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Curious About At-Home Laser Hair Removal? Here’s What You Need to Know

I’ve been what you might call IPL-curious lately. After spending the last few decades ridding my legs and underarms of hair in a frenemy-style relationship with my razor (not to mention the monthly bikini wax for more years than I’d like to admit), I’ve started to explore other options. I don’t trust my coordination with at-home waxing kits and laser hair removal at a dermatologist’s office or in a spa has always been outside of my budget. But for the last few months, especially as I had to cut back on trips to my esthetician’s office, I’ve spent more and more time pondering at-home laser hair removal. Specifically, IPL handsets.

IPL (short for intense pulsed light) is the technology employed by handheld at-home laser hair removal alternatives like the IPL Laser Hair Removal Handset from Kenzzi. Kenzzi’s IPL handset produces a broad-spectrum pulse or flash of light. Theirs is designed to deliver noticeable results in three to four weeks. And with 10-years’s worth of pulses in each device, it promises to last for a long time. (Are you ditching your razor yet?)

I’ve been using the Kenzzi IPL handset for three weeks now on my underarms and legs. If you’re curious about at-home laser hair removal, here’s what you need to know.

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IPL Laser Hair Removal Handset $229 Buy now

Prepping your skin

Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent years getting bikini waxes, but I mistakenly thought I might need to let my hair grow out before using the IPL. Not so! Before plugging the device in and giving it a whirl, you should cleanly shave your skin — and refrain from moisturizing or applying any other ointments or cream to the area you’re going to treat. The instruction manual is very clear that skin should be shaved, not waxed or plucked. This is because waxing and plucking removes the entire hair cell. Shaving, however, leaves the hair follicle attached to the hair cell and that is exactly what the IPL is targeting. I’ve been in the habit of using my IPL right after I shower on Saturday mornings.

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Each pulse of light feels like a gentle flick against your skin. Image: courtesy of Ashleigh Morley.

Does it hurt?

Ok, so this is the information what you really came for. And before you accuse me of burying the lede on this count, I should preface by saying that my tolerance for pain is pitifully low. I had to get two (and a half, long story) epidurals for the birth of my son. But that said, the pulses of light from the Kenzzi IPL handset are truly NBD. They’re a bit warm (not hot, just warm) and feel like a gentle flick against the skin. Not bad at all! The thinner or more delicate and sensitive the skin, the more you might feel the pulses. So far I have only used the handset on my underarms and legs, but I intend to use it on my bikini area down the line.

Early results

Patience is a virtue for a reason, but I’m happy to report that after my first three weeks of using the IPL handset as directed, I have begun to notice a difference. Since it’s winter and I don’t have any warm-weather vacations planned anytime soon, I’ve been letting my hair grow out so I can really see the results. After the first few weeks of use, I have noticed gradually fewer hairs in each treatment area. The user guide advises treating each area once a week and recommends 12 consecutive weeks of treatment for complete results. Three down, nine more to go!

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