Not all home laser & IPL devices are safe for dark skin. See which are best for dark & black skin in this guide from weAreBodyBeautiful.com

The best home IPL hair removal for dark & black skin compared

I hate waxing. I hate shaving. And good God, I hate epilating. Thankfully, I don’t have to anymore because of home laser and IPL hair removal. It gives long-lasting smooth results. No doubt that’s why you’re here too. You want to buy the best home IPL hair removal device to get long-lasting silky-smooth skin, right?

But whoa there!
Not all home devices are safe for dark and black skin.

And that’s why I created this guide. It shortlists and compares the best home IPL devices for safe dark and black skin in 2021.

Start with this 6-minute video overview and quick comparison of the best home devices for dark and black skin. But don’t forget, there’s lots more info in the rest of the review!

Best home IPLs for dark & black skin

The best home IPL devices for dark & black skin as recommended by WeAreBodyBeautiful
My best home IPL devices for dark & black skin, & more runners up too!

For the darkest skin tones, you’ve three choices. The best fast and affordable (in the UK) is the Silk’n Infinity. Then, the Iluminage devices are the only home devices FDA-cleared for dark and black skin. The Iluminage Precise Touch best suits your face and small areas only, whereas the Touch suits larger areas too. The Iluminage devices work on all hair colours too.

For dark skin (up to type V) I recommend the Braun Pro 3 IPL. And the Philips Lumea Prestige, Smoothskin Pure and Braun Pro 5 IPL are close runners-up. You can safely use the lower IPL intensities with each.

#1 Silk'n Infinity #2 Iluminage Precise Touch #3 Iluminage Touch #4 Braun Pro 3 IPL Philips Lumea Prestige
(Runner-up)
Braun Pro 5 IPL
(Runner-up)
Smoothskin Pure
(Runner-up)
Image
Safe tones &
best body areas

👍 Face, small & large areas

👍 Face & small areas
❌ Not legs!

👍 Face, small & large areas

👍 Face, small & large areas

👍 Face, small & large areas

👍 Face, small & large areas

👍 Face, small & large areas
My verdict "Best fast, affordable home IPL for all skin tones" "Only FDA-cleared tech for ALL skin tones" "Only FDA-cleared tech for ALL skin tones" "Best value, easy & fast for medium & dark skin (to type V)" "Most precise & comfy home IPL safe for dark skin up to type V" "Fast & no-faff home IPL safe for dark skin up to type V" "Fastest & easiest home IPL safe for dark skin up to type V"
Why it’s best ✅ Clinically proven for dark & black skin
✅ FDA-cleared for tones I to V
✅ Fast sessions
✅ UK’s most affordable

✅ Clinically proven for dark & black skin
✅ FDA-cleared for ALL skin tones
✅ Very easy to use

✅ Clinically proven for dark & black skin
✅ FDA-cleared for ALL skin tones
✅ Very easy to use
✅ Clinically proven for light to dark skin
✅ FDA-cleared for tones I to V
✅ Fast & easy
✅ Super-safe sensor auto-selects your best IPL intensity
✅ Clinically proven for light to dark skin
✅ Most comfy & precise
✅ Skin tone intensity checker
✅ Clinically proven for light to dark skin
✅ FDA-cleared for tones I to V
✅ Fast & easy
✅ Super-safe sensor auto-selects your best IPL intensity
✅ Clinically proven for light to dark skin
✅ FDA-cleared for tones I to V
✅ The fastest & easiest
✅ Super-safe sensor auto-selects your best IPL intensity
Price 💰💰 to 💰💰💰💰 💰💰💰 💰💰💰💰 💰💰 💰💰💰💰 💰💰💰 to 💰💰💰💰 💰💰💰
Money back guarantee? ✔ US & Canada only ❌ None ❌ None ✔ UK only ✔ UK only ✔ UK & Australia ✔ Worldwide
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With guarantees:
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In this guide to home IPL hair removal for dark skin

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Why most home devices aren’t safe for dark skin

Most home IPL and laser devices aren’t safe for dark skin because of how the light energy behaves. It works like this:

First, there’s a dark pigment (called melanin) that gives your hair it’s dark colour. This pigment absorbs several wavelengths of the strong light energy, and then it converts to heat. This heat damages key areas of your follicle and stunts your hair growth. After a few sessions, hairs stop growing. And after several more, results can last months.

Darker skin tones have much more melanin
Darker skin tones have much more melanin

However, there’s also melanin in your skin.

Dark skin has much more melanin than light skin. And this is bad for laser and IPL hair removal. That’s because with little contrast between your skin and hair colour, your melanin-rich skin cells also absorb the light energy and becomes very hot. This causes pain, blisters, and even burns! Yikes!

That’s why laser and IPL work best on light to medium skin tones with dark hair.

