Is Laser Hair Removal the Best Hair Removal Option? We Compare All Alternatives.

Woman wearing light-blocking glasses receiving Ideal Image Laser Hair Removal treatment on underarms.

For the Love of Laser: A Valentine’s Special Edition

There are so many reasons to love Laser Hair Removal – besides having effortlessly silky-smooth skin for a lifetime. Not only does it deliver real results, but it can also be more affordable, more effective, and less painful than other hair removal options. We’ve broken down the benefits, compared the costs and created the ultimate in competitive comparisons. Here’s everything we’ve learned:

Laser Hair Removal vs. Electrolysis

This is one of our favorite “versus” verses, because many people don’t know there’s a difference between electrolysis and Laser Hair Removal. But there is and it is important to know. Both work by targeting hair follicles located under the skin’s surface. Laser Hair Removal may be done just about anywhere on the face and body – so it is versatile. There is also no recovery time involved, so you can get it, get up and go about your day. Our expertly trained medical professionals will use FDA-cleared laser light (YAG for dark skin types or Alexandrite for all other skin types, which is considered the gold standard in Laser Hair Removal) to target the hair where it grows and zap it away. It’s non-invasive (no needles!) and may take between four to eight sessions to complete the cycle – each time the hair grows back thinner and lighter until not at all.

According to Healthline, Electrolysis on the other hand, must be administered by a dermatologist. It also disrupts hair growth but requires inserting an epilator device into your skin. It then uses shortwave radio frequencies to damage your hair follicles to stop new hair from growing. It requires multiple follow-up appointments for best results (often many more than you need with Laser Hair Removal). Since the procedure uses needles, it can lead to possible severe side effects like infection and scarring. If you choose to go this direction it is important that you go to a trusted board-certified dermatologist (which can get expensive).

For an even more in-depth POV on Electrolysis versus Laser Hair Removal, visit this article by our experts.

Laser Hair Removal vs. Waxing

When it comes to prep time (and that awkward time in-between sessions), Laser Hair Removal outranks waxing hands down. With Laser Hair Removal, you can actually shave before your treatment. In fact, you’re supposed to! With waxing, you need to let the hair grow out every single time before it is long enough for the wax to stick to and then pull out going against the grain. Waxing is also extremely uncomfortable, if not downright painful – hair being ripped out by the root is not for everyone (especially us). Ouch!

Laser Hair Removal, on the other hand, feels a little like snapping a rubber band against your skin. Everyone’s pain threshold is different, so your Ideal Image Aesthetic Consultant can help by prescribing a topical anesthetic if you need one. Waxing is never a permanent solution, so you need to have it done again and again. You’re smooth for a few days, then you have to wait two weeks on average to give it another rip – literally. It’s a vicious cycle, and one that Vogue contributor Chloe Malle wrote about in “Laser Hair Removal: Is It Really Worth It?” when comparing the two on her own hair removal journey. Seems she’s in agreement with us, too.

Across a lifetime, on average, we’ve broken down the cost of Laser Hair Removal compared to waxing for you.*

  Laser Hair Removal Waxing
Long-Term Results Yes No
Maintenance 7-10 total treatments Monthly
Time (Hours/Year) 7 hours total 9
Cost (Monthly) $80 $76
Cost (Lifetime) $3,450 $41,040
Pain Moderate High

For even more on this topic, read our Waxing versus Laser Hair Removal article.

Laser Hair Removal vs. Shaving

First thing’s first – with shaving, you can nick, scrape or cut yourself (hello, razor burn!). And it is a time-killer, too. Shaving is something most people do at least weekly, many almost daily. That’s a lot of commitment. And Band-Aids®. And razors, which are pretty pricey and have to be replaced regularly.

Plus, unlike shaving and waxing you can get much more precise with Laser Hair Removal, targeting down to individual hairs you wish weren’t there, like on your face.

