A Skincare Guide to Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA

An introduction to beta hydroxy acid (BHA), its benefits, side effects, and best products

When people refer to BHA or beta hydroxy acid, they are usually referring to salicylic acid, a common and effective topical treatment for acne or dandruff. But there are is more to BHAs or beta hydroxy acids than just salicylic acid or acne. So what exactly is BHA or beta hydroxy acid and what makes it such a notable topical? This guide will explain the benefits, side effects, different types of beta hydroxy acids, and offer some recommendations for beta hydroxy products for skin and scalp problems.

In this guide:

What is bha or beta hydroxy acid?

BHA or beta hydroxy acid is 1 of 2 of the better known hydroxy acids available in skincare for improving skin texture, speeding up skin cell renewal, and cleaning out pores of acne etc. The other hydroxy acid is AHA or alpha hydroxy acid. To learn more about AHAs, read our guide to AHAs or alpha hydroxy acids here.

Unlike AHAs which are water soluble, beta hydroxy acids are oil soluble. This means that they are exfoliate the topmost layer of your skin and also penetrate deeper and exfoliate extra oil build up in your pores and breaking deep set comedones (bumps under your skin that will become acne). This makes BHAs great for treating whiteheads, and especially blackheads.

BHAs have no humectant properties and can be drying so they are great for people with oily skin because they don’t make your face more oily.

BHAs also do not increase photosensitivity. You can use BHAs even if you don’t wear sunscreen daily without making your skin more susceptible to sun damage.

Beta hydroxy acid is also has anti inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that make it a great acne treatment. Many people who report AHAs to be too harsh in that they irritate their skin find that BHAs are a gentler way to tackle acne. Certain BHAs like salicylic acid can reduce acne inflammation without causing irritation. So what makes BHAs gentler than AHAs?

The more concentrated an AHA or alpha hydroxy acid, the more powerful and penetrative it is. In contrast, beta hydroxy acids are most effective at very low concentrations. BHAs at only 2% or 4% concentrations work best to exfoliate dead skin, clean out your pores, and act as an anti inflammatory or anti bacterial.

This also makes beta hydroxy acid an ideal ingredient for a lot of different kinds of skin care, from lotion or cleanser to toners or mouthwash. You’ll even find it in shampoos and conditioner to deal with scalp issues like dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis. Other uses for beta hydroxy acid are as a preservative, hair conditioner, skin conditioner, and an antiseptic.

Beta hydroxy acids are a truly versatile skincare ingredient with multipurpose usage. And nearly anyone can use it for a host of skin or scalp issues because it works best at low dosages and so is a gentle product.

While it works best at low dosages, it also better benefits your skin or scalp if you leave it on for some time before rinsing it off. The duration of time can vary with product and use. However, depending on what you’re using the BHA for, leaving it on for 5 to 30 minutes helps your skin absorb it better and take advantage of everything beta hydroxy acid has to offer.

What are the benefits of BHA

How does BHA treat acne

Because beta hydroxy acid is oil soluble, it penetrates deeper than your skin’s surface skin and can clean out clogged pores that cause acne. Studies show that BHAs like salicylic acid are more effective and less irritating than AHAs in tackling whiteheads, blackheads, and acne.

In one study comparing the two side by side, 20 patients were recruited to use a BHA on one side of their face and an AHA on the other side of their face for 6 total treatments in 8 weeks. The results:

Both chemical peels were significantly effective by the second treatment (p<.05) and there were no significant differences in effectiveness between the two peels. At 2 months posttreatment, the salicylic acid peel had sustained effectiveness. More adverse events were reported with the glycolic acid peel after the initial treatment. [source: Kessler E1, Flanagan K, Chia C, Rogers C, Glaser DA. (2014) J Cosmet Dermatol.]

The patients used a low concentration of salicylic acid in this study and the AHA used was a higher concentration. Still, the BHA showed longer lasting results in tackling acne and was a gentler treatment for acne patients.

This is not to say that there is no place for using an AHA or using a BHA and an AHA together in your skincare routine. But to determine if you could benefit from an AHA, you’ll need to understand its benefits and side effects first. Use our guide to AHAs to learn more about alpha hydroxy acids.

How does BHA treat hyperpigmentation or inflammation?

Beta hydroxy acid also helps tackle inflammation caused by acne and hyperpigmentation caused by acne or other pigmentation on the skin’s surface. This is also known as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation or PIH or melasma.

Like AHAs, beta hydroxy acid helps speed up the skin cell renewal at the skin’s surface. This helps remove hyperpigmented skin layers for newer skin layers. AHAs may be more effective in this but beta hydroxy acids also show good results.

In one study, 45 patients with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation were treated with a retinoid called tretinoin and salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid. They were divided into groups with one group only using salicylic acid, another group on using tretinoin, and a third group using both in combination. The results of that study:

Combination of salicylic acid peel and topical tretinoin treatment showed significant clinical improvement of PIH than each treatment alone with no complications. [source: Mohamed Ali BM, Gheida SF, El Mahdy NA, Sadek SN. (2017) J Cosmet Dermatol. ]

The groups that were using only salicylic acid or only tretinoin did not see notable results in reducing their post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This is great evidence that salicylic in combination, with in this case tretinoin, can act as a powerful treatment to reducing post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Those of you who used to have acne and are now dealing with the aftermath know how difficult it is to reduce the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation to have a truly clear face, without acne and without acne scars and pigmentation. So this study is great news for people with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

How does BHA treat dandruff?

As beta hydroxy acid helps remove the top most layers of skin, it can also help treat dandruff on the scalp in the same way. Given the antibacterial, anti inflammatory, and the exfoliating properties of beta hydroxy acids, they can act to soothe itching and reduce dandruff, redness, and flaking.

One study pitted a shampoo with salicylic acid against a shampoo with zinc pyrithione, a popular ingredient in dandruff shampoos. The results:

Both shampoos were highly effective in reducing the dandruff. The combination of piroctone olamine and salicylic acid appeared to be slightly more effective than zinc pyrithione in reducing the severity and area affected by the scaling. [source: Lodén M1, Wessman C. (2000). Cutis]

So salicylic acid can be as effective, if not more, than a zinc pyrithione in reducing dandruff. Zinc pyrithione is certainly more popular in dandruff shampoos today. Many people also find it is very harsh on their hair, but with not knowing of another alternative, continue to use it. Salicylic acid is gentler on the scalp without losing effectiveness and so could be a better option for you if you suffer from dandruff.

How to use a BHA

Beta hydroxy acid is an active, which means that it is an ingredient that has direct active action on the skin. Other actives include alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), Vitamin C, and Vitamin A (retinoids and retinol).

