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8 Best IPL Hair Removal Devices to Buy in 2022

These at-home hair removers get rid of hair permanently over time.

best athome ipl hair removers

Women have been removing unwanted body and facial hair as part of their regular beauty routines for ages. Shaving with razors and waxing are popular methods, but it doesn’t take long before those pesky hairs grow back. Laser hair removal is another, more long-term, albeit expensive solution, but you may be unable (or too shy) to visit a professional. If you struggle with any of these hairy dilemmas, you may want to try at-home IPL hair removal. Many studies show that IPL (a.k.a. intense pulsed light) is effective for long-term hair growth reduction. It is a broad-spectrum light that targets melanin "(the pigment on the hair follicle), destroying the root and stopping its regrowth,” says Bertha Baum, M.D., a dermatologist in Boca Raton and Hallandale, Florida. "With regular use of these at-home devices, the treatment can be efficacious and safe."

Our Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab is comprised of beauty pros and chemists who routinely test the latest skincare products for safety, efficacy and ease of use. With so many different IPL hair removal devices out there, you'll want to choose one that'll give you the best and safest results. Although we haven't tested all the picks below, we rounded up all FDA-cleared picks, including a mix of GH Beauty Lab-tested, dermatologist-recommended and highly rated IPL hair removal devices so you can zap away hair in a flash.

Our top picks:

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Best Overall IPL Hair Removal Device
Pure Fit

  • Easy to use
  • Automatic skin tone sensor
  • Comes with an ergonomic precision head attachment

Whenever Dr. Baum’s patients can’t make it into her office for their laser hair removal treatment, she recommends her favorite at-home IPL device, SmoothSkin. The Good Housekeeping Institute also signs off on this product: “I saw noticeable results with this device after a single use," says GH Beauty, Health & Sustainability Lab Executive Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D. It has a special sensor that automatically detects your skin color to apply the right amount of light intensity, and it won’t flash if your skin color is too dark or if the device is not held properly against your skin, making it safe and easy to use. In addition, it has three comfort modes, which eliminates the guesswork of which mode to use for different areas of your body. Aral tested the speed mode on her legs and the gentle mode on her face and reported back little discomfort. “I also find the user guide very informative and well written, which is rather a rarity in the device space,” she says.

• Key features: Three comfort modes (gentle, speed and power), skin tone sensor, skin contact sensor
• Flashes
: Unlimited
• What’s included
: Device, power cable, precision head attachment, user manual
• Best usage
: Once a week for 12 weeks, then touch-ups as needed

Best Value IPL Hair Removal Device
The Flasher 2.0

  • Lightweight, compact design
  • Brand offers full refunds and device replacement

  • Shorter cord length
  • No precision head attachment

Nood is a rising star when it comes to IPL hair removal. The brand’s newest IPL hair removal handset, The Flasher 2.0, is light and compact. It includes seven intensity levels to choose from based on your skin’s sensitivity. It also comes with 600,000 flashes, and the brand will replace your device if you ever run out. Plus, the brand offers customers a full refund within 90 days, no questions asked, so you can have peace of mind knowing that you won't lose out if the device doesn’t work for you. Aral also tested The Flasher 2.0. She likes that it has an on-off button, which some IPL device do not have (as soon as you plug it in, it's ready to flash). However, she says that the bright light of the flashes escapes from the sides since it doesn't come with a precision head attachment for smaller, boney areas, potentially making it less effective and unsafe for your eyes.

Key features: Skin contact sensor, digital display, seven intensity levels
Flashes: 600,000
What's included: Device, power cord, user manual
Best usage: Twice a week for eight weeks, then touch-ups as needed

    Fastest IPL Hair Removal Device
    Silk Expert Pro 5

    • Automatic skin tone sensor
    • Quick treatment time
    • Gentle sensitivity modes

    With this IPL hair removal device, the brand claims that you can treat both legs in under five minutes. Many reviewers say that this device works fast, taking little time in between each flash compared to other IPL devices they’ve tried. Like SmoothSkin, it includes a built-in sensor that automatically detects the color of your skin, maximizing the safety and the effectiveness of each treatment. It also has three sensitivity modes: standard, gentle and extra gentle. "I am a woman who deals with excessive hair ... and a month in, I have already seen a significant reduction in the hair on my chin and neck," one Amazon reviewer says.

