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At-Home Laser Hair Removal: How to Get Smooth Skin for $100s Less Than Salon Treatments

Plus, the simple steps for using the at-home devices

We’ve been shaving for decades to remove unwanted body hair. But it always takes so much time, and the hair grows back so fast. Enter: laser hair removal, and specifically at-home laser hair removal. At-home laser hair removal devices are taking the beauty world by storm, offering a convenient and potentially wallet-friendly alternative to salon visits. And many women sing its praises for its long-lasting hair reduction, time-saving benefits and ability to target unwanted hair on various areas of the body. But how exactly does it work, and is it right for you? Here, we do a deep dive into the world of at-home laser hair removal, exploring its effectiveness — and we’ll also cover best practices and top picks for different budgets — so you can achieve that silky-smooth confidence at home.

What is at-home laser hair removal and  how does it work?

laser hair removal device

At-home lasers are mostly light-based devices that use low levels of energy to reduce hair on various parts of the body, says Christian Karavolas, laser hair removal expert and founder of Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal. “The light travels through the hair and creates heat that damages the follicle without damaging the surrounding skin.”

Andréa Young, founder of Beam Laser Spa, adds that at-home laser hair removal uses advanced technology to target and disable hair follicles. “It works by emitting gentle pulses of light energy that are absorbed by the melanin in the hair follicle, thereby inhibiting future hair growth. This process is safe and effective, providing gradual reduction in hair growth over time.”

For more on at-home laser hair removal, check out the below video from YouTuber and dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi, MD.

Related: Red + Blue Light Therapy Can Regrow Hair + Rejuvenate Skin — And You Can Get the Results Easily at Home!

The benefits of at-home laser hair removal

woman doing at-home laser hair removal

At-home laser hair removal offers a plethora of benefits, says Young. “Firstly, it provides the convenience of removing unwanted hair in the comfort of your own space. Additionally, it saves time and money compared to salon visits.” Young notes that with consistent use, it can lead to long-lasting hair reduction, resulting in smoother skin.

Karavolas also attests that at-home lasers are a convenient way to reduce hairs all over the body and maintain general maintenance from time to time. Plus, the devices are versatile and can be used on various body parts.

Related: Menopause Facial Hair: Dermatologists Reveal the Best Ways to Remove It at Home

Who does at-home laser hair removal work best for?

This hair removal method tends to be more suitable for individuals with lighter skin tones and darker hair, notes Young. “It may not be as effective for those with lighter hair colors, as the laser targets melanin in the hair follicle. Follow the instructions carefully and perform a patch test to ensure suitability for your skin type,” she advises. “If you have highly pigmented skin tones, make sure the at-home device you purchase has been cleared and approved for melanated skin.”

Because at-home lasers are low intensity and work mostly on the surface, Karavikas says they’re good for maintenance purposes. “At-home removal works best for people looking to have a quick fix, most results aren’t permanent.”

Does at-home laser hair removal hurt?

While everyone’s pain tolerance varies, Young says at-home laser hair removal is generally well-tolerated. “Most users report feeling a mild sensation of warmth or tingling during the treatment, with minimal discomfort. Some devices also come with adjustable settings to customize the intensity according to individual preferences.”

Karavolas agrees that at-home lasers don’t hurt much, as they have low intensity output. “This all depends on your sensitivity — some might experience more pain than others.” 

How long does it take to see results?

woman looking at underarms
Albina Gavrilovic/Getty

Results from at-home laser hair removal typically become noticeable after a few sessions, says Young. “However, it’s important to note that hair grows in different cycles, so consistency is key for optimal results. Generally, significant reduction in hair growth can be observed within a few weeks to a few months of regular use.”

With continuous use, long term results may be achieved, but they’re “not recommended for darker skin complexions and one must be very careful using them so that there are no side effects, such as burns and pigmentation,” notes Karavolas.

Are the results permanent?

Young says that at-home laser hair removal offers long-lasting results, but it’s important to understand that it’s not entirely permanent. “While it significantly reduces hair growth, some maintenance sessions may be required to maintain smooth, hair-free skin. However, compared to traditional methods like shaving or waxing, the results are considerably more enduring.”

And according to Karavolas, in most cases, as these devices emit low intensity energy, they’re mostly good for using after one has had professional laser hair removal, in order to slow down the regrowth and maintain the area.

