In 2023, home laser hair removal is revolutionary when it comes to long-lasting hair removal at home, and is a godsend for those of us who want to remove body hair (almost) permanently.
Laser hair removal for dark skin can get a bit complicated, because of the high levels of melanin in darker skin.
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- Does Home Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin Work?
- The 5 Best IPL Devices for Dark Skin
- Is at-Home Laser Hair Removal Safe?
- Laser Hair Removal FAQ
Does Home Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin Work?
Until a few years ago, you couldn’t find a home laser hair removal device that was both effective and safe for darker skin and black skin. Luckily, this has changed. However, It’s still very important for those with dark skin to do their research, and follow the right pre-procedure and post-procedure instructions to ensure they do the safest laser treatment for dark skin.
We found 5 high-quality and safe laser hair removal devices – that work for dark skin – without the danger of burning it.
👉 In a Hurry?
See our short comparison table below, or jump to our detailed reviews!
|Laser Hair Removal Device||Bottom Line||Skin Tones||Best Price|
|Illuminage Touch||Best IPL for Dark Skin||FDA-cleared I to VI skin tones -|
Light to black
|✅ $449 on Amazon|
|Kenzzi Laser Hair Removal||Best for Brown Skin||FDA-cleared I to V skin tones - |
Light to Clay
|✅ $199 on Amazon|
|Silk'n Infinity||Painless & Gentle||FDA-cleared I to VI skin tones - |
Light to black
|✅ $429 at Silk'n
|🥇mē Smooth||For all skin tones |
and hair colors
|FDA-cleared I to VI skin tones - |
Light to black
|✅ $274 on Amazon|
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser hair removal home devices use lasers to target melanin (the pigment that gives hair and skin its color) inside the hair follicles and destroy them.
The problem is:
The darker your skin, the more melanin it contains.
This means that the thermal energy produced by the lasers can target the same melanin in your skin – and burn it.
How can the laser “know” to target only the melanin in your hair follicles – and not your skin?
In 2023, hair removal technology has advanced to the point where the best home devices can adjust the parameters (wavelength) so that the laser only hits the melanin inside your body hair (which is usually darker in the hair follicle) – without damaging the surrounding skin tissue.
The 5 home devices you’ll find below can detect your skin tone (1-6 on the Fitzpatrick skin types I to VI – light to black) automatically – and adjust the wavelength to bypass the melanin in your skin, yet still target the melanin in the hair below it.
The Fitzpatrick Scale
- Type I: Light, pale white skin that always burns in the sun and never tans
- Type II: White, fair skin that usually burns in the sun and tans with difficulty
- Type III: Medium white to olive skin that sometimes burns mildly in the sun and gradually tans
- Type IV: Olive, mid-brown skin that rarely burns in the sun and tans with ease to a moderate brown
- Type V: Brown, dark brown skin that very rarely burns in the sun and tans very easily
- Type VI: Very dark brown to African American skin that hardly burns in the sun
The 5 Best IPL Devices for Dark Skin
Here are our detailed reviews:
1. Iluminage Touch Laser Hair Removal Best IPL for Dark Skin
The FDA-cleared Iluminage Touch uses FDA-cleared technology for permanent results on all skin tones – I to VI on the Fitzpatrick scale, and can be used on the face and bikini area as well.
It has a CE certification to meet EU standards as well.
This device uses Elōs energy, which is a combined Radio Frequency (RF) and Intense Pulsed Light that’s safe and effective for all Fitzpatrick skin types I to VI – light to black.
The Iluminage Touch has a compact base unit with a corded hand-held applicator and is extremely easy to use.
It has an easy glide design, a lightweight wand, and simple controls.
👉 Lamp lifetime – 120,000 to 300,000 (depending on the model) gives around 2.5 – 5 years of use. It comes with excellent value replacement flash cartridges.
👉 Treatment time – For dark skin use low-intensity levels. A full leg will take about 10 minutes, but slower if used in the higher intensity levels.
The recommended treatment plan is once a week for at least 7 weeks – then occasional treatments to keep the results. This device allows you to continually move the device along your skin, without pausing for each flash (unlike other devices).
👉 Replacement Parts – the initial quartz cartridge that you will first receive with the device will last for about 120,000 flashes, which is plenty.
In the future, you can buy another cartridge, as well as cartridges for epilating shaving or a precision head for treating hard-to-reach areas with IPL.
👉 Power Supply
The Iluminage Touch is mains-powered, which means you don’t have to wait for the battery to charge before you start your home laser hair removal. It also means it has a consistent output throughout your treatment, giving you the best result.
Here’s how you use it:
Illuminage Touch Pros
- Works for all skin types and most hair colors
- Comes with optional attachments (to shave or wax during treatment)
- Painless and safe for dark skin
- No waiting for charging
- Quick treatments
- Comes with replacement cartridges
- It cannot be used by people who have epilepsy, light-induced seizures, or chronic migraines. Also don’t use if you have an active implant, such as a pacemaker, insulin pump, etc.
