Lasting cosmetic removal for unsightly, coarse or dense body hair often requires waxing, electrolysis or in-office laser treatments. However, modernity has caught up with the many different methods of removing body hair, allowing consumers to carry out the process of laser hair removal at home DIY style, permanently reversing growth. Handheld, intense pulse light devices (IPL) and consumer lasers currently available on the market take out the middleman of going to a salon and allow people to gradually remove body hair in the comfort of one’s own home.
These revolutionary products are easy-to-use and approved by the FDA, yet each brand’s items have a unique set of features, designs and levels of functionality. Most are designed for both women and men, and can often be used as full body hair removal tools, including legs, chest, back, arms, underarms, bikini line, and more.
The Top 10 IPL’s
|1||Braun LPL BD 5008||120,000||No||3.8||tbc|
|2||Gillette Venus Silk Expert||120,000||No||8||2|
|4||Philips Lumea Comfort||100,000||Yes||1||2|
|5||Remington iLIGHT Pro Plus Quartz||30,000||No||3.9||2|
|6||Remington IPL6250 I-Light Essential||65,000||No||5||2|
|7||Remington iLIGHT Pro||1,500||Yes||5.8||4|
|9||Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X||100,000||No||4.1||1|
How Does IPL Laser Treatment Work?
At home laser hair removal machines work in the same way as would a trip to the dermatologist; the consumer version targets individual hair follicles, especially tricky, stubborn hairs not expelled by IPL laser treatment. Keep these devices on the back burner until after IPL has proven unsuccessful, especially if you are sensitive to pain—these products can really sting.
An IPL hair removal laser emits a variety of wavelengths directly onto skin where hair contrasts with its surroundings; in this instance, body hair that appears much darker than one’s skin tone is primarily affected. Unfortunately, this means that individuals with darker complexions and hair that blends in to one’s melanin are not good candidates for IPL hair removal. Similarly, people with lighter hair colors like red, blonde or grey may require an extended period of use to see the same results as those with darker body hair.
Even many of the best laser hair removal machines are not intended for use on the face, and some devices that are will still be too harsh for this delicate area. Conversely, feedback from individuals with thicker hair on the side and bottom of the face indicates that powerful products for body-use-only can safely work, but only on very dark follicles and, presumably, on the lowest power setting. Regardless, it’s only safe to conduct laser hair removal at home underneath the cheek bone area. Never attempt to zap hair on the nipples or genitals, no matter how tempting; if you need something for the more sensitive areas try out an epilator instead; check our top 10 epilator reviews and advice for more info on this subject.
As infomercials describe the process, the best results are achieved on large areas when the device is moved across the skin in a grid-like pattern, for example, arms, legs and thighs. If the machine has several settings, start off on the lowest setting before moving on to the higher levels, unless it becomes too painful—be gentle when in doubt.
Before beginning this treatment at home, hair must be visible on the skin and cannot be waxed or plucked—not only does this existing skin irritation make using an IPL hair removal laser much more painful, but those follicles will be too short to zap with the product. Shaving is fine before the first use and recommended as not to create a burning smell and to hit the base of the follicle directly.
A number of skin conditions and medications can make this category of hair removal very risky. As a rule of thumb, photosensitive ailments or treatments that cause photosensitivity, like strong acne medication, steroids, chemotherapy and anti-inflammatories will magnify the strong light used in a hair removal laser, burning the skin and potentially causing irreparable damage. Even recently tattooed areas or places with hyper-pigmentation, moles and dark freckles should be avoided.
Moreover, even perfectly viable patches of skin need to be treated with care. Only use these machines according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and cease operation of a product if its rays cause too much pain. After a successful treatment session, make sure to protect skin from the sun with SPF or clothing.
It’s worth remembering that just because it’s a home laser hair removal machine, it’s absolutely not intended to be used daily; wait one to two weeks before hitting a specific area and, as time goes on, the treatment should be used less frequently. If used correctly, this regimen will slow down hair growth so that maintenance becomes less intensive.
