Using laser technology to remove unwanted body hair is effective & delivers results quickly. In the past, you were required to visit a dermatologist’s clinic to have the procedure carried out since the equipment required were costly and called for specialized expertise.
Today however, there are DIY kits you can buy and use at home to remove hair just as effectively as you would at a professional’s clinic, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in the long term. We review 5 of the best home kits currently available in the market in this article.
I’ve received many emails & comments from readers asking me which device is ideal for their particular needs and condition. I realize the majority pertains to the intended area of use (face, legs, underarms etc.). So I’ve attempted to split them into two main categories and created summary reviews for each (these are shorter than those on this main page so it can also be helpful if you are short on time)
* Select The Category That Best Applies To You Below. If you are unsure whether laser hair removal is right for you, read the entire article below first.
|Most Effective||Highly Rated||Best Value for Money|
|iLight Ultra||LumaRx||Flash & Go|
|>> Read Review <<||>> Read Review <<||>> Read Review <<|
Important Facts to Keep in Mind Before Laser Treatment
A few years ago, I was like many of you, frustrated by ineffective hair removal methods and put off by the prohibitive costs of professional treatment. While I was excited by the prospects of DIY laser treatment, the feedback from others who have tried this method seems to be mixed and made me nervous. For some it appears to be nothing short of a life changer while for others…it makes them want to tear their hair out (no pun intended) and some have even gone as far as to declare this whole laser hair removal thing a scam!
Well, forget all the marketing hype and also the fear-mongering created by people who do not understand this technology. There is a science behind laser hair removal and I created this article and resource to make it as easy as possible for you to determine whether DIY laser hair removal (LHR) is right for you and if so which is the best home device that can help you maximize your results. Hopefully this will save you from walking down the path of frustration!
Let’s begin with a simple questionnaire. Take some time to answer the following before we move on to the reviews:
1. What is the color of the hair you intend to remove? *Note, if your hair has different shades along its length, use the hair color closest to the roots to make a judgment.
Does your hair color fall between light brown to black? If so, it is very likely that laser treatment will be effective.
If your hair color is red or blonde, laser treatment might still work, but it will definitely be less effective and you will take a much longer time to see results. *note: many people with blonde hair actually have darker e.g. light brown hair near the roots.
If your hair color is white or grey, DIY laser treatment will more or less be ineffective.
What if your hair color is mixed e.g. brown with patches of grey? Then your results will likely be mixed as well. However, if your intention is to remove the more visible darker colored hair then LHR could still work for you.
Now that you know how your hair color will affect the results of your treatment, let’s take a look at skin color:
2. What is your skin tone?
Is your skin tone between white to light brown? If so, most LHR systems are safe for you.
If your skin tone is medium brown or darker, most LHR systems are not safe for use on your skin. The laser energy (that is designed to target dark pigmentation) can damage your skin or cause de-pigmentation.
* UPDATE October 2015: There is a device called Iluminage Touch which appears to be suitable even for dark skin tones. Check out our review here if you have a darker skin tone
All the machines we cover below all have built in sensors to determine whether your skin tone is suitable so if you are unsure, you can engage the sensors on a test patch of skin to confirm suitability.
Alright, now that you have an idea whether LHR is right for you, here are a few more things I want you to understand before we move on to the reviews:
Final Points To Note Before Laser Treatment
DO NOT wax, epilate or otherwise undergo any other hair removal treatment that removes the hair at the roots while undergoing laser treatment: Your hair roots need to be present for laser energy to be absorbed and hit the hair follicles (the whole aim is to destroy the hair follicles). If the entire hair shaft is empty, then laser treatment simply does not work. This is a major reason why so many people that attempt DIY laser hair removal fail! Shaving is perfectly OK as the hair roots are left intact. In fact, what you should do is just to shave and clean the area before laser treatment.
DO NOT use on darker areas of skin: The skin on the genitals and anus tend to be darker and more sensitive so it is not recommended to treat those areas directly. If you have tattoos or birthmarks that are darker than surrounding skin, exercise caution and use the skin tone sensor on your device to check the area for suitability before proceeding.
The thickness of your hair may determine how fast you see results: In general, the thicker the hair you intend to treat, the faster you will see results. Thicker hair has greater surface area and contains more pigment (color) that will absorb more laser energy compared to finer hair. If you are treating fine hair, you may need to be more patient and go through more sessions to see results. * You should go for a laser-system (which is stronger) rather than an IPL-system if you are treating fine hair: check out our recommendation here
Different people WILL experience different results: We are all unique, there are so many factors that will determine what sort of results you will get. For example, the size and shape of your hair follicles, the actual color of hair at the roots vs. the tips are but just a few factors that will determine how soon you will see results.
Alright, now that you have determine whether laser treatment is right for you and how to maximize the results you are going to get, let’s help you select the right hair removal machine!
