The Best At-Home Laser Hair Removal Systems

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Based on poll results reported by "Cosmopolitan" in 2013, the average woman spends about 72 days -- or 1,728 hours -- shaving her legs in her lifetime. Staggering though it is, this figure doesn't include any other body parts, nor does it touch on the subject of “manscaping.” It's little wonder that the beauty-conscious seek out at-home laser hair removal systems. While the choice of the best home gadget boils down to your personal needs and budget, take heed of expert opinions to put you on the path to smooth skin with less effort.

The Tria Stands Alone

As the only FDA-approved home laser hair-removal device on the market, the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X takes the prize by default. Beauty therapist Gabrielle Valencia calls the Tria 4X the best hair removal machine for home use as of 2014, laser-based or otherwise. Valencia says that this device offers salon-quality performance while staying gentle on the skin. Likewise, touts the Tria's ease of use and customizable intensity options, while "New York" magazine found it effective at reducing growth by about 60 percent. The Tria, however, retails for about $450 to $1,000.

The IPL Alternative

Although “laser” sometimes serves as a blanket label for light-based, at-home hair removal systems, some products rely on intense pulsed light, or IPL, technology. While lasers output a single focused wavelength, IPL systems produce a varied spectrum of light with hundreds of scattered wavelengths. Like laser systems, IPL devices target the hair fibers' melanin production, using heat to inhibit the growth cycle of the hair follicle.

IPL Leaders

In a practical test, "The Telegraph" found the Philips Lumea Precision Plus, an IPL hair remover, effective at reducing growth on the legs, belly and armpits. The reviewers also note that the Philips machine accommodates more skin tones than most light-based removal systems. Valencia puts the Remington IPL6000USA I-Light Pro at the top of the IPL heap, citing the machine's FDA-approved safety and its reliability. Additionally, the Remington is substantially more affordable than Tria's product.

More to Know

Although the Tria's price tag is hefty, a single laser treatment can cost up to $400 at the dermatologist, as of 2013. Laser and IPL hair-removal systems are generally most effective on those with fair skin and dark hair; they may discolor dark skin. Consult your dermatologist and closely follow any instructions or precautions from the manufacturer before starting an at-home hair-removal routine with a light-based device. Speaking to "Choice" in 2013, dermatologist Phillip Artemi warns laser and IPL users that the results are closer to “permanent hair reduction” rather than removal. Artemi notes that about 20 percent of hair typically continues to grow after treatment, although the hair is finer and lighter.