As laser hair removal becomes an increasingly popular option, more and more companies have begun offering handheld devices for at-home use so that you can skip the expensive salon appointment and still enjoy the same smooth results.
Paying less money over time and getting to remain in the privacy of your own home are two attractive perks of personal hair removal devices, but not all devices are created equal.
This review looks at the light-based Silk’N Flash&Go, which has been approved by the FDA for permanent hair removal. Not to be confused with laser-based options, like the Tria 4X Hair Removal Laser, Silk’N Flash&Go utilizes Home Pulsed Light technology to target and eliminate hair growth at the follicle.
Lets take a quick look at some pros and cons before diving into the details:
What’s in the box?
When you buy the kit you will receive:
- The Flash&Go Device
- A 5000 flashes cartridge
- Power Cord
- Instruction manual and CD
The device is FDA approved and Health Canada approved since 2009. It includes a safety feature in the form of a skin sensor that determines if your skin is safe for product use. Most devices, including the Silk’N Flash&Go, cannot be used on darker skin tones (what to do if you have darker skin). To protect the user, this skin sensor will not allow the device to fire if it determines your skin to be too dark. We appreciate this safety feature, and always look for devices that have been FDA approved. It makes us feel more comfortable using a product that has been cleared for our safety.
The Silk’N Flash&Go retails for around $199 for the compact version, and around $299 for the new, 2017 express option. Or you can go for the older model, which retails for around $170, and is seen in the image above. Compared to the thousands spent on multiple professional sessions, plus the cost of traveling and tip, the Silk’N Flash&Go is a much more affordable option.
Most users say the device is virtually painless, especially when compared to professional treatments or similar devices. The risk for pain and burning increases when raising the intensity of the device or treating darker skin, but in general, the amount of pain depends on the individual user’s pain tolerance. If the light doesn’t reach a hair, there will be no pain– so a little zap means it’s working!
Full body use
Unlike some devices, you can use this along your bikini line and on your upper lip. When using below the belt, make sure to give the skin sensor time to determine if your skin color is safe for use. Many have slightly darker skin down there, and you may not want to venture further than the bikini line to avoid burning.
Easy to use
The device is simple and easy to use, especially if you’ve seen it done before in a commercial salon or spa– and even if you haven’t. As you’d expect, you place the device against the area you’d like to make permanently hairless, and move it slowly until the entire surface has been treated. The usage instructions weren’t difficult to understand, and because the product is so popular, there are many videos and supplementary guides to be found online should you need one.
Cannot be used on dark skin or light hair
Unfortunately, this device is not very inclusive. Due to its light based technology, it is not recommended for use on naturally dark or tanned skin. It also does not work on light colored hair, such as grey, white, or blonde hair.
Silk’n Flash&Go works best on light skin (I – IV on the Fitzpatrick Skin Tone Classification Scale) and hair that is light brown or darker.
This is a common problem with many at-home removal systems. At-home hair removal only works on light skin and dark hair. While you can use the device on your bikini line, it is not a candidate for complete removal of pubic hair for the same reason.
This is because the light targets darker pigments, turning the light into heat when it senses the darker pigment. This can lead to burning of the skin if used on tan or dark skin tones. If you are not careful and fail to use these device as directed, you can cause permanent damage to your skin.
The device comes with a 5000 flashes cartridge, meaning you will likely need to invest in more cartridges before seeing desired results.
We would also advise you to purchase glasses for any intense pulsed light (IPL) use. While the device does claim you do not need glasses, studies have shown that you should use IPL/HPL safety glasses for products using similar light wavelengths. The unit visibly lights the room, and we want individuals to be as safe as possible when doing hair-removal at home.
The Silk’n manufacturer claims that the device has a safety feature that will stop it from emitting the hair-removing pulses if it detects your skin tone is too dark.
Despite this, some users said they did burn themselves when using the device on darker skin areas, so we can’t be positive that this safety feature is 100%. If you don’t allow the sensor enough time to read the skin, you might burn yourself.
Still other users have said the device burned their skin with regular use. Make sure to test the device in a small area to determine if it will work for you.
Expect treatment to take 1 hour or more for full body. The light zone is pretty small (4cm2) so the process can be tedious
Silk’n claims results in just 2-4 sessions, with 80% of users reporting visible results after 3 months. It should be noted, however, that full results– as opposed to just visible, noticeable results– may take about 18 months.
Silk’n Flash&Go is a handheld device that is 9x6x3 and approximately 2.5 pounds. It emits 5,000 multi-purpose pulses in an area of 4cm2. Plainly speaking: the pulse emitting area is small, so it is easy to use on smaller, more sensitive areas like the upper lip or bikini line.
This specific model features a handle for comfortable grip, with the pulse trigger located on the handle, as well as a cord with universal adaptor. The device plugs into the wall, ensuring the battery won’t die during use, but this also means you might find yourself slightly limited as to where you can position yourself when using the device.
There is a power button on the top. It will light up, and you will hear a fan when the Silk’n Flash&Go is ready for use. There are 3 lights that indicate the intensity level. If one bar is lit, it is at the lowest intensity, while 3 indicates the most powerful setting. Of course, there are additional buttons that adjust the intensity level. It is recommended to start off at the lower intensity when first beginning treatments.
To use, you must first shave the areas you want to treat.
Plug in your device, and test on a small area to make sure there is no irritation or burning.
After, use the appropriate power level.
Place the device against your skin and wait for the light to indicate your skin tone is acceptable.
After, pull the trigger, and count to 4.
Slide to a fresh area of skin and do the same.
Continue sliding, pulling the trigger, and counting to 4 until you have finished the desired area. Make sure you pay close attention as to not miss or retreat the same area.
It is important to wait 2-4 weeks between treatments. Hair growth occurs in stages, so you want to repeat the process over time to make sure all of the follicles have been targeted at the crucial growth stage. Waiting more than 4 weeks risks allowing the hair to pass into the resting stage again, making it unaffected by the light pulses and therefore taking more time for permanent hair removal to be achieved. Many users say 2 weeks between uses is the optimal amount of time to wait, but you will become more comfortable and experienced as you use the device and judge the hair regrowth.
Make sure you have the right skin tone and hair color when deciding if you should purchase this device. Although it is less expensive than booking a professional treatment, the investment isn’t worthwhile for some hair and skin combinations.
The decision depends on not only complexion, but the area you hope to target and your willingness to see the process through. Many users have seen great results on their legs, but these devices shouldn’t be purchased if your main concern is eyebrows, since the delicate upper-face skin should be left to professionals. It’s also useful to consider that perfect results may take some time, and replacement cartridges will become a necessity after extended use.
Overall, the Silk’N Flash&Go is simple, straightforward, and can be a heaven-sent solution to unwanted hair. Many have said this device is painless when compared to similar devices or professional treatment, and love how easy it is to use!