Call us lazy, but after experiencing the many pitfalls of shaving and waxing (ingrown hairs, redness, irritation, and speedy re-growth), we’re contemplating alternative methods of hair removal this spring. And since professional laser hair removal isn't the most budget-friendly option (initial sessions can cost upwards of £200), we're looking at the next best thing: at-home laser hair removal gadgets.
We'd like to add though, that body hair is a completely natural, normal, wonderful thing, and you should absolutely not feel compelled to remove it if you don't want to—it's a personal choice. But if you're into the idea of laser hair removal, and you're a little freaked about the idea of doing it at home, we've got you covered. Here we tell you everything you need to know about at-home hair removal.
There Are Two Types of Technologies, Laser and IPL, What's The Difference?
IPL and laser hair removal are both long-term procedures for reducing hair growth. They work in similar ways, and can both be very effective. In addition to preventing hairs from re-growing, both treatment methods can significantly reduce the growth speed of remaining hairs, as well as hair thickness.
Laser and IPL hair removal both work on the same principle. That is that light energy is absorbed by areas of high pigment such as hairs, which are therefore heated up. The heat damages the follicle, slowing hair growth and even preventing it completely. The main difference between IPL and laser hair removal devices is the light source used. IPL uses broad-spectrum visible light whereas laser hair removal utilises the properties of a laser.
How Does IPL Hair Removal Work?
IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light and uses a source of broad-spectrum, visible light. This light is specially controlled to remove shorter wavelengths and devised to target specific structures. In hair removal, it is designed to target the melanin pigment in the hairs, while in other uses such as the treatment of spider vein it targets the hemoglobin in the blood. The light energy is absorbed, transferring as heat energy which warms the hair, causing damage to the follicle.
Benefits Of IPL Hair Removal
As broad-spectrum light naturally spreads out, the coverage of IPL hair removal devices is greater than laser hair removal devices. It, therefore, may mean that treatment times may be quicker because larger areas can be treated at once. As well as treatment times being quicker, they may also be considerably cheaper, but you may find that you need more sessions to achieve the same results.
IPL uses a broad spectrum of light, which means it can have different uses. It can be used to treat a variety of different skin conditions very successfully. It can also be altered specifically to match different skin and hair types within a treatment type. For example, a variation of IPL called VPL, which stands for Variable Pulsed Light, has been developed. VPL enables the user to modify the settings of the light pulses to best suit the skin and hair they are aiming to treat. This is because the developers recognise that not only do different skin tones have different requirements for light-based hair removal devices and also that thick, course bikini line hair will require different treatment to thinner arm hair.
How to prep for IPL Hair removal
Exfoliating before your IPL treatments is the best way to remove dead skin cells that may block the light energy penetrating beneath the skin.
You'll need to shave the area you want to treat. We would recommend a wet shave using a high quality razor.
Tips for using an IPL device
Set a reminder on your phone to remember to carry out your weekly treatments. As your hair grows in different stages, you need to regularly treat your body for the first initial period to make sure all of the hair follicles are stunted.
Moisturise after your treatments to rehydrate your skin. Use a moisturiser or body oil to keep your skin soft and supple.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser hair removal also uses the ability to heat hairs and damage follicles by blasting them with light energy. However, it is slightly different to IPL in that is utilises the specific properties that lasers possess. Lasers can be extremely controlled so that they can be focused into a small area and travel a large distance without spreading out like light normally would. They can also produce beams that only contain one colour of light. These characteristics of lasers can, therefore, be utilised for the benefit of laser hair removal. The laser can travel deeper down into the pore, giving a concentrated blast of light to the follicle, and can therefore be more specific in the treatment it gives.
Benefits Of Laser Hair Removal
The nature of lasers means that laser hair removal devices can focus light down into the pores of the skin, getting closer to the follicle to treat it and ultimately prevent regrowth. This can mean that laser hair removal can achieve much quicker results than IPL because single hairs are heated to damaging temperatures quicker. Therefore, you may need fewer treatments of laser hair removal to achieve the same results.
Being more specific also means that laser hair removal can be more suited to people who have darker skin. This is because darker skin also absorbs more light than paler skin due to the amount of melanin (pigment) it contains, like darker hairs absorb more light than paler hairs. Therefore, there is a risk that the darker skin can be heated up. The nature of lasers being more focused, smaller areas of light mean that they are more suited to treating people with darker skin because they greatly reduce the risk of burning compared to IPL. Having said that, some IPL systems are still suitable to be used on darker skin.