There is some controversy over this, but we believe that to benefit from an active, you should leave it on your skin for a short period of time before applying further products or washing it off/out. This time period allows the acid to make contact and penetrate your skin and do what it is intended. If you wash it off, you may not have allowed enough time for the acid to penetrate into pores.

BHAs work best in a low pH environment. When you add more products on top, you may change the pH of your skin to less acidic and so make the BHA less effective. If you’re using a BHA as a skincare product, you can even use pH adjusting toners to make sure your skin’s surface has an acidic environment when you apply your BHA for maximum benefit. We’ve linked some pH adjusting toners that help with this at the end of this guide, if you’re interested in those.

That’s essentially a very short and summed up explanation of how to use BHA. We’ll write a longer post on this and link it here when it’s ready if you’re interested in real studies that show the effectiveness of BHA wait times in low pHs.

So to that end, you’ll notice on dandruff shampoos, the directions will ask you to leave it on your scalp for a few minutes before washing it off. You may also notice skincare products with beta hydroxy acids will ask you to wait 5 to 30 minutes before applying the rest of your skincare routine or makeup routine. This is for good reason and you’ll see greater benefits to your skin if you give the product that wait time to work on your skin.

BHA side effects

While BHAs have been shown to be less irritating than AHAs and other actives, they can still have some adverse side effects.

Some people can experience redness, stinging/burning, itching, and general skin irritation after using beta hydroxy acid at certain concentrations.

This can be avoided by finding a concentration that works for you. Various formulas will have different concentrations and type of beta hydroxy acid. Unless you’re allergic to this ingredient, most people can find a beta hydroxy acid that works for them. If you’re unsure where to start, find a low concentration to use and then build up from there if you don’t know notice any side effects.

Also, please patch test if you’ve never used a beta hydroxy acid before. You can patch test on your neck or the inside of your elbow where the skin is soft and hairless. If you experience any of the above side effects during your patch test, there are good chances that you will feel that irritation on your face as well. You can look at a different product with a lower concentration and try again.

What’s the difference between BHA and AHA?

You may have already figured out most of the differences between beta and alpha hydroxy acids, but here’s a quick summary in case you’re unclear on any of the following:

Oil vs water soluble

AHAs are water soluble and attract water to your skin and are great for dehydrated skin. BHAs are oil soluble, can be drying, and are great for oily skin. However, anyone with any skin type can add either to their nighttime routine (when it doesn’t matter if your skin looks oily, or you can layer moisturizers on top in abundance) and enjoy their benefits.

Sun sensitivity

AHAs will make your skin more photosensitivity and BHAs will not. If you’re lazy about wearing sunscreen or do not want to wear sunscreen, you can use beta hydroxy acids without worrying about making your skin extra sensitive to the sun and sun damage.

Wrinkles and fine lines

Both AHAs and BHAs exfoliate your skin, and so both can help reduce wrinkles and fine lines. While AHA is a much strong exfoliator for wrinkles and fine lines, you’ll notice some improvement with your skin texture and pigmentation with a BHA as well.

Hyperpigmentation and inflammation

BHAs are gentler than AHAs and so are less irritating. BHA has been shown to be effective treatment for hyperpigmentation and inflammation caused by acne. However, both can be also used together to improve pigmentation, skin texture, and renew your skin.

What are the different types of BHAs

The most popular form of BHA we find in skincare and haircare products is salicylic acid.

There are also derivatives of salicylic acid like salicylate, betaine salicylate, and sodium salicylate.

Other less common forms of BHA include willow bark extract, beta hydroxybutanoic acid, tropic acid, and trethocanic acid.

If you enjoy the benefits of any of these beta hydroxy acids, you can also look at azaelic acid. While it is neither an AHA or a BHA, it is an active ingredient that offers many of the same benefits like improvement pigmentation, inflammation, acne, and skin texture like a BHA. Many people find that it is a BHA amplified and at lower doses/percentages, it is similarly gentle on the skin.

Our recommendations

Here are some of our tried and tested recommendations for products with beta hydroxy acid for skincare and for dandruff. You may not find these at a drugstore, but they’re all online. Since BHA is best used at a low concentration, there are many beta hydroxy acid products available over the counter with no need for a prescription.

Since BHAs are pH sensitive, you can also choose to use a pH adjusting toner before you apply your skincare. In the next section, see our recommendations for affordable pH toners.

Salicylic acid serums for skincare – acne, hyperpigmentation, inflammation

1.COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

This is one of the most gentle BHAs we have tried. The active ingredients include alix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Butylene Glycol, and Betaine Salicylate at 4% which is the BHA derivative. This is an Asian Beauty product by COSRX, a well-reviewed dependable Korean brand. Highly recommend.

Read more reviews of Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid here.

2. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid

Another great go to BHA with 2% salicylic acid by Paula’s Choice, a US based brand. Paula’s choice is a popular brand that offers a host of skincare products that aren’t just good markting but also effective. We have found that Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid is particularly good at eradicating blackheads on the nose or chin area.

Read more reviews of Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid here.

3. Skin Medica AHA BHA cream

This is a AHA and BHA combination product and so requires daily suncreen use if you want to use it. It should also be used as part of your night time routine. Skin Medica combines a 30% AHA solution with a 2% bha in the form of salicylic acid. It can be used as a 10 minute mask and then washed off or kept on as part of layered night time routine.

We’ve found that with a few uses, there is a noticed increased brightness, hydration, and a visible reduction of acne scars or sun damage. There is no smell to the product and the cream consistency feels rich yet absorbs quickly.

Read more reviews of Skin Medica AHA BHA cream here.

Salicylic acid face washes

Face washes with salicylic acid as an ingredient are very popular, esp for those who suffer from acne. They’re seemingly easy to use and can be inserted into nearly anyone’s evening or morning routine because a face wash is easier to use than a serum that requires a wait time. But the wait time is the also reason we wouldn’t recommend a lot of salicylic acid face washes over a serum or lotion. A face wash doesn’t give the salicylic acid a lot contact time on your skin to act. As we discussed in this guide, the contact time allows the acid to work and penetrate your skin. So between a face wash or a serum/lotion, we recommend using a serum/lotion that you leave on your skin for an extended period.