The Fitzpatrick skin tone chart with light to dark tones I through to VI.
The 6 skin tones of the Fitzpatrick scale

Manufacturers use the Fitzpatrick skin chart to show the safe skin tones for their devices. The complete Fitzpatrick scale details skin tone, hair colour and skin response to the sun. But for home laser and IPL, we use the skin tone scale only.

There are 6 Fitzpatrick types, measured from type I (the lightest) through to the darkest type VI. All home IPL and laser devices are safe for Fitzpatrick types I to IV. 

Which skin tone type are you? Check different body areas too, because your tone can vary! And your skin tone deepens and darkens in the Summer too. So, choose a device that’s safe for your darkest tone in the areas you wish to treat.

This guide is about the home devices safe for darker tones V and VI.

HOW SOME HOME DEVICES ARE SAFE for dark skin

These home IPL devices are safe for dark skin types

The very first home devices were safe for skin tones I to IV only. But now we have options safe for all skin tones, including types V and VI. So, how are these devices different and what makes them safe?

Those safe for dark tones have:

  • Low energy IPL settings (around 3 J/cm2 or lower)
  • Wavelength filters
  • Special configuration of the IPL flashes

The combination is gentle on darker skin because only the longer IPL wavelengths travel through your skin. They jump past the melanin-rich, dark epidermis (outer skin layers) down to the hair follicle depth. And the flash duration is configured to avoid pain too. The result is IPL that works and is safe for dark skin.

Some devices also check the IPL intensity matches your tone:

  • The Smoothskin and Braun models share technology developed by Cyden Ltd which auto-adjusts the IPL intensity before every flash.
  • Philips has a manual scan and match function.
  • Silk’n scans and deactivates the levels too intense for your skin tone.
  • And all these devices won’t flash if your skin is too dark.

However, even this gentle IPL isn’t safe for the darkest skin tones. We need even gentler IPL. But the problem then is, anything less intense simply can’t damage the hair follicles enough to work! Arrgggh.

Fret not. To fix this, a few manufacturers combine IPL with other energies. These combinations work better together to safely heat your hair follicles, whilst keeping the darkest skin safe.

Let’s look at these combinations now.

IPL & Galvanic by Silk’n

The Infinity by Silk’n is safe for dark and black skin because it uses gentle IPL with special configuration, and combines it with Galvanic current.

So, what is Galvanic current and what does it do?

Galvanic is a different type of electric current. It’s painless and you can’t feel it. It creates a circuit as your fingers touch the base electrode and your skin touches the silver electrode around the flash window.

The galvanic plate and electrode create a circuit sending gentle current into your skin opening your pores wide

It flows through your skin widening your pores. This exposes more of your hair shaft and so it absorbs more of the IPL energy, reaching deeper-down into your follicle. There, it heats the melanin-rich hair and follicle cells. Therefore, you can direct gentle IPL to where it’s needed so it’s more effective and still safe to use on the darkest skin tones.

TIP: The Galvanic energy also means your skin’s extra absorbent so apply moisturisers afterwards for extra soft and hydrated skin! Your pores close naturally a short time later.

The intensity selector wheel illuminating up to level 2. Levels 1 and 2 of the Infinity are safe for dark and black skin.
The sensor activates only safe levels 1 & 2 for dark and black skin.

The Infinity has 5 intensity levels from 3 up to 4 J/cm2. Only the lower levels are safe for darker tones. So, to keep dark skin safe, it has a sensor which scans your skin. It activates only levels 1 and 2 for dark skin. Therefore, you can’t hurt or burn yourself with too-intense IPL.

However, it’s important to note that in the UK and Europe, Silk’n promote the Infinity safe for all Fitzpatrick types I to VI. But in the USA the range is from I to V. So, why the difference?

Silk’n Infinity & FDA

Silk’n Europe have clinical data supporting safety and effect on dark skin tones type V to VI. This is enough to market it as such in the UK and Europe. But it works differently in the US. There, Silk’n need clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

US Food & Drug Administration logo

Silk’n Infinity is not yet FDA-cleared for the darkest type VI skin.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protect the nation’s health by making sure medicines and medical devices are safe and effective. Therefore, before you can market or sell a home-use laser or IPL device in the US, they must be FDA approved or cleared.

If a manufacturer proves their device is substantially similar to a previously cleared, or predicate device, they can get 501K FDA clearance. The Infinity has such clearance for Fitzpatrick types I to V. However, for clearance on type VI using combined IPL and Galvanic energies, it’s the first of its kind, so no predicate devices exist.

Instead, Silk’n must get approval from the FDA to market the Infinity as safe for type VI. This is a much longer and expensive process compared to clearance. So, for now at least, Silk’n US promote it safe for types I to V only.