Generally speaking, the main difference between a luxury and a cheap laser hair remover is the number of flashes on the device’s cartridge (the “flash cube” at the front of the product), and whether that cartridge has to be replaced. Though each IPL machine is definitely an investment, the cheap models feature cartridges with significantly fewer rounds of treatment. Pricier brands either have hundreds of thousands of flashes and no way to replace that initial cartridge, or a cartridge that lasts for a long time but eventually needs an expensive replacement.
Buying a semi-disposable product may work out in one’s benefit if there isn’t much hair to remove, or in the best-case scenario, your IPL machine provides satisfactory, lasting results in only a few rounds of use.
On the other hand, if you know that your hair grows back quickly and won’t be eradicated that easily, work out the math between the quality of a product and its number of flashes per each cartridge.
Said to be the first FDA cleared available for home use, and possibly the best laser hair removal machine around, this device by Tria Beauty was crowned winner of the InStyle 2016 Best Beauty Buys category, oh.. in 2015 and 2014 too. What’s to say it won’t win 2017 too? It also happens to be the product with the most vibrant color options: Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X, though mostly white, can be purchased in lavender, peony, fuchsia, graphite and turquoise. A diode laser like Tria’s aesthetically-pleasing device will be worth it to zap unsightly hairs all over, given that the skin has had enough time to rest before continuing and the strong beam isn’t going anywhere too delicate. On the top of the 4X is an LED display showing the device’s power status, its current setting (of five) and how many pulses are recommended for that sitting. In a rare and delightful instance for an appliance, the 4X can be charged and used cordlessly for 30 minutes, but pay attention to defects before the one-year warranty runs out. Space treatments out every two weeks, and during this recovery time it’s important to keep the skin inflammation down—check out Tria’s calming gel made just for this specific problem.
Once featured on QVC, LumaRx is considered by many beauty experts to be the gold standard of its category. The item looks fit to be in a high-end spa—LumaRx has a designated resting place to test skin tone, adjust the settings and power off, resulting in an appearance that begs to be displayed, not hidden in a drawer. 65,000 flashes stored in the attractive full body hair remover allows for stress-free treatment, that is, until it’s time to buy its pricey replacement cartridge. Even so, LumaRx boldly tells its customers that visible change occurs after three uses, once every two weeks. More perks include a lint-free cloth, separate attachments for the face and body, a generous 90-day money-back guarantee and two years’ warranty.
Boasting permanent hair removal in just four sessions, and each lasting no more than 8 minutes, this clinically tested IPL laser is certainly a product worth considering. The misspelled acronym in the model name (LPL instead of IPL), a rearrangement of brands in its title and a new model name, 5008, might fool unsuspecting buyers into thinking that Gillette has two Venus Silk-Expert IPL machines for sale. The only difference between Venus Silk-Experts 5001 and 5008 are the complimentary products, in that 5008 provides an electric facial brush that exfoliates the skin before proceeding with IPL, instead of a razor, but that still qualifies it to be among the best laser hair removal devices around in 2017. See further below for more details on this range.
If the thought of buying extra cartridges for your iLight Pro device puts a thorn in your side, Remington has answered such prayers: the Pro Plus Quartz model includes a 30,000 flash cartridge and a quartz bulb, rather than one made of glass. The manufacturer has also upped the ante on how long results last, increasing this time frame from six months to “permanently”—one can only hope! Donning a light purple exterior, in many aspects Pro Plus Quartz has the perks of its predecessor, like the instructional DVD, a lint-repelling cleaning cloth and plenty of settings, coupled with a super-fast flash rate that glides over legs and arms. A long cord from the device’s base won’t require you to awkwardly hold both parts of the IPL. This buy would make a good upgrade from the original Pro, and suits those who have previously performed laser hair removal at home in the past.