There is one group that could benefit from a face wash – those of you with sensitive skin who cannot tolerate acids on your skin. A salicylic acid face wash can still allow for short term contact, which should not irritate your skin or irritate it less. Here are a few popular choices:

1. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Face Wash With Salicylic Acid

2. CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser 8 oz Salicylic Acid Cleanser

3. Philosophy Clear Days Ahead Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Cleanser

Salicylic acid shampoo for dandruff

If you’re looking for a dandruff shampoo with a gentle BHA to help reduce redness, itch, and flaking, these shampoos utilize salicylic acid and its derivatives to target dandruff without stripping your hair of its moisture:

1. Neutrogena T Sal Therapeutic Shampoo – Has 3% salicylic acid

2. Selsun Blue Naturals Dandruff Shampoo – Has 3% salicylic acid

3. Avalon Organics Anti Dandruff Shampoo – Has 2% salicylic acid

4. MG217 Psoriasis Shampoo and Conditioner – Has 3% Salicylic Acid

ph adjusting toners

Want to reap the full benefits of a BHA in your skincare routine by making sure your skin is at the correct pH level for your BHA? You can use one of these toners to prep your skin after cleanser, and just a few minutes before applying your BHA

1. COSRX Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol

2. MIZON Aha & Bha Daily Clean Toner

Azaelic acid

Intrigued by our mention of Azaelic acid as a stronger better BHA-like acid? Azaelic acid is far more popular as a drugstore produce in Europe than in the Americas or Asia but is gaining in popularity as people find out about its amazing skin benefits. We have found that Azaelic acid does nearly everything a BHA does but with even greater results.

Unlike BHA, the higher the percentage of Azaelic acid the stronger it is. However, it is best to start with a lower percentage and build your way up, because otherwise you may experience several peeling or can end up with a damaged moisture barrier.

Here are some products you can try for azaelic acid:

1. Curology – offers a formulation tailored to your skin and issues with a focus on anti-acne and anti-aging. It’s essentially a telederm service in which you get a prescription after you upload some photos of your skin. They will start you off with a gentle low concentration formula to make sure you don’t irritate your skin, and if you feel that it is going well then you can check in with your assigned dermatology provider to up your prescription in a few weeks.

It’s also very cost friendly, averaging out to $19.99/month for a tailored formulation for your skin. If you want to try Curology, you can use this link to try it for 1 month for free.

2. Ecological Formulas Melazepam Cream – 20% azaelic acid

3. GIGI Bioplasma Azelaic Cream – 15% azaelic acid

Waxing or Shaving?

Which hair removal method can work better for you – waxing or shaving?

In this article:

Waxing definition

Waxing is a method of hair removal where warm wax is applied to your skin and hair and removed quickly to remove hair. Waxing removes the entire hair, from the root or follicle.

Waxing for hair removal comes in two consistencies – hard wax and soft wax. Hard wax can be applied and removed by gripping the edge of the wax. Soft wax is applied in the same way as hard wax but requires wax removal strips that are smoothed over the applied wax and then pull away to remove the wax from the skin’s surface and to remove the hair from its root.

Like shaving, waxing also exfoliates the skin while the hair is removed from it. When the wax is applied, it is applied to the skin and hair with the intention that it will remove the hair only. However, waxing also pulls off the topmost layers of skin along with the hair. Compared to shaving, waxing exfoliates more of your skin. Unless you have particularly sensitive skin, waxing will give you very smooth skin because it will remove hair and dead skin.

Want to learn more? Read our complete guide to waxing at home here for a breakdown on how to pick a waxing kit for home use, which features to look out, and tips for painless waxing.

Shaving definition

Shaving is a method of hair removal in which you use a blade, usually in the form of a razor, to cut the hair shaft to where it exits the skin. Shaving does not remove the whole hair from the root, but cuts very close to the skin’s surface.

Shaving with a good blade or razer removes hair in a way that it is no longer visible at the skin’s surface. Shaving is the one of the common ways to remove hair, far surpassing any other longer lasting hair. Men remove their facial hair using blades or razors and women can use the razor to remove hair all over their body.

Shaving also lightly exfoliates the topmost layers of your skin. When the razor passes over your skin to cut the hair, it can also pick up shedding skin and remove it.

Compare – How often do I have to shave or how often do I have to wax?

Shaving is a nonpermanent hair removal method because it only cuts the hair off at the skin surface. So depending on how fast your hair grows, you may find yourself needing to shave again in anywhere between 2 to 4 days.

However, the upside to shaving is that you can shave at any time, no matter how much hair has grown back in.

Waxing is considered to be a semipermanent hair removal method because it removes the hair from the root. This allows you to be hair free for longer than shaving, but it can again vary with how quickly your hair grows. You could be hairless between 1 to 2 weeks before new hair growth comes in.

However, you’ll need to wait for the new hairs to be about 1 / 4 inch long before you can wax again. This is because wax does not grab hairs that are shorter than this and it is hard to get good results.

Winner: No clear winner.

If you are able to wear longer clothes while your hair grows to a 1/4 inch to wax again, then waxing is a clear winner because you can go so much longer in between sessions. But if you can’t wait for hair to grow to a certain length before hair removal, then shaving is a better option.

Cost – Is waxing more expensive than shaving?

A good value razer like the Venus Gillette or the Schick Hydro cost about $20 to $30 for 6 disposable heads total. If you are changing out your razor every 4 weeks like you should, then you end up spending between $40-60 on razors per year.

To wax at home, you need a few tools to get started like wax, a wax warmer or wax applicator sticks and these initial tools can run you an average of $30-40. If you’re waxing your whole body, a can of 8 oz Gigi wax will last about 5 sessions. So let’s say you’re waxing every two weeks, then a can of wax will last you 2 and a half months before you need to spend another $10 for a wax refill. For your first year of waxing at home, with the initial tools, you’ll spend about $80 a year waxing at home. In subsequent years, you’ll only spend $50 a year because you don’t need to rebuy a wax warmer, only wax refills (or to stock up on cheaper tools like wax applicators or wax strips that you can buy in bulk).

If you’re getting a professional full body wax, then you’re spending $300-400 per session. If you’re getting this done every two weeks, you’ll be spending several thousands of dollars a year on hair removal. At this rate, you might look into laser hair removal instead.

Winner: Waxing at home

Waxing is a clear winner when you consider that waxing every two weeks for only a few dollars more saves you a lot of time in life. We think time is money. Waxing definitely saves you a lot more time than shaving, so waxing is definitely a better deal.

Which hurts more – Waxing or Shaving?

Since shaving only cuts the hair at the skin’s surface, the actual shaving is not very painful. If you’re clumsy, you might end up nicking or cutting yourself in areas that are awkward to shave. Some people also suffer from excessive goosebumps, which can make it difficult to get a close shave and smooth skin.

Overall, shaving is a painless process.