Rest assured, the Infinity has other proof to show it’s safe and it works. The Infinity has:

  • CE certification to meet European safety and manufacturing standards
  • Clinical test data supporting it’s safe and works on dark skin types V and VI.

The small 15 subject test concludes: “Low energy pulsed light combined with galvanic energy may be applied safely and effectively for at-home hair removal for people with dark skin types V and VI.” A concise version is available as a pdf from this Silk’n page here or the full study version is here.

Silk’n also confirmed to me all Infinity models work in the same way. So, if you buy from a US store you can still use it on the darkest skin tones despite the advertised range being different.

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IPL & Radio Frequency by Iluminage

The Iluminage Precise Touch (left) and Iluminage Touch (right)

The Iluminage devices use very gentle IPL and combine it with Radio Frequency (RF) current. The two energies work even better together to heat your hair follicles. So, they can use super-gentle IPL which normally wouldn’t work alone.

OK, so first let’s look at what RF is.

RF is a painless electric current sent through the skin from one electrode to the other. The spacing of the RF electrodes on either side of the flash window is just right to send the RF current down to the depth of your hair root and follicles. You can’t feel it at all. But as it flows through your skin, the RF encounters resistance and this creates heat in your tissues. It works equally well on light and dark tones because it doesn’t rely on any melanin.

Two silver RF electrodes either side of the flash window create the RF circuit through your skin
The RF travels down to the depth of your hair root

Now, let’s understand how IPL and RF work so well together…

You probably know that electricity flows along the path of least resistance, right 🤓? But did you also know that warmer structures are less resistant and so attract electrical current? This means, as each super-gentle IPL flash heats your hair shaft and the surrounding follicle, it draws the RF current towards it. And, because the keratin in your hairs resists the current, it then concentrates all around the follicles, right where it’s needed. So, your follicles get an extra dose of heat from the RF.

This combined heat from the IPL and RF is enough to work. However, you must cover your skin in flashes then repeat for a total of 2 or 3 passes. This is quite time intensive, especially on legs, but it zaps each hair with enough IPL energy to work. Therefore, it’s the combined energies and multiple passes of gentle IPL that both work and are safe for dark and black skin.

Start LOW and move up to MED and HIGH only if comfortable

The Touch & Precise Touch have three IPL intensities levels ranging from 2 to 4 J/cm2. The lower are safe for the darkest skin tones. There’s no skin tone sensor – simply start on LOW and move up only if it’s comfortable.

The Iluminage devices are both clinically proven and FDA-cleared for all skin tones, including the darkest type VI. The first home Elōs device was FDA-cleared safe for all skin tones, including V and IV, back in 2012.

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What results will I see and when?

An example start-up schedule

Now, all home laser and IPL devices recommend a start-up treatment schedule, followed by less frequent maintenance sessions.

The following table shows the advertised schedules for each of my recommendations and runners up. Plus, any additional information I found relevant for darker skin users.

Device treatment schedules:

Device # of start-up sessions Frequency Top-ups
Silk’n Infinity 4 on high intensities
Up to 12 on lower intensities*
1 every 2 weeks As you need.
Iluminage Precise Touch 7 on high & low intensities** Weekly As you need.
Iluminage Touch 7 on high & low intensities** Weekly As you need.
Braun Pro 3 IPL 4 to 12 on high intensities
Up to 12 on lower intensities
Weekly As you need.
Braun Pro 5 IPL 4 to 12 on high intensities
Up to 12 on lower intensities
Weekly As you need.
Smoothskin Pure 12 on high & low intensities Weekly As you need.
Philips Lumea Prestige 4 or 5 on high & low intensities 1 every 2 weeks As you need.

*It’s not clear in the Silk’n Infinity user manual or on the website, I found this in the Silk’n dark skin V and VI tones study.
** Iluminage share for the first 6 or 7 weeks, you can use their devices 2 to 3 times per week on your face.

Typical results & top-ups

Shave (or dermaplane facial hairs) for your very best results

Shave/dermaplane your hair before each session and in between as you need, unless there’s no hair left!

  • After 2 to 4 sessions you should notice finer and lighter hair which grows ever more slowly.
  • After 5 or 6+ sessions you should have just very light regrowth and even bald patches. Shaving gets very easy, and soon you may not even need to.
  • Complete the full start-up plan. Most of these schedules accommodate plenty of sessions for you to significantly reduce hair growth on all skin tones light to dark. But you can safely continue with the start-up frequency if you need more sessions to get smooth.

Once you’re smooth, you can switch to less frequent top-ups. Most brands suggest one every month. However, you may need them slightly more frequent because you’ll use the lower IPL levels. If you notice hairs poking through before a month’s up, shave them away and do another zapping!

Top-ups every few weeks to months, as you need them.

