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IPL vs. Salon Laser Hair Removal: Which is Better? 

By Viktoria
August 14, 2023
6 minutes
IPL vs Salon Laser Hair Removal

The constant struggle to remove your hair repeatedly every week makes you sick of these unwanted body hairs, right? Everyone feels the same. You go through the pain and spend lots of your time and money, but neither waxing nor shaving is giving you the desired results. So what can you do? 

Well, there are hair removal methods like IPL and laser that offer you a long-term solution to unwanted body hair and provide you with smooth skin lasting for years. Laser hair removal treatments are usually done at salons while for at-home hair removal, the most effective option is using the IPL devices.

But the debate does not end here because what matters is not their availability but the efficacy for you. So, in this article, we have taken several factors into consideration regarding both these techniques to make sure you choose the most convenient, cost-effective, and suitable option for yourself. 

Similarities between IPL and Salon Laser Hair Removal

IPL and laser hair removal are often confused as the same hair removal method but they have a number of differences. Before making a comparison between these, let’s see what similarities they have:

  • IPL and salon laser hair removal devices are dependent upon the concentration of melanin in your hair follicles
  • These hair removal methods are not permanent but show long-lasting results
  • Both these devices are not effective for blonde, red, or grey hair as they have very low concentrations of melanin
  • IPL and Laser hair removal is dangerous in case of pregnancy, eczema, skin infections, tattoo, sun tan, keloid scarring, and herpes
  • If done improperly, they can cause redness, burns, scarring, hyperpigmentation, and bumps on the skin
  • These non-ablative hair removal methods require  multiple sessions before showing you complete results

IPL vs. Salon Laser Hair Removal


Both laser hair removal and IPL destroy your hair follicles but work differently. IPL hair removal devices use a broad spectrum beam of light to target your hair while laser hair removal technique uses a precise light beam to penetrate your skin and reach the hair follicles.

Moreover, the laser hair removal devices used in salons are generally more potent than at-home IPL or laser devices as they are more precise and powerful. 


Both IPL and salon laser hair removal treatments provide you with useful results by getting rid of your hair follicles but they have a huge price difference. Most IPL devices cost between $150-$400. For example, the Ulike Sapphire Air3 handset costs only $329. With unlimited flashes, this handset can work for your whole lifetime.

In contrast, salon laser hair removal costs you a fortune. Hair removal in larger areas can cost up to $600 per session while for smaller areas, it can go up to $350 per session. 

One session of laser hair removal at the salon is nearly equal to the price of an IPL device that gives you unlimited sessions for a minimum of 10 years. So, IPL is more cost-effective than laser. For further details, Click How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost? 


If we compare both the hair removal methods in terms of precision, the laser is the winner hair whether it is at-home or salon laser hair removal. As mentioned earlier, in laser hair removal, a precise light beam is used that reaches only the target area without spreading and affecting other areas.

On the other hand, IPL uses polychromatic, broad-spectrum, and non-coherent light sources. So, the light spreads more which decreases its precision. Moreover, salon laser hair removal is done by a professional, which means it is going to be more accurate and error-free.


Laser hair removal at a salon sounds more convenient at first as it saves you from creating a mess at your home and we feel so tired to clean up after completing the hair removal. But, if we think about it, treatment at salons is more difficult.

The traveling cost, the time to get to your salon, and then the wait for your turn to come, all these things take up a lot of your energy and money as well. On top of that, you need to visit the salon every other week, and not everyone has enough time to spare for regular visits. 

That is why, IPL hair removal is more convenient as it saves your traveling cost and time. It is also mess-free because all you need is your device and a comfortable place to sit. 


If you are getting salon laser hair removal, it means you have to prepare yourself for letting strangers touch you. Especially if you are undergoing a full-leg, chest, or back treatment, you will have to stay in your undergarments only. It is not comfortable for everyone and this is the reason most people avoid it. 

So, the better solution is IPL hair removal as it allows you to treat your own body at home. The Ulike Sapphire Air3 handset is easy to use and can be used on every body part which means you will not require any external help. Therefore, you can get hair removal with IPL without compromising your privacy at all. 

Skin and Hair Color Compatibility

This is where salon laser hair removal beats IPL. IPL technology is dependent upon the melanin and if your body has more melanin, it can cause burns, scarring, and hyperpigmentation. So, those with dark skin should avoid it. Similarly, grey, blonde, and ginger hair have less melanin, so IPL is not effective against them.

Contrary to IPL, there are different types of lasers available for hair removal, so that they can benefit all hair types and skin tones. For example, if you have a dark skin tone, the practitioner will use Nd: YAG laser while alexandrite laser is suitable for skin tones up to 4. 

Time Required 

With Ulike Sapphire Air3, you can get your whole body done in just 7 minutes. It has a thumb-free, auto-glide mode that conveys the flashes every 0.7 seconds allowing you to quickly cover all your body areas with unwanted hair. 

Unlike IPL hair removal, laser hair removal sessions take a few minutes to even hours depending upon the treatment area. For instance, the upper lip only takes a few minutes while the legs are the larger areas so they take at least an hour per session. Therefore, IPL hair removal takes the lead here as a laser is a lot more time-consuming. The more time your hair removal takes, the more tiresome will you feel. 


Laser hair removal at salons is more effective than the IPL. Firstly, the laser is more precise as it uses a single wavelength. As a result, it is more focused and effective. This makes the laser hair removal results last for years with minimum touchups required. On the other hand, IPL only lasts for 6 months or some years but you require touch-ups more often. 

Secondly, the treatment is done at salons and the laser hair removal machines at salons are more efficient than at-home devices. Lastly, a professional can work better as they have dedicated a part of their life learning this while you only know the instructions written in the user manual. 

Number of Sessions

With Ulike Sapphire Air3 handset, you need two sessions per week. After three weeks, it starts showing you results. As you continue your sessions, you can see your body getting completely hairless after 12 weeks. 

Laser hair removal at salons requires nearly 6 sessions with every session at least 4 to 6 weeks apart. You can start noticing the results after the first session and it keeps getting better with every next session.  

Comparison Table 

Parameters Salon Laser Hair Removal IPL Hair Removal
Principle Uses monochromatic, coherent light source to target hair follicles Uses Polychromatic, non-coherent light source to target hair follicles
Cost $250-800 per session $329
Precision More Precise Less Precise
Privacy Not Maintained Maintained
Skin Color Compatibility All Skin Colors Light Skin
Hair Color Compatibility All except Blonde, red, and grey hair All except blonde, red, and grey hair
Time Required per session 10-60 minutes 7 minutes
Sessions Required 2-6 in total 2 sessions per week
Time taken for showing permanent results 9-12 months 4 months
Results last for Minimum one year Minimum six months


At the salon hair removal is a mess-free, precise, more effective hair removal option that is suitable for all skin types but is very expensive. On the other hand, IPL is a more time-saving, cost-effective, painless, and convenient hair removal option but it does not work well for dark skin. So, Laser can be best for some while IPL can prove better for others. Both these methods are FDA-approved therefore you can choose any of the two based on your preferences and compatibility with the method. 

Other than these two methods, there is also electrolysis for permanent hair removal. Want a detailed comparison of these two with electrolysis? Click Laser, IPL, Electrolysis, or Wax. 

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