laser hair removal device
Laser hair removal treatments are essentially of two types: IPL and laser. Read on to find out what a Dubai-based expert has to say on this method of hair removal. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Waxing, shaving and threading can only do so much. While some hair removal methods offer days, and sometimes weeks, of reprieve, they’re not without their painful and costly drawbacks. It’s no wonder then that we’re considering more permanent solutions to nip unwanted follicles in the bud.

Professional laser hair removal treatment is one such option, although you will have to dip into your savings for scheduled sessions. The good news is that well-known manufacturers in the beauty industry, like Philips and Braun, have come up with handy at-home devices to save you the trip.

But are these worth your time and money? We spoke to Karin Hill, the operations director of Furless Permanent and the Furless Beauty Institute in Dubai, which is a training facility for beauty therapists. Hill is a 30-year industry veteran herself, trained in electrolysis, laser and (intense pulsed light) IPL hair removal treatments.

IPL vs Laser: What’s the difference?

laser hair removal device
The two light-based treatments are quite similar - it's just a matter of direct and scattered beams that decide their accuracy. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Most portable, hand-held laser hair removal devices don’t actually operate with laser. They use something called intense pulsed light. Hill explained: “Laser and IPL share the same basic principle – using wavelengths to destroy the hair follicle. It’s a quick flash of light that picks up the melanin (pigment) in the hair. Laser uses a direct light to target each individual hair, while IPL technology uses more of a broad light spectrum.”

As for the outcome, both laser and IPL only serve to reduce hair growth, and the former does a better job. “One thing you need to be clear on is that both treatments only reduce hair permanently; they don’t completely get rid of the growth. IPL is weaker in strength than laser, and that’s probably why most at-home devices use this technology, since it’s safer,” she added.

The two treatments generally feel like "an elastic band flicking on the skin", in terms of pain. However, this, again, depends on the individual's pain threshold.

Who can use a laser or IPL hair removal device?

laser hair removal device
Experts recommend to always conduct a patch test to trial the treatment. Image Credit: Shutterstock

As long as your hair is dark enough to contrast the colour of your skin, you’re a qualified candidate. Hill says the light beams don’t work on blond hair due to the lack of melanin, while those with tanned skin or darker skin tones can sustain burns since the device zaps pigment.

“Be careful of where you use it – you can’t use the device over moles, semi-permanent make-up and false tan. Make sure you haven’t gotten any tan for two weeks and carry out a patch test on an area before you carry on – observe for 48 hours,” said Hill.

She also cautions users against multiple treatments in hopes of seeing quicker results. Typically, a gap of three to four weeks between sessions is advised, and in the interim, only remove hair by shaving. The usage intervals can differ with at-home devices, as per the instruction manual.

Which laser or IPL hair removal device is the best for me?

laser hair removal device
IPL devices have a lamp that may or may not have a replacement in the market, once it's run out. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Hill says your gadget will most likely come with a limited number of flashes, after which the device will run out of light. In this case, you could pick one with the highest number of flashes to get the most use out of your device. The Philips Lumea IPL 9000 Series delivers 450,000 flashes in its lifetime.

However, if you’re planning to treat small areas – for instance, the upper lip and underarms – then fewer flashes would be adequate. The BoSidin IPL device even applies a cool compress to soothe the skin, a feature that Hill says is worth considering, since a similar process is carried out in professional settings as well.

Browse more options below for the best hair removal device for you, with pros and cons. Get Amazon Prime to save on delivery charges and collect your package tomorrow.

1. Best Overall: Philips Lumea IPL 9000 Series Hair Removal Device

Pros

  • 450,000 flashes of light
  • SenseIQ adjusts light intensity according to skin tone
  • Body attachments for different areas
  • Cord and cordless convenience

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Expensive

Carry the Philips Lumea IPL 9000 Series anywhere with you around the house. The cordless device zaps hair using three body attachments for precise aim and maximum skin contact. Its body attachment is fixed with the largest window for the legs, arms and stomach; the medium-sized attachment targets the underarms and bikini area; and the smallest window is reserved for the face, from the upper lip to the jawline. If its five light settings sound intimidating, the device suggests the most comfortable setting for you, according to your skin tone. Plus, you’re getting 450,000 flashes of light in total, which chalks up to years and years of use.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh131.44 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh91 and a two-year extended warranty for Dh130.

