A look at the options of shaving, waxing, epilating or plucking before home IPL /laser hair removal sessions by WeAreBodyBeautiful.com

Do you have to shave before IPL & laser hair removal?

Shaving your hairs before home laser or IPL sessions gives hands-down your best results. But for some people it’s just not practical. You’ll understand why if you’re left with angry-red red shaving rash, lumps and bumps, or itchy irritation. And, being a lady, it feels uncomfortably masculine to shave your face.

So, are there other options? Let’s find out. In this article you’ll learn:

Why is shaving best?

Most people turn to home laser or IPL because they want to stop shaving. So, it’s a tad frustrating you can’t avoid it during your first sessions. But it really is worth the short-term pain for the long-term results.

Gillette razor, dermaplaning tool and tweezers beside the latest home IPL machines
Shaving & dermaplaning your face before your IPL and laser sessions works best.

This is why is works best:

Shaving cuts your hairs super-close to your skin. Therefore, there’s no hair on the surface to absorb the pulses or flashes of light energy. It’s all directed down the hair shaft, deep inside your follicle where it needs to be. There, it converts to heat and damages key areas of the follicle, which stunts your hair growth and keeps it in a dormant state. So, you enjoy smooth skin everyday.

TIP: You can also shave as much as you need in between IPL/laser sessions.

So don’t be tempted to leave your hair there. Oh no.

What happens if you laser or IPL without shaving?

Nothing good is the short answer. And in more detail:

#1 The first thing you’ll notice is a hot pain where you flash, as the light energy burns the surface hairs. And this causes a stinging sensation, or can simply burn your skin. It’s very, very unpleasant. Owie.

#2 The next thing you’ll notice is the foul, lingering stench of burning hair. No one in your home will thank you for this.

#3 Then you’ll notice bits of burnt-on hair welded to the flash window. They look like large black spots and are tricky to impossible to clean off without damaging the window.

#4 is the most important reason. It won’t work. If there’s hair on the surface, a lot less light energy makes it deep into the follicle. Those key areas of the hair follicle remain cool and untouched, so they go about their business building and growing your hairs.

So, that’s why you really must remove those surface hairs before laser and IPL. It means the IPL flashes and laser pulses can do their thang.

But do I have to shave my face?

So, shaving your body hair gives your very best results. But shaving your face is so masculine!

Shave your facw before IPL/laser sessions - er, no thanks
I don’t think so.

I know. In the past, I’ve shaved my face several times before zapping my unwelcome chinny hairs. And it’s not something I like to remember or repeat. But thankfully, there is another painless and effective option.

Instead of shaving your face I recommend dermaplaning.

A Hollywood Browzer dermaplaning tool in front of the best home laser & IPL devices for facial hair removal
I recommend Hollywood Browzer dermaplaning tool to remove facial hairs & whiskers

A dermaplaning tool is a teeny hand-held foldable plastic knife with a sharp stainless-steel blade behind safety guards.  It’s a very quick and irritation-free way to remove unwanted hair on your face. It also exfoliates your skin removing the outer dry layer. So, it feels touchably smooth and is extra absorbent for your skincare products. Whoop!

close up of the Hollywood Browzer sharp blade behind safety bars for no nicks or cuts
Sharp stainless-steel blade behind safety bars – no nicks or cuts!

How to use a dermaplaning tool

  1. Wash & dry your skin
  2. Hold the blade at 45 degrees against your skin.
  3. Gently stroke your skin in short downward motions to remove hair, peach-fuzz, and dead skin cells.

It’s easy to stroke away peach-fuzz. You’ll even see the tiny hairs piling-up on your skin and the blade after each stroke. Simply wipe them away. On thicker hairs it drags a little but doesn’t scrape or hurt.

It's easy to quickly remove peach-fuzz and thicker facial hairs ofrom your ladytache with a Hollywood Browzer or other dermaplaning tool
Bye-bye lady tache!

It works on your upper lip, chin, jawline, sideburns, and cheeks. No water or foam needed. And it’s excellent to tame your eyebrows for a quick shape and tidy-up. Hairs grow back at your usual rate, but they feel softer than with shaving. For me, my thick whiskers feel much less sharp and stubbly, and I’ve no irritation in using the tool the next day on the same hairs.

Each tool stays sharp for around 2 to 3 months, which is long enough to see you through your start-up treatment schedule.

The Hollywood Browzer tool comes with a small case so it's good to pop in your bag for use on the go
Small & fits in your bag for on-the-go emergencies to remove random stray hairs!

I like dermaplaning because:

  • No need to lather up your face with foam.
  • The tool is small and easy to manoeuvre.
  • It’s discrete (fits in a bag)
  • Doesn’t feel or look like a man shaving.
  • It’s quick, painless and effective, without any nicks or cuts.
  • You can use mid-session on stray body hairs.
  • Hair grows back at your natural rate, but feels softer than with shaving.
  • You can also use the tool daily in between your zapping sessions until you don’t need to anymore.
I love to deraplane. I do it regularly.
I love dermaplaning, me.

I think dermaplaning is THE perfect companion to laser and IPL hair removal on your face.

