Best IPL hair removal devices: the tried and tested most effective at-home gadgets to shop now

The best IPL hair removal devices promise to make regrowth a thing of the past

A selection of the best IPL Hair removal devices is pictured
(Image credit: Sensica / Philips / Jovs)

Body hair is totally natural and there’s nothing wrong with embracing it. But if you are looking to de-fluff, IPL (intense pulsed light) may be for you. Designed to seriously minimize regrowth, IPL is one of the most sophisticated hair removal methods on the market today. Devices rapidly flash light at the melanin (the pigment that gives hair its color) in your hair follicles, which converts to heat beneath the skin, damaging the hair at the root and effectively “putting it to sleep”. This hair then falls out and grows back much finer, if at all. Pretty clever, no?

Another plus is that there’s no need for regular salon appointments. The latest at-home IPL machines are so high-tech you can achieve similar results while bingeing on Netflix. But if you’re new to IPL you may have some questions. We think we've covered all bases below, but if there's anything else you want to know just @ us! 

Our guide to the best IPL hair removal is here to help you select the device that is right for you. We’ve tested some of the latest and most popular models on the market in order to select the very best in terms of technology, ease, and effectiveness. 

We found these to be worthy of a spot on our list, with honorable mentions going out to the Philips Lumea Prestige IPL Cordless Hair Removal Device and the Jovs Venus Pro.

The best IPL hair removal devices: tried and tested

BRAUN IPL SILK·EXPERT PRO 5 PL5124

(Image credit: Braun)

1. Braun IPL Silk·expert Pro 5 PL5124

Best for speedy IPL hair removal

Specifications
Power: Mains
Cordless: No
Light intensities: 10
Skin sensor: Yes
Attachments: 2 (face and body)
Reasons to buy
+The number of light settings, which is double that of most of its competitors+The extra gentle mode for sensitive skin+The additional glide mode, which de-fuzzes legs faster
Reasons to avoid
-It isn’t as convenient as its cordless competitors-There’s no attachment for precision around the bikini line

This device has 10 intensity settings—double that of most of its competitors— including an extra gentle mode if you have sensitive skin (and a Venus razor so you can get started right away). The body attachment, in particular, covers large areas of skin within a short space of time, which was a big bonus for me. In fact, speed is what sets this device apart from the others. 

There are two treatment modes (stamp and glide). The glide mode speeds things up by delivering more flashes on large body parts (like your legs), which makes it appealing to both the time-poor and first-timers who are a bit squeamish. I’m neither but when you can get your bikini line done in a matter of minutes it’s a godsend! It also treated both my legs in under five minutes at its lowest setting. My hair was sparser after eight weeks and with the equivalent of 22 years’ worth of flashes (aka a lifetime), it’s a worthwhile investment.

Philips Lumea IPL 9000

(Image credit: Philips)

2. Philips Lumea IPL 9000

Best overall for face and body IPL hair removal

Specifications
Power: Mains
Cordless: Yes
Light intensities: 5
Skin sensor: Yes
Attachments: 3 (face, body and bikini)
Reasons to buy
+Has curved heads for face and body+Is cordless for ease+Ergonomic, lightweight design+SmartSkin sensor detects your skin tone and indicates the most comfortable light setting for you+The attachments adapt so the program is tailored for each body area+The app sends reminders of when your next session is due
Reasons to avoid
-It comes with a hefty price tag (thinking of it in terms of price per use makes this more palatable)

Like the Dyson of IPL devices, this is all about sleek lines, the most advanced technology and, above all, ease. Depending on the attachment, the device will switch to a programme for either the body or face. There are five light settings and once the head is slotted into place, a built-in sensor automatically selects the right setting for your skin tone and sensitivity. As well as being reassuring, it’s also practical as it takes away the guesswork, given most people have no idea what the Fitzpatrick scale is, let alone where they sit on it (it's a classification system for skin type and color). The device treats naturally dark blonde, brown and black hair on skin tones from very white to dark brown. You can also download a free app to create a tailored treatment schedule for each area, and get advice. I found the reminders from Philips particularly useful for ensuring I stayed on track with my treatments. It also makes an at-home treatment feel very bespoke. 

The curved attachments are easy to work around the body—it’s especially ergonomic around the bikini line, which incidentally wasn’t the grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it experience I was expecting. Philips claims the device will show results in as little as four treatments, with further sessions helping to reduce regrowth—which is a pretty tall order. But boy, did it deliver. I used the device for a full 12 weeks on my armpits, legs, bikini line, and even the teeny hairs on my upper lip. Most have stopped growing back altogether—those that have, for example, the stubborn stragglers around the bikini line are definitely finer now. Worth every penny and, despite the hefty price tag, it still works out cheaper than a course of salon treatments.