Waxing rips out your hairs from the root or follicle, and it definitely hurts more than shaving. How much more? That depends on your pain tolerance. For some people, the pain of the wax removal is about the same as a sting, and for others, it is much more painful. It definitely hurts more the first time you get your hair waxed because you’re not mentally prepared for how much or how little it can hurt – you don’t know what to expect. This is a natural psychological response.

If you’ve only shaved your hair and then you get your hair waxed, it will hurt more the first time. This is because when you shave your hair over a period of time, the shafts and follicles of each get quite strong and are thicker beneath the surface of your skin. Ripping out these hairs by their follicles can be a little more painful than ripping out hair with young follicles. Waxing pulls out hair entirely and it will grow back finer.

This actually contributes to a myth that waxing reduces your hair. In reality your hair just grows back finer AND in phases. So immediately after waxing, all of your new hair will not grown back at once. Rather hair grows in different phases that activate at different times, so in say, 2 weeks, you may only be seeing hair that was activated into its growing phase.

With shaving, because you’re just slicing the hair somewhere along its shaft, the fully developed hair just at your skin surface continues to push up and so it seems like you have more hair regrow after shaving.

Winner: Shaving

Waxing hurts much more than shaving, which is a painless process.

Compare – How long does each hair removal method take?

Normally, people shave during their shower. A full body shave can take about 10 to 15 minutes. However, shaved hair grows back quickly and so you may be spending those 10 to 15 minutes every other or third day. If you wax every 3 days, the in the course of a month, you wax 10 times. So in 1 month, you spend 100 (1 hour and 40 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hour and 30 minutes) total shaving your hair.

You can’t wax while you’re showering. Waxing also requires some prep time to warm the wax, which take about 5 minutes. But if your wax is ready to go, a full body wax takes about 30-40 minutes. It can take longer if you’re just starting out and haven’t gotten the handle on waxing.

The average for waxing is every two weeks. That is to say that most people wax twice a month. So if you use waxing as your primary method of hair removal, you’ll spend 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes a month total waxing off all of your body hair.

Winner: Waxing

At first glance, it seems that shaving takes less time but you have to shave more often. If you look at how time you spend over a period of time, waxing takes less time because it lasts longer.

Skills needed to shave or wax

Between shaving or waxing, shaving is easier to learn. Gone are the days where you shaved with only a blade. Now razors come fitted, angled, and attached to a handle that makes it much harder to cut yourself and even have built in lotion strips that help condition your skin while you shave. Sure you can still cut yourself in awkward areas, but shaving is a fairly straight process that is easy to learn.

Waxing is no child’s game, but it’s also not rocket science. It does take a little bit of practice but it’s all worth it for 1-2 weeks of no hair. Waxing incorrectly can lead to ingrown hairs but there are preventative measures you can take to avoid them. If you’ve never gotten a wax before at a professional salon and you want to start waxing yourself at home, it could be worth it to get professionally waxed once to see good technique and care. Otherwise, youtube has countless videos that can help, and hopefully you are not the type to get discouraged quickly.

Both shaving and waxing can cause ingrown hairs, despite technique, as some people are just more prone to them. But with some attention to exfoliating regularly, you can help keep them at bay.

Winner: Shaving

Shaving is easier than waxing, and requires little skill to do well. Waxing is not difficult but takes a little bit of practice to do well.

So which is more convenient – Shaving or waxing?

Sure shaving is easier and doesn’t hurt at all, but waxing saves so much more time and lasts longer than waxing. Waxing is only slightly more expensive than shaving if you are waxing yourself. That makes waxing a clear choice between the two with having shaving as a backup for a night out when you can’t wait for hair to grow back to the necessary length required for waxing (1/ 4 “).

That said, some people suffer from skin illnesses that can be irritated by waxing. There are certainly waxes specially formulated for sensitive skin or skin that is prone to acne breakouts. But sometimes waxing is not suitable for your skin. In this case, shaving is the way to go.

Overall Winner?

Waxing wins, for us. Being hairless for up to 2 weeks far outweighs any downsides it may have compared to shaving.

Want to learn more about waxing at home and how to get started? Read our in depth guide on how to pick a wax kit, the different options in waxes, and tips for painless waxing.

Top 5 At-Home Laser Hair Removal Systems

A complete guide to: At Home Laser Hair Removal

For years, laser hair removal was inconveniently expensive. Laser hair removal used to be an option only available at dermatology or licensed offices, costing hundreds of dollars per treatment.

However, in the last few years, there are now an increasing number of at-home laser hair removal options. These at-home laser hair removal systems are now another DIY hair removal method like at home waxing or shaving, and last longer. While initially, these systems only worked for dark hair on light skin, now there are options for a wider range of skin and hair colors available.

Many of these laser hair removal systems for home use are reasonably priced and highly effective, and a great solution for anyone looking for long term hair removal. We’re written this guide to help determine if at home laser hair removal can work for you and reviewed the best systems available today. To skip ahead in this guide, please expand the table of contents below.

In this guide:

Reviews for 5 of the best at-home laser hair removal devices

We have been using various at home laser hair removal devices for several years now, starting with a Remington system, then a Silk’n, and later a Tria. There have been so many advancements especially in the last 3-4 years and the systems available today are easier to use and more efficient than ever. Let us take a look at the best 5 laser hair removal systems available for at home use today.

1. Tria Hair Removal 4X

The Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X beats other at home laser hair removal systems and devices on more than one front, easily taking the top spot. Let’s break it down.

Important features
  • Only FDA approved laser hair removal system
  • Cordless
  • Rechargeable
  • No replacement cartridges needed
  • Same technology as dermatologists (Advanced Diode laser)
  • LED display
  • High precision design
  • Can be used on face

Tria 4X Hair Removal Device

The Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X is a laser hair removal not an IPL hair removal system. Not sure what the difference is? Backtrack to learn more.

This means the Tria Laser Hair Removal 4x uses the same technology as dermatologists, specifically an Advanced Diode Laser. The Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X was the first true laser hair removal system approved by the FDA. And it is still the ONLY laser hair removal system approved by the FDA for at home use. The other systems we review later are IPL laser hair removal systems. So if you have done your research, or want to try a laser hair removal system not an IPL system, this is the best and only option aside from visiting a dermatologist.

BUY NOW: Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X

Every other at home laser hair removal system requires cartridge replacements after a certain number of laser flashes. The Tria Laser 4x is the only machine on the market that requires no cartridge replacement. What this means is that the Tria Laser 4x has no recurring costs. The initial cost is the only investment and after that there is $0 in ongoing costs for life. There are cheaper at home laser hair removal systems available but if you plan on using your system or device for a long time, then the initially pricey Tria Laser hair removal 4x averages out to a similar dollar investment.

