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IPL Hair Removal 101: Ultimate Guide 2024

March 13, 2024
9 minutes

If you use different methods to remove unwanted hair, it is impossible to be unaware of IPL hair removal. Its hype has been everywhere for some years, and it is totally worth it for the countless advantages it offers over other methods of hair removal.

The feasibility and affordability of achieving long-lasting hair removal results by yourself with safety and precision intrigue women. And IPL is the only method of hair removal that offers it all. So, let us know about IPL hair removal with this ultimate guide.

Table of Contents:

Part 1: What is IPL Hair Removal?

IPL is abbreviated as Intense Pulse Light. It is an at-home alternative to laser for long-lasting hair removal. IPL devices use light with wavelengths of 500 nm to 1100 nm. Their intensity is maintained at different levels ranging from 3 to 10 Joule.

Moreover, hair follicles are annihilated in IPL hair removal causing the hair regrowth to stop. Within a few sessions, IPL confers the users’ hairless skin. It works on all parts where hair grows, like the face, legs, abdomen, back, chest, bikini lines, and armpits

Part 2: How Does IPL Hair Removal Work?

IPL hair removal works on the principle of photothermolysis. Let me explain it in simple terms. Photothermolysis is a process in which light of various wavelengths is converted into heat energy when it reaches its target. In IPL hair removal, light waves are transmitted through the hair shaft into follicles.

The melanin that imparts dark color to hair absorbs IPL radiations. These IPL radiations then travel to the hair roots, where the hair follicles are. As a result, hair-producing cells are either killed or put into a resting phase. So, you enjoy a long period of hairless skin until the hair follicles regenerate. 

Part 3: What are the Differences Between IPL Hair Removal and Laser?

Type of radiations Used:

IPL hair removal devices use a broad-spectrum light, which is a combination of different light colors, making it appear white. The light disperses when flashed. On the other hand, laser hair removal devices use light of a specific color. This monochromatic light is non-divergent and coherent as well. 

Moreover, Laser machines are based on diode lasers, Yag lasers, or similar systems, while IPL is all about intense pulse light. 

Power Output:

The power output of a laser ranges from 40 J to 100 J, depending on the type of system used for hair removal. On the other hand, IPL gives a minimum of 3 J to a maximum of 21 J of energy output, making it gentle on the skin.

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It requires 10 to 20 sessions within 2 to 4 months to kill all hair follicles, while Laser takes about 6 to 8 sessions spaced at intervals of 1 month each to achieve the results. After these sessions are completed, touch-ups are done as needed. 


The results of IPL and laser hair removal are comparable. However, the duration of the results varies. It lasts 6 months to a year, while results with laser can even go beyond a year or two. 

More read: IPL vs Laser Hair Removal: Which is Better for You?

Part 4: Benefits and Side Effects of IPL Hair Removal


IPL hair removal is one of the top and only feasible at-home methods of hair removal that offers salon-like hairlessness for multiple reasons. These benefits are given below.

  • The best thing about removing hair with IPL is the convenience it offers. You can do your laser hair removal treatment at home, carry these lightweight machines anywhere with you, touch up whenever you see unwanted hair, and use a single device on your body as well as your face.
  • IPL hair removal devices are also cost-effective, as you only need to invest once. Most IPL devices offer flashes lasting for two or more decades or even a lifetime. 
  • IPL is the fastest method of hair removal. Devices offer a stamping and gliding mode that enables them to remove undesired hair quickly, nearly painlessly, and precisely. 
  • IPL devices help you eliminate unwanted hair for a long time. Even after the hair begins to regrow, a few touch-ups will put it in the resting phase again. 

Side Effects

Although IPL hair removal side effects are not so common, a side effect might occur given below.

  • IPL devices with no features to reduce the temperature of heated rays cause a tingling sensation in the skin during a hair removal session. Some people also experience redness and irritation for a day or two.

Part 5: IPL Hair Removal Pricing

The price of IPL hair removal devices varies between $300 and $600, depending on the features and brands you choose. The pricing of the most trusted IPL hair removal devices is given below, along with their advantages. Remember to check the guide to choose the best IPL devices before you buy them.


Ulike Sapphire Air3 has a lightweight, slim, and gorgeous IPL device. Not just looks, the features of this IPL are also exceptional.

These include hairlessness within 3 weeks, 2 comfort modes, 3 intensity levels, the highest power output of 21 J, speedy treatments taking only 7 minutes, and nearly painless ice-cooling technology. It only costs $329.

Moreover, you can find Ulike Sapphire Air+ with similar features at a more affordable price of $309.

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Braun Silk-Expert Pro 5 is an ergonomically designed IPL hair removal device in the shape of a graspable wand. It offers hair removal within one month and has 4 lac flashes, imparting it a lifespan of 22 years. It has 3 treatment modes, 10 intensity levels, and multiple treatment heads. The price of the Braun Pro 5 is $429.99.

In addition, Braun has a Pro 3 model that costs $349.99 and has features that are slightly less advanced than those of the Braun Pro 5.


Philips has several IPL hair removal devices that have been pretty popular among the masses. Philips Lumea is one of the latest models. Its features include sensel-Q technology to guide skin tone compatibility, detachable heads to use on different body parts, cordless design, and significant results within 2 months. 

However, it is expensive at the price of $660.

Part 6: Preparing for IPL Hair Removal

What To Do Before the Treatment?

Below are tips for getting the most out of IPL hair removal treatments while keeping your skin safe.

  • Keep your skin clean and free of excess oils, dead skin cells, and impurities by exfoliating regularly. 
  • Stop using any artificial tanners or getting a natural tan from sun rays.
  • Find a device compatible with your skin tone and hair color. Also, read the instructions for your IPL handset.
  • Avoid sun exposure by staying indoors and wearing sunscreen constantly. 
  • Shave or trim the hair you want to treat. Never use hair removal methods that pluck the hair out of the roots like waxing and threading.
  • Do a patch test 24 hours before officially starting your IPL hair removal treatment. 
  • Do not forget to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses. 