Silk'n Infinity 400,000

(Image credit: Silk'n)

3. Silk'n Infinity 400,000

Best space-saving IPL hair removal device

Specifications
Power: Mains
Cordless: No
Light intensities: 5
Skin sensor: Yes
Attachments: 1
Reasons to buy
+Its compact size+It’s one of the less pricey devices on the market+The inclusion of galvanic current makes the treatment less painful and prevents ingrown hairs+A built-in skin tone sensor checks compatibility+Mobile app to monitor treatment plan
Reasons to avoid
-It’s not cordless so you are restricted with where you can use it in the home-It’s not the easiest device to hold-There’s only one do-it-all attachment

Most IPL devices sit somewhere between looking like a gun and a 90s blowdryer, meaning they can be bulky to store. This device is completely different and looks more like the mouse you’d use with a computer. Despite its dinky size it comes with some pretty impressive features. For me, the stand-out was what Silk’n calls eHPL, which essentially combines galvanic energy with standard light energy. The galvanic energy temporarily widens your pores, allowing the IPL to reach hair follicles more easily. It doesn’t feel any different against the skin but it’s said to make the treatment less painful and avoids ingrown hairs (both of which I can attest to). Better still, it is this technology, which according to Silk’n means body hair can be treated twice as fast (in 20 minutes to be precise). 

Again, there’s a built-in skin sensor, which checks compatibility with skin tone and hair color, ensuring the device emits the correct light pulse. You can also connect it to an app via Bluetooth so you can set out your treatment plan. I don’t live in a big apartment so I definitely appreciated its compact size. I also noticed a reduction in hair growth and thickness after the initial four weeks, although this was more noticeable after 12 weeks. A downside for me, though, was the ergonomics of the machine. I just couldn’t find an easy way to hold it, as you need to touch the metal base at the back while at the same time pushing the button on the top, which felt unnecessarily fiddly and slowed me down in terms of treatment time. 

Sensica Sensilight Pro Permanent Cordless Hair Removal Device

(Image credit: Sensica)

4. Sensica Sensilight Pro Permanent Cordless Hair Removal Device

Best IPL hair removal for legs

Specifications
Power: Mains
Cordless: Yes
Light intensities: 6
Skin sensor: Yes
Attachments: 2 (face and body)
Reasons to buy
+Two treatment modes (pulse and glide)+Sensors that react to skin tone with every flash of light+Speed
Reasons to avoid
-It's bulky-Switching between treatment heads takes practice

This device comes with a built-in sensor to customize its settings according to your skin tone and hair color. It also goes one step further by continuously reacting to your skin tone and condition. So if the sensors detect that the skin in the treatment area is too dark, no flash will be emitted—an added safety measure I found particularly reassuring. It offers six energy levels and two attachment heads, one for face and one for body. 

It also comes primed with a glide mode option, which basically means you don’t have to repeatedly press the button and wait for the click before zapping an area. This makes it quicker to use, as you simply move the handset up and down—which is handy especially on larger areas of skin such as your legs. The longer I used this the more impressive the results but if I was being fussy, I’d say there is one drawback—the device’s bulkiness. The design is quite cumbersome and heavy, plus I found it tricky to change heads. 

SmoothSkin Pure Hair Removal

(Image credit: Smoothskin)

5. SmoothSkin Pure Hair Removal

Best for IPL hair removal newbies

Specifications
Power: Mains
Cordless: No
Skin sensor: Yes
Attachments: 1
Reasons to buy
+Not intimidating for those new to IPL+Glide mode makes light work of treating legs+Stamp mode for smaller areas
Reasons to avoid
-It’s not cordless-No option of different heads for different body parts

Probably the simplest device out of the bunch to use, largely because there are only three settings to worry about—Gentle, Speed, and Power. It does, however, still include the all-important built-in skin sensor that adjusts the light intensity based on your skin tone so there’s no skimping on safety. 

Again there’s a glide mode for speedy results on larger areas but I really liked the stamp mode on this device as it was easy to slowly and precisely work across my upper lip and underarms. There was a marked difference in hair regrowth after eight weeks. If I could make one change to this device it would be to make it cordless, but overall it’s a good buy.

Jovs Venus Pro

(Image credit: Jovs)

6. Jovs Venus Pro

Best value for money IPL hair removal device

Specifications
Power: Mains
Cordless: Yes
Light intensities: 5
Skin sensor: Yes
Attachments: 6
Reasons to buy
+Skin-cooling technology to numb the area you’re treating+The only IPL device to also include a red light anti-ageing mode for the face+Rotating head+Device offers a lifetime of treatments+Good value for money
Reasons to avoid
-There is a lot of tech involved here, which IPL newbies may find overwhelming

This matte metal device looks like the sort of tool you might find at a high-end spa– which actually isn’t too much of stretch, given it’s the only gadget to treat both unwanted hair and the first signs of aging. For the purposes of IPL, the device has six targeted treatment heads and can be used on both face and body. You can count on safety first here, too, as this device has a built-in skin sensor to check your skin tone before use. Beyond that, things get pleasingly technical. 