So how does it avoid new cartridges? It is a cordless handheld at home laser hair removal system that uses a recharging station. Each session with the Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X lasts 40 minutes and then you recharge it for your next session.

Tria 4X has an LED display

The Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X comes with an LED display that shows you battery levels and how many pulses you have used during your session. It also comes with a Skin Sensor that unlocks the Tria for use, if you have the correct skin tone, and relocks the system after you are done with your hair removal session.

We and countless other users have found that the Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X is more effective on facial hair than any other at home laser hair removal device on the market. This is in part due to the technology and in part due to the design of the Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X. The handle and the applicator allow for precision while emitting a large amount of laser energy. This make the Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X a top choice for best at home laser hair removal for brazilians, face, underarms or another smaller area with lots of hair that needs a great attention to detail.

To read more customer verified Tria 4X reviews, click here.

Note: Many of the other great at home laser hair removal devices cannot be used on the face. You can use the Tria anywhere on your body, not just in high density hair areas or small areas. But the portability of this device makes it great for areas where you need to very careful (like your eyes… keep away!), making the Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X the best at home laser hair removal for face and body.

This device will not successfully treat dark skin or very light hair, like blonde, grey, or white hair. We have reviewed at home laser hair removal devices that work on dark skin – skip ahead to the Tanda Me or Illuminage at home laser hair systems if you have dark skin.

Tria 4X comes in many colors.

It cames in a variety of colors, like turquoise, graphite, fuschia, and more. And compared to some at home laser hair systems, it is minimal in size. You can charge it and even take it along during travel.

To read more about Tria 4X product specifications, click here.

Quick Summary

Despite the initial cost, the Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X comes out ahead when you factor in its other features. And it uses the same laser used during costlier dermatology sessions. So if you’re looking for a professional grade hair removal system for at home use (especially for facial hair), there isn’t a better option available on the market than the Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X.

2. Remington iLight Pro Hair Removal System

Remington was one of the first to introduce a laser treatment system for home use to the public. Despite the competition, the Remington iLight Pro is still one of the most reviewed and dependable hair removal system available.

Important features
  • FDA approved IPL
  • Permanent hair reduction after 3 treatments
  • Long lasting cartridges
  • Replacement cartridges reasonably priced
  • Large flash applicator face makes this great for large areas

Remington iLight Pro

The Remington iLight Pro Hair Removal System is an IPL hair removal system and was one of the first of its kind on the market. Since it’s debut, Remington has introduced several iterations of the iLight Pro and we will cover some of them too.

The Remington iLight Pro Hair Removal System that shows a reduction in hair in only 3 treatments. The cartridge has 6000 flashes, which is enough for 10 full body treatments. And there is one replacement cartridges included, so there are 20 treatments in the Remington iLight Pro Hair Removal System total. Need more? Replacement cartridges for this system are highly affordable, usually $30-40 per cartridge.

There is a skin sensor on the iLight that is touch sensitive and detects your skin color. It only operates if you have it pressed up against your skin and your skin is in range for this machine. If you are not yet holding it against your skin or your skin is too dark, then it will not flash.

This is a great safety precaution because the flashes can affect your eyes, and even cause long term blindness. So you only want the machine flashing if it is pressed on skin and not near your eyes. If your skin is out of range for this machine you can end up with skin burns, so the machine will refuse to operate so you do not end up with accidental burns on your skin.

iLight is corded and needs to be plugged in to use, which makes this system bulky. So it is not as travel friendly as certain other more compact options.

Remington iLight Pro

The larger applicator face of this device makes this a great choice for larger areas like legs, arms, and bikini hair removal. IPL technology also helps target more hairs with each flash because IPL uses diffused light. So you will notice that that applicator screens on most IPL machines are larger.

Will this at home laser hair removal system treat dark skin? No. (skip ahead to the Tanda Me and Illuminage reviews) It also will not work on grey, white, or blonde hair.

To read more about Remington iLight Pro product specifications, click here.

However, for this reason, do not use the Remington iLight Pro Hair Removal System on your face or anywhere near your eyes! The diffused light targets a larger area and even if your eyes are closed, it can hurt your eyes. If you need facial hair removal, use a device with a more controlled liked the Tria Laser Removal 4X reviewed above or the Tria Hair Removal Precision reviewed below. Do not use this on your face! Use the Remington iLight Pro Hair Removal System anywhere, except on or near your face and eyes.

To read more customer verified Remington iLight Pro reviews, click here.

Quick Summary

Amongst at-home laser hair removal systems, this is our favorite for whole body laser treatment. While the Tria products use a different kind of technology and travel friendly, each flash only treats a small area. The Remington iLight Pro Hair Removal System has a larger treatment area with each flash and is a more convenient option for treating bigger areas like full arms or full legs. So if your primary goal with laser hair removal is removing hair from your body and not your face, the Remington iLight Pro Hair Removal System should be your first choice.

3. Silk’n Flash & Go

Silk’n is another veteran maker of at home laser hair removal devices, and there are variety of models available to purchase. Many of them are similar to the Remington review ed above with bulky recharge stations. However, the Silk’n Flash & Go is a at home hair removal system that is not bulky and can be used on both face AND body at home hair removal.

Important features
  • Cordless
  • Can be used on both face and body
  • Large flash applicator face makes this great for large areas
  • FDA approved IPL
  • No replacement cartridges needed

Silkn Go Flash

The Silk’n Flash & Go is a versatile at home laser hair removal system. Unlike the Tria’s small flash face or Remington’s limitation to using it only on the face, the Silk’n Flash & Go can be used for both body and face at home laser hair removal. If you want to removal hair from all over your body, this may be the best of both worlds for you.

Like the Tria, the Silk’n Flash & Go is also cordless. There is a corded charging station, which is also small and easily packable. This makes the Silk’n Flash & Go a good system for those of us on the go, who need a system that can be charged and used from anywhere, and minimal in size.

Also like the Tria, the Silk’n Flash & Go needs no cartridges or refills for the IPL flashes. So there is no recurring cost after the initial purchase.

Many laser hair removal systems have a short delay between each flash, varying from 1 to 5 seconds. This means that after each flash, you need to wait a short interval before you can push the flash button again. The Remington machine has this delay, as does the Silk’n Flash & Go.

However, the Silk’n Flash & Go has upgraded it’s technology to minimize this delay to less than a second. This makes this a faster machine to use. But its flash applicator face is a bit smaller than Remington. So, if you are covering a large expansive area, you may find that it takes about the same time to treat with either the Remington or the Silk’n Flash & Go. However, the Silk’n Flash & Go will definitely treat a smaller area much faster due to it’s shorter interval between flashes.