And your top-ups are super important too. A recent long-term study of home IPL devices found that the top-up sessions continue to work on your hair follicles. The effect deepens, so the more you do the longer your hair-free results last. If you have the best results this means smooth skin for several weeks to months at a time. However, results do vary by individual and all brands caveat this on their websites and in the user manuals. Please read this for 👉 more important info about results.

And remember, inactive hair follicles can wake-up and sprout new hairs, so don’t ditch the razor! You’ll need to shave and zap them as they appear!

How to stay safe

Before you start your sessions, and ideally before you buy a device, read the user manual.

Check the important list of warnings and reasons you may be unsuitable to use home laser and IPL devices. These range from pregnancy and breastfeeding, to diabetes, epilepsy, chemical peels, and certain medications which can make you extra sensitive to the light. There’s more in each user manual so check them to stay safe and learn more about contraindications here.

Only use the device on safe areas. For women this is from the cheekbones down, and for men it’s from the neck and down. ❌ Don’t use it on your genitals, anus, or nipples either, or on birthmarks, moles, or large freckles.

With all home devices, you must also protect your skin from sun exposure before and after your sessions.  Even if your skin doesn’t tan, sun exposure still increases your skin’s sensitivity and so the risk of skin reactions and side effects from the IPL. There’s more on them later. 

Here’s the tanning and sun exposure guidance for each of the recommended devices:

Device Use on recently tanned skin? Cover up or use SPF 30+ Avoid sun before sessions Avoid sun after sessions
Silk’n Infinity
Level 1 only
4 weeks (if using levels 2 to 5) 2 weeks
(if using levels 2 to 5)
Iluminage Precise Touch 2 weeks 2 weeks
Iluminage Touch 2 weeks 2 weeks
Braun Pro 3 IPL 7 days 7 days
Braun Pro 5 IPL 7 days 7 days
Smoothskin Pure 7 days 7 days
Philips Lumea Prestige 2 weeks 48 hours

How to prepare your hairs

close up of the Hollywood Browzer sharp blade behind safety bars for no nicks or cuts
Dermaplaning for your facial hairs. Better than shaving.

Shaving your hairs immediately before your sessions gives the best and fastest results. But, for a lady, shaving your face is not fun. So, I recommend dermaplaning instead. It cuts facial hairs without foam or irritation.

You can also wax, epilate, or pluck with the Braun, Philips and Iluminage devices. However, they each have different guidelines and you’ll have much slower results.

Related: learn more about dermaplaning, and plucking vs shaving guidelines in this article.

What do they feel like?

You’ll hear the cooling fan whir and a small pop or click with each IPL flash. The IPL flashes are bright but harmless when flush against your skin. You don’t need protective goggles. If you find the flashes irritating, wear sunglasses to help ease the glare.

The Iluminage devices & Silk’n Infinity are the gentlest on your skin.

On dark skin tones V and VI you’ll use the lower intensity settings with all devices. So, it’s no surprise that those from Iluminage are the most comfortable with an IPL low of 2 J/cm2. The Silk’n Infinity is very gentle and comfortable too 🐇🐇.

The devices with a higher IPL range can sting a little more for some, especially if your skin is darker type V (but still in the safe range). So, I recommend the Iluminage devices and Infinity because they give more flexibility and reassurance, with even gentler intensities and sensations should you need them.

Here’s how the devices compare for power and sensation:

Device Type Safe tones Power J/cm2 Sensation*
Silk’n Infinity IPL & Galvanic All I to VI 3 to 4
Gentle warmth
Iluminage Precise Touch IPL & RF All I to VI 2 to 4
Gentle warmth
Iluminage Touch IPL & RF All I to VI 2 to 4
Gentle warmth
Braun Pro 3 IPL IPL I to V
Not the darkest
3 to 4 ⚡⚡⚡
Warm to hot
Braun Pro 5 IPL IPL I to V
Not the darkest
3 to 6 ⚡⚡⚡
Warm to hot
Smoothskin Pure IPL I to V
Not the darkest
3 to 6 ⚡⚡⚡
Warm to hot
Philips Lumea Prestige IPL I to V
Not the darkest
2.4 to 6.5 ⚡⚡⚡
Warm to hot

* Sensation grade is based on both our tests and feedback patterns & consensus from collated user reviews, but it varies by individual!

Possible skin reactions & side effects

Hot, tingly red skin are common skin reactions. It can also feel dry and itch a bit too, but these usually fade within 24 to 48 hours. Use ice, a cool face cloth, cooling water sprays, Aloe Vera gel or a non-scented moisturiser to sooth it. If they don’t fade, go see your doctor.

Remember: you must avoid the sun, cover-up or wear a sunscreen SPF30+ to protect your skin. It’s extra sensitive to the sun after your sessions, and exposure before your sessions increases your risk of skin reactions and side effects.

Side effects are rare but can occur. They include temporary or permanent patches of light or dark skin, burns, excessive redness and swelling around your hair follicles, blisters, and scarring. In these cases, consult your doctor.

