Laser or IPL – Which is Better?

Updated on April 5, 2018 6.27PM by Gabby

Which-is-Better,-IPL-or-LaserjpgThe question of whether laser or IPL is better, is a often view as a ‘grey area’ within the beauty world and is generally open for debate. But in today’s blog post, you will find out which method will actually remove hair permanently for you!

If you haven’t read it yet, you need to read my blog post about: Top 5 At-Home Hair Removal Machines

If you ask one beauty therapist, they will swear that Laser is better for hair removal. Others believe the IPL gives better results for hair removal. I guess at the end of the day each therapist will only promote the type of machine they have in their business to ensure their clients are happy with their results.

Basically, BOTH Laser and IPL will remove hair, but one is more efficient than the other. But in different scenarios!

But what about when it comes to home hair removal machines?

On the market exists, both Laser systems and IPL systems to buy and remove your unwanted hair at home. So which one do you pick? (See the Recommended Safe & FDA Approved Machines Here)

Basically, the best advice I can give is this; it all depends on the type of skin you have and the type of hair that you have. Read on for what I mean exactly….

The results will differ for each person and that is why we all need a different number of sessions. This is the same based on Laser vs IPL. For example, read my blog post about all Laser and IPL FAQ’s, such as ‘How Many Treatments of Laser or IPL Will I Need’ for a better understanding of where I’m coming from.

Helpful Reading:

Which are the Safest Home Hair Removal Machines?

#1 Rated Home Hair Removal Machine

Do You Have Red, Blonde or Grey Hair? You Can ONLY Use This Machine

The easiest way to remember the difference is that laser machines work best with dark coarse hair. The ideal combination for permanent hair reduction, whether it is IPL or Laser is the light skin and dark hair combination. If you have this combination, you are a winner and if you do either IPL or Laser for permanent hair removal you will yield impressive results. However, if you don’t, don’t worry, because you can still do IPL hair removal at home (refer to the link above for the Top 5 Machines to read which one you can use or under Gabby’s Helpful Tips below!).

Laser-or-IPL-Sept-17In one of my posts I have already written about what the difference between IPL and Laser is, and in this post I have kind of alluded to what machine is better but I am going to go into more detail here.

Based on the fact that Laser machines provide a single spectrum of concentrated light directly to the hair follicle, it goes without saying that more light energy that penetrates the hair instead of the surrounding skin tissue, the better. Therefore, the thicker your hair, the less effective an IPL machine becomes in removing unwanted hair. Another argument against using IPL machines for darker skin people is that there is a higher risk than lasers in regards to burns and pigmentation to the skin (however, you can avoid burns, and any skin injuries, by using these products here).

Although I have said in my previous article that both Laser and IPL machines can produce pigmentation you need to ensure that you use the best machine for the right hair colour and skin colour that you have.

Which is Better?

Overall, Laser machines are more effective for permanent hair reduction as they create more heat and light energy which is directly concentrated to the hair follicle, therefore yielding better, longer lasting results for permanent hair reduction with the chance of lower side effects. Because there is less heat being absorbed by the dark skin surrounding the follicle as opposed to IPL machines, there is a decreased risk of burning and/or pigmentation occurring.

When we refer to Laser, we are referring to this machine here. It is the best laser machine to use at home.

When we refer to IPL, we are referring to this machine here. It is the best IPL machine to use at home.

In saying this however, I am of Italian heritage and I guess that you need to read my reviews for both Laser and IPL machines for yourself to ensure you purchase the right machine. I yield good results with both Laser and IPL so I don’t really have a favourite at the moment between the two. Like I have said before, I have a different machine for different areas of the body as you would all know that the hair under our underarms is different to facial hair and pubic region hair.

Gabby’s Top Tips:

  1. My Recommended Machine for Laser Home Hair Removal is the Tria Laser 4X (read my review about it here)
  2. My Recommended Machine for IPL Home Hair Removal is the Remington iLight (NEW!) (read my review about it here)
  3. Other Safety Products You Need to Reduce Skin Injury: IPL & Laser Accessories
  4. If you have Dark Skin, you can only use this machine HERE (read my review about it here)
  5. If you have Red or Blonde Hair, you can only use this machine HERE (read my review about it here)

41 thoughts on “Laser or IPL – Which is Better?

  1. Thanks so much for clarifying this up for me. I have been so confused for so long now and couldn’t get my head around both Laser or IPL and which way I should head. You explained it perfectly!!!!

