Tried & tested | IPL & Laser Reviews

Philips Lumea Prestige review

A quick summary…

by | October 19, 2020

The Philips Lumea Prestige is my personal favourite home IPL. It's the comfiest and most precise home device I've tested, thanks to the intuitive gun-shape, curved flash windows and fast flashes. Simply the easiest for legs. It's safe for light to dark skin and matches your skin & intensity. Plus, the high power IPL promises your longest-lasting results on fair tones. Oh, and you can use it cordless too. Top-notch zappingz.

4.8 / 5

Face, small bits, legs & large areas


Safe Fitzpatrick skin tones:

Hair colours it works on:

Review of Philips Lumea Prestige home IPL | Pros, Cons & results in 5 mins by
WeAreBodyBeautiful's tried and tested Philips Lumea Prestige home IPL revew

What is it?

The Philips Lumea Prestige uses Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) that’s safe for use 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. Learn more about how home IPL works here.

First impressions

The Philips Lumea Prestige box is compact, robust, pink and well-designed to show all the key information in a concise and clear way. There’s no chance of anything moving around in transit. And it’s surprisingly heavy!

Front view of the Lumea Prestige BRI956 box showing the 4 treatment attachments
Compact, pink and attractive packaging with all the key information.

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 clearly shows the safe and suitable hair and skin colours and curved attachments.
Side view of the Philips Lumea Prestige BRI956 box showing the recommended schedule, how IPL works and the key features of the device
Clear and concise information about how IPL works and the treatment schedule. Top job.
Lifting the lid off the box to reveal the device to see the device and contents safely secured.
The packaging is neat, economical, 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 cradled in moulded, protective plastic. Beneath 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 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, BRI955 only)
  • Power pack and 2 metre long cable
  • Instruction manual
  • Lumea App info slip
  • Storage pouch
  • Cleaning cloth

The device is bigger and heavier than I expect. I instantly recognise the same quality materials I love from the Advanced and older Prestige models. It’s solid. Nothing creaks or cracks when you squeeze it. It feels good to hold.

Before you start

Before you start, read the user manual and do a skin test.

The manual is a comprehensive, rather dry but easy read. You’ll find helpful 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.

Photo of the Lumea Prestige user manual open at the contraindications page
Important: read the important safety information and reasons you shouldn’t use the Lumea IPL.

There’s a long list of warnings and reasons you may be unsuitable to use home IPL. These contraindications range from pregnancy, epilepsy, diabetes, and medical conditions and medications which make you more sensitive to the light. Learn more about IPL contraindications here to ensure it’s safe for you.

You must also follow the guidelines on tanning and sun exposure to avoid side effects. 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.

Wait 24 hours after your skin test and if there’s no reaction, you’re good to go. And it’s very easy.

Getting started

A dermaplaning tool called Hollywood Browser. These tools are excellent for cutting facial hair and removing peach fuzz.
Dermaplaning: better than shaving your face!

You can learn more detail about how to prepare for your sessions here. Shave your hairs for best results, although Philips say you can wax or epilate if you prefer. And if you’ll be zapping facial or neck hairs I recommend dermaplaning as an alternative to shaving. Learn more about all of this and about dermaplaning here, and you’ll find buy links for dermaplaning tools at the end of this review.

Here’s a quick summary on how to use the Prestige, and there’s loads more detail in the following sections.

  1. Shave before every treatment (unless there’s no hair left!)
  2. Plug-in and press the power button. The buttons light-up white and you’ll hear the cooling fan whir.
  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. After the flash, 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.

For this review, I treated my full legs, extended bikini line, underarms and face. And I’m impressed with the thoughtful features and technology to make sessions faster and easier than other choices. Here’s my feedback.

Shape & design

3 photos of the Lumea Prestige in different, comfortable and easy grips

I love the Prestige’s gun-shape and futuristic yet elegant design. It oozes style and superb build quality.

I find the gun-shape more intuitive and comfortable than other designs. It feels relaxed with a secure grip on the long, tapered handle where your finger rests naturally on the trigger. Press it comfortably with your index or middle finger, or your thumb if you rotate your grip for face and underarms.

Close-up of the BRI956's braille-like trigger button.
The flash button is easy to find because there’s a small braille-like circle on it.
Photo of the controls on top of the Lumea Prestige device
Check the controls with a glance because they are clear on top of the gun.
easy to change the flash windows by simply pulling them off andsliding back into place
Easy-to-change flash windows

It’s easy to change the flash windows too. You get different shape and sizes for specific body areas. And, from most angles, you can easily see the edges of them, so it’s precise to position for perfect coverage and no gaps.

