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 IPL laser hair removal at home DIY style, permanently reversing growth. Handheld, intense pulsed 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 effective 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.
- IPL Reviews
- What Is IPL Treatment?
- Safety Precautions
- Skin Tone and Hair Color
- Time Between Treatments
- Replacement Parts
- Bottom Line
Philips Lumea Prestige
The Dutch megacompany, Phillips, responsible for things like defibrillators and light bulbs, also manufactures the discreet, handheld IPL laser known as the Lumea Prestige 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. There are 3 attachments which can be used on the underarms, bikini area, body, and even areas on your face such as the jawline, chin, and upper lip.
Excluding the cord, Lumea Prestige weighs around 3 lbs and possibly lasts between 8 to 10 years on a 250,000 flash cartridge. It can be used cordless or corded (dual voltage 110-240v). The Philips website overstates how often the device can or should be used, but more realistically puts the estimate of a smooth 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.
Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X
Said to be the first FDA cleared available for home use, and possibly the best at home laser hair removal machine around, this device by Tria Beauty was crowned the winner of the InStyle 2016 Best Beauty Buys category, oh.. in 2015 and 2014 too. What’s to say it won’t win 2022 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, it’s 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.
Gillette Venus Silk Expert IPL BD 3005
Another well-known drugstore brand, Gillette, has evidently expanded beyond vibrating razors: the Venus Silk Expert 3005, partnered with electric-shaver retailer Braun, zaps hair like a charm and is an elegant white and purple addition to any person’s bathroom counter. At a whopping 300,000 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, the Gillette Venus IPL comes with a standard carry pouch. Overall, this is a great choice for beginners wanting permanent hair removal on underarms, Brazilian/bikini lines, and other sensitive areas.
Remington iLIGHT Pro
Remington Products has delved into all kinds of essentials, as well as the tools to remove hair. The Remington iLight Pro Hair Removal System line of IPL machine begins with the regular Pro, in which the IPL laser sits atop its control station, 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).
Remington iLIGHT Pro Plus Quartz
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 the Remington iLight Pro Plus Quartz hair removal system 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 hold both parts of the IPL machine awkwardly. This buy would make a good upgrade from the original Pro, and suits those who have previously performed IPL laser hair removal at home in the past.
Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5
Boasting permanent hair removal in just four sessions, the Braun® Silk·Expert Pro 5 latest generation IPL hair remover is an impressive addition to their lineup. With laser treatments each lasting no more than 5 minutes, this clinically tested IPL laser is undoubtedly a product worth considering. It is a big improvement on the older Silk Expert 5 in many ways. For example, it offers 30% more flashes (400,000) and is 15% smaller while being 25% lighter.
With all of the above features and an added 100-day money-back guarantee it can easily be one of the best laser hair removal devices around in 2022.
Usually, IPL’s offering the best laser hair removal at home come at a steep price, however, this isn’t the case with the no-frills Fasbruy. The budget hair removal machine is a straightforward, compact IPL laser without a replaceable cartridge—and with a painless 999,999 promised flashes, it’s far from sub-par, but at a very attractive price. It’s conceivable that this IPL will have done its duty by the time it runs out of juice.
Cased in a shiny black body, the tool weighs under 2 lbs and makes a tiny amount of noise in use. Although it’s lightweight, Fasbruy comes with a cord and has five intensity settings, plus an Manual/Auto mode. Manual mode is for small areas such as bikini line, armpit, toes, fingers, and lips. Auto is for large areas, such as arms, legs, stomach, and back.
For a low-cost IPL machine, it offers tremendous value for money due to its features such as the number of flashes (lasting up to 20 years) and exceptional build quality. Also comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee, sunglasses for eye protection, and a razor to get you prepared for treatment.
Hairy backs and chests rejoice: Silk’n Infinity has just the dimensions to take on large swaths of growth. It’s not terribly pricey and boasts one of the biggest sized “windows” on the market at 2.7 square cm. Aside from larger areas such as arms, legs, and underarms, it can also be used on sensitive areas such as the face (chin, cheekbone, jawline, upper lip, but NOT eyebrows or near eyelids), and also basic bikini line (NOT full Brazilian).
It has a built-in skin color sensor and infinite flashes, meaning lifetime usage and no need to replace the cartridge. Its potency takes just three months to change the appearance of your body hair, and a typical full hair growth cycle can be 18-24 months. During this time, multiple sessions may be required to remove hair permanently.
It’s been commended by men and women for its flattering results on all parts of the body-maybe it’s because the Silk’n Infinity uses new at-home IPL laser technology (Enhanced Home Pulsed Light), which uses galvanic energy to open pores, allowing the device to treat thick, stubborn hair at the root even more effectively.
Remington IPL6500 QFB iLight Ultra
Not only do Remington make some of the best flat irons, based on our home laser hair removal reviews you can see they are paving the way for home IPL treatment too. Once again, the product, at first glance, looks just like the Pro and Pro Plus Quartz, but there are significant differences.
No more need for shaving and waxing; clinically proven for body and permanent facial hair removal at home, the FDA cleared IPL6500 iLight Ultra is an effective high-end device. It will cost more than the iLight Pro Plus Quartz but will give you quicker results – according to the company, 94% hair reduction in just 3 months. It offers 65,000 flashes, at a powerful 24 joules per flash allowing you to remove hair permanently in record time. 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 more than twice as large.
Comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee, and works on voltages 120-230 VAC.
Another budget low-cost device, this IPL offers many of the same features found in the above-reviewed high-end branded kit but at a fraction of the price. For example, 500,000 flashes stored in the attractive full body hair remover allows for 100% safe stress-free treatment, while also offering 5 levels of energy which are adjustable for varied skin tolerance. There is also an Auto and Manual mode, which works perfectly for the facial area, ear, armpits, or bikini line.
Xsoul recommends an eight-week treatment to ensure that all body hair disappears effectively during the growth period. The zaps are generally painless, even on level 5 (highest intensity). As with almost all IPL’s, it will work with light to medium skin tones, but is less effective and not recommended for dark pigment.
What Is IPL Treatment?
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 the 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 into 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 at home 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 cheekbone area. Never attempt to zap hair on the nipples or genitals, no matter how tempting; if you need a system for the more sensitive regions 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 in 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, users should start 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 not be visible on the skin and should be shaved, waxed or plucked. Not only does existing hair 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 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 for some users. 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.
Skin Tone and Hair Color
Hair color and skin tone is also something that can cause ineffectiveness. For example, some machines work best on medium to darker hair colors and will be less effective on light colored hair like white and grey. It is less effective on lighter hair colors like light blonde or red. Additionally, many devices are intended for use only on light to medium skin tones.
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.
Time Between Treatments
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 for 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 effective 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. This of course ultimately boils down to cost, and how much you’ll spend throughout your treatment. Though each IPL laser 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 cartridge.
Laser hair removal in a clinic can be a very costly process. It’s not something that everyone can afford. However, with the recent breakthroughs in technology, laser removal at home is now possible with safe devices that can be purchased at relatively low prices.
If you’re interested in permanent hair removal at home on a budget, any of the above-reviewed devices should provide a good level of quality and reliability in order to see you through.
Ash is a self-confessed hair expert and blogger. He loves styling his son’s hair and will sometimes even cut and style his wife’s hair (when she’s feeling brave).