Are you fed up with waxing and tweezing? Are you ready to confidently wear a bikini without trying to cover up unsightly ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and irritated skin? Say hello to at-home laser hair removal. The following 5 hair removal products offer permanent solutions to unwanted hair at a fraction of the cost of professional treatments.
Are you a candidate?
The systems described below use intense pulsed light (IPL), a common hair removal procedure that typically utilizes a hand-held, high-powered flashgun to deliver repeated pulses of light to the skin – most often in the spectral range of 400-1200nm.
Because IPL treatments work by targeting melanin, those with dark hair will experience the best results. Traditionally, this form of hair removal has been ineffective on blondes and other light colors.
That being said, the light energy must be able to move through the skin in order to damage the hair follicle at its root. If an IPL machine is not able to distinguish hair from skin, it can cause burns. This is why tan and dark-skinned individuals are advised not to use IPL products.
The perfect candidate has fair skin and dark hair – but if this isn’t you, don’t worry. There is one machine that claims to work for all skin and hair colors.
One IPL treatment will not product the results you need, and that’s because not all of your hairs grow at the same time. In order to zap every single one of them, you’ll need between 8-10 treatments. Considering the fact that a single professional treatment could cost $1,000 or more, there is really no reason to choose professional treatment over an at-home device.
Keep reading to learn more about at-home solutions and 5 products that could change your life forever!
LumaRx IPL Hair Removal Device (Full Body)
FDA-cleared for the permanent reduction of facial and body hair, the LumaRx features 65,000 flashes (per replaceable cartridge) and a 3cm x 3cm treatment window (bigger than nearly all competitors).
LumaRx comes with two treatment caps – one for face and one for body. The face setting features a 4-second flash speed and the body setting utilizes a 3-second flash speed.
The LumaRx system delivers professional results on all areas of the body (including underarms and bikini line) and is a perfect option for those needing intensive treatments.
Suggested use is once every 2 weeks – adding up to 3 treatments per month. After that, continue maintenance as needed. Remember, IPL treatment is not really permanent. Regrowth will continue at a slower rate.
The LumaRx hair removal machine should be used only by men and women with light to medium skin tones. A built-in skin sensor prevents the device from operating on skin that is too dark, but users can still suffer burns if they are not careful.
Because the light energy targets dark pigment, this machine works best on individuals with black or dark brown hair. It is less effective on dark blondes and red heads, and not at all effective on blonde, gray, or white hair.
The manufacturer boasts that just 3 treatments (in 1 month) will slow regrowth by up to 94%. Reviewers note that it takes a little longer – 2 months or more. But with continued treatment, you will see a significant decrease in unwanted hair.
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Shannon reported “thin and spotty” regrowth after 2 months of treatment. “It’s not at all like what it was before. I can go a full week – sometimes 2 – without noticing any regrowth on my legs!” Shannon cautions users to be careful around dark moles and tattoos; the device can and will burn dark skin.
LumaRx has helped both men and women achieve flawless skin. And while it was designed for both sexes, it’s important to note that it cannot be used on men’s faces.
Jack, a white adult with black hair, purchased the LumaRx to get rid of his unruly chest hair. He noticed no difference after his first treatment, but noticed a surprising 40% decrease after his second treatment. “Hairs that grow back can be tweezed with little to no resistance,” he writes. After his third treatment, Jack was happy to see an 80% reduction in regrowth.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it typically is,” says Jack. “But not this time! If you are looking for a permanent solution, this is a great choice.”
Laser hair removal can be painful. Users reported a hot sensation during use on most areas and a feeling comparable to a “rubber band snapping against the skin” during use on sensitive areas like the armpits.
LumaRx weighs 4.6 pounds, operates while plugged in (no recharging necessary), and can be purchased for $449.99 on Amazon.
LumaRx IPL Hair Removal Device (Mini)
A smaller version of the product reviewed above, the LumaRX Mini was designed to offer professional hair removal results at home. Just like its bigger sister, the Mini is FDA approved for use on the body (male & female) and for female facial hair.
Its handheld design is idea for small areas like the face, bikini line, and underarms. The expectations and treatment suggestions are identical to the other LumaRx device.
LumaRx machines utilize light energy at a wavelength able to penetrate through the skin to your roots. The energy level is spaced across a long pulse length, which makes LumaRx machines some of the most effective on the market.
A study conducted by the manufacturer found a 94.3% reduction in hair after just 3 treatments. A year later, with no further treatments, those same participants showed a 66% reduction.
Features that distinguish the Mini from the full-sized LumaRx:
- Small flash window (1.4cm x 1.4cm) for precision
- 5-second flash speed
- Each replaceable cartridge contains 6,000 flashes
- 7 pounds
- $379.99 on Amazon
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
Due to its tiny size, the Mini is not practical for use on the arms and legs.
“A miracle for my face!” writes Amanda O. “This device is super easy to use on small areas like the upper lip.” Amanda followed the recommended treatment period of 1 session every 2 weeks. After treatment #3, she needs “a 15x mirror” to see the hairs growing in.
Amanda reports an 80% reduction in regrowth and loves that this product can reach those pesky nostril hairs. Amanda says the flash of light can be startling, but use is not painful. Having undergone professional Soma treatment on her legs and owning a Tria device, Amanda says the LumaRx delivers far better results than either.
Other users found treatment uncomfortable and recommend starting at the lowest level (level 1). “Treatments take less than 10 minutes. The tiny treatment head lets me get to small curvy areas like my armpits,” writes Maxine. “There is even a Luma app that lets me track my progress and keep track of treatments.”
Nearly all complaints regarding LumaRx products are from customers with tan or dark skin who tried to use this product despite warnings and advisories.
