Tried & tested | IPL & Laser Reviews

Smoothskin Muse review

A quick summary…

by | May 11, 2018

Hello Smoothskin Muse. This handsome device is the first high-power at-home IPL device giving unlimited flashes. It's safe for light to dark skin and works on dark hair (but may work on blonde hair too). It's one of the fastest, safest and most simple to use thanks to the clever skin tone sensor. Highly recommended.

4.6 / 5

Face, small bits, legs & large areas


Safe Fitzpatrick skin tones:

Hair colours it works on:

Smoothskin Muse home IPL review tried & tested by

The Smoothskin Muse is now discontinued and no longer readily available. You may find final stock available from some retailers. Try the new Smoothskin Pure model instead (it’s cheaper & even better!)

The Smoothskin Muse is safe for use at home on the body and face. It uses Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) which slows and reduces hair regrowth after each treatment. Eventually hair stops growing and periodic sessions keep your skin silky smooth. Learn more about how home IPL works here.

First impressions

It arrives in a neat and compact black and orange box. I love the packaging. It’s stylish and colourful without being garish.

2 photos of the Smoothskin Muse packaging: angled view of the the black and orange box, and close-up of the key information printed on the back
The sleeve is clear, concise with clear safe skin tones, what to expect, unlimited flashes and skin tone sensor info. It’s a brilliant first impression.

The sleeve shows all the important information about the Muse. I love the friendly, down-to-earth tone. It’s unlike any other brand.

Smoothskin also do a fab job of setting realistic expectations. Because no where do they use the word ‘permanent’. I really like their simple explanation of long-lasting stubble-free results:

 “As long as you keep up with top-ups, the chore of daily shaving will soon be a thing of the past”.

Overall, it’s friendly, clear and kinda playful. Now I just want to see what’s inside!

The small black smoothskin muse box with embossed gold interlinked 'SS' logo
The small black box with lift-up lid.

I lift it and the first thing I see is the glossy, speckled-gold stardust swirl along the top of the Muse and a small square orange envelope that greets me…

photo of the open lid box with the black and speckled-gold Muse IPL device resting in a plastic cradle and the striking orange 'hello smoothie' support programme invitation.
Opening it is a thoroughly delightful experience. You’ve nailed it, Smoothskin.

“hello smoothie”

Why, hello.

The orange support programme invitation designed as a closed envelope so you want to see what it says. Gimme!
Standout character and creative fun with the Smoothskin welcome invitation. It makes me feel special.
Smoothskin Muse review unboxing3
Everything is neatly packed. The Muse is secure in a plastic moulded bed and the cables in small cardboard boxes.
Smoothskin Muse review box contents
Box contents: Muse IPL device, user guide booklet, support programme invitation, power cable / pack and mains plug (UK shown here), black satin storage pouch.

Keep the box. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s perfect to store everything safely and small enough to fit in a draw.

What’s in the box?

  • Muse IPL device
  • Power pack & cable
  • Mains socket plug
  • User guide booklet
  • Support programme invitation

The Muse device

Close up photo of the Muse device showing the speckled gold pattern swooshing over the glossy top of the device
I need more speckled gold dust in my life.

Firstly, I love the gold dust sprinkled speckle across the glossy back top. The black and gold colourway is unlike all the others. It’s sleek and sophisticated.

It’s smooth and cool to the touch. There are only 3 buttons on the top. It looks simple. But also like it means business.

Along each side is a matt-black silicone grip that your fingers naturally rest on. It’s a bit bigger than I expected but not too heavy. There’s a natural grip and it’s balanced in my hand. It feels quality, well-made.

Side view of the Smoothskin Muse showing the perfectly curved handle and silicone side grips to ensure a comfortable hold.
Sleek and powerful lines, and a touch futuristic. And it feels every bit as good as the beautiful styling. It’s stunning.
4 photos of the Muse device in close-up

Before you start

First, get acquainted with the user manual. Read the important information for reasons you may not be suitable to use it (contraindications) and guidelines around tanning.

