If you intend to remove hair mainly on your body (especially larger areas like the back, chest & legs), other than safety & the intensity of the pulses, two other important considerations are 1. the size of the treatment window & 2. how often you need to purchase replacement cartridges.
These factors become increasingly important the larger the area you intend to treat. A larger treatment window (simply the size of the treatment head) means you need less flashes (and less time) to cover the same area of skin. Similarly, cartridges that contain a larger number of flashes means you need to replace them less frequently (or even not need to replace them at all if you are satisfied with your results and decide to cease treatment before they run out). A cheap machine can turn out to be more costly a couple of months down the road if you need to constantly buy replacement cartridges.
1. Remington iLIGHT ULTRA With Lifetime Cartridge
If you’ve read my main article, you would know that the Remington IPL6000 is one of my top picks for body hair removal, given it’s generous treatment window. Well, now Remington has finally released a model that is FDA cleared for facial hair removal (for female facial hair) with a facial treatment attachment included. What’s more, this new model includes a 65,000 flashes lifetime cartridge meaning there is no need for replacement cartridges anymore!
Among intense pulse light (IPL) systems, the iLight Pro series is one of the most powerful, capable of delivering up 7-8 J/cm2 of light energy. It also has a fairly large treatment head making it convenient to treat larger areas. If you are looking to remove hair from larger areas like the chest, legs and back, we strongly recommend this machine as it provides the best balance between power, cost and efficiency.
- One of the strongest IPL hair removal machines available
- Capable of permanent hair removal
- Large treatment window of 3 cm2
- No need to purchase replacement cartridge as a lifetime cartridge comes included with the system
- Facial treatment cap included
- FDA cleared
- Initial cost of $469 required to purchase this machine (but this is offset by the long lifetime of this system which will pay for itself in a few months compared to other systems that require you to constantly purchase replacement cartridges )
- With IPL systems, it may take a little longer to see results, as compared to professional laser treatments. Even though the advertisements say that results can be seen in as fast as 3 treatments, based on my experience with IPL systems, I would say that 6 to 8 sessions would give you a better gauge of the results. Also remember that hair grows in different phases and the pulse light only targets those hairs in the active phase, so consistent treatment over an extended period of time gives you the best chance of good results.
VERDICT: This is the perfect system if you are looking at removing hair on the body (including legs, chest, arms etc), but also want to use it on the facial area. The high pulse intensity, large treatment head and low ongoing maintenance costs makes this an overall excellent value for money product.
2. LumaRx Full Body IPL Hair Removal Device
I was introduced to this device by my close friend Lisa who owns a spa and actually uses this on her clients. While I have personally used the Tria 4X & the Remington IPL6000 devices and find them effective, I believe the LumaRX combines the advantages of those 2 devices into 1 device which is pretty impressive! This is a relatively new product so I guess its manufacturer has really taken the time to come up with this device based on the pros & cons of existing devices in the market.
- Just like the Tria 4X, this device is FDA cleared for use on body hair, as well as female facial hair (at-home laser hair removal devices are generally not suitable for use on male facial hair as I’ve explained in the main article)
- It comes with a 65,000 flash cartridge. Although the Tria 4x comes with 90,000 flashes, its cartridge is non-replaceable which means that the device is basically dead once the flashes have been used up. On the other hand, the LumaRX can be reloaded when it’s cartridge has been expended. But to put things in perspective, 65,000 flashes is more than a year’s worth of full body treatment sessions for a single user, so it should be more than adequate for the average user if used effectively
- Like the Remington IPL6000 series (2 cm2), the LumaRX has a relatively large-sized treatment head (3 cm2 ) which makes it easy to treat larger parts of the body like the legs and chest. But where LumaRX has really upped the game is it’s inclusion of a ‘facial cap’ that can be capped onto the treatment window when you want to treat smaller, delicate & contoured areas like the chin and above the upper lip.
- The only possible disadvantage I see with this device is that being an IPL device, it has a lower power (7-8 J/cm2 ) compared to laser devices like the Tria 4X (9-22 J/cm2). However the manufacturer of LumaRX also claims that it has perfected the wavelength settings such that it can penetrate deep into the hair roots effectively despite the lower power, and that results can be seen within 3 sessions. That said, based on my personal experience with IPL systems, I would still recommend following through consistently with treatments for 6 to 8 sessions before evaluating whether the system is working for you. This is because hair grows in different phases and treating them consistently over a period of time gives you the best chance of targeting the hair roots when they are in the right phase.
