Comparing Laser Hair Removal vs. Waxing: Which is better?

Comparing Laser Hair Removal vs. Waxing: Which is better?

Sam Garst Sam Garst
8 minute read

There are a lot of hair removal methods out there if you’re feeling adventurous, but the battle between laser hair removal vs. waxing is classic. They may sound a little scary if you’re not part of the initiated, but in reality, they’re both safe and effective tools in your hair removal arsenal.

We’ll say one thing right off the bat, though.

Laser hair removal (including IPL) is better than waxing for virtually permanent hair removal.

Let’s talk about how they each work to get rid of unwanted hair.

How Waxing Works

The premise behind waxing is pretty simple. You apply hot wax with an applicator to the target area in the direction your hair grows. And you can always pay a waxing technician to do your dirty work!

The technician will place a waxing strip on the unwanted hair, smooth it out, and then remove it quickly in the opposite direction of hair growth. This is the part where you may need to drop an expletive or 2.


Ideally, the result is smooth skin for all the effort (and potential shrieking). Any residue or errant hairs may need a quick touch up, but that’s pretty much it until your next session, typically 3-4 weeks later.

How Laser Hair Removal Works

Laser hair removal works by targeting the pigment at the hair follicle with a single heated laser. The result is a damaged hair follicle that limits regrowth over time.

IPL treatments use a broadband pulsed light instead of one focused laser, but the result is the same. Both options offer you the best chance at long-lasting, even permanent, hair reduction in the treated area.

Both come with a few minor potential side effects, but they’re typically less common with IPL.

Related: IPL vs Laser Hair Removal Differences: Which is Best For Me?

Which costs more, waxing or laser hair removal?

Waxing is much cheaper than laser hair removal if we’re comparing single sessions. However, laser treatments are less expensive over a long period of time.

IPL (at-home laser hair removal) is by far the most cost-effective, as you purchase the device once, then use it at your leisure. Or, more accurately, you should use your IPL device as often as directed.

(We’re partial to The Flasher 2.0, personally.)

The Flasher™ 2.0

The Flasher™ 2.0


Safely remove unwanted hair with The Flasher 2.0 by Nood. Works everywhere that hair grows, including bikini, Brazilian, underarms, legs, and face. Start seeing results in 2-3 weeks and permanent hair removal in 6-8 weeks. … read more

Am I a good candidate for both waxing and laser hair removal?

Most people are good candidates for waxing. Exceptions include anyone with chronic conditions that would flare up after a wax. Certain medications might cause more sensitive skin than normal after a wax, too. It’s always best to talk to your dermatologist if you’re worried before waxing.

Laser hair removal and IPL work best when there’s a contrast between your hair color and skin, like dark hair with light skin. Very dark skin tones are a challenge because the laser can’t see the pigment at the hair follicle. Very light skin with light hair doesn’t work, either.

There are some lasers out there with longer wavelengths that show promise with darker skin colors, but darker skin tones are also at a higher risk of hyperpigmentation after laser treatments. Electrolysis may be an alternative if you’re not a candidate for laser hair removal.

Read More: What Hair Types Respond Best to Laser Hair Treatment?

Which is less painful?

A waxing session is much more painful than laser hair removal. Some people compare laser treatments to a rubber band snapping against their skin. Others don’t feel much discomfort at all, especially if they’re using an at-home IPL device.

Topical numbing creams can help if you’re very sensitive to pain during your laser hair removal treatments. It matters where you laser, too. Your underarms and upper lip are more sensitive than your back or your arms.

Which requires more before/after skincare?

Your before and after prep to remove body hair depends some on your skin type, but both waxing and laser hair removal require minimal work for an effective treatment.

You’ll need to let your hair grow about a quarter-inch before slathering on that hot wax. The wax needs something to grab onto that isn’t your skin.

If you choose laser hair removal or IPL, you’ll need to shave before each treatment. It sounds like a pain, but shaving allows the devices to get closer to the follicle.

