The Best IPL Hair Removal

We’ve done the testing, and we’ll share all of the pros and cons as well as the science behind IPL devices to help you pick the best one for your hair removal needs.

Last updated: Apr 10th, 2024
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Best Ipl Devices Group

Photo by Innerbody Research

We care a lot about our hair. When it starts to leave our heads, we might panic and do whatever we can to keep it, from oral medications and topical serums to full-on surgical procedures. But when it crops up where we don’t want it, we do whatever we can to get rid of it.

The problem is that hair removal techniques tend to be tedious, painful, expensive, or some combination of those three. Shaving only lasts so long, and it can lead to cuts and razor burn. Waxing and tweezing are best reserved for true masochists. And laser hair removal and electrolysis can be costly and time-intensive treatments, reducing their accessibility for many people.

This is where IPL devices come in. Using Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), these handheld tools aim to provide laser-like results at home without pain and at a reasonable expense. But how do they work, and are they truly effective? Our testing team tried them out so you can decide if they’re right for you.

If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick breakdown of our recommendations:

Summary of recommendations

  • Best overall: Ulike Air 3
  • Best budget pick: Nood The Flasher 2.0
  • Best for sensitive skin: Ulike Air 3
  • Best for bathing suit areas: RoseSkinCo Lumi
  • Best for men: JOVS Venus Pro II
  • Easiest to use: SmoothSkin Pure FIT
  • Best for travel: JOVS Mini 1.1
Our Top Pick

The Ulike Air 3 offers a winning combination of power, comfort, and versatility, performing excellently in sensitive areas.

Our testers found the Ulike Air 3 to be the best overall IPL device. While this newer model comes with only 3 power settings, its top-notch cooling (thanks to the use of sapphire crystal) allows you to use the highest setting in sensitive areas effectively. Excellent ergonomics, a lengthy cord, and a just-right treatment window size help it rise to the top. Ulike’s lengthier, 2-year warranty helps, too.

Table of Contents

In this Review

Why you should trust us

At Innerbody Research, we take every opportunity to test the products and services we review. For this guide to IPL devices, we purchased and used the devices ourselves on various body parts to evaluate ease of use, efficacy, and more. That process also gives us unique insights into the customer experience, including things like available support and shipping times, among other things.

On top of our hands-on testing, our team devoted more than 200 hours to reading and discussing scientific research around hair removal in general and IPL technology in particular. Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

How we evaluated IPL devices

To evaluate these IPL devices for hair removal, we established a set of useful criteria we feel anyone could use to determine whether a given model is right for them. Normally, efficacy would take center stage, but our testing experience confirmed that the IPL devices in this guide are all effective at removing unwanted hair. That wasn’t too much of a surprise, as the power output of these devices is mostly similar, with each operating in a range that includes levels shown to be effective in research. So, each should produce the desired effects, at least at their highest intensity levels. That’s why we led with handling, which looks at ergonomics and features designed to make using an IPL device faster and easier.

After that, we homed in on safety, and subtle differences among these products make some far less likely to cause minor injuries possible with IPL treatment, whether mild skin irritation or ocular discomfort. After that, we considered cost and convenience, two aspects of the customer process that can make or break a decision if a pair of similar models catches your eye.

Let’s take a closer look at each criterion to see what products came out on top.


Winner: Ulike Air 3

When we first looked into these devices, the rotating head on the JOVS Venus Pro II intrigued us and led us to assume it might win a handling category. While that rotating head makes the Venus Pro II especially useful for facial and back applications, it makes the device a little too top-heavy to use comfortably on the most commonly treated IPL area: the legs. Our testers found that choking up on the handle a bit or even holding the device by the rotating head made it much easier to use on the legs, but the Ulike Air 3’s ergonomics proved superior for the most common applications.

Another aspect of handling we considered was the length of each device’s power cord. Depending on where you want or need to perform these treatments and the location of the nearest outlet, the length of that cord can make these sessions much easier or much harder. Ulike and JOVS use power bricks halfway along their power cords rather than at the plug end. That makes it easier to plug into an outlet or power strip that has other large plugs already in it. It also provides a weighted base into which the device itself plugs. The advantage here goes to Ulike, as the power cord design doesn’t help with the Venus Pro II’s top-heaviness.

