Table Of Contents
- 1 Best At-Home Laser Hair Removal Comparison Table
- 2 The Best At-Home Laser Hair Removal Products
- 3 1. Philips Lumea BRI9656/60 Prestige
- 4 2. Braun Silk-Expert IPL BD 5001
- 5 3. Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X
- 6 4. CosBeauty IPL Joy Version
- 7 5. DEESS Series 3 Plus
- 8 6. MLAY IPL Hair Removal System
- 9 Products We Were Less Keen On: Veet Infini’Silk Pro
- 10 Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose The Features Of The Best Laser Hair Removal Device For You
- 10.1 The Importance Of Your Hair And Skin Color
- 10.2 Choosing Between Laser and Intense Pulsed Light
- 10.3 Battery vs Corded
- 10.4 Cartridges Or Not
- 10.5 Why Choose At-Home Laser Hair Removal Over Professional In-Office Treatments?
- 10.6 What To Expect Before And After Laser Hair Removal
- 10.7 Safety: The Pain Of Laser And IPL Hair Removal
- 11 Frequently Asked Questions
- 11.1 Which Is The Best Laser For Hair Removal?
- 11.2 How Many Treatments Are Needed For Laser Hair Removal?
- 11.3 How Often Can I Use Home Laser Hair Removal?
- 11.4 What Happens If You Don't Shave Before Laser Hair Removal?
- 11.5 Is Laser Hair Removal At Home Safe?
- 11.6 Can You Use At-Home Laser Hair Removal On Pubic Hair?
- 12 Conclusion
If you want to remove unwanted hair, are fed up with shaving and want long term results, then you’re in the right place. The cost of removing hair can add up to as much as $10,000 in a lifetime, but there are better options than wielding a razor. Laser hair removal is a long-lasting solution that you can use to achieve permanent hair reduction on your legs, arms, underarms, back and almost everywhere else on your body, so we decided to test out the best at-home laser hair removal machines!
At-home laser hair removal is increasingly popular; unsurprisingly, as it gives you freedom to treat your skin in comfort and privacy, with the same hair removal technology that professionals use, but without the celebrity price tag of in-office treatments each time.
This year, the market has erupted and almost double the number of at-home hair removal devices are available compared to last year. This can make choosing the right model overwhelming, because you want a safe device that actually works, and there are so many options, but we are here to help you.
Why trust us? To remove the guesswork and help you decide which device is the best choice for you, we have spent over 50 hours researching, testing and reviewing the best at-home laser hair removal products. Keep reading our reviews to see how the different products compared.
Best At-Home Laser Hair Removal Comparison Table
The Best At-Home Laser Hair Removal Products
Before we get started, it is important to understand that laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) hair removal is NOT for everyone. It is best suited to people with fair skin and dark hair, and can cause pain and damage if used inappropriately, for example on darker skin tones. It may not work if you have lighter hair. For a better explanation of this, please read our buying guide below.
Key points from testing these at-home laser hair removal machines:
- We found that those shaped like a hairdryer were easier and more comfortable to use
- We preferred having full control over the pulses
- A good range of power settings is essential
- We preferred having different caps for each body area
- We recommend wearing safety glasses every time for all products to protect your eyes from the intense light and glare
1. Philips Lumea BRI9656/60 Prestige
Editor’s Choice: This IPL device is the best all-rounder hair removal machine. It includes 4 Smart Cartridges for reducing unwanted hair on your face, legs, body, bikini and underarm areas, which are all curved to suit different areas of your body, to optimize skin contact, and therefore the results that you see.
Easy Interface With Intelligent Caps
A feature we particularly liked non this IPL hair removal devices was the different cartridge options for different areas of your body. There are 4 treatment lamps, and each one has a different window size and shape:
- Face – flat with an extra filter to precisely treat your upper lip, chin and sideburns
- Body – slightly concave for large areas like your legs, arms and tummy
- Bikini – slightly convex with a bikini filter designed to treat coarser hair
- Underarm – slightly convex to help you treat your armpit area
The cartridges are very quick to install and they communicate with the computer in the handset so that it knows which one is connected. The technology then adapts the settings to optimize your treatment.
