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The Sleek hair removal device by elōs-mē is a pulsed light permanent hair removal device for consumer use. The technology used by the Sleek is was originally developed from devices initially produced by Ilumanage and elōs-mē is, in fact, a subsidiary of the Iluminage corporation.
So, a little bit of history first before we talk about the device and how it works. The company Iluminage Beauty was founded by Dr. Shimon Eckhouse (Yokneam Illit, Israel) in 2000.
The company was centered around making products using the elōs intense pulsed light (IPL) technology invented by Eckhouse and his colleague Goldman. The two inventors began producing IPL devices in 1993 for the treatment of a variety of skin conditions and for hair removal.
Pulsed light treatment is now a very common method used for permanent depilation and is now widely available in consumer devices from several manufacturers. Basic IPL technology differs from the elōs method in that it is effective across all skin tones and hair colors, whereas standard IPL is not and limited only to fairer skin tones and darker hair color (more on that below).
The methodology behind the function of an IPL device necessitates a certain contrast between skin tone and hair pigmentation. As such, ILP devices cannot operate on very pigmented skin or on light hair colors.
The elōs devices employ additional technological innovations and are not impeded by lack of skin and hair contrast or are prevented from working on darkly pigmented skin. Clinical trials have been conducted on elōs which verify its effectiveness on all skin types and hair colors (only grey hair color was not tested). See the “How elōs works” section below.
Iluminage Beauty, a consumer device company, and its sister company Syneron Medical, a medical device company, closed in 2018 and merged with Lescolton to form Syneron-Candela Medical and elōs-mē/Lescolton Corporation. The elōs-mē/Lescolton company (known simply as elōs-mē) is the new consumer products corporation that emerged from the corporate mergers.
If all this corporate shell-gaming seems confusing, well, it is. Welcome to the world of corporate mergers.
A Deep Dive into the Sleek by elōs-mē
The Sleek by elōs-mē is an effective hair removal consumer device and is easy to use, safe, and causes no skin damage or irritation. This IPL device is a generalist and will treat the whole body, including delicate skin areas of the upper lip, neck, jawline, and bikini line (not for use in the genitals, sorry!).
The treatment regime consists of wanding the device over the skin while brief pulses of intense light directed into the skin through a light output window. The light flashes stun the follicle matrix cells and stop hair growth (more on this later)., The intended treatment area should be shaved, clean, and dry. The treatments can be performed every week for 7 weeks, resulting in permanent hair removal with only an occasional need for monthly maintenance treatments.
What the Precise Touch is and is not
The Sleek by elōs-mē is not a laser device (), it is an IPL device. Think LED flashlight, not Death Star.
If you survey the internet for hair removal methods that do not involve creams, waxes, or other chemical treatments, you will likely run across a lot of reviews or sales sites featuring at home “laser” hair removal. The people who run these sites are either morons, snake-oil salesmen, or a combination of the two because there are no — allow a repeat — no lasers in the Sleek by elōs-mē.
We are not saying that the commentary in the reviews of those devices is false, merely the mischaracterization of how they work and what technology is entailed is false. Perhaps this comes from an overall absence of good physics education in the public schools, but not to worry as we will explain fully how IPL devices and what makes the elōs devices special.
Any so-called “laser” devices you find out there, including the Sleek, are IPL devices that use some a quartz bulb illumination system that emits a specific wavelength band of light. There is a consumer laser hair removal device on the market that is FDA-approved made by Tria and that’s it.
The Sleek uses a fast-recharging xenon bulb illumination source which is effective over a broader range of skin tones and hair colors. So, what is the difference between these IPL devices and a laser anyway?
Lasers differ from regular light sources as they emit narrow bandwidths of light that are coherent, which means that the light emitted is of identical frequency and waveform. Laser devices are also spatially-coherent, meaning the emitted light can target a very small area and also maintain their spatial-coherence over great distances.
This is because the light output is directed through a collimator, which is a beam limiter. Lasers are also temporally-coherent, so waveforms stay in the same temporal phase and produce standing waves driving stationary interference and cause the emitted light remains to be of a single color (stable wavelength).