How to Avoid Skin Irritation?

Your skin might become irritated after IPL hair removal. There are several steps you can take to avoid skin irritation. Such steps are given below.

  • To prevent the skin from irritating, use an IPL device with patented technology, such as sapphire ice-cooling technology. 
  • Do not wear cosmetics or skin care products containing chemicals.
  • Do not use the IPL device on dark skin tones.
  • Do not keep flashing the device more than thrice on any particular section.
  • After your hair removal, apply a lightweight yet nourishing moisturizer like aloe vera gel, vitamin E oil, or shea butter.
  • Do not get in the sun for 12 to 24 hours after hair removal. 

How to Achieve Optimal Results?

You can achieve optimal results with IPL by following the tips below.

  • Get the device that suits your skin type and tone. Then, adjust the intensity settings and comfort mode according to the part of your body you are using it on. 
  • Remove the hair by shaving immediately before starting your hair removal treatment. Also, cleanse your skin and ensure that it is dry.
  • Move the device so that no section of skin remains unflashed. You can use the gliding mode on the legs and thighs and the stamping mode on the armpits and bikini line. 
  • Keep the timeline of your IPL hair removal treatments and act upon the schedule. 

Part 7: The IPL Hair Removal Process

What to Expect During the Treatment?

Ulike Sapphire Air3 Hair Removal Handset

You need to prepare your mind to take the discomfort that is associated with IPL hair removal. Although it is very mild and people with high tolerance do not even bother feeling it, people with low tolerance can feel a rubber band snapping sensation on their skin as they flash the device.

However, the recently introduced IPL hair removal machines like Ulike have taken measures to reduce this discomfort from mild levels to none. Also, the bright light flashes can be too much for the eyes. So, wear goggles to avoid shock or trauma to the eyes. 

How Long Does it Take?

An IPL hair removal treatment might take up to an hour for a full body with some devices like Philips while only 10 minutes with others like Ulike. 

So, the average duration of it on the body is 30 minutes. 

What is the Pain and Discomfort Level?

The level of pain and discomfort is not the same for everyone. While some people feel no sensations, others might find it painful. On average, pain ratings are 3 to 5 on a scale of ten.

In most cases, this feels like pinching or mild stinging. 

How Many Sessions Are Needed?

The number of sessions of an IPL device differs depending on the device and its power output. On average, 6 to 12 sessions of IPL hair removal are enough to achieve the desired results. 

This is because not all hair is at the same stage of its growth cycle during your session. You need a minimum of 6 sessions to work on all hair follicles. 

Part 8: Who Can Get IPL Hair Removal

Skin and Hair Types Suitable for IPL Hair Removal 

IPL hair removal works for all skin types, including dry, oily, combination, normal, and sensitive. However, its usage is limited to some skin tones and hair colors. 

As it works by targeting the pigment in the unwanted, it is suitable for people with dark hair, such as black, brown, and even dark blonde. Additionally, the application of IPL is limited to light skin tones, including ivory, fair, pale, and light brown. 

People Who Should Avoid IPL Hair Removal 

Following are the people who should avoid removing their hair with IPL devices. 

  • People with brown or black skin tones.
  • People have blonde, ginger, white, or grey hair. 
  • Pregnant women. 
  • Over the scar marks, tattoos, and open skin lesions. 

Part 9: IPL Hair Removal FAQs

Is IPL Hair Removal Safe?

Yes, it is a safe method for removing unwanted hair from your body and face at home. It has been cleared by the FDA, and dermatologists call it a safe and adequate substitute for laser hair removal at a salon.

But look for a device with safety features like skin-tone sensors, UV filters, and contact sensors to ensure that you experience no side effects. 

Is IPL Hair Removal Long-lasting?

Although it is considered a long-lasting method, it is actually semi-long-lasting. Although the result of IPL hair removal lasts for months or even a year, new hair follicles grow unwanted hair again. This patchy regrowth can be dealt with with IPL hair removal touch-ups. The only long-lasting method of hair removal is electrolysis. 

Does IPL Hair Removal Hurt?

No, it does not hurt. That is actually the crux of at-home IPL devices: They do not hurt as much as laser hair removal does. There is no need for anesthesia or painkillers to avoid the pain with IPL hair removal, as it is nearly painless. 

However, a slight stinging, mild burning, or a little uncomfortable sensation may be associated with IPL.

Does IPL Hair Removal Cause Cancer?

No! It in no way causes cancer. Direct exposure to wavelengths below 500 nm might cause cancer. However, the wavelength of light used in IPL devices is much more than that.

Also, the radiation is filtered before reaching your skin and hair. Since the beginning of IPL hair removal decades ago, not a single case of cancer caused by IPL has been reported. So, you can trust the IPL hair removal device with your skin. 

How Many Times Should You Use IPL Hair Removal?

IPL hair removal devices should be used according to the instruction manual of the brand you have. Some are used once every week, while others are used on alternate days. It is safe to use an IPL hair removal device 2 to 3 times per week. 


IPL hair removal can be the best method of bidding farewell to unwanted hair in women while maintaining privacy and keeping it easy on your pocket. Additionally, IPL is beneficial for quick hair removal, safe usage, skin-friendly flashes, minimal side effects, and a nearly painless hair removal experience.

However, care must be taken to choose a suitable IPL device for your skin tone and hair. Also, the features of a device must be considered. Lastly, I would like to recommend the Ulike IPL handset. It is one of the devices with the best features of all the IPL devices available in the market.

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