We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (2024)

We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (1)

Body hair… love it or hate it, tending to it lasts a lifetime. For those in the latter camp, join us in our journey to uncover the best at-home laser hair removal devices so we can be silky smooth for far longer than shaving.Now, permanently removing hair from your body is no easy feat. “Hair grows in cycles and not all hairs are in the same stage of growth at the same time,” says board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Divya Shokeen. Additionally, not every skin tone or hair color is a candidate for at-home devices. In those cases, waxing kits or hair removal creams may be a safer DIY bet.

Multiple treatments over the course of several weeks are necessary to stop or slow down the hair growth cycle. We individually tested 13 devices to see which ones earned top ratings for ease of use, low-pain experience, and hair reduction after 12 weeks, then consulted four board-certified dermatologists to answer our burning q's on laser hair removal.

TLDR: At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices

We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (2)

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The inclusion of accessories impressed us right off the bat with this device. Inside the box, we found a razor, razor case, protective glasses with a leather case, leather travel case for the device, and a power cord and power box. While using the device, we not only noticed how easy it was to maneuver around the desired areas, but also how it didn’t bother our skin surface at all — no welts, burns, scars, or texture changes were detected.

The first two intensity settings were hardly noticeable, but the third level gave a faint zapping sensation. Level four was more uncomfortable, similar to someone snapping a tiny rubber band against skin. The fifth had the same snap, but was much more intense. However, thanks to the “refrigerated chip” on the applicator and the cool sensation it provided, our skin remained comfortable and never felt too warm.Finally, when it came to results, we saw a strong reduction in the thickness and speed of hair growth in the third and fourth weeks. While we loved this device, we can unfortunately only recommend it to those with darker hair and lighter skin. If you scroll down the product page, the brand provides you with a chart describing which skin and hair types are best for this device.

Results: 4 weeks | FDA Approved: Yes | Intensity Levels: 5 | Hair Type: Dark | Body Area: All | Flashes: N/A

We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (4)

Out of the seven settings, we were recommended by the brand to use the two most intense options, and we found that the sixth setting (the second highest setting) was equally as effective as the seventh (the highest). The large laser area makes it tricky to reach tight precision spots — this device isn’t really for delicacy, but for boldness and speed.We did feel a light zap every once in a while, but it was very minimal and not bothersome. In just about 15 minutes, we had finished zapping both legs. Throw in the armpits too, and that added about five more minutes.

After using it twice a week during the testing period, we could see solid improvement by the second week. We chalked up its surprising speediness to the fact that our hair is dark but thin (a laser hair removal device’s dream hair type).And as a surprise bonus, we noticed the scars on our legs getting a little lighter in color as well. For a device under $200, we’re pleased to report how effective it is.The low price point also helped us overlook that the device is built for efficiency and does not include additional accessories.

FDA Approved: Yes | Intensity Levels: 7 | Hair Type: Dark | Body Area: All | Flashes: 600k

  • We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (6)

  • We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (7)

While the compact size is travel-friendly; it’s also quite effective. It comes with an exfoliating glove, to prep our skin 24 hours before the treatment. Unlike the previous two options, this one has three different modes in addition to six intensity settings. Each mode is designed for a specific body part. The “stamp” mode was intended to treat the bikini lines and armpits, delivering pulses with each click. On the other hand, we used the “glide” mode for our arms since we could go over our arm in one long stroke without needing to repeatedly press any buttons. Our legs got the “auto” mode treatment, which powers on when the device touches the skin and stays on until you remove it.

We found our more sensitive areas couldn’t handle more than the third intensity (and we even consider ourselves to have a high pain tolerance). Still, we saw the biggest difference on our arms. Our armpits, however, took much longer, likely due to the thicker hair follicles in that area. Despite the occasional discomfort, no marks or redness were left on the skin. After 12 weeks, hair growth had significantly slowed down.Our only disappointment was the shape of the device. We would have preferred a handle with an hourglass shape or one with ridges to prevent slipping.

FDA Approved: Yes | Intensity Levels: 6 | Hair Type: Dark | Body Area: Any | Flashes: 900k

Best for Lighter Hair

Iluminage Home Permanent Hair Removal System

We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (9)

Laser hair removal devices tend to play favorites with dark hair. That’s because the laser targets the melanin within dark hair to slow down growth. We were skeptical about this brand’s claim that it can target light hairs, but we can confirm it did reduce hair thickness and new growth on our lighter body hair. Although an electric razor (epilator) was included with the kit, it was difficult to use and the manual wasn’t as helpful as we hoped, so we just used our regular razor.