The computer is clear to read and you can use it to alter the settings. The device itself is relatively heavy, but you can still maneuver it with ease, and it feels well-built and balanced. It is also quiet and you can use it both corded and unplugged.
Smart Skin Sensor
The Smart Skin Sensor ensures you use the outlet properly by glowing when it is sufficiently placed against your skin. It had the best skin sensor technology of all the devices we tested, because if it were only half covered, it didn’t light up and it also appeared to tell the difference between skin and other materials, so it didn’t just light up when covered.
The flashes didn’t hurt us as such, they felt warm, with a little snap. We did find, however, that it was more uncomfortable when the hairs were longer.
2 Treatment Modes
You can choose between the “Stamp and Flash” and “Slide and Flash” modes. Press and release the trigger for a single flash, or press and hold the trigger as you glide the device down your skin. We found that the stamp and flash was better for curved areas, such as underarms, while the slide and flash mode was better for larger body areas, such as legs.
However, the flash rate was quite slow; 2 seconds when corded and 3.5 seconds in between flashes when unplugged, which feels like a long time. If you move too fast you miss spots, and even the most serene user may begin to feel impatient when treating a large area!
2. Braun Silk-Expert IPL BD 5001
Editor’s Choice: We loved this high-quality, ergonomic laser hair removal machine. It is comfortable to hold, quiet to use and gives great results.
While this IPL hair removal device is not the shape we preferred, it is still a very ergonomic system. It intelligently adapts to your skin tone at each flash, according to the energy level you have selected, meaning you get the optimum setting each time.
The intensity level is displayed by an illuminating light, and if it determines that your skin tone is not appropriate, it will glow red. If it isn’t sufficiently in contact with your skin, it will not glow or release a flash.
There are three power modes to choose between – normal, gentle and extra gentle, which are selected by pressing a different button to the one that controls the flash. We preferred having this second button, rather than one button that controls both the intensity and the flash. We felt more relaxed using this setup because we were not having to rely on the safety mechanism kicking in to protect us from accidental flashes when we tried to change the settings.
While this may not be what you are looking for, the power cable didn’t limit our treatments at all because it was so long. It means that the device is ready to go whenever you want to use it and you get consistent power output.
We also liked that it came with a good-quality Gillette razor to prepare for treatments. It is quiet to use, and it wasn’t any more painful than the Philip Lumea.
3. Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X
Tria is one of the more well-known laser hair removal and beauty brands. The trendy design looks great and feels extremely well-made, with an intuitive interactive led display, but most importantly, it delivers results.
Laser Hair Removal
The Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X is the only laser hair machine on our list that actually uses laser technology; all of the other devices are IPL hair removal devices. The Tria Beauty Hair Removal 4X is the first and only FDA-cleared at-home laser machine designed to treat and remove unwanted hair.
It uses the same Diode Laser Technology that is used by dermatologists, but comes at a fraction of the price.
The treatment area is therefore a lot smaller on the Tria Beauty Hair Removal 4X than on other models, but it delivers more than 3 times the energy to the hair follicles than any of the other hair removal devices. It gives you greater precision and is highly effective. It is safe for using on your face and body and the smaller window means it is a great choice for treating your upper lip, although large areas of your body will take a longer time.
While the smaller cap size gives you greater precision, we didn’t feel we had so much control with this model. It has a single button to control the settings and switch it on and off and there is no trigger to initiate the flashes – they fire intermittently as long as the tip is covered. It means that you can have quicker treatment times, but you also have less control and if you get distracted, you may over-treat your skin.
Unlike other models, it only adapts to the initial skin tone you use to unlock the device. It doesn’t adjust as you go along, and we found that it happily treated skin through dark jeans.
You also cannot use it while it is charging, or get replacement cartridges, so once it has run out of flashes, the device is completely useless.
4. CosBeauty IPL Joy Version
Similar to the Lumea, the CosBeauty IPL device offers different treatment caps for different areas of your body (face, body and bikini). They are all flat, but the windows are all different sizes to suit the different areas. It is lighter than some of the other models, but it still feels well-built and balanced. The design meant that it is easy to reach all treatment areas.
However, it does not specify which hair and skin tones it is suitable for, so if you don’t have the optimum dark hair and fair skin, choose another model, just to be sure.
