.
The Prestige is designed primarily for FAST mains-power use with a 2-metre long tangle-free cord. It’s supple and doesn’t get the in the way thanks to the long-tapered handle. Switch to cordless on tricky areas.

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

Cordless is better in the general vicinity of your bikini line. Because, if you’re thorough, this means twisting and bending. And no cord means there’s nothing to obscure your view.

It’s also handy for a quick lady-tache top up in the privacy of the bathroom. Top marks. I love having the freedom and choice.

Corded / cordless tips:

Here are a few important things to note about the dual operation of the Prestige:

  • It’s designed to use corded mostly, with the option to use cordless when it’s more convenient
  • Charge the lithium battery before using it cordless, it takes up to 1:40 hours to charge
  • Fully charged batteries give just 130 flashes at light intensity 5. It’s enough for a small area, not a large or full body session. Use it mainly on mains-power and switch to cordless for trickier areas!
  • Or you can plug it into the mains and use it corded whenever you want
  • It’s 2x times faster when using it corded (flashes every 2 seconds vs every 3.5 seconds cordless)
  • 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 these simple, thoughtful details, to make your treatments easier. Just like the curved flash windows.

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’re 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.

What attachments do you get?

The body attachment is a large 4.1 cm2 curved–inwards window, to fit the contours of your legs, arms and tummy / top of bikini area.

By laying my legs out flat, I easily and accurately 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 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  (only with the BRI956 model) 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 underarm window attachment is a medium 3cm2 and curved-outwards to fit the contours of your underarms.

The bikini attachment (only with the BRI956 model) 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 bikini window is medium-size (3cm2) and is curved outwards to fit the contours at the top of your legs. The extra clear glass 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 facial window has a red glass filter for safe facial use. It’s small and flat to get coverage on your upper lip and chin.

Please note: Some online reviewers think they’re missing glass from their body attachments. However, they’re actually designed this way.

  • The body, underarm and precision attachments have NO glass filters across the flash windows.
  • The bikini attachment has a clear glass filter across the flash window.
  • The facial attachment has a red glass filter across the flash window.

There’s more on the different models and the attachments they come with later in the review.

The special flash windows make it easy to get a flash because you get good contact with your skin. And this means it’s fast using it in ‘Glide’ mode.

How quick are the treatments?

Sessions are fast with the Prestige.

That’s because the body attachment is 4.1 cm2 big and it flashes every 2 seconds (on mains-power). Combined with ‘Glide’ mode, this makes it fast.

For Glide mode, position it, and keeping the trigger pressed, slide it over your skin in time with the flashes. It’s magic on large areas like legs.

Philips say a full leg should take 7 mins when used corded. It’s slower if used cordless, at around 11.5 minutes.

It took me about 10 mins per meticulously-covered full leg. The flash rate combined with the curved body attachment and Glide mode are simply the best I’ve tried. I didn’t get bored, or lose my place because it’s fast.

On my bikini line I used stamp mode (position, press the trigger and release) and never had to wait for it to be ready. I used the body attachment on glide for my underarms with no problems. And 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 operate at higher intensity levels.

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— What to expect? —

What to expect during your treatments?

You’ll hear the whirring of the fan and a soft popping sound with each flash.

The flashes mostly feel warm against your skin. But some areas, like ankles, thighs, bikini line and underarms can smart more because they’re more sensitive. You may feel increased heat on your bikini line and underarms where your hair is generally thicker and denser. In any of these cases, drop the intensity level just a notch if it’s too much.

IMPORTANT: You can feel excessive pain if your skin isn’t hair free, if the light’s too intense for your skin, if you flash the same area more than once, or if you flash an open wound, infection, tattoo etc.

The flashes are bright, but harmless to your eyes. You don’t need to buy specialist goggles or glasses. Use it in a well let room so the flashes don’t seem so intense. Some people find it gets tiresome after a while and wear sunglasses to ease the irritation.

