While you might decide to get a manicure or facial on a whim, laser hair removal is one of those beauty treatments you usually have to think about before committing to the process, mainly for two reasons: the pain and the cost.
For many, zapping hair follicles with light beams can seem totally extraneous and downright uncomfortable. Others view it as a necessary luxury—think of all the time you can get back by eliminating shaving, waxing, or plucking from your beauty regimen. For those with deeper skin tones, there's the consideration that laser hair removal may not work as well, or potentially result in hyperpigmentation. Depending on your hair and skin type, the amount on your body, and growth pattern, bidding other hair removal methods adieu can be life-changing.
Laser hair removal can be a helpful option for getting rid of body hair permanently if you're always dealing with ingrown hairs and razor bumps. If you're ready to dive into the world of laser hair removal, be it for your legs, bikini area, face, or underarms (some of the most popular treatment areas), familiarizing yourself with the best services is essential. Wax, shave, and tweeze no more: Here we rounded up the best laser hair removal services.
Best Laser Hair Removal Services of 2022
Best Overall: SEV Laser
Why We Chose It: SEV Laser offers an extensive menu of affordable laser hair removal services for all skin types, guided by an on-staff medical director.
What We Like
- Multiple locations throughout California, Texas, and New York City. Locations also in Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, and Philadelphia
- Affordable services
- Medical director on staff
What We Don’t Like
- Less of an individualized feel
SEV Laser is a medical spa with multiple locations throughout California, Texas, and New York City, with locations also in Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, and Philadelphia.
The aesthetics boutique specializes in laser hair removal, as well as laser skin tightening, and injectables. With the expertise of the on-staff medical director Dr. Ehsan Ali, SEV Laser incorporates elite laser technology using the Candela GentleMax Pro machine, which is safe and effective for all skin types.
With an extensive menu of services, SEV Laser is one of the most affordable laser hair removal spas with playfully named services that include: full-face (the "Money Maker"), upper lip ("Never Been Kissed") ears ("Pillow Talk"), Brazilian ("When Hairy Met Sally"), buttocks (“Full Moon"), and more.
Pricing varies based on location, but single services range from $15 for small areas like the ears, lip, and chin to $475 for full-body. Most services come in under $100, including a full Brazilian at $60. Pre-paid packages are also available.
Best for New York: Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal
Why We Chose It: This New York City-based clinic specializes in laser hair removal and has 12 state-of-the-art lasers for all skin tones and complexions.
What We Like
- State-of-the-art lasers for all skin tones and complexions
- Laser hair removal is the sole focus of the business
- Efficient appointments
What We Don’t Like
- New York City only
Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal is a New York-based clinic that solely specializes in laser hair removal.
The facility is equipped with 12 state-of-the-art lasers for all skin tones and complexions and is founded by Christian Karavolas, a laser hair removal expert, vice president of the Society of Clinical and Medical Hair Removal, and consultant for leading laser companies including Deka, Cynosure, Candela, and Lumenis.
Additionally, Karavolas conducts workshops for doctors and laser hair removal professionals. He’s also an advocate for uniform education and certification in New York state and is involved in hair removal legislative matters.
Romeo & Juliette offers a wide variety of dual-wavelength lasers for all skin types and tones. This includes the Synchro REPLA:Y, the fastest and most powerful laser machine for hair removal. It also uses the Splendor X which can adjust the patient's treatment by skin type, hair thickness, and hair color.
Laser hair removal services include the most popular target areas, including arm, underarm, face, bikini, back, and neck. But Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal also specializes in ingrown hair removal and treatments for men and transgender individuals.
Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal offers complementary consultation calls. If you schedule one, you can inquire about pricing and ask any questions you may have.
Best for Ultra-Personalized Treatments: Flash Lab Laser
Why We Chose It: Flash Lab laser suite is a boutique medical spa that specializes in laser beauty treatments and uses state-of-the-art equipment, including a Candela GentleMax Pro, one of the most advanced hair removal systems in the esthetics industry.
What We Like
- Specializes in laser services
- Employs an international CIDESCO-licensed aesthetician and laser technician
- Packages range from small treatment areas to extra-large
- Offers single sessions
What We Don’t Like
- New York City only
Founded by New York state-licensed esthetician and laser specialist, Kelly Rheel, Flash Lab is a boutique medical spa located in New York City that specializes in laser treatments. Laser hair removal is one of Flash Lab’s specialties, where the highly-trained staff customizes services based on skin and hair type and desired hair removal results.
For laser hair removal, Flash Lab uses the FDA-approved Candela GentleMax Pro. As one of the most advanced hair removal systems in the esthetics industry, this machine numbs the skin with cryogen to make treatments more comfortable.
Before purchasing any package, Flash Lab starts any laser hair removal journey with a complimentary consultation to ensure that customers are good candidates and ensure treatments are tailored specifically for desired results and skin type.
