Last Updated On November 5th, 2018
Nobody enjoys the hassle of laser hair removal. Using razors every day or booking salon wax treatments every couple of weeks is absolutely not fun. It is also time-consuming and downright boring. That hair just keeps on coming back. Thankfully there is a better solution. Using IPL and similar devices is the best laser hair removal option available in our current times. After a few weeks, you can be almost completely hair free, save for a top up treatment every month or two.
Personal IPL and laser machines enable you to enjoy the benefits of these beauty treatments in the comfort and privacy of your own home, but which should you choose? In this review, we take a look at the best IPL laser hair removal products on the market to help you decide.
Top 5 Best Laser Hair Removal Comparison
What Is IPL Hair Removal?
IPL stands for ‘Intense Pulsed Light’ – a method of hair removal which involves using focused light energy on the skin to reduce hair growth. It is an incredibly effective and popular method that targets the hair follicles directly.
IPL machines create hundreds of broad-spectrum light wavelengths which make their way through fibre optic tubes to a handheld device. This is then used to accurately focus the light onto the area of skin to be treated.
These light wavelengths target the pigmentation in the hairs. They heat up the hair follicles to a level which damages their cellular structure, thus decreasing further hair growth. Because the surrounding skin is left undamaged, IPL is considered a highly targeted solution to hair removal.
Laser hair removal treatments provide a concentrated beam of light which can be directed deep down into the pores to destroy the follicle.
Both beauty treatments are very effective, but laser treatments offer more specific hair removal.
What Are the Benefits of Laser & IPL Hair Removal Machines?
Laser and IPL hair removal products are great ways to achieve long-term hair reduction. The method is very safe and is used by thousands of people every year to achieve smooth skin. Most machines can reduce hair growth by as much as 80%.
Using laser and IPL hair removal machines will save you all the time, hassle and expense normally associated with hair removal. By choosing this beauty method, you will no longer need to worry about booking wax treatments, cutting yourself while shaving or stocking up on hair removal creams.
These devices pose very few potential side effects, and most of them are very minor. In the event that you do experience any side effects, they will have usually disappeared within a couple of days.
Furthermore, unlike waxing and epilation, there is no risk of painful ingrown hairs or razor burns with IPL and laser treatments.
How to Use Laser & IPL Hair Removal Devices
Laser hair removal devices should be accompanied by a detailed user manual, which will tell you exactly how it should be used. However, in most cases, these products should be used in the following way:
– Shave the area to be treated.
This may seem counterproductive, but it enables the light waves to reach the pores containing the hair follicles. If you skip this step and don’t shave before use, the hairs can block the light waves and thus render treatment less effective.
– Do not wax or epilate prior to using a laser or IPL device.
This is because some hair needs to remain beneath the skin in order for the beauty treatment to work.
Once you have shaved, you will need to choose the correct setting according to the area of the body you want to treat. Most IPL and laser machines will have a range of light intensity options you can choose from, with lower settings for sensitive areas.
– Most devices will offer two different usage modes called “Stamp & Flash” and “Slide & Flash”, or similar names.
Using the stamp mode, you place the machine onto the skin, push a button to activate the flash and then move it along to the area and repeat. This is best for more precise treatment areas, such as the upper lip.
The slide mode usually requires you to hold the button down, while slowly ‘sliding’ the machine over the treatment area. During slide mode, the device will flash continually at regular intervals, making it a much quicker option when treating your legs.
– Laser and IPL hair removal treatments are not suitable for everyone.
It is effective on dark hair. It will not be effective on red, grey, light blonde or white hair. Also, if you have very dark skin, the light waves are heavily attracted to the melanin pigmentation and can cause skin blisters, burns and scarring. Luckily, most home laser devices now have integrated safety sensors which will prevent them from working on skin which is too dark.
Top 5 Home Laser & IPL Hair Removal Machines
Now that we understand what laser and IPL hair removal are, and its benefits, we are going to jump into some of the best IPL and laser hair removal reviews. In this section, we look at some of the best laser hair removal machines on the market, to see how they compare.
1. Philips Lumea SC2009/00
How it works:
First on our list is the Philips Lumea SC2009/00 IPL Hair Removal Device. Featuring a sleek, hair dryer-like design, this high-end product looks impressively futuristic right out of the box.
Using IPL technology, this machine will flash away your hair woes in no time. In as little as 4 treatments (over 8 weeks) you will experience an incredible reduction in hair growth. Best of all, after this initial phase, simply reuse once every 4 to 6 weeks to maintain wonderfully smooth results.
There are 5 levels of light intensity and two treatment modes to choose from. The user manual provided includes a handy table that helps you determine which setting is suitable for you. This ensures you will get the best results without risking skin irritation or reducing treatment effectiveness.
No matter which mode you choose, the cordless design of the Philips Lumea SC2009/00 makes using this product a breeze. When treating those hard-to-reach areas, there’s no need to worry about getting tangled up in the cord or accidentally pulling the plug out of the wall. This feature is especially useful when contorting yourself to reach the backs of your legs, for example.
