Tried & tested | IPL & Laser Reviews

Smoothskin Bare IPL review

A quick summary…

by | November 22, 2016

This little cutie from Smoothskin is super simple and fast to use. That's because it has one low IPL intensity level, so it's straighforward with only the flash button to press. You may need slightly more regular top-up sessions on fair skin than if you use a more powerful rival. But for darker skin tones up to type V, it's a perfect match. The Smoothskin Bare+ IPL now replaces this older model.

4.3 / 5

Face, small bits, legs & large areas


Safe Fitzpatrick skin tones:

Hair colours it works on:

The Smoothskin Bare home-use IPL hair removal device uses Intense Pulsed Light to slow hair regrowth on your body and face, and with continued use keeps your skin silky-smooth. Learn more about how home IPL works here.

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First available in late 2016, the Bare is the smaller and less expensive cousin of the Smoothskin Gold, Muse and the latest and best Smoothskin Pure. There’s a choice of colours; white and black, all-black and a summer collection in nude, pink and blue. The Bare+ now replaces this older model, but you’ll still find the Bare in some online stores.

Hand snuggly holding the white and black model SS Bare.
It’s unique because the IPL flashes are at only one low intensity. This makes it super-simple to use, ultra-fast and suited to darker skin tones.

The Bare is unique. It emits IPL at just one low intensity of 3 J/cm2. This has 3 stand-out benefits.

#1 Firstly, if you have a darker skin tone (types IV or V) you can use only lower, safe intensity levels. Therefore, the Bare is perfectly suited to you.

#2 Secondly, it’s simply foolproof to use because it needs just one button to operate it.

#3 And finally, the low energy recharges in just 0.6 seconds between flashes. That’s incredibly fast. You can zap a full leg in around 4 minutes.

So, if you thought IPL was too boring and tedious, think again. The Smoothskin Bare makes it easier to commit to regular, fast treatments that keeps your stubble away.

But does the low intensity compromise results? Find out in the full review and decide if it’s a game-changing choice for you.

First impressions

The Bare comes in a teeny box that’s 18 cm long, 12.5 cm wide and 16 cm high. The black box is top-quality, robust, and with a bright blue and black sleeve. You’ll find all the important information about the SS Bare on it.

The teeny and attractive black Smoothskin Bare box with bright blue info sleeve.
The box is dinky, fresh, feminine and playful.

The black and blue info sleeve concisely describes the key benefits of the SS Bare; it’s ultrafast, has a skin tone sensor, has unlimited flashes and gets results. It explains how IPL works, what to expect and who it’s suitable for.

Photo of the back of the black info sleeve with the key benefits, what to expect, how IPL works illustration and skin tone chart.
The Bare stands out because it uses down-to-earth language that’s very easy to understand. It’s friendly and fun!

Even the underside of the sleeve has more information. It claims your legs, underarms and bikini line ‘are done and dusted’ in under 10 mins. There’s also a brief overview of ‘Your first treatment’ and ‘Staying smooth’ with regular use.

The packaging promises ‘long-lasting silky smooth skin’. There’s not a single mention of attention-grabbing ‘permanent’. It also puts emphasis on sticking with the treatment regimen to maintain your results. I think it’s honest and clear, and although you need to read the user manual to fully understand everything, it doesn’t set misleading expectations. Thank you SmoothSkin!

The thought and effort SmoothSkin have put in has definitely paid off. I’m impressed right from the outset. I can’t wait to see what’s inside!

The small sturdy box without the info sleeve.
The box without the info sleeve. Be careful with the security tabs as they can tear the surface of the box.
Photo showing the angled open lid of the sturdy SS Bare box with the small SS Bare device cradled inside.
Lift the lid to say hello to the Bare! I chose the the White and Black model.
Photo of the SS bare device sitting on top of the cardboard encased power pack and plug adaptor.
The device is attached to the power cable / pack and encased in protective cardboard, along with your country specific plug adaptor.
Photo of the box contents:  the compact Smoothskin Bare device and power pack, country specific power plug, user manual booklet and support programme card.
The full contents of the compact Smoothskin Bare are the device and power pack, country specific power plug, user manual booklet and support programme card.