The 2-metre long tangle-free power cord is quality. It’s thick and supple, and mostly stays out the way thanks to the long-tapered handle. The cord offers enough slack working close to a power socket, or use an extension cable for more flexibility.

The only down-side in the design is the Prestige is bigger and heavier than other brands. It weighs 560g. A few online reviewers find it too heavy and bulky for longer periods of use. However, I don’t notice it so much. It’s balanced so I can rotate and pivot my wrist without any strain, it’s easy to manoeuvre throughout and sessions are fast so it’s not tiring.

3photos of a hand gripping the Prestige in comfortable grips
The long-tapered handle gives excellent leverage and it feels balanced.

The weight comes from the rechargeable battery inside which you need to use it cordless. This is a handy feature, but if the weight worries you and you’re happy with just mains-power, try the lightweight Braun Pro 5 IPL instead.

It’s a quality, robust bit of kit from Philips that’ll last years. You also get a 2-year warranty and the lamp promises more flashes than you’ll ever need.

IPL Lamp Lifetime

There’s no need to worry about running out of flashes.

Using a standardised formula, we’ve calculated the lamp lifetime of flashes for all the devices we test. And the Prestige is 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 lasting 15+ years of use.

With the 250,000 flashes and 4.1 cm² body attachment you can cover a humongous 1,025,000 cm² of body area.  We calculate that’s 200+ full body treatments (full legs, bikini line, underarms and face) or over 15 years of monthly top-up treatments. That’s more than enough because the more top-ups you do, the less frequently you need them. So, eventually you can go months and months between top-ups.

TIP: The latest Prestige 9000 series (BRI955) give up to 450,000 IPL flashes which is a total body area of 1,845,000 cm². Woah. It may as well say unlimited flashes because with that many you’ll never run out.

It’s superb value and an excellent choice 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 (BRI954 & BRI953 – the BRI955 is even longer!).

Power, eye & skin safety

The Prestige has 5 intensity levels and operates at higher IPL power than other devices (from 2.4 to 6.5 J/cm²). This means if you have fair skin and can use the higher intensities, it gives you longer lasting results than less powerful choices. The lower intensities are safe for darker skin.

It’s clinically-proven safe for home use and it passes the necessary European manufacturing and safety standards. It does this with some impressive safety features to protect our skin and eyes.

Close up of the bikini treatment window showing the larger flash window and smaller sensor window.
Skin sensors run around the flash window & the smaller skin tone sensor window.

To protect your eyes, you must hold the device completely against your skin at a 90-degree angle. Sensors around the flash window mean it only flashes if your skin fully covers it. Therefore, you can’t accidentally flash into open space, and potentially near your eyes.

There’s also a UV filter in the IPL flash bulb to stop UV light hitting your skin. And the skin tone sensor protects your skin too. Like most other devices, it won’t flash if your skin is too dark.

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.
The 'ready to flash' indicaot illuminates bright-white when you have good contact with your skin.
The white ‘ready to flash’ light lets you know your have full contact with your skin and the intensity is safe.

And Philips have enhanced the sensor to ensure you use the correct intensity level. Activate it and it tells you the best intensity for your skin tone in 3 simple steps.

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.
3 steps remove the guess-work with the advanced SmartSkin sensor to suggest the best intensity for your skin tone.
  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’s a reassuring safety check which takes away the stress of choosing the right intensity level. And this is especially good for you if your skin tone varies by body area or changes with the seasons.

But what I really like is that you can then adjust the suggested setting. You can’t set it any higher so your skin is always safe. But you can take it down just a notch if it stings. This is helpful on sensitive areas like the bikini line. Other devices with advanced sensors don’t have this level of precise control.

TIP: You don’t have to use the skin tone sensor. You can manually set the intensity using the up / down controls. The sensor still checks for a safe skin tone for the level.
Hands holding the BRI956 and using the manual up / down arrows to select the highest intensity level 5.
The manual up / down arrows scroll through the 5 intensity levels.

Mains-power & cordless

The Prestige is the only device to work both on mains-power and cordless. I love this freedom to use it wherever you want.

Photo pushing the flexible cord securely in the handle of the Prestige to use it fast on legs using mains-power.
Fast, non-stop corded operation for large areas like legs.

It’s best to use corded for most of your body because the flashes are fast (every 2 seconds) and you won’t need to stop and recharge. This gets your pins done as quick as possible. And it’s no bother because the long handle keeps the cord out of your way as you work around your body.

Convenient cordless operation for face and hard to reach areas and bathroom privacy.

