The 6 Best At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices

An at-home hair removal device might be the right choice if you're tired of ingrown hairs, daily plucking and shaving, or have vowed never to go through the pain of waxing again. What will make one machine the best at home laser hair removal device for you depends on your hair type, skin color, and the area you want to treat.

Most of the at home hair removal devices marked as lasers are actually IPL or intense pulse light devices. While both lasers and IPL use light to heat up the hair follicle, the type of light they emit is different, with laser emitting a more concentrated, and stronger beam. Both will slow down hair growth significantly, but generally, IPL technology will require more sessions to achieve results.

Some things you should know:

Most IPL hair removal devices have a set amount of flashes over their life span. If you're interested in treating larger areas, or know that your hair or skin type will require you to work at the lowest energy setting, you'll want a device with the most flashes.

Hair Color

Unfortunately, laser and IPL hair removal devices are not effective on all hair colors — blonde, reds, or white/gray hairs in particular are harder to target. Both types of treatments target the pigment in your hair follicle and if there’s no color, there’s nothing for the light emitted by the device to grab on to. Granted, some users with light hairs have seen results, though it takes many more sessions to see a difference.

Skin Tone

The higher the contrast between your hair and your skin color, the more effective at home laser hair removal is. Since lasers target pigment indiscriminately, including the melanin in skin, most aren’t safe to use on darker skin tones, as they might result in burns and blistering. Laser and IPL device makers use the Fitzpatrick skin types to determine who can use their product safely. The scale made up of six classifications that describe skin color and inflammatory response to sunlight. For example, Type II is described as "Fair skin. Always burns, tans with difficulty."

Most devices are marketed for skin types I-IV, though we’ve included one that is recommended for all six types.

Now that you know what to look for, find the best at-home laser hair removal device for you, below.

1. The Best Overall Laser Hair Removal Device

Skin tones: I-IV

Hair color: Black to dark blonde

Flashes: 250,000

The Philips Lumea is a good choice for anyone looking to treat multiple areas as it comes with three attachments, including one for your face and your bikini. It also has five energy settings, so you can choose to go lightly on your face or other sensitive areas. As with most IPL devices, this one is not suitable for darker skin tones, but it does have a skin tone tester that will let you know if the Lumea is safe to use. Reviewers love the optional intensity function that recommends the best level for the area being treated. You can choose between automatic and manual flash modes, the latter giving you more control as you glide the device over small areas. The Lumea comes with a two-year warranty from Philips, giving you more than enough time to assess your results.

Fans say: "The most important feature is that it works. I bought the Lumea 3 months ago, used it 5 times and experienced great results. I haven't shaved in a month and have no hair! I definitely recommend it."

2. The Best Laser For Facial Hair Removal

Skin tones: I-IV

Hair color: Black to light brown

Flashes: 65,000

This hair removal device has a power output of 24 Joules per flash, which is comparable to what you’d get in a more professional setting, like a spa. It’s also FDA-cleared for use on your body as well as your face where you are also OK using it on the sensitive upper lip region. Users report seeing a significant difference in facial hair after only one month of treatments. The iLIGHT Ultra has a skin tone tester to make sure you’re safe and and five settings so you can choose what’s most comfortable for your skin.

Fans say: "Life Changer! I have PCOS so facial hair is a real issue. Within weeks, I am hair free from my chin and upper lip. I can't say enough about how amazing this product is. I do have light/med skin with dark hair so that does make a difference. I HIGHLY recommend this product."

3. The Best For The Bikini Area

Skin tones: I-V

Hair color: Black to light brown

Flashes: 250,000

The skin sensor on this IPL device works continuously as you use it, adapting the intensity to your skin As with all IPL machines, you can only use it on freshly shaved skin and this Braun model comes with a Gillette Venus razor to help serve as a reminder. There are three energy settings and an additional gentle mode for extra-sensitive skin. Customers warn that the light is quite bright, so make sure to look away when you're hitting the flash button or consider getting a pair of safety glasses.

Fans say: "I’ve been using this product for 5 weeks now, and I’m so happy with the purchase. Full disclaimer: I’m pretty fair with dark body hair, so basically the prime candidate for the technology. I’ve been using it on my legs, underarms, and bikini, and my hair has become much thinner, and pretty patchy. The hair that is left is growing back much slower than before."

4. The Best Budget Hair Removal Device

Skin tones: I-V

Hair color: Black to light brown

Flashes: 999,999

With more flashes than a typical device in the hair removal category, this Feeke model has great longevity. Though it’s just a third of the price of most other picks on our list, this IPL machine has five energy settings and both manual and automatic modes. Though its price point is a huge plus, it does take a while to see results. Users report seeing a difference after seven or eight weeks of treatments. The device comes with protective glasses to shield your eyes from those bright flashes.

Fans say: "I already have fine and sparse hair on my legs to begin with so I figured this would work fine, and it did! It will remove black hairs, but not the fine little peach fuzz. I've only been using it for a couple weeks and I already have spots that don't seem to be growing back. [...] I'm expecting to have to do it a couple times a week for about 3 months before I can be done shaving, based on everything I read before I started shopping around. I'm happy with it, and super excited to be done with razor burn."

5. The Best Laser Hair Removal For Dark Skin Tones

Skin tones: I-VI

Hair color: Black to dark blond

Flashes: Unlimited

The Sik’n Infinity is the only device that claims to work on all six skin tones. If you have darker skin, it’s recommended that you use the device at the lower of the five settings, but have patience, it will take time to get the results you want. Customers report seeing a difference after two or three months of use. Luckily, the FDA-cleared device is rechargeable, with unlimited flashes, so it will keep working as long as you do. The device also has a skin sensor to help you determine which level is best for you.

Fans say: "Fantastic product!! This tool is sooo simple and quick to use! Have been using as directed on my underarms for a couple of months and there is def less hair growth and it is completely painless (I use setting 3), you feel a warm sensation but that is all! I’ve also had other friends use it (up to setting 5 depending on skin tone) and they absolutely love it as well! Much cheaper and way more convenient than going to a dermatologist/spa."

6. A Device For Thick, Coarse Hair

Skin tones: I-IV

Hair color: Black to light brown

Flashes: N/A

The FDA-cleared Tria laser is three times more powerful than IPL devices, making it more effective on coarse hairs other machines might miss. Tria’s laser has a smaller treatment window than other devices, which means you’ll need to put in more time to cover larger areas like legs, but you’ll likely need less sessions to see results. The laser has five energy settings and an LED screen to guide you through treatments. Though thrilled with the results, customers report the treatment being more painful than IPL and many recommend using a numbing cream with the higher settings.

Fans say: “I purchased the Tria mostly to use on the bikini area and chin. I have very coarse, fast growing hair - have to shave my legs every day. The Tria really worked for me. I did have to continue the treatments for a longer duration than the instructions say, but I could tell that it was working as the hair grew back slower and thinner each time. So if you have thicker hair, you may have to continue the treatments a little longer. It gets less painful as the hair starts to grow back thinner. So after a little bit of patience I no longer have to shave or wax my bikini area or chin! It has been almost a year and none of the hair has grown back. I highly recommend this product!”

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Studies referenced:

Ward WH, Lambreton F, Goel N, et al. Clinical Presentation and Staging of Melanoma. In: Ward WH, Farma JM, editors. Cutaneous Melanoma: Etiology and Therapy [Internet]. Brisbane (AU): Codon Publications; 2017 Dec 21. TABLE 1, Fitzpatrick Classification of Skin Types I through VI. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK481857/table/chapter6.t1/doi:10.15586/codon.cutaneousmelanoma.2017.ch6