The OLED display lets you know which cartridge is installed and counts down how many flashes are left so you know if one needs replacing. They have 300,000 flashes each, so it will take a while before you get through them!
The on/off button also controls the energy level – you press and release to toggle through the settings and hold it down to turn it off, which is better than other single-button models. It does, however, have a separate trigger button to induce flashes, which is comfortably located on the handle.
To get the most out of your treatments, the CosBeauty IPL Joy Version works alongside an app, which you can use to set a treatment plan. It is very intuitive to use and can help to optimize your results.
5. DEESS Series 3 Plus
The DEESS Series 3 Plus is another handheld, corded laser hair removal device. It comes in several different versions; some are just color variations, while others include extra heads, but all the kits include safety glasses. You can also buy extra heads, such as a skin rejuvenation head or acne lamp. It has a capacity of 350,000 flashes and is FDA-cleared, with results comparable to those seen in salons.
Single Button Control
It is very easy to set up and has a single button for selecting your energy setting and for triggering the flashes. It has 5 intensity levels which are displayed by five lights on the edge of the device. Pressing the button will alter the intensity level, unless it is pressed sufficiently against your skin, in which case it will emit a flash.
The DEESS Series 3 needs to be plugged in to work, but its cable is long enough so it doesn’t limit you, and you get the benefit of consistent power output whenever you need to use it. It is shaped similarly to the Braun Silk Expert, so it is comfortable to hold, but not quite so easy to reach tricky areas.
We particularly liked that this model came with glasses, and we used these when we were testing the other products, because we felt it was important to protect our eyes as the flashes are intense.
6. MLAY IPL Hair Removal System
The MLAY IPL Hair Removal System offers 5 intensity levels, 300,000 pulses and boasts that users experienced as much as 82% hair reduction after 8 sessions in clinical trials. It can be used all over your body and is suitable for men and women.
Highly Effective, Even On Lighter Hair
This hair removal solution can even work on lighter hair colors, for example, gray, blond, and red, but not white, and is suitable for skin tone 1 to 5 on the Fitzpatrick scale.
Clinical trials of the MLAY IPL hair removal machine have shown that users can experience 90% hair reduction in only four weeks! This was under the conditions of twice-weekly treatments and with touch-ups every four to eight weeks.
The unit is lightweight to hold and therefore comfortable to hold for long periods of time, plus the trigger to initiate the flashes is comfortably placed on the handle for easy access. We love the white and metallic pink design, and it is also available in white and blue. It doesn’t feel quite as well-built as the other models, but it performs well and includes 300,000 pulses. If that isn’t enough, you can buy more heads separately.
Products We Were Less Keen On: Veet Infini’Silk Pro
Our kit came with an extra precision cartridge designed for smaller areas such as the upper lip and underarm, however, this appears not to be available in every Infini’Silk Pro kit. There seems to be local variations so watch out if you buy this kit.
The general cartridge has a skin tone sensor which measures your skin tone both at the beginning of your hair removal session and occasionally throughout. It will not allow pulses if it deems your skin tone to be unsafe for IPL treatments.
Inconsistent Skin Tones
To add confusion, the manufacturers added a seventh skin tone to the Fitzpatrick scale. The instructions say that it is suitable for skin tones 1 to 5, however just in case, if you have a darker skin tone, it is better to choose another kit which uses the real Fitzpatrick Scale because it is more consistent and you are more likely to be able to choose a laser hair removal device that is suited to treating your skin.
Similar to the Silk’N Flash&Go
The Veet Infini’Silk Pro IPL is extremely similar to the Silk’n Flash&Go IPL Hair Removal Device. Perhaps this is unsurprising because the Veet product claims to have “Silk’n Light Technology”. They are shaped the same and have the same features, but have slightly different designs, of which we preferred the purple Silk’n Flash&Go. However, the Veet model has 120,000 pulses, while the Silk’n Flash&Go only has 5000.
Both seem a little flimsier than other models. The cartridges rattle as though a part is loose and the controls are a bit basic. They did the job, but we preferred other models.
Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose The Features Of The Best Laser Hair Removal Device For You
The Importance Of Your Hair And Skin Color
You will get the best results if you have fair skin and dark hair. If your skin is too dark, you are more likely to get burns.