VERDICT: This is a well designed device that combines the advantages and addresses the shortcomings of existing devices in the market. It is clearly designed and also priced to compete with other premium laser hair removal devices like the Tria 4X & the Remington iLight Pro Plus series.
* Update July 2017: LumaRX is selling at $75 off on Amazon, check out the link below for details
3. Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X
This is the device that helped me become hair free on problem areas like the bikini line, underarms and upper lip. The 4X device that delivers true laser hair removal as it uses actual laser technology compared to most devices today that use pulse light technology. Generally, laser is stronger than pulse light, so what this means is that it gives you the best chance of removing stubborn hair (especially fine hair that IPL systems typically are less effective in treating) similar to what you’d experience in a salon.
- No need for replacement cartridges – hassle free
- Designed for long term results (as compared to lower energy devices)
- Built in sensor tells you whether your skin tone is suitable
- Treatment head is very streamlined which makes it easy to access finer parts of the body which may be more difficult to access using other systems
- Portability, ergonomic design & digital display makes it extremely user friendly
- FDA cleared
- Due to the power of the device, slight pain may be experienced at the highest levels (4 & 5) especially for sensitive areas and the use of a numbing cream might be required
- Higher initial cost (up to $600) compared with other systems. However, this system can sometimes be purchased at $400+ with offers & discounts (check out link below)
VERDICT: This is a powerful device (go easy with the intensity settings initially) that can be used effectively on both the face and the body. If you intend to treat the face, neck, underarms, bikini line or any area that requires precision, but also want to remove body hair (e.g. legs) at the same time, then this is the perfect device for you.
4. Iluminage Touch Permanent Hair Reduction System
The biggest draw for this machine is that unlike other systems, it is suitable for individuals of both light and dark skin tones! This breakthrough is possible because it uses a combination of IPL & RF (radio frequency) technology.
* Note: we have not personally tested this device on darker skin tones, its suitability is based on manufacturer guidelines as well as user reviews (see link below)
This device can be used on both the face (areas below the cheeks only) and the body.
- Larger treatment window makes it convenient to treat larger areas like the legs and the back
- Comes with a 120, 000 pulse cartridge – that’s up to a few years of regular use
- Can be used even for darker skin tones
- Not as powerful as laser devices (up to 9 J/cm2 compared with Tria’s 7-22 J/cm2)
- Relatively expensive – retail price is $449
VERDICT: This is an excellent product especially if you have darker skin and have been excluded from using traditional laser and IPL treatment. This versatile system is designed for both face and body use. Its larger treatment area also makes it great for treating larger areas of the body like the chest, legs and back. Even though it has a relatively high asking price, we still think it is great value for money considering how long it can be used without having to purchase a replacement cartridge.
5. Remington IPL6000USA I-Light Pro
- Can be purchased for $190 to $230 depending on discounts (check out link below)
- Replacement cartridges can be purchased for less than $30 and each one can last 1500 flashes (enough for 3 full body treatments)
- Built in sensor to determine if skin tone is suitable for treatment
- FDA cleared
- A weaker system compared to the iLight Pro Plus model
- Results lasts up to 6 months (according to manufacturer) and constant maintenance treatment required
- May take a longer time to start seeing results due to the lower pulse intensity
- Need to purchase replacement cartridges when they are expended
VERDICT: This is an entry level system that is good for the occasional treatment of light hair growth – e.g. it can serve as an excellent alternative to the constant shaving of the underarms. However, if you are looking for more permanent results or desire to treat heavier hair growth, then iLight Pro Plus Quartz model would be more effective.
6. Silk’n BellaLite
The greatest draw of this system is its large treatment head of 6 cm2. What this means is you can cover an area many times faster than other systems (the legs can be treated in as little as 30 minutes). However this is offset by its lower energy intensity of up to 5 J/cm2 and the need to purchase replacement cartridges.
- Can sometimes be purchased for under $200 (check the link below)
- Large treatment window makes treating extensive areas on the body a breeze
- FDA cleared
- Lower maximum energy means that results may come slower for areas with more stubborn hair growth
- Comes with 3 cartridges that covers 3 full body treatments – they need to be replaced once they have been expended (cost of a replacement 3-pack of cartridges is about $100)
VERDICT: This is a good entry level system if you are put off by the higher upfront costs of other devices. If you are thinking of treating light hair growth over extensive parts of the body then this system may be adequate as it requires less treatment time per session. However, if you are treating areas with denser or stronger hair growth then the other systems would probably be more effective and economical in the long run.