High Quality Laser Hair Removal Machines Compared
Below are 5 machines that are worthy of consideration if you are serious about hair removal. Note that all of them are FDA approved.
I have personally used 3 of them: Silk’n, Tria, & Remington, and I will talk about my experience and the pros and cons with each of the devices.
I haven’t had the chance to test the final 2 machines yet, but I chose to cover them because they are quite popular too and I have received comments and emails from readers asking about them.
My Top 2 Picks: If quality, effectiveness & long term return on investment is what you are looking for, consider the following products
1. Remington iLight Ultra
by far the most cost-effective solution for treatment of extensive areas like chest, back and the entire leg
* now also cleared for face use
- The laser head is larger than the Tria, making it ideal for treating larger areas like the legs or the back
- Unlike the Tria system (see below), you do not have to charge this device every single time you use it so it can be used for prolong time periods – users have reported using it for over 2 hours per session without issues
- IPL systems are generally less intense than laser ones, however Remington has enhanced the original iLight Pro with this Ultra version, greatly increasing its strength such that only 4 flashes are required per square inch of skin treated
- Unlike cartridge systems that offer only about 1500 flashes per cartridge, this system uses a quartz that delivers up to 65,000 flashes meaning it can last 30 times as long as the regular cartridge.
- You have to purchase a replacement quartz after using it for 65,000 flashes or so. That said, Remington estimates that 1500 flashes can deliver 2-3 full body treatments, which means that a single quartz can last you 40 full body treatments on the low end. If you conduct 2 full body treatments per month, (covering the entire body like face, arms, chest, legs etc.) it means that each quartz can last about 2 years. If you only treat parts of your body, e.g. your legs, you could easily double the lifetime to 4 years. Each replacement quartz costs about $80-$90
*Update October 2016: This model is cleared for face use and comes with a facial attachment specially designed for use on the face. Check out the link below for details .
- Even though this is an enhanced IPL machine, some users still find its strength to be less than that of a laser based one. This means that you may need to be more patient and wait a couple more sessions to see significant results.
What do consumers have to say about the Remington Ultra?
Most users saw effective results with this system, even though some have commented that they needed more time with this (compared with salon laser sessions) to see the results coming. Perhaps because this is an IPL rather than a laser system, there were fewer complains about pain or discomfort that we find were more common with laser treatment. That said, some consumers sensitive to pain or using it on sensitive areas still found it beneficial to use the device in conjunction with a numbing cream or gel.
Cost & Maintenance
The official cost of this machine is $469. Even with extremely intense use, e.g. 3 full body sessions per month, you would only need to replace the quartz once in two years. For the average user, a single quartz would most probably cover a normal lifetime use of the product. A replacement quartz retails for $80-$90.
*Check out the brand new iLight Ultra, FDA cleared for face & body use below.
2. Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X
I used this device to spot treat some of my problem areas with stubborn hair growth like my underarms. I find it great for areas that require precision like the face, underarms and bikini area; strong enough to remove even fine hairs. So far I’ve been hair free for about 6 months in these problem areas after using the device for about 4 months
- Lasting results: A clinical study of 79 subjects found a 70% average hair count decrease after the second treatment. In the same study, it was found that 3 treatments were all that was required to see a stable decrease in hair count over the next 12 months
- Does not require cartridge replacement unlike other machines
- Built in skin tone sensor to ascertain suitability
- Ultra-portable cordless design & the small laser head makes it ideal to treat delicate areas or areas with contours like above the upper lip, underarm and bikini areas
- Some consumers find the laser head a little small for larger parts of the body like the legs, making those parts somewhat more time consuming to treat
- The device does not operate when being charged using the power adapter. This means that when used on the highest power setting, it can operate for a maximum of 40 minutes before requiring recharging
- This device is designed to last for 90,000 flashes. There is no replacement cartridge that can be purchased to extend its life after that and some consumers prefer a device whose life can be extended indefinitely. However, to put things in perspective, other models that come with replacement cartridges typically last only 1,500 flashes per cartridge. If you do the math, at an average of $30 per replacement cartridge, it would be way more expensive to buy replacement cartridges to obtain the same 90,000 flashes Tria delivers! To be more specific, it is estimated that you need 3000 flashes for 2 full body sessions. This means that 90,000 flashes can give you about 60 full body sessions. This translates to a lifespan of two and a half years if you do 2 full body sessions per month, and much longer if you only treat certain parts your body (for example if you only treat your legs, this device could potentially last you five years).
What do consumers who have used this device have to say?
Most users who followed the recommended treatment schedule found this device effective and many see results just after the first session. The main gripes consumers have with this product is the small laser head which translates into a longer treatment times for larger areas like the legs and the back.
Cost & Maintenance
On online stores it sells at anywhere from $450 to $600. The main justification for the higher price tag is that the Tria system does not require replaceable laser cartridges meaning that it will cost virtually nothing for maintenance in the long run.