Does it treat dark or tanned skin, or grey and blonde hair? No.

To read more about Silk’n Flash & Go product specifications, click here.

So why isn’t it our number one? The flash applicator face is still smaller than the Remington device. If this had a larger head that could cover larger areas faster, this would easily head the pack. Still, for at home laser hair removal of brazilians and bikini or underarms, the Silk’n Flash & Go offers the speediest treatment.

The Silk’n Flash & Go is a great “medium” for at home laser hair removal that can treat both face and body. However, if you’re looking for the most effective and well designed at home laser hair removal device for face or for body, we’d recommend going for a Remington or a Tria instead. If cost is the main driving factor, then the Silk’n Flash & Go is worth a try before you go for a more expensive machine.

To read more customer verified Silk’n Flash & Go reviews, click here.

Quick Summary

The Silk’n Flash & Go has Tria’s efficiency and good design, and the Remington’s ability to treat larger areas on your body. Combined, this is a good at home laser hair removal product for face AND body treatment. With no added costs, improved technology, this IPL at home hair removal system is a contender for the top spot in this list. But if you intend to treat your face or your body, investing in the pricier Tria or a Remington might pay off more in the long term.

4. Tria Hair Removal Precision

The Tria Hair Removal Precision is the Tria 4X boiled down into an even more compact and lightweight design. Need to travel light? You can easily pack this in your toiletries bag or luggage. Need a smaller at home laser hair removal device for a small treatment area? The Tria Hair Removal Precision fits the bill.

Important features
  • FDA approved laser hair removal system
  • Cordless
  • No replacement cartridges needed
  • Same technology as dermatologists (Advanced Diode laser)
  • Can be used on face
  • Compact design

Tria Precision

The Tria Hair Removal Precision is essentially the same at home laser hair removal device as the Tria Laser Hair Removal 4X condensed into a smaller size.

Tria intended for the Tria Hair Removal Precision to be used in areas that harder to reach with the larger flash screen of the Tria 4X. Remember, the flash applicator of whatever at home laser hair removal system you decide to try, must be completely flat against the surface of the skin to treat the hair follicles. So in certain areas with curves and bends, like your groin or your breast, it may be difficult to get the entire flash applicator face flat on your skin. In these areas, you may find that a smaller at home laser hair device like the Tria Hair Removal Precision helps treat more effectively.

Like the Tria 4X, this device does not treat dark skin or very light hair.

Another potential benefit of the Tria Hair Removal Precision is its minimal size. It can fit in your toiletries kit or a purse, as it is about the size of an electronic toothbrush. So if you travel often and travel light, the Tria Hair Removal Precision’s size could be a huge benefit.

To read more customer verified Tria Hair Removal Precision reviews, click here.

Quick Summary

Otherwise, if you do not need a smaller flash applicator or can work with the slightly bigger size of the other devices we have reviewed, we recommend going with the Tria 4X, the Remington, or the Silk’n Flash & Go first. Then if you find that you are still missing patches of hair in curvy areas, then you can try to treat those sections with this handy Tria Hair Removal Precision.

5. Tanda Me Smooth (also called Elos Professional)

The Tanda Me Smooth, also called Elos Professional, is the first of the two best at home laser hair removal systems for dark skin that we reviewed for you. Laser hair removal for dark skin is still a very novel industry, as historically if you had dark skin, you were immediately disqualified from this particular method of hair removal.

The Tanda Me Smooth also works on lighter hair, like blonde hair. And it is the only at home laser hair removal system for blonde and red hair that is effective. It does not work on white hair.

However, with new research advancements in laser technology, at home laser hair removal systems for dark skin and light hair hitting the market, with the Tanda Me Smooth currently leading in effectiveness and good design.

Important features
  • Can be used on olive to dark skin
  • Can be used on blonde and red hair
  • Reasonably priced replacement cartridges
  • Can be used on face
  • FDA approved IPL hair removal system

Tanda Me Smooth Me Elos

The Tanda Me Smooth (Elos Professional) was one of the first at home laser hair removal devices that had a wide enough range of acceptable skin and hair colors to include dark skin and light hair. It effectively treats hair that light like blonde as well as skin tones that range from olive to dark. These normally fall outside of the range for the other laser and IPL systems that we have reviewed.

The Tanda Me Smooth (Elos Professional) is a corded system that needs to be plugged in to use. It has 5 different intensity levels for the IPL laser light, and you can tailor your treatment to use any of the 5 levels or build up from the lowest level.

BUY NOW:Tanda Me Smooth Elos Professional

This system also requires replacement cartridges. However, each cartridge lasts for 100,000 flashes, or several full body treatments before you need a new one. The replacement cartridges are also very reasonably priced, ranging from $30-40 each.

The Tanda Me Smooth (Elos Professional) can be used on both face and body. It is also very efficient system that allows you to treat a full leg in 10 minutes and full body including face, in only 20 minutes.

To read more customer verified (Elos Professional) Tanda Me Smooth reviews, click here.

Quick Summary

For anyone looking for an at home laser hair removal system for blonde hair or red hair, the Tanda Me Smooth Elos Professional is the only machine available today that shows results. The Tanda Me Smooth is also one of two machines available for use on darker skin tones that were previously disqualified from laser hair removal. It is the best at home laser hair removal system for indian skin, african skin, or anyone else with olive to dark skin.

6. Bonus – Illuminage Touch

We only intended to review the top 5 at home laser hair removal systems, but the introduction of the Illuminage Touch as another best at home laser hair removal system for dark skin made it a convincing addition to our must review list.

Prior to these systems debuting on the market, there was little option for anyone looking for best at home laser hair removal system for african skin or another type of olive or darker skin. But with the Tanda Me and the Illuminage Touch, the at home laser hair removal market has become more democratic in terms of skin color.

Important features
  • Can be used on olive to dark skin
  • Can be used on blonde and red hair
  • FDA approved IPL hair removal system
  • Can be used on face

Illuminage Touch at home laser hair removal system for dark skin

Like the Tanda Me Smooth, the Illuminage Touch works for the normal ranges of skin and hair color. It also is a second option for at home laser hair removal device for blonde hair, red hair, and olive to dark skin…. all of which are normally are outside the capacities of many of the popular laser hair removal systems.

The Illuminage Touch is a corded machine, so you need an outlet to use this machine to treat your skin. It uses IPL laser to permanently reduce your hair by 94% in 7 weeks, if you treat once each week.

It can be used on face and body.