Another extremely rare side effect on the face and neck is called Paradoxical Hypertrichosis. Paradoxical Hypertrichosis is increased hair growth in the treatment areas. The reasons behind it are unknown but it’s thought to occur more frequently in users of Mediterranean descent, and/or with underlying medical conditions such as hirsutism.

The Pros & cons: The best home IPLs for ALL skin tones

Choose either the Silk’n Infinity, Iluminage Precise touch or Iluminage Touch for all skin tones. They’re clinically proven safe, and the Iluminage devices are also FDA-cleared, for the darkest skin tones.

For dark & black tones I recommend (from left) the Silk’n Infinity, Iluminage Precise Touch & Iluminage Touch

Here’s a quick comparison table of their key specs and performance data from my tests. Then, for each device a quick video review and round-up of the pros and cons.

#1 Silk'n Infinity # Iluminage Precise Touch #3 Iluminage Touch
Image
Type IPL & Galvanic IPL & Radio Frequency IPL & Radio Frequency
Tests Clinically proven
FDA-cleared types I to V (not VI)
Clinically proven
FDA-cleared types I to VI
Clinically proven
FDA-cleared types I to VI
Body areas 👍 Face, small & large areas 👍 Face & small areas
❌ Not legs!
👍 Face, small & large areas
Weight & operation 228g
🔌 Mains-power
285g
🔌 Mains-power
195g (corded applicator)
🔌 Mains-power
Power & modes 3 to 4 J/cm2
5 intensity levels
2 to 4 J/cm2
3 intensity levels
2 to 4 J/cm2
3 intensity levels
Sensor Activates only levels 1 &2 for dark skin
Won’t flash if too dark
No sensor
Start on LOW & move-up only if comfy
Do a skin ptch test!
No sensor
Start on LOW & move-up only if comfy
Do a skin ptch test!
Time per leg (Lowest intensity) 9 mins NA 20 mins (with 2 passes)
Lamp lifetime 15+ years for whole-body 10+ years small areas 120,000 flash model = 2 years whole-body
300,000 flash model = 5 years whole-body
Guarantee 🇺🇸 🇨🇦 60-days
🇬🇧 None

So, now let’s take a closer look at each device and what they’re like to use:

1. Silk’n Infinity

Best fast, affordable home IPL for all skin tones

👍 Face, small & large areas

Fitzpatrick colour scale I to VI showing it's safe for I to VI or all skin tones
Safe for ALL skin tones, Fitzpatrick types I to VI light to black skin
Works on black, dark brown, mid-brown and dark blonde body hair colours. Doesn't work on light blonde, red, white or gray body hair colours.
Works on black to dark blonde hair

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#1 because ✅ Clinically proven for ALL tones ✅ Fast sessions ✅ Decades of flashes ✅ UK’s most affordable

The Silk’n Infinity is my top recommendation for dark and black skin because it’s clinically proven, gives fast sessions and decades of flashes. It’s also one of the most affordable devices in the UK.

If you’ve missed how the Silk’n Infinity is safe for dark & black skin, find out here.

The mains-powered Infinity is light-weight, comfy and intuitive to grip with a large flash button and simple controls. There’s one medium-size flash window, which is good for most areas although it’s bulky and tricky to flash on the upper lip.

It’s decent quality with a flexible 180cm power cable. And I like the sturdy storage case too. The IPL bulb gives over 15 years of whole-body sessions too which is many more than you’ll need for decades of silky-smooth skin. And there’s a good 2-year warranty too.

Press the power button to scroll through the five intensity levels. Use the lower levels on dark skin. You can’t make a mistake because the clever skin tone sensor scans and activates only the lower intensity levels safe for your skin tone.

Place the window flush against your skin and flash, move to the next position and repeat. Cover your skin in flashes. Keep the flash button pressed for continuous flashes. I can flash my full leg on the lower intensities in around 9 minutes. That’s the fastest home IPL that’s safe for the darkest skin tones.

Unfortunately, there’s no UK money back guarantee. But buy from Silk’n in the US and Canada and you get a 60-days! So, you can try it and if it’s not for you return it for a refund.

Here’s a quick recap of the pros and cons of the Silk’n Infinity:

  • UK’s most affordable home device safe for the darkest skin tones
  • Clinically proven on all skin tones
  • Skin tone sensor let’s you use only safe intensities for your tone
  • Easy to use with fast sessions
  • Flashes last 15+ years of monthly use
  • 60-day money back guarantee in the US & Canada
  • Not FDA-cleared in the US for the darkest skin type VI
  • Slower results on the lower intensities/dark skin
  • No UK money back guarantee

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2. Iluminage Precise Touch

FDA-cleared for dark & black skin

👍 Face & small areas
❌ Not legs!

