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.

Inform yourself:
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  1. I was getting so excited ... until you said no good for blonde hair. I have a fine, blonde, fuzzy lady-beard, you can all laugh but it'll happen to you too one day! I've gone through very early menopause and I'm sure it's due to that. Anyway, I've used a cream remover, given myself chemical burns, and even though my skin has recovered my 'beard' is worse than ever! Any recommendations? Please??

  2. @gillian Oh that sucks, poor you. The only thing I can think of which will definitely work for you is electrolysis. It's an uncomfortable/slightly painful treatment, but it does work and may be worth looking into if the hair is giving you problems. Is the hair very light? If it's darker blonde/darker than your skin tone, you may be able to go with IPL/Laser, so maybe you should have an assessment :)

  3. No, it's definitely very, very light. It's probably not that noticeable to anyone else really, it just bothers me. My foundation sticks to all the little hairs and shows up more. I don't think electrolysis would be any good because it's peach fuzz, but just too much of it! I've been thinking of threading, but I wish there was something permanent.

  4. @gillian I did have a quick Google, and it seems Harley Medical Group are offering laser (rather than IPL) for blonde hair removal. It may be less effective, though, as there is less pigment to attract the light to the hair, but definitely worth looking into if it's causing you embarrassment :)

  5. Bless your heart! So kind of you to look. I think I may have to take out a second mortgage, but will certainly bear it in mind. I follow you on You Tube (not in a scary way) but have only just found your blog and I'm loving catching up, I have loads of reading to do! What talents you have!

  6. Gillian, I hope this helps you. There is a small spring-like device you can buy for about £10 called Epicare which you bend into a u-shape and roll across the area you want to rid of facial hair. It pulls the hair out at the root and is perfect for getting rid of peach fuzz on the chin and cheeks, and also for upper lip hair. It's a tad painful, but becomes less so the more you use it and get used to it. Check it out on youtube to give you an idea of how it works. Good luck. x

  7. Can the Boots Smooth Skin PLUS be Used affectivly on Men, Only the Philips one ive read is for Women Only, If so is it the best one for Permanent results.

  8. @Richard It can be used effectively on men, depending on the area you wish to treat. It is NOT suitable to remove the beard/moustache, but is suitable for arms, legs, stomach etc. I can't tell you which is better as I've not tried the Philips Lumea - but what I can tell you is this:

    The Philips Lumea does not permanently get rid of body hair. It makes it dormant for a period of 3 months, and then the hair will grow again.

    The iPulse machine is the only machine currently on the consumer market to promise permanent hair reduction, and actually kills the hair off. According to what I've read, the other machines on the market do not discharge sufficient energy per shot of light to kill the hair off, whereas the iPulse is the only one which does.

    Hope this helps!

  9. Thanks for the fast reply and useful information, Yes i want Permanent lasting results, I think the Boots Smooth Skin PLUS is what im looking for, Do you think it would work on me, I just want to get rid of hair in the middle of my Chest and the Horrible hair around my nipples, HaHa Don't laugh, Would it be safe to use on sensitive areas like that? im white slight tan and dark brown/blackish unwanted hair, sorry for the delay im very new to computers.

  10. @Richard Hi, removed your full name from the post as per your request. As for your question, there is a user guide for the iPulse Smooth Skin Plus here which will guide you.

    What they advise for treating the nipple area is:

    "Cover up all of the areola and nipple area using a shield. White adhesive labels may be cut to shape and used for this job.

    DO NOT treat any of the dark skin.

    With the nipple safely protected, the whole area may be treated in rows placing the handset over the protected area to ensure that all the hairs are effectively treated."

    I hope this helps you - the hair in the middle shouldn't be a problem, and as long as you follow their guidelines with adequately protecting the areola/nipple area, you should be fine, depending on how close the hair is to the delicate areas requiring protection.

  11. Thank you for all your help and the Guide you sent it was very helpful, There is no return now, Ive just Ordered it Online as there is £50 off at the moment and you get 1396 points on your boots advantage card, Im sure i will soon get the hang of it after a couple of treatments.

  12. How does it compare to other treatments you have had or things you have used?
    What were the salon treatments like? were they painful? Did they actually work?

    Sorry for so many questions, I have been curious about these things for a while, thanks for doing a review.

  13. @Lizzie Hello :) In terms of how it compares to other treatments - well the pain is nothing like the pain I experienced with electrolysis, which is when each individual hair is treated with an electrical current and then removed.

    As for salon IPL, the pain is much, much less than that - however the IPL in the salon was a much stronger treatment which could only be done every month to six weeks. The technology with the iPulse is exactly the same of that in the salon but on a smaller scale - so you're going to get around the same amount of energy in 6 sessions (1 per week) as you would in one salon treatment (1 every 6 weeks).

    Both treatments, because they're exactly the same, do definitely work - the iPulse is just a much more accessible/cheaper version for the mass market. But yes, it very much does work :)

  14. I am asking for this Ipulse Boots Smooth Skin Plus for Christmas and really appreciate all your great has been tremendously helpful in deciding which unit to go with. This one definitely seems to be the best and most effective for permanent hair removal. My only question is this (and I hope I didn't overlook a post that might have already answered this): I know one of the big complaints about the original model was that it took a long time because of the unit shutting down (pausing)after using it for a longer period of time (like on the legs) because it would overheat and would take a while before it was ready for use again. Have you had any problem with that in the newer Plus model?
    Thanks again for taking the time to give your evaluation of this product!

  15. @KJ The pauses were quite long (around 6-8 seconds) in the older model, however the newer one takes around half the time to recharge, making it much quicker to zap and go, so it's much more convenient in my eyes. Having used both machines, there's no real change in anything much apart from the quicker recharge time, and the increase in skin tone settings in the newer model, so I hope you enjoy your gift (relatively speaking, hair removal is still a bit of a pain anyway!) Let me know if you need anymore information on other aspects :)

  16. Cami, thanks for your response. I just went online to website to purchase and didn't realize they won't ship to United States. The only other place I have found it is on e-bay and the purchase price is $750 which is twice of what it would be from

    Do you know anywhere else I could purchase this that would be more in the $350 range and could be shipped to the US?

    1. Have you found this product yet in the U.S., anywhere besides eBay?

  17. KJ, I'm facing the same dilemma. Keep in mind, you're not going to find this thing in the $350 range. They're referring to 350 pounds for the unit, which is about 535 US dollars.

  18. Can you use a higher setting on your face then the recommended 1111???

  19. Rare: I have odd hairs on the bossom area can you zap boobs?


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