Comparison of professional hair removal methods

Hair removal comparison charts

Methods done professionally

The methods below are offered in salons and clinics.

Disclaimer

Your experiences with a hair removal method may be completely different than the experiences of another consumer.

These comparison charts are based on published medical data and feedback from consumers and practitioners. However, because of the huge number of variables involved in hair removal, comparing can only occur on the most general level and might not reflect a specific consumer’s experiences.

I make absolutely no guarantee that any method will work better or worse for you than another product.

See the intro page for more details on the disclaimer and on how to read the chart.

Methods that can work
cost
speed
pain
lasting
skin
injury
safety
Waxing

B-

B+

B-

C

A-

A-

Threading B- B+ B C A- A-
Sugaring B- C B- C A- A-
Electrolysis

D-

D+

D+

A

C

B

Nd:YAG laser with lotion

D-

B

B-

B-

B+

B

Long pulse Nd:YAG laser

D-

B

B-

B-

B

B

Long pulse ruby laser

D-

B+

C

B+

C-

B-

Long pulse alexandrite laser

D-

B+

C

B+

C

B-

Pulsed diode array laser

D-

B+

D+

B+

C-

B-

Flashlamp

D-

B+

D+

B-

D+

B-

Doubtful methods
Electric tweezers

D-

D+

B+

C

B+

B+

“Transdermal electrolysis”

D-

C

A-

C

B+

A-

“Transcutaneous hair removal”

D-

C

A-

C

B+

A-

Photoepilators
D-
D+
B+
C
B
B
Microwave hair removal

D-

B+

B-

C

D+

D+

Discussion:

Waxing

For large areas, waxing is the fastest and cheapest option, with results lasting 3-8 weeks.

“Transdermal” and “transcutaneous” methods and photoepilators

Beauty salons sometimes offer “transdermal electrolysis” (also called “transcutaneous electrolysis”), electric tweezing, and photoepilators. These are all unproven methods and should be avoided.

Microwave hair removal

This is a new method with no published clinical results. It’s not allowed for facial treatment for safety and effectiveness reasons, and there is not enough data to determine how safe it is at this time.

Electrolysis

Professional electrolysis is permanent for most consumers if done correctly, but it can be painful, slow, costly, and can cause permanent skin damage if not done properly. Also, if it’s not done properly, it is not as effective. Some patients do not seem to respond to treatment. To minimize these risks, go to a certified electrologist after getting a recommendation from a client who is done and happy.

See choosing an electrologist for details.

Laser and flash lamp (IPL)

Laser results vary greatly by client and by type of laser used. While some clients find laser to be a good option, there is little long-term clinical data on how long results from laser treatment will last.

Flash lamps are similar to laser, but with often higher rates of skin side effects and usually less efficacy.

As with electrolysis, laser can be painful, slow, costly, and can cause permanent skin damage if not done properly. Also, if it’s not done properly, it is less effective. Many patients do not seem to respond to treatment. To minimize these risks, go to a qualified light-based practitioner after getting a recommendation from a client who is done and happy.

See choosing a light-based practitioner for details.

Charts in this section:

Methods done at home
Methods done professionally
Proven permanent hair removal methods

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