Fitzpatrick colour scale I to VI showing it's safe for I to VI or all skin tones
Safe for ALL skin tones, Fitzpatrick types I to VI light to black skin
Works on black, dark brown, mid-brown, dark blonde, light blonde and red body hair colours. Probably works on grey and white body hair colours too.
Clinically proven to work on black to red hair colours. Grey wasn’t tested but should work by the same principle.
#2 because ✅ FDA-cleared & clinically proven for ALL tones ✅ Very easy to use ✅ Best device for face

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If you’ve missed how the Precise Touch is safe for dark & black skin, find out here.

I recommend the Iluminage Precise Touch for dark and black skin users especially if you’ll treat your face and/or small body areas. That’s because it’s clinically proven and FDA-cleared safe for dark tones V and VI, it gives decades of flashes for small areas, and is particularly suited to facial use.

The Precise Touch is a mains-powered hand-held device. It’s very comfy to hold and easy to position despite a slightly bulky shape. The small flash window is the perfect size for your upper lip and is easy to flash around your chin and jaw too. It’s also good for underarms and bikini line.

It’s decent quality, although the mains-cable is a little thin and tangly. However, you get ample flashes for face and smaller areas lasting around 10 years of monthly use. It’s not suitable for legs and large areas as it uses up too many flashes and takes ages with the small flash window.

It very simple to use too. Choose from the three Elōs intensity levels, then and position flush on your skin. Wait for it to flash then move to the next spot. There’s no flash button to press – the flashes come on skin contact. Cover your skin in adjacent flashes, then repeat for a total 2 or 3 times. It’s quick on face and small body areas.

It’s also clinically proven to work on fair hair too, if you pluck the hairs immediately before zapping. The IPL then targets a microdot of blood left in the follicle. This is another reason I recommend it for facial treatments. I love it’ll keep working even if your facial hairs turn grey! You can also pluck fast growing dark facial hairs before zapping, but note it takes longer to see results!

Here’s a quick recap of pros and cons with the Iluminage Precise Touch:

  • Clinically proven & FDA cleared for ALL skin tones
  • Decent quality & comfy
  • Small accurate flash window & easy flashes
  • Decades of flashes for face & small areas
  • Works even if your dark facial hairs turn grey
  • Can pluck, wax, or epilate hairs before sessions
  • No money back guarantee
  • Not suited to large areas & legs

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3. Iluminage Touch

FDA-cleared for dark & black skin

👍 Face, small & large areas

Fitzpatrick colour scale I to VI showing it's safe for I to VI or all skin tones
Safe for ALL skin tones, Fitzpatrick types I to VI light to black skin
Works on black, dark brown, mid-brown, dark blonde, light blonde and red body hair colours. Probably works on grey and white body hair colours too.
Clinically proven to work on black to red hair colours. Grey wasn’t tested but should work by the same principle.
#3 because ✅ FDA-cleared for all tones ✅ Clinically-proven for all tones ✅ Very easy to use

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I recommend the Iluminage Touch for dark and black skin on small and large body areas because it’s clinically proven and FDA-cleared for all skin tones including V and VI and it’s very easy to use.

If you missed it earlier in the article, learn how the Iluminage touch is safe for dark and black skin tones here.

The Iluminage Touch works the same as the smaller Iluminage Precise Touch, but the design and operation is better if you’ll treat large areas as well as small.

The Touch’s mains-powered base unit and corded applicator design is slightly outdated, but it’s robust and very comfortable to use. The applicator-cord is durable, long, and supple, and the applicator itself compact, lightweight, and easy to manoeuvre around your body. The medium flash window (3cm2) fits most body areas, and the precision cap covers half for easier flashes on your upper lip.

There are two models; one with 120,000 and the other with 300,000 flashes. The first lasts around 2 years of monthly whole-body sessions and so is probably best for face and small areas. The latter around 5 years. These aren’t as good as the Silk’n Infinity, but decent enough and with a 1 or 2-year warranty depending where you buy it. Replacement flash cartridges are available. Unfortunately, there’s no money back guarantee.

Start LOW and progress up to Med or HIGH only if comfortable

It’s simple to work. Just chose your Elōs intensity level and place the flash window flush on your skin. Wait for it to flash then slide to the next position, covering your skin in adjacent flashes. Then repeat for a total 2 or 3 times. It flashes on skin contact, so there’s no button to press.

The flashes are fast on the lowest intensity – around one per second – so you can work to a steady pace. And it’s easy to get a flash too. However, it takes a while to cover your whole legs because you must do multiple passes. On the lowest intensity (with fastest flashes) it takes me around 20 minutes to flash one meticulous full leg with 2 passes.

