Removing hair is one of the best ways to achieve silky smooth skin, but with so many hair removal devices out there, which is best for you and your skin tone?
Many women begin shaving or waxing, before they get tired of the stubbly feeling of fast hair regrowth and begin looking for long-lasting or permanent results. There are hair removal machines you can use at home that gradually reduce the amount of hair that grows back, so you can spend less and less time on your hair removal routine.
For example, Braun Intense Pulsing Light (IPL) is a home treatment that concentrates light into the hair follicle, heating it up and disabling hair regrowth. It’s a great option for many women wanting to enjoy visible hair reduction for up to 4 weeks* from their moustache area, armpits, bikini line, or even legs and arms.
But some IPL devices aren’t suitable for darker skin tones or lighter shades of hair, so it’s important to do a little bit of research and find the best hair removal device for you before settling on a product.
How IPL devices interact with hair
IPL hair removal tends to work best on people who have both fairer skin and darker hair. This is because IPL hones in on the dark pigment (melanin) in the hair, damaging the follicle and stunting regrowth.
The colour contrast between the hair and skin helps the IPL device to pick up on those melanin pigments and interact with them properly.
IPL permanent hair removal works on brown, dark blonde, dark brown, or black hair – but using the same treatment on very blonde, red, or white hair won’t be effective at all. This is because the lightest shades of hair contain considerably lower levels of melanin, meaning the IPL won’t be able to catch onto the light hair follicles and heat them up.
If you’re looking for a hair removal treatment for light blonde, red, or white hair, consider using an epilator. It removes hair from the root, regardless of the shade, gradually thinning out any hair that does grow back. With an epilator, you can enjoy visible hair reduction for up to 4 weeks.
How IPL devices interact with skin
While IPL treatment is an easy, effective hair removal method for some, it unfortunately isn’t suitable for darker tones of skin. This is because melanin pigments aren’t just in our hair – they’re also present in the skin, too.
Darker skin contains more melanin than fair skin. If you use some IPL devices onto melanin-rich, dark skin, the IPL could transfer heat energy onto the skin cells, causing discoloration. This is why it is important to make sure IPL devices do not flash when the skin tone is not suitable for IPL as in severe cases, it could result in painful burns or blisters, which is not what you want!
IPL can typically only be used on the four types of lighter tones of skin – but technology has developed in recent years, meaning there are some IPL devices that are suitable for some shades of darker skin. Below chart gives a better understanding on the effectiveness of IPL treatment as per an individual’s skin and hair tones
Hair removal devices for dark skin tones
If you’re looking for an IPL hair removal treatment that can be used on darker tones of skin, you might want to consider the Braun Pro 5 IPL device. It works with a lower concentration of light and auto-adjusts the intensity level at every flash, meaning it’s safe for most skin tones, including Type 5 (dark-brown). It is however, like any other IPL device, not suited for type 6 (dark brown to black) skin tones.
If that sounds like you, why not consider using an epilator, which removes hair from the root and gradually thins out any hair that does grow back. Better yet, epilation is a safe, effective hair removal method for all tones of skin. Read more on how to use wet and dry epilators here.