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How IPL Compares to Other Popular Hair Removal Methods

How IPL Compares to Other Popular Hair Removal Methods

IPL vs. Other Hair Removal Methods

Body hair – we all have it. Whether you remove only a small area or all of it, hair removal is a key part of many people’s beauty routine. From a young age, we’re taught how to remove unwanted hair, and are shown multiple different methods of doing so. People are most familiar with methods such as waxing or shaving. As the demand for hair removal products increased over the past decades, so has hair removal technology.

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) hair removal treatments have quickly become a popular method of removing hair, due to its effectiveness. With IPL, you are able to see long-lasting or even permanent results. Unlike shaving or plucking, IPL has special skin-safe technology in order to provide people with the high-quality results that last longer than any product or service on the market.


What is IPL?

IPL is a special kind of light technology used to treat cosmetic and medical skin concerns. It can be used for hair removal, as well as an array of other skin concerns such as photorejuvination, sun damage, acne, and thread veins. These treatments are typically performed by professionals, but recent technology has provided companies with user-friendly at-home hair removal device options at a fraction of the cost.

IPL can reduce hair growth by decreasing or completely eliminating the hair from growing from individual follicles. These hair removal machines work due to broad-spectrum light that is applied to the surface of the skin. Hair contains melanin, a natural skin pigment that makes your hair dark. This light targets the skin’s melanin and uses heat to damage the source of the pigment, the hair follicle. By damaging the follicle, it slows down or stops hair growth completely.

While IPL hair removal is becoming increasingly more popular, there are other hair removal methods. When comparing IPL against other types of hair removal, IPL leaves the best, longest-lasting results. Let’s compare IPL hair removal to other methods.

  1. Sugaring

Sugaring is the process of removing hair from the root with a mixture of sugar, lemon juice, and water. When combined over heat, these ingredients make a sticky paste that, when applied to the skin, acts similar to wax. The sugar is applied to the skin in the direction of the hair, and is quickly pulled away in the opposite direction. This removes the hair from the root, and leaves you with results that last for weeks. By doing sugaring treatments monthly, you will eventually see the hair grow back slower. However, the hair still grows back.

Some other aspects to consider when sugaring are:

  • Sugaring can be applied anywhere; it can be used on large or small areas, and is great for sensitive skin.
  • This method can be done professionally or at home. When doing it at home, make sure the skin is clean, dry, and free of any moisturizers, creams, or deodorants.
  • The ingredients that go into sugaring are all-natural. You can buy sugaring wax from any beauty supply store, or make it yourself with this recipe: 1 cup white sugar, 1/8 cup lemon juice, and 1/8 cup warm water.
  • Sugaring not only removes the hair immediately, but it slows down hair growth over time. Results can last anywhere between 3 to 5 weeks, if done properly and consistently.
  • As the hair grows back in after treatments, it grows in thinner and softer. This leads to less irritation and discomfort too.

While sugaring is a pretty popular form of hair removal, it doesn’t leave the kind of results that IPL does. Sugaring will immediately remove the hair, and even slow down hair growth, but it doesn’t remove the hair long-term the way IPL does.


  1. Shaving

As the most inexpensive form of hair removal, there’s no wonder why shaving is so popular. Shaving uses a razor blade to cut the hair where it meets the skin. While this method is easy and inexpensive, it leaves you with stubble after as little as one day.

Some aspects to consider when shaving are:

  • You can shave anywhere a razor will reach, from smaller areas to large ones. While shaving can be done anywhere, there are a few areas to be extra gentle around.
  • The skin should be taught and smooth when shaving to prevent any accidental cuts in the skin. When it comes to more sensitive areas, pull the skin taught for a cleaner, safer shave.
  • It is recommended to shave in the shower, and with a hydrating shaving gel. This will make sure the skin is moisturized so that the razor glides over the skin gently.
  • Shaving also works best with a fresh, clean razor, so make sure to replace the heads of your razor frequently.
  • Results vary depending on each person. The hair can grow back in as quickly as a few hours, or a few days.