Iluminage Touch Permanent Hair Reduction System
Iluminage is the very first and only at-home machine that has been FDA cleared for use on all skin tones. It is also effective on a wide range of hair colors including red and blonde.
Suggested use is once per week over a period of 7 weeks. Touch-ups are suggested afterwards. Iluminage is safe for legs, face, arms, bikini area, and underarms and has been shown to reduce regrowth by 94% in just 3 months (7 treatments).
This device utilizes IPL as well as RF (radio frequency) energies to deliver professional, permanent, and painless results. For an extra $50, you can purchase the Touch Precision Adaptor, which makes it easier to reach small curvy areas like the underarms and bikini line.
The manufacturer recommends that you wax or epilate before treating the face. For an extra $50, you can purchase the Touch Epilator Cartridge, an add-on that allows you to epilate and treat in one easy motion.
Replacement cartridges cost $150, but do not need to be replaced often. Iluminage features a 30 second auto shut-off for safety and can be purchased for $445 on Amazon.
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
“Hairs grows back finer and slower, but they do grow back,” writes Cathy, a 5-star reviewer with sensitive skin. “As someone who has received professional treatment, this works as good if not better for a significantly reduced price.” According to Cathy, Iluminage is painless and easy to use.
At just over 4 pounds, the device isn’t too heavy for longer sessions. Gina M, an Italian/Sicilian with olive skin and dark, coarse hair was overjoyed when she noticed a serious reduction in regrowth after 4 weeks of treatment. “The cord length is long enough to reach around your whole body. I never felt pain during use,” she writes. “The process can be time consuming, especially if you’re using it on your legs, but it’s worth every penny.”
Another review reports a significant reduction after 3 months of treatment. She now only has to shave her legs every other week (compared to every day).
Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X
Tria is known as one of the bestselling brands in the market. This model, available in multiple colors, retails for $449 on Amazon. Tria can boast that was the first brand to be cleared for at-home use.
The 4X utilizes the same diode laser technology (not IPL) professionals use to permanently reduce regrowth. Suggested use is once every 2 weeks for 3 months. Expect to see a 70% reduction in hair growth. Results last 6 months – 1 year, but touch-ups may be necessary.
Tria targets dark pigment and permanently damages the follicles’ ability to regrow. The 4X model offers a digital display, fast treatment times, and a pulse counter for optimal results.
Tria comes with a whole host of warnings and is not appropriate for all skin tones and hair colors. The device is cordless, rechargeable and weighs just over 4 pounds.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5
Users agree that Tria hurts – and it’s more than just a sting. Some users recommend numbing cream and/or ice to relieve pain. The process is time consuming and can be frustrating, but it works. Consumers report that a fully-charged battery has enough life to last a full session.
“It changed my life!” writes Jenna. Before Tria, she was embarrassed to wear bikinis because of the thick fuzz on her stomach and bikini area. Now, she has gorgeous skin and sky-high confidence. Jenna noticed results after 2 weeks. “Some grows back, but it’s thin so I can’t complain. Treatment hurts, especially when you go into the higher settings.”
Another user treating her legs noticed results after 6 weeks. Regrowth was sparse and far lighter. Because the head of this machine is tiny, use on large areas like legs and arms is not practical. Tria is best for the face and other small areas.
Some users complained of full regrowth just 3 weeks after they had completed treatment. Other couldn’t tolerate the pain and many complained about bad customer service.
Philips SC1981/50 Lumea Comfort IPL Hair Removal System
The Philips Lumea system provides a 75% reduction in unwanted hair after 4 treatments (over the course of 2 months). Enjoy delayed regrowth and long-lasting smoothness with this affordable ($199.99) system.
Please note that this device cannot be used on the face.
With Lumea, there’s no need for replacement lamps. This puppy is capable of 200,000 flashes, which should be enough to last at least 4 years.
The manufacturer recommends wearing laser eye protection during use. With 5 intensity settings and a skin-tone sensor, Philips SC1981/50 Lumea is appropriate for all areas of the body. More features include:
- A UV filter protects your skin from UV rays
- Slide and flash mode allows for smooth, continuous application
- No replacement parts necessary
- 2 year warranty
- 60 day money back guarantee
This product is not suitable for all skin and hair colors.
Rating: 3.6 out of 5
Like the LumaRx devices, most users reported no pain or mild discomfort during use. This product is easy to hold and weighs only 1.4 pounds. It uses a cord, so there is no need to recharge.
“The process is time consuming, but it works,” writes Mark. “You might need to use an extension cord, especially if you’re doing it on a bed.” Mark and his spouse are both using the machine. They reported a 25% reduction in regrowth after the first use and a 50% reduction after the second use.
Gina warns not to use this or any other similar product after sun exposure. She also adds that those with the following conditions cannot use it:
- Herpes I or II
- Recent tweezing or waxing
- Recent sun exposure (4 weeks) or tan
- Sores, wounds, or abrasions
- Epilepsy or PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
- Pacemaker, insulin pump, or incontinence device
- Certain medicines that make your skin sensitive to light
The best laser hair removal machine for you depends on your budget, goals, and skin tone. Keep in mind that all the products above offer permanent hair reduction, not removal. There is no product or procedure in the world that will remove 100% of your hairs forever.
In my opinion, the full body LumaRx product is the best hair removal system overall. It can treat body and face and is safer than the popular Tria 4X laser hair removal machine. At over $400, however, it may not be an option for some.
If you aren’t interested in doing your arms or your legs, definitely opt for the LumaRx Mini. It’s about $100 cheaper than its sister product and produces identical results. The Philips Lumea is the most affordable option and seems to work well despite some risks. If you have light hair or a dark skin tone, your only option is the Iluminage Touch.