The total length of this combination is about 8.5 feet for both the JOVS and the Ulike, which is right in line with the average length:

Power cord lengthPower brick location
RoseSkinCo Lumi9ft.Plug
Ulike Air 33ft. 4in., then 5ft. 3in. for a total 8ft. 7in.Midway
JOVS Venus Pro II3ft. 4in., then 5ft. 4in. for a total 8ft. 8in.Midway
Smoothskin Pure Fit6ft.Plug

One last aspect we consider to be a part of handling is the size of the treatment window through which the light of the xenon arc lamp passes. The smaller this window is, the more flashes you’ll need to cover a given treatment area. However, the larger this window is, the harder it can be to treat smaller areas like the upper lip or bathing suit zones.

The range of window sizes among the models in our guide runs from 3 cm² to 3.5 cm²(1.2in. to 1.4in.). Ulike and RoseSkinCo offer devices with something of a Goldilocks measurement, coming in at 3.3 cm². That’s small enough to use in tighter areas and large enough to speed the process up on the legs, chest, or back.


Winner: SmoothSkin Pure FIT

IPL itself is relatively safe, specifically related to your skin tone. The technology works by creating an intense light that is absorbed by certain melanin-specific pigments. The lighter your skin, the less it will absorb, leaving more light to be absorbed by the hair. But the devices won’t do you much good if your hair is also light. We’ll get into the details of this a little more down below, but it’s important to note that any of these devices pose a risk of skin irritation — akin to a sunburn — that increases the darker your skin is.

So, if skin tone is the primary determining factor in safety, how did we compare these devices against one another in this category? Well, one device in this guide — the SmoothSkin Pure FIT — utilizes a skin tone sensor to evaluate the skin it comes in contact with and adjust power levels accordingly.

Insider Tip: All of the devices in our guide feature eye safety sensors that prevent the devices from firing when it’s not in contact with the skin. That said, the flashes are very bright and some light can leak out from the edges, making it a good idea to wear sunglasses or goggles provided by a manufacturer.

The other thing about IPL devices is that the bulbs they use generate a lot of heat, and that heat can get uncomfortable during use. Every one of these companies employs internal fans to keep the bulbs as cool as possible, but some take this effort a step further, placing a sheet of sapphire crystal between the bulb and your skin.

This sapphire crystal is clear, not blue like sapphire gems. It’s the same material used in high-end watches, thanks to its incredible scratch resistance. But it’s also extremely good at dissipating heat. Our testers noticed a significant difference in the heat response generated by sapphire models like the Ulike Air 3 and JOVS models. Unfortunately, the Pure FIT does not employ a sapphire crystal, but that wasn't quite enough to knock it off the mantle for safety, thanks to its reliable skin tone sensor.


Winner: Nood The Flasher 2.0

While there are some cheap alternatives you can find on Amazon, IPL devices you can trust to be safe and effective typically cost at least a couple hundred dollars. Two of the models in our guide come in just under that, though.

Nood’s The Flasher 2.0 and the RoseSkinCo Lumi both cost $169 on either company’s website. These are the two lowest prices among the IPL devices in our guide. So, how did we choose one over the other in terms of cost?

Ultimately, this came down to a few small details that speak more to the value that Nood offers over RoseSkinCo. While both models cost the same, come with free shipping, and give you a 90-day money-back guarantee, The Flasher 2.0 is the more enjoyable product to use; it handles better and offers more power levels for fine adjustment.

Nood also offers a few bundles and subscriptions to its pre-treatment and moisturizing creams, giving you an opportunity to save a little more than you could if you used RoseSkinCo’s supplemental products.


Winner: Ulike Air 3

While things like comfort during use and handling could be considered elements of convenience, when we measure an IPL device’s convenience here, we’re referring to things like treatment times, automatic modes, included accessories, and anything else that might make your ordering, use, and troubleshooting of an IPL device easier.

To these ends, Ulike stands apart thanks to the inclusion of some excellent accessories, including:

  • A protective storage case
  • Sunglasses to protect your eyes during treatment
  • A razor to prep the treatment area
  • Moisturizing cream for after the treatment

Some other companies include one or two of these elements, with JOVS coming the closest to meeting the list, but Ulike provides it all.

Ulike’s advertised full-body treatment time is also 12 minutes, compared to up to 30 minutes from competitors. It’s important to remember that these times apply to people who have been using their devices for a little while and have mastered auto-glide modes. None of our testers attempted a true full-body treatment, but our eventual comfort with the process leads us to believe the companies’ estimates are close to accurate.

