Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 In-Depth Review: Fastest, Safest, & Most Efficient IPL

From the brand that makes it their business to keep you flawlessly hair-free, comes their latest product yet. Get permanent hair reduction with Braun’s Silk-Expert Pro 5.

Images: Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 Review by Michelle Evans/Healthybeautiful.com

Disclosure: We independently test, review, and only recommend what we truly feel will deliver value to you. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.

The Only IPL Device that Auto-adjusts to your Skin Tone

With over a century of innovative product design, Braun and parent company Gillette have become synonymous with quality and precision in hair removal.

We’ve tested over 35 at-home laser hair removal devices to date and, true to their brand, the Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 has come on top as the fastest, safest, and most efficient home IPL system.

There are features that give the Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 an edge, like its ultra-quick flashing speed that clocks in at an impressive 0.5 – .09 seconds per cycle at its best. This means faster and easier treatments compared to other IPLs that average 1-2 seconds per flash.

But what truly sets their flagship device apart is their proprietary technology called SensoAdapt™.

It’s a machine that reads your skin tone 80x per second and automatically adjusts its IPL flashes to the optimum energy fluence.

This takes any second guessing off your hands and makes sure that every flash is safe for your skin tone.

With this, there is very little room for error and, consequently, side effects. This is especially important for those who tan easily and have different skin tones all over their body.

The SensoAdapt™ is an exceptionally innovative tech that prioritizes user safety and comfort without compromising hair removal efficacy.

Coupled with the brand’s reputation for superior builds, we haven’t found this much ease and security in any other at-home IPL machine.

The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 also won the ELLE Editor's Choice in 2021 and is accredited by the Skin Health Alliance.

Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 Coupon Codes

Get the best price with the latest premium promo and discount codes when you buy the Braun Silk-Expert 5 online.

Braun hair removal sales and special gifts are limited-time offers.

(Can’t see the codes? Some links are likely disabled by Adblockers.)

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Amazon (US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain)

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*at the time of publishing. Subject to change.

Ask the Expert: Is the Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 right for you?

BY SAMANTHA WELCH, ESTHETICIAN


Quick Answer: If you have dark hair with light to medium complexion and looking for the safest and most efficient home IPL; Braun's highly advanced Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 IPL is the best choice for you.

Is Braun IPL effective?

Video: What you need to know about At-Home IPL with Dr. Anita Sturnham

Quick Overview: Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 (PL-5137, PL-5124, PL-5117, PL-5014, PL-5157)

Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 In-Depth Review
Images: Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 Review by Michelle Evans/Healthybeautiful.com

Verdict: The fastest, safest, & most efficient at-home laser hair removal device

Awards: ELLE Editor's Choice 2021, Dermatologically accredited by the Skin Health Alliance

Best for: Light to medium skin tones, Full body treatments, Sensitive skin or low pain tolerance, Uneven skin tone on the body

Hair-Removing Technology: IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)

Energy Fluence / Power: 3 – 6 J/cm² (Joules per centimeter)

No. of Flashes: 400,000 flashes; good for 22 yrs. of treatments

Safety Mechanism: SensoAdapt™ (Automatically adjusts energy fluence to your skin tone) + 2 Contact Sensors

Skin Tone Coverage: Fitzpatrick I-V (light to olive skin tone) compatible

Hair Color Coverage: Naturally dark to brown hair compatible

PROS:

  • Clinically tested and cleared by the FDA.
  • Intelligent SensoAdapt™ skin tone sensor automatically adjusts the light intensity to your skin tone for safety and efficacy
  • Incredibly easy and fast treatments with just 0.5 – 0.9 seconds between flashes
  • Skin contact sensors ensure the device is in full contact with your skin to prevent stray flashes from damaging your eyes
  • 2 Device Caps or Heads: ‘Standard cap’ have bigger treatment windows to easily cover large areas like legs & arms, ‘Precision cap’ for smaller areas like upper lip & bikini
  • 2 Treatment Methods or Flash Settings for easier use: ‘Gliding’ automatically flashes as you slide the device over large areas & ‘Stamping’ is for carefully treating small or sensitive areas
  • 3 Gentle Modes for skin sensitivity: ‘Standard’, ‘Gentle’, and ‘Extra Gentle’

CONS:

  • Uses IPL which has bright flashes, you’ll want safety glasses for extra eye protection
  • Flashes during the gliding mode can be inconsistent depending on how hard you press, takes practice
  • It may not be effective on extremely strong, resilient hair

Video Reviews: Tests, Long-term & Short-term Results, Tips & Tricks

Our tester has black hair and falls under Fitzpatrick III. For a more rounded perspective, we've collated consumer reports from those with different results and experiences with the product. This should reflect how the device works for a wider variety of users.