IPL technology is more of a high-intensity, broader spectrum light and is not coherent or collimated. It is projected in a much broader electromagnetic band range, for example, think of how different the light that is produced from a laser pointer compared with an LED flashlight.
How elōs works
The elōs technology is a bit different from your standard IPL device and it is for this reason that elōs is more broadly effective across a range of skin tones and hair colors, however we will start out explaining IPL technology. The joint use of radiofrequency emissions (RF) with IPL emissions is what makes the elōs technology different.
The combination of RF and IPL energies produces heat in the hair shaft and destroys active matrix cells in the hair follicle. The only living parts of the hair are matrix cells in the follicle base and produce keratin polymers and building hair.
They are also responsible for embedding melanin pigments in the construction of the hair shaft.
The frequencies produced by IPL are tuned to the absorption maximum of melanins in the hair, which are two different chemical polymers derived from tyrosine. Pheomelanin is a yellow pigment and eumelanin is a dark brown pigment.
Different mixtures of the two pigments are the basis for different skin tones and hair colors. Light from IPL absorbed by melanins causes a phase shift in the light spectra emitted by the hair to the infrared band, which produces heat.
The heat produced is very brief but intense because the emission is a momentary flash, with just enough energy to stun the matrix cells but not enough to produce damage in the surrounding tissue. The RF emissions are produced in a longer wavelength band range and also create a brief, momentary heating.
Together, both energies cause damage to active matrix cells of the hair follicle and stop hair growth. In the elōs device, and the additional RF energies affect a broader range of hair and skin types than other IPL devices, so this is why the Sleek is not limited by skin pigmentation or hair color.
However, users should be aware that IPL treatments for permanent hair removal require a longer treatment cycle than professional laser hair removal treatments. That means patience and consistent application.
The standard treatment regime for IPL devices is 6-8 weeks, with weekly or bi-weekly treatments and periodic follow-ups over the next six months as maintenance. This lengthy treatment cycle is related to how the devices work, in that they can only affect hair follicles in a certain state of growth: the anagen phase.
Growth of hair is a cyclical process with three phases: an anagen phase (active hair growth), a catagen phase (follicle involution), and a telogen phase (mature hair phase). Most body hair at any given moment consists of telogen phase hairs which last about 2-3 months until the hair is shed.
Hairs in the anagen phase will grow at one centimeter per month, then shift into the catagen phase hairs for 2-3 weeks before resting in the telogen phase. After hair is shed, follicles reinitiate anagen phase growth.
The IPL technology can only affect anagen phase hairs and requires catching hair follicles in the act of growth to disable the matrix cells and break the cycle. This is why repeat treatments are necessary to treat more and more follicles as they enter the anagen phase over time.
Who’s It For?
The Sleek is great for people who want to permanently remove body hair from any part of the body other than the genital region. It can treat small areas such as the jawline, upper lip, and neck, but will also work well on legs, forearms, armpits, and the bikini line.
The elōs-mē claims that there are an unlimited number of flashes the device is capable of producing, but we doubt that since bulbs do have a lifespan. Other, similar devices by the company have bulb lifespans between 150,000 and 300,000 flashes, depending on the model.
The bulb of the device has an estimated lifespan in excess of what the average user would need to completely and permanently remove all their body hair. We suspect that elōs-mē characterizes the flash limits as unlimited since a user could completely depilate their entire body before the device fails.
How to use the Sleek
The Sleek device is very easy to operate and using it correctly requires little practice. Before applying to the skin, the treatment area should be clean and shaved prior to using the device. The treatment steps are as follows:
- Shave hair from the intended treatment area
- Switch on the device. The blinking blue light indicators report the energy level (1-3) and the device starts at energy level 1
- Tapping the elōs button will adjust the energy output to the desired level (You should start at power level 1 and do a small patch test for safety. Wait one day and see if you have any type of skin reaction).
- Place the applicator wand on the skin so that the silver faceplate makes skin contact. This is the RF emitter and the device will not flash if it does not sense contact with the skin.