How our top IPL devices compare

There are a lot of similarities among our top IPL devices, but their differences are critical enough that each occupies its own niche and will surely be appropriate for one customer or another. Here’s a quick breakdown of some key features:

Ulike Air 3
JOVS Venus Pro II
JOVS Mini Wireless
Nood The Flasher 2.0
RoseSkinCo Lumi
Smoothskin Pure Fit
Power levels
Number of extra filter tips
Treatment window size
3.3 sq cm
3.5 sq cm
3.4 sq cm
3 sq cm
3.3 sq cm
3 sq cm
Sunglasses included?
Skin tone sensor?
Advertised full-body treatment time
12 minutes
10 minutes
10-20 minutes
30 minutes
10 minutes
Sapphire crystal cooling
2 years
1 year
1 year
1 year
1 year
2 years
Money-back guarantee
90 days
90 days
90 days
90 days
90 days
Cord length

What are IPL devices?

The IPL devices in this guide are handheld tools designed to help their users get rid of unwanted body hair, whether that be on the legs, face, bathing suit area, or anywhere else. They tend to be more expensive than things like waxing kits, epilators, or most electric shavers, but they offer more pronounced benefits or longer-lasting results than those other options. And compared to waxing, in particular, IPL presents a way to get rid of hair that’s far less painful.

While its use isn’t limited to hair removal, intense pulsed light (IPL) is especially effective at preventing new hair growth in areas where you may prefer not to have to shave or wax on a regular basis.

How do IPL devices work?

IPL devices are designed to be operated one-handed by the person receiving the treatment, so you can perform these sessions on yourself as long as you can reach the area you want to treat. They offer varying power levels that can achieve different results depending on several factors, including your skin tone and hair color.

These devices contain xenon gas arc lamps that produce incredibly bright flashes of light. In front of those lamps is a color filter that narrows the frequency of light passing onto your skin to a range falling roughly between 400nm and 1,200nm (nanometers). Light energy at those wavelengths has the potential to penetrate below the surface of the skin, where it can interact with hair strands and follicles.

Xenon lamp output

Photo by Innerbody Research

Another parameter that gets a fair bit of attention is fluence, or the amount of energy directed at a specific area, measured in joules (symbolized as “J”). Most of the products in this guide offer at least one setting that meets the fluences used in successful studies, which average around 5 J/cm². The least power in the group is RoseSkinCo’s lowest setting, at 1.8 J/cm², and the highest is the Ulike Air 3’s top setting, at 7.2 J/cm². Ultimately, you wouldn’t want these numbers to go much higher, even with a promise of increased efficacy, as higher fluences have been associated with burns, paradoxical hypertrichosis (unwanted hair growth where you were trying to remove hair), and other complications.

In addition to light energy, xenon gas arc lamps produce a high degree of heat, so these devices are outfitted with internal fans and temperature cutoffs that prevent the bulb from firing until it’s cooled down enough to be safe (both for you and the bulb). This typically only takes one or two seconds, though your environment can influence it; a bulb will take longer to cool in hot or humid conditions.

You can adjust the power levels on an IPL device to help prevent skin irritation, and each device is outfitted with certain safety features. Most (including all of the models in our guide) will have a sensor to prevent the device from firing unless it’s against your skin. Others go further and include sensors for skin tone or hair color, which can dial in power settings for you.

How does IPL remove hair?

IPL, or intense pulsed light, relies on a phenomenon called selective photothermolysis. In principle, enough heat energy delivered at specific wavelengths can be absorbed by the melanin in a hair follicle, essentially cooking it. That damage significantly delays the amount of time it takes for that follicle to produce a new strand of hair, and enough rounds of cooking can eventually prevent the follicle from producing ever again.

The process is similar to how and why we see color in the first place. Light that bounces off a white object looks white because it’s all (or nearly all) being reflected back at us; the object absorbs very little of it. This is why seaside homes in Greece are painted white, as are the tops of UPS trucks (in case you thought they were brown). Light energy, and its attendant heat, bounces off of white things.

When an object absorbs some light, what gets reflected out looks like specific colors. And a black object looks black because of how little light it reflects. Instead, it absorbs much of that light as heat energy. This is why you’ll feel hotter in the sun if you're wearing black.

In the same way, when a flash of light from an IPL device hits your skin, some of it is simply reflected back out. However, certain frequencies are absorbed by the melanin in your hair strands and follicles, and that energy does the cooking.