Flash Lab's pricing varies. Small areas are $60 for a single session; medium areas are $100 for a single session; large areas are $200 for a single session; and extra-large areas are $300 for a single session. Packages are also available for multiple sessions. Packages are either three sessions or six sessions plus touchups and they significantly reduce your total cost versus a single session.
Best Atmosphere: Ever/Body
Why We Chose It: Ever/Body cosmetic dermatology employs a board-certified dermatologist and offers a range of medical-tested laser hair removal services for all skin types.
What We Like
- Board-certified dermatologist on staff
- Packages range from extra-small treatment areas to extra-large
What We Don’t Like
- One of the more expensive choices
Founded in 2019, Ever/Body cosmetic dermatology is based in New York City and specializes in skin and body treatments, including laser hair removal. More recently, they have begun opening locations in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
On staff is Jared Jagdeo, MD, MS board-certified dermatologist, serving as chief medical officer. With a background including aesthetics, laser, and light therapy research, he provides hands-on patient education, curates medically-tested treatments, and ensures the safety of each results-driven procedure.
Ever/Body focuses on being at the intersection of health and beauty by making cosmetic dermatology more accessible with high-quality medical treatments and transparent pricing. Every service, including all laser hair removal, is usually done in an hour or less (in a highly Instagrammable setting) and can be paired with a product regimen to help your results last. (It sells top-of-the-line products from brands like SkinCeuticals and Supergoop!.)
The company says you should start to see some degree of results with hair falling out two weeks after your first treatment. However, you must get six to ten treatments to get desirable results. Treatments need to be spaced four weeks apart on the face and six weeks apart on the body.
Ever/Body's laser hair removal is sold as a single session, three-session package, or eight-session package. For extra-small areas a single session costs $155 and an eight session package costs $1,080 ($135 per session). For small areas the single session cost is $195 and eight sessions costs $1,320 ($165). Medium area single sessions are $295 and a package of eight costs $1,800 ($225 per session). Large areas cost $395 for one session or $2,360 for eight sessions ($295 per session). Lastly, a session for extra-large areas costs $495 for a single session and a package of eight costs $3,000 ($375 per session).
Best Cosmetic Dermatology Office: Dr. Jason Emer Laser Dermatology
Why We Chose It: We chose this service because Dr. Jason Emer is a leader in the cosmetic dermatology community, renowned for his innovation and use of state-of-the-art lasers.
What We Like
- Founded by a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon
- Uses and innovates with top-of-the-line laser technology
- Five-star service and accommodating staff
What We Don’t Like
- Pricing not listed on website
Dr. Jason Emer is a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon specializing in rare cosmetic procedures and laser treatments, including laser hair removal.
Dr. Emer’s practice offers custom combination treatments to achieve patient-specific, long-term results, with five-star service; the goal is to ensure every patient feels safe, informed, and well-taken care of throughout any treatment.
Dr. Emer works with the newest state-of-the-art lasers. He begins every laser hair removal process with a consultation to best determine which lasers will produce the optimal results per patient. Then, he crafts a comprehensive and patient-specific treatment plan.
Dr. Emer uses a no-contact Aerolase Neo microsecond YAG laser, which is ideal for dark skin types and isolated treatment areas; it also targets ingrown or unwanted hairs while simultaneously minimizing pores, tightening skin, and rebuilding collagen. He also utilizes the Astanza MeDioStar NeXT PRO laser. This is the fastest diode laser technology available on the market, using a combination of wavelengths, high-frequency pulses, and advanced cooling technology to ensure greater skin penetration and safely destroy the deepest hair follicles.
In addition to laser hair removal services, Dr. Emer offers an extensive range of facial and body treatments. He has completed clinical trials on investigational treatments in cosmetic, laser, and surgical dermatology. Some of his work has prompted FDA approval for several medications and devices treating a range of skin conditions. He’s written extensively on fractional laser technologies, among other aesthetic procedures and dermatological conditions.
Dr. Emer’s pricing is not posted on the website. Contact his office for a consultation and to inquire about pricing.
Though laser hair removal can be costly, it’s a great option to get rid of unwanted follicles efficiently. It can ultimately save money in the long run, too. It isn’t, however, the end-all, be-all of hair removal. Though it’s undoubtedly effective at reducing hair growth, every person is different. So, depending on your hair and skin type and treatment area, laser hair removal won’t always remove every bit of hair, forever.
How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?
Laser hair removal works by creating a beam of high-intensity light to penetrate the skin’s tissue deeply. The beam of light bypasses the epidermis and targets hair follicles at the root to disable its reproductive cycle. The wavelength, pulse duration, and cooling are determined by a person’s Fitzpatrick scale skin type, including the hair follicle’s color and coarseness.
Laser hair removal typically takes about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated. According to Dr. Orit Markowitz, an associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai in NYC, the larger the area being treated, the longer it takes, such as legs or back. “If it’s a very sensitive area, sometimes a numbing agent that takes about half an hour to an hour to take effect will be applied,” she explains. For large areas like the legs, expect your appointment to last roughly 15 to 30 minutes per session, and for smaller areas like the chin or lip, treatment will take just a few minutes.
