I hate to admit this in public, but I’m hairy. While that would be great if I were a manly sort of man, the bad news, in this case, is that I’m a woman. A woman with hairy arms, prickly legs and, as the years go by, even a fuzzy face. (If you could see me, you’d note that I’m blushing now.) In my family, we jokingly call it “the pelt”. All our women are endowed with fantastic heads of hair, but that also means we’re super-hairy elsewhere. Dang.
After years of waxing, bleaching, creaming, plucking, shaving, (and nicking,) my poor skin just needs a break. Maybe yours does too. I decided it was time to look into home laser hair removal because treatments at the dermatologist are crazy expensive.
How Do You Choose the Best Home Laser Hair Removal Device?
Home laser hair removal seems like a good solution, but there are lots of points to consider when choosing a device. Let’s run through some of the things you should vet, before you buy.
Price
Home laser hair removal doesn’t come cheap. These devices can cost from the hundreds to the thousands, depending on the kind of investment you’re willing to make. As you might imagine, those that are more spendy tend to get higher reviews for overall performance.
Hair Color & Skin Tone
Home lasers deliver intense light pulses (IPL) to your skin that target dark hairs and stop the follicles from producing new hair. That’s great if you only have dark hair, but lots of people don’t. In fact, most at home lasers make it clear – they simply aren’t effective for blonde, grey, white or red hair.
The good news is that you’ll find a few new additions to this list that do effectively target those hair colors, and they also work on a wider variety of skin tones. Most lasers aren’t recommended for people with medium-dark or dark complexions, however, one newer product even works for black skin, and all hair colors. That’s a major breakthrough in laser hair removal at home.
Pain Factor
Something you should know up front is that all IPL devices all involve some level of pain. Each light pulse delivers a stinging sensation, akin to a rubber band being snapped repeatedly. You’ll need to decide if you can handle 30-40 minutes of that for every treatment you do.
Eye Protection
Something I didn’t know, until now, is the importance of appropriate eye protection. Laser light pulses can be damaging to your eyes, and in fact some, (but not all) of the devices clearly state that you shouldn’t use them on your face. That may rule some devices out if you’re looking to target those sneaky little mustache and beard hairs that keep popping up.
Time Commitment
Results aren’t instant. Each of these home laser hair removal machines requires you to regularly take the time for treatments, in order to deliver the best results. Treatments involve slowly guiding your hair remover across a targeted area, such as your arms or legs, and allowing the remover to send light pulses to small sections of your skin. Some claim to be effective in just three treatments over six weeks. Others suggest the treatment time may be many months longer to get hair removal that lasts.
Nearly all of the home laser hair removal devices indicate that you will need to do maintenance treatments over the long haul, but that seems perfectly reasonable if you’re looking at a mostly hair-free future, right?
While you’re doing your initial series of treatments, and even afterward, you will have some hair regrowth. To prevent ingrown hairs that can get irritated or form lumps and bumps, I recommend doing regular exfoliation treatments with either facial scrubs and peels, as well as body scrubs for your arms and legs. There are also a wide range of new creams and lotions that help to inhibit hair regrowth between treatments.
Bringing it Together
None of the home laser hair removers I’ve found rate five stars across the board, but I have found a group of devices, at a variety of price points, that all rank three or more on a five-point scale. And now, you can even access high-end, professional machines to use at home if you’re up for a more substantial investment. Be prepared to spend a thousand dollars, or even more, on salon level machines.
If you’re ready to stop shaving, waxing and creaming away your unwanted hair, you’ll want to start zapping sooner than later. Read more about these 14 Best Home Laser Removal Devices 2018.