Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

“Does laser hair removal work?” is a question we hear all the time, so let’s try and answer it for you right now.

As you’ve probably already discovered, laser treatment (whether you are going down the salon route or buying a laser hair removal device to use at home) is not the cheapest method of hair removal in the world. It’s therefore only natural that you’ll want to know if the claims of permanent hair removal are true before spending the money.

I’d love to give you a simple and definitive “yes, it works” or “no, it doesn’t” answer but unfortunately, as with many things in life, it’s not that easy.   Just check out these 4 very different reviews for the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X, the only clinically proven home laser hair removal system.

“Okay, so usually I am very wary on buying products online and I did extensive research on laser hair removal. Well, all I can say is WOW!!!! This laser does really work and I cannot believe the results!”

“So I tried this for 3 months on a regular basis and it did absolutely nothing. This product is absolute garbage. I would give this product zero stars if I could.”

“Even on a low setting, I can already see a clear difference! Almost half of my hair is completely gone. I honestly can’t get over how quickly it worked. I genuinely wish I had found this product sooner and saved myself the hassle of keep waxing and getting ingrown hairs”.

“I used the Tria Hair Removal Laser for 5 months and there is NO change in my hair growth. It doesn’t work for me.”

So it seems laser hair removal gives unbelievable results but is absolute garbage – confused?   Well let me try explain the stark differences in opinion and give you as definitive an answer as I can.

Does laser hair removal work? Yes it absolutely does work but…(you knew there was a “but” coming)…not for everyone. Let me explain what I mean here and hopefully by the end of this piece you’ll be able to decide which camp you sit in and proceed accordingly.

When laser hair removal will not work

We all have different skin tones and different hair colour and there are certain types that simply will not see any effective results. Speaking to Tria they said that most of their unsatisfied customers failed to take note of this very important point so here are the key things to know.

Hair Colour

Unfortunately laser hair removal will not work if you have red, grey or light blonde hair on the areas you are looking to treat as the hair root needs to be dark to absorb the light.

So, that is a fairly large proportion of the world and people reading this who I can confidently answer the question “does laser hair removal work?” with a straightforward “no”.

Skin Tone

If you survived this first hurdle then the next potential reason laser hair removal won’t work is your skin tone.  For years it was the case that laser hair removal was not effective if you have black or medium / dark skin (this includes a deep natural or fake tan) and could in fact cause your skin to blister. Tria’s laser hair removal device and many hair removal salons use lasers that can’t be used on this skin tone, but laser technology has moved on in recent years and there are devices our there now that use Nd-Yag lasers that can treat darker skins much more safely.

If you are not sure if you fall into this skin colour bracket then the chart below should give you some indication. Alternatively just pop into a reputable salon and they’ll be able to advise you about treatment to suit both your skin and hair colour.

Skin Colour Chart for laser hair removal

If you are going down the home laser removal route then the Tria 4x device has an in-built sensor that continually checks your skin tone and adjusts the intensity settings accordingly for optimum safe results – this includes not turning on at all if too dark. They have a 30 day money-back guarantee so if this happens all is not lost – just return it.

If you are a borderline case then it might be worth having a spot-test on a small part of skin or just a single-session with the salon to test it out.  We don’t recommend ever paying for a multi-session treatment plan until you know it is safe and working. If you start seeing results then you can confidently continue with the salon or home laser hair removal treatment.

So this time when you ask the question “does laser hair removal work?” I can answer with a more positive (but still not straightforward) “yes, if lighter skinned, but otherwise only if you seek professional advice first and ensure you use the right type of laser for your skin tone”.

Beyond the no and the maybe…

If you’re still reading then I assume you survived rounds one and two and you are in the group of people where laser hair removal treatment should work.  Yes, I’m still saying “should” – not “will” – but thankfully we are now dealing with factors that you have more control over. So, let’s finally discuss how you can help increase the odds of a happy, hair-free outcome.

Preparation is everything

Before you begin any laser hair removal treatment there are a number of things you need to do (or not do) in order to maximise the chances of success.

The laser is designed to kill the hair root so it needs to be intact and easily reached by the light. To this end you should avoid waxing or epilating in the weeks before or between each treatment session but should shave the area to be treated a day or two in advance (apart from your face). If you needed any more reason, the heat from the light can sometime singe long hairs and we all know how bad that smells.

Time it with your Anagen Cycle

No, this is not some expensive bicycle.  Anagen refers to the growth phases your hair follicle goes through and this cycle takes about 2 weeks. For best results your laser hair removal treatments should also be 2 weeks apart to match this cycle.

Have a little patience

For some people who claimed laser hair removal did not work (but technically should have) it is potentially a case that they just did not wait long enough. Answering the question “how long does it take?” is another question that unfortunately has no straightforward answer.

It typically can take around 8 sessions but then you’ve got a raft of variants to take into consideration. Things such as hair colour, skin colour, the device used and intensity setting; the area being treated; the coarseness of the hair…or that you simply have tough and stubborn hair follicles that are more determined not to die.

Just to give you some idea of what to expect (and so you don’t give up before the laser treatment has a chance to work its magic) I’ve taken the Tria 4x’s clinical trial results as an example:

  • Treating every 2 weeks is recommended to offer the best results and, for permanent results, you should aim to do this for at least 3 months, or until desired result has been reached
  • After month 1 (two treatments) you will typically see up to a 70% reduction
  • After 2-3 months of treatment hair re-growth should begin to appear noticeably lighter and finer. You will begin to see a visible reduction in the amount of re-growth, especially in areas where hair growth tends to be dense.
  • After 3 months of treatment hair follicles that have been deactivated by the laser will no longer grow hair. At this point continue treatment as necessary for touch ups until your skin is smooth and no more hair growth is occurring.

So there you have it.  The answer to the question “does laser hair removal work” is a resounding “Yes, it should…maybe and no”.

If you are in the “should” category then here are our picks of the best home laser and IPL hair removal devices out there at the moment.