Leg-shaving can be a personal choice, a compulsion (as it was for me as a grooming-obsessed teen), it can even be a political statement. But one thing it never is? Fun. It’s time consuming, messy, sometimes painful, it sometimes results in bloodletting. So if you’re a shaver, and your legs could be hairless for six months-plus without taking a razor to them, would you be happy? You could pay a kajillion dollars for professional laser hair removal, which I hear really freaking hurts. Or, you could use this handy dandy Remington iLight Pro at home, which only hurts a little and costs around $240, which is less than a kajillion. (Or, win a free one in my giveaway!) Plus, you can do it at home. I’ve been trying it out for the past few months, check out my review below for the pros and cons. Overall it works pretty well, but it, of course, has its flaws.
What is it? The iLight Pro is a device about the size of a breadbox that uses intense pulse light, also known as IPL, to zap your hair follicles into dormancy for about six months, in some cases longer. You use a handheld wand and adjust the strength for the highest level you can stand (from 1-5). The higher the level, the better it will work, but I could only tolerate level 2 and I swear I’m not a wimp. IPL targets melanin (the stuff that makes you hair have a color) so the darker your hair, the more painful it is. It feels like someone snapping a rubberband on your skin. Yay! Also because of that melanin thing, it doesn’t work on gray or white hair, it’s less effective on blond hair, and it doesn’t work on darker skin because it absorbs too much light which can cause nasty blistering and permanently change the color of your skin (see Remington’s guidelines here).
Who is it for? Anyone with medium to light skin who would like to remove hair from their person from the neck down (it’s not approved for hair on your face or anywhere else above the neck).
How do you use it? First you shave. If you have stubble, and especially if it’s long, this this will cause ridiculous pain. If you shave, it will still hurt, but less. Plug the device into a power outlet. Then place your skin over the little test window and wait for it to beep, otherwise it won’t start up. Place the flat part of the wand over your skin where you want to remove hair. When it’s ready it will beep—it has to be complteley flat against your skin or it won’t emit the IPL. Move the wand across your skin pressing the button each time you reposition it. Try to hit all of your follicles—much easier said than done.
The best part: It works well on the follicles you manage to hit. No hair regrowth yet and my first treatment was in May.
Tragic flaw: It’s nearly impossible to hit all of your hair follicles, because you can’t see clearly where the light is hitting. Therefore you end up with patches of hairless skin and patches of hairy skin. Which is arguably better than completely hairy skin. Also, the instructions advise that you should space follow-up treatments by two weeks, so you can’t try to correct your patchy situation for another 14 days. Also, you’ll need to buy a $25 replacement cartridge approximately every 1,500 flashes, which equals two to three full-body treatments.
This is weird: After treatment, your hair might still grow for a while, then fall out of your rendered-dormant hair follicles.
Should you try it? If you really detest shaving, or are one of those ladies who gets super fast regrowth after shaving, it’s probably worth the expense and labor to use the iLight Pro. If shaving doesn’t bother you so much, adding this contraption to your life might just complicate things needlessly. But if you win one in my giveaway, you might as well try it! Give it to your sister if you hate it. Also I don’t recommend drinking coffee while using the iLight Pro despite the promo photo shown.