Are IPL hair removal results permanent?

The best way to describe IPL hair removal results is semi-permanent. Over time, the process has the potential to render some follicles dormant, meaning that they won’t create new hair strands for the foreseeable future and will eventually just die off. But, stronger follicles will reform and create new hair strands even after successive IPL treatments. It may take time for them to do so, but it’s likely. This regrowth is why companies recommend 1-2 maintenance treatments each month or as needed.

Insider Tip: Because your hair grows in phases, you might continue to notice new growth even after several weeks of IPL treatment. That’s because those new hairs weren’t evolved enough to contain the melanin required to absorb IPL’s light energy and provide the proper thermal damage to your follicle. As you continue with treatment and catch up to any follicles that were in transitional phases when you began, you’ll notice more pronounced results.

How is IPL different from lasers for hair removal?

By providing you with a wide range of frequencies, IPL devices are useful for multiple combinations of skin tone and hair color. The exact frequency that works for you will be specific to your combination of hair color and skin tone, but you’ll find success so long as those parameters fall within a certain range.

This wide applicability differentiates IPL devices from lasers in their treatment process, as laser treatment uses much narrower ranges of light energy to zap hair follicles. Laser hair removal is also much more time-consuming, as each firing of a laser typically only affects a single follicle or small group of follicles.

Between the need for a professional to perform this service and the amount of time it takes to complete, it’s no wonder laser hair removal is so much more expensive than at-home IPL devices. One benefit of laser treatment is that it can be tuned to work for certain skin tones and hair colors for which IPL isn’t suitable.

Who are IPL devices for?

IPL devices are generally suitable for anyone who wants to remove hair on their body or face, so long as the contrast ratio of their skin tone to hair color is sufficient for the devices to differentiate between the skin and hair. Men or women can use them, though most devices have relatively small treatment windows (the area through which light passes). That might make it hard for some men to make quick work of a hairy back, for example.

IPL has uses beyond just hair removal, as well. These include skin treatments to reduce the signs of photoaging and even freckle removal (freckles get their color from melanin, and the heat damage they incur can cause them to melt away).

Who might want to try something else?

Where IPL devices quickly begin to fail is in darker-skinned individuals and those with light hair, specifically blond, gray, and sometimes red. Once you get past a skin tone somewhere in the neighborhood of caramel, an IPL device’s light output is too thoroughly absorbed by the skin, leaving too little energy to cook those hair follicles into submission. And even if you have light skin, hair that’s not dark enough won’t be able to absorb enough light energy either.

For people in these situations, it would be best to try something else, especially if the issue is skin tone. While these devices don’t put out UV radiation, they can still create injuries akin to sunburns on dark enough skin.

Insider Tip: The same problems that darker skin presents when using IPL devices occur when tattoos enter the equation. Your tattoo ink ends up absorbing most of the light energy, leaving follicles intact and possibly damaging the skin.

One other segment of the population that might want to consider an alternative would be anyone with neuropathy that would prevent them from feeling whether the intensity level is too high, which could result in skin irritation or burns. On the bright side, this population may be better suited to waxing than others!

Are IPL devices safe for hair removal?

For most people with light enough skin, IPL devices should be perfectly safe. The lamps inside them may produce light in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum, but these devices use built-in filters that prevent UV light from reaching your skin and creating a cancer risk.

The two biggest dangers IPL devices pose to users are skin damage from misuse or a skin tone too dark to be safe for treatment and eye irritation from seeing the bulb flash. The skin irritation issue is relatively easy to avoid using the Fitzpatrick scale, a simple classification system that breaks skin tones down into six types. Type I is the lightest, while type VI is the darkest. Typically, IPL can be effective for types I-V, but it gets progressively less effective and more dangerous as you get closer to type VI.

If you think you’re anywhere between types IV and VI, it might be better to seek alternative treatments for hair removal. It’s also critical to follow the instructions that come with any device and not over-treat any given area. Impatience with the process can lead to skin damage.

Similar damage may occur if you have moles, birthmarks, or dense patches of freckles, which most IPL manufacturers advise you to avoid, at least until you consult a dermatologist.

On the eye safety front, the models in our guide all have eye safety sensors that prevent them from firing if they aren’t pressed up against your skin. However, the placement of these sensors often creates an environment in which light can sometimes escape, especially when treating smaller, more angular body parts, like knees. That light is extremely bright and is uncomfortable to behold. However, unless you’re looking directly into the lamp from a short distance, no real damage should occur.

