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Best IPL and laser hair removal machines to use at home in 2023

Jade Vincent Sarah Matthews
6 Mar 2023

The best IPL or laser hair removal machine will reduce unwanted hairs for good

Ditch the razor and cancel your next waxing appointment. With an IPL or laser hair removal machine, you can painlessly rid your body and face of unwanted hairs in a flash at home, without a clinic or professional in sight. It’s not nearly as daunting as it sounds.

Until now, laser hair removal machines have been reserved for reality stars and models, but with the latest technological advances, everyone can enjoy a fur-free finish without breaking the bank. That’s not to say a high-quality IPL or laser hair removal machine won’t set you back a tidy sum, but if you’re tired of dealing with unwelcome hairs, it’s an investment you won’t regret.

So here’s our pick of the best laser hair removal and IPL machines to banish unwanted hairs for good.

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Best IPL and laser hair removal machines: At a glance

How to choose the best IPL or laser hair removal machine for you

How does a laser hair removal machine work?

Both intense pulsed light (IPL) and laser hair removal machines manipulate light to weaken hair follicles until they can’t grow back. The light is absorbed by dark pigments found in hair follicles, called melanin, where it’s converted into heat. This damages the hair follicle to permanently stop regrowth.

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

A laser hair removal machine emits a single burst of red light to remove the hair follicle. IPL machines use a spectrum of colours and wavelengths to gradually weaken and damage the hair. With an IPL hair removal machine, you will have to treat the area several times and will experience slight regrowth.

Do laser hair removal machines hurt?

Yes, using a laser hair removal machine can hurt but that all depends on your pain threshold and the level of intensity you set on the machine. Some compare laser removal to a rubber band snapping against their skin, while others experience slight discomfort. The same patch of skin will never be lasered twice, but it can be a lengthy process.

Are laser hair removal machines suitable for everyone?

Since the light is absorbed by melanin (dark pigments found in hair), laser hair removal machines tend to work better with medium to dark hair. However, there are some machines particularly suited for fairer hair.

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It can be dangerous to use laser hair removal machines on dark skin, as they can cause discolouration and hyperpigmentation. This isn’t something you need to worry about, though, as the machine will lock if it thinks your skin is too dark or your hair too fair.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Don’t wax before treatment, as the follicle needs to sit above the skin. For best results, most people advise that you use the laser hair removal machine just after shaving. Also, be careful not to use the machine on intimate areas or the upper lip as the skin is too delicate.

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The best IPL and laser hair removal machines you can buy in 2023

1. Philips Lumea Prestige: The best all-round IPL hair removal machine

Price: £399 | Buy now from Amazon

If you want to splash the cash on one of the best IPL machines you can buy, this Philips Lumea is our pick. In terms of value for money, it gets you all the best features of the more expensive Lumea 9000, for far less money. That includes four attachments, a fast 2.5-second flash rate, which makes treatment far quicker than the Lumea Advanced, and comfortable curved treatment windows that fit around the body's curves. The only feature you miss out on is the cordless operation, but luckily the cord is plenty long enough to make treatments easy, and the operation is faster when completing corded treatments.

Of course, it also comes with powerful IPL flashes, which prevent hair growth just as effectively as the high-end model. It has the same 450,000 flashes included, which is enough to complete well over twenty years of full-body treatments. Another handy feature is the Sense IQ button, which scans the skin before treatment to recommend the most comfortable intensity setting for your skin tone. This means that you don’t need to trial and error your way to a comfortable treatment and the risk of discomfort is minimised.

Better still, all Philips Lumea devices come with a 100-day money back guarantee, which means you can return the device if you’re unsatisfied with the treatment.

For more information and a full rundown of our thoughts on the device, check out our full Philips Lumea IPL Prestige review.

Key specs – Type: IPL; Corded or cordless: Corded; Attachments: 4; Intensity options: 5

2. Braun Silk Expert Pro 5 PL5014: The best IPL hair removal machine with multiple intensity settings

Price: £299 | Buy now from Amazon

Braun has amped up its latest Silk Expert Pro 5 to 400,000 flashes, the equivalent to nearly 28 years' worth of full-body laser treatments. But that's not the only feature to benefit from a makeover. Other than the fact the IPL hair removal machine's ten intensity settings allow you to custom-treat each area of the body according to hair thickness, it's been upgraded to a compact, lightweight design that makes it easier to hold during use.

Trust the device to get the job done quickly and safely as it'll treat both legs in less than five minutes and automatically adjust each flash to your skin tone. The corded machine might not come with wireless technology, but its generous 9ft cable is long enough to comfortably target unwanted hairs.

