Does Laser Hair Removal At Home Actually Work And Is It Safe?

Hair removal can be one of the most daunting self-care steps. You have shaving that comes with all sorts of razors and creams or waxing, which is a whole new brand of pain, and who could forget the unmatched sting of epilators (via Verywell Health)? But the worst part of it all has to be the fact that it's a lifelong commitment to which you have to keep coming back. Hair grows again, and the saga restarts. 

So, it's understandable that when laser hair removal came along, so many people made the jump. Laser hair removal works as a semi-permanent hair removal method that minimizes your hair growth every time, leading to less frequent sessions, per Vogue. By using a laser device that emits a light that burns your hair follicles, laser hair removal promises to be the most rewarding hair removal method since once you begin you'll see less and less hair growth over time. 

Laser hair removal became all the more popular when stars like Kim Kardashian raved about it being their holy grail beauty treatment, per Cosmopolitan. There's just one downside: the price point. Considering it is a semi-permanent method, it can cost quite a lot. This is why people have begun considering the at-home alternative, but do at-home laser removal devices actually work? 

The pros and cons of at-home laser hair removal

The market for at-home laser hair removal devices has grown over the past few years. While at one point there was only a couple, now you have a vast variety that fall under two types: true laser hair removal devices and intense pulsed light (IPL) devices, per the Cleveland Clinic. At-home laser removal devices can also be expensive, costing upwards of $499 or more, but the thought is that over time your laser clinic appointments will add up to much more after a couple of sessions. So, it's definitely the more cost-friendly approach. But do they work? Yes, they do thin your hair out over time, but there are a few notes to keep in mind, according to Glamour.

The very first downside is an obvious one: they aren't as strong or effective as professional machines used in clinics. Similar to professional laser sessions, with at-home devices it's going to take time to notice a difference — between five to eight sessions, per Shape. Despite them having less power, you should be warned that at-home laser hair removal devices are just as painful as the real thing. But above all else, the biggest downfall of at-home laser devices is that they don't work for everyone, and results can depend on your skin tone and hair thickness. 

In general, at-home laser hair removal devices do work, just not as well as professional lasers. This is why they're great devices to touch up in between laser sessions. If you're planning to stick to an at-home device as your only laser hair removal, just note that while it will thin your hair over time it will take longer to see noticeable results, per Marie Claire.