How to do at-home laser hair removal

Before you plug in your device, here’s a breakdown of the steps involved for a successful at-home laser hair removal session. 

Treatment Prep

mature woman shaving legs

Step 1: Shave the area. Laser hair removal works best on hair in the growth phase, just below the skin’s surface. Shaving removes the visible hair, allowing the laser to target the follicle effectively. Shave 24-48 hours before your treatment.

Step 2: Cleanse and dry your skin. Remove any dirt, oil or lotion from the area you’ll be treating. Pat it dry completely, as moisture can interfere with the laser’s energy.

Step 3: Check the skin tone and hair color chart. Most at-home devices have a chart indicating suitable skin tones and hair colors for optimal results. Ensure your complexion and hair fall within the recommended range for safe and effective use.

Step 4: Patch test (optional but recommended). This is particularly important if you have sensitive skin. Apply a small amount of laser light to a discreet area like your inner arm and wait 24 hours. If there’s no redness or irritation, you can proceed with the treatment.


woman doing at home laser hair removal on legs

Step 1: Put on the safety glasses. The provided safety glasses are essential to protect your eyes from the laser light.

Step 2: Adjust the intensity settings. Most devices offer different intensity settings. Start with the lowest setting for your first session and gradually increase it as your skin tolerates.

Step 3: Apply the laser pulse. Place the device’s treatment window flat on your skin and press the pulse button. The device will emit a flash of light.

Step 4: Repeat and overlap. Move the device slowly in sections, ensuring some overlap with the previous treated area to avoid missing spots. Continue pulsing until the entire target area is treated.

Post-treatment care

Step 1: Moisturize. Laser treatment can dry out the skin. Apply a gentle, fragrance-free body lotion to soothe and hydrate the treated area.

Step 2: Avoid sun exposure. The treated skin is more sensitive to sunlight after laser treatment. Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for at least a week to prevent irritation or hyperpigmentation.

Step 3: Skip hot showers and saunas. For 24 hours after treatment, avoid hot showers, saunas and strenuous exercise that can irritate the skin.

Step 4: Repeat as needed. Most at-home laser hair removal devices require multiple treatments spaced out according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Consistency is key for long-lasting hair reduction.

To see these steps in action, watch the below video from @SamanthaNicole222 on YouTube.

Additional tips:

  • Don’t tweeze or wax between treatments. Shaving is the preferred method of hair removal during the laser hair removal process.
  • Be patient. Results may not be immediate. It can take several weeks or even months of consistent use to see a significant reduction in hair growth.
  • Consult a dermatologist. If you have any concerns or experience any side effects, talking to your doctor will help determine the best course of action.

The best at-home laser hair removal devices

Young notes that “laser hair removal performed by professionals may yield faster results, however the at-home devices are wonderful for small areas, or areas that are already in maintenance phase from previous laser treatments.” And while these devices can be pricey, they are more cost-effective that in-salon laser hair removal, which can cost $100-$800 per session with 4-6 sessions needed. Keep scrolling for the at-home devices that work best.

Remington iLight Pro At-Home IPL Hair Removal System

Remington iLight Pro At-Home IPL Hair Removal System

This Remington model is a budget-friendly option that offers great results. It’s easy to use and has various intensity settings to customize to your liking. 

Ulike Sapphire Air+ IPL Hair Removal Handset

Ulike Sapphire Air+ IPL Hair Removal Handset

For an option that gets high marks for being relatively painless and effective, look to this device that’s also FDA-cleared. It has an unlimited flash count and comes with a razor and goggles. The one catch is that it may not work well for those with very light colored body hair.

Nood The Flasher 2.0

Nood The Flasher 2.0

This laser hair removal device is known for its effectiveness on coarse hair and boasts a treatment time as quick as 10 minutes. Best of all, it’s easy to use and comes with a full refund and replacement guarantee.

Learn about more at-home beauty treatments that work:

Ellen Pompeo Relies on This Facial Instead of Botox — How You Can Try It at Home for Smoother Skin

At-Home Gel Nails: How To Reap the Benefits of the Pricey Salon Treatment for $100s Less

How to Do a Hot Oil Treatment At-Home for Hair That Looks Thicker + Shinier Instantly

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