Video: My At-Home IPL Journey | 14 Week Update | Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5

3-Month / 14-Week Update:
  • Really good results overall, especially on the legs
  • Responded well, considering body hair is mid-brown to light.
  • Each session takes about half-an-hour
  • Timeline:
    • 4 Weeks – Not much results
    • 12 weeks – Visible results with a few more areas that needed a couple of more sessions
    • 14 weeks – Maintenance on the legs every 3 weeks. Underarms and bikini need a few more weeks before moving on to maintenance.
  • Have not yet done the arms due to tanning
  • Underarms, are still a bit patchy but grow a lot slower. The need to shave is down to twice a week instead of every other day.
  • Bikini area, most impressed with the results save for some areas that have stubborn re-growth
  • Pain isn’t much of an issue, but it is a bit sore on the bikini line and shin area.

Video: Braun silk expert pro 5 IPL hair removal full review| 9 months results

9-Month Update:
  • On arms: Now using once every 3 weeks to maintain vellus or baby hairs
  • Legs and armpits: Thick hair reduced to thinner, wispier hair but still using the device once a week to eliminate ALL hair
  • Hair on the inner side of the legs grows back more rapidly than the hair on the outer legs. The inner legs need to be shaved and treated once a week, while the hair on the outer legs can be done once every 2 weeks.
  • On re-growth: Not all hair came back. 40% still grows back and needs maintenance for complete hair loss in areas like the underarms

Video: MY IPL LASER HAIR REMOVAL EXPERIENCE | 12-MONTH BRAUN SILK EXPERT PRO 5 REVIEW

12-months Update:
  • Armpits and Lower Legs: Maintenance every 6-8 weeks
  • Upper thighs: Maintenance every 3 weeks

Product Overview

Video: BRAUN Silk-Expert IPL Pro 5 – Features


Package Contents: Unboxing the Braun Silk Expert Pro 5

Video: Braun IPL Hair Removal Silk Expert Pro 5 PL5137 Unboxing

What’s Inside the box?

  1. Beauty pouch
  2. Silk Expert Pro 5 (with the standard head attached)
  3. Precision Head (interchangeable with the standard head)
  4. Venus Razor
  5. Transformer including power cord and plug
  6. User Manual

Product Design & Our Experience Using the Brain Silk-Expert Pro 5

The BRAUN Beauty Pouch comes in either a cream color or a golden printed version.
The BRAUN Beauty Pouch comes in either a cream color or a golden printed version.

All the items can be stored neatly inside the Beauty Pouch, which can come in plain crème or a printed gold design.

Inside the Beauty Pouch: The BRAUN Silk’n-Expert Pro 5 with the standard head (attached), Precision head, base station, and the mains cord; inside the beauty pouch.
Inside the Beauty Pouch: The BRAUN Silk’n-Expert Pro 5 with the standard head (attached), Precision head, base station, and the mains cord; inside the beauty pouch.
The BRAUN Beauty Pouch, Silk’n-Expert Pro 5 with the standard head (attached), Precision head, base station, and the mains cord.
The BRAUN Beauty Pouch, Silk’n-Expert Pro 5 with the standard head (attached), Precision head, base station, and mains cord.

The power cord is longer than most IPL devices, which makes it very convenient.

You won’t have any mobility issues during treatments, unlike other devices where your movements are limited by the length of the cord.

The Silk’n-Expert Pro 5 (on its side), the base station, and the mains cord.

The Silk’n-Expert Pro 5 (on its side), the base station, and the mains cord.

It’s segmented into two: the line from the device to the base station, then to the main cord.

Ease of Use: Size, Weight, & Portability

The BRAUN Silk-Expert Pro 5 has a comfortable grip for easy treatments.
The BRAUN Silk-Expert Pro 5 has a comfortable grip for easy treatments.

The device is sleek, lightweight, and ergonomically designed.

I’ve appreciated it fully once I’ve started doing treatments at speed, as my wrists don’t go numb from awkward handling like with other brands.

The weight is also convenient and doesn’t tire your arms with its extra heft.

It comes in a stylish white coat with gold accents.

The BRAUN Silk-Expert Pro 5 is easy to grip and maneuver with its compact design.
The BRAUN Silk-Expert Pro 5 is easy to grip and maneuver with its compact design. (Front)
The BRAUN Silk-Expert Pro 5 is easy to grip and maneuver with its compact design.
The BRAUN Silk-Expert Pro 5 is easy to grip and maneuver with its compact design. (Back)

The compact design is easy to handle, and the buttons can easily press with your fingers.

