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Customer Review

164 of 174 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick as a flash?, 1 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Gillette Venus Naked Skin Intense Pulsed Light Hair Reduction System (Personal Care)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We've had an original Philips Lumea in the household for a couple of years now and so don't need to be convinced of the benefits of IPL technology - it works! Once you get past the first few treatments (when you still have to shave the area first to prepare it) it's quick and easy to keep things smooth, but of course if you ever stop using IPL the hair will eventually regrow. It takes time for IPL to take effect properly and we haven't had this new Gillette Venus system quite long enough to judge its efficacy but I thought it might be worth making a few comparisons between it and the Lumea because some people might be trying to decide between the two.

POWER: The Lumea is rechargeable while the Gillette is main-powered. This is a big advantage for the Gillette because the Lumea doesn't run that long before needing a (admittedly quite fast) recharge - maybe long enough to do one entire leg (or both lower legs). This might be more of an issue with pale skinned users because they can use the brightest light and that depletes the battery quicker giving you fewer flashes.

USABILITY: The Lumea is larger but slightly easier to manoeuvre because it has no cable attached and the Gillette's cable between the base and handset seems a bit short. It's more awkward if you're trying to treat areas of your back or behind - but that might apply more to hairy-backed blokes than women (too much information perhaps?). The Lumea needs no gel and the cowl is removable for easy cleaning - the Gillette needs the activating gel and the head is not removable or immersible so you have to wipe it clean after every use to remove the excess gel.

SAFETY: The Lumea recesses the bulb unit inside a cowl which is surrounded by a row of little buttons all of which must be pressed before the bulb will flash. This makes it very difficult to fire the flash when the unit is not pressed against the body. The Gillette has the bulb sealed behind clear plastic and there are two electrical contact sensors, one either side of the bulb, and both must be in contact with skin for the flash to work. This means it's relatively easy to fire the flash without covering the bulb, you just put one finger either side of the bulb and press the button. If you're using the recommended gel it gets even easier since the water-based gel can also form the electrical contact and allow the bulb to be fired. This means it's potentially very easy to fire a blindingly bright flash while looking directly at the bulb and that seems like a real safety concern to me - in the instructional video Gillette recommend looking away when the unit flashes even while it's pressed against the skin.

The other safety concern is how strong the light should be in relation to your natural skin colour - both devices have a colour chart and a set of guidelines but the Gillette goes further with an inbuilt skin colour gauge which you use to instantly analyse your skin tone and then, when you snap the gauge back into the main unit, it sets the appropriate light brightness. You can override this (only to reduce but not increase brightness) and it makes the whole thing doubt-free and easy - it will also warn you if your skin tone is too dark for IPL to work comfortably.

FACE: Although mine came with instructions that do not include directions for facial use there are now more up-to-date instructions available from Braun (who designed the unit) that include facial use directions. Now women (but not men) can use it on the face below the cheekbones only and there are some precautions. There's a link to download these newer instructions in the comments to this review. There's also a newer Philips Lumea Precision Plus version which comes with a special cowl for facial use, but this is more expensive - you can also buy the facial cowl separately direct from Philips for use with older Lumeas.

GEL: I've had my doubts about the gel, it just seemed like an ongoing revenue stream for Gillette, but I've come to the conclusion it's highly recommended for this IPL unit even if it's technically possible to use it without. I tried a small area without gel and didn't really notice any difference in effectiveness, but the gel does make it more comfortable during use because it immediately cools the skin if any hair left on the surface vaporises and it also prevents the burning hair smell some hair removal/prevention devices can cause. It also protects the plastic lens covering the light unit, which is in direct contact with the skin, from getting any residue burned onto the surface. I've now discovered you can buy a similar colourless gel in bulk, it's essentially the same as the gel used for ultrasound scans in hospitals, and that makes it much more affordable. A 5 litre bottle like the Healthlife IPL Laser Gel costs the same as two of Gillette's tubes - that means you're getting around 20 bottles for the price of 2. Judging by the ingredients on Gillette's bottle their gel may be a better skin conditioner, it does have some good quality skin care ingredients, but it's quite a premium to pay.
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Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Oct 2012 22:08:43 BDT
Siany009 says:
This is a really useful and well informed view just one important point : DO NOT try this without gel. Take it from an experienced user - you have to use the gel.....the reason ....its very powerful energy on settings 1,2 & 3. These guys made salon systems (still see them in Dove Spas when I go for my pamper sessions!). The power or energy used in Gillette's is nearly 50% more than lumea - so you try this without gel and you will suffer. Hoewver - use it with gel at the right time and you will see real results.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Oct 2012 12:22:25 BDT
techpuppy says:
Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely pass that on to the main users!

