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  • Writer's pictureV. Michel Buck

Reduce Body Hair with IPL

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

UPDATE: The one I purchased is no longer available for sale but I found a couple on Amazon for less than $100 with great reviews: Unit 1 Unit 2

IPL stands for Intense Pulse Light And I’ve seen these hand held at home units everywhere. So I thought I would give it a try. I purchased a cheap unit on eBay, took only 5 days to arrive at my door step.

IPL is used in a variety of skin treatments not just hair removal. This article by Healthline is pretty good and discusses IPL further.

I read that IPL can only be used on darker hair and light to medium skin, please review the listing thoroughly before you buy an IPL machine to make sure it will work with you. You also cannot use it on top of tattoos, so keep that in mind if you are thinking of IPL as an option for you.


My hair story:


I have that thin medium colored peach fuzz (also known as vellus hair) over most of my face. I dermaplane every couple months. I do shave my upper lip every 3-4 days, I'm pretty sure I trained my upper lip hair to grow faster.


The hair is slightly darker than my vellus hair, it grows to over half an inch so I’ve shaved the hair on my arms every two weeks since high school, in 2021, I graduated 20 years ago. I sometimes get bumps on the back of my upper arm but not always.


My upper legs get bad bumps when I shave so I don’t shave above the knee that often, every month in the warmer months but not really at all in winter.

Lower legs get shaved more often at about every 3-4 days in warmer months and once a month in winter.

My leg hair grows very quickly and is thick, I usually feel stubble within hours of shaving.


Very thick dark hair, prone to ingrown hair. I use an epilator and went from daily shaving to weekly epilating, much of the hair hasn’t grown back. This can be very painful and therefore do not epilate other parts of my body. *An epilator is an automatic tweezer system that pulls hair out from the roots.


Very thick dark hair. I have gone through 18 months of laser hair removal which was very painful and only effective in about 10% of the area as the rest of my hair has grown back. I have found that in the area I am prone to Folliculitis, which means that I get infections after the laser treatment and usually ended up burnt. I also am prone to regular ingrown hairs in this area.

Before Photos:

I wanted to try something at home that I could do myself. Although the laser hair removal did result in some hair not returning, the cost and pain of the procedure was too much for me to try on larger parts of my body. Influencers all over the internet talked about how great IPL is, but I wasn’t going to pay $300 for a unit that I was unsure would work for me. $32.99 and 5 days later, I received my generic IPL at my door step.

I hoped in the shower to shave my arms, face and legs, much like laser you need to be bare. I decided to use the IPL on the left side of my body only, for now at least. I avoided doing my bikini area because I’m on my cycle and didn’t want the mess.

This handheld device is cute, lightweight but you do need to be near a wall plug as it is wired and the wire isn’t super long. The instructions were not the best, they didn’t seem to completely match this unit but I figured it out. The on button is at the bottom of the unit and is tiny so you don’t accidentally hit it while in use; it was also the adjustment button for the light intensity. There was a digital display which told me which intensity it was at and how many flashes I had left. I bought this unit because of the claim of 999,999 flashes but I think when I started it, it was actually 999,199, so either there is a light out or someone used it exactly 900 times. They stated in the listing this discrepancy may happen.

This unit does not work unless you press it against your skin and press the button, which is great because you don’t want to accidentally flash your eyes. When in use, I literally had my eyes closed and face turned away. Mine didn’t come with the glasses and I didn't want to take any unnecessary risks. This unit will continue to go off on regular intervals if you hold the flash button for a few seconds. I like to just press the button over and over.

Intensity 1, day 1: 02/25/21

What does it feel like?

I had it on the lowest setting because I was afraid of the laser burn. Did it burn? No. The unit itself has a fan and got warm and after doing one leg, my face, it was a little warm to touch on my arm. The light pulse is quick and regenerates quickly, it feels like a quick burst of sunlight for a second. No pain but again on the lowest level.