Clinicians use the Fitzpatrick Scale to classify skin color. This puts skin tones into 6 categories, based on how much pigment (melanin) is present in the skin. If you have pale skin, you will be given a score of I, while if you have very dark skin, which contains much more melanin, you have a score of VI.
Laser hair removal suits fairer skin best because there is less melanin in the skin to absorb the light energy. The light energy is therefore absorbed by the hairs, unless they are fair also. If your skin is too dark, the melanin in your skin cells will absorb the light, which can cause skin burns and may not result in hair reduction.
Light hair cannot absorb enough light energy to be able to damage the hair follicle and prevent regrowth, even if you also have fair skin. Therefore, laser and IPL hair removal are less effective on blond, red, grey and white hairs, compared to brown and black hair. The key to successful laser hair removal is the differentiation between skin and hair color.
Choosing Between Laser and Intense Pulsed Light
The concept of laser and IPL hair removal is the same; direct a beam of light at your skin’s surface, areas of higher melanin pigment (dark hairs) will absorb the light energy, which converts to heat energy and burns the hair, damaging the follicle so that its hair growth is impeded. Hair regrowth is then slower, often thinner and can stop altogether.
However, the technology is slightly different. A laser is monochrome, meaning it is just one wavelength, and has direction, coherence and brightness. In laser hair removers, this means that the light is focused into a tight area giving precision in the treatment area. This is apparent on the Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4x because it has a much smaller treatment window than any of the IPL devices. In comparison, intense pulsed light uses a broad spectrum of light wavelengths that cannot be focused like a laser can.
IPL does not penetrate the skin as deep as lasers can, which may result in more heating of the surrounding skin. By being less focused, IPL takes longer to affect hair growth, but it is a cheaper alternative. With both types of machine, you may find that your hair growth slows down before it stops completely.
Variable Pulsed Light
IPL technology is always improving and now there is also VPL technology, which stands for Variable Pulsed Light. Like IPL, this uses a broad spectrum of light rather than lasers, but the settings can be changed so that different types of hair can be targeted, and in some cases it may be suitable for lighter hair and more skin types. As VPL hair removal is more precise in the targeting of hairs, it may get better results. However, because it is less targeted down into the hair follicles, you will likely need to have more treatments for effect than laser hair removal.
Battery vs Corded
A key reason we chose the Philips Lumea Prestige as the best at-home laser hair removal machine was that it can be used both plugged-in and unplugged. It gives you much more freedom to treat yourself wherever and whenever you want, with no pre-planning required.
However, corded laser hair removal devices are very good, providing they have long cables to give you plenty of room to move. We don’t recommend choosing a model that is only battery powered because you will get frustrated having to recharge it part way through a treatment.
Cartridges Or Not
We recommend choosing a laser hair removal system that has replaceable cartridges, because even though models which do not have replaceable cartridges often last for hundreds of thousands of pulses, once they have run out, the devices are completely useless. It is much less wasteful and expensive to purchase new cartridges, rather than a whole new device.
Why Choose At-Home Laser Hair Removal Over Professional In-Office Treatments?
Laser hair removal is not a fast or ‘once and done’ procedure. It takes multiple treatments and often a few top-up sessions as well, so you need patience. If you are having professional laser hair removal, you need a big budget. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that the average cost of laser hair removal is $285 per session just to cover the surgeon/physician cost and the price will increase when treating larger parts of your body, often costing thousands of dollars in total. As laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure, it is usually not covered by insurance.
At-home laser hair removal gives you the freedom to treat yourself in the comfort of your own home, using the same technology. The devices and systems have been created so that you can give yourself safe, effective hair reduction treatments at a fraction of the cost that dermatologists charge. They use the same technology as the doctors and clinicians, but they are developed specifically to be used safely by untrained users in their home.
Laser Hair Removal Compared To Electrolysis
Electrolysis is an FDA-approved method of permanently removing hair by electric current to destroy hair follicles. It can be used in the same areas of your body as laser hair removal. However, it involves inserting a probe into the hair follicles and can be painful, so it is best performed by a dermatologist or trained technician, while laser hair removal can be done at home.