The hair removal machine works best if used once a week for the first four to 12 weeks, followed by a once-monthly treatment to maintain results.

Key specs – Type: IPL; Corded or cordless: Corded; Attachments: No; Intensity options: 10

Buy now from Amazon

3. Philips Lumea 9000: The best cordless IPL hair removal machine

Price: £470 | Buy now from John Lewis

Cordless operation is a game-changer here, freeing you from having to be next to an electric socket, so you can tackle unwanted hairs in privacy. And as with most things, there’s also an app. Download the Philips Lumea IPL app and it will check your skin tone, ensure you’ve done a patch test and help you work out how many ‘clicks’ you need. It will also devise a treatment schedule and send reminders for your next session, which saves you having to put it in your diary.

Its four curved attachments – for body, face, bikini and underarms – are simple to swap, and no matter how contorted your position (with no cord to get tangled in), the ‘ready’ light stretches across the whole machine head, making it easy to see.

The machine’s skin tone sensor selects the right skin tone setting during use, as this can vary within an area.

Check out our Philips Lumea IPL 9000 review for our full verdict.

Key specs – Type: IPL; Corded or cordless: Both; Attachments: 4; Intensity options: 5

Buy now from John Lewis

4. Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X: The best laser hair removal machine

Price: £309 | Buy now from Amazon

Tria Hair Removal is the only laser device that’s FDA-approved for safe use at home. Designed to deliver permanent hair removal, not reduction, the Tria uses a diode laser that’s more effective than IPL machines. This laser has a wavelength that penetrates deep into the hair follicle, causing irreparable damage.

The Tria comes equipped with five intensity settings, so choose a lower level for your first couple of treatments. To make it a little easier, the Tria comes with a cooling gel, which you can apply before the laser. Although it’s not essential, this can make the treatment a little more comfortable.

Our thoughts? Impressively, the Tria delivered noticeable results after the second treatment. Most unwanted hairs were removed with any remaining hairs growing back a lot thinner. The hair removal machine was perfect for using on the face thanks to its small laser head but we thought a larger attachment would have been better suited to use on larger parts of the body.

Key specs - Type: Laser; Corded or cordless: Cordless; Attachments: No; Intensity options: 5

Buy now from Amazon

5. Silk’n Infinity: The best budget IPL hair removal machine

Price: £199 | Buy now from Silk'n

While shaving may get the job done quickly and cheaply, you’ll often be left with ingrown hairs, painful red bumps, and fast regrowth. A laser hair removal machine will rid your body of unwanted hairs permanently and quickly, and this is the best price you’ll find for a quality device.

Unlike other hair removal machines, the Silk'n Infinity uses eHPL technology. This combines galvanic and optical energy to penetrate deep into pores for better access to hair follicles. It can even be used on darker skin tones too. Just test it first.

Other than its budget price point, what sold us on the Silk’n Infinity was its dinky size. It’s ergonomically designed to fit snugly in the palm of your hand and is perfect for use away from home, as it also comes with a handy travel case and adaptor.

Key specs – Type: IPL; Corded or cordless: Corded; Attachments: No; Intensity options: 5

Buy now from Silk'n

6. Philips Lumea Advanced: The best affordable Philips Lumea IPL

Price: £250 | Buy now from Amazon

The Lumea Advanced is the entry-level Philips Lumea IPL device, which means you don’t get the whole range of fancy features, but the bare-bones IPL treatment is just as powerful and effective. With a price tag of £150 less than the next model up, the Philips Lumea Advanced is fantastic if you have a limited budget.

It comes with three attachments specifically designed for the body, face and bikini area, five intensity settings and 250,000 flashes. That’s almost half the amount included in the higher-end models but is still enough to treat 544 full legs, which is over 20 years’ worth of treatments. As there are no complicated bells and whistles included, the Philips Lumea Advanced is incredibly easy to operate and features a comfortable, lightweight gun-shaped design to make treatments as easy as possible.

The main caveat of this IPL machine is its slower flash rate – it only flashes once every 3.5 seconds, leading to a slower treatment time overall. For reference, that means a full leg treatment took us 27 minutes, compared to 18 minutes using the Lumea Prestige. However, if you’ve got the patience and are willing to invest the time into your treatments, the philips Lumea Advanced produces the same great hair reduction.

For more details and information, check out our full Philips Lumea IPL Advanced review.

Key specs – Type: IPL; Corded or cordless: Corded; Attachments: 3; Intensity options: 5

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