Here’s a quick round-up of the pros and cons of the Iluminage Touch:

  • Clinically proven & FDA cleared for ALL skin tones
  • Gentle on dark skin
  • Robust & comfy
  • Lightweight applicator flashes on skin contact
  • Several years of flashes for whole-body
  • Time consuming on large areas like legs
  • It’s expensive at full UK RRP
  • No money back guarantee

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Pros & cons: The best devices for dark skin to type V

And for medium to dark tones up to Fitzpatrick type V, choose those above, or my next top pick is the affordable, fast and super-safe Braun Pro 3 IPL.

And if you’ve a bigger budget consider these runners up: the superb quality Lumea Prestige, or the super-safe and fast Smoothskin Pure and Braun Pro 5.

For medium to dark skin tones I also recommend (from left) Smoothskin Pure, Philips Lumea Prestige, Braun Pro 5 & especially the Braun Pro 3 IPL 🥇

Here’s a comparison of the key spec and performance data from my tests:

#4 Braun Pro 3 IPL Runner-up:
Philips Lumea Prestige
Runner-up:
Braun Pro 5 IPL
Runner-up:
Smoothskin Pure
Image
Type IPL IPL IPL IPL
Body areas 👍 Face, small & large areas 👍 Face, small & large areas 👍 Face, small & large areas 👍 Face, small & large areas
Weight & operation 260g
🔌 Mains-power
560g
🔌 Mains-power
🔋 & cordless
285g
🔌 Mains-power
270g
🔌 Mains-power
Power & modes 3 to 4 J/cm2
3 intensity levels
Gentle mode
2.5 to 6.5 J/cm2
5 intensity levels
3 to 6 J/cm2
10 intensity levels
Gentle mode
Extra gentle mode
3 to 6 J/cm2
10 intensity levels
Gentle mode
Speed mode
Sensor Auto-adjusts each flash
Won’t flash if too dark
Check & match
Won’t flash if too dark
Auto-adjusts each flash
Won’t flash if too dark
Auto-adjusts each flash
Won’t flash if too dark
Time per leg (Lowest intensity) 9 mins 9 mins 6.5 mins
(extra gentle mode)
7 mins
(with speed mode)
Lamp lifetime 15+ years 15+ years 15+ years 15+ years
Money back guarantee ✔ UK ✔ UK ✔ UK ✔ UK, US & CA, Australia

And now each one in more detail…

4. BRAUN PRO 3 IPL

Best for medium & dark skin (to type V)

👍 Face, small & large areas

Fitzpatrick skin tone chart showing it's safe for tones I to V, but not VI (the darkest).
Safe to use on light to medium dark skin tones (Fitzpatrick skin types I to V). Not safe for the darkest skin (type VI).
Works on black, dark brown, mid-brown and dark blonde body hair colours. Doesn't work on light blonde, red, white or gray body hair colours.
Works on black to dark blonde hair
#4 because ✅ Clinically proven & FDA-cleared for dark skin to type V ✅ Low to medium IPL matches mid/darker tones ✅ Fast & easy ✅ Super-safe

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The Pro 3 IPL is Braun’s affordable mid-range home IPL device and I think it’s a top choice for medium and dark skin up to type V. That’s because the low to medium strength IPL matches darker skin tones, it’s fast and easy, and super-safe.

It shares the same compact, comfortable ergonomic design as the more powerful and expensive Braun Pro 5 IPL, but in white and lilac. It’s mains-powered with a long and flexible cord. The flashes last 15+ years and it has excellent build quality.

Just like the Braun Pro 5, it has plug-&-zap simplicity with a clever and super-safe skin tone sensor. This auto-adjusts the three IPL power intensities before every flash to match your skin tone. There’s a gentle mode too. And the IPL range is low to medium which perfectly matches medium to dark skin. Therefore, you needn’t pay more for a high-power device (like the Braun Pro 5, Pure or Prestige) when you can’t use the high intensities anyway.

  • The highest intensity is 4 J/cm2 which is safe for light to medium-dark skin type IV
  • The lowest is 3 J/cm2 which matches darker tones up to type V
Gentle mode 'feather' button reduces the intensity for areas that can sting!
‘Feather’ gentle mode for if it stings

And sessions are fast, steady and accurate. On the lower intensities it takes under 9 minutes to flash a full leg. And if you live in the UK or Ireland there’s also a reassuring 100-day money back guarantee.

Here’s a quick round-up of the pros & cons of the Braun Pro 3 IPL, my top pick for medium to dark skin up to type V:

  • Super-safe skin tone sensor auto-adjusts gentle IPL to your skin
  • IPL range matches medium to dark skin (to type V)
  • More affordable than premium models (compared below!)
  • Compact, quality & fast sessions
  • Clinically proven, CE certified & FDA-cleared
  • 100-day money back guarantee in UK & Ireland
  • There aren’t any!