How to use an IPL device

Using an IPL device for the first time can be somewhat intimidating. Despite company claims of 10-15-minute whole-body treatment times, our testers found themselves devoting closer to 30 minutes just to do the legs their first time out. And that’s not including the time it takes to shave target body parts in anticipation of treatment.

We’ll try to impart a sense of how to use an IPL device here, along with some insight we garnered throughout our testing process.

Before you begin, prep a small area for testing. Exact testing procedures differ from one company to the next, with some allowing you to fire a flash on the same spot and others asking you to prep a slightly larger spot and move the device around as you experiment with different energy levels. Be sure to refer to your device’s manual for specific instructions on this testing process.

Insider Tip: What does it feel like when the settings are too high? If you’re testing your IPL device, and you feel an intense warmth or tingling at the application site within a few seconds to a minute after flashing, your settings may be too high. If you find that sensation tolerable and the test patch doesn’t show any signs of skin irritation afterward, you can keep the settings as-is. But if the irritation persists or you want to play it safe, start one level below that one.

Now, let’s break down the steps to a successful IPL treatment:

  1. Prepare the treatment area. This includes shaving and applying any pre-treatment products you may have purchased along with your device. It’s not imperative that you begin treatment immediately after shaving, but the sooner you get to it, the less new growth will be present to sap up valuable light energy you want to target those follicles.
  2. Plug in and power up the device. You’ll hear the fan start whirring, and indicator lights should come on.
  3. Select your mode and/or power level. You’ll want to use the highest mode you found tolerable in your testing area. Note that power adjustments on many of these devices go up and then back down as you press the single button controlling output. For example, the Ulike Air 3’s power levels go from one, two, three, two, one, as opposed to one, two, three, and then back to one.
  4. Put on eye protection. Ulike and JOVS provide eye protection with their devices. If you prefer to use your own, a good pair of sunglasses should suffice.
  5. Place the treatment window against your skin. You’ll want to start at one end of a treatment area, not the middle. Choose the ankle or the thigh to start a leg treatment, for example — not the knee. The IPL devices on our list have indicators that will tell you whether their eye safety sensors are satisfied, so you’ll know the lamp is armed and ready to fire.
  6. Flash the bulb. In the base mode for any model, you’ll depress a dedicated button to get the lamp to fire. This same button is usually responsible for initiating other modes, as well, like glide modes.
  7. Move the device. Adjust the device’s position slightly to cover the next closest spot. Repeat steps 5 and 6. You may have to wait a second or two for the device to cool down enough that it will be ready to fire again. If you perform your treatment in a hot, humid bathroom just after showering, this can slow down the cooling rate and create longer gaps between flashes, extending treatment times.
  8. Moisturize when complete. Using a proper moisturizer after treatment is a reliable way to cut down on irritation. Among our testers, those who moisturized afterward reported less itching in treatment areas.

Using an IPL device for skincare

The broad range of light produced by IPL devices makes them well-suited for hair removal, but certain smaller wavelength ranges in the IPL range have been tested for use as various skin care treatments. One of the most prominent of these studies looked at IPL wavelengths as a potential treatment for photoaging and facial veins.

Some IPL devices come with specialized filter tips that narrow the spectrum of energy that reaches your skin to these precise ranges, allowing you to use them for skin care in addition to hair removal. The JOVS Venus Pro II comes with a skin rejuvenation tip the company claims can be used on treatment areas to minimize irritation, though we haven’t seen this illustrated in any research.

If you have certain types of blemishes or pronounced veins, these tips might help you treat those areas, but we encourage you to discuss that potential treatment with a dermatologist before using a device intended for hair removal to address these concerns.

Ulike Air 3

Best overall and best for sensitive skin

Ulike Air 3 Ipl Device

Photo by Innerbody Research


  • Sapphire crystal provides effective cooling
  • Well-balanced and easy to maneuver
  • Versatile treatment window size
  • Comes with useful accessories, including a storage case
  • Power brick is separate from plug head
  • Two-year warranty


  • Only three power levels
  • Skin sensor is sometimes hard to activate
  • Included goggles break easily

Ulike offers a pair of IPL devices in its Ulike Air 3 and Ulike Air+. Between the two, the Air 3 is the newer model with the most advanced specs. It offers a greater degree of hair reduction and better cooling during treatment. The only noteworthy difference in the Air+’s favor is that it has five power levels instead of three, though our testers found that the effective cooling on the Air 3 allowed them to use it at its highest setting more often than not. That negates some of the need for more nuanced settings, allowing you to get more comprehensive results on more body parts.