    Key features: Three sensitivity modes (standard, gentle and extra gentle), skin tone sensor, skin contact sensor
    Flashes: 400,000
    What's included: Device, precision head attachment, power cord, user manual, razor, a storage pouch
    Best usage: Once a week for 12 weeks, then touch-ups as needed

      Best Cordless IPL Hair Removal Device
      SensiLight Pro

      • Automatic skin tone sensor
      • Cordless

      • Bulky

      Sensica touts its device’s professional-quality technology. The brand claims that you will see the same results you would after receiving treatment at a professional spa. With built-in sensors which assess your skin color and proper placement of the device against your skin, you can have peace of mind that your treatments will be safe and effective. The device’s cordless feature also allows you to treat it anywhere you want. Although this IPL device is bulkier than others, reviewers say that it’s great for touch-ups after professional laser hair removal. "I'm impressed with the results!" one reviewer raved. "I’ve used it about five times with two to three weeks apart, and I’m back smooth with no hair growth at all."

      Key features: Skin tone sensor, skin contact sensor, cordless, six energy levels
      Flashes: Unlimited (600 between charges)
      What's included: Device, two window attachments (large and precise), charging cord, storage pouch
      Best usage: Once every two weeks for the first four treatments, then once every four weeks

        Best IPL Hair Removal Device for Face
        Touch Permanent Hair Reduction System

        • Fast results
        • Claims to work on every skin tone

        This Iluminage device combines IPL and RF (radiofrequency) waves to reduce hair growth. Although Dr. Baum advises against IPL treatments for those with skin types 5 and 6, the brand claims that it is effective for every skin tone and you’ll experience fast results in up to two weeks. Plus, it comes with a precision adaptor head for small areas, such as the upper lip. "If you suffer from hair on your face or other parts of your body you do not like, get this machine," one YouTube vlogger says. "It works miracles."

        Key features: Skin contact sensor, three energy levels
        Flashes: Unlimited
        What's included: Device, precision adaptor head, epilator attachment, goggles, power cord, user manual
        Best usage: Once a week for seven weeks, then touch-ups as needed

          Best Cooling IPL Hair Removal Device
          ICE Cooling Handset

          • Cooling technology for sensitive skin
          • Reviewer favorite
          • Less painful flashes

          Kenzzi's handset device is quite popular, especially among YouTube vloggers. The brand claims that its newest version is twice as fast, and it uses special cooling technology to reduce your skin’s surface temperature during treatment. Many reviewers say that the flashes feel like nothing more than a rubber band snapping on your skin. "I was the type of girl that was shaving under my arms every single day—sometimes twice a day," one YouTube vlogger reports. "After using [Kenzzi] for almost 15 weeks... I don't have to shave anymore."

          Key features: Cooling technology, skin contact sensor, five energy levels
          Flashes: 300,000
          What's included: Device, power cord, user manual
          Best usage: Once a week for 12 weeks, then touch-ups as needed

            Best IPL Hair Removal Device for Bikini Area
            Pioneer Permanent Hair Removal Device

            • Cooling technology to reduce pain
            • Ergonomic design
            • Great for hard-to-reach areas

            The BoSidin IPL hair removal device has a unique design with a rotating precision head to tackle areas that are difficult to reach (i.e., your bikini area). It also has six intensity levels and a built-in function that cools your skin before treatment to minimize any pain or sensitivity. We haven't tested it in the Lab, but a reviewer commented, “Today was my first treatment, and it was honestly pain-free.