The latest Braun Expert Pro 5 is 15% smaller and 25% lighter than previous editions.
The latest Braun Expert Pro 5 is 15% smaller and 25% lighter than previous editions.

As with other IPL devices, this one also has a tendency to heat up and slow down the longer you do your treatments in one sitting.

I assume it gives the lamp ample time to cool in between.

Doing your sessions in a cool room is best to prevent overheating.

If the Treatment Window is too hot to the touch, you may need to pause and continue once the device completely cools down.

It took me 40+ minutes to get to this point though, so this will only be a problem in the beginning when you're doing full-body treatments. Once most of your hair is gone, and you're used to doing it yourself, your treatments aren't likely to take that long.

Buttons, Indicator Lights, & LED Power Bars

The body has two buttons:

  1. The large Treatment Button is used to activate the flash
  2. The small one with the gold feather is the Gentle Mode button to toggle between Extra Gentle (Level 1), Gentle (Level 2), and Standard (Level 3) energy intensities.

You can press either button to turn on the device.

There are also two light displays:

  1. On the body are 3 indicator lights that specify which Gentle Mode level you’ve chosen. (More on this below)
  2. On the side are the LED power bars indicating the energy levels used per flash. There are 10 lights, automatically adjusted by the SensoAdapt™ technology. (More on this below)

The intensity of each IPL flash relies on the Gentle Mode settings you’ve chosen and optimized by SensoAdapt™’s assessment of your skin tone.

3 Comfort Modes: Gentle Mode Button with Indicator Lights

The BRAUN Silk-Expert Pro 5 features 3 Gentle Modes: Extra gentle, Gentle, and Standard; as indicated by the lights.
The BRAUN Silk-Expert Pro 5 features 3 Gentle Modes: Extra gentle, Gentle, and Standard, as indicated by the lights.

There are three settings you can choose from, each one gradually increasing the intensity of the IPL you’re using.

Push the feather button to toggle between levels.

You will want to test each mode and get a feel of it on your skin before going ahead with the full treatment.

Pain Levels

Overall, it’s not too strong, even at the highest level, and should be acceptable for most people.

To set the baseline, I have average pain tolerance and am used to professional laser hair removal used at the clinic.

I’ve tested the Silk-Expert Pro 5 without any numbing creams or soothing gels before treatment.

There are 3 Comfort Modes that you can set via the Gentle Mode Button:

  1. Level 1: Extra Gentle (1 light) – The most conservative range of IPL energy is used. This feels just a bit of warmth on the skin.
  2. Level 2: Gentle (2 lights) – Feels the same honestly. I feel like there’s only a tiny bit of difference between levels 1-2.
  3. Level 3: Standard (3 lights) – This allows the device to use its maximum IPL capacity. This feels a little stronger, like a soft snap of a rubber band but only on areas where there is thick hair, like the bikini area and the underarms. On the arms and legs is just a flash of warmth.

Start on Extra Gentle for best practice, and settle on a level based on how sensitive your skin is and how tolerant you are of pain.

If you are sensitive to the pain, especially on the thick, coarser hairs on the bikini area and underarms, you can start at level 1 for the first few weeks.

When the hairs eventually decrease in thickness and volume, the IPL won’t hurt as much so you can move to a stronger setting.

It’s best to use the Standard setting as soon as you can so you can have better and faster results.

Treatment Methods: Stamping & Gliding Method

Once you turn on the device, the device will immediately start and make a whirring sound, similar to a hair dryer.

At the front, you have the Treatment Window where the IPL flashes come from, and on either side are the SensoAdapt™ skin tone sensors.

Before it can flash, it does two safety checks first:

  1. Confirms that both skin sensors on either side of the treatment windows are in full contact with your skin. This is to prevent any excess light from damaging your eyes and ensure that your hair takes full impact from the IPL shot.
  2. Checks your skin tone for compatibility and adjust the energy levels accordingly.

The Treatment Button won’t work if you press it mid-air. It has to be in contact with your skin first for safety and efficacy.

If this is your first time with an at-home laser hair removal device, it's best to start at Level 1 on a non-sensitive area like the legs or the arms.

This is so you get a baseline of how the flashes feel on your skin.