Do a skin patch test too, shave your hair and get yourself setup to do your treatment. Keep reading to learn more.

Start with the user guide

This one is distinctive because it’s a pleasure to read.

Photo of the Muse device above the user guide open at the warnings chapter.
The user guide is very easy to follow, clear and concise. I love the conversational tone however some of the print is very small.

The opening paragraph took me by surprise. There’s none of that serious dull language you get in other guides.

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

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

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

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

Smoothskin say don’t use the Muse on recently tanned skin, including artificial tans. After your treatments also cover up and use a sunscreen of SPF 15+ to avoid unprotected sun exposure. The website FAQs say avoid the sun for at least 7 days before and after your treatments.

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

Do a skin patch test

The user guide explains how to do a test patch. It’s very simple.

Shave your test area (for each body area you’ll treat), power on the Muse and do two side-by-side test flashes on each treatment area. Wait 24 hours and if your skin has no reactions, you’re good to do the full treatment.

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

Shave it!

Shave your treatment areas immediately before your treatment.

Your treatment areas 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.

Comfort & privacy

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 Muse 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.

Is it easy to use?

It’s one of the easiest. That’s because it has some clever tech inside that does all the hard stuff for you. Therefore, it’s as simple as point-and-zap.

First-time users comment in the reviews their surprise at how easy it is to get going.

Super-simple steps

Wait 24 hours after your skin test and if there’s no reaction you can start. It’s the most simple to use.

  1. Shave before every treatment (unless you’re smooooth).
  2. Plug it in and press the power button. The buttons change from blue to white. and the sensor indicators illuminate blue.
  3. Press the handset at 90 degrees firmly against your skin. Your intensity illuminates white from 1 to 10. Press the flash button.
  4. Slide to the next spot and repeat. Cover your skin in flashes avoiding overlap.

If not in use for 3 minutes the device reverts to standby mode with a blue power button.

The flashes are bright, and the user manual tells you to look away for each flash. Make sure you use it in a well-lit room and you can try wearing shades if it’s too much. Your skin must cover both skin tone sensors before it’ll flash, so this avoids any accidental flashes.

Ergonomic design

The Muse is comfortable to hold and easy to manoeuvre around your body. It weighs just 367g. It takes just a little practise to get comfortable with the different grips.

Photo of a hand gripping the Muse with the index finger naturally resting on the flash button (just a bit above of the curved handle).
Grip 1: The best grip for covering large areas like legs.

1) The long handle fits snug in the palm of my hand as my index finger naturally rests on the large flash button. It’s in the perfect place. This is the most comfortable grip for covering large areas (like legs) with speed. It gives a bit more reach for backs of legs and knees too. And it felt most natural on the feet, toes, bikini line and underarms.

Hand holding the Muse pointing downwards with thumb on the flash button and fingers gripping the underside.
Grip 2: for precise placement on inner thighs and tummy.

2) Alternatively, try resting your thumb on the flash button, grip the side of the handle with your fingers wrapped underneath. This works well for the insides of your thighs, bum cheeks, backs / top of legs and tummy.

Hand holding the Muse on the curve so the underside rests on the thumb and fingers grip around the top and press the flash button
Grip 3: for your face and neck

3) Another grip I find helpful for my face (chin, under chin and upper lip) is resting the underside on my thumb and pressing the flash button with my index and fore finger.

The other buttons are further along the top so they’re safely out of the way. Therefore, with both these grips you can continue without interruption.

It’s easy to get accurate coverage because the angles ensure perfect visibility of the treatment end. Simply slide it along 1 cm at a time.

Long power cable

There’s no waiting about with the Muse because it’s mains-powered. Several reviewers love you don’t need to faff about charging it. Plug it in and off you go. It’s ready when you are.

Photo of the black power pack and mains cable wound up straight from the box.
You get 2 metres of good quality flexible cable for plenty of room to manoeuvre.