            Key features: Cooling technology, rotating head, six energy levels
            Flashes: Unlimited
            What's included: Device, precision head attachment, power adaptor, goggles, razor, user manual
            Best usage: Once a week for eight weeks, then touch-ups as needed

              Best IPL Hair Removal Device for Dark Skin
              Infinity Hair Removal Device

              • Claims to be safe for darker skin tones
              • Automatic skin tone sensor
              • Lightweight, compact design

              Silk’n Infinity stands out as the brand claims that its device works on darker skin tones, though it's best to proceed with caution as IPL treatments are advised against those with skin types 4-6. It also has a built-in sensor that will not allow it to flash if your skin is too dark for safe treatment. One reviewer who describes herself as having dark skin and black hair says, “[As the] weeks and treatments progressed, I have noticed the hairs growing back thinner and slower.” Its compact, cordless design makes it easy to stow away for travel while allowing for a better range of motion.

              Key features: Skin tone sensor, skin contact sensor, five energy levels
              Flashes: Unlimited
              What's included: Device, power adaptor, warranty card, beauty case, user manual
              Best usage: Once every two weeks for eight weeks, once a month for two to three months, then touch-ups as needed

                How we chose the best IPL hair removal devices

                Our GH Beauty Lab experts regularly test all kinds of hair removal products, from waxing kits and razors to depilatory creams and epilators. For years, we've tested a variety of skincare gadgets, such as dermaplaning tools and facial cleansing brushes. To create this list, we started by researching the newest products on the market and then evaluated them based on a combination of dermatologist recommendations, vetted customer reviews, stand-out features and FDA clearance. GH Beauty Lab Executive Director Binur Aral, Ph.D., also tested the SmoothSkin Pure Fit and the Nood The Flasher 2.0, using each device on half of her body and face. Along with evaluating and comparing the results of each device, she took note of their features, safety and ease of use.

                What to look for when shopping for IPL hair removal devices

                ✔️ FDA clearance: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a government agency that regulates the safety and efficacy of products on the market. When an IPL hair removal device is FDA-cleared, it means that the agency has evaluated it and determined that it is safe and effective for consumer use. In other words, the device works as intended, and it will not cause harm if used as instructed. Look for IPL hair removal devices with FDA clearance to ensure it meets these standards.

                ✔️ Number of flashes: Flashes are the quick bursts of light that the lamp in an IPL hair removal device produces to treat an area of skin. These lamps can burn out just like the standard light bulbs you use around your house. In some IPL devices, the lamp can only produce a limited number of flashes until it burns out, at which point you would need to replace the cartridge or the device itself. So, the more flashes, the better. However, many of the newer IPL devices come with unlimited flashes, which means you don't have to worry about the lamp burning out while you can enjoy a lifetime of smooth skin.

                ✔️ Automatic light intensity adjustment: If you’re nervous about trying IPL hair removal, shop for devices that automatically detect your skin tone and adjust the light intensity level. Otherwise, you’ll have to manually figure out what level is best for you by deciphering a skin tone chart in the instructions or by starting at the lowest level and working your way up.

                ✔️ Safety features: Some IPL hair removal devices have sensors that won’t flash if your skin tone is too dark or if the device is not held properly against the skin. Additionally, IPL is a broad spectrum light, meaning it consists of a range of wavelengths, and this may include UV wavelengths that can damage your skin. Most IPL devices have a filter that blocks out the UV light, but always double-check for it.

                ✔️ Design and attachments: Think about where you are looking to remove hair on your body. “Choose a device that has attachments to cover smaller, bony, curved areas such as the upper lip, fingers, toes and chin,” Aral advises.

                ✔️ Clear instructions: Whether you’re new to IPL or a seasoned expert, Aral says you should always read the included instructions before operating. “Look for a product that has a great instruction booklet,” she recommends. You can often find the instructions online or watch a video tutorial before you make the purchase as well.

