I’ve Always Thought At-Home Laser Hair Removal Devices Were Total B.S. Until This One Got Rid of My Facial Hair in 4 Weeks

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I'm not exaggerating when I say I have tried every possible method to get rid of the thick, dark hairs on my face (f***king hormones)—which is why I feel confident saying that they all kind of suck. Waxing and threading are painful, tweezing is tedious, shaving rips my dry skin to shreds, Nair smells like rotten eggs, pro-grade lasers are so expensive and time-consuming (and also painful) that I've found them not to be worth it, and at-home IPL devices almost never work.

But, because my facial hair makes me so self-conscious (... I'll never forget the time a boy in middle school called out my "goatee" in front of the entire class. To this day, I've never been so embarrassed), I've always just sort of suffered through the removal process, which meant testing out all sorts of different options in the hopes of finding one that wasn't truly terrible.

Experts In This Article

And finally—finally!—my search is over thanks to the Rose Skin Co Lumi IPL Hair Removal Handset ($229).

Rose Skin Co, Lumi IPL Hair Removal Handset — $229.00

Originally $229, now $199 (at time of publication)


  • Works quickly and effectively (real results!)
  • Is cheaper than in-office treatment
  • Chic and discreet
  • Painless
  • Fast and easy to use


  • Isn’t designed with all skin tones in mind, which is disappointing
  • Takes a couple/few weeks to see results (vs. a solution that’s meant to be immediate)

How IPL lasers work

Photo: Zoe Weiner

IPL—or "intense pulse light"—is one of the most common forms of at-home and in-office laser hair removal tech (and the type that's used in Rose Skin Co Lumi's device).

"It uses pulses of light to destroy the hair down to the root," says Saime Demirovic, co-founder of Glo Spa in New York City. It does this by targeting and destroying the pigment in the hair follicle. "These laser-light pulses create heat which damages the hair follicle until it is permanently destroyed. You're exposing the targeted hair follicle to a high-energy beam of light without injuring the surrounding skin structures."

While you can turn to a professional (like a dermatologist, esthetician, or medspa) for this type of treatment, the Rose Skin Co Lumi packs all of this into an ergonomic, easy-to-hold device that's basically the size of my hand. There are six different intensity levels (which you can adjust with the tap of a button) and the brand recommends starting at the lowest and increasing one step every week.

Does IPL work for all skin types?

Though IPL lasers are great in many ways, they come with one major issue: They work best when there's a stark contrast between your skin and hair. This means that if you have light skin and light hair, or dark skin and dark hair, they likely won't be as effective.

This is particularly problematic for those with darker skin tones, as IPL lasers aren't able to differentiate between the melanin in the hair follicle and the melanin in the skin. Because of this, those with melanin-rich skin are at an increased risk of experiencing burns, scarring, hypopigmentation (light spots on your skin), and other reactions when treated with an IPL.

Understandably, this is one of the biggest bones I have to pick with the Rose Skin Co Lumi device—I really wish that it could work on all skin tones, and it's frustrating to see that the tech isn't quite there yet.

Is IPL permanent?

While choosing to remove hair with an IPL laser will give you longer-lasting results than shaving or waxing, these types of treatments aren't technically permanent. Generally speaking, you'll need multiple sessions to see full results—ideally performed weekly over 6 to 12 weeks, but the number of treatments you need may vary depending on the condition of your skin and body hair.

Once the initial treatment protocol is finished (meaning that all the hair is gone), you'll need to treat yourself to maintenance sessions every 6 to 12 months, or whenever you notice new hair growth. When you stop using the laser, the hair will eventually grow back, but it will likely be softer and sparser than what you started with.

IPL vs. laser hair removal

IPL is just one type of laser hair removal, and may not be the best choice for everyone (especially those with darker skin tones). A few other options worth considering:

1. Diode laser

Diode lasers, which are available for both at-home and in-office treatments, work similarly to IPL lasers, but use a single wave-length of light instead of broad spectrum. This allows for faster, more precise treatments, and makes the laser more effective on melanin-rich skin.

2. Alexandrite laser

Like Diode lasers, Alexandrite lasers emit a single (shorter) wavelength of light that's easily absorbed by the melanin in your hair follicles, which makes it easier to treat specific areas and requires fewer treatments than other lasers. However, because this type of laser needs a high hair/skin contrast to work, it's best for those who have light skin and dark hair (and may cause pigmentation changes on darker skin types).

