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Your ultimate guide to my favorite DIY hair removal method. Needle Free Mesotherapy
When it comes to at-home hair removal, there’s no shortage of options on the market, between traditional razors, hair-removal waxes, hair-removal creams, and laser-hair removal devices. Yet, with each method, there seems to be some drawback, be it pain, expense, the imminent return of hair, or the need to let your hair grow out in between sessions. But there’s one approach that seems to have fewer negatives than the rest: at-home IPL hair removal.
If the term IPL (intense pulsed light) sounds familiar, that may be because it’s often used to improve the texture and tone of skin, but this broad-spectrum light therapy has also been shown to reduce hair growth long-term. By targeting the melanin found in hair follicles, IPL destroys the root and prevents regrowth, all in a simple and fairly painless manner. And the best part? You can do IPL from the comfort of your couch, thanks to a variety of easy-to-use devices designed for at-home use.
To help you find the IPL hair removal device that’s right for you, I've narrowed it down to the 12 best options (with the help of board-certified dermatologist Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD), all of which are sure to deliver effective, long-lasting, and safe hair removal at home. But first:
Now keep reading for the full list of the 12 best IPL hair removal devices along with everything you need to know about shopping for a new device and safely using it at home.
One of the most beloved at-home IPL devices on the market, SmoothSkin delivers noticeable results, even after just one use. It uses a special sensor to not only detect your skin color to apply the correct amount of intensity but also to ensure the device is held properly against your skin. It has three levels of comfort, so you can adjust accordingly for different parts of your body, depending on the sensitivity level.
THE REVIEW: “I saw results within just a couple of weeks, particularly in my underarm area, and I no longer have to shave there at all,” writes one tester.
This device combines IPL with radiofrequency waves to reduce hair growth long-term, and unlike many other options, it’s built to be safe for every skin tone. It’s also thought to be the best device for tougher-to-manuever areas, including the face. “The system comes with the hair reduction head, a shaver head for trimming down treatment areas before treating, as well as a precision adapter for targeting smaller areas,” Dr. Mraz Robinson says. “It’s a comprehensive system that is safe for treating all skin tones.” While the device is on the pricier end, it boasts unlimited pulses, so you can use it for years without needing to replace it.
THE REVIEW: "I have had this product for several weeks and I've already noticed a reduction in the thickness of my leg hair,” says one reviewer. “It does hurt for a brief moment, but it is worth it for the long-term smooth legs.”
If you have absolutely no threshold for pain, this is the IPL device for you. It uses cooling technology to keep the head at a comfortable temp so the pinching sensation that often comes with each pulse is totally mitigated. The JOVS Venus Pro also has a rotating head that moves 180 degrees, so it’s sure to reach every area, no matter how small or angled. Also cool: It has a skin rejuvenation mode that helps boost collagen and elastin production, resulting in smoother, firmer skin.
THE REVIEW: “I like that this IPL hair reduction device is useable on darker skin tones and has an added skin rejuvenation mode,” one reviewer notes. “The touch display on the side for selecting the different body part modes is clear and the cooling feature makes the treatment relatively pain-free.”
As with most things, consistency is key for IPL, but as we all know, life doesn’t stop simply because we need to keep up our hair removal practices. That’s what makes the Nood Flasher so great: it’s lightweight and compact enough to take with you anywhere. The device also includes seven intensity levels, and although it comes with a precise 600,000 flashes, the brand will replace it if ever you run out.
THE REVIEW: “This has been so easy to use, and nearly pain free—even on the highest setting," reads one review. "I love how the design isn't big or bulky either–I can take it with me and use it anywhere."
Conair’s Lumilisse features a continuous mode, so you can seamlessly glide across large areas, like your legs, without having to stop. It also comes with two heads—one for the body and one for the face—and uses a sensor to ensure the device is in full contact with skin before it flashes.
THE REVIEW: "This device is incredible...I never imagined it possible to permanently remove hair at home, but this has done it,” one tester writes, adding “I've permanently ditched my razors and waxes.”
Don’t let the cute color and petite size of this IPL device fool you; it’s unexpectedly powerful. With noticeable results after just a few weeks, Lumi is pain-free, safe, and gentle, and includes 900,000 flashes. The size is perfect for treating smaller areas, like your face, bikini line, and armpits.
THE REVIEW: “I was worried about taking the plunge with a device like this since I've never used one of these before,” writes a tester, adding "but eight weeks in, I'm glad I did!”
This is not only one of the most effective IPL hair removal options out there, but it's also one of the most affordable. The budget-friendly device is suitable for all areas of the body and offers an auto mode for continuous flash and a manual mode for ‘á la carte’ flashes.