A successful flash with full skin contact and full lights indicate max energy fluence at use.
A successful flash with complete skin contact and full lights indicates max energy fluence at use.
Red light indicates an error or an invalid skin tone. The treatment window must be in full contact with your skin before flashing so it can check your skin tone properly.
Red light indicates an error or an invalid skin tone. The treatment window must be in full contact with your skin before flashing so it can check your skin tone properly.

There are two types of treatment methods you can use:

  1. Stamping – Where you quickly press the Treatment Button to trigger each flash. This is useful if you want more control over small or hard-to-reach areas like the bikini line, upper lips, chin, knees, etc.
  2. Gliding – Press and hold the Treatment Button to activate the Gliding Method where the device continuously flashes on its own as you slide it over your skin. It does 125 automatic flashes per minute so it’s a really rapid mechanism. This is convenient when covering large areas like the legs and the arms.

You still have to make sure that the device has full skin contact during “gliding”, otherwise, it won’t flash.

No LED light means the device isn't detecting full skin contact. You have to correct how you’re holding the device so it’s flush on your skin.

Red LED lights mean your skin tone is out of bounds and the device will not flash. (More on the SensoAdapt™ features below)

I find the gliding method more convenient, especially after a while of constantly clicking the Treatment Button.

You just move the device on your skin like you’re shaving.

I’ve managed to treat my lower legs in just 5 minutes with this method at Level 1.

It is however a bit difficult to maneuver in bony parts like the knees or ankles, so it’s better to do those using the Stamping method.

The flashing can also be inconsistent, depending on how much pressure you put into it. This can result in missed spots.

Don’t press too hard that it leaves a mark as it makes the treatment a tad more painful than it should, but make sure not to hover it either, otherwise, the contact sensors won’t work.

Treatment Duration: How long does it take for each session?

This will depend on the level you choose and how large the area is.

Level 1 uses less IPL energy and flashes really quickly.

Flashes at normal speed take just a second for each flash.

Treating the lower legs at level 1 takes just 5 minutes to complete.

Level 2 is a bit slower, but Level 3 takes twice as long in between flashes at 2 seconds each.

Treating my legs from level 1 to level 3 extends treatment time to about 15-20 minutes.

The lamp also gets very hot after using it for a while, so this might also be a factor in the flashes slowing down.

I recommend doing your treatments in a cool environment to avoid this.

Quality, Durability, & Lifespan

The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 has a durable build and, with mindful handling, can provide up to 22 years of service without lamp replacements.
The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 has a durable build and, with mindful handling, can provide up to 22 years of treatments without lamp replacements.

The lifespan of at-home laser hair removal devices can be measured by their total number of flashes.

This depends largely on the quality and durability of the quartz lamp used.

The Braun laser hair removal flashes a very generous 400,000x and can give you two decades’ worth of treatments.

To be honest, you’ll likely be hair-free before you finish this off.

Braun says the device can provide up to 22 years of treatment.

However, a close look at the user manual indicates that the device is intended for use only for up to 6 years by a single user.

I find that a bit misleading, though they could be referring to the equivalent time you get results from the device.

Either way, I feel you still get your money's worth in 6 years, especially if it gives you the desired results.

The body seems durably built, but you still have to be careful with the more sensitive parts, like the glass filter, the IPL lamp inside, and the interchangeable caps.

Always wipe them clean after each use and ensure that there isn’t any debris that can get stuck on the windows.

Any issues with the hardware and you can contact Braun.

This is one of the best things about buying something from a well-known brand—quality assurance and customer assistance.

Figure: Comparison of the number of flashes and service lifespan of our top choices for the best at-home laser hair removal devices.
Laser Hair Removal Device:Lifespan/No. of Flashes:
Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X90,000
Silk'n Infinity400,000
Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 IPL400,000
DEES 3-in-1 Permanent Hair Removal System350,000
BoSidin Painless Permanent Hair Removal Device500,000
Note: All devices mentioned have built-in cartridges except for the DEES 3-in-1.

Product Technology

Video: Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 – Technology

Hair Removing Technology: IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)

The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 uses IPL like most at-home laser hair removal devices on the market.

IPL works by using broadband light to target the melanin in your hair and heat it enough to damage it gradually until it stunts its re-growth. This is done over a series of periodic treatments.[1]

IPL hair removal breaks the hair cycle and leaves your hair dormant for long periods of time. This means weeks or months in between shaving.
IPL hair removal breaks the hair cycle and leaves your hair dormant for long periods of time. This means weeks or months in between shaving.

IPL vs. Laser

It’s important to know that IPL differs from real lasers used in clinics.[3]

Though IPL can reduce and disable hair indefinitely, results can take longer and is much less permanent than real laser.[4]

This comes down to the difference in power real laser has over IPL.

