How to Tackle Laser Hair Removal at Home (Plus, 11 Devices That Get the Job Done)
Listen, we’ll take warm weather over the cold any day, but there is one trade-off to being able to wear breezy tops and short sleeves again: exposed body hair. And hey, if you prefer to keep things au natural, that’s great. If not, you have a few options that range from quick and easy (like shaving) to permanent and pricey (a la laser hair removal).
We’re going to talk about the latter here and focus specifically on the home devices that have grown increasingly popular these days given the extra time we’ve been spending indoors.
How do laser hair removal devices work?
Let’s start with the basics. There are two main types of technology that are used in home hair removal devices: lasers and intense pulse light, or IPL for short. While the former emits one wavelength of light, the latter emits several, which may explain why they’re more commonly found in home tools.
When the tool emits light, it heats up the pigment in your hair follicle. This heat damages the follicle, shrinking it over time, so that your hair grows back slower and finer and eventually it stops producing new hair.
Is it safe to try laser hair removal at home?
On the whole, yes, but because these devices target the pigment of the hair, they’re best suited for people with fair to medium skin and darker brown to black body hair.
So, if you have fair blonde, white or even red hair, or you have deep to dark skin, we’d advise you not to try this at home because the lasers can’t differentiate between pigment in your hair and pigment in your skin. (Tip: Many of these devices include a chart on the packaging that shows the level of efficacy and safety for different skin and hair tones.)
Improper handling of these devices can result in burns, blistering and hyperpigmentation, so make sure to follow the instructions carefully, and as always is the case when trying a new product or tool, we recommend starting with a small patch test before committing to a full body treatment.
Does home laser hair removal work as well as in-office treatments?
Though these home devices use the same technology as in-office treatments, they’re much less powerful and use lower energy levels. This basically means it will take longer to see results, since there’s less heat being administered to the hair follicle. However, with patience and consistency, the hair should get finer and grow back slower over time.
Given the more affordable price of using a home device as compared to going in for an in-office treatment (which can run up to thousands of dollars depending on the number of visits you need), they’re a good starting point for many people.
One thing to note regardless of whether you use an at-home device or see a professional: Some hair can still grow back after it’s lasered. Granted, it will likely be sparser and finer in texture, but it does happen for some people, in which case, you’ll need subsequent treatments.
Are there any safety precautions or best practices to consider when using a laser hair removal device?
We’re glad you asked. Again, since these devices target the pigment in your hair follicle, avoid tweezing or waxing a few weeks beforehand. You can shave, but for best results, we’d recommend letting your hair grow in for a couple days before you use the laser.
A final note of caution: You might feel a warm or slight stinging sensation, but it shouldn’t be painful. It should feel mildly uncomfortable at most. If it burns or feels too hot to the touch, stop and adjust your settings to avoid causing damage to your skin.
Alright, now that we’ve covered the basics, here are the 11 best laser hair removal devices to use from the comforts of your couch.
1. Tria Hair Removal Laser
The Dermatologist Pick
As the only FDA-cleared home laser hair removal tool, the Tria gets a stamp of approval for safety and efficacy. It uses the same in-office Diode Laser Technology used by dermatologists, which targets pigment in the hair follicles to deliver three times more energy than any other home hair removal device and has shown through rigorous lab testing to reduce new growth without causing irritation.
2. Braun Silk-expert Pro 5 Hair Removal System
Best Runner Up
Another device that earns top marks for safety is the Braun Silk-expert Pro 5 Hair Removal System. The IPL technology in this tool has been clinically tested and dermatologically accredited by the Skin Health Alliance for quickly and efficiently reducing hair growth within four weeks of beginning treatment. The compact device is easy to handle and comes with a precision head to tackle smaller areas such as the face, bikini line or underarms.
3. Ora Iluminage Precise Touch Permanent Hair Removal Device
ORA's Iluminage Precise Touch Permanent Hair Removal Device combines both Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Radio Frequency (RF) to remove body and facial hair on the widest range of skin tones and hair colors. The derm-approved settings range from low to medium and high, so you’re able to adjust it to your tolerance and target the hair follicles with precision (and less pain overall).