A big draw for me was the 180-degree rotating head that makes it comfortable to remove hair from those hard-to-reach areas, like behind the legs. Then there’s the cooling technology that effectively numbs the area you’re treating, making the experience virtually pain-free. I also LOVED the fact that the device could be switched to red-light mode to help skin cells repair themselves and improve collagen production for plumper, smoother skin over time. It’s like you’re getting the benefit of two salon treatments in one super-device. And with 500,000 flashes there’s enough for a lifetime of treatments, so once you’ve made the initial outlay there are no additional costs. 

What is IPL?

IPL is short for Intense Pulsed Light. It’s a broad-spectrum light that is scattered across the skin to help get rid of unwanted body hair. The level of discomfort varies—for some IPL can simply feel hot against the skin while others report a sensation not unlike being flicked with an elastic band. However, it’s worth noting that IPL is much less painful than epilating! But the golden rule stands—if you experience irritation, seek medical advice.

How does IPL work?

“IPL transfers light energy to the hair shaft,” says explains Emily Buckwell, product expert at CurrentBody.com. “Once absorbed, this light energy is converted to heat, which prevents further hair growth. As hair grows in cycles you will need to repeat your treatments until you eventually catch each phase of growth, resulting in reduced hair over time.”

Laser hair removal vs IPL—what’s the difference?

IPL is often confused with laser hair removal because both methods target the melanin in the hair follicle. But as Jess Gregory, Consumer Marketing Manager for Philips Beauty, points out: "They are two different light technologies”. While laser uses a single, concentrated beam of light, she says: “IPL  progressively reduces hair regrowth by applying gentle pulses of broad spectrum light and heat to the root. This means that larger areas of skin can be treated with IPL while laser only works point by point.”

Is IPL permanent?

No, the results of IPL aren’t permanent but the hair will grow back finer, slower and, in some cases, not at all. Emily says: “What IPL does offer, is permanent hair reduction, depending on the hair color, density and texture. To see results, you need regular at-home treatments for a minimum of eight weeks, followed up with top-up treatments to maintain results. Hair can grow back due to hormonal changes like childbirth and menopause but having a device at home means not forking out for further salon sessions.”

What skin types can use IPL?

IPL devices aren’t suitable for everyone. Jess explains: “For IPL to be effective, there needs to be sufficient contrast between the skin and hair colour.” IPL won’t work on naturally light blonde, red, white and grey hairs as they contain little pigment. It should also be avoided if you have darker skin (five or higher on the Fitzpatrick scale). Jess adds: “IPL is also absorbed by the melanin found in the skin, causing it to heat up. Dark skin has more melanin so carries a certain risk of getting damaged by the light pulse.” Typically, those with pale to medium skin and naturally dark blonde, brown and black hair are the best candidates for IPL. If you're unsure, there's no need to worry, as many of today's IPL devices come with a built-in skin scanner and simply stop flashing if they detect the wrong skin and hair colour.

How to use an at-home IPL device

Every IPL device comes with its own set of instructions and, yes, you should read them. Generally speaking, though, you should shave the area first, says Emily: “If you treat with hair present, the energy goes into the hair shaft and doesn’t reach the root, where the growth comes from.” Then simply press your device onto the skin, where it will deliver a flash of light. 

How many IPL treatments before I see results?

IPL devices should be used regularly for four to 12 weeks, to make sure all hair has been treated. Typically, body hair requires treatment every two weeks for the first four weeks, then once every four weeks afterwards. Top-up sessions can be done where there is any regrowth. 

Fiona Embleton
Fiona Embleton

Fiona Embleton is a multi-award-winning beauty editor who has tested over 10,000 products in her 10 years +  of writing and shooting beauty stories. For the past four years, she was the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, having previously worked in the role of Beauty Editor at both Stylist and Cosmopolitan. She has recently gone freelance and alongside My Imperfect Life, she has written for titles including ELLE UK, ELLE Canada, Buro 247, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Vogue Scandinavia, and ES Magazine. Beauty journalism allowed her to marry up her first-class degree in English Literature and Language (she’s a stickler for grammar and a self-confessed ingredients geek) with a passion for make-up and skincare, photography, and catwalk trends. She loves jumping on the latest internet-breaking beauty news, dissecting the best red carpet looks, and having the crème de la crème of dermatologists, make-up artists, and hairstylists on speed dial so she can tap them for the best advice. She’s a discerning beauty shopper and knows it can be confusing trying to navigate what’s hype and what really works. So if she really likes something, you can trust that she has reached that opinion by vetting it against everything else she’s ever tried. Her career highs? Interviewing Cate Blanchett and winning a Jasmine Award for the deeply personal feature Cancer Stole My Mother’s Scent.