Home laser hair removal is revolutionary when it comes to grooming, and is a godsend for those of us who want to remove body hair (almost) permanently.
It gets a bit complicated for people with dark skin tones, because of the high levels of melanin in their skin.
Is home laser hair removal effective for dark skin?
Up until a few years ago, you couldn’t find a home laser hair removal device that was both effective and safe for dark skin.
Luckily, this has changed.
After 3 days of research, we found two high-quality home devices that actually work for dark skin – without any danger of burning it.
In this post, you’ll find the important features in home laser hair removal for dark skin, and our research and reviews for the 2 best, FDA-cleared laser hair removal home devices.
Home Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin – Overview
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 exact 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?
The 2 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 black skin that never burns in the sun and tans very easily
✔ Did you know?
You can use home laser devices not only to remove unwanted hair – but to promote hair regrowth on your scalp. So, if you want to stop hair loss (on your head that is…) and regrow new, healthy hair – see this post.
The 2 BEST Home Laser Hair Removal Devices – for Dark Skin
If you’re in a hurry, here’s a table of comparison between the 2 recommended devices. Don’t forget to keep reading below – to see our full review for each one.
|Iluminage Touch||Braun Gillette IPL 5001
|Skin Tones||I to VI - light to black||I to V - light to brown|
|Can be used on||Body and face||Body and face|
|FDA cleared||Yes + CE certification||Yes|
|Lamp lifetimes (flashes)||300,000 - 5 years||300,000 - 5 years|
|Treatment time for large areas||10 minutes||8 minutes|
|Price||Check today's price||Check today's price|
1. Iluminage Touch Permanent Hair Reduction Device
The 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).
The clinically proven Iluminage Touch is one of the 2 best home IPL hair removal device for all skin tones, including dark skin – and removes body hair in long-term.
It has a CE certification to meet EU standards and is FDA cleared.
👉The Technology – 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.
👉Lamp lifetime – 300,000 – gives around 5 years of use. Comes with excellent value replacement flash cartridges.
👉Can be used on: entire body, including the face. Men can use it only on their body.
👉Ease of use – 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, lightweight wand, and simple controls.
👉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).
👉Pain – treatment with the Iluminage is painless.
👉Clinical study – a study found that you can reduce hair by 94% in only 7 weeks. This study did a follow up one year later and proven sustained results.
👉Replacement Parts – the initial quartz cartridge that you will first receive with the device will last for about 120,000 flashes, which is plenty.
The unit comes with a replacement cartridge to use when the first one runs out.
👉Power Supply – the Illuminage 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.
You will also find that treatment sessions are quicker with this device, as you can continually move it across your skin, not having to pause for each flash, again saving you time but delivering excellent hair reduction.
👉Warranty – 1 year
Iluminage 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
- 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.
✅Where to buy & Price
We found the best price for it on Amazon, where we usually find great discounts on it. If you find it for less than $450 – it’s a good find.
If this price is over your budget at the moment – read on below about the Braun device, which is much less pricey.
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!
2. Braun Gillette Venus Silk-Expert IPL 5001
The FDA-cleared Braun Gillette Venus IPL home device fits people with I to V skin tone, which means it may not work for people with VI skin tone (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.
👉Technology – the Gillette laser hair removal 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.
👉Can be used on: entire body, including the face. Avoid using on intimate areas which tend to have a more sensitive skin. Men can use it only on their body.
👉Ease of Use – very 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.👉Pain – the Gillette treatments are painless for all skin types.
👉Lamp lifetime – 300,000 flashes (about 5 years)
👉App – the laser device comes with a free APP, with a calendar to guide you through sessions and help you plan your hair elimination process.
👉Power Supply – the Gillette is corded – no need for batteries or recharging. You simply plug it in and turn it on and begin treatment.
👉Replacement Parts – there is no need for replacement parts, the device lasts for 300,000 flashes – 5 years of use.
👉Warranty – 1 year
✅Price – the Braun device costs significantly less than the Iluminage. Check today’s price on Amazon HERE.
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
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 if you suffer from light-induced seizures, epilepsy, chronic migraines. Do not use if you have an active implant.
Do not use 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.
Does Laser Hair Removal Removes Hair Permanently?
Laser hair removal doesn’t get rid of hair forever, but it does significantly reduce hair growth and makes the hair become finer with more treatments – to the point where you can stop shaving altogether.
Laser hair removal works by heating hair follicles to stop new hairs from growing, which actually 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 and more) – it becomes lighter, finer and fewer.
Laser hair removal at home is effective and safe for dark skin tones, if you choose the right IPL home devices, and follow instructions perfectly.
We’ve found the 2 best and FDA-cleared laser removal home devices for dark skin to be the Iluminage Touch and the Braun Gillette IPL 5001.
Both devices are easy to use, painless, last for 5 years of use, safe and effective for removing hair on your body and face.
(Don’t forget – laser devices can also be used for reducing hair loss on your scalp – see the top home devices HERE)
And now over to you: what’s your experience with laser hair removal at home? do you have any more questions? we’ll be thrilled to read your comments.
To your health and happiness,