The 9 Best At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices of 2022 | by InStyle

2022-11-16 12:31:55 By : Mr. Jeron Zhong

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While there are many hair removal methods today, most of them are far from perfect. From ingrown hairs to razor burn, the pains of shaving and waxing have made many turn to laser hair removal, which promises a permanent reduction in hair growth.

Getting laser hair removal done professionally can be quite costly, but there are several at-home devices that are more affordable and still effective for zapping off hair. The thought of lasering your face or body may sound scary, so we talked to dermatologists to get the scoop on everything you need to know about at-home laser hair removal devices. When researching devices for this list, we looked for models with FDA clearance, proper safety features, and customer seals of approval.

Ready to say goodbye to unwanted hair? Below, discover the best at-home laser hair removal devices to shop now.

What We Love: You can customize the energy, comfort level, and speed. What We Don't Love: There's a bit of a learning curve with all the different settings.

SmoothSkin has been in the laser hair removal game for more than 30 years, so it's no surprise its FDA-cleared Pure Fit device is one of the best all around. Not only does it go up to 10 energy settings, but it also has three different comfort modes (power, speed, and gentle) and two operating settings (stamp and glide) so you can customize the experience for different parts of your body. The precision head lets you tackle trickier areas like the bikini line, upper lip, and even the fingers and toes. It has a built in skin sensor that selects the right intensity for your skin tone as well as prevents accidental activation. The brand recommends using it once a week for 12 weeks, after which you can use it once every one to two months to maintain the results.

Type: IPL | Flashes: Unlimited | Warranty: 2 years

What We Love: It uses salon-style technology at FDA-cleared levels. What We Don't Love: The small laser makes covering large areas tedious.

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner recommends this Tria Hair Removal Laser because "it uses diode technology, which is the same that is used in the office. The energy, however, is lower so it can safely be used at home." The FDA-cleared device has a smaller laser cap that targets hair follicles more precisely and uses less intense light emissions as it goes up to five levels, so it won't bother your eyes. It also has a clever sensor that lights up green if you have the right skin tone to use the device safely; otherwise it won't unlock when you put it over your skin. With a 60 day return policy, you can try it out risk-free.

Type: Laser | Flashes: Unlimited | Warranty: 1 year

What We Love: You can easily switch from using this laser on small to large areas. What We Don't Love: It can burn darker skin tones.

The Braun Silk Expert System uses intense pulsed light (IPL) that has been clinically tested to be a safe and efficient at-home hair removal treatment. Not only does the FDA-cleared device work quickly (you can treat both legs in just nine minutes), but it also comes equipped with over 300,000 flashes, which equals out to an average of 16 years worth of treatments. The precision head lets you zap smaller areas like your bikini line or armpits with ease. For extra safety, the SensoAdapt™ sensor continuously reads your skin tone and adapts the intensity of the flashes. The kit also comes with a Venus razor to use to shave beforehand, so you have one less thing to worry about.

Type: IPL | Flashes: 300,000 | Warranty: N/A

What We Love: It uses special technology to better target coarse hair. What We Don't Love: The light sensor can be a little finicky.

If you are trying to remove coarse hair, this device uses galvanic energy to open your pores, allowing the light to treat thick, stubborn hairs right at their root even more effectively. With its quartz bulb, it reloads faster, allowing for more pulses in a shorter amount of time. According to the brand, after eight treatments, you should see a 92 percent reduction in hair growth, and some shoppers say they saw amazing results in even less time. The FDA-cleared device has a built in skin sensor to prevent using unsafe levels, however, some customers say it won't flash just because it didn't get a good read of the skin. We also love how this device comes with an app that lets you keep track of your treatments and reminds you when it's time for the next one.

Type: IPL | Flashes: Unlimited | Warranty: 1 year

What We Love: This device is FDA-cleared on all skin tones. What We Don't Love: You need to buy replacement cartridges once the flashes run out.