Buy Hollywood Browzer:

🇬🇧 Amazon UK
🇺🇸 Amazon.com

Buy other dermaplaning tools:

(They’re cheaper, but not as sharp)
🇬🇧 Amazon UK
🇺🇸 Amazon.com

However, if your facial hairs simply grow too quick, dermaplaning may not be athe answer. You may wish to continue your daily plucking routine alongside a home device until your hairs slow and stop growing.

And what if you can’t shave beacuse of irritation? Let’s see what your options are, next.

Can I pluck, wax, or epilate instead?

A barbaric torture device with rotary tweezers to pluck body hairs from your skin. I used one of these for years. What was I thinking..?
It hurts just looking at it.

Most brands recommend you shave (or dermaplane) your hairs before your sessions. However, a few do say you can wax, epilate or pluck your hairs beforehand. Here’s a quick table comparison of shaving vs pluck/wax/epilate for all devices I’ve reviewed:

Device Shave or dermaplane Pluck/wax/epilate Notes
Iluminage Precise Touch IPL ℹ Wax/pluck/epilate immediately before zapping
ℹ Results are much faster on shaved hair
ℹ You must pluck/wax/epilate fair hairs
Iluminage Touch IPL ℹ Wax/pluck/epilate immediately before zapping
ℹ Results are much faster on shaved hair
ℹ You must pluck/wax/epilate fair hairs
Philips Lumea Prestige IPL ℹ Zap 24 hours after you wax/pluck/epilate
Braun Pro 5 IPL ℹ No specific guidance, but you should zap 24 hours after you wax/pluck/epilate
Braun Pro 3 IPL ℹ No specific guidance, but you should zap 24 hours after you wax/pluck/epilate
Smoothskin Pure IPL ℹ Not recommended by Smoothskin, but should work just as well as Braun Pro 5, & with a worldwide money back guarantee too.
Smoothskin Bare+ IPL
Panasonic ES-WH90 IPL
Silk'n Infinity IPL
Tria 4X laser

IMPORTANT: DON’T USE HAIR REMOVAL CREAMS because most brands suggest they may cause skin reactions with the light energy.

Let’s now look at the devices which say you can wax, epilate or pluck your hairs before your sessions.

Philips & Braun advise you can shave, wax, epilate or pluck your hairs t6hen zap 24 hours later. you can also try the Smoothskin Pure because it's similar to the Braun Pro 5.
✅ Pluck ✅ wax ✅ Epilate or ✅ shave on skin tone types I to V, but expect much slower results

Philips say you can pluck, wax or epilate before your sessions. However, you must then wait 24 hours before zapping your hairs. This allows any skin redness and irritation to fade, and for a tiny bit of hair to regrow in your hair follicles.

This tiny bit of hair absorbs the IPL flashes and damages a small area called the dermal papilla, at the bottom of the hair follicle where your hairs grow from. If the damage is big enough, the hair enters into a dormant resting stage. And during subsequent sessions you’ll zap any newly growing hairs inside your follicles too.

Braun say you can “use your preferred hair removal method.” But they don’t offer any further guidance as Philips do. It’s likely it’ll work in the same way as Philips suggest, so it’s probably wise to wait 24 hours before zapping freshly waxed or plucked skin.

Smoothskin only recommend you shave your hairs. However, the Pure’s specification is similar to the Braun Pro 5. Therefore, you could try the Pure if waxing, epilating or plucking 24 hours before zapping. They give a reassuring worldwide 90-day money back guarantee too.

👉 But it’s also important to understand that you’ll have much slower results with these devices than if you shave. And especially if you’re using the lower intensity levels on dark skin up to type V.

This means a longer start-up phase and more frequent top-ups. That’s because there’s just a tiny hair root and so much less melanin in the hair follicle versus the entact shaft of a shaved hair. Therefore, they’ll be much less of the crucial damage needed to the key growing areas of the follicle which inturn ensure longer-lasting hair removal.

Both Philips & Braun clinical tests were on shaved hairs.

And it’s also important to note that for both Philips and Braun devices, plucking, waxing and epilating were not part of their clinical tests. But there is one brand which does have clinical proof of effective hair reduction on plucked hairs.

Let’s look at these next.

Iluminage devices proven to work on plucked hairs

The Iluminage Touch and Precise Touch are clinically proven effective on fair hair (blonde and red) if you pluck, wax, or epilate immediately before your sessions. This helps the IPL work on hair colours without the melanin pigment found in dark hair. Instead, the IPL energy targets the small blood droplets left behind in the follicle after it’s pulled out.

Pluck with tweezers then zap with the Iluminage Precise Touch - it works but takes longer than with shaving.
I recommend the Iluminage Precise Touch if you want to zap plucked facial hairs

This clinically proven fair hair regimen also means you can wax, epilate or pluck dark hairs too. Yay! So, this makes the compact Iluminage Precise Touch a versatile option if you want to continue daily plucking of facial hairs. And for larger and small areas, the design of the Iluminage Touch is better.