    • Hi Jumanan

      Thank you, your very welcome. If you have any questions or not sure whether to go laser or ipl, just let me know. Thanks, Gabby

  2. Hi Gabby,
    Do we still need to wear goggles during the treatment using TRIA Laser 4X? After those treatment, do you have those pigmentation problems? Thanks.

    • Hi Christine. I would always advice wearing some goggles for any light based system as a precaution because the flashes of light can affect people’s eyes. Pigmentation problems are not a common side effect. It can happen to some people but very rarely does it happen or last a long time. I personally haven’t met anyone that had pigmentation problems.

  3. I have a question…Lets say i want to remove underarm hair,,,and my skin color is white and the hair color is dark,,,can i use the ipl machine? And same question goes if my skin color is brown and hair color is dark can i use ipl machine also?

    • Hi Jaybee
      Generally the answer is yes to your questions but it depends on what type of machine you are looking at.Let me know what machine you are thinking to using and I can help you out further.Regards

  4. Thanks for all the info gabby. It’s a bit of a mind field. I was hoping you could help me. I am 40 yrs old and have waxed for over 10yrs. I resently moved to Australia and have found it very expensive to continue to wax and started shaving. I really can’t stand the inconvenience of it all. Every couple of days

    • Hi Tarryn
      I think your message got cut off, did you want to continue so I can help you, please tell me your skin color, hair color :)

  5. I am Arabic.. I have thin brown hair and light but not white skin… I would like buy hair remover machine and i want easy machine to use and get result within short time. butI don’t know wish better technique for me …

    • Hi Ebtehal
      Sure, the Tria 4x Laser is the best machine but if you have larger body areas that you want to treat, you may want to go for the Remington Quartz. Any other questions or concerns, let me know. You can also check out my individual write-ups about these products on the site. Regards, Gabby

  6. Hi Gabby,
    I have white skin. (I used to be able to become brown quite easily on the sun and keep the color for month. Though I don’t sunbath anymore, but wanted to tell you more about my skintype.) My unwanted hairs are dark mostly but some are not thick.
    What would you recommend? Laser or IPL? Salon or home?
    Do you know the brand DEESS or RIO?
    Thank you,

    • Hi Reka
      Since you have light skin and dark hair, you will see great results with the home hair removal devices that I have suggested on the site – not sure if you have seen my post about it here – . The Tria will work great for you, and also the Remington (but maybe upgrade to the Remington Quartz). If you want to use it on your face also, go for the Tria.

  7. I am South Asian. I have light yellowish brown skin and my hair is black. Is Tria safe for me? when I shave my legs, small black specs can be seen which I feel is unattractive. Would using Tria on my legs take care of the black specs?

    • Hi Sally
      If there is a big difference between your hair color and skin color you should be fine. Just as long as you are not too brown. With yellowish brown skin, it sounds light colored to me with black hair you should be good :)

  8. Hi Gabby
    I have black, quite coarse hair, pale white skin-looking for something that is suitable for bikini/ Brazilian situation. Thinking it is probably the Trio, but wanted to check. And where would be the best place to get it (I’m in Australia).

    • Hi Monica
      Yes it would work perfect on you as you have black hair and pale skin, in fact you are the perfect candidate. I’ll send you over the details via your email that you provided here. Any problems, let me know.

  9. Hey Gabby! I have a black thick hair, but lighter skin (although not totally pale), and I was considering taking IPL sessions in nearby hairfree institute. I was thinking about removing facial hair, as well as hair from stomach. Do you think that it will be worth to take about seven sessions? Thank you!

    • Hi Laure
      Black hair and light skin is absolutely perfect to get either laser or ipl done. With seven sessions you should see a difference but the number of sessions required differs amoungst all of us. Some people are hair free by seven treatments, other people need double, about 15 sessions. It’s hard to tell.
      Hope that helps

  10. Hi Gabby!
    I have light skin, but not very pale and strong black hair. I want to remove the hair on the arms legs and bikini zone. Did Star Silk Pro would be good for me without burns and spots after the tretman? If it’s not, which would be?
    Also, if it’s possible, I would like to use the laser on the face hair, will I can? Can I use it for acne tretman too? I read somewhere that it can.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Marija
      I have never heard of that product before and it’s not a product that is largely available worldwide or tested worldwide. Personally I wouldn’t go for such a machine at all, hence why I have suggested the top machines in my blog post here to advise the best as you don’t want to injure yourself, this is very important
      Since you have pale skin and dark hair you can use any of the machines that I have advised in my article above ^. If you want to use on facial hair, you can choose between the 2 tria’s and the tanda as per the list. Also in regards to acne, they generally are manufactured for acne problems but a few women do say it assists with acne but I don’t believe they are are ‘cure’ for acne problems, you’ll need a different device for that.
      Hope this helps you, let me know if you have any other questions.