For comparison, the Braun Pro 5 IPL Joules clocks at 3 – 6 J/cm². This is the normal energy range for at-home IPL devices.

The Tria 4x. however, it uses a diode laser and has an extraordinary range of 7-22 J/cm².

Silkn Infinity review. Figure: Comparison of the device levels and energy fluence of our top choices for the best at-home laser hair removal devices.
Figure: Comparison of the device levels and energy fluence of our top choices for the best at-home laser hair removal devices.
Laser Hair Removal Device:Technology:Device Levels:Maximum Energy Fluence/Power:
Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4XDL (Diode Laser)1-5 levels7 – 22 J/cm²
Silk'n InfinityeHPL™™ technology (IPL + Galvanic Energy)1-5 levels2.5 – 4 J/cm²
Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 IPLIPL (Intense Pulsed Light)1-10 levels3 – 6 J/cm²
DEES 3-in-1 Permanent Hair Removal SystemIPL (Intense Pulsed Light)1-5 levels4.8 – 6 j/cm²
BoSidin Painless Permanent Hair Removal DeviceOptimal Pulse Technology (OPT) + Multi-frequency Continuous Pulse Technology1-6 levels2.8 – 8.2 J/cm²
Note: All devices utilize optical energy except for the Tria 4x, which uses a diode laser.

Note that the benchmark is reliant on energy fluence. E.g., Tria's 5 power levels are distributed over a wide energy fluence of 6-22 J/cm². This means every level has a considerable jump in intensity compared to Gilette's 10 levels, where it maxes out at just 6 J/cm²

The Tria 4x significantly increases in intensity as you go from level 1 to 5.

As of today, the only home device that uses a real laser is the Tria 4x. The brand has developed a miniature diode laser based on dermatologists' large, professional laser machines.

This was back in 2005, and Tria Beauty remains to this day the only company that could achieve this technological feat. All other at-home devices, including the Silk-Expert Pro 5, uses IPL.

So while the Braun IPL hair removal device edges out every brand in efficiency and safety, the Tria 4x is still miles ahead in terms of sheer laser power.

References: Tria 4x In-Depth Review: Most Powerful Diode Home Laser Hair Removal, Pros & Cons Braun vs. Tria

SensoAdapt™ Skin Tone Sensors & LED Power Bars

Arguably the most impressive feature of the Silk-Expert Pro 5 is its unique SensoAdapt™ technology.

It’s a mechanism that regulates the strength of the IPL or energy fluence it uses based on your skin tone and the settings you’ve chosen from the Gentle Modes.

Most people have different skin tones throughout their bodies, and having this feature mitigates risks and ensures maximum safety and efficacy with every flash.

Lighter skin tones are safe with higher intensities, while darker skin tones need more conservative settings.

The SensoAdapt™ automatically adjusts the energy fluence on the device according to your skin tone. The LED Power Bars indicate the light intensity.
The SensoAdapt™ automatically adjusts the energy fluence on the device according to your skin tone. The LED Power Bars indicate the light intensity.

The SensoAdapt™ sensors are located on both sides of the Treatment Window and work to ensure two things:

  1. Full skin contact to prevent stray lights from damaging your eyes and wasting flashes
  2. Read your skin tone at 8x per second to ensure safety and efficacy

You’ll notice the LED sensors changing as you glide the device on your skin.

This is especially prevalent in areas that are regularly exposed to the sun or nooks and crannies of the body where it’s normally darker than the rest of your body.

Intensity Levels

The SensoAdapt™ skin sensors have 10 intensity levels that adjust according to your skin tone and Gentle Mode preference.

Basic light indications of the LED Power Bars and what they mean.
Basic light indications of the LED Power Bars and what they mean.
The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 reads your skin tone 80x per second to continuously adapt the light intensity across 10 intensity levels.
The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 reads your skin tone 80x per second to continuously adapt the light intensity across 10 intensity levels.
Other IPL devices don’t adapt and use the same energy on different skin tones.
Other IPL devices don’t adapt and use the same energy on different skin tones.

If you have a light to medium skin tone that tans easily, the Silk-Expert Pro 5 will be the safest device you can use for whole-body treatments.

No second-guessing if your treatments will work or fears that you'll get burned.

The device will always work optimally on every part of your skin and hair.