                ✔️ Cord length: “Ensure the product has a long enough cord to provide for a flexible user experience,” Aral says. For maximum versatility, choose a device that's cordless.

                ✔️ Money back offers: If you’re new to IPL and aren’t sure if it’s right for you, try a brand that offers customers a money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it or aren't getting the desired results, you can return it for a refund.

                  Is IPL hair removal safe?

                  In general, IPL hair removal is safe as long as you follow the instructions and take the necessary precautions, but before trying this at-home body hair removal treatment, first consult with your dermatologist to ensure you are a good candidate. It typically does not work for dark skin tones (skin types 5 and 6 on the Fitzpatrick scale) or light hair colors (blonde, red or gray), and it’s possible to damage your skin if you use the device improperly. As such, Dr. Baum warns that those with skin types 5 and 6 on the Fitzpatrick scale should not undergo IPL treatments, and those with skin type 4 should be cautious.

                  Dr. Baum also recommends a patch test before treating an entire area, but be mindful to only treat below your cheek line. If you’re not careful, you may see side effects, such as redness, skin discoloration, burning and scarring. “Also, it’s important to be aware of certain conditions which could have an effect on [IPL] hair removal [and should be avoided], such as medications and photosensitive conditions as well as pregnancy and breastfeeding,” Dr. Baum says. “You should also avoid it when you have certain skin conditions, such as active infections on the skin.” Work around dark freckles or tattoos, as they are susceptible to burning.

                  How to use an IPL hair removal device

                  When using any IPL device, start with shaving before treatment (never wax, as that will fully remove the hair that the light targets). Dr. Baum also recommends avoiding sun exposure before and after treatment due to higher skin sensitivities. Above all, always follow the product instructions with care, as each device works differently. With some devices, it is recommended to only treat once a week; for others, it might be twice a week. Be sure to do a patch test on a small area of skin to check for irritation or reactions before using it on larger areas.

                  Does IPL remove hair permanently?

                  While the results from IPL hair removal can last a long time, it is not permanent. “Now, we refer to it as laser hair reduction instead of laser hair removal, and the same applies to IPL,” says Dr. Baum. “In general, hormones and other factors can affect the laser and IPL results, and the hair may come back.” But for some of her patients, the results last years without any touch-ups.

                  What is better: IPL hair removal or laser hair removal?

                  “IPL works by emitting scattered wavelengths of light, unlike laser treatments which emit a specific wavelength,” Dr. Baum explains. Both are effective treatment options, however, there are pros and cons to both. While IPL hair removal is less expensive and available for at-home use, laser hair removal takes fewer treatment sessions to see results, and it works on all skin tones. When deciding which one is the better option for you, first consult with your dermatologist, then consider your needs and the kind of results you want to see.

                  How long does it take for IPL hair removal to work?

                  It depends on your skin type and hair color as well as the level of light intensity you use, but typically, you should see results after four weeks. Some users may even see results after one treatment session. After six to eight weeks, your hair should be almost completely gone, and you should only need a touch-up once per month.

                  Why trust Good Housekeeping?

                  Executive Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D., has deftly led the GH Beauty, Health & Sustainability Lab for almost 15 years. Outside of leading clinical and consumer testing in the Beauty Lab, Birnur has R&D experience through her seven-year stint at Unilever U.S. She has contributed to content in countless beauty categories ranging from anti-aging products to sunscreen safety. She also has written explainers that tease out the science behind beauty products and debunk misconceptions. Aral and the Beauty Lab chemists also conduct the brand's annual Beauty Awards selection process, a yearlong effort for the team that involves assessing hundreds of products.

                  Tatiana Velasco is a freelancer, former GH Beauty Intern and graduate of New York University’s journalism school. Conducting extensive research and collaborating with GH’s Beauty Lab and other experts, she produces in-depth stories about beauty trends and products. Tatiana also enjoys testing skincare and other beauty products to share her candid reviews.

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