Manoeuvrability is further enhanced by the comfortable and easy to hold design. The Philips Lumea SC2009/00 feels sturdy and durable, though a little heavy. There is no hint of cheap or flimsy material with this product. The ergonomic design also fits perfectly in your hand, limiting potential fatigue when treating large areas.
You will undoubtedly enjoy many years of use with the Philips Lumea SC2009/00. It offers a staggering 250,000 flashes in its lifetime. This is much more than even the hairiest individual is likely to need.
The built-in lithium battery provides as much as 350 flashes per full charge. So, you can easily take the Philips Lumea SC2009/00 with you on a weekend away, without packing the charger. The first charge is quick too. This product is juiced up and ready to go after only an hour and 40-minute charge.
The main light window attachment for body hair measures 4 cm2, which is great for large areas like the legs or back, but admittedly a little big for use on awkward areas.
However, this is no cause for concern as two additional precision attachments measuring 2 cm2 are included alongside the main device. These are perfect for use in the bikini area or on facial hair, but we would ideally have liked to see two different sizes. You can read more about the Philips Lumea in our full review.
2. Braun Silk-Expert 5 BD 5001
How it works:
One of the newer kids on the block, Braun Silk Expert 5 BD 5001 utilises high-quality IPL technology to bring you permanent hair reduction in only 4 treatments.
The effectiveness of this one depends upon matching the correct light intensity with the receiving skin tone. Braun Silk Expert 5 BD 5001 understands this. It features a unique ‘SensoAdapt’ skin sensor which reads the skin tone every 80 seconds. This smart sensor means that light intensity can be continuously adjusted as you move it, thus providing maximum effect.
As it is moved over the skin, the power level indicator on the side of the device fluctuates to let you know it is adapting accordingly. Not only does this feature ensure the best results, it also offers a safety net and takes the guesswork away from matching your skin against a colour chart.
The Braun Silk Expert 5 BD 5001 is incredibly quick and easy to use. Even large areas of the body can be treated in a very short time. For example, an arm or leg treatment can be effectively completed in as little as 8 minutes.
If you are concerned about the lifespan of the light cartridges, you really needn’t be. Offering a mind-blowing 300,000 flashes, it is unlikely you will be replacing them any time over the next 15 years.
For those of us who have a low pain threshold, the Braun Silk Expert 5 BD 5001 offers two ‘gentle’ modes in addition to the normal mode. These settings work by lowering the energy level of the light, giving beginners a tamer option when starting on those sensitive areas.
This one is corded, which may pose an inconvenience for some people. On the other hand, this means you do not need to worry about remembering to keep it charged-up.
Super-fast treatment times are supported by a convenient ‘glide’ mode. This mode triggers a flash every 1-2 seconds as the device is swept over the skin, making sure there is little chance of missed areas.
With regard to the design, the Braun Silk Expert 5 BD 5001 is sleek and feminine. Featuring an elegantly curved white body and a shimmering rose gold head, this product has a truly chic feel. The sweeping shape makes it comfortable to hold. It is also not too heavy. So, overall, it is well-balanced in your hand.
There are no additional head attachments, so this may be a little difficult to use on smaller areas. However, a Gillette Venus razor is included for prepping the skin, which is quite convenient.
3. Philips Lumea Prestige BRI954/00
How it works:
Featuring 3 uniquely shaped head attachments, the Philips Lumea Prestige BRI954/00 is a top choice for people who wish to remove hair from many different areas. Studies have shown an impressive 92% reduction in hair growth from as few as 3 treatments with this product.
Boasting five power settings, this device also features a special built-in sensor that identifies which is the best setting for your skin tone. Catchily named the ‘SmartSkin Sensor’, this technology protects the user from harming themselves by using the product incorrectly.
You are able to manually set the intensity, but you will not be allowed to set it higher than suggested. This feature enables greater flexibility to bring the treatment intensity down, especially if you want to work on sensitive areas.
Either way, if a users’ skin is too dark, it will lock itself and not emit any damaging flashes. However, some users have reported that the SmartSkin Sensor sometimes locks the device for no fathomable reason.
The Philips Lumea Prestige BRI954/00 is wonderfully easy to use. After you have completed the initial 4 treatments, you should only need to use it around once a month to maintain your results.
By far, one of our favourite features is the ability to use this device both corded and cordless. The cord can conveniently be stored inside the handle. A cordless option gives you supreme freedom of movement to reach difficult places easily, once you have stuffed the cord away that is. The corded alternative is super-convenient for those occasions when you are in a hurry and forgot to charge up the battery.
When it comes to design, the Philips Lumea Prestige BRI954/00 is a beauty to look at. It showcases a gun-like shape, almost like something from a sci-fi movie, but is also beautifully tapered with delicately rounded edges. The head attachment is a glamorous deep golden colour, while the body is a crisp white.
The design is ergonomically sound and it is easy to hold with a secure grip. The trigger button is positioned in exactly the right place, so you do not need to overstretch your finger to reach it. However, with regard to weight, it can feel a bit heavy.
