The 4 Best Home Laser Hair Removal Devices for Dark Skin (2020)

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.

However:

It gets a bit complicated for people with dark to black skin tones, because of the high levels of melanin in their skin.

laser hair removal for dark skin best devices

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Is Laser Hair Removal for Dark Skin at Home 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.

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.

After 3 days of research, we found 4 high-quality laser hair removal devices –  that work for dark skin – without the danger of burning it.

In this post, you’ll find the important features of home laser hair removal for dark skin, and our research and reviews for the 4 best, FDA-cleared laser hair removal systems for home use.

👉 In a Hurry?

See our short comparison table below, or jump to our detailed reviews!

 Bottom LineSkin TonesTreatment AreasBest Price
🥇Silk'n Infinity
Best Overall/budget friendly
(Jump to review)
I to VI skin tones -light to blackBody/faceBest Price on Amazon
Illuminage Touch
Best IPL & Radio frequency
(Jump to review)
I to VI skin tones -light to blackBody/faceBest Price on Current Body
Braun Gillete Silk Expert
Trusted Brand
(Jump to review)
I to V skin tones -light to brownBody/faceCheck price on Amazon
mē Smooth
Works for red & grey hair
(Jump to review)
I to VI skin tones -light to blackBody/face (under cheeks)Check price on Amazon

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

how does laser hair removal for dark skin 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.

So:

How can the laser “know” to target only the melanin in your hair follicles – and not your skin?

Here’s how:

In 2020, 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

fitzpatrick skin tone chart
Source: https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/6/12222/htm 
  • 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 4 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.🥇 Silk’n Infinity 

silkn infinity home laser hair removal for dark skin
Silk’n Infinity laser hair removal device – top choice – check today’s price

The Infinity laser hair removal device is our new find for 2020 and is a rare find for people with dark-brown skin.

Why?

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)

skin tone chart for laser home device

Plus:

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)

Is Laser Home Removal Safe for Facial Skin?
See the pros & cons of using laser facial hair removal at home, and the only 2 devices safe for your face!

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
  • Painless
  • Quick results
  • Galvanic energy leaves the skin smoother

Cons

  • Using at a high level may hurt and cause damage

✅Where to buy & Price

We found the best price for it on Amazon ( where you can also count on the 30-day return policy.

If this price is over your budget at the moment – read on below about the Braun device, which is much less pricey.

Important note:

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. Iluminage Touch Permanent Hair Reduction Device

Illuminage Touch laser hair removal for dark skin
Best Price on CurrentBody.com

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.

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.

Bottom Line
We highly recommend the Iluminage Touch dual-energy IPL device – for people with brown and dark skin. It’s proven to work, treatment is easy and fast – you’ll love it. (Don’t forget the coupon codes offered on top

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

Cons

  • 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.

3. Braun Gillette Venus Silk-Expert IPL 5001

laser hair removal at home braun gillette silk expert
Braun Gillette IPL 5001 – check today’s price

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.

braun gillette laser skin tone chart

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.home laser hair removal for dark skin👉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

Cons

  • May not work for very dark to black skin
Bottom Line
The Braun IPL 5001 is an effective, safe and painless laser hair reduction device 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.

4. mē Smooth with FDA Cleared elōs Technology

laser hair removal for black skin me smooth review
me Smooth Permanent Hair Reduction Devicesee on Amazon

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 range 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

Cons

  • 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 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.

safety glasses for laser hair removal at home

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 the hair vaporizes instantly.
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?
Yes, if you choose the right home devices (listed in this post), that 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.

Conclusion

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.

We’ve found the 2 best and FDA-cleared laser removal home devices for dark skin to be the Silk’n Infinity and the Iluminage Touch.

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,

Meital

References


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 4 Best Home Laser Hair Removal Devices for Dark Skin (2020)”

  1. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  2. 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?

    Reply
  3. 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.

    Reply
  4. The Elos product line is discontinued… wasting the purchase of the device… which actually does work for dark V-VI skin

    Reply
  5. 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?

    Reply

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