Imagine this scenario: You’re in front of a mirror, tweezing those stubborn stray hairs on your chin or upper lip. You may be wishing there was a solution that wasn’t so temporary. Excess hair growth can be a real drag — especially if you also experience polycystic ovarian disease aka PCOS — and this type of hair can affect your mood and overall sense of self.

Laser hair removal can provide relief from unwanted hair growth. Recently, new handheld hair removers have come on the scene, allowing for less expensive, private, and at-home treatment. Read on for the 411 on laser hair removal and our favorite devices to use at home for any area from head to toe.

For the uninitiated, PCOS can cause the body to grow stiff or dark hair that is often the result of imbalanced hormones. PCOS is a common and complex hormonal disorder that affects individuals with ovaries. To find out more, we spoke to Ashley Harmon, founder and CEO of Mela Vitamins, whose experience with PCOS led her to create the company.

“PCOS is characterized by a variety of different symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, elevated levels of androgen hormones and insulin resistance,” says Harmon. “The hormonal imbalances, especially elevated levels of androgens (e.g., male hormones) like testosterone can result in acne and hirsutism, which causes excessive male-pattern hair growth in areas like the face, chest, and back.” 

This kind of hair growth can pose a challenge to those who want to remove it. “Many of us with PCOS, especially when it isn’t well managed, have to remove hair on a weekly or even daily basis,” she says. “Many of the options available are painful like waxing or tweezing, and alternatives like shaving typically leave hair growing back even darker and thicker, and can even create stubble and an uneven skin texture.”

Simply put, laser hair removal devices can target hair follicles using heat and pulses of light. This technology is known for hair growth reduction and, while comparable to electrolysis, laser hair removal isn’t permanent. Instead, it removes hair on contact and may result in a decrease in hair growth over time.

At-home devices incorporate intense pulse light (IPL) to treat the skin with electrical currents. “IPL uses broad-spectrum light that is absorbed by pigments that are supposed to target, heat and damage the hair follicles,” Harmon says. FYI: This technology is also used in other skin health treatments like anti-aging, lightening dark patches, and improved appearances of spider veins and scars — but IPL devices are usually tailored to only one use.

PCOS can impact anyone with ovaries, however women of color are particularly affected by this syndrome. “Studies have also found that women of color have greater insulin resistance, which in turn is linked to higher levels of hirsutism and excess hair growth,” Harmon says. And unfortunately, IPL can pose some challenges to those with darker skin tones. Darker skin contains more melanin, which means the skin cells may end up absorbing as much energy than the hair follicles, which can cause burns, skin damage, and hyperpigmentation.” 

Pursuing IPL as a person of color may necessitate additional treatments and extra vigilance. There are some devices that may be safer for darker skin tones, but it’s essential to check the safety instructions and do a patch test to ensure it doesn’t damage the skin.

Other factors that can impact IPL treatments are past or current use of particular medications, tattoos, hair color, hair coarseness (ex: dry, thick, wiry), and skin tone. Be sure to review the materials associated with the options below to ensure it is safe and effective for use on your skin.

Our editors have researched and vetted the top at-home laser hair removal devices on the market and selected the best options for effectiveness, cost, and ease of use. We consistently update this piece with new favorites as they emerge. Read on for intel on the seven best at-home laser hair removal devices (all under $500).

1. Lumi

Best For | Hair removal newbies
Features | Three modes, universal plug
Prices Starting At | $229

Looking for a device that’s easy to use? Enter user-friendly Lumi. It’s practically plug-and-go: Plug it in, power up, and select the desired mode for your target area (stamp, glide, or auto, depending on the area you’re tackling) and you’re all set. With a simple setup and fast-acting painless laser, it’s never been easier to get started. Lumi works best for light to medium-brown skin — and its compact shape makes it great for use on the bikini line or underarms.

Customer Review | “I’ve used my handset 3 times so far and I already see a huge difference. I suffer from PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and one of the symptoms is excess hair. I order Lumi a tiny bit skeptical because I had done in office treatments before and I thought to myself “how is this device going to match up to a professional machine?” Well, you guys proved me wrong and I’m so happy with my purchase so far! To see the difference I have as quickly as I have speaks volumes. – Nicole (Read all reviews)

2. Silk’n Infinity

Best For | All skin tones
Features | Two modes (pulse and glide), free smartphone app
Prices Starting At | $295

Tap into long-lasting hair removal with Silk’n Infinity. This device is designed with eHPL™ technology, 400,000 light pulses, and a Bluetooth pulse counter so users can see a 92% in hair reduction after their recommended six at-home treatment sessions (completed within two weeks). Many users highlighted the simple instructions, lightweight feel of the device, and of course, noticeable results. One of their designs includes a handle that makes it easier to glide over larger areas, super simple and effective.