If you have darker skin, it can be hard to find an at home laser device that won't burn your skin. But Iluminage uses elos technology, a combination of IPL and radio frequency, to safely treat a wider range of skin tones and hair colors. The device is FDA-cleared and tested on all skin tones. It has three power levels and is medium sized, so it can cover both large and small areas easily. In a clinical study, participants found that 46 percent of hair was removed after just two treatments, according to the brand. Do note that the device only comes with 120,000 flashes, and you need to purchase replacement cartridges if you want more.

Type: EOS | Flashes: 120,000 | Warranty: 1 year

What We Love: It's easy to use this laser over small areas on the face. What We Don't Love: The battery only holds a 15-minute charge.

Opt for this Tria Beauty device if you're trying to target smaller or hard-to-reach areas. It uses the same diode laser technology as the previous pick from the brand. Still, it comes in a more compact and lightweight design so you can easily target hairs on trickier areas, like the upper lip, chin, or along the bikini line. According to the brand, there are five energy levels to choose from, and you should start seeing results after about eight uses. Do keep in mind that the battery only holds a 15-minute charge, so it's best for zapping small areas quickly.

Type: Laser | Flashes: Unlimited | Warranty: 1 year

What We Love: You can laser your entire body in just 10 minutes. What We Don't Love: You need to use it more frequently than others.

While it's nice that today's devices come with so many settings and features, sometimes you want a simple design that you can use quickly. Consider SmoothSkin's Bare +, the pared down version of our Best Overall pick. You still get the brand's strong, FDA-cleared IPL technology and safety skin sensor in a compact design that delivers 100 flashes per minute, meaning you can treat your entire body in about 10 minutes. Rather than having different power and comfort levels, it just comes with two modes: stamp and glide. It does require a little more consistency than the Pure Fit (treatment every 2-4 weeks for maintenance), but if you don't mind consistent but short sessions, this is the device for you.

Type: IPL | Flashes: Unlimited | Warranty: 2 years

What We Love: The head easily rotates to reach all areas of the bikini line. What We Don't Love: The buttons are so close together you may hit both by accident.

Anyone that has tried to shave their bikini line knows it's no easy feat — it feels like you have to do gymnastics to reach all the nooks and crannies. With a head that rotates 180 degrees, this FDA-cleared device can get all the angles down there. The cooling setting is also great for treating sensitive areas and reducing any swelling or redness. The system uses the same optimal pulse technology which combines laser and IPL technology to achieve the perfect blend of energy level and wavelength. The sleek design feels good in the hands and looks as if you truly brought the salon to your home.

Type: OPT | Flashes: Unlimited | Warranty: None

What We Love: It's rechargeable and cordless, so you can use it anywhere. What We Don't Love: It doesn't come with sunglasses for the bright flashes.

Most hair removal devices require to be plugged in during use, so it's nice to have a cordless option that you can use anywhere, regardless of where the outlet is. This FDA-cleared device comes with six power levels and two heads for both larger and smaller areas. It uses IPL and a skin tone sensor to set the optimum energy level for your skin. Though it has unlimited flashes, it carries about 600 flashes between charges. It also has an automatic and manual mode.

Type: IPL | Flashes: Unlimited | Warranty: 1 year

The first factor to consider is what area you are trying to laser. Some devices are specifically made for larger surface areas, like your legs and arms, while others are made for small or curved areas, like your face and/or bikini line. If you plan to use the device all over your body, look for one that has interchangeable heads of different sizes and different modes. Automatic mode, or continuous flashes, makes it easy to target big areas quickly while manual mode offers more precision when treating smaller areas.

Most at-home devices actually use IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, rather than the lasers used at the salons. IPL tends to be weaker and less targeted than lasers. "Because at-home IPL utilizes both weaker and non-targeted energy, it is generally not as effective," says Dr. Mark McKenna, Chief Medical Officer and Founder of OVME Aesthetics. "That being said, at-home IPL may be a suitable option for those with sensitive skin or sparse hair growth." Some brands like Tria make devices with lasers so you can harness their power at home.