Shaving is the least expensive and easiest way to remove hair, but it leaves you with the least effective results. Stubble can appear within hours, as the hair is only cut at the surface of the skin. If it grows even a fraction of a millimeter, you’ll feel it.


  1. Depilatory Creams

Depilatory creams are pretty messy and work because of their chemical ingredients. Due to this, you want to make sure you’re placing these creams in areas that aren’t as sensitive. This method is a simple, cost-effective hair removal that’s perfect for people just starting out with hair removal. However, there are a few things to consider when using depilatory creams.

  • Because they’re messy, you want to make sure you do these treatments in a bathroom with lots of towels nearby. The last thing you want is to accidentally put depilatory creams on an area where there shouldn’t be any.
  • Depilatory creams are made up of chemical ingredients that break down hair to enable it to be easily washed away. Sometimes, these chemicals don’t react well with people’s skin. There are sensitive skin specific creams available, to prevent any kind of accidents from happening.
  • Chemicals in some depilatory creams can smell pretty strong, so be prepared to have a fan going or a window open when applying any to the skin.
  • You should always do a small patch test on your arm or hand before applying it to anywhere else.
  • These creams are completely pain-free if purchased correctly. If you feel any uncomfortable tingling, your skin might not be agreeing with the ingredients in the cream.
  • In order for these to work, you need to follow the exact instructions on the product. They will include times for how long the product should be on the skin to prevent irritation or burns.
  • Results can last up to two to three days, as the cream penetrates the hair shaft just below the skin’s surface.

Depilatory creams are a great pain-free solution to hair removal, but can come with risks. Make sure to check the package’s ingredients and label to make sure you’re buying the right product before applying it to the skin. In contrast to IPL hair removal, depilatory creams only provide a few days of smooth skin. IPL is painless and involves no chemicals, so it is a better option for those with sensitive skin.


  1. Epilators

Epilators are small electric devices that use a rotating wheel of multiple tweezer-like pinchers to pluck multiple hairs at once. Epilation comes with a bad rep for being pretty painful, but the longer you use the device, the less painful it is. Epilators remove the hair from the root, providing longer-lasting results than shaving or depilatory creams. These devices are less expensive than laser hair removal or IPL hair removal devices, and are easy to purchase in-person at any drugstore.

When considering epilating as a form of hair removal, keep in mind the following:

  • Epilators can be used on dry or wet skin, just make sure you’re using one that’s waterproof and made for shower use. When in the shower, the hair follicle is looser, making the hair easier and less painful to remove.
  • When using an epilator, start with an area you find less painful. Your body will adjust to the sensation by the time you reach more sensitive areas.
  • Exfoliating your skin beforehand will help the epilator reach each hair. Additionally, since the hair will start to grow back thinner, you might be more prone to ingrown hairs. To prevent this, exfoliating weekly is recommended.
  • Results last up to four weeks, since the hair has to grow back completely. You will experience little to no stubble or irritation, as well.
  • If your skin is sore or red afterwards, that’s completely normal. Try applying a moisturizing product with aloe to soothe the area after treatment.

Epilators, like IPL, remove hair from below the surface of the skin. These epilating devices are great for results that last than other inexpensive forms of hair removal, but still don’t provide the high-quality professional results that IPL devices do.


What Makes IPL Special?

Spotting the differences between IPL and other methods of hair removal is simple, nothing really compares to IPL hair removal technology. Most hair removal methods, as the ones listed above, either cut or remove the hair. IPL goes beyond the surface of the skin to permanently damage the hair follicle to prevent hair growth altogether. This leaves better longer lasting results than any product or service on the market. It’s only down-side would be that it’s not instant - it can take up to 8-10 weeks to really start working, but once it does, it’s permanent. 

IPL is growing in popularity, and more and more devices are being released for at-home use. It’s easy, pain-free, and leaves you with permanent results. If you’re looking for long-lasting results, why not try IPL? Browse some of the Silk’n hair removal products and find a device that’s right for you!


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