From plucking and shaving to waxing and laser, there’s no shortage of ways to remove unwanted hair. Laser hair removal has been increasing in popularity for a few years, and for good reason. It’s cost-effective, relatively painless and lasts far long than other removal methods. Until recently, it was only possible to have the procedure done at a dermatologists office, but now you can buy the devices yourself and use them at home. You might be keen to try it out yourself, but are wondering just how effective at-home laser hair removal is.
What is at-home laser hair removal?
Before we get into the logistics, it’s important to remember that body hair is completely natural – we all have it! Whether you choose to remove it or not is a completely personal choice – this is just one of the hair-removal options which may interest you.
Laser hair removal works by using high heat lasers or intense pulsed lights (IPLs) to dissolve hair by breaking down the follicles. After the treatment, follicles won’t be able to produce new hairs for up to several weeks. At-home IPL devices work quite similarly to professional treatments but use lower energy levels. They’re more time-consuming to use given their weakened pulses, but definitely still have their uses. They are also a great option if you’re looking to maintain hair loss during professional treatments.
Before going all in with at-home laser hair removal, you’re advised to patch-test on a smaller area, then wait a few weeks to make sure there are no complications/adverse skin reactions. It’s best to start on the lowest energy setting first and working your way up. You also should steer clear of sensitive areas like your face and bikini area (these are best left in the hands of professionals).
How effective is it?
If you type this question into google you’ll receive a thousand different results – the bottom line is, it’s different for everyone so there’s not really one conclusive answer. The effectiveness of any laser hair removal treatments is dependent on your skin type, hair type, number of treatment sessions and the device you use. The most important thing with at-home hair removal is investing in the right device (we’ve rounded up the top-rated products further down).
It’s important to remember that results won’t appear overnight so it’s definitely something you need to be patient with. Professional treatments usually take 8-10 sessions for optimal results, so at-home laser hair removal will take even longer given the reduced strength of the laser. Even professional treatments aren’t permanent and you’ll usually need to return once every year for an annual top-up. At-home laser hair removal is something you’ll need to do repeatedly to achieve your desired results. It probably won’t be as frequent as shaving or waxing but you’ll need to go back over the areas every couple of weeks once the bulk of the work is done.
It’s also recommended to only opt for at-home laser hair removal (and professional treatments) if you have light to fair skin with dark hair. This is the complexion that responds best to treatment, so it’s possible you won’t see your desired results if you have darker skin or lighter hair. If both your skin and hair are darker in colour, the laser won’t be able to distinguish your hair from your skin, rendering the treatment ineffective. You can always speak with a professional if you have any questions or want to confirm your suitability.
Where to buy IPL laser hair devices
At-home laser hair removal devices are available in several stores, but luckily it’s just as easy to buy them online (and most come with next-day delivery). Here, we’ve rounded up our pick of the best. Note: product descriptions have been based on Amazon descriptions.
While this device is at a higher price point, It’s shown to reduce hair by up to 92% in as little as three treatments. It also comes with 4 different attachments for different body areas like your legs and underarms. It even has a SmartSkin sensor which can detect the right setting on demand without you having to do a thing – as far as at-home laser devices go, this is one of the best.
This is the number one best-seller on Amazon for IPL hair removal so you know it’s a favourite among most. With two different flash modes, the device can be used on both smaller and larger surface areas and target each area effectively. It’s recommended to use this one twice a week for the first four weeks and once a week after that for optimal results.
If pain is one of your greatest concerns, this device could be the right fit for you. It works by emitting a warm light to minimise discomfort level, making it appealing for first-time users. A cutting edge skin tone sensor allows the device to automatically adjust the light intensity as it scans along your body to increase effectiveness.
The best part about this device is the cooling functionality which blasts a cool shot of air each time heat is applied (making the treatment far less painful). It uses the latest IPL technology and has been clinically shown to be gentle, effective and comes with minimal side effects.