4. Me Chic Compact Permanent Hair Reduction Device
Best for Travel
Compact and more lightweight than most of the others on the list, this petite device packs a powerful punch with its patented elos technology that uses enhanced pulsed light to target each hair follicle. Thanks to its size, it’s also much easier to maneuver around smaller areas like the upper lip or bikini line. Simply select your preferred energy level and glide the device across the skin according to the manual, which recommends one minute per underarm, two minutes for your face, four minutes for the bikini line and 10 minutes for each lower leg, once a week for six weeks.
5. Elelsilk Laser Hair Removal Device
Sure, this device doesn’t have some of the fancy add ons as some of the others on the list (i.e. it’s not cordless) but it’s also a fraction of the cost and uses the same IPL technology to remove hair gradually over time. Reviewers praise the user-friendliness of the device saying, “the instructions are easy to read and are clear about what settings you should use” and that “if you follow the directions and are patient, the results are worth it.”
6. Imene Hair Remover
Best for Coarse Hair
If you have dark, coarse hair, this device comes highly recommended thanks to its five different levels of power. Delivering 12 to 18 joules of energy per flash, it efficiently blasts each follicle with more heat to reduce hair growth in fewer treatments. As one reviewer shared: “I started using this once a week on level 5. By the end of the second month, I [no longer] have to pluck hair around my mouth or chin anymore. My daughter has started using it on her bikini area and says it’s already made a huge difference in just two weeks.”
7. Silk’n Infinity Hair Removal Device
Yes, the price tag is steep, but when you consider the longevity of the device, it may soften the sting just a bit. With the capacity to store 400,000 pulses before it gives, the Silk’n Infinity lasts much longer than most home devices on the market. It uses a combination of eHPL light pulsing and galvanic energy technology to halt hair growth at the root for longer lasting results. We also appreciate its sleek, cylindrical design and five customizable energy settings to treat a variety of skin tones.
8. Lux Skin IPL Laser Hair Removal Handset
Best for Beginners
Fans praise this budget conscious device because it’s easy to use and covers a large surface area with each zap. To use, simply press the power button on the back of the device and press it again to increase the level of intensity (which goes up to a level five). Once it’s at the desired level (always start low and work your way up), place the flat head of the device against the area you want to treat and press the big button on the front to deliver the IPL energy. “I can honestly tell you, after using it once a week for about two months now, I can actually see a difference! The hair is less and those that do grow back, they're softer,” says one fan.
9. Kenzzi IPL Hair Removal Handset
The Fan Favorite
Chances are you’ve seen this guy on your Instagram feed at some point during the pandemic. The buzzy Kenzzi is beloved by many for its ability to deliver results quickly (usually in three to four weeks) and relatively painless experience. Featuring five power settings and long lifespan (they claim up to 10 or more years of flashes in each device), you can use it to remove hair from anywhere on your face and body. As one reviewer shared, “I had a mix of beard-like hair and peach fuzz. I cut the stronger hairs with baby scissors because I was too afraid to shave and make the peach fuzz worse. After about two months, I saw a reduction of about 80% of the strong hairs with only a couple of stubborn hairs left, but even they have definitely thinned.”
10. BoSidin Painless Permanent Hair Removal Device
Best for Sensitive Skin
If your skin is easily irritated or you’re nervous about feeling any sting during treatment, we’d point you to the BoSidin. With a pre-cooling mode that preps your skin before the heat is administered, users with sensitive skin reported feeling less pain or intensity when using this device as compared to others. Add to that the precision head, which rotates from side to side to reach the curves and contours of your body (like, say, the backs of your thighs), and it’s easy to see why fans have called it “an absolute dream” and “innovation at its finest” for home hair removal.
11. Artolf IPL Hair Removal for Women and Men
The Amazon Favorite
With over 9,000 reviews (where 83 percent gave it five stars), this popular pick uses a gentle IPL heat to reduce hair growth. The built-in sensors continuously scan your skin and automatically adjust the intensity with each pass, so you get optimal light delivered to each follicle. For best results, use it consistently and remember that your hair comes in at different stages, so the progress will be gradual. “I admit, I was skeptical about how well it would work, but I've used it [on] my arms and neck and the hair [there] is virtually gone,” shares one reviewer. “