What’s in the box?

  • Smoothskin Bare IPL device
  • Powerpack
  • Country-specific mains plug
  • User manual booklet
  • Support programme invitation card

TIP: Keep the compact small black box to protect and store it.

The Bare device

Hand golding the SS Bare
The Bare fits perfectly in your hand and feels quality.

The Bare is no-frills, but the design, build, and quality of materials is great. There’s superb attention to detail from the black silicone grip to the neat, tapered treatment window. It’s light-weight but not flimsy. It feels superb in my hand.

And there are no controls or dials. So, with just the flash activation button in the centre, it’s inviting and familiar.

Before you start

First, get aquainted with the user manual. You must check it for any reasons you shouldn’t use the Bare. And guidelines around when and how to use it. It explains how to do a skin patch test first too.

You’ll also need to get yourself set up. Learn more in the next sections.

Start with the user manual

Photo of the user booklet open at the contents list next to the white, gold and black Bare.
It’s a quick, easy and pleasant read. Some of the copy is quite small though.

I like this user manual. It’s like a very small book. And it doesn’t feel like your reading a user manual. It’s easy to read, concise and conversational. It sounds like a flesh-and-blood human is talking you through it all. It’s honest and straight-forward.

Smoothskin Bare review user manual
Read the large-print warning and contraindications to stay safe!

Carefully read the warnings, precautions, contraindications and eye safety guidelines to check there’s nothing preventing you from using the Bare.

TIP: Check the user manual on the Smoothskin website before you buy it.

Then, get acquainted with the design and learn how it works.

Smoothskin have done a super job with this, as they do with the Muse too. The guide is well laid-out, logical and beautifully designed with clear headings and diagrams. But most of all the tone of voice is friendly and conversational. It’s clear, concise and easy to absorb. Top job.

Important: Tanning guidelines

Please pay attention to the tanning guidelines in the user manual.

Your skin is extra sensitive after tanning, which increases the risk of IPL side effects such as burns, blisters, discolouration and scarring. Your skin is more sensitive after your IPL treatments too so there’s a higher risk of sunburn if you go out in the sun. There’s more here.

Smoothskin say:

  • After your treatments, you should cover up and use a sunscreen of SPF 15+ to avoid unprotected sun exposure
  • Avoid the sun for at least 7 days before and after your treatments
  • DON’T use the Bare on recently tanned skin, including artificial tans.

Do a skin test

The user manual tells you to do a skin sensitivity test on each body area you’ll treat.

Do two side-by-side flashes (3 cm x 2 cm) on freshly shaven and clean skin. If after 24 hours you experience no reactions, you can continue with your full treatment.

Shave it!

Shave your treatment areas immediately before your treatment.

They must be totally smooth with no hair above your skin. If there is, it can sting when zapped by the IPL!

Also, you want your hair follicle (the bit below your skin) to absorb all the IPL energy. It’s where IPL works to give you hair reduction.

Once shaven, dry your skin. No moisturisers or deodorant please!

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

TIP: Smoothskin say don’t wax or epilate because you need hair in the follicle for IPL to be most effective.

Choose a comfy place

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

Some people set up in the living room and watch TV. Others choose a private 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 Bare has a 2m 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.

Sorted? Ready, steady, go!

Is it easy to use?

It couldn’t be any easier.

  1. Shave before every treatment (unless you’re smooooth).
  2. Plug it in. The fan starts and the skin tone sensor illuminates blue.
  3. Press it 90 degrees firmly against your skin. Lights around the flash button show white to tell you your skin tone is safe.
  4. Press and hold the flash button.
  5. Smoothly slide over your skin as it flashes. Cover your skin in flashes avoiding overlap.
Hand holding the Bare IPl device with the thumb on the flash activation button.
No controls other than the flash activation button on the side! So it’s incredibly simple.