Even so, it must be said that laser hair removal devices will always work better on dark hair. After lasering our legs once a week at its highest intensity level (three), our hair began to grow back slower and in patches, and continued to dwindle as the weeks went on.Don’t expect to throw your razor away after 12 weeks, as it did not completely remove our body hair, but we're hopeful that with continued use we'll see further results. And as an added bonus, we experienced no pain during the sessions.

FDA Approved: Yes | Intensity Levels: 3 | Hair Type: All | Body Area: Any | Flashes: 300k

  • We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (10)

  • We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (11)

Best for Sensitive Skin

Silk'n Infinity Hair Removal Device

We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (12)

If you have sensitive skin, we totally get the concern about using a heated laser anywhere on the body (and we recommend consulting your doctor for any skin-specific concerns). To our surprise, this device triggered neither redness or sensitivity, so we ramped it up and found that only the highest setting (setting number five) caused some kind of warm feeling, but it was far from uncomfortable or irritating.

The device itself is rather large, but still lightweight. Our arms didn’t get tired from holding it during our sessions at all. Thanks to the two modes glide and pulse, we were able to treat our selected areas with care and precision. We used the glide for larger surface areas and the pulse for bikini lines.It took a little longer to see results with this one, probably because the directions recommended using the laser only once every two weeks. At week five, we noticed our hair grew in much slower and thinner than before. The price of this device is roughly the same price as one clinical visit for a treatment. That makes the near-infinite uses you get out of this a great value.

FDA-Approved: No | Intensity Levels: 5 | Hair Type: All | Body Area: Any | Flashes: N/A

  • We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (13)

  • We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (14)

Best for Beginners

Jovs Venus Pro II

We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (15)

The true stand-out feature was the rotating head, which made it a complete breeze to reach small areas. The second best detail are the six modes and each has a different purpose: One for arms, underarms, bikini, legs, face, and even skin rejuvenation. These very clear modes eliminated the guessing game as to which setting we needed to use. There is also a cool setting, which helped soothe each area and reduce irritation…which leads us to our only con. We felt little hot flashes on our armpits specifically, but it is a tender area to begin with, and it wasn’t significant enough to really bother us. The area is small, so we got through it quickly, although it remained red for a few minutes after.

Ironically, the armpit is also the area where we saw the most progress after four weeks. The manual requested that we use it only once a week at first, then increase it to two to three times a week. After 12 weeks, we saw much thinner and slow-to-grow hair.The package came with a razor and goggles, which we also took full advantage of.

FDA Approved: Yes | Intensity Levels: 6 | Hair Type: Dark, some shades of blonde | Body Area: Any | Flashes: Unlimited

We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (16)

If you're prone to bumps on your bikini line, laser hair removal is a viable alternative to bikini waxes. We loved this device for its compact size and lightweight nature, making it easy to glide or pulse (depending on the setting you choose) over the bikini area. This mini sized version is a little less intense than their full-size one, and therefore, much friendlier on sensitive areas. And true to its word, we felt no pain.

While using this device, we had to make sure that the front panel of the device was facing us at all times so we could see whether the white light illuminated, indicating contact with hair follicles. Because it left no marks, stings, or redness, it was otherwise impossible to detect whether or not the laser was in use. We loved this feature for the bikini line specifically, but got tedious for larger areas, like the leg. It took a solid five weeks for us to see results. On our legs, there were some very clear bare patches. However, we saw no change in density or speed for the hair that did continue to grow. After 12 weeks, the skin was fairly evened out, with only minimal stray, stubborn bits of hair standing their ground.

FDA Approved: Yes | Intensity Levels: 2 | Hair Type: Dark to dirty blonde | Body Area: All | Flashes: Unlimited

  • We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (18)

  • We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (19)