The cable is 2 metres long to the power pack. The mains cable plugs into this and is an additional 40 cm long. So, the power pack sits just below the socket and you get the full 2 metres of cable to play with without being weighed down.

Close up photo of the power cable in the base of the Muse's long handle.
The power cable detaches and fits snug in the end of the long handle.

It’s flexible and not too thin. It doesn’t wind around itself and end up in knots.

One flash window

The Muse has one single flash window. It’s safe for both body and face. At 1 cm high by 3 cm long it’s the best size and shape for a multi-use flash window.

Photo of the gold trimmed flash window on the Muse.
The 1 cm by 3 cm flash window is the perfect multi-use size for around your body and face

It’s big enough to cover your skin fast on large areas like legs. And it’s narrow enough to position on small areas like your upper lip. As feedback in the reviews suggests, this can take a bit of practise. But you soon work out how to do it.

  • For your upper lip try blowing out your cheeks or turning your lips in around your teeth. This makes a flatter surface.
  • For shins and other bony or uneven areas, you can try turning the device 90 degrees so the length of the flash window runs down the bone.

Would other specialist windows improve it?

I do like the no-faff design off the Muse. And I think additional attachments would detract from the brilliant plug-and-go simplicity. It may take a bit more manoeuvring on some areas but it does the job better then most. They do help but aren’t necessary.

Pssssst: The Braun Pro 5 IPL has a smaller attachment. Check it out if you really want one.

How long will it last?

The Smoothskin Muse gives THE best lamp lifetime.

In recent years Smoothskin, Philips and Silk’n have released models with 100s of thousands of flashes. Because IPL results get better and better over time, that’s likely more than you’ll ever need. But just to be sure, Smoothskin have gone either further.

The Muse is the first high-power home IPL device to give unlimited flashes from the lamp. So, you’ll get unlimited full body treatments and / or small area treatments. The flashes keep coming as long as the device doesn’t break. So, you never need worry you’ll run out.

Several reviewers appreciate these infinite flashes so they never need to think about repurchasing.

N.B. General usage and wear and tear can also affect how long the machine keeps working.

So, is this thing safe?

Is it safe?

Yes. The Muse is clinically proven safe for home-use. It’s also FDA-cleared so that gives extra reassurance.

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 eye safety and then look at the clever skin tone sensor.

Eye safety

Close up of the Muse flash window with the skin tone sensors illuminated bright blue
The skin tone sensors (illuminated blue here) must have full skin contact or it won’t flash.

There are 2 smaller sensor windows at either end of the flash window. Both must have full skin contact before the Muse will flash. This safety feature protects your eyes so you can’t accidentally flash it into open air.

They’re also the skin tone sensors.

Advanced skin tone sensor

Like other skin tone sensors, the Muse keeps you safe by checking for a suitable skin tone (Fitzpatrick tones I to V). If your skin is too dark it won’t flash and the side LED indicators light up red.

The indicators illuminated red on one side of the Muse
The side LED indicators light up red if your skin is too dark.

But the skin tone sensors are clever too.

They continuously check your skin and set the best intensity level for your tone. They do this before every flash. Each flash therefore adjusts to the perfect balance of safety and power.

The indicators illuminated white on one side of the Muse
The skin tone sensors adjust the intensity to match your skin tone and the LEDs show white up to the level set (1 to 10).

The Muse has 10 intensities – 1 is low and 10 is high. The IPL energy output ranges from 3 J/cm2 to 6 J/cm2. It’s one of the most powerful home IPL hair reduction systems available. You get faster and longer lasting results using the highest intensity that safe for your skin. The 10 LED lights along each side show you which level is set.

Some refer to this as Variable Pulsed Light (VPL).

So, there’s no need to stop and check your skin tone across different body areas. It’s perfect for you if you’ve varied tones across your body. You just press the button and keep going until you’re done.

Online reviewers appreciate the technology because it minimises irritation from too high an intensity level. And it’s better than fiddling around with a manual intensity guage and potentially using an incorrect strength.