BUY NOW: Illuminage Touch

Like some of the other at home laser hair removal system we have reviewed, here, the Illuminage Touch also requires replacement cartridges for long term use. But unlike the other devices we have reviewed, the cartridges for the Illuminage Touch seem to be quite expensive, ranging $110-140. For more Illuminage Touch product specifications, click here.

Note: Normally, this price would disqualify this system from this list. But given the scarcity of at home laser hair removal devices that treat dark skin, we still wanted to include the Illuminage Touch as a bonus review. For many systems, you may find that you never end up needing a second cartridge. So if this system meets your needs in all of its other features, it may still be a good investment until that first included cartridge is used up.

To read more customer verified Illuminage Touch reviews, click here.

Quick Summary

The Illuminage Touch is a second effective option for at home laser hair removal for dark skin (olive to dark) and light hair (red, blonde). The price of the replacement cartridges make this less accessible than the other systems we have reviewed, but still keep this whole unit less than the cost of laser hair removal treatments from a dermatologist. We recommend trying the Tanda Me Smooth system first, but we wanted to offer this as an option for those of us with darker skin.

Types of at-home laser hair removal

There are two types of light based hair removal – IPL and laser hair removal. Usually both are referred to as laser hair removal but there are some differences.

IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. Sometimes you hear IPL referred to as IPL laser treatment, but that is a misnomer. IPL is not a laser, but rather a wide spectrum of diffused light. This diffused light does not go very deep into the skin.

Dark hair absorbs many of the wavelengths of the Intense Pulsed Light, which disrupts the growth of the hair and the follicle. IPL hair removal needs some contrast between skin color and hair color so that the darker of the two, the hair, can absorb the light. So for example, IPL works well on dark haired and light skinned people and not so well on people with light skin and blonde hair or those with dark skin and dark hair.

Laser hair removal involves a single and concentrated wavelength of light that also disrupts hair follicles. Specifically, the laser treatment targets melanin in hair follicle to differentiate between skin and hair. Because this is concentrated light, it penetrates the skin much more than IPL. This type of light is much much effective for very coarse or thick hair follicles.

Both are effective for hair in different stages of growth and thickness. So which one to use? It may depend on your skin color and hair.

Skin color and Hair color

There was a time when laser hair removal was only available for people with very light skin and very dark hair. However, now there are options for people who do not have as much contrast between your skin color and hair color. Still, because this type of hair removal targets pigment or melanin, it works better for certain phenotypes. Will it work for you? Let’s take a look.

  1. The first question is what color is your hair?

  2. Laser hair removal targets the root of each hair so look at the color that is closest to the root to determine the color of your hair. Is your hair color is one of the following colors or is in between the following colors?

    Laser hair removal for Light Brown to Dark Brown Hair

    If your hair is between light brown to black, then you are probably a good candidate for laser hair removal.

    Is your hair color one of the following shades or in between one of the following hair colors?

    Laser hair removal for Blonde and Red hair

    If your hair is blonde or a true red, or in between, you can still use laser hair removal. However, it may be less effective or take more treatments for you to see a difference. This is especially true if you are tanned.

    Many people with red or blonde hair have lighter tips and darker roots. If your blonde or red hair is a darker “dirty blonde” or deeper red at your roots, hair removal by laser is still a great option because it will be able to detect the dark hair follicles.

    Do you have grey or white hair?

    Laser hair removal for grey hair

    Grey or white hair makes it very hard for the light in laser hair systems to hone in the hair follicle. If your hair color is grey or white, laser hair removal will not be effective for you.

    Usually people have grey or white roots, but you may have a mix of white and darker hair. In this case, the laser hair removal systems will detect and kill the darker hair follicles. So while you may not be able to disrupt all of the hair follicles, you will see a reduction in hair as the darker hair follicles are eliminated.

  3. The second important question to ask is what is your skin color?

  4. The lighter your skin color, the easier it is for the light wavelengths to zone in on your hair follicles. Light skin colors include:

    Laser hair removal for white to brown skin

    If your skin color is pale white to light brown or light olive, then you are a great candidate for laser hair removal.

    Just like very light hair makes it hard for the laser hair removal light to differentiate between hair and skin, darker skin also makes it harder to differentiate between hair and skin.

    Laser hair removal for Medium to Dark Brown Skin

    If you have dark skin like any of the above, then most laser hair removal systems may not work very well for you. As of a year ago, there were no options for darker skinned people. Now there is 1 system on the market that shows a great reduction in hair for a wider range of skin colors, including dark skin – the Tanda Me Smooth and Iluminage Touch.

    Click here to skip to our reviews for Tanda Me Smooth or Iluminage Touch. You’ll also find it at the end of this guide in the review section, if you would like to continue reading.

Laser hair removal – Food for thought

There are a few facts and realities to keep in mind before you start using an IPL or laser hair removal system. Usually, you do not see this kind of section in a product guide. But understanding the limitations of laser hair removal will help you make a better choice in your hair removal journey.

Many IPL and laser hair removal systems have been cleared by the FDA for home use. A key term you may see in the marketing language of many of these systems is “permanent reduction” in hair. Notice that it does not say permanent removal.

This applies to both the systems approved for home use and those used in licensed medical offices. Neither can be marketed as permanent hair removal solutions. Be wary of laser hair removal providers that promise permanent hair removal. Many of these providers even offer extra sessions if you do not get permanent results, which could be a great insurance plan. However, please know that none of these options are cleared by the FDA as permanent hair removal solutions because they did not find that IPL or laser hair removal systems could accomplish that for every user.

This is because each of these systems show varying results in various people. Some people are able to use them with great results like permanent hair removal. Others notice a permanent reduction in the hair that regrows after a few sessions.

So you may also get varying results with these systems. Normally, people with high contrast skin and hair – light skin and dark hair – see tremendous results with these machines with either an almost or a total permanent hair loss in the treated areas. You may also get varying results on various parts of your body, with finer hair disappearing faster.

Even if you do not quickly accomplish total hair removal, you may be interested in extending the times between how often you have to remove hair. Many people find that way less hair grows in the treated areas, and they only need to use the laser hair removal system or another method of hair removal a few times a year. Cutting back how much time you spend on removing hair may make laser hair systems a worthy investment. With both IPL and laser hair removal, users notice increasingly positive results with each use. However, the number many treatments needed to see the results will vary person to person.

So is there an FDA approved total hair removal system? Yes, electrolysis.

Electrolysis is approved by the FDA as a permanent hair removal solution. It treats 1 hair at a time, and so can be a time consuming process. For this reason, it is also a costly option at dermatologists and hair removal salons. For much larger areas like arms or legs, it can cost thousands of dollars.