How long did it take?

To do one leg, my arms and half my face, it took a total of 5 minutes.

Does it make you red?

It did not. Actually it didn’t make me flush at all.

After 1st treatment

Intensity 2, day 2: 03/02/21

What does it feel like?

I increased it to the second lowest setting since the lowest was painless. This second lowest setting was still painless but was more warm. I tried it on my genitals and it was much less painful than laser. I did my left arm, leg and face again. I am trying to see if there is a difference between the left side and right side. So far there isn't a noticeable difference.

How long did it take?

Again, it only took 5 minutes.

Does it make you red? Not at all. However, I did smell the faint smell of burning hair toward the end.

Intensity 3, day 3: 03/05/21

What does it feel like?

I increased it to the third setting, this is the middle setting. The heat is intensifying and the length between flashes was a second or two longer. I tried it on my genitals and in very sensitive spots I felt a painful tingle during. My other half and I both agree, there are starting to be patches where hair isn't growing back on my left leg. Additionally my leg is softer, almost more exfoliated.

How long did it take?

Again, it only took 5-7 minutes.

Does it make you red? Not at all. However, I did smell burning hair right away. I'm assuming that means its working.

Intensity 5, day 6: 03/22/21

What does it feel like?

I increased it to the highest setting. The heat is as intense as it was on the 3rd setting and the length between flashes was a second longer. I did my face, my arm and my leg, still on my left side. Still no pain, which I am very surprised by. My hair on my leg, which out of the three locations is the most coarse hair has grown in slower and is slightly patchier, this difference is very slight and is much less of a difference than when I did laser. That leg still feels softer and more exfoliated.

How long did it take?

Again, it only took 8 minutes. Remember the flashes at the high intensities are slower. I also have been doing shorter steps between skin, so I am overlapping on some sections.

Does it make you red? Not at all, which I am very surprised. The skin on my upper lip was sensitive for a minute at the higher intensity but that diminished quickly.

Intensity 5: 05/15/21

What does it feel like?

Still at the highest setting on everywhere but my genitals. I am still at setting 3 on my genitals and upper lip, I do these areas first so the head itself isn't hot to the touch because the skin is more sensitive in this area. Additionally, I stopped doing the rest of my face as I didn't see a difference in the vellus thin baby hairs. Pain on the highest setting is still very minimal, I found that the pain was only on little sections that are very sensitive anyway. Now that it's warmer outside, I find myself wearing shorts more and more. I have noticed that the hair grows slightly slower and more patchy, but marginally. There is not a significant difference, which is of course why I only did one side for a while. This process overall will take a while. With my hair being so coarse and grows quickly, I am sure it will take even longer than someone with less hair.

How long did it take?

I am doing my whole body (arms, legs, upper lip and genital area), instead of just one side. Which takes significantly longer, the higher the settings the longer between flashes. My whole body takes about 45 minutes at the highest setting. I usually watch something on my phone while doing this.

Does it make you red? Not at all, which I am very surprised. The skin on my upper lip was sensitive for a minute at the higher intensity but that diminished quickly.

**I will continue to update this blog as I keep going on my hair removal journey.

You’ll need to continue using it every so often because the growth phases of hair.

If you are worried about pain, this is a Lidocaine Cream that is over the counter, I purchased it to use for Laser hair removal and tattoos. Rub it on 45 minutes before, cover the area with plastic wrap, I usually add a light second coat 15 minutes before and re-cover it with the plastic wrap. This is unnecessary for me because the IPL wasn't painful for me at all.

I recommend cleaning the IPL head with alcohol before you plug it in and use it every time because it's right again your freshly shaved skin. I also recommend wiping your skin with witch hazel after to help decrease any possible pore clogging from bacterial.


Disclosure: I purchased all these items with my own money and the company had no prior knowledge to this promotion. All opinions are my own.

*I make a commission through any items you purchase through my Amazon Link(s).

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