In most categories, the Ulike Air 3 either matches or outperforms the competition. It boasts good build quality and a balanced construction that makes it easy to handle. It also has a 3.3 cm² treatment window, which is just the right size for a wide variety of applications.

Ulike provides you with the most comprehensive kit of any product in our guide, including a hard storage case that holds the device and the power cord. Ulike also provides a free bottle of its moisturizing lotion, which you can use after treatment. Only JOVS’ top-of-the-line model comes with a comparable set of accessories.

Ulike pricing and warranty

The Ulike Air 3 lists for $329 on the company website, but every time we’ve been to that site, there’s been an available $70 coupon, taking the price down to $259. You can apply the same coupon to the Air+, bringing its price down from $289 to $219.

Ulike is one of only two companies in our guide that offer a two-year warranty. The rest of the competition only offers a one-year warranty, even though some of those products advertise a longer life cycle (counted in lifetime flashes) than Ulike’s 850,000 flashes.

Our Ulike testing experience

Our testers found that the Ulike Air 3 provided the best cooling of the group, allowing them to use the device at full power across most body parts without concern for discomfort. Some testers even tried this high setting in a bathing suit area, and there was no irritation to speak of.

The one area in which we think the Air 3 could be improved is the sensitivity of its skin contact sensor. Its sensitivity is a little too low, and when treating angular surfaces like knees, it can be hard to get it to register and allow you to fire a flash. Not only does this extend your treatment time, but it can cause you to try maneuvering the device repeatedly in the hopes you’ll activate the sensor. But if you time it wrong, as our testers did several times, you can activate the sensor in the split second before picking the device up to try a new position and fire the flash as you lift it off the skin, which is an intense experience for the eyes.

This skin sensor issue was rare in our testing, but it’s still worth mentioning — if only to highlight that there were very few things our testers didn’t like about this product. To learn more about the product and our experience, check out our full Ulike review.

JOVS Venus Pro II and Mini 1.1

Best for men and best for travel

Jovs Venus Pr Ii Ipl Device

Photo by Innerbody Research


  • Rotating head makes it easy to access hard-to-reach areas
  • Physical power level knob for quick changes
  • Dedicated modes for specific body parts
  • Package includes well-made goggles
  • Travel models are cordless yet powerful
  • Comes with filter tips designed for skin rejuvenation treatment


  • Weight of rotating head creates balance issues
  • Lamp isn’t rated to last as long as competitors
  • Packaging has a very specific smell (though not too intense)
  • Treatment window may be too large for some areas

Two things are generally true about IPL devices designed for hair removal:

  1. They require enough power to necessitate the use of an outlet.
  2. Their primary demographic is female.

JOVS manages to address both of these truths in ways that expand the company’s reach and versatility. Its central product, the Venus Pro II, has features that should appeal to any sex, and its cordless models are among the only travel-ready IPL devices that generate enough power to be useful.

For men, the rotating head and large treatment window on the Venus Pro II allow them to reach hard-to-access areas like the back and perform treatments in less time than a smaller model would require.

The trade-off with that design is that the weight of the head throws off the balance of the device, making its use on more common body parts — like legs or arms — less comfortable. And anyone with relatively thin upper lips will have a hard time using it to remove hair there. If you’re concerned with narrow stretches of hair, the RoseSkinCo Lumi boasts the thinnest window in the group.

The company’s two travel models, its Mini 1.1 and X 3-in-1, both have smaller windows and better balance. They also don’t require you to have them plugged in during use, as they both boast internal batteries capable of performing full-body treatments with a single charge.

In addition to its IPL devices, JOVS sells a line of skincare tools, including:

  • A laser light therapy mask
  • A microcurrent anti-aging device
  • A wireless LED light therapy device
  • A handheld photorejuvenation device

These are among JOVS’ more expensive offerings, with the mask selling for $750 and the microcurrent device going for $830. Still, of the companies in our IPL guide, JOVS is the only one that offers them.

You can also get a handful of accessories from JOVS, including moisturizing lotions, disposable masks, and replacement power adapter, razors, and goggles.