What To Expect Before And After Laser Hair Removal
Plan ahead before your laser hair removal treatment. Don’t wax or thread the area in the 4 weeks leading up to it and don’t tan or get sunburnt either. Clean the skin and shave within 12 hours before your treatment, to prevent surface hair being singed. On the day, wear loose-fitting clothes.
During your treatment, try to relax. The good thing about at-home laser hair removal is that if you get overwhelmed, you can take a break, without worrying about holding up your doctor or getting the treatment completed during your appointment slot.
After your laser hair removal session, make sure you use sun protection and avoid tanning booths. You also want to avoid hot showers and baths and wearing makeup and deodorant in the treated areas for 48 hours. Your skin may feel itchy but try not to scratch it. A week or two later, gently exfoliate your skin.
Make sure you space your treatments out so that your skin has enough time to recover – always follow the instructions for your at-home laser hair removal device for recommended treatment plans, for your best chance of achieving permanent hair reduction, safely.
Safety: The Pain Of Laser And IPL Hair Removal
Laser hair removal can be uncomfortable. You can feel the flashes warm your skin and it can feel like an elastic band snapping against your skin. It will be more uncomfortable in areas of denser hair and sensitive skin, such as your underarms, upper lip and bikini line, compared to your legs, for example, but it shouldn’t be unbearable.
If you have sensitive skin, choose an at-home laser hair removal device that has a wide range of treatment modes; in particular, an extra-gentle or sensitive mode. It may take more treatments to get the same results using this setting, but you will find the sessions more tolerable.
In our tests, we found there was no significant difference between the highest levels of any of the IPL and laser hair removal systems that we have discussed here. However, discomfort did reduce when we selected a lower energy setting.
Does Laser Hair Removal Cause Cancer?
You may be concerned about radiation and its effects. There are many different forms of radiation, which are demonstrated on the electromagnetic spectrum. Radiation used in medical imaging such as x-rays and ultraviolet light from the sun is ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation has enough energy to break the bonds between (ionize) molecules, which can affect DNA in cells.
However, not all radiation has enough energy to do this. Non-ionizing radiation has similar properties to ionizing radiation but it doesn’t have enough energy to break the bonds in the molecules. The radiation used in laser hair removal is a form of non-ionizing radiation, so it won’t break bonds or cause cells to mutate. Laser hair removal, therefore, has not been found to cause cancer.
However, make sure that your at-home laser or intense pulsed light hair removal device has a UV filter. This removes the harmful UV rays from the beam of light that targets your hair, to prevent unnecessary skin damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about at-home laser hair removal:
In our opinion, the best laser for hair removal is the Philips Lumea Prestige IPL Machine, closely followed by the Braun Silk-Expert IPL BD 5001. The Philips Lumea has interchangeable cartridges for treating different areas of your body.
You usually need between 3 and 8 treatments to achieve noticeable results with laser hair removal because your hairs will be at different stages of the growth cycle at any one time. After your initial treatments, you may need to have some top-up sessions as well, to maintain the hair reduction. Some areas of your body may need more treatments than others. For the best results, always follow the manufacturer’s recommended treatment plan.
You can use your home laser hair removal as often as you want, but we recommend no more than once every two weeks to give your skin a good chance to recover in between. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you don’t shave before laser hair removal, the hair above the surface will singe. This can be painful and it can also mean that not enough heat is transferred to the hair follicle to destroy it. Therefore, the hairs are more likely to grow back and you will not get the permanent hair reduction results you want.
Yes, when done properly, laser hair removal at home is safe. At-home laser hair removal machines have been specifically developed to be safely used by untrained users. They use the same technology as in-office laser hair removal, but usually the energy is lower and they have safety mechanisms built in to prevent injury. As long as you follow the recommended treatments and instructions carefully, laser hair removal at home is safe.
Yes, you can use at-home laser hair removal on pubic hair. In our opinion this is one of the best places to use laser hair removal, because you no longer have to put up with unwanted hair, razor burns, folliculitis or ingrown hairs in this area of sensitive skin!
I hope you have enjoyed reading our reviews of the best at-home laser hair removal machines around. We enjoyed testing these devices and are pleased with the results that we have seen. To read more about laser hair removal and other methods of at-home hair removal, check out our blog!