2. Best for Beginners: Braun IPL Silk Expert Pro 3

Pros

  • Treats in minutes
  • Gentle mode
  • One precision head for smaller areas
  • Comes with a storage pouch and a Gillette Venus razor

Cons

  • Not completely cordless since it needs a plug point

Braun IPL Silk Expert Pro 3 promises 300,000 flashes and a safe zapping experience, thanks to its SensoAdapt technology. This smart sensor with ultraviolet (UV) protection adjusts the flash intensity as it’s picking up varying skin tones. On gliding mode, you can squeeze in more flashes of light for a faster treatment session; reserve the precise stamp mode to focus on smaller areas. Speaking of modes, the brand recommends its gentle operation mode to beginners, which helps them ease into the treatment.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh83.23 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh57 and a two-year extended warranty for Dh81.

3. Best Budget: BoSidin Face & Body Permanent Hair Removal Device

Pros

  • Cold compress attachment
  • Prevents light leakage
  • Includes safety glasses
  • Value for money

Cons

  • No precision heads for different areas

To prevent the skin from overheating during treatment, BoSidin’s IPL device cools it down using an ice compress attachment. For its price, this gadget offers as many features as its pricier counterparts – enjoy 350,000 flashes, a skin tone sensor, five levels and slide-and-flash technology for faster removal. It even helps prevent light leakage by flashing only when the device is in contact with the skin.

4. Best Hair Removal Kit: Philips Lumea Advanced IPL Hair Removal Device

Pros

  • Stops if skin tone is unsuitable
  • Two extra attachments
  • Includes pen trimmer for facial hair
  • Better suited for smaller areas

Cons

  • Corded
  • Fewer flashes than the rest on the list

This model of the Philips Lumea Advanced comes with an additional hair removal device. The Satin Compact pen trimmer is an on-the-go beauty tool for facial hair, so you’re never in a pinch during summer travels. Rest assured, this IPL gadget also features a skin tone sensor, smart enough to stop emitting pulses if the skin tone is unsuitable for the device. You can zap your face and sensitive areas by switching between the two dedicated heads, for up to 250,000 flashes.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh108.25 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh74 and a two-year extended warranty for Dh105.

5. Best for Fast Treatment: Braun IPL Silk Expert Pro 5

Pros

  • Finishes zapping large body areas in minutes
  • Impressive number of flashes for a compact device
  • 10 intensity levels
  • Extra gentle mode

Cons

  • Corded
  • No precision head

If you prefer the lightweight build and compact design of the Braun IPL device, then check out the latest Silk-expert Pro 5. It’s everything the Pro 3 is, but better – it works through 10 intensity levels to pick the right one for your skin tone and delivers 400,000 flashes in its lifetime. Touted as the fastest IPL device on the market, the Pro 5 zaps both legs in less than five minutes. You not only have access to the gentle mode but an extra gentle mode for treating sensitive areas.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh108.24 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh74 and a two-year extended warranty for Dh105.

6. Best Laser Treatment: Tria Beauty 4X Permanent Hair Removal Laser

Pros

  • Produces a direct laser beam
  • Cordless device
  • FDA-approved laser device
  • More direct than IPL

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Treatment takes longer because of the small window head
  • Can get painful over sensitive areas

The only non-IPL laser hair removal device on our list is the Tria Beauty gadget. Simply put, the device has a better aim at your hair follicles because it uses a diode laser beam – a single, more direct wavelength that doesn’t heat the surrounding skin. It’s also FDA-approved for at-home use, which means Tria Beauty’s hand-held laser machine is good to go over your face and body, even minimising ingrown hairs.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh217.79 for 12 months with select banks.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.