- Men are advised not to use it on their face, jaw, or neck.
make sure you do not zap any areas where the hair has not been fully removed, it will leave pieces on the lens you cannot get off.
✅ Available on Amazon ($449) and at Sephora ($449 with free shipping)
2. Kenzzi IPL Laser Hair Removal Best for Brown Skin
- Can be used on: Any area, including the face and Brazilian (but not over dark freckles and moles!)
- Flashes lifetime – 10+ years
- Warranty – 1-year
The Kenzzi is one of the best laser hair removal home devices for dark skin, because it has 5 different power settings to suit your dark skin tone or sensitive skin, while still delivering results at all levels.
The low-energy IPL settings, wavelength filters, and special configuration of the flashes make it gentle and suitable for darker skin.
You can use the Kenzzi if your skin is as dark as Clay 2-3 in the picture below:
If your skin color is Clay 2-3 – only use up to Intensity level 3 – and start by testing it at Intensity level 1.
Results are noticeable within 3-4 weeks, and if for some reason it doesn’t work for you, Kenzzi offers a 90-day money-back guarantee.
The Kenzzi laser hair removal is safe, gentle, and easy to use, and the price is not higher than average. However, make sure you follow instructions and don’t use it more than once a week.
✅ Available on Amazon ($199)
3. Silk’n Infinity Painless
- Can be used on: the body and face
- Warranty: 1 year + 30-day return policy
- Lamp lifetime: 500,000 (no cartridge replacement will be necessary)
The Silk n’ Infinity laser hair removal device is a rare find for people with dark-brown skin.
Because this IPL hair removal device combines Galvanic energy, which is a small electric current that makes your pores dilate so the IPL reaches deeper into the follicle.
It can, therefore, use very gentle (and effective) IPL – safe for dark skin (and all skin types). (See this study)
The Silk’n Infinity (FDA-cleared and clinically tested) comes with a built-in skin sensor and fits all skin tones (white to black), the price is affordable, it is compact, lightweight, and fast.
Attention – only the lower levels are safe for darker tones. Therefore, to keep dark skin safe, it has a sensor that scans your skin.
It activates only the safe intensity levels, that’s 1 and 2 only, for dark skin. Therefore, you can’t accidentally use a high level which can hurt and even burn.
On darker skin, you need more sessions than advertised to get and stay smooth.
Using the lowest intensity levels you’ll need up to 12 treatments spaced at 2-week intervals. Then, less frequent top-ups keep you smooth.
It comes with 500,000 flashes (enough for 15 years of full body treatments, which you won’t need…) and a nice storage case. No extra cartridges are needed.
👉 Treatment Plan: 4 treatments at 2-week intervals and then continuous use monthly until you get the full results.
On darker skin (using the lower intensity) it’s likely to take a bit more time to get to smooth hairless skin (we suggest around 12 sessions).
Silk’n Infinity Pros
- Works for most skin types and most hair colors
- Five power settings (low intensity recommended for dark skin)
- Infinite pulses, no need for replacement parts
- Quick results
- Galvanic energy leaves the skin smoother
- Using it at a high level may hurt and cause damage
✅ Available at Silk’n ($429 with a 60-day trial), and on Amazon ($429)
Be consistent with your home treatments, and don’t lose hope before at least 7 weeks go by. We are all different and some skin tone combinations take a little longer.
It’s worth the wait!
4. Braun Gillette Venus Silk-Expert IPL 5001
- Can be used on – the entire body, including the face. Avoid using it in intimate areas.
- Lamp lifetime – 500,000 flashes
- Power Supply – the Gillette is corded – no need for batteries or recharging. You simply plug it in and turn it on and begin treatment.
- Warranty – 1 year
The FDA-cleared Braun Gillette Venus IPL device fits people with I to V skin tones, which means it may not work for people with VI skin tones (Very dark brown to black skin).
But, for people with light to brown-dark skin, it’s a safe and effective, clinically proven IPL hair removal home device.
Results are expected after only 4 weeks (up to 3 months), and treatment time for large areas is only 8 minutes.
The Gillette laser hair removal treatment device has a skin tone senser, which modifies the treatment as you move it across your skin (80 times per second!).
You can choose between 2 intensity settings – normal/gentle. Then the device automatically adjusts the energy output between 10 levels to give you the best results for that pigment area.
It is easy to use in the gliding mode for large areas, or alternatively, the precision mode ensures that smaller areas (like the upper lip) are treated safely and gently. This device comes with a free APP, with a calendar to guide you through sessions and help you plan your hair elimination process.
Gillette IPL 5001 Pros
- Fast treatments, quick results
- Painless treatment
- Safe and effective for dark skin (I to VI skin tone)
- No downtime for recharging – corded
- Comes with a Gillette razor to shave before treatments
- Comes with a handy calendar app to plan your treatments
- May not work for very dark to black skin
The Braun IPL 5001 is an effective, safe and painless laser hair reduction device that can help you finally eliminate (or at least significantly reduce) your body and facial hair.
It fits dark skin tones; however, it may not work for black skin.
