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If you’re sick of shaving, tweezing, or waxing, you might consider other more permanent methods of hair removal. Laser hair removal offers the longest-lasting results. Though not completely permanent, you might go weeks without having to redo your treatment.
Laser hair removal works with the help of high-heat lasers or intense pulsed lights (IPLs) that dissolve hair and temporarily disable hair follicles. That way, the follicles won’t be able to produce new hairs for up to several weeks.
It used to be that you had to see a dermatologist for laser hair removal. While our experts still recommend seeing a professional, you might consider advanced at-home laser hair removal devices you can use at your own convenience.
We reviewed seven of these devices based on their safety, efficacy, and price. While only two are true laser hair removal devices, the rest are IPL devices that work in a similar way.
- $ = under $200
- $$ = $200–$400
- $$$ = over $400
Pros: People say it really works.
Cons: Some people report that it hurts to use the device, and it takes a while to see results. Others weren’t happy with the limited battery capacity and the fact that the laser targets a very small area.
Details: The Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser is one of two devices for laser hair removal cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This laser claims to have three times the hair-eliminating energy than other devices.
Pros: Users report that the device is effective, particularly on thicker, coarse hair.
Cons: The downside to this device is that it’s only suitable for dark hair and fair to olive skin tones. You also can’t use it on the lip area.
Details: This device uses IPL technology for hair removal, which is said to be gentler and more effective than other methods. The MiSMON offers a one to five level range and 300,000 flashes. It’s also received an FDA safety certificate.
Pros: It delivers the same power and efficacy as the larger Tria laser hair removal device.
Cons: As with the original Tria, the treatments can be painful, and it may take some time to see results.
Details: This device has the same technology and FDA clearance as the original Tria laser, but it’s designed for targeting smaller areas, such as the upper lip.
Pros: A skin tone sensor can automatically adjust the light intensity suited to your skin. The majority of user reviews report that the device reduces unwanted hair with consistent use.
Cons: Some people have commented that they see no change using this device and that the battery life isn’t ideal.
Details: The CosBeauty IPL is an FDA-cleared IPL device that claims to treat a leg or arm in only 8 minutes.
Pros: The size makes it ideal for smaller areas such as the face, underarms, and bikini area.
Cons: The biggest downside to this product is the higher price tag. Customers have also complained that it’s ineffective for dark skin and that it takes a long time to see results.
Details: As a well-known brand of razors, Gillette also has its own product in the growing laser hair removal niche. The Venus Silk-Expert uses IPL technology and is smaller in size compared with other at-home laser devices. It also comes with a face cleansing brush to exfoliate the skin beforehand for more effective results.
Pros: The Braun Silk-Expert 5 IPL is equipped with a feature that’s said to naturally adapt to your skin tone, so you’ll see fewer side effects. It should also take less time to see results than other devices.
Cons: This device has a higher price tag, and it doesn’t come with an LED display like some of its competitors do.
Details: If you’re looking for slightly faster results in an at-home hair removal device, consider the Braun Silk-Expert 5 IPL. The brand promises full results at just 4 weeks, which is less than half the time of most other brands.
Pros: Users say this device is small, convenient, and easy to use. Most say they see significant hair reduction with consistent use.
Cons: Users say it takes many treatments and a lot of time to see results, and others report not seeing results at all.
Details: This FDA-cleared device is said to work on any skin tone and a broad array of hair colors.
Shopping for the right laser hair removal device goes beyond simply looking for the best reviews. You’ll want to make sure that a prospective device has the following:
- A guideline for hair color and skin tone. The device should match your own.
- Flash capacity. This refers to the capacity of IPL or laser wavelength. So, the higher the number, the longer the device is expected to last.
- Varying intensity levels.
- An electric cord for longer usage or is battery-powered for ease of use.
- Different attachments for varying body parts. This may include attachments for the bikini area, underarm, face, and more.
Your budget is another consideration, but you may not want to be too frugal or else you’ll miss out on important features. A good at-home laser device usually costs $100 or more.
Now that you have your preferred laser hair removal device, you’ll want to make sure you do the necessary preparation before use. Make sure the device is fully charged and that you’ve read all the safety instructions. Clean and dry the desired area of skin before use.
To keep the device in tip-top condition, be sure that you store it in its original box or in a safe place, such as your bathroom cabinet.
The number of treatments you need depends on the device and your individual hair growth. The key is to be consistent about your use to see results.
While laser hair removal is often touted as being permanent, the reality is that your hair follicles will heal and produce new hairs at some point.
It can also take a few sessions to see results. But you don’t want to overuse the device, as it can lead to skin irritation and hyperpigmentation.
Laser hair removal results are more predictable when done by a dermatologist. The FDA doesn’t regulate at-home laser hair removal devices, so the results and safety aren’t guaranteed.
There also aren’t enough clinical studies available to prove that at-home lasers are more effective than hair removal at a dermatologist’s office.
Other safety considerations involve your natural skin tone and hair color. Laser hair removal tends to work best on people with light skin tones and dark hair.
Hyperpigmentation, blistering, and irritation are possible side effects in all users. Make sure you follow all instructions included with your device to help avoid injuries.
While no downtime is required with this procedure, you’ll want to avoid direct sunlight for several days after using a laser hair removal device. Doing so will help reduce the risk of side effects.
Note that with any at-home hair removal device or laser hair removal procedure in a dermatologist’s office, it’s important to avoid waxing or tweezing the area in between treatments. Rather, shave only to preserve the hair follicle so that the laser or IPL device has something to target during your next treatment.
While laser hair removal is traditionally done at a dermatologist’s office, you may still be able to mimic some of the benefits at home. The key is to take the time and compare all the available features. You can use this guide as a starting point.
Talk to your dermatologist for further advice on selecting the best hair removal methods for you.