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Does Laser Hair Removal Work for Blonde, Grey, and Red Hair?

July 28, 2023
8 minutes

Laser hair removal is one of the few methods that can be used to get rid of unwanted hair for a long time. Sometimes called long-lasting, laser hair removal shows results lasting up to a few years. Professional laser, at-home IPL machines, and now at-home laser machines are often thought of as the ultimate solution to unwanted hair.

While it is loved by many people, redheads, blondes, and grey hair people often get disappointed when they come to know the mechanism behind laser hair removal. So, if you are here to look for any hope of having long-lasting hair removal as a ginger, blonde, or grey-haired person, we got you.

In this article, we will explain if the laser works for light-haired people and what are the alternatives if it does not. Stay tuned and find out how you can make laser hair removal work for you.

Mechanism of Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal salons use a machine that radiates high-intensity and short-wavelength rays. These rays are designed to target melanin. It gets absorbed into hair as the hair has more pigment as compared to the surrounding skin cells.

Then the laser moves through the hair strands into the hair follicles where it heats the follicle while destroying it. Finally, hair follicles lose the ability to produce any hair. Also, it is important to note that there should be an obvious contrast between the color of the skin and the hair for lasers to do selective photothermolysis.

Although typical laser hair removal machines strictly follow this mechanism of working, some modified and advanced laser hair removal has additional features.


Limitations of Laser Hair Removal

Let us see what are the limitations of laser hair removal below.

Skin Color:

Laser hair removal is most suitable for light skin tones. It might also work for light brown or medium brown shades. But the use is limited when it comes to dark people. This is because the melanin in the skin can absorb rays and burn the skin cells.

Hair Color:

The hair must have pigment for the laser to act on it. So, it can eliminate hair with colors like brown and black. The use of laser on red, blonde, and ginger hair is still under debate.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:

pregnancy Although not evidenced, laser hair removal might get absorbed into the womb causing abnormalities in the fetus because laser is radiation after all.

Moreover, lasers can interfere with the balance of hormones in the body. So, it is best to avoid getting laser hair removal when you are breastfeeding a child.

Diseased Skin:

Skin with conditions such as bleeding disorders, psoriasis, lesions, open wounds, herpes infections, cold sores, and vitiligo is not compatible with laser hair removal. Also, avoid it if you are suffering from allergies or taking treatments that increase photosensitivity like chemical peels.

Moles and Tattoos:

Skin areas with moles and tattoos must not be flashed with a laser device. It can cause blisters, skin burns, scars, and distortion of the structure of the skin.

Furthermore, wait until your skin color goes to its normal tone if your skin is tanned by sun rays or artificial tanning.

Types of Lasers Used in Laser Hair Removal

lasers Several types of hair removal machines can be used to treat unwanted hair. Below are the most common types. Additionally, you can check out the details of each of the 6 types of laser hair removal machines .

1. Diode laser

Diode laser is one of the few lasers that work on darker skin tones because of its ability to penetrate deeply into hair follicles while leaving skin intact. It works well for thick hair with the colors black and brown. But sadly, the diode cannot be used on hair with less pigment.

2. Alexandrite Laser

Alexandrite laser was developed to target large areas and make the treatment a bit faster than previously used laser. It also works on a wider range of skin tones including fair, light brown, and olive. However, Alexandrite laser confers painful hair removal.

3. Nd: Yag Laser

Nd: Yag uses different sets of wavelengths to target the hair. Its longest wavelength can be used to eliminate unwanted hair like blonde and ginger. Also, its mechanism includes imparting carbon to the hair which absorbs the rays and destroys the hair.

4. Ruby Laser

Ruby is the first laser that was ever used to remove unwanted hair. It is also the one where the contrast between skin tone and hair color is considered the most. However, the use of ruby is now becoming obsolete as treatment with ruby is slow and it only works for thin hair on fair skin.

What Colors of Hair Are Most Compatible with Laser Hair Removal?

laser The most compatible hair colors for laser hair removal are black, dark brown, and brown hair colors. This is because the pigment in this hair efficiently absorbs the radiation from a laser machine. The skin also stays safe in these cases because of the obvious difference in the presence of melanin between the hair and the skin.

Moreover, every type of laser from the conservative ones like ruby and alexandrite to the advanced ones like diode and Nd: Yag works perfectly for dark hair. Even the at-home laser IPL machines are effective on black and brown hair colors.

How Suitable is Laser Hair Removal for Blonde Hair?

We’d say laser hair removal is not for blonde hair because of the presence of a scarce amount of pigment in it if this question was asked a few years ago. But fortunately, laser hair removal now can work for blonde hair if the correct technique is applied and a suitable laser is used.