When it comes to over an average lifetime, we’ve calculated the cost of Laser Hair Removal compared to shaving for you too.*

  Laser Hair Removal Shaving
Long-Term Results Yes No
Maintenance 7-10 total treatments Daily/Weekly
Time (Hours/Year) 7 hours total 30
Cost (Monthly) $80 $18
Cost (Lifetime) $3,450 $9,720
Pain Moderate Low

Laser Hair Removal vs. Dermaplaning

Dermaplaning is kind of like highly specialized shaving that must be done by a licensed professional. It uses a different type of razor that’s similar to a scalpel. It’s a single-blade handheld tool with a long, flat edge that is extraordinarily sharp (think old-timey men’s straight razors). The blade is dragged against the skin but rather than cutting the thick, rough beard hair, dermaplaning scrapes off the fine peach fuzz on your face. It also removes dead skin cells like a combo of hair removal and exfoliation – which is why some people like it.

Dermaplaning is extremely precise and only administered on the face, unlike Laser Hair Removal which can be done almost anywhere on the body (face, too of course). Laser Hair Removal targets coarser darker hair, not peach fuzz which is usually unnoticeable.

Dermaplaning has some downsides that Laser Hair Removal does not. Like regular shaving, you can nick, scrape or cut yourself and end up sporting a scab on your face until it heals. For people with oily skin, dermaplaning can also cause clogged pores and acne breakouts. Not the look you’re looking for, right? That’s why we love laser.

Laser Hair Removal vs. IPL Intense Pulsed Light Treatment

This Harper’s Bazaar article breaks down the science behind Laser Hair Removal and IPL technology – but it’s a little high level so we’ll help explain it in everyday language. For the record, we love IPL and use it for our Photofacials, we also know it isn’t a very effective hair removal option, which is why we laser focus our efforts on, well… laser. Here’s why:

IPL, also known as intense pulsed light technology is not a laser. It uses a broad spectrum of light wavelengths, so the energy is more unfocused. Laser is a single spectrum of directly focused light. So, IPL energy is scattered and weaker than laser when it comes to hair removal. That’s why we use IPL for lightening skin pigmentation, age spots, sun spots and freckles, and laser to precisely target hair follicles.

When used for hair removal by other companies, IPL usually requires six to eight treatments to see any effect but it is much less effective than laser. It only works for hair removal on very light skin, too. With laser, we can offer hair removal for all skin types. So, IPL just doesn’t compare when it comes to hair removal but gets our shining recommendation for use in Photofacials.

We’ve Loved Laser for Over Two Decades

There are a lot of Laser Hair Removal myths out there (like that it costs a lot, but to compared to a lifetime of ongoing shaving and waxing it’s a huge savings). In fact, we have a whole myths debunked article about these common misunderstandings – check it out when you have a sec. In short, we love laser – and we’ve been delivering real results with it for over 20 years for both women and men, or however you’d like to be identified. We treat everybody and every body.

Want more information on Laser Hair Removal? Visit our frequently asked questions. Ready to book your FREE consultation and ditch your razor for laser for good? Click here to check out our current offers and fill out the short form. One of our Aesthetic Consultants will be in touch.

*Laser Hair Removal hours based on 45-minute treatment time for an average of 9 total sessions (usually sessions are even quicker and total sessions are often much less). Laser Hair Removal monthly cost based on Ideal Image’s lowest monthly Lifetime Guarantee Member payment for full legs and feet (our largest, most expensive area on average). Waxing hours/year based on 45 minutes per appointment, 12 appointments per year. Waxing monthly cost based on full-leg wax at major hair removal chain; waxing lifetime cost based on chain’s monthly full-leg wax cost for an average of 45 years. Shaving hours/year based on 5-minute average daily shaving time. Shaving monthly cost based on popular women’s razor and shaving cream subscription for daily shavers; shaving lifetime cost based on subscription cost for an average of 45 years. Prices based per the publishing date of this article and may be subject to change.