Ultimately, laser hair removal systems are an accessible and easy way to remove hair for long periods of time, if not forever. If you find yourself shaving or waxing frequently, laser hair removal will greatly reduce how often you have to remove hair. With continued treatments, less and finer hair will regrow and with less frequency until there is little to no hair left to remove.

So if you’re looking for a hair removal method that is more permanent and long lasting than shaving, sugaring, waxing or epilating, laser hair removal is an excellent option to try. There are countless laser hair removal systems available now. Many of them cost about the same as a good wax kit or an epilator, so there is no reason to not try a laser hair removal system if you don’t already wax or use an epilator. Imagine not having to wax, shave, or epilate for weeks instead of only days!

Features of at-home laser hair removal


There are several laser and IPL systems available in the at home laser hair removal systems. Some of the best options use the same technology as those in professional settings, and others use different laser technology that works equally well.

But since these laser hair removal systems have entered the consumer market, there have been many advancements in technology. A good laser hair removal system should be equipped with an up to date laser technology.

Added Cost of Cartridges

Many at home laser hair removal systems require cartridges to work and come with a set number of cartridges to use as you need. These cartridges hold a certain number of flashes that disrupt the hair follicle and kill the hair before they need replacement.

If you plan on purchasing an at home laser hair removal system with the intention of removing as much hair all over our body and face as tolerable, you will need more cartridges at some point. So it is important to take note of how much surface area a cartridge might cover and if replacement cartridges are easily available. Replacement cartridges are an added cost.

Of course, if you only plan on using your at home laser hair removal system for a small area like underarms or the upper lip, then you may never need to look for replacement cartridges.

Battery or Corded

Some at home laser hair removal systems are battery operated or rechargeable. Others are corded and can only be used when they are plugged in.

Depending on where you plan on using this device, or your lifestyle needs, this feature may be another key to making a decision.

The laser removal systems that require an outlet or are corded tend to be bulkier and would be hard to take along while traveling. You’ll also need to use them near an outlet.

Rechargable at home laser hair removal systems are usually lightweight, easy to handle, and you can use them easily at home or while traveling. You may find that it is hard to do a full treatment of a large area, like both legs, with a rechargeable device. But if you want a more accessible device that you can take with you anywhere to touch up your face or underarms, then a rechargeable or battery operated device is more ideal than a bulky corded machine.

Color of skin and hair

The range of skin color and hair colors for each laser hair removal device is probably the most important feature to note. A good at home laser hair removal system will work on a wider range of skin and hair colors. Skin color can change from body part to body part and even over the course of the seasons if you tan easily, so even the traditionally ideal candidate – light skin and dark hair – can benefit from a wider range.

If you have less contrast between your skin and hair, this feature is especially important. Blonde or red hair and light skin, or dark hair and dark brown skin, make the hair follicles harder to detect for the laser hair removal system. Make sure to pick a laser hair removal system you choose has a wide range of acceptable skin and hair colors.

What about pain?

Or a better question: What is the highest level of pain you can experience during laser hair removal at home or at a professional office? If you have a low tolerance to pain and very sensitive skin, you can compare it to the pain of snapping a rubber band against your skin.

Personally, we do not find it nearly as painful. For someone with average sensitivity, it may feel more like a light pinch and a warm sensation. Everyone also has various areas of the body with less or more sensitivity. Some people find that less sensitive areas register no pain at all.

Compared to other methods of hair removal, laser hair removal is less painful than both epilating and waxing, and more painful than just shaving.

How to prepare for a laser hair removal session

1. Shave the area you are going to treat of any hairs that might be present

You have to shave before every laser hair removal session. Laser works best if the hair has been cut down so that it can treat as close to the hair root as possible, and kill the root.

2. Pat the area dry

Helpful Tip: For IPL hair removal systems, we recommend wearing a pair of laser protection eye glasses. Because IPL is diffused light, there is greater risk of laser hitting sensitive areas like eyes and resulting in irreversible damage.

3. Begin laser hair removal

Helpful Tip: For larger areas, use a white eyeliner pencil to create a grid so that you know exactly where you have treated and can cover the whole skin surface without leaving untreated patches.

Remember to use a white eyeliner pencil because the laser hair removal system will pick up a darker color as a hair follicle where there is none, and that can lead to a skin burn.

4. Wash area again to remove singed hair smell (if present) and white pencil marks. Apply a noncomedogenic lotion.

Helpful Tip: Some may smell singed hair after treatment in certain areas of your body. We have found that coarser hair tends to lead to this singed hair smell. It is nothing to be concerned about. To get rid of the smell, just wash the newly treated area and carry on your skincare routine.

Comparing Epilators – Pros and Cons

Below is a concise side by side comparison of 7 of the most popular epilators and their features. We specifically look at features such number of tweezers, whether or not it can be used in the shower or bath (wet/dry), if the epilator is cordless, if the epilator has a built in light, epilator accessories, epilator price, and the best uses for each device.

Epilator Comparison Chart

Epilator modelBraun Silk-epil 9 9-579 Panasonic ES-ED90-P Emjoi AP-18Emjoi Soft Caress Epilator Remington EP7030 Codream 4-1Philips Satinelle HP-6401
See more product details Go to Braun Silk-epil 9 9-579 Go
to Panasonic ES-ED90-P

Go to Emjoi AP-18
to Emjoi Soft Caress Epilator
to Remington EP7030

Go to Codream 4-1
to Philips Satinelle HP-6401
SummaryBest epilator on the market todayAnother top contender for best epilator on marketThe most powerful epilator availableBest sensitive skin epilatorBest value epilatorBest value epilator with extra featuresGreat basic, low cost epilator
ReviewOur review hereOur review hereOur review hereOur review hereOur review hereOur review hereOur review here
Best forWhole body, including faceWhole body, including faceWhole body, except faceWhole body, especially sensitive areas, including faceWhole body, except faceWhole body, except faceWhole body, except face
Number of Tweezers40+ Micro Grip technology tweezers48 precision rotating tweezers72 tweezers36 tweezers with antimicrobial protection40 tweezers15 tweezers21 tweezers
Built in lightYesYesNoNoYesNoNo
AccessoriesShaver head, Trimmer cap,
High frequency massage cap,
Facial cap,
Facial brush
Shaver head with popup trimmer,
Bikini comb,
Dual disc epilator, head,
Sensitive epilator head,
Gentle epilator cap,
Pedicure buffer,
Cleaning brush,
Travel pouch,
ChargerTravel pouch,
Precision cap, Perfect angle cap, Massaging cap,
Travel pouch,
Callus remover,
Epilator head,
Shaver head,
Haircut head
Efficiency cap