Finest IPL and laser hair removing machines 2020 for the house

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There are two types of machines available for home use: laser removal and IPL. We've tested a mix of both to give you our verdict

No longer reserved for just the A-list, laser hair removal has become so mainstream that modern technology now allows you to treat yourself safely and painlessly (almost) in the comfort of your own home.

So, how does it work? There are two types of machines available for home use, laser removal and IPL, or intense pulsed light. Laser removal targets the hair’s pigment (melanin) in your follicles; the laser beam converts to heat as it passes through the skin, which is then absorbed by the melanin present in the hair follicle.

The heat damages the follicle at its root, which prevents regrowth over time. Laser works best on those with dark hair and fair skin (the greater the contrast between the two, the better), so it’s unsuitable for those with pale hair as there’s less melanin, as well as those with darker complexions, as there’s no contrast between the hair and the skin. When there is little difference between the two, your skin will absorb the light energy which converts to heat and can cause pain, blisters and burns.

Similarly, although not painless, IPL is less painful than other methods, such as epilation. Like laser, it destroys the root of the hair over time, meaning you’ll need less treatment as time passes. However, it’s far less effective than laser as the energy it produces is emitted via a variety of light waves, making it more diffused and less powerful – but this generally makes it cheaper than laser treatments. Due to the way IPL hits the skin, the intensity and speed of results will vary between individuals.

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If you’re tempted to give a device a go, it’s worth planning when. Autumn or winter is the best time to start because your skin needs to be tan-free, whether natural or fake. And make sure you have a razor in your house as you’ll need to prep your skin before and in between IPL sessions before you get zapping. The area you’re targeting must be silky smooth for best results.

Aftercare is just as important as pre-care: lather yourself in sunscreen after your treatment (even in the depths of winter) and avoid anything that can trigger sensitivity on your skin, such as perfumes, deodorants and hot showers for the first 24 hours after you’ve zapped.

Before opting for this type of hair removal, check the brand’s skin and hair charts. Many do not work if your skin is dark or hair is light (blonde, grey, white or red). And don’t be tempted to skip on the handbook, as they detail all instructions, including where you can and can’t use the machines.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

SmoothSkin bare+ ultrafast IPL hair removal device

This speed-demon offers impressive results with 100 flashes per minute. Unlike other IPL machines that can often be time consuming, this device has a glide mode that is fuss-free and allows you to simply move it up and down quickly over your skin and which is particularly ideal for your arms and legs. There’s also a stamp mode, whereby the light is directly placed on the skin for each flash to ensure perfect accuracy. We used this to work on smaller areas such as our underarms and bikini line and saw no re-growth for four weeks after the third application.

With a black and rose gold aesthetic, this machine is a stylish option that won’t take up much space in your bathroom. While it doesn’t offer varied light settings and isn’t cordless, it has an in-built ability to only flash if your skin tone is suitable, so you don’t damage pigment. A great choice for time-poor perfectionists. test.

Silk’n infinity permanent hair remover

The verdict: Home laser and IPL hair removal machines

Home laser and IPL hair removal machine FAQs

What is IPL hair removal?

What is the difference between IPL hair removal and laser hair removal?

Are home IPL machines safe?

How often can you use a home IPL machine?

How do at-home IPL machines compare to salon treatments?

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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