The Smoothskin Bare+ 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. Or keep reading to learn all in this Smoothskin Bare+ review.
I love the Smoothskin Bare+ packaging. It really stands out. It’s a neat, sturdy black box with a cute, fun and friendly pink and black slide-off sleeve. Everything is secure and tidy inside the box and made mostly from recyclable cardboard too. The attention to detail is beautiful so it’s like unwrapping a thoughtful and expensive gift.
Hmmm: The safe skin tone diagram below implies the Bare+ is safe for all but the darkest skin tones. However, the medium power IPL means it could smart a lot on darker tones. So, I double checked the guidance and confirm it’s best suited to light to medium tones (which shouldn’t need the option of a gentle mode either).
What’s in the box?
- Smoothskin Bare+ device
- Fixed power cable and power pack
- UK plug adaptor
- Quick start user guide
The Bare+ device is light-weight but feels solid and well-made. It’s the smallest device I’ve tested and the shape fits perfectly in my palm. It feels very good to hold.
Before you start
First, you must read the user guide, full manual and do a skin sensitivity test.
The printed user guide you get with the Bare+ is a very quick and simple read. It outlines very simple steps to use the Bare+ over just 9 pages explaining to shave, plugin, press on your skin, press the flash button, glide & stamp mode, unplug, and the treatment schedule.
On the final page the user guide notes a few key reasons you are not suitable to use the Bare+ home IPL such as varicose veins, pregnancy, over freckles and medications. There are more medical and skin conditions which apply too, listed in the online user guide. You can learn more about home IPL contraindications here, and see the full Smoothskin Bare+ user guide here.
Smoothskin give guidance on tanning and sun exposure too, to keep your skin safe and avoid side effects. On the website, Smoothskin advise:
✔️ Avoid tanning for 48 hours before using the Bare+
✔️ Avoid tanning for 24 hours after using the Bare+, and cover up or use a sunblock (SPF50) in the sun for 48 hours after a treatment
There’s more on tanning and sun exposure here
❌ Don’t use the Bare+ on skin that’s fake-tanned
❌ Don’t use the Bare+ on sunburned skin
You’ll also find instruction in the full user guide to do a skin sensitivity test in each treatment area. If, after 24 hours, your skin is normal, crack on with your first session (but avoid the test patch until your next weekly session).
You can learn more detail about how to prepare for your sessions here. And if you’ll be zapping facial or neck hairs I recommend dermaplaning as an alternative to shaving. Learn more 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 Bare+, and there’s loads more detail in the following sections.
- Shave before every treatment (unless there’s no hair left)
- Plugin and press against your skin
- Press the flash button, then slide to the next spot
- Repeat until the treatment area is all zapped
For this review I tested the Bare+ on full legs, extended bikini line, tummy, underarms and face. And it’s one of the simplest, fastest, least faff home IPLs you can choose. Here’s my detailed feedback.
Quality & design
I love the simple black and rose-gold styling with a glossy back top and grippy bottom where your fingers naturally rest. And whilst it’s light-weight at around 200g, it’s reassuringly robust and solid with no creaks or cracks.
The compact, curvy shape is simple and ergonomic. And the size is perfect. It’s slightly fatter in the middle so the curves give a secure and natural grip. It’s very handy and I can change grips without help from my other hand.
The shape tapers neatly to the business end so it’s easy to see where you’re flashing too.
There’s a thick and flexible 2 metre power cord to the power pack which then attaches to a separate 50cm long mains cable. The long cable is fixed in the device, so the weight of the power pack won’t pull it out. It doesn’t tangle and it’s long enough to manoeuvre around your body, but an extension cable is handy to have too. There’s more on this later.
There’s even a small elastic attached to the cable so you can neatly wind and secure it once you’re done. I love this simple attention to detail.
The simple design is straightforward to use too.
There are no dials or buttons to select an intensity level. That’s because it has just one medium power intensity level of 4 J/cm2. There’s not even a power button. Just plug it in and it powers on. Position it on your skin and press the large flash button with the rose-gold ribbon running through the middle. It’s that simple.
To keep your skin safe, there’s also a skin tone sensor. It’s the little blue light above the flash window. It scans your skin and won’t flash if it detects your skin tone is too dark. And to protect your eyes, it also won’t flash unless your skin covers the entire flash window. In both cases it shows a red light around the flash button.
But if your skin tone is safe and you have good skin contact, you’ll see a white light around the flash window. It’s best to keep the button facing you as you work around your body so you can check these lights.
The Bare+ is nippy too! Smoothskin say you get 100 flashes per minute which is a flash every 0.6 seconds. That’s fast, and matched only by the more expensive Braun Pro 5 IPL and the even quicker Smoothskin Pure. In our tests it takes around 11 minutes to flash a full leg and just under 30 minutes for a whole-body (very thorough full legs, bikini, underarms and face).
Related: The fastest home IPLs head-to-head: Braun Pro 5 vs Smoothskin Pure
That’s not as fast as Smoothskin suggest. This is likely because, as our testers found, awkward and bony areas slow you down a bit. Also, the flash rate slowed a bit after a few minutes too. That’s because the Bare+ heats up and needs a little longer to recharge in-between flashes.
Regardless, the Bare+ is one of the fastest home IPLs. Keep the flash button pressed for continuous flashes at a quick, steady pace. This makes for a smooth and controlled glide over your skin. It works for legs and underarms, and a stamp motion gives more precision on bikini line and face.