It takes a bit of concentration so you don’t miss any areas. And note, Philips say DON’T mark off areas you’ve done with a pen or pencil as this can cause a skin reaction. But it’s fast anyway (if corded) so you should finish before getting bored and losing your place.

After, and common skin reactions

You may have no reaction at all to the IPL. If so, you can apply your usual cosmetics, moisturisers and deodorants. If your skin becomes irritated afterwards, wash off any products you applied.

If after your session your skin is red or irritated, wait until it fades before applying any product. This is a common skin reaction with any IPL device.

So, what are all the common skin reactions?

After your IPL session, your skin may feel warm, slightly red and prickle or tingle. This is normal and it wears off after a short while.

Your skin could feel dry and itch a bit too. That’s likely due to the combination of shaving and IPL. Try using an ice pack or a wet face cloth to soothe it. Cooling water sprays are good too, aloe vera gel or a non-scented moisturiser.

These reactions disappear quickly and aren’t a cause for concern. But some rare reactions and side effects do occur.

What side effects are there?

There are some very rare side effects of IPL.

These generally occur when the intensity is too high for your skin. You should wait until your skin heals and returns to normal before doing another session at a lower intensity.

Here’s a list of possible but rare side effects. If they don’t fade within the times detailed below, go see a doctor.

  1. Burns, excessive redness and swelling around your hair follicles, should disappear within 3 days
  2. Lighter or darker skin patches, should disappear within 2 weeks
  3. Epidermal heating is a sharply defined brownish area that’s NOT dry, and it’s most common with darker skin tones. It should disappear within 1 week
  4. Blistering, small bubbles on the surface of the skin,. They should disappear within 1 month
  5. Skin infection can occur, especially after a burn or skin irritation
  6. Scarring, usually following a burn that takes longer than 1 month to heal
  7. Folliculitis is swelling and pustules around your hair follicles caused by bacteria in damaged skin. Go see your doctor immediately for treatment.

The side effects are rare, but thankfully superb results aren’t.

What results can I expect?

You’ll need about 4 to 5 treatments (taking 8 weeks) to see significant hair reduction results. Then less frequent maintenance treatments keep your skin smooth.

Philips say it takes 1 to 2 weeks for treated hairs to fall out. You’ll still see hair growth in these early weeks. They’re likely hairs from new, growing follicles or hairs your zaps missed.

Shave before your next treatments, and / or in between sessions as you need to.

2 to 3 sessions in (4 weeks), you should see a noticeable hair reduction. This means less hairs and finer, lighter hairs. You must keep going and complete the full start-up phase.

Shaving before your next treatments is easier as they’ll be less hair and what’s there is finer.

After 4 or 5 sessions (8 weeks) your hair reduction should be significant and at best, you’ll be totally smooth!

Then, do top-ups every 4 to 8 weeks to maintain your results. These are very important because hair will eventually grow back without them. Shave before these if you need to.

Philips give clear guidance as to what results to expect and when. And most of the online feedback matches this. But some do take a bit longer and need more frequent top-ups. Keep reading to the user feedback round-up to learn more.

How much effort is it?

It’s ridiculously easy.

For most people, to get a significant hair reduction from full body treatments you’ll need to spend about 3.5 hours zapping yourself over the 8 weeks start-up phase.

How did I work this out? Like this:

  • A full body session takes around 30 to 40 mins (+shaving, but I’m not including that!)
  • Small areas take just minutes
  • You need 4 to 5 treatments at 2-week intervals. It takes 8 weeks to complete.
  • 5 sessions x 30 mins per session = 2.5 hours or
  • 5 sessions x 40 mins per session = 3 hours 20 mins
  • That’s 2.5 hours to 3 hours 20 mins effort over 8 weeks . I’ve rounded it to 3.5 hours.

Then, you’ll need touch-ups sessions, every 4 to 8 weeks. Start monthly, then after several top-ups, you may need them even less frequently.

