You can do whatever you want with your body hair. Leave it there or go bare. It’s totally up to you, and you alone. But if you’re in favor of removing it, the repeated task can get a little tedious.
Plus, shaving and waxing can cause irritation. Oh yeah, and we’re in the middle of a pandemic. So you might be wary of salon appointments right now — that is if your salon is even open for appointments.
A salon is where the magic happens, aka laser hair removal to tackle your fur. Salon-grade laser hair removal works by using light to heat up and destroy the hair follicle over the course of several treatments so that the hair doesn’t grow back. The good news is, you can also do this at home.
For safety reasons, at-home laser hair removal devices use less power or energy. This is to make sure most people can use these devices, however this doesn’t mean these products are free of risk. Skin damage and scarring is possible, especially if there’s not enough contrast between your hair color and skin color.
And for clarity’s sake, instead of a laser, most at-home devices actually use intense pulsated light (IPL). This may only damage, rather than destroy, the hair follicle, which means you might need more treatments to get a downy-free result.
The good news is that once you buy an at-home laser hair removal device, it’s yours. No more shelling out the cash for waxes — which are also an ouch to the wallet. And you can ditch the razor too.
We narrowed our selections down to gadgets and gizmos with positive reviews and found a variety of options to fit your budget and your specific hair removal needs, whether you’re going bald on your landing strip or your big toe.
- $ = under $100
- $$ = $150–$200
- $$$ = over $200
Best for: budget considerations
Although most at-home laser hair removal tools are cheaper than one salon session, they’re still not kindest to your bank balance.
The Beamia, however, is one of the more affordable options on the market. With its reasonable price tag, you might think it lacks function, but the Beamia has more than 1k mostly positive reviews.
And with 999,999 flashes, you’ll never need a replacement bulb cartridge, even if you’re doing full-body treatments. One downside is that it may not be as effective if your body hair is on the thicker side, users report.
Best for: professional-like results
The first thing you might notice about the BoSidin is how sleek it looks — a plus if you have to keep it on your bathroom counter. It also comes with a pre-cooling plate that preps your skin to the optimal temperature before treatment for a pain-free session.
The BoSidin offers a one-step process, and uses a rotating head so that you can treat hard-to-reach spots. The use of optimal pulse technology to enhance intensity while reducing irritation provides results that are closer to what you might get with a salon visit.
One downside is that users report that the device doesn’t come with much in the way of instructions.
Best for: easy or lazy use
The MiSMON takes the rocket science out of DIY. One user writes, “I love the fact you can choose the levels and to adjust it to your own pain level and need. Key words: easy to use!!”
Part of that ease comes with the LCD screen that shows the energy level and the number of flashes you’ve applied, meaning you won’t go overkill on one spot. This device is ergonomically shaped, so it’s easy to grip and great for any place that requires a reach.
Best for: coarse hair
The Imene 500,000 uses 12 to 18 joules, a higher energy output that will go to battle against coarser hair. One reviewer writes, “Not only did this work so well on my legs and underarms but I tried it on my husband’s back and he is thrilled!”
The 500,000 indicates the number of flashes. So for this device, you probably won’t ever need a replacement lamp, even if your S.O. borrows it. Users do report it takes time to see results, however, especially if you have thicker hair.
Best for: legs
There’s always that one spot on your knee you accidentally miss while shaving. So if you’re going for total hair removal on your gams, you need a device that can accommodate all those contours.
The Braun Silk Expert Pro 3 has a precision head that will work well around knees, ankles, and calves. Plus, it comes with a Venus razor for the shave you’ll need to do prior to treatment.
You should be able to zap the hairs on both legs in under 10 minutes, which is great since you’ll need repeated sessions to get wool-free results.
Best for: face or bikini
Hair removal on some body parts, like on your booty crack for example, requires a more compact device. The Tria Hair Laser Precision is petite and ergonomically designed for getting into those nether-region nooks and crannies or for whisking away the whiskers on your upper lip.
But because of its smaller treatment plate and short battery life, it’s not the best solution if you’re going for a full-body hair banishing sesh.
Here are the main factors to consider when choosing an at-home laser hair removal device.
Your skin and hair color combo matters
Most at-home devices are listed with a skin and hair color chart. Before buying a device, check the chart to make sure the gadget will work for you. The light from IPL is absorbed by the hair’s pigment (melanin), and the heat is what damages the hair follicle.
If there isn’t enough contrast between hair color and skin color, it’s possible for the skin to absorb the light, which could result in skin damage.
Folks with darker skin tones may see increased skin sensitivity and/or burning. And lighter colored hair may not absorb the light as well, making treatments less effective. Additionally, most devices are not recommended for use over tattoos.
Consider where you’re removing the hair. If you’re going for a fuzz-free lower back, for example, you need a device that allows you to reach the area safely.
One that’s shaped like a mini hair dryer, like the BoSidin, should do the trick. And if you’re aiming for a fleece-less upper lip, you’ll want a device with a smaller treatment head, like the Tria, which offers more precision.
At-home laser hair removal isn’t necessarily painful, but you will feel a slight sting. If you have super sensitive skin, you may want a device like the BoSidin that cools the area during treatment to minimize irritation.
Depending on the coarseness, amount, or color of hair, you may not see the hairless results you want with at-home gear. As we mentioned earlier, the at-home products are not lasers per se. You may see a reduction in growth but not a complete removal.
- Follow instructions. Each at-home laser hair removal device works a little differently. Read the instructions carefully, and give yourself a refresher before each treatment session.
- Set up a schedule. Most areas will require multiple treatments over the course of a few months to achieve that hair-free feel. And you may need a few maintenance sessions after that. You’ll get the best results if you stick to the schedule suggested in your device’s instructions.
- Prep the skin. Most devices work best on clean-shaven — not waxed — skin that doesn’t have any lotion or oils on it. But follow the directions for your gadget.
- Wear protective eyewear. Some devices come with dark safety glasses to protect your peepers from the light. Or you can always grab a pair of sunglasses if the instructions recommend wearing them.
At-home laser hair removal is a safe and effective way to slow and lessen hair growth and, over time, even permanently stop stubble or fuzz from coming in. DIY devices range in price, but most are still more affordable than what you’d pay for salon lasering — or say, a year of waxing.
Expect to do multiple treatments, likely over the course of a few months, to halt hair regrowth for good. Of course, you don’t have to do anything with your body hair if you don’t want to.
At-home laser hair removal is just another option for your hair-removal arsenal if you’re in the going-bare camp.