Customer Review | “I have been using the Silkn Smooth now for around 3 months. I was a bit apprehensive about using it but I needn’t have worried as it was actually easy to use, it is painless though you do feel a little heat from the device. In the past I have shaved under my arms and on my legs and been frustrated by the regrowth. With Silkn Smooth this regrowth has definitely slowed down and is barely there in some areas, my skin is becoming smoother for longer each time I use it. There is some regrowth, but it is less each time and much finer.” – Helen (Read all reviews)

3. Nood

Best For | A gentle experience
Features | Seven intensity levels, continuous glide mode, digital display
Prices Starting At | $270

Pain-free is important and Nood is just the ticket. The device is known among its fans for an utterly painless feel, quick 10-minute treatments, and PrecisionPulse™ IPL technology. Remove unwanted hair with no trouble at all, it even includes an easy-to-read digital display. We suggest the Continuous Glide Mode for added dexterity and comfort. Many models offer a 90-day return policy and a 1-year warranty, so there’s little to lose when you try Nood.

Customer Review | “I love Nood I’ve used in on my legs and armpits! I have been trying to get rid of hair since I was 12. I am darker complexion with thick hair I’ve tried everything before this and nothing has worked! It is also the least painful thing I’ve tried!” – Lorren (Read all reviews)

4. Braun

Best For | Overall use
Features | FDA-approved, three sensitivity levels, two changeable precision heads
Prices Starting At | $429.99

On the go or at home, Braun answers the call. This at-home laser removal device is designed with movement and support in mind. With three comfort settings (standard, gentle, and extra gentle) and two precision heads, you can target various areas of the body with simplicity and ease. Plus, this device comes with a travel case and a 5-blade razor so you’ll never miss a treatment. This is a time-tested brand and the results match. Take their quiz to determine if their IPL device will work for you.

Customer Review | “I’ve had facial hair my entire adult life and as a cis woman it’s been devastating. I’ve done *everything* to try to get rid of it or minimize it – waxing, plucking, shaving, epilating, dermaplaning, professional laser treatments. After seeing so many positive reviews for this Braun IPL I decided to give it a go. The results are so far beyond what I hoped for I could cry. I’ve been using it twice weekly for two months and there has been a drastic decrease in the amount of hair, texture of hair, hyperpigmentation from years of skin damaging hair removal methods, and a massive improvement to the overall texture of my skin. – Andrea (Read all reviews

5. Ulike

Best For | Cooling relief
Features | Five intensity levels, hand-held design
Prices Starting At | $289

Sensitive to heat? Enjoy a breath of fresh air with Ulike’s cooling factor. The device features a cooler head that keeps the area chilled during laser application. This cold factor (aka Sapphire Cooling Technology) can be especially clutch for folks who easily experience discomfort or tingling sensations with laser treatments. This tool also boasts essential extras: A razor and case, plus protective glasses to wear during use. Super safe and effective, we love (or should we say, like!).

Customer Review | “I’m very hairy all over my body. I’ve gotten professional laser treatments and spent well over $2000 with no results. I have thick dark hair on pale skin and I have seen results in just my 3rd use. I use it whenever I have free time. I’m 3 weeks in and my armpit hair has not grown back. Such a blessing it’s been my biggest stressor since I was 13. Now I feel so free!” – Stephanie (Read all reviews)

6. Smoothskin

Best For | Travel
Features | Gentle mode, Power mode, built-in UV protection
Prices Starting At | $129

If you’re perpetually planning trips to destinations far and wide, then you’ll need to pack Smoothskin. With a range of products, the Mini is our top choice in terms of power and size. Set up this device in a few minutes (or less!) and breeze through a selected area on the body with UV protection (via a 3-millimeter glass filter) and toggle between different modes for comfort and power. The small size is perfect for any carry-on and the tool comes with its own velvet pouch, too. It’s an affordable pick for those who aren’t the homebody type.

Customer Review | “I’ve used this device several times already and I noticed immediate results the first time I used it. I like the simplified operation and much rather have the sensors do all of the work. This product is amazing, and I highly recommend to anyone who wishes to permanently remove unwanted body hair.” – Joe (Read all reviews


Best For | Curves
Features | Ergonomic design, rotating head, cooling 
Prices Starting At | $429

JOVS delivers an intuitive interface with its ergonomic design (so you can glide over any area or curved body part!) and clever features like a 330-degree rotating head and cooling factor. So if you have hard-to-reach spots and desire a bit more flexibility in your laser removal tool (plus a little cooling sensation to stave off tingling heat), this is your best bet. The device comes in a dreamy emerald green color, and with a rotating head that helps you to be precise, we’re big fans of JOVS. 

Customer Review | “I stumbled upon this hair removal gem, and it’s been a revelation. The integrated cooling technology not only ensures a painless experience but elevates each session to a delightful spa-like indulgence.” – R. (Read all reviews

Featured image by Nood