Spot Sizes, Treatment Window, & Interchangeable Caps: Standard Head & Precision Head

The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 has two interchangeable caps to accommodate large and small areas.
The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 has two interchangeable caps to accommodate large and small areas.
Uncapped, you can see the Glass filter (integrated UV filter)
Uncapped, you can see the Glass filter (integrated UV filter)
The Standard head and Precision head, capped.
The Standard head and Precision head when capped.

These caps are filters, not the actual lamp. The IPL lamp or quartz lamp is contained within the device.

Braun IPL lamp replacements are not possible as they are built-in.

The UV filter is built-in as well.

While I appreciate the customization, the difference in size isn’t that noticeable during treatments.

I can easily use the standard head on smaller areas without a problem. Sometimes I don’t even bother switching caps.

I also can’t seem to use the gliding method with the precision head attached, which might be intentional since it's meant to be used carefully on sensitive areas.

Video: Braun Silk Expert Pro 5 IPL – How to choose the right head

Choosing which head to use for which areas of the body seems straightforward enough.

If it's part of your body you find hard to treat with the Standard head, like small or body areas, switch to the Precision.

Coverage areas compared between caps. The Standard head covers twice as much as the Precision head.
Coverage areas compared between caps. The Standard head covers twice as much as the Precision head.
The Precision cap has smaller flashes than the Standard cap.
The Precision cap has smaller flashes than the Standard cap.

Another wider head is available for purchase, but it's not included in this edition.

Speed & Repetition Rate

Based on our tests of over 35 devices, the Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 is the fastest IPL device you can buy.

It goes as fast as 06 to 0.9 seconds at level 1.

However, several factors increase the time between flashes:

  1. While the Standard Head goes off at less than a second in between, the Precision Head seems slower at 1-2 seconds.
  2. The machine slows down its flash cycle when the IPL lamp accumulates heat with continued use. At this point, the heat may be uncomfortable on your skin, and it may be best to pause the treatment and continue once the device has cooled down. Another trick is to do your sensitive areas first, so the added heat won't bother you too much on the arms and legs.

I’ve used the standard head at gliding speed and finished half of a leg in about 5 minutes at the lowest level.

Higher levels take a bit longer, with full legs taking about 15 minutes.

I was also able to do my face, underarms, arms, and legs at a gliding speed in 30 minutes.

This is the fastest IPL we’ve tested so far.

Figure: Comparison of our top choices' spot sizes and flash speeds for the best at-home laser hair removal devices.
Laser Hair Removal Device:Spot Size:
Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X.81 cm²
Silk'n Infinity2.7 cm² (0.9cm x 3cm)
Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 IPLStandard Head – 4 cm²; Precision Head – 1.5 cm²
DEES 3-in-1 Permanent Hair Removal System3.1 cm²
BoSidin Painless Permanent Hair Removal Device3.0 cm²
Spot Sizes and Flash Speeds will be good indicators of how long each of your sessions will last.

Wavelength

The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 is marked at 510 – 2000 nm.

These wavelength numbers I find a bit confusing.

IPL’s non-coherent light only has a wavelength of 500 – 1200 nm, with longer wavelengths penetrating more deeply into the dermis.

Theoretically, depth of penetration beyond 1200nm would be ineffective in IPL because of the scattering of light among other things.

light therapy, depth of penetration by wavelength
Figure: Displays depths of penetration. Shorter wavelengths are more potent, but longer wavelengths reach deeper and are safer for dark skin tones.

If it can go that deep, this device should be safer for much darker skin tones. And yet, it only covers up until Fitzpatrick IV.

In any case, I won’t argue with the specs but will consider this with a grain of salt.

Technical Specifications

Technology: IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)
Maximum Energy Fluence/Power: 4-6 J/cm2 (Joules per cm)
Flash Speed:0.5-0.9 seconds between flashes; ‘Gliding Mode’ for large areas triggers more flashes and lesser missed areas
Output Wavelength510 – 2000 nm
Skin Tone Coverage: Fitzpatrick I-V (light, medium, and dark skin tones)
Natural Hair Color Coverage: Naturally black or brown hair. This may not be effective on grey, white, blonde, or red hair.
Skin Tone & Contact Sensors: Unique Intelligent SensoAdaptTM skin tone sensor that continuously reads your skin tone at 80x per second and adapts the IPL intensity
Recommended Treatment Schedule & Results: 1x a week for 4-12 weeks. Treated hairs will naturally fall out within 1-2 weeks. Around 4 weeks, you should see a reduction in hair growth. After the 12-week program, there should be a significant reduction in hair with those left being lighter and finer. With continuous monthly treatments, you should be able to maintain a reduction in unwanted hair.
Lifespan/No. of Flashes: 400,000 flashes; equivalent to 22 years of full-body treatments
Flash Window Size: Standard Head: 3 cm2, Precision Head: 1.5 cm2
Power System: Mains powered
Can be used with a pre-treatment gel?No, and not really necessary

Safety

Clinically tested and cleared by the FDA

FDA clearance is key in these home-use devices.[5]

They guarantee safety and quality, especially those that tout professional results in the hands of consumers.