The extra attachments are intelligently curved to match the areas of the body they are likely to be used. The facial attachment has a 2 cm2 window, which is perfect for small, precise treatments. The bikini attachment is 3 cm2, while the main body attachment is a generous 4.1 cm2. Check out our full Philips Lumea review.
4. Braun Silk-Expert 5 BD 5009 with SkinSpa Sonic Body Exfoliator
How it works:
The Braun Silk-Expert BD 5009 is an IPL device with some great features. Identical in design to the BD 5001 model, it features the same sleek white body and rose gold head, while being lightweight and comfortable to hold.
The lifespan of the light cartridges in this product is on a level with market leaders. The Braun Silk-Expert 5 BD 5009 also offers 300,000 flashes – which is capable of lasting the average user 15 years of full body treatments. Amazingly, if you only plan to use the device on your legs, you could get as many as 35 years of use.
This model is also corded, so it must be plugged into the mains at all times during use. Some people may find this makes treating some areas more difficult as you are tethered to the wall. More experienced IPL laser machine users may find this less of an inconvenience. On a positive note, it does eliminate the need to keep the unit charged-up.
In line with its 5001 sister device, the 5009 model also boasts the unique ‘SensoAdapt’ skin sensor. Using this technology, hair removal effectiveness will always be at the optimum level, no matter where on your body you are targeting.
The highly sensitive skin sensor will constantly adjust intensity as the light window is moved over the skin surface. There is little room for error here, as the sensor runs a skin tone check 80 times per second. Users can keep track of the fluctuating power level, by watching the white power indicator lights dance up and down during treatment.
This indicator bar will show no light at all if there isn’t adequate skin contact. In this case, the device will not flash. If the lights glow red, the receiving skin tone is too dark and it will also refuse to work.
The treatment window measures 3 cm2, which is smaller than other models. However, with only 1 to 2 seconds between flashes in glide mode, it can still deal with bigger treatment areas fairly quickly.
As an added accessory, you will also receive a SkinSpa Sonic Body Exfoliator with this product. The rotating brush is designed to gently whisk away dead skin and hairs, leaving you feeling super-soft.
This is a nice touch, but some customers were unimpressed with the battery life of the exfoliator. In our opinion, additional smaller attachments would have been better welcomed, to help target precision areas on the face and bikini line.
5. Poshions IPL Hair Removal System
How it works:
One of the more economical options on our list, the Poshions IPL Hair Removal System offers 5 different energy levels and limits light leakage for optimum results. The intensity is manually adjustable by the user. Poshions suggests that beginners start at the lowest level before they work on gradually increasing the level, once comfortable.
This device stands out from others in this review by featuring a touch LCD screen. This displays the current settings and can be used to adjust them. There are also 3 buttons: one large main button to operate the flash, a power switch, and a power level adjustment button.
In terms of treatment modes, Poshions IPL Hair Removal System offers single or continuous flash. Single flash treatment is recommended for smaller areas such as cheek, armpit and upper lip. Continuous flash is a quicker option for larger areas like the legs and chest. Modes are easy to switch between by holding down the flash button.
Offering 400,000 flashes, the Poshions IPL Hair Removal System is head and shoulders above the competition. Such a lifespan could potentially last the user for 20 years. The treatment window is a good size at 4.5 cm2.
The biggest negative with this product is the apparent lack of safety features. Unlike the others, this device will flash no matter what skin tone it is placed upon. The intensity choice is also left completely up to the user, so some caution is required here to avoid skin damage.
Poshions IPL Hair Removal System is a corded model. The cord is detachable to improve portability and storage, but this may also increase the risk of accidentally disconnecting the device during use.
Poshions is quite specific about the usage frequency for this device. They state that it needs to be used between 6 and 12 times in total to reach the best results. For the first 6 treatments, it should be used once every two weeks. After this stage, this product should be used once per month. Treatment frequency should be reduced to once every 2-3 months after the 12th session.
This may be a little complicated for users new to IPL at-home treatments. It requires keeping a log of treatments, rather than simply using your device when hair begins to show.
If this suggested treatment plan is followed, Poshions say users can achieve 75% less hair growth after 4 weeks and 95% less after 8 weeks.
The Poshions IPL Hair Removal System also comes with a free pair of glasses to help protect your eyes during treatment.
Conclusion: So, which is the best laser hair removal machine?
Overall, we think the Philips Lumea Prestige BRI954/00 is the best IPL hair removal machine among all the products. Not only does this device look attractive, it is also extremely effective.
The high-tech ‘SmartSkin Sensor’ accurately detects the best settings for you, so you can forget the guesswork and enjoy optimum results every time. This will bring peace of mind that you are not damaging your skin or reducing effectiveness by picking the wrong setting, such as with the Poshions IPL Hair Removal System.
The Philips Lumea Prestige BRI954/00 offers more variety than other home IPL hair removal products. With three intelligently shaped detachable heads, this device is perfect for all areas of the body. Furthermore, we love how it can be used both corded and cordless for maximum convenience. Find out more about the beauty of Philips Lumea.