Is laser hair removal more effective after waxing? Laser hair removal (including IPL) is not more effective after waxing; it actually makes laser pointless. You don’t want to do anything that removes hair at the root and makes it harder for the laser to see the hair follicles.

That includes plucking and tweezing, too. Resist the urge to pluck any errant hairs missed by the laser the first time around. We believe in you!

Exfoliating with a product like The Revealer is a good idea for both hair removal methods. You’ll reduce the potential for ingrown hairs and leave the shower all silky smooth. If you have sensitive skin, a soothing gel like The Reviver can give you some relief after treatments.

The Revealer

The Revealer


The Revealer Daily Exfoliating Cleanser with resveratrol, papaya enzymes, biodegradable exfoliating beads, and botanical extracts is a deep cleansing and skin resurfacing treatment packed with powerful antioxidants for brighter, smoother, and softer skin. Reduce irritation and ingrown hairs while revealing… read more

The Reviver

The Reviver


The reviver contains our custom formulation of aloe vera, lavender, azulene, and green tea extract to soothe and protect your skin after your IPL treatment. Aloe and Azulene soothe and reduce irritation due from sunburn, chemical peels and IPL treatments. Lavender essential oils… read more

How to waxing and laser affect ingrown hairs?

Laser and IPL are two of the best hair removal methods out there to prevent ingrown hairs. Both hit the unwanted hair where it matters most: the hair follicles. They even come with the added bonus of treating existing ingrown hairs.

But here’s a spicy take: Hot wax doesn't do anything to prevent new hair growth. Much like plucking or tweezing, you’re pulling hair at the root. Sometimes that motion can go sideways, leaving behind broken hairs that grow back into the skin and cause nasty side effects like ingrown hairs.

This means laser and IPL inch out as the winners over waxing for ingrown hair management.

Which has faster results, waxing or laser hair removal?

You get immediate hair-free skin with waxing treatments, but those results only last a few weeks before you start seeing that unfortunate regrowth again.

Suddenly, those memories of hot wax on your bikini line seem that much worse.


Laser hair removal is more time-consuming, taking about 4-6 sessions to get those hair follicles in their various stages of regrowth. IPL requires about 6-8 weeks of twice-weekly sessions for the same results.

The result is more long-term, even permanent hair reduction in many.

That feels like it’s worth it.

Which is better for permanent results?

Does laser hair removal last forever? Laser hair removal does not last forever in everyone, but it can result in permanent hair reduction in the treatment spots.

Most fans of laser hair removal need touch up treatments every 3-6 months, but those sessions are typically much less intense. Over time, the hair grows back much sparser as you shed hair in targeted areas.

A wax typically lasts anywhere from 3-6 weeks. How often you’ll need to wax depends on your own hair growth and the body part you waxed. Your bikini area typically grows hair a lot faster than your legs. Those are your hormones at play.

Which is easier to DIY?

Laser hair removal and waxing are both best left to the professionals. While at-home wax kits are definitely a thing, you can only stretch so far if you’re trying to reach those tricky areas. If you’ve given yourself a Brazilian in the past, we’re not worthy.

If you want accessibility, it doesn’t get more DIY than an IPL handset.

Hold a glass of wine in one hand and your Flasher in the other… we won’t judge. 😉

Our Verdict…

You know where we’re going with this. We’re always here for the easiest, most efficient ways to do things, especially when we’re talking about hair removal.

If you want safe, effective results that don’t involve contorting your limbs at the aesthetician’s office, try The Flasher 2.0 from Nood. We’re so psyched about the idea for you that we can guarantee permanent hair reduction within 8 weeks or your money back.

It’s what you’d call a game changer.

The Flasher™ 2.0

The Flasher™ 2.0


Safely remove unwanted hair with The Flasher 2.0 by Nood. Works everywhere that hair grows, including bikini, Brazilian, underarms, legs, and face. Start seeing results in 2-3 weeks and permanent hair removal in 6-8 weeks. … read more


  1. Brazilian waxing and human papillomavirus: a case of acquired epidermodysplasia verruciformis
  2. Advances in laser hair removal in skin of color

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