In-salon vs at-home laser hair removal

Which should you go for?

February 20 2024

Over the past year, many of us have swapped our usual in-salon beauty treatments for at-home options. And although it may have started out of necessity, it seems our desire to beautify from the comfort of our couch is here to stay, as we’ve come to realise the time and money to be saved by doing so.

For some, it was trading in SNS nails for DIY Shellac. For others, it was learning how to tint their own eyebrows. But as winter rolls in, we’re reminded of another opportunity that’ll see our legs, underarms and elsewhere silky smooth by summer: laser hair removal.

And seeing as now’s the time to be thinking about the long-term hair removal solution (as it takes a few sessions to get hairless), we thought we’d do a comparison of in-salon vs at-home, so you can have all the facts when choosing which is right for you.

How does laser hair removal work?

Before we dive into the different types and devices, how about a quick refresher on how laser hair removal works? Essentially, powerful light energy travels through the skin and is absorbed by the melanin pigment in hair, sending it into a resting phase in which the hair no longer grows.

Through multiple sessions, hairs are targeted at each stage of the growth cycle to eventually inhibit new growth altogether for smooth, effective results.

So what’s the difference between in-salon vs at-home laser hair removal?

Traditionally, in-salon laser machines use a more powerful level of light energy, AKA a monochromatic coherent light source, which should be operated by professionals.

At-home devices use Intense Pulse Light (IPL), which is a broadband pulsed light source and still works to effectively inhibit hair growth, albeit over a lengthier treatment time.

Both work most effectively on dark hair and fair skin, but there are some professional laser treatments that can work on darker skin tones too.

In regards to at-home IPL, the Braun Silk-expert Pro 5 is the safest, fastest and most efficient IPL for permanent hair reduction in just four weeks.* It automatically and continuously adapts to your skin tone to ensure optimal balance between efficacy and safety.

If you’re unsure whether your hair and skin type would be suitable for using this device, here’s a handy guide:

The benefits of at-home vs in-salon laser hair removal

The biggest benefit of in-salon hair removal is that you’re likely to see results faster because of the higher-powered laser. 

While most clinics will recommend between 8-10 sessions for you to see a considerable reduction in body hair, finding a salon that offers the latest Cynosure Elite iQ technology will see a reduction in just 3-6 sessions! 

Whereas for an at-home IPL device you’ll have to use it more regularly to begin with to gain similar results.

However, with an at-home IPL device, you can do so in the comfort of your own home, which will ultimately save you time.

Another perk of the Braun Silk-expert Pro 5 is that it can be used with fake tan, whereas most in-salon treatments can’t perform laser on skin with any traces of self-tan.

Cynosure Elite iQ

Braun Silk-expert Pro 5

When it comes to cost, most in-salon laser hair removal treatments are priced at upwards of $200 per session for full legs, underarms and Brazilian. That amounts to approximately $2,000 for 10 treatments.

In comparison, the Braun Silk-expert Pro 5 retails for $999 at the Shaver Shop and lasts up to 400,000 flashes the equivalent of 22 years of treatment. So for half the price you can use it for years (top-ups are necessary both in-salon and at-home) and it’s suitable for use on the legs, bikini area, face and more.

Ultimately, both in-salon and at-home laser hair removal options provide similar results (a reduction in hair growth), the choice is simply yours when it comes to the method.

*Assessed on lower leg, armpits & bikini, following the treatment schedule. Individual results may vary. Efficiency based on the combination of window size, speed and energy. Safety technology shared with Cyden.

Main image credit: @lozcurtis

If you love using beauty tech tools at home, check out our round-up of the best skin care devices.