At-Home IPL vs Professional Laser Hair Removal: Which Is More Effective

by Laser Clinics Team on July 08, 2024

At-Home IPL vs Professional Laser Hair Removal: Which Is More Effective

Like many others tired of stubborn, unwanted hair, shaving, waxing or temporary hair removal methods just don’t do it anymore. And you’ve probably also turned to the convenience and affordability of at-home IPL hair removal devices, hoping to achieve smooth, hair-free skin from the comforts of your own home.

But how do DIY at-home IPL devices truly stack up against professional Laser Hair Removal when it comes to effectiveness? 

Both promise to remove unwanted hair, but is one method superior? Let’s cover the science behind both treatments, compare their effectiveness, and help you decide which option best suits your needs and goals.

Quick Comparison Of At-Home IPL Devices vs Professional Laser Hair Removal


Here’s a closer look at the key differences between at-home IPL and professional Laser Hair Removal:

Feature At-Home IPL Professional Laser Hair Removal


✅ Lower upfront cost (device purchase)

❌ Higher upfront cost (per session)


✅ Can be done at home, on your schedule

❌ Requires appointments at a clinic


⚠️ Varies depending on hair and skin type; generally less effective on lighter or finer hair

✅ More effective across a wider range of skin and hair types


⚠️ Risk of misuse, skin irritation, and eye injury if not used correctly

✅ Safer due to trained professionals using advanced technology and safety protocols

Pain Level

✅ Generally less painful

⚠️ Can be slightly more uncomfortable, but cooling methods are often used


❌ Slower results, multiple sessions (often 12+) needed over weeks or months

✅ Faster results, fewer sessions (typically 6-8) usually required

Treatment Area

⚠️ Smaller treatment window, may be time-consuming for larger areas like full legs

✅ Larger treatment areas can be covered more efficiently


❌ Limited settings and customization options

✅ Treatment parameters can be adjusted to your specific skin and hair type



At-Home IPL Devices

IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light therapy was developed in the early 1990s to initially treat leg telangiectasias. Studies have eventually shown its effectiveness in treating a range of skin issues like rabbit ear veins, melasma, rosacea, and others.

IPL devices emit a broad spectrum of light, akin to a flashbulb. This light is delivered in pulses by the IPL devices and absorbed by the melanin in the hair, subsequently damaging the follicles.

However, this broad spectrum isn’t targeted compared to laser light. This means some of the light energy could be absorbed by surrounding melanin in the skin, leading to unwanted effects like hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation. 


Professional Laser Hair Removal

Meanwhile, professional Laser Hair Removal treatments involve the delivery of a single, long, focused light wavelength. This means the laser beam is less scattered, making it more precise at targeting hair follicles. 

Many advanced Laser Hair Removal treatments use medical-grade, FDA, and TGA-approved Candela™ GentleMax Pro System - generally considered to be the most effective technology for hair removal.



At-Home IPL Devices

While anecdotal evidence suggests many individuals have found a positive experience with hair removal from using IPL devices, the results can be inconsistent and not as long-lasting as professional laser treatments.

A study comparing the effectiveness of various hair removal techniques discovered that long-term hair reduction was much higher for Alexandrite (a light wavelength used in modern Candela LHR devices). Long-term hair reduction was recorded at 46% compared to the IPL, which recorded only 27%.


Professional Laser Hair Removal

This treatment is generally more effective in achieving significant and lasting hair reduction. Individual results may vary, but most people experience a notable increase in hair growth just after a few sessions. 

A study has also reaffirmed the safety and effectiveness of alexandrite laser and found the risk of permanent and adverse side effects was generally low-to-nil for skin types I-III.



At-Home IPL Devices

At-home IPL devices carry a risk of misuse, especially with a lack of proper training or understanding of your specific skin type.

There are also reports of eye damage due to botched IPL treatments. A study notes the experience of one patient who developed photophobia or fear of light due to ocular damage via IPL treatments.


Professional Laser Hair Removal

Professional LHR is performed by trained technicians able to assess each individual’s skin conditions, adjust settings as needed, and minimise the risk of complications. 

Additionally, many professional clinics use medical-grade lasers that are effective for both dark hair and lighter skin, as well as, dark hair and dark skin combinations.

Side effects from professional LHR treatments are few, occasionally leading to pain and discomfort, swelling in the hair follicles, and red skin. Although these effects usually tend to disappear a few hours after treatment.

It’s also worth noting that no evidence suggests either IPL or Laser Hair Removal can cause skin cancer.



At-Home IPL Devices

These tend to cost anywhere from $73 - $345 (AUD), depending on the model, make, features, and quality. However, the cost can drive up due to having to purchase replacement cartridges over time.

Additionally, achieving desired results through at-home IPL often requires more sessions than professional Laser Hair Removal.


Professional Laser Hair Removal

Several factors affect the final cost of a Laser Hair Removal treatment, such as the number of sessions, treatment area, clinic, location, etc.

An individual Laser Hair Removal session is generally considered to be more expensive than the initial cost of an IPL device, but LHR requires much fewer sessions to achieve the desired results. The latter might have a higher initial investment, but it’s more cost-effective in the long run compared to at-home IPL treatments.


Who Should Choose Which?

Now that you have some idea of each, let’s explore which option might be a better fit:

At-Home IPL Is A Good Option If…

  • Budget is a priority and you’re looking for a more affordable option. You don’t mind investing time and effort into your hair removal routine. You’re attracted by the convenience it offers.
  • You have light to medium skin and dark hair, as IPL devices tend to work best for individuals with this skin combination. The contrast between skin and hair colour allows for better targeting of the hair follicles.


Professional Laser Hair Removal Is The Better Choice If…

  • You seek effective and long-term hair reduction. Laser Hair Removal suits individuals with a range of skin and hair types, including those with lighter hair or darker skin.
  • Safety is your top concern, as there is a risk of incorrectly using IPL devices.
    Professional Laser Hair Removal may not totally eliminate all risks and adverse side effects. However, these are kept to a minimum due to the expertise of a trained technician and the use of medical-grade equipment.
  • You want faster results. You can get significant, long-term hair reduction in just 4-6 weeks of sessions, compared to the 4-12 weeks of treatment typically allotted for IPL devices.


The right path to smooth, hair-free skin is whatever works best. But professional treatments are preferred for safety and effectiveness

At-home IPL devices are a budget-friendly choice - we’re not disputing this. But it’s important to also remember that your skin’s safety and the effectiveness of your hair removal journey are priceless.

At Laser Clinics Australia, we offer Personalised Treatments of professional Laser Hair Removal, ensuring every client’s unique skin and hair type are taken into consideration. We use advanced laser technology designed to be effective on various skin types, ensuring a safe and effective experience for everyone. 

And with our lowest prices ever and a price match guarantee, you can be assured you receive only top-quality care at a budget that suits you. Take the first step towards smoother, hair-free skin and book a complimentary consultation at Laser Clinics Australia today. Your journey to radiant, confident skin starts here.