THE REVIEW: “I was nervous about buying this because it seemed a little too good to be true, considering how low the price is for what you are getting and how good the reviews are,” one tester writes. “I'm happy to say that I've had this product one month and it has significantly reduced my unwanted hair.”
The big claim to fame with this device from Braun is how quickly it can get the job done. The brand says it takes just 10 minutes to treat both legs, and many reviewers agree. “The system also comes equipped with a variety of head pieces for treating larger areas like the legs and prevision beds for chin, face and bikini area,” Dr. Mraz Robinson explains. “And it’s cleared for use on all hair color and on skin tones ranging from light to medium dark.”
THE REVIEW: “This is a great hair removal kit that comes with everything you need to work on almost every part of your body,” one tester writes. "I love how quickly and efficiently it works too."
Kenzzi’s popular IPL device is said to be one of the fastest treatments around, and we’re betting that’s because it’s such a painless experience. With cooling technology to reduce the temperature of skin on the surface, flashes are completely tolerable, making treatment easy as can be.
THE REVIEW: “I'm really happy with this device so far, and if I keep seeing results, I'm going to be thrilled with the fact that I won't have to shave any more,” reads one review. “My hair is grower back slower and finer and the device itself is basically painless to use too."
Like SmoothSkin’s other IPL devices, the Bare+ uses a built-in sensor to detect skin tone, but as a more compact device, it’s great for smaller treatment areas, especially the face. It’s super simple and has intuitive use, but because it’s smaller, it does take slightly longer to complete treatment.
THE REVIEW: “I'm new to at-home IPL hair removal and this device has made it SO easy to complete my treatments," writes one tester. "It's simple, compact, and isn't as painful as some of the other hair removal methods I've tried."
Unlike some other IPL devices, the Silk’n Infinity boasts inclusive technology that ensures a safe experience for all skin tones. The built-in safety sensor won't allow the device to flash if your skin tone or hair color isn't compatible with the device to prevent burning and scarring. It also has five energy levels, unlimited flashes, and is super compact.
THE REVIEW: "I'm a Black woman with dark hair so I was nervous to try this device, but as the weeks and treatments have progressed, I have noticed my arm and leg hairs growing back thinner and slower,” reads a review.
This IPL device from Sensica is said to deliver professional-level results, meaning you could save a lot of money by opting for this at-home device. It uses sensors to detect skin color and ensure proper placement against skin, so it’s one of the safest options out there. Plus, it’s one of the few devices that doesn’t have a cord, so you can remove hair wherever you choose.
THE REVIEW: "This device is a piece of cake to use," reads a review. "I love that it's cordless so I can use it wherever and it's honestly painless too."
Although many IPL devices advertise permanent hair removal, this often isn’t the case. “I like to refer to IPL as hair reduction rather than removal,” says Dr. Mraz Robinson. “But through a series of treatments, most patients can see about a 60 to 80 percent reduction in hair in the treatment area.”
That said, many users require a touch up treatment once or twice a year to maintain results, even though any hair that returns will likely be lighter and less coarse than before.
The truth is it depends. For some, the convenience and affordability of an at-home IPL device makes it the best option around, and they may see all the results they need. For others, IPL may come up short when compared to in-office laser hair removal, especially since it’s a less intense treatment.
“There are several in-office lasers for permanently removing hair, which include alexandrite, IPL, diode and nd: yag,” Dr. Mraz Robinson explains. “The gold standard wave lengths for laser hair removal are Alexandrite and Nd: Yag, however, there are comparative studies illustrating that IPL can achieve similar results in specific patients.”
Since IPL requires full skin contact, the pubic area can be tricky (and potentially unsafe) to treat, so Dr. Mraz Robinson advises erring on the side of caution. “Given the topography of the pubic area, it is no go in my opinion,” she says. “Specifically, if you’re treating at home, I would not treat the area with IPL yourself.”
When determining which IPL device is best for you, Dr. Mraz Robinson recommends thinking about the way you’ll use it. “The top consideration should be the size and shape of the device based on the area(s) you’re looking to treat, the number of flashes, the power of the unit, and your skin type,” she notes.
“You also need to research if the device you’re considering is compatible with your skin tone," says Dr. Mraz Robinson. "Most are manufactured for lighter skin and patients with deeper skin tones can experience burning and scarring if they use the wrong device.” Lastly, she warns that if you have melasma, IPL is not for you, as the heat and light from the device can make discoloration significantly worse.
7 In 1 Microdermabrasion Gabby Shacknai is a New York City-based journalist with years of experience researching, writing, and editing beauty and wellness stories. Gabby is an authority in all hair removal categories, but is an expert when it comes to IPL devices. She works with the industry’s top dermatologists to assess new products, brands, and technologies.