Plus, advice from dermatologists on how to use them most effectively.

By Rebecca Carhart
Updated Oct 21, 2020 @ 3:45 pm
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Finding the right hair removal method can be a process. If you find waxing too painful and shaving too time-consuming, laser hair removal might be just what you are looking for. Not only does the treatment take little effort, but it’s also the only hair removal process that will give you permanent results.

Getting laser hair removal done professionally can be quite costly and may not be an option for many of us, but there are several at-home devices that are more affordable and still effective for zapping off hair. The thought of lasering your face or body may sound scary, so we talked to two dermatologists to get the scoop on everything you need to know about at-home laser hair removal devices.

What Is Laser Hair Removal?

“Laser hair removal is a procedure in which a beam of light is used to destroy the root of the hair follicle to permanently prevent the hair from growing back.” said NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. “The beam of light is selectively absorbed by the pigment cells within the hair follicle.”

While these treatments are much less painful than waxing, there can be some discomfort involved. “It feels like a snapping rubber band,” said dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman. “The more powerful the machine the more discomfort you will feel. Some areas are more painful than others. However, it’s nothing you need pain killers for.” If you do feel irritation or pain, she suggests applying a cold pack to the area right after your treatment.

Keep in mind that laser hair removal doesn’t work the same for everyone. “The lasers are best in treating people who have dark hair and light skin. Unfortunately, the lasers are not effective in treating gray, white, or light hair,” said Dr. Zeichner. “Be aware that at-home laser hair removals are not recommended for all skin tones. Check with the company before you purchase it,” added Dr. Jaliman.

Is At-Home Laser Hair Removal Safe?

“At-home laser hair removal devices are not as potent as in-office ones and you will not get the same results. [But] they are safe if used properly and instructions are followed,” said Dr. Jaliman. Like with any new skincare treatment, it's recommended to patch-test a small area of skin and wait to see if any complications arise. “Don’t just start zapping your device when you take it out the box,” she added. “This puts you at risk of injury or even burning yourself. Treat one area at a time and don’t over-treat the same area repeatedly!”

When it comes to choosing a device, Dr. Zeichner suggests sticking to “trusted companies who have ideally published results of clinical evaluations of the devices themselves,” while Dr. Jaliman recommends selecting an option that has FDA approval and good customer reviews. “Don’t look for a bargain or try to skimp on price because what you pay for is what you get. A more expensive device will give better results. You want one with enough power/energy and as close to an in-office laser hair removal machine as you can get,” she said.

How to Use These Devices Effectively

As for how to use these handy gadgets most efficiently, Dr. Zeichner said, “do not wax or pluck the hair, as you need the root in place as a target for the laser. Make sure that the skin is fully washed, removing any creams or cosmetics before using the laser.”

“Don’t laser the skin if you are tan,” he added. “Extra pigment in the skin can confuse the laser beam targeting it to the skin rather than the hair follicle. This can result in inflammation, dark spots, or light spots in the skin.”

Ready to try one for yourself? With these dermatologist guidelines in mind, we found ten top-rated devices available to buy online that customers say really work.

These are the best at-home laser hair removal devices to shop now:

Best Overall: Remington iLight Ultra Face & Body At-Home IPL Hair Removal System

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This Remington laser hair removal system has hundreds of positive reviews for a reason. Not only does the brand promise that you will see up to 94 percent hair reduction in as little as three treatments, but it also comes with two different-sized treatment caps for both the body and the face — so you can remove hair from head to toe with the same machine. It even comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee. “I have been super impressed with how well this works,” wrote one shopper. “I started seeing my hair think after one use. I'm SO excited to not have to worry about my bikini line this summer! Recommend for sure.”

Shop now: $247; amazon.com

Best Dermatologist Pick: Tria 4X Beauty Hair Removal Laser

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Dr. Zeichner recommends this Tria Hair Removal Laser because “it uses diode technology, which is the same that is used in the office. The energy, however, is lower so it can safely be used at home.” The FDA-approved device has a smaller laser cap that targets hair follicles more precisely and uses less intense light emissions so it won’t bother your eyes. “This works so well,” raved one customer. “I’ve used it for six weeks and more than 75 percent of the hair is gone. Highly recommend. I found waxing to be much more uncomfortable. So by that comparison, as it’s permanent, it’s 100 percent win.”

Shop now: $449; amazon.com

Best for Coarse Hair: Silk’n Flash & Go Express Hair Removal Device

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Nordstrom shoppers love this handheld option from Silk’n. The device’s powerful lasers target the root of the hair follicles to prevent them from growing back. The easy-to-use laser system has five intensity settings and leaves your skin smooth and bump-free quickly. “After my first treatment, I noticed less hair growth. It does take a few treatments to see full results, but it's worth it,” said one reviewer. “After 3-4 treatments I noticed SIGNIFICANT results. The process is super easy and painless. It's nice that the flash covers a large area compared to other similar products. So it doesn't take as long. Also, it's much less painful and costly compared to waxing!”