What We Learned About Laser Hair Removal

  • Hair Color: Laser hair removal devices work by targeting the melanin in the hair follicles and damaging the socket that holds the hair, thereby stunting growth, explains double board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brendan Camp. For this to work, there needs to be a contrast between the skin color and the hair color, making these treatments most effective for light to medium skin tones and dark hair. Bad news for redheads: Red hair also does not have enough pigment to be effectively targeted by the laser. Some devices claim to work on light hair colors but they may take longer to see results, or you may get not get the level of hair reduction you were hoping for.
  • Skin Color: Those with darker skin (in this case, 4 or above on the Fitzpatrick scale) should seek out a professional to treat their hair removal. “Individuals with darker skin tones can still seek out laser hair removal but must go to someone with experience treating skin of color because there is a higher risk of getting burned by the laser if the wrong laser, or wrong settings are used,” says board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon Dr. Dustin Portela.The Nd:YAG lasers can be used on all skin colors.
  • Time to Results: “Laser hair removal typically requires several sessions to achieve optimal results, as hair grows in cycles and not all hairs are in the same stage of growth at the same time. The number of sessions required can vary depending on individual skin and hair characteristics, as well as the area being treated. Most brands recommend weekly or bi-weekly treatments for six months to get a good sense of your results.
  • Pain: How painful we found the process was dependent on our individual tolerance as well as the device's intensity settings. Some testers with a high pain tolerance found their device to just feel warm, whereas other testers likened the process to repeated rubber band snaps. Whether the pain is worth it is up to you, the hair reduction results were incentive enough for us to fight the burn.
  • PCOS: A common side effect of polycystic ovarian syndrome is excess hair growth. The hair is often thick, coarse, dark, and shows up on the face, chest, and back. Laser hair removal for those with PCOS is an effective treatment method, however, be aware you may require more sessions due to its density and increased number of hairs.

What to Keep in Mind

  • Intensity Settings: Generally speaking, the higher the intensity, the more effective the treatment. However, an intense setting typically makes skin more vulnerable to pain or irritation.Devices with six or seven settings give you a little more options along the spectrum to choose from.
  • Modes: The variety of “modes” refers to how the laser’s lights are distributed. The stamp mode is ideal for smaller surface areas and distributes lasers only when you press the button. A glide mode is ideal as it can slide over larger surfaces, making the whole process a lot smoother, faster, and less likely to miss a spot. The auto mode zaps on so long as it makes contact with the skin, and can be glided over the surface in a similar fashion.
  • Price: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, in-office laser hair removal takes two to six sessions spaced four to weeks apart. The latest statistics show, on average, in-office laser hair removal costs $582 per session, per the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The devices on our list range from $189 to $449. The difference in price stems from size of the device, number of flashes, as well as additional accessories, like goggles or epilators included.

Your Questions, Answered

How long laser does hair removal last?

Is it permanent? Is it temporary? How long must I go on being hairy? All valid questions and Dr. Portela has some answers. “For most people who undergo laser hair removal, the results will last for years,” he says. “Occasionally some hair will grow back after some time but it is usually much less noticeable than before your treatment.”

However, “At-home laser hair removal devices are far less powerful than those used in a professional setting,” says Dr. Shokeen. “This means that it may take much longer to achieve the same results, and the results may not be as consistent.” In the end, celebrity cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank sets expectations by saying “the goal to permanently remove hair to 100 percent is usually unrealistic. Most patients require four to seven treatments to get 85 percent or greater hair reduction.”

Is laser hair removal safe?

At-home laser hair removal is safe for many people. As mentioned above, those with darker skin tones should seek a dermatologist before using any of the mentioned devices. Because the laser targets melanin, there’s a chance you can experience burning if done incorrectly. For other skin tones: you might notice some zapping and a light burning sensation, but this is to be expected. However Dr. Camp warns that “if not used according to instructions, at-home lasers can be associated with redness, blisters, burns, and discoloration.” If this happens, seek a doctor.

How should I prep my skin for laser hair removal?

You have to shave the treatment area prior to exposure, says Dr. Camp. “Hair sticking above the skin will absorb the energy of the laser, making the treatment less effective and increasing the chances of skin burn.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Shokeen says that even after treatment, “it’s important to keep the treated area clean and hydrated.” She also advises avoiding “harsh soaps or scrubs, as this can irritate the skin.”Remember that your skin has just been repeatedly zapped, and is in a vulnerable, sensitive state. “Avoid exposing the treated area to direct sunlight or tanning beds,” says Dr. Shokeen.

Why Shop With Us

Bianca Kratky is a commerce writer at InStyle, with over two years of experience covering the best fashion and beauty finds. In order to write this article, she dove deep into the experiences of the testers, speaking with them individually for further insights, and delivered their findings into this article. She also spoke with several highly regarded dermatologists, including Dr. Dustin Portela, Dr. Divya Shokeen, Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, and Dr. Brendan Camp, on the safety and efficacy of laser hair removal.