Design & comfort

It’s no-frills, so don’t expect a fancy ergonomic shape or extra treatment attachments. Nonetheless, the basic curvy shape is comfortable to hold.  It’s light (just 185g) and intuitive, just like an electric shaver or epilator.

3 photos of the Bare IPL showing the different grips and the flash window
Super-comfortable grip with either your thumb or fingers on the flash button.

The tapered end makes it easier to position than other compact models. The 3cm² flash window gives good coverage on large flat-ish areas like legs. It takes a bit more manoeuvring on trickier areas like your small upper lip and bones on your ankles.

There are no controls other than the flash activation button on the side. So it’s incredibly simple.

There’s one low intensity level that’s safe for all skin tones of Fitzpatrick types I to V.

Long power cord

Close up of the fixed power cord connection into the bottom of the device
The power cord is fixed in the bottom of the device so it can’t come loose. Don’t try to pull it out!

The cord attached to the Bare is super quality. It’s thick and supple so it can’t get twisted or tied up in knots. A small thing which makes a big difference.

The cord is 2 metres long from the bottom of the device to the power pack. The mains plug adaptor is around 50 cm long. This means the power pack sits on the floor just next to the socket. So you get the length of the cord itself because it’s not weighed down by the power pack. That’s super attention to detail to give you excellent freedom of movement.

Photo of the black power pack. It has a small embossed 'SS' logo on it too!
The power pack won’t weigh you down.

Just one intensity level

The Bare is different to all others because it has just one low energy intensity level of 3 J/cm². This means application is fast because it takes less time to recharge between flashes.

No dials or extra buttons. It’s safe for light to dark skin (Fitzpatrick skin types I to V). Just plug-it-in and happy zapping.

The low intensity level means it’s a super choice for darker skin tones i.e. type IV or V. That’s because you can safely use only lower intensities on your skin anyway. Therefore the Bare is a good match. No need to shell-out for a more expensive device with a range of intensities. Because you can’t use them anyway!

How long will it last?

The Bare comes with unlimited flashes!

So, you get unlimited full body treatments or small area treatments. The flashes keep coming as long as the device doesn’t break. So, you don’t need to worry about running out.

TIP: As with all other machines, it’s guaranteed to work for at least as long as the manufacturer’s warranty (2 years). No devices will last forever but you should get decades of use from it. General usage and wear and tear can also affect how long the machine keeps working.

Is the Smoothskin Bare safe?

Yes. The Bare is clinically tested and proven safe and effective for home use. It adheres to the relevant European and International electronic and manufacturing standards too. It has CE conformity and has extra reassurance of FDA-clearance.

The Bare has in-built UV filters in the flash window to protect your skin. It has other features to keep you safe too.

Eye safety

The Bare only flashes when your skin fully covers the skin tone sensors. This protects your eyes by preventing accidental flashes directed into the open air near your eyes.

the light you see from each flash is bright, but harmless when covered by your skin. you don’t need spacial glasses, but can wear sunglasses if it’s uncomfortable.

Safe & simple skin tone sensor

Close up of the flash window and the skin tone sensor window illuminated blue.
The small illuminated-blue skin tone sensor below the flash window continuously checks for a safe skin tone.

There’s a small skin tone sensor just next to the flash window. It glows blue and checks for a valid skin tone before each flash. If your skin is too dark, it protects you against harm by preventing any flashes.

Close up of the SS flash button illuminated white, and then red.
The Bare IPL is ready to flash when the flash button illuminates white. If it illuminates red your skin tone is too dark for safe treatment.

Stamp & ultra-fast glide!

You get the standard treatment modes of continuous glide and a single stamping action.

For Stamp, press and release the flash button, then re-position and repeat. This is best for small and uneven areas like your face and bikini line.

For Glide, keep the button pressed and slide it over your skin at a consistent speed to cover each position in time with the flashes.

