Have you ever gone to put on your running shorts, skirt or cropped trousers and thought ‘oh no, I haven’t shaved my legs’ and frantically grab your razor from the bathroom and shave any areas that will be on show? If you have, welcome to my world. I know I’m not alone in feeling like hair removal is a time-consuming pain in the rear.
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I’ve been looking for some time now into the wonderful world of permanent laser hair removal options and after extensive research, I can confidently say that I cannot afford to have this treatment done in a salon! Prices were upwards of £700 for minimal treatments and, while I’m sure they might be more effective, that is just not within my budget.
That’s when I stumbled upon at-home laser hair removal solutions. While the majority of these units are fairly pricey, they are much cheaper than the salon counterpart treatments and you can do as many or as little areas as takes your fancy at your own convenience! I then made it my mission to find out whether at home laser hair removal really worked.
I did a ton of research online and read lots of reviews and decided upon the Braun Silk Expert 5. The one that I purchased also came with a sonic body exfoliator (which I haven’t yet used as I read somewhere that you aren’t supposed to exfoliate while using laser hair removal treatments – I don’t know if this is actually true but I wasn’t going to take the chance). I purchased mine from Amazon for £260.00. Click link here for the model I opted for.
This device promises permanent visible hair reduction in just 4 weeks (based upon hair/skin types).
It adapts to your skin tone for a safe and effective treatment.
A lower leg can be treated in only 8 minutes
It works beneath the skin surface by targeting the melanin in the hair follicle helping to break the cycle of hair regrowth.
Sounds great right! I was excited to start trying it out right away and decided that my weekly day for lasering would be Sunday. First off, I downloaded the Braun Silk-expert app where you can plan and track your treatments along with a how-to guide. This will set weekly reminders for you for specific areas of the body so you won’t ever miss a day of lasering or need to keep track of which areas you need to treat. Brilliant!
So, how did I start? I decided that before every laser session I was going to use a brand new razor every time to make sure I was getting a nice smooth canvas to work with. They recommend shaving rather than any other hair removal method such as waxing or epilating.
The first time I used the IPL I’m not ashamed to admit, I was hecking nervous! I knew that it wasn’t completely pain-free but I wasn’t sure how much it was going to hurt either! I decided from the get-go that I was going to keep the device on the highest setting (there are 3 settings for the strength of the laser) because if it was way too painful on the highest one, I thought I’d never get up to the highest setting (that’s my kinda logic) and felt that the treatments would take longer to see results.
With a shaky and sweaty hand, I decided to start on the lower half of one of my legs. Actually flashing the device for the first time was scary to me but it actually didn’t hurt much at all. It feels a little bit like someone has placed a tea light on your skin for a couple of seconds and then the pain goes away. Once I’d done the whole lower leg I did feel that the skin was a little tender for a short while after I’d finished but it was nowhere near as painful in comparison to a wax. One downside I found was that the device kept coming unplugged from the charging cable and I had to keep plugging it back in, although, the cable is more than long enough to manoeuvre around where you may need it to.
On the first try, I couldn’t quite bring myself to use the ‘glide mode’ which is a much faster way of getting through the treatment. If you hold the button down, it will continuously flash in short intervals until you take your finger off. The device can tend to feel a little warm when you’re moving onto the next area of skin, almost as if it’s still a bit hot from the last flash, which is why I was so reluctant.
It was a little tricky to make sure I’d lasered all down the leg area, as the device needs to lay perfectly flat against your skin and down the front of your leg is a pesky leg bone which can be difficult to manoeuvre around. I found if I tried to ‘flatten’ my leg against the floor, it made getting a flatter surface much easier. I also must have had a little bit of hair remaining following the shave because when I lasered one section, it stung a bit more and I could smell burning hair… so don’t do that!
Even though it’s safe to use without any eye protection, I did look away each time the device flashed as the light is very bright. This is especially the case for your underarms and face area as it’s much much closer to your eye area.
I’ve detailed in the following paragraphs a weekly update on the treatments just for a point of reference on the kind of results I was seeing each week, but if you want the spoilers, skip ahead to the ‘results’ section further below. So, does at home laser hair removal work? Let’s find out!
Laser Hair Removal Journal
Week 1 ~ The first week, I lasered my lower legs, bikini line and underarms. Immediately after lasering and well into the next day, my legs felt much smoother than as if I’d only shaved or waxed, it was looking promising.
Week 2 ~ the hair on my legs seems to have grown back quicker than last week, the hair was stubbly the next day. Shaving my face…. did not feel natural or good to me.