Another well-known drugstore brand, Gillette, has evidently expanded beyond vibrating razors: the Venus Silk Expert 5001, partnered with electric-shaver retailer Braun, zaps hair like a charm and is an elegant white and brassy-gold addition to any person’s bathroom counter. At a whopping 120,000 flashes, this tool can get away with neither having a replacement cartridge or a warranty, and weighs a reasonable 1.3 lbs. Packed with sensors, Venus Silk-Expert makes sure that the user’s skin is fully pressed to the device before activating and makes barely any noise in use. According to Gillette, results will become noticeable after “as little as” four treatments. For touching up or getting ready for the next session, Venus Silk-Expert 5001 comes with a standard Venus razor.
Remington Products has delved into all kinds of essentials, as well as the tools to remove hair. The Remington iLight line of IPL machine begins with the regular Pro Hair Removal System, in which the IPL laser sits atop its control station (similar to the LumaRx), accented by a bronze grip that disrupts the all-white design. As expected, this gadget has five levels of adjustable intensity and a skin tone sensor to safely prep the machine for activity. Remington’s refrain regarding their iLight products is that “only four flashes [are] needed per square inch”, though with each higher-end model, the results are predicted to last longer than the previous product; for this item, supposedly, three sessions yield a loss of hair growth that lasts six months. Remington also makes it clear that iLight in this form should only be used to remove female facial hair (i.e. no beards), and that this particular model uses cartridges that are 1,500 flashes apiece. For more information, consult the DVD that accompanies your purchase (plus a cleaning cloth).
Not only do Remington make some of the best flat irons, based on our laser hair removal reviews you can see they are paving the way for home IPL treatment too. The clinically proven and FDA cleared IPL6250 iLight Essential is one such device. It will cost less than the iLight Pro Plus Quartz because its bulb is made of glass, but yet, the “lifetime cartridge” will not literally last a lifetime: approximately 65,000 flashes. Thankfully, this technology does not require a lifetime of flashes to do its job. With this new-and-improved model, the size of the product’s flash window is twice as large. Once again, the product, at first glance, looks just like the Pro and Pro Plus Quartz, save for the dark teal accent color. As the settings and design seem to rarely go unchanged, one must really ask why Remington can’t just add color preferences to their IPL machine line-up.
The Dutch megacompany, Phillips, responsible for things like defibrillators and light bulbs, also manufactures the discreet, handheld IPL laser known as the Lumea Comfort at a reasonable price. Lumea is distinctive for its wider-than-average treatment window, a UV filter to prevent excessive light damage and a safety sensor for sudden dark areas, like birthmarks or tattoos. Excluding the cord, Lumea weighs a pound and allegedly lasts between four to six years on a 100,000 flash cartridge. The Philips website overstates how often the device can or should be used, but more realistically puts the estimate of a noticeable difference at two months or four treatments. If none of these qualities are present in your ordered item, its warranty lasts for two years.
One of two IPL products from a prominent drugstore brand, the Veet Infini’Silk home laser hair removal system is a straightforward, compact IPL machine without a replaceable cartridge—and with 50,000 promised flashes, it’s conceivable that Infini’Silk will have done its duty by the time it runs out of juice. Cased in a dark purple and white body, the tool weighs just under half a pound and makes a moderate amount of noise in use. Although it’s lightweight (and in spite of Veet’s promotional images), Infini’Silk comes with a cord and has five intensity settings, plus a standby mode. For a mid-range IPL machine, it claims to have “permanent” results after ten sessions, of course waiting at least a week between each treatment to next use the device.
Hairy backs and chests rejoice: Silk’n’s Flash&Go has just the dimensions to take on large swaths of growth. It’s not terribly pricey and boasts one of the widest sized “windows” on the market at 4 c.m. in diameter, with a skin and skin color censor and a replaceable 5,000 pulse cartridge. The bright purple and white design will make this tool very easy to find in a mess or a time crunch, and its potency takes just three months to change the appearance of your body hair. It’s been commended for its flattering results on the face—maybe it’s because Silk’n decided to rename IPL laser technology to Home Pulsed Light (HPL) technology, though the two acronyms are interchangeable. In case you get lost, Flash&Go comes with an informational DVD.