Moreover, even blonde hair is of two types; vellus hair which is thin and pigment-less, and terminal hair which is thick and contain some amount of pigment. Laser hair removal is useless for the vellus hair but it works for the terminal blonde hair.

How Suitable is Laser Hair Removal for Grey?

Unfortunately, the effectiveness of laser hair removal for grey hair is doubtful. Grey contains no pigment at all for the laser to act on it. The imparting of artificial pigment to grey hair can also be difficult and this pigment does not respond to laser as strongly as the natural pigment.

However, Nd: Yag lasers along with using a carbon lotion may prove to be somewhat useful for grey hair. Even with this, more sessions will be required to achieve results. So, people with gray hair should try some other method of hair removal.

How Suitable is Laser Removal for Red Hair?

red hair The suitability of laser hair removal for red hair is comparable to that of the blonde here. Red hair contains pigment even if it is much less than brown hair, it is more than blonde hair. This pigment can be recognized by Nd: Yag and diode lasers having a wavelength of 755 nm or 1062 nm. Also, the pigment at some areas of the body like the chest and bikini line is more making ginger hair appear brownish thus increasing the results of laser hair removal.

Although advanced laser hair removal is suitable for red hair, it requires a greater number of sessions to show good results as compared to that for dark hair.

Which Skin Tones Are Compatible With Lasers?

The most compatible skin tones for laser hair removal have always been the ones having much less pigment as compared to the hair. These tones include white, fair, brown, and even olive. But the good news is that diode lasers and Nd: Yag lasers now work on dark skin tones with dark hair. Further, you can see how laser hair removal works for dark hair here.

Most Compatible Methods of Hair Removal for Dark Hair

Although dark hair is the most frustrating when it comes to its unwanted presence on the skin, they are easiest to treat with hair removal treatments. The most suitable treatments for dark hair are given below.

1. IPL Hair Removal

Ulike If you have dark hair and light skin, wait no longer to get an IPL hair removal device to go hair free. The best at-home IPL/laser hair removal devices are mentioned here.

Out of these, the Ulike Air3 IPL handset can become your favorite one because it shows results within 3 weeks, takes only 7 minutes for full body treatment, makes skin feel cool during the treatment, and lasts as long as your life does.

2. Professional Lasers

Any type of professional laser is suitable for dark hair. Just consider other factors like your skin tone, area to be treated, and pain tolerance while booking a session of professional laser to stay hairless for years without damaging your skin.

3. Traditional Method

Hair removal methods like waxing, plucking, and threading prove to be pocket-friendly and precise methods of hair removal for dark hair. On the other hand, shaving and depilation can be frustrating as they make the blunt ends of trimmed dark hair appear coarse.

4. Electrolysis

Lastly, dark hair is also compatible with electrolysis, the only method of hair removal with results lasting forever. You can see which methods work best for you in Laser, IPL, electrolysis, or waxing, which one is the best.

Most Compatible Methods of Hair Removal for Blonde, Red, and Grey Hair

If not the usual laser hair devices, find out which methods are compatible with blonde, ginger, and gray hair below.

1. Electrolysis

Electrolysis When laser and IPL do not work and you want to achieve long-lasting results, electrolysis is the one for you. With no discrimination of hair color and skin tone, electrolysis works for everyone to remove unwanted hair long-lastingly.

2. Nd: Yag Laser

Nd: Yag lasers now use a long wavelength of light that penetrates deeply into the hair and responds to any amount of pigment present in it. This longer light goes in deeply, comes in contact with the skin only for a few seconds, and gives the skin a cooling sensation as well. So, it is great for ginger and blonde hair colors.

3. Artificial Pigmentation and Laser

The hair can be artificially dyed with a laser to help hair remove rays absorbed into them. Moreover, carbon lotion can be used to stain blonde, grey, and ginger hair. This lotion then absorbs the laser and removes unwanted hair.

4. Traditional Methods

Lastly, just stick to waxing, depilation, threading, or any other method of hair removal you are using if your hair is not bothering you and you do not want to get into long wave lasers, electrolysis, or artificial pigmentation.

The Final Verdict

The presence of no pigment or scarce amount of melanin in hair has been a challenge to laser hair removal until a few years back. But gladly the newest lasers have triumphed over this challenge and can now eliminate blonde, ginger, and gray hair successfully.

However, laser hair removal treatment on blonde hair, laser hair removal on red hair, and laser hair removal on grey hair can take a longer time, more sessions, and relatively expensive costs to achieve significant results.

Welcome to Ulike! We hope our expertise can bring value to you.
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