SmoothSkin Bare vs SmoothSkin Gold 300 IPL – How do they Compare?
SmoothSkin Bare is the latest and fastest IPL device manufactured by SmoothSkin and the SmoothSkin Gold 300 is the most powerful.
There is almost $100 difference in price, with the SmoothSkin Bare offered at around $225 and the Gold 300 at around £320.
So, we set out to look at what exactly you get for your money in each case, and whether the price hike is worthwhile for the more expensive model.
Smoothskin Bare Ultrafast IPL Hair Removal System
Contents of the Box:
The SmoothSkin Bare is the most recent addition to their IPL products and with 100 flashes per minute, it is currently the fastest available.
Additionally it has an unlimited number of flashes, so there is no need for expensive replacement cartridges.
The oval shaped design is comfortable and easy to hold and manoeuver, measures 14cms in length and has an elegant black and gold finish.
The treatment window (spot size) is 3 cm² (30mm x 10mm) which is comparable to many other models, although the Silk'n SensEpil, for example, has double the size at 6 cm².
The significance of the spot size is simply that, in theory, the larger the treatment window the quicker it is to cover larger areas.
However, you also need to consider how frequently the flashes are delivered and whether the larger spot size is suitable for the areas you wish to treat. If you require precision, then a smaller spot size is likely to be more suitable.
Speed and Modes
The SmoothSkin Bare Ultrafast is very quick to use in comparison to others, delivering 100 flashes per minute. It is therefore possible to carry out a whole body treatment (2 complete legs, underarms and bikini) in less than 10 minutes.
The device operates in two modes, glide and stamp. In the glide mode, the flashes are continually delivered while you simply run the handset along the skin so that the same area is not treated more than once.
In stamp mode, which is best for smaller more precise treatments e.g. underarms and bikini line. The flash is delivered manually by pressing the button, once you have placed the treatment head where you want it.
It is then moved to the next position in a grid-like fashion, before manually flashing again.
Power and Skin Tones
The power emitted by IPL machines is measured in joules per cm², a joule being a standard measurement for a unit of energy in the International system of units.
The SmoothSkin Bare operates up to 3 J/cm², which is about average for home use machines.
Those used in salons are more powerful and therefore can be more efficient, but obviously the cost is considerably higher over time.
There is a skin sensor that automatically detects skin tone and adjusts the power accordingly, using maximum power on areas of light skin and less on darker tones. This is to minimize the possible risk of skin damage.
As you can see, the SmoothSkin Bare is suitable for use on all but the darkest skin tones. However, as with all IPL devices, it is most efficient where the skin is light and the hair is dark.
If the sensor detects that your skin tone is too dark the red light illuminates and the product will not operate.
IPL hair removal does not work for those with light hair, so not if you have light blonde, or white hair. It is also not suitable for red or grey hair.
This device can be used on body hair and female facial hair, below the cheekline only.
It is not suitable for areas close to the eyes or for male facial hair/beards.
Be aware that some areas of your body may have darker skin tones than others, and a patch test should be carried out 24 hours prior to treating any area for the first time.
Any areas with darker skin e.g. nipples, moles, tattoes should be avoided, as well as tanned or photosensitive skin.
You should avoid exposing treated areas to direct sunlight for at least seven days following treatment.
There are some medical/skin conditions which preclude the use of IPL, so do ensure that you read all the precautions provided by the manufacturer and seek medical advice if you are in any doubt, prior to use.
SmoothSkin Gold 300 Intelligent IPL Hair Removal System
Contents of the Box:
The SmoothSkin Gold was first brought out in the UK in 2014 and became available in the US in 2015.
The SmoothSkin Gold 300 comes loaded with 300,000 flashes - sufficient for around 15 years of use, so more than enough to preclude the need to purchase replacement cartridges.
The sleek, ergonomically designed handset is comfortable to hold, measuring 20 cms in length, so small enough not to be unwieldy.
It is aesthetically attractive, with a glossy black finish and gold coloured detail.
The treatment window (spot size) is 3 cm², which is the same as the Bare Ultrafast model.
There are skin tone sensors located each side of the treatment window which need to be in contact with the skin for the device to operate.
Speed and Modes
The SmoothSkin Gold 300 delivers 50 flashes per minute compared to the Bare Ultrafast's 100, so is somewhat slower.
However, at around 1.2 seconds per flash it is still possible to carry out a full body treatment in around 20 minutes.
The device has stamp and glide modes as well as the option of a gentle setting, to reduce the power for sensitive areas, should you find it is too uncomfortable.
Power and Skin Tones
This device operates at between 4 - 6 J/cm² and is the most powerful of the current IPL models for use at home.
It is safe for the same skin tones (1 - 5) as the Bare Ultrafast and has built in detect and set technology to automatically deliver the correct power level for your skin tone in each area.
There are 10 power bar lights to show the level of power being used, set at around 0.22 J/cm² increments i.e. one light illuminated indicates the energy level is 4 J/cm² , ten lights indicates 6 J/cm².
In common with all IPL devices, it is not suitable for light blonde, white, red or grey hair.
The SmoothSkin Gold 300 is suitable for use on exactly the same body areas as the SmoothSkin Bare i.e. body hair and female facial hair below the cheekline:
It is suitable for male body hair removal including chest and back, but not for male facial hair/beard.
There are many similarities between the two products, namely:
The table below shows where the two products differ:
SmoothSkin Gold 300
Loaded with 300,000 flashes - sufficient for up to 15 years use
100 flashes per minute
50 flashes per minute
Power - up to 3 J/cm²
4 - 6 J/cm²
Oval handset - 15 cm length
Ergonomic handset - 20 cm length
Currently costs around $223
Current cost around £320
So let's take a closer look at each difference to determine how important they may be to you when making your choice:
Number of Flashes
Realistically, the difference between 300,000 and unlimited flashes is unlikely to make much difference to you, given that it is still sufficient for around 15 years usage.
Speed of Flashes
Self evidently, given that the SmoothSkin Bare delivers twice as many flashes per minute, in glide mode, it will cover areas much more quickly than the Gold 300 model.
This is where the Gold 300 out performs, offering a higher energy level, making it more efficient so that the number of treatments needed to achieve desired results are likely to be reduced.
In my opinion, both devices are comfortable and easy to use, with an aesthetically pleasing design - so really it simply comes down to personal choice.
At around $100 cheaper, if you are on a budget, then the SmoothSkin Bare is likely to be more attractive to you.
Personally, if you can afford the hike in price, I would opt for the more powerful SmoothSkin Gold, for quicker results.
The more powerful the device, the more efficiently it treats the hair follicles.
However, the SmoothSkin Bare may be more comfortable, and sufficiently effective especially for those with lighter skin tones and dark hair.
The speedy treatments make it a very convenient little device and I wouldn't rule it out if the budget won't stretch to the extra $100.
What to Expect from IPL
IPL is not an instant fix, and you will need to carry out weekly treatments for at least 3 months or more to see good results.
In the meantime, you can shave between treatments as usual, but not use any method of hair removal that involves pulling hair out from the root, such as waxing, epilating or tweezing.
If you would like more information about IPL , how the technology actually works and the results achieved, see our article; What is IPL Hair Removal?
Whilst IPL is FDA approved as a method for permanent hair reduction, results do vary from person to person. What you will find is that regrowth will become finer, lighter and sparser with regular use, if you persevere.
Once you achieve the results you are looking for, you will need to carry out less frequent, maintenance treatments as required.
One note of caution though; there are a small number of individuals for whom, inexplicably, IPL does not work even though they would appear to be ideal candidates.