The Iluminage Touch is better suited to hair removal on large areas as well as face and small areas
Wax or epilate larger body areas and then zap with the Iluminage Touch

However, be prepared you’ll likely need more than the advertised seven sessions to see results. That’s because to start, there’s just a teeny droplet of blood in your follicle for the IPL to work on. Then, as your dark hairs grow in your follicle there’s more melanin to target during subsequent sessions. It’s likely to take somewhere between 7 to 14 sessions to get smooth results.

Here’s a comparison table of the treatment schedules for each device where you can pluck before sessions.

Device # of start-up sessions Frequency Top-ups
Iluminage Precise Touch 7 for shaved, dark hair
7 to 14 for fair hair & plucked hairs
Weekly As needed, usually every 4 weeks
Iluminage Touch 7 for shaved, dark hair
7 to 14 for fair hair & plucked hairs
Weekly As needed, usually every 4 weeks
Philips Lumea Prestige 4 or 5 for shaved, dark hair
5+ for plucked hairs
1 every 2 weeks Start monthly, then as needed
Braun Pro 5 IPL 6 to 12 for shaved, dark hair
Up to 12 or 12+ for plucked hairs
Weekly Start monthly, then as needed
Braun Pro 3 IPL 6 to 12 for shaved, dark hair
Up to 12 or 12+ for plucked hairs
Weekly As needed, usually every 2 to 4 weeks
Smoothskin Pure IPL 6 to 12 for shaved, dark hair
Up to 12 or 12+ for plucked hairs
Weekly Start monthly, then as needed

To sum up & devices you can choose

Here’s a quick roundup for those who skipped straight to the end.

  • If you can, shave your dark hairs immediately before your session.
  • I recommend dermaplaning facial hairs before your sessions.
  • Dermaplane away any speedy, rogue growth inbetween sessions too.

And if shaving is intolerably bad for your skin so you must wax, epilate or pluck before your sessions:

  • Check out the Iluminage Precise Touch for face and small areas.
  • Or the Iluminage Touch for larger body areas.
  • Both Iluminage devices are clinically proven to work on hairs removed at the root.
  • But it may take slightly longer for you to notice results
  • Or take more frequent sessions to maintain your smooth.

Here’s a quick comparison table of the best devices you can choose as mentioned in this article, for shaving, waxing, epilating or plucking your hairs before your IPL session.

Iluminage Precise Touch Iluminage Touch Philips Lumea Prestige Braun Pro 5 Braun Pro 3 Smoothskin Pure
Image
Body 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
Safe skin tones Safe for all skin tones, light to the very darkest Safe for all skin tones, light to the very darkest Safe for light to dark skin Fitzpatrick types 1 to 5, but not on the darkest skin type 6 Safe for light to dark skin Fitzpatrick types 1 to 5, but not on the darkest skin type 6 Safe for light to dark skin Fitzpatrick types 1 to 5, but not on the darkest skin type 6 Safe for light to dark skin Fitzpatrick types 1 to 5, but not on the darkest skin type 6
Hair colours Works on all hair colours, but you must remove fair hairs at the root for it to work Works on all hair colours, but you must remove fair hairs at the root for it to work Works on dark hair colours, black to dark blonde Works on dark hair colours, black to dark blonde Works on dark hair colours, black to dark blonde Works on black, dark brown, mid-brown, and dark blonde hair colours. May work on light blonde hair (if it's not white-blonde).
Proven? 🏆 Clinically proven on shaved & plucked hairs 🏆 Clinically proven on shaved & plucked hairs Clinically proven on shaved hairs Clinically proven on shaved hairs Clinically proven on shaved hairs Clinically proven on shaved hairs
What I like ✅ Safe for ALL skin tones
✅ Works on all hair colours
✅ Easy to use
✅ Recommended for face
✅ Safe for ALL skin tones
✅ Works on all hair colours
✅ Easy to use
✅ Superb quality
✅ Fast & easy
✅ Most precise & comfy
✅ Excellent quality
✅ Straightforward
✅ Fast & easy
✅ Excellent quality
✅ Straightforward
✅ Fast & easy
✅ Good for medium to dark skin
✅ Excellent quality
✅ Straightforward
✅ Fastest & easiest home IPL

View deals

When you shop via my links I earn a small commission (but your price stays the same). And I really appreciate your support 🙏!

Iluminage Precise Touch best home IPL for face

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

Iluminage Touch deals:
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Smoothskin Pure Best ultrafast & value premium IPL

Smoothskin Pure deals:
Use code BODYBEAUT
With 90-day guarantee
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🇦🇺 Shavershop AU (no code)

Philips Lumea Prestige best overall home IPL

Philips Lumea Prestige deals:
🇬🇧 CurrentBody UK
🇬🇧 Amazon UK
🇦🇺 CurrentBody AU
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🇺🇸 Amazon.com

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

Braun Pro 5 IPL deals:
🇬🇧 CurrentBody UK
🇬🇧 Amazon UK
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🇦🇺 Shavershop AU
🇺🇸 🇨🇦 CurrentBody US & CA
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Buy Braun Pro 3 IPL

Braun Pro 3 deals:
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🇦🇺 Shavershop AU
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🇨🇦 Amazon CA

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