We always recommend you go for tried and trusted brands with the data to back up their claims in the technology they use.

Good brands can also get behind you in terms of customer service and be available to cater to you should there be any issues with the device.

This is very rarely found in cheap off-brand products.

Braun, in particular, has the best safety features built-in that we’ve seen across all devices.

Skin Protection

Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 protects your skin in two ways:

  1. SensoAdapt Skin Tone Sensor – Reads and measures IPL intensity according to your skin tone at a rate of 80x per second. This is the one unique feature that elevates the Silk-Expert Pro 5 above all others. This leaves very little margin for user error and minimizes any chance of side effects.
  2. Gentle Modes – this allows you to adjust the range of energy levels according to your skin sensitivity.

An integrated UV filter is built-in as well for additional safety.

Eye Protection

Requires that the treatment window where the IPL flashes are in full contact with the skin.

This prevents random flashes from damaging your eyes.

Only the highest-quality devices, including the Tria 4x and the Silk’n Infinity, have this feature.

IPL Goggles

Though Braun assures us there’s no need for laser hair removal glasses, the device still uses IPL.

This means the light is extremely bright even with the contact sensor and the device flush against your skin.

The manual even advises looking away for every flash, which is a bit ridiculous since you need to look at what you’re doing.

It’s best to just buy a simple pair of IPL safety glasses for protection.

You only have one pair of eyes—don’t risk it!


Instructions & User Guide

Video: Braun IPL – How to Use

How to Use the Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5

One of the most straightforward IPL devices with just two control buttons. Pre- and post-treatment instructions are the same as with any laser hair removal procedure.

Images: Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 Review by Michelle Evans/Healthybeautiful.com

Pre-Treatment, During, and Aftercare Steps:

PRE-TREATMENT
Remove Visible Hairs

Shave, not wax or epilate. It’s important to keep the roots intact for treatments. If the root is absent, your laser hair removal treatment will not work.

Remove any visible hairs, cosmetics, lotions, or gels before starting the treatment.

Your skin should be completely dry and close-shaven.

Any protruding hairs can get burnt and stick to the treatment window. This can also make your session extra painful.

PRE-TREATMENT
Patch Test

Do a patch test 48 hours before your first treatment. Do this in a small area on the parts you’d like to treat.

If a skin reaction develops, do not continue with the treatment and consult your doctor.

DURING TREATMENT
Choose Attachment

Choose between the standard or the precision head based on the area you will treat.

DURING TREATMENT
Choose IPL Intensity

Plug the device and start by pressing either the large Treatment Button or the Gentle Mode/feather button. You’ll hear the device start whirring.

Select the intensity of the energy to be used by cycling through the Gentle Mode Button.

DURING TREATMENT
Position the Device and Flash

Position the Treatment Window into your skin with full contact. If you don’t have IPL safety glasses, make sure to look away before pressing the Treatment Button.

DURING TREATMENT
Continue Until All Areas Have Been Treated

Slide to the next spot and continue until the area is covered. Use gliding mode for large areas.

AFTER TREATMENT
Aftercare

Wipe the nozzle clean after every use. Schedule your next treatment.

Feel free to use moisturizers, aloe vera gels, or hydrating products after your session. Always make sure to use sunscreen during the day to protect your skin.


Treatment Plan & Frequency

There are two phases to your treatment plan:

  1. Start-up Phase: Consists of weekly treatments for the first 4-12 weeks. The goal is to disrupt the hair cycle by targeting your roots during their anagen or growth phase. Once done your hair will be thinner, and sparser, and its growth indefinitely delayed.[6]

    It’s best to use the highest intensity you can for better results.
  2. Maintenance Phase: Treatments can range from monthly to an as-needed basis. If hairs start to grow back, treating them will once again make them dormant.

Individual hair cycle differs per person and can be affected by hormones, medication, ethnicity, etc.[7]

The speed at which hair grows also depends on the area.

The most important thing is to keep treatments on a tight schedule so as to not give your roots a chance to heal themselves.


Cleaning & Storage

After each session, allow it to cool down before checking that the treatment window is free from any dirt or damage.