- Slowly aim and move the device over the area to be treated. Try moving in different directions across the treatment area 2-3 times. The Sleek will flash as long as it is applied to the skin.
- For small areas like the face, place the device over a chosen area and allow it to flash once, then remove and reposition in a stamping motion (you will need to treat the area 2-3 times per session with this method).
For people with fair hair (grey, blonde, or red), wax or epilate the treatment area before using the Sleek. It sounds a little disturbing, but plucked hairs leave small wounds in the follicle base and the light frequencies will be absorbed by the blood left near the matrix cells.
This technique allows people with paler hair colors with low melanin content to use the Sleek for better results. People with fair hair usually need to double the number of treatments for the best results.
The company recommends 7 weekly treatments, once a week, for best results (more, if you have fair hair). For facial treatments, treat intended areas 2-3 times a week.
Typical treatment times can vary from person to person, but on average both armpits take 3-5 minutes to treat depending on hair color and density. By the way, permanent hair removal is not really “permanent” because hormonal changes will stimulate the development of new follicles over time. Regular treatments typically maintain hair-free skin for 1-2yearsa
What We Like About the Sleek by elōs-mē
The Sleek is painless, simple to use, lightweight (the wand part), and is comfortable to hold, so you will not get tired after long treatment sessions. As far as results, a lot of users report positive results after just a few treatments. Many users state that in six weeks of treatments are completely adequate for long-term effects. Also, with the elōs technology, the Sleek is more effective and produces better results in less time compared with other IPL devices.
We feel the biggest advantage of the Sleek compared with other IPL devices is its ability to effectively treat all skin tones (Fitzpatrick Scale I-VI) and all colors of hair. This is a really big plus, since most IPL devices, albeit effective, are limited to only certain skin tones and hair colors.
Whether or not the Sleek is better at hair removal has been validated through clinical trials. The strongest factor that makes a performance difference is the inclusion of RF emissions in the device, which covers the other skin tones missed by most IPL devices.
What We Don’t Like About the Sleek by elōs-mē
Some users say that the flashes are too bright, but the Sleek does come with a handy pair of goggles. The goggles are too dark for some people and many users go from flashes too bright to blind as a bat (many users wear sunglasses, which work just fine).
Some users report receiving Sleek devices that do not work, but in all cases, elōs-mē has repaired or replaced the device. We also found negative reviews of the Sleek from dissatisfied users who claim the Sleek does not work. Based on their description of use and hazarding a guess, it’s a good bet that the users did not understand how the device works, prepare their skin properly, or put in enough time to achieve the desired results (“I used it, like, twice in a week on my legs and arms and it didn’t do nothing”).
- Demonstrated efficacy in clinical trials (effective on all hair types, including red and blonde)
- CE and FDA safety certified
- Easy to operate and comfortable to use
- Great for delicate locations (neck, jawline, and upper lip), great for large skin areas
- Faster treatment time times from fast bulb recharge rates
- Safe for all skin tones (Fitzpatrick Scale I-VI)
- No skin tone sensor needed
- Corded but contains a lithium-ion (LiON) battery for portability
- Uses IPL and RF energy emissions to treat all skin and hair types
- Built-in UV filter
- Excellent customer service
- Have to epilate if you have fair hair and treat more often than stated in the manual
- Instructional materials are not all that great and could use improvement (like, add some detail)
- The Sleek Manufacturer has discontinued the device and replaced the model with other elōs devices, so supplies are limited
- elōs-mē Sleek
- Quick reference guide
- Power cord
- Goggles with a charcoal tint
- 2-year warranty
Overview Of Features
- IPL and RF emission combination treatments
- A 2-year limited warranty
- The device is a medium-sized (only 9.7 x 9.6 x 4.8 in)
- Flashes are unlimited
- 96% hair reduction in 7 weeks
- Three power levels
If you happen to have darkly pigmented skin or very fair hair and fall outside of the user range of IPL devices, then the Sleek depilatory device is for you. With its inclusion of an RF emission plate using the elōs technology, elōs-mē has produced a device that can serve anyone.