Then, simply remove the cord for smaller or hard to reach areas where the cord restricts you. I love this flexibility because you can nip into the privacy of your bathroom to zap your tache and other lady-bits. But note, the flashes are 2x slower (every 3.5 seconds) and the battery lasts around 30 minutes (or 130 flashes at light intensity 5). A full charge takes 1:40 hours. Therefore, cordless operation is no good for legs or a whole-body session. But it’s fine for smaller areas like the face and bikini line where you need fewer and slow precise flashes.

IMPORTANT: You must care for the battery, fully charging it every couple of months. If the battery does degrade over time, you can still use it corded.

Curved flash windows & fast

Sessions with Prestige are easy, precise and fast. It’s one of the fastest high-power IPL devices.

Used corded, the Prestige flashes every 2 seconds. Keep the flash trigger pressed and glide the large body window over your skin. The inward-curve hugs your skin for close contact and easy flashes on legs, arms and torso. There is a faster device, but I really like the steady gliding flash rate combined with the curved body attachment. It feels accurate, and it’s easy to get into a good rhythm. I don’t get bored, or lose my place because it’s fast.

Close up zapping my legs with the Philips Lumea Prestige at-home IPL.
In our test, a meticulous full leg takes 10 minutes – it’s one of the fastest!

Philips suggest a full leg takes 7 mins when used corded (and around 11.5 minutes cordless). It takes me about 10 mins per meticulously-covered full leg used corded. On my bikini line I go slower without gliding. I use the body attachment for my underarms with no problems. And the face attachment for my upper lip and chin. I can finish my whole body in 40 mins.

And I do think the curved windows make a difference. They give closer contact on curvy areas so it’s easier to get a flash. The Prestige is the only device with such curved flash windows.

The body flash window

The body window attachment is large and curved outwards to fit the contours of legs and knees
The 4.1cm2 large and curved-in body flash window for legs, arms & torso

The body attachment (all models) 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 get a nice close contact even on 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. I like this a lot, but it’s not fool proof. As with other devices, it’s still tricky to cover ankles and shins perfectly.

The precision flash window

The bikini icon identifies this attachment. The window is medium-sized and curved outwards to fit the contours of your bikini line.
The 3 cm2 bikini / precision curved-out window for bikini line & underarms.

The precision attachment (with the BRI953/4 & 9000 models) is a medium-size 3 cm2 curved-out window, which fits the contours of your bikini line where it joins your leg and the indents in your underarms. It has an extra transparent filter for increased comfort on coarse stubborn hairs.

N.B. The BRI956 and one of the 9000 series models has a separate bikini window (pictured above) and underarm attachment. The other Philips models combine these into the precision window with both a bikini and underarm icon. All are equally effective.

The face flash window

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 small flat facial window with red glass filter for safe facial use to fit upper lip and chin.

The face attachment (all models) is a small 2 cm2 flat window for precise positioning, with a red filter for safe facial use. A curved surface won’t 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.

Around the tops of my inner legs / bum, I use the body and precision windows for a thorough, ‘no follicle missed’ application! The face and precision windows are easier on feet, toes and fingers (squish them together to make a larger surface). And I find the body attachment works fine on my underarms too (and as it’s bigger is a bit quicker).

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

  • The body window has NO glass filter across the flash window.
  • The precision window has a clear glass filter across the flash window.
  • The facial window has a red glass filter across the flash window.

The different Prestige models

There are a dew different Prestige models available. They’re the same except for the colour, number of IPL flashes, number of flash windows you get with each and the price. Read this short Prestige model comparison for more information and to help you choose.

What does it feel like?

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

Like most reviewers, I found it pain-free with just a slight, occasional sting. But it’s no way as painful as waxing, epilating or threading!

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. And you may feel increased heat on your bikini line and underarms where your hair is thicker and denser.

A handful of online reviewers with darker type V skin say it hurts even on the intensity suggested by the sensor. If it is uncomfortable, simply drop the intensity level just a notch or try a gentler device designed for the darkest skin.

IMPORTANT: It can hurt a lot if your skin isn’t hair free, if the light’s too intense for your tone, if you flash the same area more than once, or if you flash an open wound, infection, tattoo etc. So, stay alert!
IPL flashes are bright but harmless to your eyes when gainst your skin
A bright IPL flash captured on camera – harmless to your eyes when against your skin.

The flashes are bright, but harmless to your eyes. You don’t need to buy specialist goggles or glasses. Use it in a well-lit room so the flashes don’t seem so intense. Try not to look directly at the flashing end (that’s difficult I know, because you need to get good coverage!) 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.

After your IPL session, your skin may feel warm and slightly red, and prickle or tingle. It may feel dry and itch a bit too. This is normal and it wears off after a short while. 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. Side effects are rare but can occur (especially if you expose your skin to the sun).