That’s ridiculously easy. A+++ for effort.

Note: Philips give additional information on their website. They say:

“The first 4 treatments must be carried out every 2 weeks, after which you should already be able to see the desired results. To maintain your results, simply touch up every 4 weeks. After just 8 touch-up treatments you can be hair-free for 6 months”.

They’re saying you can get long-term hair reduction with around 8 touch-ups. But, my advice: don’t get complacent and stop! Keep going so the hair doesn’t reappear. Everyone is different, so do them as you need. You may need them frequently or be able to space them as much as a few months apart.

Prices & Buy Now

— The different models —

Lumea BRI956 vs Lumea BRI954, BRI953 & BRI950

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

The table below shows the differences between the models in colour, the specialist flash windows and price.

BRI956 BRI954 BRI953 BRI950
Rose-gold Lilac Silver Pastel-pink
RRP £575 RRP £550 RRP £550 RRP £520
4.1 cm2 curved-in body 4.1 cm2 curved-in body 4.1 cm2 curved-in body 4.1 cm2 curved-in body
2 cmflat face 2 cmflat face 2 cmflat face 2 cmflat face
3 cmcurved-out underarm 3 cmcurved-out precision (for bikini line and underarms) 3 cmcurved-out precision (for bikini line and underarms)
3 cmcurved-out bikini - - -

The BRI956 is pro. It trumps them with 4 treatment windows.

You get the 4.1 cm2 large curved-in body attachment and 2 cmflat facial attachment. But also, a 3 cmcurved-out underarm attachment and a 3 cmcurved-out bikini attachment. The latter has an extra filter that better targets stubborn hair in this area. So, you get more attachments to better flash your bits for fastest results.

Do you need every specialist window?

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 models differ in colour, specialist flash windows and price. The BRI956 has 4 flash windows, but you don’t need them all.

Do you need them? Well, no. You don’t need them all.

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. But the precision attachment with the BRI953 and BRI954 give great results too.

For me, it’s the large curved-out body attachment that makes all the difference on legs and tummy anyway. You get that with all the models.

Check the prices of each before you decide. They all come with the 100-day Philips money back guarantee. And they’re all ace.

Prices & Buy Now

Or keep reading for a round-up of the online feedback and ratings.

— Online ratings & reviews —

What do the Philips Lumea Prestige reviews say?

The score from the collated online Prestige reviews is a very reassuring and worthy 4.5 stars.

User score 4.5

As of January 2019, there’s almost 700 online reviews for the Lumea Prestige. 89% of these are positive 4- or 5- star rated, 3% are neutral and 7% are negative 1- or 2-star reviews.

There’s a lot to digest dating back to early 2017. And it’s noteworthy around 30% comes from users given a free sample to trial in exchange for an honest review. It’s an effective way for Philips to quickly get lots of reassuring online feedback during the launch.

But does this affect the quality?

‘Free trial’ reviews

Here’s where they come from and the general sentiment:

9% come from the Amazon.co.uk Vine programme. Reviewers receive a free device to trial in exchange for an honest review. The majority are positive 4- or 5-star ratings with just a handful leaving neutral reviews. For some users the trial period isn’t long enough to see results so their scores are based more on ease of use.

Philips.co.uk reviews make up 25% of all (shown on Boots.com too). They received a device to trial for 7 weeks. Over 90% gave positive 4- or 5-star ratings. Most of these report hair reduction results during this time.

You may feel these reviews hold less authenticity than those who’ve bought the device. But fortunately, there’s plenty from verified purchasers too. And they’re great quality, helpful reviews.

Next, a quick summary of the bad, good and results from the user reviews. Read the next sections for even more detail.