Budget friendly, decent results: the following are products you can consider if a lower price point product that still delivers decent results is what you are looking for
3. Silk’n Flash & Go
This was the very first device that I used and I’m loving it up to this day. I like that it has a very straightforward point-and-shoot design and the treatment window (4 cm2) is sized such that it is convenient for treating both smaller areas (upper lip etc.) and larger areas like the legs.
As this device uses pulse light technology rather than laser, it is virtually painless compared to professional treatment. The only drawback I found was that it takes a longer time to see results compared to laser systems so I had to be more patient. But I guess I shouldn’t be complaining given that this thing costs less than $200 and has already saved me thousands of dollars worth of professional treatment! At the end of the first 8 weeks of treatment, I saw an 80% reduction in hair growth in the areas that were treated.
- Budget friendly: you can pick it up for a little less than $200 (see link below)
- Can be used both on the face (below the cheeks) & body
- Virtually painless compared to laser systems
- Versatile: can be used for both face (below cheeks) and body treatment
- Models purchased after 2014 comes with an upgraded 5000-flashes cartridge (1000 previously) that can provide 5 to 6 full body treatments
- Takes a longer time to see results compared to laser
- Maintenance treatment may be required for areas with stubborn hair growth
VERDICT: This system is very versatile and provides excellent value for money. It is especially great if you are new to laser treatment and don’t want to spend too much on an expensive system, but still want something that can deliver good results.
* If you are looking to purchase a refill cartridge for the Flash & Go, I recommend purchasing the Long Life Upgrade Kit Cartridge rather than the regular cartridges. The long life cartridge contains 120,000 flashes that equates to more than 100 full body sessions and will last you a long long time. Much more value for money than the regular cartridge that only has 1000 flashes! (check out link below)
4. BellaLite By Silk’n
- Suitable for use by both men and women
- Uses state-of-the-art Home Pulsed Light (HPL) technology to guarantee effective removal of hair
- Comes with three laser lamp catridges (1 preinstalled and 2 as replacements)
- Designed to cover a substantially large treatment spot. As such, it is one of the fastest devices you can use to remove hair at home, you need less than half an hour to treat the entire length of your leg for instance.
- Compared to laser technology, pulsed light is somewhat gentler, and it generally requires more sessions to achieve the same results as compared to a laser based machine
How effective is it? What do users think?
The Bellalite is fairly well loved by both ordinary users and dermatological experts as an ideal system for getting rid of hair at home. It is especially considered effective in getting rid of facial hair on the underarms. What is more, the product reportedly works well across all demographics with users of different ethnic backgrounds, both men and women reporting that they were delighted with how the system produced discernible results.
Some of the rare complaints about the Bellalite have been either owing to what users consider its stinging pain when in use. Others have also complained that the device seemed ineffective unless they first of all completely shaved off the skin areas they intended to treat.
Cost and Maintenance
The Bellalite costs between $240 and $250 on different online stores selling the product. Since it comes with two spare disposable cartridges, the device can be used for up to 6 months without need to run into any maintenance costs. Its longevity is aided by the fact that it has been designed to cover a larger skin area than your typical system would and therefore each treatment uses much less power.
>>CLICK HERE to Check the Latest Testimonials & Offers on the Bellalite <<
5. Silk’n SN-002 SensEpil All-Over Handheld Device
- The SensEpil follows FDA approved technology to ensure virtually pain-free way to get rid of unwanted hair
- Designed for quick setup and application in removing hair
- New improved design ensures greater effectiveness as well as ease of use
- Product comes with a single lamp cartridge and instructional How-To DVD
- Not suitable for use by people with dark skin or light colored hair
How Effective is it?
Users who fit the correct user profile recommended by the manufacturers (light skin and dark hair) invariably report consistently encouraging results. Within a year of use, many report that hair reduction of up to 75% especially for those seeking to get rid of hair in the upper legs and bikini area.
Most of the dissatisfaction with the SensEpil have been about users who find the laser cartridges very short-lived. Considering that the system is usually packaged without spare cartridges, the costs can be considerably high.
Cost and Maintenance
The SensEpil is one of the cheapest, yet considerably effective home hair removal machines money can buy. Selling at $200 or less online sounds like a great bargain. The downside of it is that the system does not come with a spare laser cartridge and within a couple of months you will have to order a replacement if you want to continue with the treatment.
>>CLICK HERE to Browse Comparison, Reviews & Latest Promotions for the SensEpil <<
Other Laser Hair Removal Machines To Consider
If you are not concerned by the higher initial investment, and looking to treat specific spots of your body or face (e.g. upper lip, underarms), the Tria offers the greatest precision and effectiveness in our opinion.
However, if you are looking to treat larger areas of your body like your legs and back, then you should consider the Remington or Bellalite system instead, which offers much greater convenience and affordability for prolonged treatment of larger areas.