Laser Hair Removal 101

Laser Hair Removal 101

Sam Garst Sam Garst
9 minute read

Laser hair removal is the preferred method of hair removal for so many because it’s effective, efficient, and long-term. While it won’t permanently remove hair for everyone, it can get you closer than almost every other tactic out there. 

Let’s dig into everything you were wondering about laser hair removal, and maybe some info you didn’t know you needed. We’ll include our preferred method for getting it done the DIY way, too. 

How Laser Hair Removal Works

Laser hair removal works by targeting the pigment, or melanin, at the hair follicle with heated light energy. Over time, damage to follicles in the treated areas inhibits new hair growth. 

There are 4 different kinds of laser approved for laser hair removal:

  • Ruby: This is the original laser. The shorter wavelengths are best for small areas and lighter skin. 
  • Alexandrite: Longer beams of light vs. the ruby lasers make this one an option for light to olive skin tones. 
  • Diode: This is the preferred laser at many medspas. Even longer wavelengths make this one an option for medium to darker skin tones. 
  • Nd: YAG: This is often the preferred laser for darker skin tones because it boasts the longest wavelengths. It goes deeper into the skin to prevent discoloration.

At-home IPL devices have the same objective, just with a broadband pulsed light instead of a single laser. 

Benefits of Laser Hair Removal

Here’s why you should break up with your razor — or scary wax lady:

  • It’s precise. You can target unwanted hair anywhere it grows without worrying about the surrounding skin. We mean anywhere
  • It’s safe. Laser hair removal is FDA-approved with fewer side effects than other hair removal methods like waxing.
  • You’ll be out of there in no time. Unlike electrolysis, you can treat more than one hair follicle at a time. If you’re hitting a small area, you could be done in minutes.
  • Say “bye” to ingrown hairs. Treatments can actually improve existing irritation like ingrown hairs and pseudofolliculitis barbae, a fancy term for razor bumps.
  • Your skin will thank you. The same lasers that get rid of unwanted hair can help improve skin tone and texture, bad acne scarring, even rosacea.

Bonus benefits of at-home IPL treatment:

  • Convenience
  • Cost-savings
  • Comfort

What to Expect During Treatment

If you’re hitting a small area like your chin, your sessions may only take a few minutes. Expect to hang out for up to an hour if you’re targeting a larger area.  

Is laser hair removal painful? Laser hair removal is painful for some, but not for others. It is most often described as the feeling of getting flicked with a hot rubber band, but the sensation fades quickly.

What you feel during your treatments can depend on the body part you target, your personal pain threshold, and timing. We’re not talking about time of day, but where you are in your cycle. Some women feel more pain before and during their periods.

If you’re worried about discomfort during treatments, talk to your provider about pain remedies and numbing agents. At-home IPL is another option. Most people feel little to no discomfort with IPL outside of stretching for those hard-to-reach areas.


When to Expect Results

You should start seeing results like sparse regrowth and hair shedding within weeks after your first session. The number of treatments varies because different treatment areas and body hair types require different strategies, but most people need 4-6 initial sessions. 

How permanent is laser hair removal? How permanent laser hair removal is depends on your body. Many people experience up to 85% permanent hair reduction in treated areas. 

Expect maintenance treatments every few months after that to keep things smooth here, down there, and everywhere.


How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal

You can check out our complete guide to laser hair removal prep, but pre-laser prep is about making it easier for the device to do its work. 

Don’t wear makeup. Cosmetics can alter the efficacy of the laser, so don’t apply before the appointment — same goes for lotion. You want bare, clean skin.

Do you shave before laser hair removal? You do shave before laser hair removal. This allows your device to target the hair follicles vs. hair regrowth. Dermaplaining works for facial hair.

Be kind to your skin before treatment. Wear sunscreen and avoid too much sun exposure and tanning. You don’t want to plan for any additional cosmetic procedures like Botox right before sessions, either.

Avoid harsh skincare products and exfoliate. We love The Revealer for gentle skin resurfacing. 

That’s about as intense as it should get. 

Wear something loose. The last thing you want after a session is tight clothes rubbing on sensitive skin. 


There’s no downtime with laser hair removal treatments. Just keep treating your skin nice for a little while after.

Avoid tweezing any errant hairs left behind. 

Resist the urge to pick at your skin

Skip activities that will make you sweat for the rest of the day. This will help to prevent skin irritation. 

Potential Side Effects

Skin irritation, redness, and swelling are the most common side effects with laser hair removal, but those typically go away within hours or at most a day or 2 after treatments. You can sooth the treatment area and surrounding skin with cool compresses or an aloe gel like The Reviver.  

More severe side effects like blistering, scarring, and hyperpigmentation are even more rare. People with darker skin seem to be at a higher risk for discoloration, so if you want to experiment with lasers that work with your skin color, make sure you see a board-certified dermatologist. 

If you want to go down the rabbit hole laser hair removal side effect myths, check them out here.

Laser Hair Removal Cost

The cost of laser hair removal varies quite a bit. Large areas like a set of legs or your back will cost more than small areas like your upper lip or underarms. The bikini line falls somewhere in the middle because those coarse hairs can be pretty stubborn.

Since you pay per session — unless you’re getting some kind of hot package deal — your total cost will also depend on how many sessions you need to tackle new hair growth.

Other factors for pricing include:

  • Location
  • Skin type
  • Gender

At-home IPL is a way to ease some of that pain in the wallet. You pay a one-time fee for your device and that’s all she wrote. You don’t even need to fill the car up for a ride to the dermatology clinic or medical spa.

Check out a more comprehensive price guide here.

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Does laser hair removal work for all skin tones?

Most conventional laser hair removal doesn’t work for all skin tones. The same is true for anyone with red, blonde, or gray hair colors. Light skin with dark hair is best for an ideal contrast.   

The hair removal devices just have a hard time “seeing” the pigment at the follicle with lighter hair or darker skin colors.That said, there are some brands with longer wavelengths that work better for dark skin. Black people can now get laser hair removal if they work with medical professionals trained in lasers that go beyond the top layers of the skin.

Laser Hair Removal vs. Other Hair Removal Methods

Laser hair removal is less painful with fewer ingrown hairs than waxing, plucking, or tweezing. It won’t make you smell like a wet dog like depilatory creams. It lasts way longer than shaving, with many people enjoying years of permanent hair removal and reduction in treated areas.


The only method of hair removal that’s more permanent is electrolysis. If you can’t get laser hair removal and want permanent reduction of unwanted body hair, that could be another option. While it works for all skin tones and skin types, it’s expensive and more painful than laser.

At-Home IPL Treatments: Your DIY Alternative

At-home IPL treatments are one of the most effective methods of long-term hair removal out there. They come with all of the benefits of laser hair removal with the added pros of accessibility and cost-savings.

You pay for your device. The device shows up. You take care of business from the comfort of your own home. Sounds like a pretty boss move, right? If you’re ready to enjoy a more leisurely approach to unwanted hair, try The Flasher 2.0 today from Nood.  

For FAQs, hot deals on our products, and all the side hustles our device can handle, follow us on Instagram.


  1. Treatment of Pseudofolliculitis With a Pulsed Infrared Laser
  2. Unconventional Uses of Laser Hair Removal: A Review
  3. Pain perception across the menstrual cycle phases in women with chronic pain
  4. Treatment of Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation in Patients With Darker Skin Types Using a Low Energy 1,927 nm Non-Ablative Fractional Laser: A Retrospective Photographic Review Analysis

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