Most devices have a ‘slide-and-pause’ motion, because the flashes aren’t fast enough to make it fluid. But with the Bare, the flashes come every 0.6 seconds. Therefore it really is a smooth continuous motion over large areas like legs and torso. It’s easy and very quick.

So, how fast is it to cover your skin?

How quick are the treatments?

It’s fast. Really fast. The flashes come every 0.6 seconds. Wow.

Smoothskin say you can treat a whole body (full legs, bikini line and underarms) in less than 10 minutes. However, realistically it can take between 10 to 20 minutes. That’s because you must slow down to zap uneven or awkward surfaces. Or just have a bit of a breather.

Smoothskin Bare treating ladies legs
Zap a full leg in 4 +minutes with the Smoothskin Bare. They say it’s ultrafast. It is. It’s perfect for a busy lifestyle.

With the stamping mode, it’s ready to flash as soon as positioned properly. And with Glide mode you can cover large areas quickly. There’s no tedious waiting for flashes.

Smoothskin say it’s ultra-fast. I agree.

How quick are results?

To get speed, the Bare compromises on IPL energy intensity.

It gives low energy intensity flashes of 3J/cm2. This means application is fast because it takes less time to recharge between flashes. The low intensity is also gentle so it’s safe for medium to darker skin tones as well as light. But does this lower intensity affect your hair reduction results?

Let’s consider the guidance given with other IPL devices. Most have 5 intensity levels ranging up to around 6 J/cm2. Using the highest level that’s safe for your skin tone gives the best results.

That’s not to say the lower levels don’t work. They do. But, studies show they can take longer to get to smooth. And then more regular sessions to stay that way versus using a higher, but still safe, intensity level.

It’s not easy to say how much results differ. Smoothskin give the simple advice that you’ll need “Weekly treatments until desired results are seen”, but they don’t put a time limit on it. Some people see results within a few weeks, but for others it takes a little longer. That’s because everyone experiences a different rate and quantity of hair reduction with IPL.

You’ll also need maintenance sessions every 2 to 3 weeks to stay smooth.

Is it right for you?

So, how do you decide if the Bare is right for you?

  • If it’s in budget and you’re happy to trade higher intensity levels for more but-very-fast treatments, then the speed and simplicity suits you well
  • If you have medium to dark skin tones (Fitzpatrick types IV to V) you’ll need a lower intensity level anyway so it’s a superb, more-affordable choice.

However, if you have lighter skin and want to initially dedicate a bit more time to get the best possible results, check out the Smoothskin Pure or Braun Pro 5 IPL.

You can also compare the newer Bare+ to the Smoothskin Pure.

The small double sided support programme invitation card that comes with the Bare.
Your support programme invitation with your SS Bare.

Smoothskin Bare Review Summary

The Smoothskin Bare is an attractive and affordable option. The lower IPL power means the flashes are fast so it’s a top choice if you’re short on time. The low IPL intensity also matches medium and dark skin to type V – you can’t use higher IPL intensities in more expensive devices. The Bare+ replaces the Bare model – check out the review here.

Smoothskin Bare at-home IPL is a top choice for dark skin because of the low IPL power.
Lamp lifetime


Unlimited IPL flashes so you’ll never run out. Superb value.

Ease of use


No-frills but exeptionally comfortable, handy, uncomplicated & ultra-fast, thanks to one low intensity level. Won’t flash if skin’s too dark.

Effort & Results


Use it weekly until smooth, then as needed to maintain results e.g every 2 to 3 weeks. More regular sessions but super-quick!


  • Lasts forever with unlimited flashes
  • Compact & no-frills, but fast, easy & comfortable
  • Low intensity suits darker skin tones
  • Plug-and-zap, one-button simplicity
  • Cute!
  • FDA cleared & CE certified
  • Beautifully packaged, a perfect gift
  • Worldwide 90-day money back guarantee


  • The one low intensity level gets results, but you’ll get faster and longer lasting results on light skin with a more powerful device – try the Pure instead

You can check prices or buy the Smoothskin Bare using the links below.

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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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