When it comes to choosing a device, Dr. Zeichner suggests sticking to "trusted companies who have ideally published results of clinical evaluations of the devices themselves." Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman recommends selecting an option that has FDA clearance and good customer reviews. "Don't look for a bargain or try to skimp on price because what you pay for is what you get. A more expensive device will give better results. You want one with enough power/energy and as close to an in-office laser hair removal machine as you can get," says Dr. Jaliman.

Besides FDA clearance, you may want to look for at home devices with certain safety features. "Higher quality laser hair removal devices typically feature a skin tone sensor that unlocks the device for use when the skin tone in the treatment area is identified as a tone which is safely treatable," says Dr. McKenna. "Skin contact sensors and pulse counters can also reduce user error to help keep treatments safe and consistent from one treatment to the next."

It's best to buy a device with different energy levels, so you can find the right intensity for your skin. Some devices also have a cooling feature that helps reduce pain and irritation.

"Laser hair removal is a procedure in which a beam of light is used to destroy the root of the hair follicle to permanently prevent the hair from growing back," says Dr. Zeichner. "The beam of light is selectively absorbed by the pigment cells within the hair follicle."

While these treatments are much less painful than waxing, there can be some discomfort involved. "It feels like a snapping rubber band," says Dr. Jaliman. "The more powerful the machine, the more discomfort you will feel. Some areas are more painful than others. However, it's nothing you need painkillers for." If you do feel irritation or pain, she suggests applying a cold pack to the area right after your treatment.

"At-home laser hair removal devices are not as potent as in-office ones and you will not get the same results. [But] they are safe if used properly and instructions are followed," says Dr. Jaliman. Like with any new skincare treatment, it's recommended to patch-test a small area of skin and wait to see if any complications arise. "Don't just start zapping your device when you take it out the box," she adds. "This puts you at risk of injury or even burning yourself. Treat one area at a time and don't over-treat the same area repeatedly!"

Keep in mind that laser hair removal doesn't work the same for everyone. "In general, laser and IPL hair removal devices work best when there's more contrast between the skin and the hair. The best candidates for energy-based hair removal are those with coarse or terminal dark brown or black hair and lighter skin tones," says Dr. McKenna. "Blonde, gray, or red hair lacks enough melanin needed to attract the laser's follicle destroying energy, as does hair which is ultra-fine ('peach fuzz'). Similarly, dark skin with dark hair can lack the contrast needed to heat the hair and not the skin."

Even though at home-devices tend to be weaker than salon models, Dr. McKenna says they can still cause irritation, hyperpigmentation, or even burns, especially in darker or deeply-pigmented skin. More brands are creating devices that can treat darker skin tones, though it's always best to first double check with the specific device and start with the lowest power setting. You can also consult with a professional at a salon if you aren't sure if lasers will work for your skin.

Just like with other hair removal methods, you have to take certain steps before and after lasering to get the best results. "Do not wax or pluck the hair, as you need the root in place as a target for the laser," says Dr. Zeichner. "Make sure that the skin is fully washed, removing any creams or cosmetics before using the laser."

You need to shave all areas that will be lasered a day before treatment. You also want to avoid sun exposure, including using self tanners, two weeks prior to treatments as they can make your skin darker and burn. Acid-based cleansers, peel pads, and topical retinoids can also make your skin more sensitive and should be avoided in between treatments.

After treatment, your skin might be a little irritated and red, so it's best to avoid tight clothes, hot water, and any strenuous exercise for the next couple of days. As the hair grows back, it may start to shed, which is a sign that the laser is working. You can gently exfoliate the area to speed up the shedding process.

Each device has different instructions on how often to use the laser, but it usually takes a few months of consistent use to see significant results.

While many people use lasers with the hopes of never having to shave again, there's no guarantee the treatment will remove all your hair, forever.

"Multiple factors such as hormonal changes, medications, the efficacy of the device, and whether or not the treatment regimen was consistent will affect results," says Dr. McKenna. "Touch ups, spot treatments, and even ongoing treatments can be necessary with at-home devices. But for many women, it's still better than the irritation and inconvenience of shaving, waxing, or tweezing."

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