Shop now: $299; nordstrom.com

Best for Body: Braun Silk Expert Pro3 Permanent Hair Removal System

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The Braun Silk Expert System uses intense pulsed light (IPL) that has been clinically tested to be a safe and efficient at-home hair removal treatment. Not only does the device work quickly (you can treat both legs in just nine minutes), but it also comes equipped with over 300,000 flashes, which equals out to an average of 16 years worth of treatments. “It's only been a few weeks and already my body hair is getting more sparse,” wrote one shopper. “It doesn't hurt at all and the laser knows when it's already been over an area so you don't go over it again. I absolutely love this product!”

Shop now: $250; target.com

Best Cooling Option: Sedengu Ice Laser Hair Removal Device

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If you’re looking for a cooling option, consider the Sedengu Ice Laser Hair Removal Device. The handheld gadget is designed with IPL technology to help deliver salon-quality removal at home. Customers rave about its built-in cooling system that helps shrink pores and soothe skin during treatments, as well as how it targets hair follicles painlessly and efficiently. “This one works so well,” wrote one customer. “I was so tired of shaving and waxing because my hair grows so fast. I spent over 200 dollars to get my underarm done by a hair laser spa store, but their whole leg price was too expensive for me. So I was looking for something that was less expensive and professional. I can tell that this product works the same as when you go to the store. My legs became smoother after the first try. I am going to use this for my arms too. Highly recommend it to everyone who wants to save money and is tired of waxing themselves.”

Shop now: $143; amazon.com

Best for Face: Artlof Laser Hair Removal System

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Most options on this list cost upwards of $300, so if you are looking for a slightly more affordable option, consider the Artlof Laser Hair Remover. Besides boasting an IPL system that is equipped with 999,999 flashes, the handheld device also comes with protective glasses to keep your eyes safe during treatments. One happy shopper wrote, “My wife LOVES this hair removal tool; she is using it on her legs and she has seen fantastic results in a short amount of time. The display is super easy to read and the tool is easy to use. Highly recommend this hair removal tool!”

Shop now: $86; amazon.com

Best for Face: Imene Laser Hair Remover

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While the Imene Laser Hair Remover can technically work on both facial and body hair, its compact laser cap lets you target hair follicles more precisely on smaller areas like your face. Each device is programmed with 500,000 flashes of light, which are enough to do a hair removal process on your entire body nine to 11 times. The device is FDA-approved and comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee. “Very well made product,” wrote one shopper. “It was very easy to use and felt comfortable in my hand. I used primarily on my face but started also using on legs a couple days ago. It definitely worked for facial hair so I have good hopes for the rest of the body hair.”

Shop now: $200; amazon.com

Best-Rated: Fasbury IPL Laser Hair Remover

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With over 4,300 five-star reviews, this device by Fasbury is one of the most popular laser hair removers on Amazon — and it’s easy to see why. It uses IPL technology to target hair and prevent future growth, and it can be used on both facial and body hair. There are five energy levels to choose from, and each device will provide 999,999 flashes in its lifetime. “This product is high quality and works extremely well,” raved one reviewer. “ I have used other hair removal products in the past, and this is by far the best I’ve ever used. It delivers long lasting results and is so easy to use.”

Shop now: $90; amazon.com

Best for Different Skin Tones: Silk’n Infinity Laser Hair Remover

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While many at-home laser removal systems don’t work well on light hair follicles and dark skin, this Silk’n option is specially designed to work on different skin tones. According to the brand, after eight treatments with the handy device, you should see a 92 percent reduction in hair growth, and some shoppers say they saw amazing results in even less time. “After three months, I honestly did notice that the side that I was using it on did have less hair growth from many follicles,” said one customer. “The process does not hurt (I did work my way up to intensity four (still can’t do five or it is a bit painful) but level four works well for my armpits. Overall,this is cheaper and easier than going into a salon every two weeks to have it done professionally and yes, I have seen results.”

Shop now: $399; amazon.com

Easiest to Use: Mismon Laser Hair Removal Device

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If you’re nervous about burning yourself with an at-home laser removal device, Amazon shoppers recommend this easy-to-use gadget from Mismon. Not only is it FDA-approved, but it also comes with simple instructions and pre-programmed settings that let you safely target hair follicles with just the push of a button. “I was a bit intimidated by this system at first so it stayed in the box for a couple of weeks,” wrote one reviewer. “Once I finally began using it, it was simple. Start on the lowest setting and go higher as tolerated. I started with my legs and can now say I am nearly hair free! The instructions are easy to follow and the process for each session does not take long at all. Beats going for expensive laser treatments any day.” 

Shop now: $190; amazon.com