Week 3 ~ seems that the bikini area is growing back a little patchier than before. The first time using the ‘fast track’! I was brave and quite honestly, just wanted to get it done! I felt a little more sensitive today than the past few treatments. My skin does feel super smooth after treating the area, more so than just shaving. I keep thinking certain areas aren’t growing back as much but it always seems to not be the case 😦 Most treated areas are definitely growing back more patchy now
Week 4 ~ sped through today’s session, I’d say I have my entire body (with the exception of my arms) down in around 15 minutes. Skin still feeling seal-like after treatments. It’s Monday night after my 4th session and I can’t believe how smooth my legs still are! It feels like I’ve just shaved them. It doesn’t seem to be having any effect on my underarms, which is the only area I haven’t noticed less regrowth.
Week 5 ~ feel like I fly through the sessions now and I’ve got to admit, I get pretty bored of having to do it. I feel that my legs and bikini area are smooth for an extra day but not any other places. I also get boiling hot while I’m lasering, could be the hassle of it all or just the sheer effort and determination to get it done quickly! I’ve got 7 more weeks left and I’m starting to think this might not work for me as you should see results in 4 weeks.
Week 6 ~ had to postpone my lasering day because I was in London. Before shaving, I had a good inspection of my hair regrowth. I have noticeably less regrowth on the bikini area and my legs. I’m halfway through now and I have never been able to get as smooth after shaving as I have with the laser treatments, I feel even more seal-like, I may even join them in the ocean. I finally feel like it’s really working for me.
Week 7 ~ I haven’t shaved my legs all week and, while there’s a little regrowth, they still feel pretty smooth. I still don’t see any change on my underarms – they are notoriously stubborn areas apparently.
Week 8 ~ still haven’t noticed any change in my underarms. I feel that my legs are the most noticeably different. I’m now not shaving them in between weekly laser sessions.
Week 9 ~ I’m thinking this won’t actually work after the 12 weeks of sessions. I’ve only got 3 left now and the hair is still growing back everywhere with the exception of my bikini area. While the hair is growing back slower (except my underarms) it’s still growing back after a week. I felt really sensitive today and it hurt more than normal.
Week 12 ~ last day of treatments! I haven’t noticed any difference in my underarms at all 😦 My legs are mostly smooth after a week but I have some patches of hair growth – perhaps I have missed some areas on some weeks? I’m going to have to keep going until the regrowth is even less.
So here’s my overall opinion on the laser hair removal device: –
- It isn’t painful at all unless you’re feeling a little sensitive some days, even on the highest setting
- I haven’t got the ideal type of hair for this kind of treatment. The ‘ideal’ person has fair skin and dark hair. I am very pale skinned but my hair is also pretty fair, but I was noticing results and some areas were definitely growing back less
- For the above reason number 2, I will have to continue to do the treatments until the regrowth slows down even more. The instructions do advise that some areas and hair types may need up to 24 months of treatments before regrowth becomes ‘permanent’.
- Even though I was getting regrowth, the areas I was treating felt exceptionally smooth, even more so than shaving, waxing or any other hair removal method I’ve tried.
- The full body treatment doesn’t take long, I could do face (puff out your lips to get a good ‘flash’ on this area if you’re having difficulty), bikini area, and legs in around 15 minutes. What I found slightly irritating was the fact I had to shave all of these areas beforehand, which was adding to my overall ‘treatment’ time.
- The Braun device is very easy to use, it fits nicely in your hands and it’s comfortable to manoeuvre. You have one big button to press and you can change the intensity.
- The cord is lovely and long! I just hate it when devices like hairdryers have short cords and you’re restricted. Ideally it would be wireless, however, you never had to worry about charging the device so I didn’t mind the cord.
3 Months After Treatments
Honestly, the laser treatments 3 months after my last session haven’t made any difference to my hair regrowth at all. Every area that I was seeing less regrowth or patchy areas are now growing back as if I hadn’t treated them.
Obviously, I’m quite disappointed in this because I was starting to see noticeable changes in some areas but I have to admit that I should have continued with the sessions after the 16 weeks as advised.
I’m going to continue with the treatments again in January and stick with them until there is a consistent improvement because it does work and that I can attest to and I’ll write an update here so watch this space!
Would I recommend the Braun Silk Expert 5? Yes, I would! There wasn’t anything I’d change about the device itself and I’m sure that if I keep going with the treatments it will work long term.
Is it work the price tag? To me, absolutely yes. It isn’t the most expensive laser treatment device on the market but it also isn’t the cheapest either (bearing in mind mine came with an exfoliator too).
If you’ve got any other questions about my experience with the Braun Silk Expert 5, please feel free to leave a comment below or if you’ve been using it too with different results to mine, let me know how you’ve been getting on.
Disclaimer: I would recommend that you fully read any instructions that come with this, or any other at home laser treatment before you use them and do your own research. Please don’t take my experiences or statements as absolute gospel, this was my experience which may be very different to yours and each device will have different operating and safety instructions which you should follow above all else.