If you see black marks or debris, this means you’ve missed a bit of hair that’s now burnt and stuck to the window.

Wipe away immediately with a dry cloth.

Do not use any liquid to clean the device.

Keep in a cool, dry place. Make sure to protect the sensor and treatment windows to have a long-lasting device.


Compatibility Guide

This device has been designed to affect long-term hair growth after a certain period of treatment.

However, at-home IPL has certain limitations based on the color of your skin and hair, as well as the areas in your body you can treat.

As a general rule, most at-home laser hair removal devices will work on those whose hair color is darker than their skin tone.

This contrast is the ideal condition for selective thermolysis to occur.

Selective photothermolysis is using melanin to attract focused laser or light to the hair follicle, thereby destroying it, while keeping the surrounding skin safe from damage.[8]

This principle is the foundation of all laser hair removal.

The ideal candidate, therefore, is those who have dark hair and light skin.

Skin Tone & Hair Color

The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 will work on Fitzpatrick I-IV, or light to medium skin tones, in combination with dark to medium hair colors.

Skin & Hair Color Chart: At-Home Laser Hair Removal
Skin & Hair Color Chart: At-Home Laser Hair Removal

Treatment Areas

For women: Legs, arms, underarms, bikini area, and face (below cheekbones)

The Braun IPL device is safe for females to use from the cheekbones down.

It is NOT safe to use near the eyes and along the forehead.

Currently, no at-home laser hair removal device is FDA-cleared for use near the eyes.

For men: Shoulders and below (chest, back, arms, stomach, legs)

There's a bit less coverage for men, with usage only recommended on the shoulders and below (chest, back, arms, stomach, and legs).

Use on the male face and neck is not recommended because it can result in patchy areas.

Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 Device Review

After testing & intensively reviewing the latest devices, the Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 is our Esthetician’s Choice for the safest, fastest, and most efficient at-home hair removal device for light to medium skin tones.

Michelle Evans

Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 In-Depth Review
Technology
Energy Fluence / Hair-Eliminating Power
Lifespan / No. of Flashes
Safety Mechanism
Skin Tone Coverage
Hair Color Coverage
Product Design & Ease of Use

Summary

The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 is the only IPL device that automatically adapts to your skin tone, making it one of the safest laser hair removal devices today.

Silk Expert’s intelligent SensoAdapt™ technology continuously reads your skin tone at 80x per second and re-calibrates itself as you glide it across your skin. This ensures that the light intensity is always right for maximum safety and optimum efficacy.

The Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 won the ELLE Editor's Choice in 2021 and is accredited by the Skin Health Alliance.

It is also our Esthetician’s Choice for one of the best laser hair removal devices of all time.

Ideal for: Full body treatments, Fool-proof treatment that’s almost free from trial-and-error (you only have to adjust for pain tolerance)

4.6

References:

  1. Babilas, Philipp, et al. “Intense pulsed light (IPL): a review.” Lasers in Surgery and Medicine: The Official Journal of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery 42.2 (2010): 93-104.
  2. Raulin, Christian, and Syrus Karsai, eds. Laser and IPL technology in dermatology and aesthetic medicine. Heidelberg: Springer, 2011.
  3. Eadie, Ewan, et al. “Assessment of the optical radiation hazard from a home‐use intense pulsed light (IPL) source.” Lasers in Surgery and Medicine: The Official Journal of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery 41.7 (2009): 534-539.
  4. Haedersdal, M., and H. C. Wulf. “Evidence‐based review of hair removal using lasers and light sources.” Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 20.1 (2006): 9-20.
  5. Waheed, Saphia. “Home use medical devices: analysis of adverse events in the home setting.” Journal of Clinical Engineering 45.1 (2020): 72-76.
  6. Roosen, Guido F., et al. “Temporary hair removal by low fluence photoepilation: histological study on biopsies and cultured human hair follicles.” Lasers in Surgery and Medicine: The Official Journal of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery 40.8 (2008): 520-528.
  7. Buffoli, Barbara, et al. “The human hair: from anatomy to physiology.” International journal of dermatology 53.3 (2014): 331-341.
  8. Sadighha, Afshin. “Meta-analysis of hair removal laser trials.” Lasers in medical science 24.1 (2009): 21-25.
Photo of author

Michelle Evans

Michelle Evans is an esthetician specializing in skincare and hair removal. Her battle with acne throughout her 20's has fueled a lifelong passion for health & beauty. “Knowledge is a gift and you have the opportunity to educate and empower with it.” Michelle believes that everyone should be able to look and feel their best.