Close up of the skin tone sensors glowing blue.
The blue skin tone sensors scan you skin 80 times per second to flash the perfect intensity in every flash.

But you do have an option if you find the flashes smart in more sensitive areas. You can activate ‘gentle’ mode.

Gentle mode

Close-up of the 'feather' button that activates gentle mode.
Press the ‘feather’ button for gentle mode. Press it again to turn it off.

Some areas are more uncomfortable than others. Such as underarms and bikini line. That’s because hair is thicker and denser there. So, you may want to reduce the intensity a bit, especially for the first few sessions when more hairs are actively growing.

Pressing the ‘feather’ gentle mode button reduces the IPL intensity output of the flashes.

A hand presses the gentle mode 'feather' button. Half of the LEDs now show white.
Gentle mode effectively halves the IPL intensity so you’ll see half as many LEDs showing white.

It’s a good option to have. But remember, you get faster and longer lasting results using the highest intensity that’s safe for your skin.

You can also control the speed of flashes using ‘glide’.

Glide mode

Close-up of the Flash activation button
Press and hold the flash button for glide mode. It flashes every 1 to 2 seconds.

For Stamp mode: Press and release flash button for a single flash. Move to the next spot and repeat. This is good for small areas like upper lip or around ankles where you need precise placement.

For Glide mode: Press and hold the flash button for continuous flashes. Flash, glide 1 cm to the next spot, flash and repeat. The flashes come every 1 to 2 seconds so it’s pretty close to a gliding motion. Be sure to only flash each area of skin once.

Glide means there’s no repetitive button pressing (annoying on large areas) and it reduces strain on your grip. It’s also fast to cover your skin.

How fast is it?

It’s one of the fastest.

The big 3 cm² window flashes every 1 to 2 seconds. The flashes are faster on the lower intensities.

Smoothskin say you can cover a full leg in around 8:30 mins. For me it took around 12 minutes, however I’m meticulous. I zapped my full body (full legs, extended bikini line, underarms and face) in just under 50 minutes.

Some reviewers share it takes longer than 20 minutes for a full body because you must make sure you don’t miss any bits. And others, comparing it to other slower home IPL devices they’ve used in the past, say it’s fast.

It’s a good choice for treating large areas or your full body but check out the latest Smoothskin Pure model for even faster sessions.

The Muse is incredibly simple to use. Simply shave, plug it in and off you go. So, it’s a super choice for first time users. But here’s a bit more information about what it feels like.

What to expect during treatments?

When you power it on you hear the quiet whirring of the cooling fan. Each flash makes a gentle pop sound.

Most users say the flashes don’t hurt. They simply feel warm against their skin. However, certain body areas can smart!

Reviewers say it doesn’t hurt as much as waxing or epilating, but on these sensitive areas it’s like a hot sensation for just a few milliseconds. For some it stings on the denser, thicker hair on the bikini line or underarms. I feel it most on my bony ankles and at the tops of my legs. So, sensitive areas differ by person.

A few online reviewers share the Muse gets hotter as you use it too. Therefore, they start with their most sensitive areas before it heats up too much. And those who find it stings too much simply press the “feather” button to lower the intensity in gentle mode so it’s more comfortable.

TIP: Make sure you get a close, smooth shave because otherwise, if there’s hair above the skin surface, it stings!

The flashes are bright white, but harmless to your eyes when against your skin. However, some find them annoyingly bright. To remedy this use the Muse in a well-lit room (so they don’t appear so intense). The user manual tells you to look away for each flash. But this makes it awkward to get precise coverage. Instead, try looking slightly to the side of the Muse (not directly at the flash window). Or you can wear regular sunglasses which eases the glare.

It takes concentration to remember where you’ve zapped. But after a couple of sessions, you’ll find your rhythm and routine. And it’s fast too, so you’ll be done before you get tired or bored.

What to expect after your treatments?

