If you ended up on this page, we have a feeling you are intrigued by IPL, an innovative hair removal machine. Like starting any new at-home hair removal process, you probably have a lot of questions. What is IPL? How does it work? And how often can we use it?
We know you want as little hair down there as possible, and we’ve got all the info you need to make unwanted hairs a thing of the past. Keep reading for all of our tips and tricks.
What Is IPL?
We think IPL is amazing, and we’re pretty sure you will, too. It’s a relatively new (but well-studied) hair removal technology — so if you haven’t heard of it before, read on for all the tea!
IPL is short for intense pulsed light. IPL is a type of light therapy that can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions from wrinkles to unwanted hair. IPL is similar to laser hair removal, but it’s not the same treatment. Do you know the difference?
For starters, IPL hair removal uses a broad-spectrum light, while laser uses a single-spectrum light. Broad-spectrum lights naturally disperse, which allows IPL devices to cover larger areas of skin than laser hair removal treatments. Basically, you get those same long-lasting effects, but you can apply it just as easily on large areas (like your legs) as you can on specific areas (like your upper lip).
Laser hair removal only targets specific areas because it provides concentrated light. Laser hair removal treatments are very accurate, remove most of all the hair, and the effects last pretty long. Still, compared to IPL, laser hair removal can be painful, it is much more expensive, and the treatments can take much longer.
IPL is a simple way to get a similar effect as laser hair removal for less pain, less money, and less time spent awkwardly butterflying your legs at a dermatologist’s office.
Is IPL Right for Me?
When it comes to hair removal, we all have preferences. Some people don’t mind shaving and some people hate turning into a contortionist (yoga anyone?) every time they try to get the back of their legs. Same goes for waxing, plucking, tweezing… you get the gist. Everyone’s body is different and so everyone reacts to treatments differently.
When it comes to IPL treatments, it’s pretty painless and provides gentle hair removal. This means IPL should work for just about anyone, even those with sensitive skin. Don't hate us but IPL may not work as well for certain skin tones and hair colors as it does for others.
The reason for this has to do with pigment. In order for the light from the IPL to do its thing, it needs to identify and target the hair follicle. IPL uses pigmentation to effectively do this. But if your hair blends into your skin or is particularly light, it will be challenging to target the hair follicle. IPL may not be effective for those with light blonde, red, or grey hair.
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what the hair looks like on the outside, it matters what color the root is. If your hair has brown or black roots, the treatment should work well for you. If you have dark blonde roots, IPL will probably also work well for you. Just know that it may take longer to work on you than your dark-haired friends, but with time and consistency, you will get the silky-smooth results you crave.
The ideal candidate for IPL is someone who has a good contrast of pigmentation between the skin and the hair root. While IPL does not only work on people with dark hair, if you do happen to have dark, coarse body hair, the treatment will probably work pretty well for you.
Where Can I Use IPL?
IPL can be used on just about any part of your body. You can use the light treatment to remove hair on your arms, legs, underarms, bikini line, and more. If you want to use IPL on your face, we recommend staying below the cheekbones to avoid your eyes, as that area is delicate.
BTW, never use IPL on the inner parts of your bikini area — in this case, it’s what’s on the outside that counts.
Stick to the exterior, stay below the cheekbones, and you’re good to go.
How Can I Get an IPL Treatment?
If you are ready to try an IPL treatment, there are so many different places you can go. Since there are so many different ways to access the treatment, it is important to do your research and figure out what seems best for you.
Read up on all of the different ways you can get an IPL treatment before you decide.
Get an IPL Treatment From a Dermatologist
If you’re in the market for an IPL treatment that targets a skin condition, your dermatologist will probably be able to help. Still, this is the priciest way to get IPL, even if you’re just going in to zap away unwanted underarm hair.
The cost of getting an IPL treatment depends on a few factors. Most notably, if you are using IPL for hair removal, the cost will depend on how many areas you are targeting.
Lastly, where you live may play a factor. If you live in a particularly expensive area (LA, we’re looking at you), your treatment may cost more. On average, an IPL treatment cost around $700 to $1,200 USD. Since IPL is a cosmetic procedure, it is unlikely your health insurance will cover the cost.
Try It at an Aesthetics Spa
Since this is a cosmetic procedure and not a medical one, you can also get IPL at an aesthetics spa. At a spa, an IPL treatment will likely cost about the same as it would at a dermatology office. The only real difference here is who is administering the IPL.
At a spa, it would likely be an esthetician that gives you the treatment rather than a licensed dermatologist, though some spas (medical spas) have licensed physicians on hand to administer treatments.
Paying all that money for something you could do yourself? Pass.
DIY at Home because who Has the Time
IPL devices are an easy way to get safe, gentle, and effective hair removal from the comfort of your own home — no cold metal doctor’s slab under your bum or awkward medical gowns necessary.
Typically, IPL devices are handheld making them easy to maneuver around your body. The benefits of doing your own IPL treatments at home are bountiful. First off, at-home IPL devices are much more affordable than in-office treatments.
At RoseSkinCo we have two handheld IPL hair removal devices: The Lumi Hair Removal Handset ($189.95 USD) and The OG Hair Removal Handset ($129.95 USD). These are much more affordable than spending hundreds of dollars at a dermatologist’s office.
Additionally, these home devices last a long time. The Lumi lasts for about 900,000 light pulses. That big number is pretty hard to comprehend, but it should last about 30 years. That means you have to pay less than $200 USD just once and you have IPL to keep your body hair-free for 30 years. We know, sometimes we are shocked by that, too.
How Often Can I Use IPL?
IPL is pretty magical, but unlike Harry Potter, it won’t provide insane results overnight. In order to reap the long-lasting rewards of smooth, hairless skin, you will need to complete several IPL treatments.
Of course, if you are going to a professional to get treatment in an office, they will create a treatment plan for you — one that requires multiple days of sitting in traffic to get to and from the doctor’s office. EW.
If you are going the DIY route it is important to know how frequently you can use your at-home IPL device.
We recommend using your IPL handset once a week for the first 12 weeks. If you really are itching for faster results, you can use the device two times a week. You should not use your device more than twice a week.
For one, IPL is most effective while your hair is in the growth phase. If you treat your skin multiple times in a week, your hair can become dormant at some point, which makes the attempt a lot less effective. Additionally, while IPL is a gentle treatment, like anything else too much of it is not great. If you use IPL too frequently you can irritate your skin.
After the first 12 weeks, your hair should be virtually gone, lets all wave goodbye. After that, you are in the maintenance phase. This means you will not need to use the IPL device every week, but instead, use it every 2 to 3 months to keep things tidy.
If your hair is cropping up more frequently, you can use the device more. If you do not need a touchup after 3 months, skip the treatment until you feel like you need it. The great thing about having an IPL handset to use at home is that it is at the ready when you need it, so you can make your treatment plan totally customized to exactly what you need.
Time To Amp Up Your Morning Routine
Adding IPL into your beauty routine could not be easier. Pick a day you will remember and make it a weekly habit to get your treatment in. It’s the ultimate form of me time, self-care Sunday anyone? Its quick, easy, and painless. It only takes about 30 minutes to do a full-body treatment.
Plus, if all you need is a quick pit hair removal sesh (no judgement here) or want to zap away some unwanted upper lip hairs, you can expect results in minutes.
Let’s get smooth and stay smooth together!