Expect that you and your practitioner will wear safety glasses to protect your eyes during a laser hair removal treatment.
What Are the Best Lasers for Hair Removal?
Different types of lasers are used to target hair follicles and accommodate different skin tones and body areas. “The most effective is a diode laser as well as an Nd:YAG laser,” explains Dr. Markowitz. “These lasers target the pigment of hair follicles, causing eradication down to the bulb,” she says. While diode lasers can treat darker skin, Dr. Markowitz says the Nd:YAG is the gold standard and safest for minimizing the risk of post-treatment blistering and pigmentary changes.
Another laser most commonly used in spa-like settings is the IPL laser. “This laser also targets the pigment in a more gentle way,” Dr. Markowitz notes, explaining it’s the least effective of the three types of lasers. It’s important to book a consultation appointment before committing to any laser hair removal service or package to learn if you’re a good candidate for treatment, and if so, the type of laser that will be best for you and your desired result.
“Older lasers are more painful and don’t work as well,” explains Christian Karavolas of Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal. The best technology right now: lasers with two wavelengths. Namely, Alexandrite Wavelength Lasers and Nd:YAG for light skin and dark skin complexions with big spot sizes and variable speed, according to Karavolas.
Who Is the Best Candidate for Laser Hair Removal?
Those with dark and thicker hair and lighter skin will typically see the best results from laser hair removal, but that’s not to say those with medium-dark hair or darker skin won’t benefit from treatment. However, laser hair removal doesn’t work on light hair. “Lasers are attracted to dark pigment or melanin, so the darker the hair follicle, the better result you will receive,” Gabrielle Hope Bradley, a CIDESCO aesthetician and laser technician at Flash Lab Laser in NYC explains.
Someone with dark skin and fine light hair would not be a good candidate for laser hair removal, according to Dr. Markowitz. The laser targets pigments and the thinner and lighter the hair and the darker the surrounding skin, the less likely the laser will be able to target the hair.
If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, you're not an ideal candidate for laser hair removal, nor are people with these conditions: epilepsy, psoriasis, bleeding disorders, or vitiligo.
How Should I Prepare for Laser Hair Removal?
Shave 24 to 48 hours before a laser hair removal appointment. Your hair follicles need to be present under the skin so the laser can target them for removal. It’s also important to avoid tweezing, waxing, threading, tanners, exfoliates, topical acids, and sunburn before treatment. If you’ve been in direct sun, Christina Nalbone, an aesthetic nurse practitioner and director of clinical education and operations at Ever/Body, says to wait at least two weeks before getting laser hair removal. It’s also best to book a laser hair removal session at least two weeks after taking antibiotics and a minimum of six months after stopping Accutane.
How Long Does Laser Hair Removal Take Before You See Results?
On average, it takes six to eight sessions spaced four to six weeks apart to remove up to 95% of hair growth permanently, according to Karavolas and Bradley. Follow-up maintenance or “clean-up” appointments might be necessary, too.
Is Laser Hair Removal Permanent?
Dr. Markowitz says regrowth is a possible outcome with IPL laser treatments, but it’s rare to get significant, if any, regrowth over time when treated with the proper laser and settings.
According to Nalbone, hormones can naturally cause hair regrowth—a common occurrence with pregnancy or hormone therapy. Staying on top of a treatment timeline with a sufficient number of treatments will reduce regrowth. Touch-ups may be needed over the years, too.
Karavolas says a person’s metabolism may play a role in any regrowth on hormonal areas such as the face, upper arms, and possibly abdomen, too.
How Should You Treat an Area Post-Laser Hair Removal?
After laser hair removal, it’s important to avoid sun exposure and wear SPF 30+ on treated areas that might be exposed to the sun. For three days post-treatment, avoid hot saunas, steam rooms, or hot tubs—lukewarm showers are ideal when cleansing. To prevent irritation, working out immediately after treatment is not advised.
Keeping the treated area well moisturized with an ointment like Aquaphor, cortisone, or aloe is ideal after laser hair removal, too. Bradley says light exfoliation to the treatment area can help the hair follicle underneath the skin begin to fall out as well. It can take weeks after a laser hair removal treatment for hair follicles to start falling out. While you can shave between laser hair removal treatments, do not wax or tweeze (it defeats the purpose).
How We Chose the Best Laser Hair Removal Services
We selected these laser hair removal services based on the professional recommendation of doctors and skincare experts, pricing, and packages offered. By taking into account the recommended and most-technologically-advanced lasers, we spotlighted these options that include service for people with different skin, hair types, and hair removal goals in mind.
Cannarozzo G, Nisticò SP, Nouri K, Sannino M. Lasers for hair removal(Visible and near infrared). Atlas of Lasers and Lights in Dermatology. Springer International Publishing; 2020:31-34. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-31232-9_6