  11. Hi Gary, thanks for the great website. I’m considering buying the Tria 4x or the Remington IPL6500. I have beige yellow skin with thick black hair (south east asian). Which of the two machines do you recommend and where is the best price to buy in Australia? Thanks

  12. Thanks Gabby

    my skin tone is light brown and the hair colour is black
    i’m hesitant between between these devices
    1-philips lumea sc2008.
    2- Remington IPL 6000 F I-Light Pro Face
    3- Tria 4X Laser

    which device is suitable for me ??
    could you please candidate which is the best for me ??


    • Hi Miroslav
      All are fine to you for your skin color and hair color :)
      You choose based on which on you prefer, all are excellent machines and can depend on which one you can source/ship to your country. Tria is excellent, so is Remington and Philips awesome too. Which areas of the body are you looking at mostly?
      Regards, Gabby

  13. Hi Gabby, I have pale skin and extremely thick coarse dark hair on my chin which grows very quickly would u recommend lazor or ipl. Thanks!!

    • Hi Lynz
      Either technique is fine, just depends on the machine you are looking at, laser and ipl are used interchangeably. Let me know if you have any further questions.
      Have a great weekend!

  14. Good read! I really like that you get back so soon. Thank you for that. I’m med white skin I have black, brown and gray thick tuff wishers on my lip and chin. I’m 50. I just had ipl done. Not sure what machine but it was big. Also had my private area done. I’m a blond. What makes these hairs so dark and stubborn on my face and should I ipl or laser?

    • Hi Lida
      Oh my goodness! I am so sorry for my late reply, your comment looks like it went to another folder and I just saw it now. My sincerest apologies.
      I am not sure exactly what hairs you want to target exactly, the blonde hairs or the brown hairs? If you want a machine that targets both, you can only use this machine here (it’s the only machine that works on both dark hair and blonde, grey and lighter hair colors).
      Let me know if you have any other questions. My personal email is on my contact page which I tend to check more regularly :)

  15. Hi Gabby, for years I have assumed that IPL or Lazer hair removal are not an option for me (until I found your website). I have albinism. So my skin is very white as is all my hair – I have no pigment. However my heritage is Eastern European, so I am very hairy and the hair is course. I’d be grateful for your honest recommendations for hair removal, whilst protecting my light sensitive skin. I also live in Australia (Perth). Kindest Regards

    • Hi Marija
      Thanks for your comment :) Personally, based on my experience and all the research that I have conducted, unfortunately, I do not believe that if you have Albinism you are able to do laser or ipl hair removal. If there is no melanin (a substance in your body that products color for your skin and hair) that means that the machines do not have anything to penetrate. These machines are manufactured to target and penetrate Melanin in our hair so if your hair color is colorless than unfortunately, no machine will work.
      I’d be happy to talk about this further if you have any questions, you can email me anytime (my email is on the contact page).

  16. My wife and I are both Asian and live in Australia. Is the Tria the best machine for us and what is the most reasonably priced and reliable option to get the best machine for us. Thanks in advance for the advice.

    • Hi Ken
      Thanks for your message. Sure I can send you details on how to get it to Australia. In regards to whether it’s the best machine or not depends on your hair color. I’ll email you noq :)

  17. I want to know the difference between philips lumea essential 1983 and the other lumea range as there is a huge price difference …. Is it an effective device the philips lumea 1983? also what do you think about the braun expert 5001 and is it better or the new remington iLight pro 6500 or 6750

    • Hi Doaa
      Yes the reason why there is price differences is due to numerous factors, here is just some reasons why:
      1. Some models come with only 1 cartridge (i.e you cannot replace the cartridge) – it is a one time use, one you run out of flashes, you can no longer use. Other models have cartridges which you can replace (these are more expensive models)
      2. Some machines are safe to use on face, others are not.
      3. Some have great battery life, others dont.
      4. Some are really effective, others take longer to see results.
      These are just some differences among the different models.
      I don’t like the Braun Expert machine. I believe the Remington models are way better. I do like the Philips Lumea 1983 also.
      Let me know if you have any other questions.

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