5. 🥇mē Smooth – with FDA-Cleared elōs Technology
- Can be used on: arms, back, legs, face (not for men though), underarms, and bikini area in just minutes. Optional attachments let you shave or epilate during your treatment.
- Power Supply – corded
- Warranty – 1 year
The mē Smooth uses the FDA-cleared “elōs” technology and advertises 94% hair reduction over 7 weeks.
It is approved for facial hair (under the cheeks only) and it is the only at-home device to use patented Elos technology that is clinically proven and FDA-cleared to be safe and effective for all skin types and tones.
me Smooth has 200000 pulses – enough to get long-term results.
What is Elos Technology?
Elos technology combines Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Radio Frequency (RF) energies – two complementary energies, that together provide selective thermolysis to a variety of biological targets. While IPL is absorbed by the relevant chromophores, the RF energy primarily affects the part of tissue having higher electrical conductivity. The use of both forms of energy provides enhanced selectivity through double targeting, more safety (by using less optical energy), and enhanced efficacy (by using high overall energy).
me Smooth Pros
- Covers a good amount of area per flash
- Comes with attachments to epilate or shave during treatment
- Comes with a portable and rechargeable blue LED acne spot treatment tool
- Users report almost pain-free treatments
- Works very well on facial hair
- Fast treatment time
- Takes a lot of treatments to see results (but users report 75% hair reduction)
- Cartilage only lasts 2-5 months (6000 flashes) – but you can replace it
- Less effective on thicker or coarse hair
✅ Available on Amazon ($275) and at Walmart ($249)
Is at-Home Laser Hair Removal Safe?
Through our research, we’ve found at least 4 studies that concluded that laser hair removal is generally safe. For example, this study, that tested home laser devices found:
The home-use diode laser was safe and highly effective at permanently reducing unwanted hair
While home laser hair removal is generally safe, some people are advised to avoid it:
- Don’t use it if you suffer from light-induced seizures, epilepsy, or chronic migraines. Do not use if you have an active implant.
- Do not use it on your ears, nipples, or other intimate areas.
- Men cannot use laser devices on the face or neck.
- Don’t use it if you are under 18 years old.
We recommend using safety glasses when doing the treatments – in case you accidentally look directly at the light – which is very bright.
Laser Hair Removal FAQ
Does IPL for Dark Skin Remove Hair Permanently?
Laser hair removal doesn’t get rid of hair forever, but it does significantly reduce hair growth and makes the hair weaker, lighter, and finer with more and more treatments. Laser hair removal works by heating hair follicles to stop new hairs from growing, which puts the follicles in a state of dormancy for a long time – much longer than shaving or waxing.
When the hair does grow back (sometimes after 6 months or more) – it becomes lighter, finer, and fewer.
How Do You Prepare Your Body for Laser Hair Removal?
Most experts agree that shaving your hair immediately before a laser hair removal session gives the fastest and best results. You can also epilate, wax, or pluck with some devices, but it’s best to follow each device’s instructions and guidelines.
To your health and happiness,
Permanent hair reduction with a home-use diode laser: Safety and effectiveness 1 year after eight treatments.
Evidence‐based review of hair removal using lasers and light sources. M Haedersdal, HC Wulf, DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2005.01327.x
Incidence of side effects after laser hair removal. Lanigan, Sean W, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 49, Issue 5, 882 – 886, DOI: 10.1016/s0190-9622(03)02106-6
12 thoughts on “The 5 Best IPL Devices for Dark Skin (2023 Reviews)”
So is there ANY machine at home device that can be used for the genitial area for dark skin?
I wouldn’t go there if I were you… seems too risky to do at home alone. Just my opinion.
Since one of the reasons home hair removal machines cannot be used on the genital areas due to the genital area usually being darker skin, is there any reason why any of these three machines not safe for genitals?
This makes sense Jack, but I do know that the manufacturers recommend against using any home device on these areas. Plus, it’s not just the skin tone, it’s the skin’s general sensitivity in these areas that play a part in this concern.
I’m in between IV and V skin tone based on that chart in the summer.
Which one would you recommend. addionally,have you heard of the tria 4 is this good for darker skin tones?
The Tria is not meant for V skin tone (it’s up to IV), so I would recommend the Braun Gillette for you. You can see it here – https://amzn.to/2vPbVXS. I hope this helps.
Please tell me the right home laser that can be used on the face to remove beards. I am a male, dark in complexion, an African.
All the devices in this post are safe to use on the face, Peter. Good luck!
The Elos product line is discontinued… wasting the purchase of the device… which actually does work for dark V-VI skin
I would go for my second recommendation – the Braun Gillette – https://amzn.to/2M9Y31R
Thank you for sharing your research so generously. I’ve been enjoying reading a number of your articles about LEDs, infrared, and laser devices.
I’m wondering what happened to the Iluminage Touch. All 5 of the reviews that were posted on Amazon from 7/2018 through 12/2018 were 1-star. Have you looked to see if the Elos Touch is the same device?
Grace, on the surface yes, it seems that the ELOS is quite the same as the Iluminage Touch. It seems like a good alternative to me.