What does it feel like?
You hear the cooling fan whir and a soft pop with each flash.
The flashes are bright, but harmless to your eyes. However, they can get a bit irritating. Try not to look directly at them. To help, use the Bare+ in a well-lit room (this lessens the glare), and wear sunglasses if it’s too much. But don’t worry. You don’t need protective goggles!
The flashes feel warm, and sometimes a bit hot on sensitive areas like the bikini line and underarms. Weirdly, I also find tops of my thighs feel it more. However, compared to more powerful IPLs I experience zero ‘smarting’ sensation and it’s totally bearable.
TIP: Smoothskin suggest you zap more stubborn hair such as bikini and underarms up to 3 times in one session.
The Bare+ is very fast. To start the flashes come fast and you can simply glide the device over your skin. However, after a minute or so as the Bare+ heats up, and so the flashes slow down. It’s still fast and personally I don’t mind that because I find the pace ideal to concentrate and get good, accurate coverage. And you’re done before you can get bored or tired anyway.
Skin redness is a common skin reaction to IPL. Your skin may also feel a bit hot and tingly. It’s normal and should wear off within 24 hours. Cool it with a damp facecloth or ice pack. Cooling water sprays are good too, Aloe Vera gel or a non-scented moisturiser.
Cover-up and avoid tanning and sun exposure after your session. If you don’t there’s a higher risk you’ll experience the rare home IPL side effects.
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.
Do 12 weekly sessions with the Bare+. Most see noticeable results within 4 weeks, then getting even better over the course. A whole-body session takes just under 30 minutes.
After the start-up stage, switch to top-up sessions as you need them to stay smooth. Smoothskin suggest every 2 to 4 weeks. The Bare+ sessions are fast, easy to fit in a busy schedule, and to stick with.
What results can you expect?
Shave before every treatment, and/or between sessions as you need.
You may not see any change after the first few sessions. Then your hair grows slower, softer, finer and lighter too. For most this is noticeable between 4 and 6 weeks.
After this, bald patches eventually appear and gradually get bigger until you’ve large smooth patches of skin. Keep going even if you’re smooth and complete the recommended 12 sessions. This zaps all your hairs whilst they’re actively growing and gives you your longest lasting results from the start.
Some people see hair reduction results quickly and others need a bit longer. Eventually, you may not need to shave in-between sessions. Shaving rash fades and ingrown hairs disappear.
Once smooth, do top-ups as you need them. Smoothskin suggest every 2 to 4 weeks. This is slightly more frequent compared to more powerful rivals (at 4 to 8 weeks). That’s because with the Bare+’s medium IPL power you’ll need slightly more sessions to match the results of the most powerful home IPL machines. There’s more about this in the next section.
There are just a couple small negatives with the Bare+.
First, it’s tricky to flash on bony shins, ankles and the awkward upper lip area. Most other home IPL devices share this problem too and take just a bit of practise to work out how to get a flash.
On ankles and shins, try pivoting the device 90 degrees and positioning the window vertical or at an angle. This makes it easier to fit over the uneven surface. You can also squish your skin/calf up to the window with your free hand.
For the awkward upper lip area, try blowing out your cheeks or curling your upper lip over your teeth better coverage. Here’s a face I pulled earlier.
Next, the long power cord sometimes gets in the way. This is common to all the compact models because they don’t have a long handle keeping the cord away from the flash window. It helps to use a power extension socket and move this as you work around your body, giving you plenty of slack and keeping the cord to one side.
Medium vs high-power IPL?
And finally, depending on your priorities, you may want a high-power IPL device. That’s because, if you have light skin, you could safely choose a higher power IPL device. A higher IPL intensity won’t remove more hair, but it does mean your results from the sessions are longer-lasting. So, once you’re smooth, you’ll need fewer or less regular top-ups to stay that way. But by how many or much it’s not possible to say. You can read this article to understand the compound effect of home IPL sessions.
Therefore, consider if the longer-lasting results from a more powerful device are worth a higher price tag to you. If yes, check out the Smoothskin Pure for similar fast, plug’n go simplicity. If not, rest assured the Bare+ is very effective, and one of the fastest home IPLs so very easy to stick with.
Smoothskin Bare+ Review Summary
I love this little beaut for large and small body areas because it’s cute, handy, quality, fast and no-faff. It’s best for light to medium skin tones, but not dark as there’s no gentle mode if it stings. This medium-power, no-nonsense Bare+ IPL is affordable at under £200, with a Worldwide 90-day money-back guarantee too.
Here’s a quick recap of my test results and pros and cons for the Smoothskin Bare+:
Unlimited IPL flashes so you’ll never run out. Superb value.
Ease of use
No-frills compact, light-weight yet robust. Very comfortable & handy, fast, plugin-&-zap simplicity. Won’t flash if skin’s too dark.
Effort & Results
Medium power IPL for smooth results over the course of 12 sessions. Then switch to regular top-ups every 2 to 4 weeks.
- Affordable quality, light-weight & fast
- Unlimited IPL flashes for decades of use
- No faff – just one medium IPL level
- Won’t flash if you’re skin’s too dark
- Plugin-&-zap, one-button simplicity
- Cute & recyclable packaging
- Clinically proven, CE certification & FDA-cleared
- Worldwide 90-day money-back guarantee
- Cord sometimes gets in the way
- Tricky to flash on shins, ankles & upper lip
- No gentle mode so may smart on darker skin tones
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