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This or That? IPL vs. Laser Hair Removal

Ok, let's settle this battle once and for all. IPL or laser hair removal?  

Both IPL and laser hair removal are two of the best choices to go for when it comes to long-lasting hair-free smoothness. You won't have to worry about strawberry legs, razor burns, or ingrown hair when using IPL or laser hair removal. Although both use similar technology to get the job done, sometimes one method may work better than the other depending on each person.

When deciding which long-lasting hair removal will work best, it all comes down to personal circumstances and choices. So we're putting our IPL hair removal handset and laser hair removal to the test to see which method will work best for you. But first, let's get to the science bit:

What's the difference between IPL and Laser Hair Removal? 

Ok, so before we get into the main event, let's break down how each method works. Laser hair removal uses single intense heat and light energy to target the melanin of hair follicles beneath the skin's surface. Once the melanin absorbs the energy, the heat destroys the hair follicle, preventing it from growing again. IPL uses a similar method in targeting pigments but sends out a broad spectrum of pulsating light rather than a single laser. While both methods are similar, IPL's energy is more scattered and can target a larger surface area. Laser treatment focuses on a tiny area of the surface. Sessions for both methods can be done at a clinic, but personal IPL handsets (like our own) can be used by anyone at home. 

Ok, now let's get into it - IPL vs. laser hair removal – which one will work best for you?

ipl vs laser hair removal

For long-lasting hair removal: Both 

Since both IPL and laser hair removal use similar technology to target hair follicles, they will each result in long-lasting hair removal. Of course, both methods will require a few touch-up sessions to maintain for total hair removal, but you can expect both IPL and laser to last from 6 months to even a few years. So, we'll give it to them both for this one. 

For painless hair removal: IPL

The powerful light laser hair removal technology can be an intense experience, especially for those with low pain tolerance. Despite the long-lasting results, the overall hair removal session can feel uncomfortable. With IPL, the experience can be pain-free depending on the intensity setting used. With any high-quality at-home IPL handset, you'll find different intensity level settings to choose from to help accommodate every user's pain sensitivity. For a pain-free experience? We'll give this to IPL. 

For a more affordable option: IPL

Because IPL doesn't require as intense of light technology, both in-clinic sessions and at-home handsets are more affordable options when compared to laser hair removal. Plus, both in-clinic laser hair removal and IPL will require several trips to the salon, each of which can cost up to $100 depending on the area being treated. IPL devices are just a one-time purchase and can be used whenever and wherever you please. IPL for the win! 

For hair removal on darker skin tones: Laser Hair Removal 

These days, in-clinic laser hair removal can be effective on almost all skin tones, especially darker tones. However, before booking an appointment be sure to schedule a patch test beforehand. Unfortunately, IPL hair removal will only be effective on lighter skin tones, medium, and medium-dark. So, we'll give this one to Laser Hair Removal. 

To check to see if IPL can work with your skin tone, check out our hair and skin guide here.

For thick, dark hair: Both

Both IPL and Laser Hair Removal work by targeting the hair follicle's melanin. Unlike other conventional hair removal methods, like shaving or waxing, you won't see any signs of dark stops or stubble after completing a full session with IPL or laser. For those with PCOS or hirsutism, laser hair removal and IPL have been known to be the best treatment for excess body hair removal. It not only gives long-term results but can also remove any signs of dark patches around the skin. It's a tie for this one. 

ipl vs laser hair removalFor light blonde, grey and red hair: Laser Hair Removal

Both IPL and laser hair removal are equally effective in removing dark hair on light-medium skin tones. However, like hair removal for darker skin tones, laser hair removal is more likely to be effective on blond, grey, and red body hair. That being said, some laser hair clinics will also need patients to have a tan for each session to make sure the laser can differentiate between the skin tone and hair color.  But for now, laser hair removal wins this one.

To check to see if IPL can work with your hair color, check out our hair and skin guide here.

For hair removal on rosacea skin: IPL 

When it comes to laser hair removal, skin pigments, like rosacea and other signs of redness, could affect the hair removal process and even damage the skin tone. However, IPL uses lighter energy (pardon the pun) and is unlikely to affect red pigments (including acne scars) on the skin. In fact, some dermatologists will even use IPL as a treatment for redness. Still, this procedure will have to be managed by a medical professional. In any case, IPL takes the gold for this one. 

ipl vs laser hair removal

For at-home hair removal: IPL

Again, because of the technology, IPL hair removal can be done in the comfort of your own home. Laser hair removal treatments will always need to be done in a clinic. They will require a certified professional to carry out the procedure. IPL handsets can be used by anyone, but make sure you follow the instructions carefully before using your brand-new IPL device. IPL takes it home. 

When it comes to IPL vs. laser hair removal, both techniques get the job done but don't fret if neither will work for you. We created our IPL hair removal handset as a more affordable, easy-to-use alternative to conventional laser hair removal. We know that IPL may not be for everyone. For other effective and effortless hair removal devices and skincare, you can check out the rest of our devices by clicking the button below: