Monday, 9 May 2011

Something New: iPulse Boots Smooth Skin Plus.

I'll confess, I've known about this forever, and have been excited about it for forever too, and biting my tongue about it has been difficult. I would have sucked as Lily and James Potter's secret-keeper and Voldemort would have been all up in my grill about this and I would've just been all like 'alright, but only because you're the most evil overlord of all time since Sauron so I guess I should probably tell you before you avada kedavra me or sic your gigantic snake on me.'

Yeah. That'd be it. BUT! Luckily for the Potters, I managed to keep schtum long enough for the launch of the new iPulse Boots Smooth Skin Plus machine (which is today, by the way! Run, DON'T WALK!) I'm actually feeling pretty privileged to have been sent this new machine as a follow-up to my nervous and uninformed purchase around a year ago.

When I bought the original machine, I really wasn't expecting anything, having pretty much tried everything from those awful Rio home electrolysis machines to costly salon IPL. I really wasn't expecting it to work and resigned my life to a life of shaving and those sore red legs you get when you go paddling in the sea straight after de-Yetifying yourself.

(I'm weirded out that my computer hasn't put the squiggly red line of SPELLED RONG under de-Yetifying. Are Apple keeping a secret from me?)

So, when it started working, and I started getting balder, it was a bit weird, and also a bit of a revelation. No £300 per session painful IPL treatments? No awkward chitchat wearing ridiculous looking goggles while a lady works on unmentionable areas? AND I can watch True Blood/America's Next Top Model/The Apprentice while doing it? Yeah. Sign me up and call me the poster girl for iPulse.

... If you don't know what iPulse Boots Smooth Skin is, I'm going to give you a brief run-down. And then you can go read the other post I made about it, which will tell you MORE things in MORE detail. Here's some Q&A (which I loltyped T&A and then felt awkward):

What is iPulse/Boots Smooth Skin?
- It's an at-home IPL system for hair removal.

That's cool. What's IPL?
- It stands for Intense Pulsed Light, which is exactly what you'd get in the salon and is based on laser hair removal (but better). It uses light to target the hair follicle and disables hair growth when the hair is in a particular stage of its growth cycle, the anagen stage. You use it with the gel provided to both focus the light on the area you're treating and cool down the skin.

What's the difference between iPulse Boots Smooth Skin Plus and IPL at a salon?
- Time, convenience, privacy. Other than that, the salon treatments are at a higher intensity, so a month to 6 weeks is required for the skin to repair. With the Boots Smooth Skin, the intensity of the light is lower and you need less time to repair - but as you do the treatment every week, the cumulative amount of energy could be similar (I don't know - I'm not a science-type. All I know is I've seen quicker results from Boots Smooth Skin Plus than salon treatments because the wait-time is shorter between treatments.)

Who's it good for?
- Both women and men, but NOT all skin tones, and NOT pregnant or menopausal women. It works best on really pale-skinned people with dark hair - but will work on hair that is darker than the skin. It will not work on blonde, red or grey hair. It cannot be used on darker than Asian skin tones at present because it's dangerous and may cause burns. On darker skin tones, the light is absorbed by the skin rather than the hair follicle as it's attracted to the pigment in the skin. Also, if you're a tanorexic, you should either clean off the fake tan or avoid the iPulse for 30 days after having been in the sun.

Is it permanent?
- As long as you follow the treatment through its 12 week cycle, and subject to hormonal changes, you will see permanent hair reduction. If there are any hormonal imbalances or changes, it may cause more hair to grow, which will require further treatment. Hormonal hair in general, such as upper-lip hair, may not disappear completely with iPulse use, rather it will thin out considerably and become finer and lighter.

Does it hurt?
- Providing you've selected the correct skin setting and you've applied a thick layer of the gel, then not especially - but you may feel a warm or tingly sensation. It takes a bit of getting used to - and remember that pain is a completely subjective thing.

Any specific preparations before treatment?

Shave the area so that the light can target the hair follicle. Don't wax or epilate in the treatment areas during the 12 week course, as this rips the hair out, meaning you'll have no hair to treat - and the treatment would be useless. Use a white eyeliner pencil to conceal moles, too. And a thick layer of gel straight from the fridge is a must.

I have a lady-tache. Can I use it on the face?

- Yep. It's safe to use on the face, apart from around the eyes/orbital bone and the mucous membranes (like the nose). Just don't use it on your eyebrows even if you're a huge fan of the no-eyebrows look, because you won't be able to control where the light hits, and you certainly won't grow the hair back there (remember that time you accidentally plucked off an important bit of your eyebrow and you had a gap for months? Imagine that, but forever. Just don't do it.)

So what makes it different to the Philips Lumea/Remington i-Light?
- Neither of those systems offer permanent hair reduction - they actually put the hair into a dormant state for 3 months instead, at which point it'll aaalll start to come back again.


1. Aesthetic: I've heard the first handset described rather unflatteringly as resembling a Tomy Toy Telephone. How do you even sex up a hair removal device?! The new handset is cleaner, sleeker and better designed; the new, longer cable winds neatly underneath it and it's just more cohesive with the trigger button nice and big, and handily lit up when the unit is ready and all contacts are aligned on your skin.
2. Electronic Skin Tone Sensor: A handy device which was definitely absent from the original Boots Smooth Skin kit; it analyses
3. Wider range of skin tones: The new iPulse now caters for up to skin tone 4, whereas previously it only catered up to 3.


4. 20,000 flashes: That's 10,000 more than the original one - and 10,000 was more than enough to treat the average woman's lower legs, underarms and bikini line. 20,000 is definitely an improvement (duh!), especially if you're prone to hormonal changes (such as PCOS for example). In the event you do run out of flashes, you can send the handset in to be refurbished for a fee - but my original machine purchased over a year ago is still going strong!
5. Easier to clean: The old unit has prongs/sensors on the head which were kind of annoying to clean around. The new unit has the sensors flush to the glass and it's really easy to clean.
6. Shorter recharge time: The old unit took about 6 seconds to recharge between each pulse, whereas the new unit is about 3 or so, depending on the setting you're using.
7. Smaller plug: Gone are the days when I have to unplug lots of things on my extension plug wheel to fit the old monster of a plug in. The new plug is a normal size, hooray! It's such a small detail, but I'm really pleased!

Don't get too comfortable, as I do have one niggle about the new unit: it seems noisier. It rattles and seems to be more obtrusive than the original unit - is it just my imagination? Maybe it is - but the noise just seems more rattly and annoying.

The final word:
So, do I think it's worth the money? Absolutely, considering I come from the perspective of having had both salon IPL and the Boots Smooth Skin machine. My salon treatments were around £300 a pop (and that was back in 2005!), so this is a much more preferable alternative for me. The new Boots Smooth Skin Plus retails at £399.99, as compared with the original model's £281.90 - but the leap in features is worth the more expensive price tag as iPulse have opened their product to a wider market.

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