Quick summary

The bad stuff

  • It’s expensive
  • Won’t flash on fiddly areas like fingers, toes and feet
  • Too heavy for longer periods
  • Slow on legs if used cordless
  • Short use from a battery charge
  • Some incorrectly think they have faulty flash windows
  • Stings on darker skin
  • Storage pouch could be more luxurious
  • Very bright flashes

The good stuff

  • A superb investment compared to a lifetime of shaving and waxing
  • Very easy to use
  • ‘Just oozes superb build-quality’
  • Fast treatments
  • Freedom of cordless operation for tricky areas
  • Stress-free skin tone sensor
  • Nice close contact with the flash attachments
  • Virtually pain free
  • No worrying trend of faults
  • PCOS sufferers feel it’s life-changing
  • Helpful treatment App

Results shared

  • Less than 5% with poor results
  • Many positive reviews don’t mention any results at all!
  • Two thirds of the positive reviews say it works
  • Most see results within the recommended 8 week start up phase
  • Some take longer to see results
  • Results differ by body area
  • Ingrown hairs disappear
  • Hair gets finer, lighter and less dense until bald patches appear
  • Shaving is easier (no bumps) and less frequent until not at all
  • Several with PCOS find it life-changing
  • But hair grows back if you stop

And now here’s the detailed round-up.

Let’s start with the negative reviews.

The negative reviews

Of the reviews researched, just 7% rate the Prestige 1 or 2 stars. So, what do they say?

Faults

There’s no worrying trend of broken devices.

Only around 10 unlucky reviewers received faulty devices such as broken skin tone sensors and attachments. The 2-year warranty covers these. A few of these were cosmetic scratches and cracks.

Some reviewers believe they have faulty attachments because not all of them have glass. However, that’s on purpose to suit the hair on different body areas.

Other criticism

A handful can’t use the Prestige on the areas they want to treat or they have skin conditions making them unsuitable. A few can’t get it to flash on fiddly areas like fingers, toes and feet. One finds it heavy and tiresome on legs, and just a few mention the treatments hurt.

Several say the battery charge doesn’t last long enough. By the neutral and positive reviews too. Keep reading to learn more.

So, what results do the negative reviews report?

Not many with poor results

Less than 20 online reviews say they’ve not seen any hair reduction results. That’s only 2% of all the online reviews. A handful don’t say how long they’ve used it, and another handful are still within the start-up phase (so maybe need to try a bit longer).

The rest either see hair return when they stop using it, or don’t see any results after trying 3+ months. One tried for 7 months and although they have hair reduction on their bikini line, it hasn’t worked on other areas.

Onto the neutral review feedback…

The neutral reviews

It’s the same themes as the low-rated reviews. A few criticise the battery won’t last for more than 30 minutes, and a couple more mistakenly believe there’s glass missing in the attachments. There’s one fault and another who says it hurts.

Only one reviewer is without results after 8 weeks of use. A handful more admit they’re too soon into the start-up phase to confidently say it works. And just over a dozen share although they’ve seen some results, it hasn’t met their expectations. Some have tried for only a few sessions and others 3 to 5 months. They still have more hair than they’d like, or it’s not had the same effect on all body areas.

Now for the positive reviews…

The positive reviews

The majority (89%) of the online feedback is positive. But they do share some minor criticism too. Let’s start with that.

Weighty or quality?

First impressions from several are it’s larger and heavier than expected. A few find it too heavy for longer periods of use. But for most there’s no difficulty or problems using it. It is more robust and sizeable than other brands and many love this because it adds to the luxury, high tech feel of this quality bit of kit. One reviewer says it ‘just oozes superb build-quality.’ I have to agree.

“…it’s weighty as well but the weight is re-assuring and it feels like a quality product…”- Amazon.co.uk

Battery life & storage case

Several mention they can’t finish their treatments using it cordless on one charge. I recommend using the Prestige plugged in for most of your treatment. The flashes are faster and it works non-stop with the long mains cord. Swap to cordless on your face and only the very hard to reach areas.

A few wish the quality of the padded storage pouch was better. One says, “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 white padded storage pouch fits the device neatly and has pockets for the treatment windows.
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.