Helpful App

The App is helpful 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.

Once you start the maintenance phase, do a top-up monthly, or if you notice any hair growth. You can steadily reduce them to 6 weeks, 2 months etc. At this point the App may not be so useful.

Effort & results

Home laser and IPL devices demand effort and commitment. There’s a start-up routine to get you to smooth, and then top-up sessions maintain your results. Your overall effort depends on the number of start-up sessions and how fast each session is. Therefore, I’ve calculated this effort based on my controlled tests, so you can compare and decide if the Prestige is right for you.

Philips say you’ll need about 4 to 5 treatments, 1 every 2 weeks (taking 8 weeks), to see significant hair reduction results. A whole-body session takes approx. 40 minutes. So, over the start-up phase you’ll spend around 3 hours 20 mins zapping.

No. of sessions (start-up) Time per session Total effort during start-up
5 sessions over 8 weeks 40 minutes 3 hours 20 mins

Then, you’ll need touch-ups sessions every 4 to 8 weeks. After several top-ups, you’ll likely need them even less frequently. I found the Lumea Prestige is one of the lowest effort home IPL machines you can choose.

So, what results can you expect?

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 and finer, lighter hairs. You must keep going and complete the full start-up phase. Shaving before your next treatments is easier as it’s finer and sparse, so no more razor bumps or rash! Ingrown hairs disappear too.

After 4 or 5 sessions (8 weeks) your hair reduction should be significant and at best, you’ll be totally smooth! This matches our tester’s results and most of the online feedback too. Learn more about results here.

The touch-ups are very important because hair eventually grows back without them. Philips also say:

“After just 8 touch-up treatments you can be hair-free for 6 months”.

Here, 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.

Negatives of the Lumea Prestige

There are just a few noteworthy negatives and a few niggles with the Prestige.

As mentioned earlier, it’s weighty (560g) because of the rechargeable battery inside. But sessions are fast so it doesn’t get tiresome. If you want a fast and lightweight device (but without cordless operation) try the Braun Silk Expert Pro 5 IPL instead.

And despite the curved flash windows, it’s still tricky to get a flash on bony areas like ankles and shins. Unfortunately, this is so with most other IPL devices too.

Some online reviewers feel the storage pouch should be more luxurious for the price. But this doesn’t bother me. It’s good enough to keep the device and windows clean and dust-free. Keep and store everything in the original box to keep it together and protect it from knocks.

The zip-close white padded storage pouch protects the device and treatment windows
Protect it in the white padded storage pouch. It fits the device neatly with 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 it all together.

The Prestige is not yet FDA-cleared in the United States. However, it is clinically-proven. Philips are a respected top-notch brand and it meets all the European safety and manufacturing standards, and some voluntary standards too. It’s CE certified, so rest assured it’s safe and it works.

And finally, the Prestige is pricey at full RRP, but offers are common around £300. Prices fluctuate and it’s worth comparing with the Braun Pro 5 and Smoothskin Pure to see which is cheaper. If it’s too much, the Silk’n Infinity is a cheaper but more basic alternative, still with fast sessions.

Philips Lumea Prestige Review Summary

If it’s in your budget range, I highly recommend the quality Prestige for fast and easy sessions. It’s such a good all-rounder for both small and large areas, but especially legs and whole-body hair removal sessions. It’s packed with helpful features unmatched by its rivals. You also get a long UK money back guarantee from Philips so you can try it risk free for 100 days. It’s my overall favourite.

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

Here’s a summary of my Lumea Prestige test scores, and pros and cons to help you decide:

Lamp lifetime


More flashes than you’ll ever need, lasting 15+ years of use. It’s one of the best.

Ease of use


Very intuitive, and the most comfortable and precise home IPL I’ve tested, if a little heavy. Easy flashes with the curved windows. Use it fast on mains-power or cordless on small areas in your bathroom.

Effort & Results


Long-lasting smooth after 4 to 5 sessions (1 every 2 weeks), plus top-ups every month or so. A low effort device.


  • Superb quailty
  • Most comfy gun-shape
  • Easy-flash precise curved windows hug your skin
  • Corded for fast but precise legs
  • Cordless for small tricky areas
  • Powerful, safe & fast
  • Clinically-proven & CE certification
  • UK 100-day money back guarantee


  • It’s quite big & heavy
  • Expensive at full RRP
  • Not yet FDA-cleared in US

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Laura Gladman
I'm a bit obsessed with at-home beauty devices. It's a habit I've had for around 9 years now. I love the science, testing and reviewing them, and sharing my experience and feedback on my site I'm also a crazy dog lady, and I don't care.

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