We Tested a Dozen At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices—These 7 Gave Us the Best Results (2024)


Are at-home laser hair removal devices effective? ›

At-home laser hair removal is a viable option for unwanted hair maintenance, but it's not always effective and doesn't guarantee long-lasting results. If you want a laser treatment, you should only trust the professionals who can provide safer and more effective hair removal results.

What is the most effective laser hair removal machine? ›

The Best Technology AND The Best Machine
  • Alexandrite laser: Alexandrite lasers are very effective at removing dark hair on light skin. ...
  • Nd:YAG laser: Nd:YAG lasers are safe for all skin tones, and they are effective at removing both light and dark hair.

Which laser hair removal works best? ›

Laser hair removal is most effective for people who have light skin and dark hair, but it can be successfully used on all skin types.

How to get the best results with at-home laser hair removal? ›

Expert Tips for At-Home Laser Hair Removal
  1. Consider Your Skin Tone & Hair Color. Lighter skin with dark hair performs best for laser hair removal. ...
  2. Don't Forget a Patch Test. As a best practice, Dr. ...
  3. Never Pluck or Wax. ...
  4. Start With Clean Skin. ...
  5. Take Your Time. ...
  6. Prepare for Some Discomfort. ...
  7. Maintenance Is Key. ...
  8. Avoid These Areas.
Aug 18, 2020

What are the downsides of at-home laser hair removal? ›

When using at-home laser treatments, more treatments will be necessary because the energy from your at-home device uses a lower energy.” Also, keep in mind that while long-lasting, at-home laser hair removal treatments aren't considered to be permanent.

What is the least painful laser hair removal machine? ›

The reason our Soprano ICE laser hair removal machine can give you a pain free laser hair removal experience is because of the technology built in to the applicator tip. The tip, which remains in constant contact with your skin, reads -3 degrees Celsius at all times.

What is the number one laser hair removal product? ›

If you have light hair and are looking for the best at-home laser hair removal device, we found that the Iluminage Touch was effective on light hair.

Is there something better than laser hair removal? ›

Electrolysis is considered a more permanent solution than laser hair removal (it stops hair growth completely while laser hair removal slows and reduces hair growth), but it requires more individual sessions (closer to 14), and the sessions can take longer. You might not see full results for nearly 18 months.

What is the smoothest hair removal method? ›

Epilating: mess-free and long-lasting

Its unique ceramic discs remove even the finest hairs – even those four times shorter than waxing. The skin stays smooth for two to three weeks, so stubble is only visible for a short time between treatments.

What is the strongest hair removal? ›

IPL technology is the longest-lasting hair removal method that can be safely performed at home. For a less expensive and time-consuming option, you can try waxing or hair removal creams that last longer than shaving. The best epilators also typically create results that last longer than shaving.

How can I remove unwanted hair permanently at home? ›

There is no way to remove hair permanently at home. However, it may be possible to permanently or semipermanently reduce hair growth. According to one study , intense pulsed light (IPL) devices designed for at-home use are safe, and if a person uses them regularly, they are effective for hair removal.

What are the 3 types of lasers for hair removal? ›

There are various kinds, including diode, alexandrite, and Nd:YAG. “The diode laser is the Mercedes-Benz of all lasers,” says Fusco.

What is the best home laser hair removal for dark skin? ›

The Iluminage Touch laser is the only FDA-approved permanent hair reduction laser for at-home use on all skin tones, including the most rich skin. No other at-home hair removal device is approved or safe for darker skin tones.

What's the difference between at-home and professional laser hair removal? ›

Number of Treatment Sessions

Professional laser hair removal achieves 95%+ hair removal within 7-9 sessions. In contrast, many at-home laser devices max out at 70% removal after 3 months of consistent use, necessitating more frequent maintenance sessions.

How long does it take for at-home laser hair removal to work? ›

Once the hair starts to fall off, you won't have to worry about hair removal for a long time. Regardless, it can take three to six months for at-home laser hair removal results to show. So, it is important to keep calm and not get frustrated and forgo the treatment because you can't see results immediately.

Is home IPL better than laser hair removal? ›

These wavelengths are delivered in continuous, consecutive pulses—resembling the effect of a camera flash. This is the technology that can be most commonly found in home use hair removal devices use for achieving long-term hair removal. While effective, IPL does not give the same lasting results that laser provides.

What happens if you do home laser hair removal too often? ›

If you treat the area in every 2 weeks, you are simply treating too soon and essentially just shooting heat against the skin, but not destroying anything. So you should definitely not to laser in every 2 weeks. Not mention undergoing laser too frequently can lead to skin irritation, burns, or other complications.

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