Other stuff

Several mention the flashes are very bright and wearing sunglasses makes it more comfortable. Just like in the neutral reviews a couple have trouble getting it to flash on toes and ankles. Some with darker skin tones find the recommended intensity is too uncomfortable and stings a lot. So, they reduce the intensity down just a notch.

Wow! It’s expensive!

And the most frequent criticism 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 (although offers around £350 are common).

It’s too steep for several, but there’s many more who feel it’s worth every penny. Some wish they’d bought it ages ago. PCOS sufferers feel it’s life-changing. Others think it’s a pretty decent investment when you balance the cost against a lifetime of wax, razors and creams. Or even just a single a course of professional laser treatments.

“One off £300, 1 mess-free hour every few months compared to many hours of mess, tears and ongoing expense is definitely worth it.” – Amazon.co.uk

Philips aim it at those who unashamedly demand the best, and it’s a hard choice to ignore. There’s a lot of love for the Lumea Prestige.

So, what specifics do the reviewers like?

Design & operation

Several say it’s an impressive item because of the design, shape and build quality. They love the complete freedom of movement from the cordless design. But that it’s ALWAYS ready to go with the long mains-power cord – no need to wait for a charge.

The controls are intuitive and easy to see. The device feels balanced in the hand and comfortable to grip.  Then there’s the reassuring skin tone sensor. No more guessing from charts – it tells you your optimum level and prevents use on too high a setting for your skin tone. It takes away the stress of using the wrong intensity for your skin tone.

A fair few say it’s virtually pain-free. There may be a slight sting sometimes but it’s no way as painful as waxing, epilating or threading.

Attachments & fast

The contoured attachments impress too. They’re easy to change and get nice close contact with your skin so there’s less messing around waiting for the device to flash.

“…Each [attachment] 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” – Amazon.co.uk

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.

Loads appreciate that it’s fast. For one user it takes an hour to do full legs, arms, underarms and face. And this is fast because epilating takes her half the day! Ouch. Several more report you can do both full legs and underarms or face in under 30 mins. That’s one of the fastest out there.

Helpful App

The helpful App gets some love too. Schedule your first treatments and it reminds you when the next are due. It’s clever enough to plan treatments for several body areas on different days, and to time these first sessions 2 weeks apart. Put simply, it takes away the hassle of having to remember when to do what.

Next, what results do they share?

Excellent results

Of the positive reviews, a third either don’t specifically mention their results or haven’t used it long enough yet. Regardless, they’re impressed.

The remaining two-thirds of the positive reviews say it works.

35% of these don’t share how long they’ve used it. But several of these reassure if you follow the guidelines, you’ll see results.

Philips guidelines say you’ll need about 4 to 5 treatments (taking 8 weeks) to see significant hair reduction. Then less frequent maintenance treatments keep your skin smooth.

This matches most results shared in the reviews. 25% of those that say it works saw noticeable results after just 1 to 3 uses. Another 30% within the first 8 weeks. For the remaining 10% it took more than the recommended 8 weeks to see their results.

Several with PCOS still use it regularly, but share it’s a revelation that has changed their life.

So, what results do they see?

Better after each use

Users report their hair growth becomes softer, finer and slower, and then sparse as bald spots appear. Results get better after every use. So soon after, they have lovely silky-smooth hair-free skin for weeks at a time.

Ingrown hairs disappear. And shaving becomes much easier, without razor bumps or shaving rash.

Less shaving

Shaving becomes less and less frequent too. One shares after 5 sessions they’ve gone from shaving their legs every other day to once every 1 or 2 weeks. Another doesn’t have to worry about shaving or waxing for her holidays and is confident to get her pins out!

“Usually, after shaving I would find my legs were prickly within a few hours. Now I can go for over a week before I have any proper growth.” – Boots.com

Different speeds

Results differ by body area. Some see faster results on their face or legs, and for others it’s their bikini line and underarms.