3. Nd:YAG laser

According to pros, this is the best bet for those with darker skin tones and coarse hair, as it operates on a longer wavelength (1064 nm) than other lasers on the market. "This particular wavelength is safest for skin of color because the wavelength penetrates the skin deeply enough to destroy the hair follicles without destroying the surrounding melanocytes [which are the cells in your skin that produce pigment]," says DiAnne Davis, MD, FAAD, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist located in Dallas, TX.  However, it may require more sessions to see full results, and treatments tend to come along with some discomfort.

How to use the Rose Skin Co Lumi

To get the best results from the Rose Skin Co Lumi, you'll want to start with clean, dry skin, and be sure that whatever hair you want to remove is completely shaved (this will make it easier for the IPL to hit it directly at the root).

When you turn the machine on—which you can do with the press of a button—you'll hear it start to whir. From there, you can choose between three modes: Stamp (which requires you to press the button any time you want to zap a spot and is best for smaller, more targeted areas like the bikini line, face, and underarms), Glide (in which you hold down the button and the device zaps every half-second, and is recommended for larger areas like the arms and legs), and Auto (which is basically the same as Glide, except you don't have to hold down the button).

How often you use the device is entirely up to you, but the brand recommends opting for a once-a-week cadence. You should start to see results after the first three to four uses, and can expect to be bald in all the right places after 12 sessions.

What happened when I tried it

Given how many times I've been disappointed by at-home hair removal devices, my expectations for the Lumi were very low when it showed up on my doorstep two months ago. But when I pulled it out of the box, I was pleasantly surprised by how gosh-darn cute it was—and already decided that it had a leg-up on its competitors simply for the fact that it's small enough to fit in my bathroom cabinet (if I have to go digging for a device, there is a zero percent chance that I'm ever going to use it, and consistency is key with laser hair removal).

I went back and forth over which area I wanted to test the device on, but ultimately decided on my face—I was a little bit nervous that it was going to eff up my skin or cause discoloration (which can happen with IPL), but ultimately I figured it would be the fastest area to treat which meant I'd be wasting the least amount of time if it didn't work. Like I said, I had basement-level hopes for how well this thing would work, despite knowing that my olive skin and very dark hair make me an ideal candidate.

For my first treatment, I cranked up the power to a level 3 (... only because I'm impatient, and figured I'd be fine because I've gotten IPL before), put the device in stamp mode, and got to work. I moved it along my freshly-shaved chin, jawline, cheeks, and mustache (... I've got a lot of facial hair, you guys), and pressed the button every quarter-of-an-inch or so. It didn't hurt at all—it mostly just felt like a quick little zap and flash of light—which was a welcome surprise given that I had to bail on a pro-grade program a few years ago because it was too painful.

Given that I'd had such bad experiences with at-home laser hair removal devices in the past, I honestly thought I was imagining things a few days later when my facial hair seemed to be growing in thinner—typically it takes weeks to see results from these things (that is if they ever even happen at all). But I kept at it with once-a-week treatments at progressively higher power levels, and by my sixth session, the hair growth had slowed to nearly a halt. For context, I used to have to shave my face every other day—now, after two months with the Lumi, I can get away with an IPL session every other week.

Though the results are technically permanent, you've still got to keep them up (which is why I continue to use the device pretty regularly). Eventually, it should get to the point where I only need to do touch-ups every few months, but we're still a ways away from that.

After seeing such success with my facial hair, I've started to use the Lumi on other parts of my body (my legs, underarms, and bikini line), though it hasn't been long enough for any real results to set in.

The benefits of at-home IPL with the Rose Skin Co Lumi

For what it's worth, I'm not the only one who views the Rose Skin Co Lumi as such a game-changer. The device has a solid five-star rating on Rose Skin Co's website, with multiple users calling it a great investment (and though $169 may seem steep, it's certainly less than the cost of a pro-grade treatment regimen and will run you about the same as nine $20 mustache wax sessions).

"I've used my handset three 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 had to shave my face every single day for years and I was absolutely fed up with it (as any woman would be). The facial hair and shaving every day is a jab to my self-esteem and made me feel manly to an extent," writes one reviewer. "Obsessed with the convenience of using this product! The Lumi changes the game for at-home hair removal. It's so quick and easy to use and not painful at all. So far I've seen a reduction in how quickly my hair grows back! Really impressed with this device and I can't wait to see my results after 12 weeks!'" says another.

Considering I've spent decades knuckling through expensive, painful, and ineffective treatments for the sake of getting rid of my facial hair, it makes me almost emotional to think that I've finally found something that doesn't just *not* suck, but is actually pretty dang amazing.

But wait, there's more!
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