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5. The runners up for dark skin (to type V)

The Philips Lumea Prestige, Smoothskin Pure and Braun Pro 5 IPL are runners up for best home IPL devices safe for dark skin up to type V. You can safely use the lower IPL intensities with each. The Pro 3 IPL above beats them to the best spot because it matches their features and is usually a tad cheaper.

Prestige is the most precise & comfy device

The Prestige is my personal favourite because I love the comfy gun-shape, superb quality, corded and cordless use and easy-flash curved window (especially on legs). And although it will match your skin tone to the best intensity, I prefer the super-safe Braun Pro 5 and Smoothskin Pure for darker tones. That’s because they auto-adjust every IPL flash. So, if you have varied medium-dark tones around your body they’re a fool proof option. They’re lightweight but robust, simple, and the fastest home IPLs you can buy.

Pure & Pro 5 with gentle ode selected
Smoothskin Pure and Braun Pro 5 with fool proof flashes for varied tones around your body

However, bear in mind with darker skin tones they’ll flash low intensity IPL, so you can’t use the high levels. And whilst gentle mode gives you extra control to drop the intensity, you may not see a noticeable difference with the Pure’s low-intensity IPL speed mode (4 J/cm2) if it already flashes for you on the lowest IPL intensities.

And finally, the big draw with all these home devices is the money back guarantees with each. So, you can buy and test to see if they’re a good match. You’re covered in the UK with all, but in the US, Canada, or Australia only the Pure gives you a guarantee (90-days).

You can learn more about these runner-up devices on this page.

View all runner-up deals

To wrap up…

Have you decided which is best for you?

#1 Silkn Infinity #2 Iluminage Precise Touch #3 Iluminage Touch #4 Braun Pro 3 IPL

My top recommendations are:

  • Choose either the Iluminage Touch or Silk’n Infinity for safe home IPL sessions on dark and black skin. They good choices for large areas as well as small. The Silk’n Infinity is much more affordable in the UK, whereas in the US and Canada there’s little difference in cost compared to the Touch.
  • I rate the Iluminage Precise Touch if you’ll treat just your face and/or a few small body areas.
  • I think the Braun Pro 3 IPL is a top choice if your skin tone is medium to dark and varies across body areas. The low-to-mid intensity range is your perfect match, it’s super-safe, fool proof and excellent value. There’s a UK 100-day money back guarantee too.

And if you’ve got your heart set on the Prestige, Braun Pro 5 IPL and Smoothskin Pure, they’re smart choices too. I admire your style! You’re paying more for their high IPL intensities (which you can’t use), but they’re top-quality, fast choices. The guarantees are reassuring too.

I hope you found this comparison round-up helpful! You can get the full comparison spec & test report of these devices for keeps by signing up below. Or scroll a little further to view the deals.

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Safe For ALL skin tones

Silk'n Infinity best home IPl safe for dark & black skin

View Silk’n Infinity deals:
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🇺🇸 Amazon
🇺🇸 Silkn.com
🇨🇦 Silkn.ca

Iluminage Precise Touch best home IPL for face

View Iluminage Precise Touch deals:
🇬🇧 🌍 CurrentBody UK
🇺🇸 🇨🇦 🌍 SkinCare RX
🇺🇸 🇨🇦 🌍 SkinStore US
All with worldwide shipping options in checkout

Iluminage Touch IPL works on shaved, waxed, epilated or plucked hairs

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🇺🇸 🇨🇦 🌍 SkinStore US worldwide delivery in checkout
Use exclusive code WABBTOUCH
🇬🇧 🌍 CurrentBody UK worldwide delivery in checkout
🇦🇺 CurrentBody AU
🇺🇸 🇨🇦 CurrentBody US & CA

Safe for up to type V tones

Buy Braun Pro 3 IPL

View Braun Pro 3 deals:
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🇦🇺 Shavershop AU
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Smoothskin Pure Best ultrafast & value premium IPL

View Smoothskin Pure deals:
Use code BODYBEAUT
With 90-day guarantee
🇬🇧 CurrentBody UK
🇺🇸 🇨🇦 CurrentBody US & CA
🇩🇪 CurrentBody DE
🇦🇺 CurrentBody AU
🇦🇺 Shavershop AU (no code)

Braun silk Expert Pro 5 best fast & no-faff home IPL

View Braun Pro 5 IPL deals:
🇬🇧 CurrentBody UK
🇬🇧 Amazon UK 5124
🇬🇧 Amazon UK 5137
🇦🇺 CurrentBody AU
🇦🇺 Shavershop AU
🇺🇸 🇨🇦 CurrentBody US & CA
🇺🇸 Amazon 5137
🇨🇦 Amazon CA

Philips Lumea Prestige best overall home IPL

View Philips Lumea Prestige:
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🇦🇺 Shavershop AU
🇺🇸 🇨🇦 CurrentBody US & CA
🇺🇸 Amazon.com

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