A common skin reaction to IPL hair removal is skin redness. Skin can also feel hot, tingly and a bit itchy too. This is normal, and disappears within 24 hours. You can cool your skin with an ice pack, water spray, soothing Aloe Vera gel or an unscented moisturiser if you like.

If there’s no reaction you can apply your usual toiletries, deodorants and moisturisers. Wash them off if you later feel irritation.

Avoid anything that irritates your skin for a day or 2 after your sessions. Things such as exfoliating, using bleaching creams, enjoying saunas and hot tubs or wearing tight clothing.

And if you go out in the sun, cover up and / or wear a high SPF 15+. This helps protect your skin from sunburn and reduces the risk of developing any of the rare side effects.

Rare side effects?

The Smoothskin Muse treatments are super-safe because of the clever skin tone sensor. It means you can’t flash too intense IPL for your skin tone. So, you’ve virtually no risk of blisters and burns or scarring.

The rare IPL side effects are below. Most won’t experience them but if you do and they don’t go away in the times shown, go see your doctor:

  • Skin redness which doesn’t go away after 24 to 48 hours
  • Swelling and redness around the hair follicle which doesn’t go away within 2 to 3 days
  • Temporary lightening or darkening in skin colour

Effort & results

You need 12 weekly sessions taking 11 weeks to complete the start-up phase. Then less frequent monthly top-ups to stay soft and smooth.

A full body session takes around 50 minutes. That’s fast, which makes the Muse a low effort at-home IPL device. However, the new Smootksin Pure model is even faster with a full body zapping done in just 20 minutes. Wowser.

So, what happens during the 12 weeks?

Shave before every weekly session, and in between as you need. You’ll still see hair growing in the first few weeks. These are hairs not yet treated in their active / Anagen growth stage.

After 4 weeks most see a noticeable hair reduction. This means fewer hairs growing. And those that do grow slower, look finer and lighter, and feel softer. You’ll need to shave less frequently between sessions. And it’s quicker and easier too because there’s soft and less hair.

After 6 sessions your hair reduction should be significant. You may have bald patches or be almost entirely smooth!

Smoothskin recommend to keep going and complete all the 12 weekly sessions, even if you’ve got to smooth already. This catches any hair not yet in the Anagen growth stage and it compounds your results. You’ll get your highest possible hair reduction with long-lasting results right from the start.

At the end of 12 sessions you should be entirely smooth. Then switch to top-ups every 4 weeks. Top-ups are very important because hair will eventually grow back without them. You should stay continuously smooth with these regular sessions. Reduce the frequency to 8 weeks or more once you’re comfortable your hair growth has stopped.

Smoothskin Muse Review Summary

The Muse is a super choice for full body treatments because it’s fast. If you have light skin tones you can take advantage of the high IPL power for fast and long-lasting results. And for medium and varied skin tones it’s super-safe because of the effortless advanced skin tone sensor. It does all the hard work for you.

Smoothskin Muse is now discontinued. Try the SmoothSkin Pure instead!
Lamp lifetime


Unlimited IPL flashes so you’ll never run out. Hands-down winner!

Ease of use


Fast, sleek, sophisticated plug-and-zap simplicity. Adjusts each flash to your skin tone for non-stop no-faff sessions.

Effort & Results


Hello smooth with powerful IPL. 12 weekly sessions for long-lasting hair-free results, then top-ups every few months to keep it so.


  • Lasts forever with unlimited flashes
  • Sleek & sophisticated unisex design
  • Auto-selects the best intensity level for your skin before EVERY flash
  • Gentle mode for sesntive areas
  • Fast, straightforward plug-&-zap simplicity
  • May work on light blonde hair
  • Clinically proven, CE certified & FDA-cleared
  • 90-day money back guarantee


  • It’s expensive (but handsome)
  • Not available in all countries
  • Quite big so a little awkward for petite hands
  • Tricky to flash on your upperlip

View Smoothskin Muse deals

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The Smoothskin Muse is no longer available.

👉 Try the latest model Smoothskin Pure – it’s cheaper & even better!

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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