Does Laser or IPL Hurt?
For Laser it varies per user. Users can control the intensity of the Diode Laser. On the higher settings, some users might feel the sensation of a rubber band snapping against the skin or a warm pricking feeling, while others report no discomfort. For IPL, once again, it varies per user. Because IPL uses various wavelengths in each pulse and also diffuses on the skin surrounding the hair follicle, some users may feel an increased level of discomfort.
Who is At-Home Hair Removal Suitable For?
It's important to make sure using IPL or laser devices is safe for you and your skin type. You can find out more about working this out from visiting our post on the Fitzpatrick skin type scale. The ideal combination for many of these devices is dark hair and fair skin. Many do not work if your skin is dark or hair is light (blonde, grey, white or red). Be sure to read the handbooks thoroughly as they detail all instructions, including where you can and can’t use the machines.
The Best IPL Devices
SmoothSkin Pure is the strongest IPL device on the market, boasting 14 energy settings and emitting 130 flashes per minute for quick and effortless silky smooth results.
Choose from 3 treatment modes to tailor your treatments to you. Power Mode provides the highest intensity, which is perfect for treating stubborn areas like the bikini line or underarms. Speed Mode enables you to quickly treat large surface areas, such as the legs or body. Select Gentle Mode for areas that are more sensitive, the device still completes an effective treatment but at a more comfortable, lower energy output.
SmoothSkin Pure automatically scans the treatment area to select the best light intensity for your skin tone, giving you long-lasting salon-standard results without compromising on safety. With unlimited flashes and a built-in UV filter, this device holds enough power to last for a lifetime's worth of treatments.
Suitable for use on the legs, face, underarms and bikini line, you can expect to see results in as little as 12 weeks. Plus you'll only need to complete top up treatments every 4-8 weeks, meaning you can replace your regular shaving routine completely.
We're so confident that you'll love the results after using your SmoothSkin device that we offer a 90 day money back guarantee.
Designed to fit into a busy schedule, treat your entire body in 10 minutes with this ultrafast IPL hair removal device. SmoothSkin Bare+ emits 100 flashes a minute for quick and effective treatments.
Achieve silky smooth skin in a super fast time and see visible results in as little as 4 weeks. Plus you'll only need to go for 2-4 weeks between top up treatments - goodbye daily shaving routine.
Philips Lumea uses Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology to stunt hair regrowth. Gentle light pulsations target the hair follicle at different stages of the growth cycle to ensure permanent hair reduction.
This salon-standard technology has been channelled into a simple, handheld device to make it easy to use at home. The built-in SmartSkin sensor tells you the best setting to use for your skin type.
It's a complete solution that is ready to use straight away, without needing to purchase refill cartridges or gels.
Silk'n build on the world-renowned HPL technology with Galvanic Energy and Optical Energy. These energies combine to give you a more efficient hair removal solution. Working together with 5 different energy levels, they open the skin pores and allow the light to reach the hair follicles without pain, irritation or ingrown hairs.
This means that you can remove your hair up to twice as fast, and even do a full-body treatment in less than 20 minutes. With 400,000 light pulses, you don't have to worry about cartridge refills either.
The Silk'n Infinity is suitable for all skin tones, including the darkest skin colours and almost all hair colours. That includes redheads, blondes, and greys. It also has a unique built-in Skin Colour Sensor, which stops the device from emitting a strong light pulse if your skin tone is too dark. The clever safety mechanism means that light can only emit upon contact to your skin.
IPL is one of the best known methods of hair reduction used in hair removal devices all over the world. Sensica take this technology one step further by combining Intense Pulsed Light technology with unique sensors to give us RPL.
These sensors are constantly reacting to your skin's specific needs to ensure a safe, fast and effective hair removal treatment. With safety in mind, these sensors will automatically disable the treatment if your skin tone is too dark or you are too tanned.
RPL works by delivering light pulses to the hair follicles and the light energy is absorbed by the melanin found in the hair shift, generating heat and coagulating the follicle. The clinically-proven technology helps reduce the hair growth with little effort.
Simply shave the treatment area before you start, select one of the three energy levels, and follow the treatment plan recommended for the area you want to treat, and voilà!
Get in touch with our product experts today for personalised advice.