The speed of results differs from person to person too. Some see significant results after the first and second treatments, and after 3 or 4 there’s barely any hair. After 3 underarm treatments one user is almost 100% hair free.

“I am delighted with the Lumea and wish I had been able to buy it years ago. I saw a difference after the first treatment, and after 3 I have virtually no regrowth. Incredible.” Boots.com

Others need longer. Some continue every 2 weeks after the 8-week ‘bootcamp’ stage to stop patchy spots growing back. And several need 2 or 3 months to see noticeable results.

“I admit it wasn’t apparent in the first session, but now after using this product for 3 months every 2 weeks, I am almost completely hairless! It has left me so smooth, which is life changing after dealing with razor bumps for so many years” – Amazon.co.uk

It’s noteworthy some don’t get to totally hair-free. Results vary because everyone’s hair is different. But most are happy regardless, because they’ve less and slower growing hair that’s quick to fix. After 6 months, one reviewer is happy with slow, barely visible super-soft regrowth they shave easily.

Prices & Buy Now

— In summary —

Should I buy it?

Overall best home IPL hair reduction device: Philips Lumea Prestige

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

“The Philips Lumea Prestige is in a different league. Simply the best for long-lasting silky-smoothness all over your body, without spending ages doing it.”

the Lumea BRI956 lying on it's side with the 3 additional treatment windows next to it.
I recommend the Lumea Prestige models if they’re in your budget range. They’re top spec and the best performing devices I’ve tried.

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

Pros

  • Feels awesome, it’s intuitive & manoeuvres like a dream
  • Built-to-last with eye and skin safety features
  • Lamp lasts for 15+ years of full body treatments
  • Sessions are incredibly easy and fast
  • Curved flash windows hug your skin
  • Use it corded or cordless
  • Sensor suggests your best intensity level or manually choose
  • Philips Lumea 100 day money back guarantee – visit Philips.co.uk
  • Suitable for a broad range of skin types (I to V)
  • CE mark (EU declaration of conformity to meet safety requirements)
  • Online reviews love it 4+ stars
  • Excellent customer service from Philips
  • Treatment calendar & reminder App

Cons

  • Not suitable for the darkest skin tones or fair hair
  • Very expensive at the full RRP
  • It’s quite heavy because of the rechargeable battery inside
  • Not yet FDA cleared

It’s for 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. I recommend this as the overall best home IPL hair removal device.

You can check prices and buy the Lumea Prestige using the links below.

Where to buy the Philips Lumea Prestige

Found this review helpful? Please shop via my links to support WeAreBodyBeautiful.com.
Philips Lumea Prestige, for body & face **with Philips Lumea 100 day money back guarantee**
Buy the Philips Lumea BRI956 herePhilips Lumea Prestige BRI956, for body & face: body, facial, bikini and underarm attachments
Buy Lumea BRI956 from Amazon
Buy Lumea BRI956 from CurrentBody.com: Free UK Delivery & Global shipping.
Buy from Shavershop.com.au: Australia orders with $100 Christmas cashback, 90 day Lumea trial
Buy the Philips Lumea Prestige BRI954Philips Lumea Prestige BRI954, for body & face: body, bikini and precision attachments
Buy Lumea BRI954 from Amazon
Buy the Philips Lumea BRI950 herePhilips Lumea Prestige BRI950, for body & face: body & precision attachments
Buy Lumea BRI950 from CurrentBody.com: Free UK Delivery & Global shipping
Buy Lumea BRI950 from Amazon
Buy the Philips Lumea Prestige BRI953Philips Lumea Prestige BRI953, for body & face: body, facial and precision attachments
Buy Lumea BRI953 from CurrentBody.com: Free UK Delivery & Global shipping
Buy Lumea BRI953 from Amazon

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. They’re all tried and tested by myself and my small team of testers.

Best home laser hair removal guide

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