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 to black skin tones, because of the high levels of melanin in their skin.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Is Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin Effective?
- 2 The 5 BEST at Home Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin
- 3 Is Laser Hair Removal Safe?
- 4 Laser Hair Removal FAQ
Is Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin Effective?
Up 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.
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.
After 3 days of research, we found 5 high-quality 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!
|Bottom Line||Skin Tones||Treatment Areas||Best Price|
|Illuminage Touch||Best IPL & Radio frequency|
👉Jump to review
|FDA-cleared I to VI skin tones -light to black||Body/face||$449 at SkinStore.com
|Kenzzi||Best for Brown Skin|
👉Jump to Review
|FDA-cleared I to V skin tones - |
Light to Clay
|Body/Face||$229 at Kenzzi|
👉Jump to review
|FDA-cleared I to VI skin tones - light to black||Body/face||Check Price on Amazon|
|Braun Gillete Silk Expert||Trusted Brand|
👉Jump to review
|FDA-cleared I to V skin tones - light to brown||Body/face||Check price on Amazon|
|mē Smooth||Works for red & grey hair|
👉Jump to review
|FDA-cleared I to VI skin tones - light to black||Body/face (under cheeks)||Check price 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 destroys 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 2021, 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 4 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 at Home Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin
Here’s our detailed review of the best at-home laser hair removal devices for dark skin:
1. Iluminage Touch Permanent Hair Reduction Device Best IPL & Radio Frequency
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.
👉 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 – 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.
👉 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 almost 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.
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.
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.
2. Kenzzi IPL Laser Hair Removal Handset Best for Brown Skin
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 the Kenzzi on Intensity level 1. Results are noticeable with 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.
- 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
✅ Kenzzi Laser Hair Removal Cost – this one is actually average-low priced – check sale price on the official site!
3. Silk’n Infinity Popular
The Silk n’ Infinity laser hair removal device is our new find for 2021 and 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 intensities 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.
👉 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).
- Can be used on: body and face
- The full and easy instructions can be found on the device page on Amazon.
- Warranty: 1 year + 30-day return policy on Amazon
- Lamp lifetime: 500,000 (no cartridge replacement will be necessary)
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 at a high level may hurt and cause damage
✅ Silk’n Infinity Cost – We found the best price for it on Amazon ( where you can also count on the 30-day return policy.
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
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 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 can be used on: the entire body, including the face. Avoid using on intimate areas which tend to have 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.
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
5. mē Smooth with FDA Cleared elōs Technology
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 promises to work for all skin tones and all ranges of hair colors.
Note that one cartilage of me Smooth only has 6000 pulses – about 90 minutes of treatment. You’ll need to replace it every 3-5 months.
👉 The Technology – me Smooth uses Elōs energy, which is a combined Radio Frequency (RF) and Intense Pulsed Light – safe and effective for all Fitzpatrick skin types I to VI – light to black.
👉 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 – 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
✅ Price – me Smooth device price is average – check today’s price on Amazon
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
Is 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, 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
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal works by targeting hair follicles with concentrated beams of light. Hair follicles are small holes in the skin from which hair grows. They absorb the laser, which is attracted to the hair’s melanin pigment, and this delayed or inhibits future hair growth.
Do home laser devices 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 and more) – it becomes lighter, finer, and fewer.
Is laser hair removal safe for dark skin?
Laser hair removal is safe for dark skin as long as you choose the right home devices. These 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.
How do you prepare your hair 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 (such as the Illuminage), but it’s best to follow each devices’ instructions and guidelines.
Laser hair removal at home is effective and safe for dark skin tones, if you choose the right IPL laser hair removal home devices, and follow instructions perfectly.
Both devices are easy to use, painless, last for 5 -15 years of use, safe and effective for removing hair on your body and face.
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,
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