I've been wondering if the gel is really there to protect the unit, as much as to sooth your skin. When you're using the Philips Lumea the hair vaporises and some condenses onto the lens and inside of the cowl, leaving a powdery residue - Philips give you a little micro-fibre cloth to clean this off again. With the Gillette Venus unit the front of the light unit is pressed directly against the skin meaning that residue could get 'baked' onto the clear plastic - the gel would stop that happening and keep the lens clear.

I don't know, but Gillette's explanation about why the gel is necessary seems quite vague to me and so my suspicious mind assumes it's just there to make them more money...

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Oct 2012 12:06:11 BDT
Thanks Siany for that helpful comment and to you, Markymix for a really interesting review. I missed out on the Lumea when it was offered the other year but I absolutely love my Gillette. Like you, I had been wondering about the gel but I'll definitely not dare to stop using it now I've had that warning!!

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012 14:29:09 GMT
techpuppy says:
Another thing I noticed when trying it with and without gel - the side with the gel hurts slightly more than the un-gelled one does. That might imply that more of the light energy gets transmitted down the hair shaft when using the gel? So maybe there's something to it after all...

Also worth mentioning that IPL seems to hurt men more than women, I assume it's because men's body hair is thicker and/or more dense than women's tends to be? Or maybe women just deal with pain better? :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Nov 2012 20:55:23 GMT
Tata8181 says:
Thanks for your post. It is very detailed. I am looking to buy this product but the main reason I want to buy this is to use on my face. Can you give me any feedback or advice if it will be ok to use on face?
Thanks again

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Nov 2012 21:18:06 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Nov 2012 21:19:26 GMT
techpuppy says:
Although mine came with instructions that do not include directions for facial use there are now more up-to-date instructions available from Braun (who designed the unit) that include facial use directions. Basically women (not men!) can use it on the face but below the cheekbones only and there are some precautions. You must remove any visible hair first, as with the rest of the body, and wash away any cosmetics or skin-care products before beginning. You also start with the lowest brightness setting and work up from there. You must also avoid any moles or dark blemishes.

You can download the newest user manual from Braun here :

There's also a special Gillette Venus website about the unit which has lots of general information and videos about it here :

Hope that helps!

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Nov 2012 21:30:34 GMT
Tata8181 says:
Thanks very much

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jan 2013 14:07:08 GMT
A. Aksamit says:
Hi, thanks for great tips. Would you then say Lumea is a better choice all in all? Also you mentioned you are not the only user, is it fine to be used on others then? Would it detect your skin tone each time you use it and adjust accordingly?

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jan 2013 15:16:08 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Jan 2013 15:21:18 GMT
techpuppy says:
There's a new Lumea Precision Plus now (which we haven't tried) that has a pulse action, meaning you should be able to move it around the skin like an shaver/epilator while it auto-flashes - that one might have the edge because the hop-flash-hop-flash action of most IPL units is a bit annoying to do. This newest one is still very expensive though!

Apart from that I think the deciding factor is the need to use gel with this unit - some people might hate the extra fuss of it and some might appreciate the cooling effect it has. Otherwise, both this Gillette and the Lumea are powerful capable units that really do work.

It's fine to share, you're cleaning the head every time it's used anyway, and because you only need to use it every month or so after the initial treatment it's easy to share in a family and share the cost. The only question would be the long-term life of it, the light unit on this (and on Lumea) is not replaceable so when it does finally wear out you have to replace the whole unit.

We also have a Homedics Me My Elos and that one has a replaceable light unit, but so far the consensus seems to be that it's less effective (slower to work) than this Gillette and the Lumea and the current light units are very expensive to replace - longer lasting light units are coming soon and they might make the difference.

Hope that helps!

Forgot to say about the skin tones - the Gillette has a pop-out skin-tone analyser that you use at the beginning of every session to set the light strength. So everyone would be able to set an appropriate light setting for themselves. In fact I recommend you use it repeatedly as you treat different parts of the body as skin tone changes even on one person, that way you avoid any risk of discomfort.

Posted on 31 Jan 2013 13:35:49 GMT
Hello! thank you for such an informative comparison!

Could you tell me from your experience which of them is more effective and long-lasting?
According my comparisons GV Naked Skin uses 10 joules per cm sq, while Philips Lumea uses just 2-6 J/cm2. Does it make any difference?
As I understood non of the IPL home systems gives permanent effect, is that correct?

Thank you in advance!
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