Best laser hair removal and IPL machines to use at home in 2022



If you’re looking for a painless, long-lasting hair-removal solution, put down the razors and waxing strips and consider investing in an intense pulsed light technology device, better known as an IPL or laser-removal machine.

They’re designed to glide across the skin and destroy hair roots via energy produced by light waves and, with continuous use, hair regrowth can be reduced almost entirely. But they don’t come cheap, often costing upwards of £150.

Lasers, meanwhile, disable the pigment in hair follicles over time, by converting the laser beam into heat upon contact with skin.

Many devices on the market take just minutes to treat the face, underarms, legs and bikini line. However, for the best results you will need to be committed, as many require a 12-week treatment programme, with top-ups often necessary in the future. Your skin also needs to be as smooth as possible to get the best results, so have your razor at the ready in between treatments.

In our lengthy testing period, which spanned over three months, we measured each device by how easy it was to set up and use, any sensation felt during use, value for money, how quickly we saw results and the rate of hair regrowth.

Ahead are the eight which made the cut, and are IndyBest-approved to be worth the investment.

Home laser and IPL hair removal machine FAQs

What is IPL hair removal?

IPL stands for intense pulsed light. It’s a type of light therapy used to treat unwanted hair. It works by targeting a certain color in your skin, and the higher the contrast between your skin and hair color the better, which is why it is often said to be most effective on those with light skin and dark hair. When the skin is heated, it destroys the hair follicle to prevent the hair from growing again, without burning the skin.

What is the difference between IPL hair removal and laser hair removal?

IPL is similar to a laser treatment. However, a laser focuses just one wavelength of light on your skin, while IPL releases light of many different wavelengths. Plus, the light from IPL is more scattered and less focused than a laser. They both, however, penetrate down to the second layer of your skin (dermis) without harming the top layer (epidermis).

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Are home IPL machines safe?

The light from an IPL at-home machine is much less concentrated than salon treatments, and so they can be used safely in the comfort of your home, so long as you follow the manufacturer’s guidance.

How often can you use a home IPL machine?

It depends on the body part that you’re concentrating on. Most instruction manuals would recommend using an at-home IPL device once every four weeks in order to catch the new hair that is starting to return in its growth cycle.

For legs, it is once every eight to 12 weeks as the hair growth rate on this body area is much slower. It’s worth noting if you’re anxious to exceed these time frames, it won’t speed up hair loss – in fact, it will probably do the opposite and may also lead to irritated skin.

How do at-home IPL machines compare to salon treatments?

Home IPL devices operate at a lower intensity than those used professionally and therefore their ability to disable the hair follicle is sufficiently less than with a salon treatment. However, it goes without saying that the convenience of being able to carry out the treatments at home, in your own time, is a game changer for long-term hair removal. Plus, there is a substantial financial difference, as professional in-salon treatments tend to be very costly.

How permanent is laser hair removal?

Provided you have committed to the recommended treatment plan for an at-home laser device, which can range from weekly to fortnightly for the first 12, typically hair regrowth is dramatically reduced. The best results can be achieved over time, so it’s important to be patient, and to not expect to see no hair regrowth after your first time using a laser device.

That said, with laser hair removal, there’s no guarantee that after a treatment cycle you’ll never grow hair on the treated areas again. It depends on the individual, the area being treated (ie facial hair may grow faster than your leg hair) and things like hormone fluctuations which can cause hair to grow back. That’s why top-up treatments are recommended, if necessary.

Are there any side effects?

Laser hair removal can be painful and uncomfortable, and after treating an area, it’s possible to see redness, tenderness or blistering.

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Also, it’s often not as effective on white, blond, red, or gray hair, as these colors are unable to absorb as much of the energy needed to disable the hair follicle. While uncommon, a very rare side effect can be increased hair regrowth.

If you’re undergoing laser hair removal in a clinic, you will be informed by the administrator if your hair is not suitable for treatment, while with at-home devices, make sure to carefully read the instructions and carry out thorough research before investing.

Laser vs wax: Which hair removal method is better?

Results from laser hair removal typically last longer, but require a bigger commitment, with at-home devices often needing 12 treatments for the best results. Laser works by targeting pigment in the hair follicles– as the laser beam hits your skin, it’s converted to heat where it is absorbed by the pigments.

Over time, this heat damages the follicle at the root, which is why you eventually see reduced hair regrowth and need less treatments after the initial 12.

Waxing removes the hair from the root, and with continuous sessions, it will grow back a thinner texture. However, to get the best from waxing, depending on which part of the body you’re treating, you may need repeat treatments just weeks later.

The biggest factor is cost – laser appointments in a clinic can cost thousands for a treatment plan, while waxing, again depending on which area you’re treating, can often be less than £100. At-home laser devices don’t come cheap either, with most retailing from £150.

Ultimately, both can be effective methods of hair removal, so it depends on how much effort, time and money you’re willing to spend.

Is laser hair removal painful?

Initially yes. There’s a sharp, pinching sensation that can make you flinch, especially with the first few treatments.

As you persevere, it will become progressively less painful as there’s less hair growing back to zap.

What to consider when buying an IPL hair-removal device

  • The number of treatment heads: If you plan on using the IPL device on small areas, such as your bikini line or face, check that it comes with an attachment that can work on this size of area – it’ll be more efficient.
  • Speed: The shorter the time between flashes, the faster the treatment will be.
  • The number of flashes: This is the number of times the device can emit a flash of light – while most machines have a minimum of 100,000, once this runs out, you’ll have to replace the lamp. For some devices, you’ll be able to buy replacement heads, but others, notably the reviewed Sensica sensilight pro IPL hair removal device (£266, Currentbody.com), have an unlimited number of flashes.
  • Skin and hair colour: Not all devices are compatible with all skin and hair colors, so it’s worth making sure the IPL device you intend to buy is right for you. Similarly, keep an eye out for an automatic skintone sensor, which will mean the IPL device can detect the optimum intensity and safest settings for your skin tone.
  • Cordless or corded machine: Some IPL devices are cordless, which can make them easier to use and transport.
  • Treatment area size: Depending on the size of the area you want to treat, you’ll want to consider the size and power of your IPL device. If you’re treating a large area, such as your legs or torso, it’s best to consider a machine that is not battery powered, as it can take a while to recharge cordless models.
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The verdict: Home laser and IPL hair-removal machines

Over the course of a three-month-long testing period, the standout winner was the Bondi laser hair removal handset. Great for beginners, the time conscious or the lazy, it had a fuss-free setup and we saw fast results. It was one of the only devices we tried which included a pair of protective glasses, but it also delivered no discomfort and can be used twice a week, which sped up how fast we began to see a reduction in hair regrowth.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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