JOVS pricing and warranty

Here’s a quick breakdown of JOVS’ three IPL devices and their prices:

JOVS Venus Pro IIJOVS Mini WirelessJOVS X 3-in-1
Power levels663
Number of extra filter tips103
Treatment window size3.5 sq cm3.4 sq cm3.41 sq cm
Color options112
Cord length8.5 ftCordlessCordless

Ultimately, which of these is right for you will depend on the body part or parts you aim to treat, as well as whether you anticipate the need to travel with your device. A corded device like the Venus Pro II isn’t impossible to travel with, but cordless devices are undeniably more convenient.

JOVS provides its customers with a one-year warranty on any of its products. This isn’t as generous as Ulike or SmoothSkin, but it’s on par with the rest of the competition.

Our JOVS testing experience

The promise of the adjustable head on the Venus Pro II had us excited to try the product. Once we got it in our hands, its high build quality was clear. We’d been afraid the pivot point on the head would feel weak, but it has a reassuring heft to it. We also appreciated the build quality of the physical power level knob, which boasts engraved numbers that won’t fade with time as a printed alternative might.

Jovs Venus Pro Ii Ipl Device Closeup

Photo by Innerbody Research

Unfortunately, getting the Venus Pro II in our hands also revealed the imbalance that the weight of the rotating head creates. It’s understandable that the company kept the handle light so as to reduce the overall weight of the device, but it’s so much lighter than the head that maneuvering it along the legs proved more challenging than we would have liked.

One hack we found was to simply hold the device by the head instead of the handle, which made it much easier to manipulate. However, your hand will end up blocking some of the ventilation holes used to keep the xenon lamp cool, which can increase the wait time between flashes.

Fortunately for men, the head balance actually works in your favor if you’re reaching over your shoulder to perform hair removal on your upper back. And the rotating head allows you to reach the bulk of the back without any assistance. Our male testers using the device for back hair were able to perform their treatments alone, which we couldn’t say for any other product in this guide.

One last thing our testers noticed was that the JOVS packaging had the distinct smell of a liquor store. It’s a faint hint of alcohol — not an astringent hint, but a mellow one — alongside the smell of fresh cardboard. It may not be strong enough to knock anyone off the wagon, but it’s worth considering if you’re newly sober and avoiding potential triggers.

Nood The Flasher 2.0

Best budget pick

Nood The Flasher 2 Ipl Device

Photo by Innerbody Research


  • Large LED display provides useful information
  • Shape makes it relatively easy to hold and use
  • Seven power levels provide nuanced adjustments
  • Well-priced bundles available
  • Three color options
  • Fastest shipping times of any company in our guide


  • Treatment window is on the small side
  • No sapphire cooling crystal
  • No accessories included
  • Caused some discomfort at high levels during testing

Despite being our best budget pick, Nood’s The Flasher 2.0 is the only product in this guide to employ an LED display that conveys things like power level, skin sensor contact, remaining flashes, and more. We weren’t sold on it at first, but after handling all of these products, we’re confident that it makes a noticeable difference in ease of use.

One of the reasons the display is so helpful is that it tells you what power level you’re at in a large, clearly legible number. Cycling through power levels on IPL devices can be a little counterintuitive, as one button cycles them from low to high and back down again one at a time, as opposed to cycling from the highest level immediately back to the lowest. And because Nood offers seven power levels (one more than the next most from its competitors), knowing where you are on that scale at a glance is very helpful.

The reasons The Flasher 2.0 is less expensive than its competitors are because there are no extra accessories to speak of and the packaging is simple. JOVS and Ulike boast refined packaging that makes you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth, and both companies provide you with goggles, razors, and power cords with their bricks positioned down the line rather than at the plug. Nood offers none of these extras, but its build quality and performance are nearly on par with the others.

In addition to its IPL device, Nood carries an abrasive buffer to remove hair temporarily and several skin care products that are designed for use before or after its treatments.

Nood pricing and warranty

The Flasher 2.0 lists on the Nood website for $270, but it’s consistently on sale for $169. This is tied with RoseSkinCo’s Lumi for the least expensive option in our guide. The device used to be available in white or black only, but the company recently launched an attractive green color it calls “Secret Garden.”

Like RoseSkinCo and JOVS, Nood provides a one-year warranty on its devices.

Our Nood testing experience

Our testers found Nood’s The Flasher 2.0 to be effective and easy to use. Its instructions were among the clearest of all the products we tried, and the shape of the device itself made it easier to handle than the JOVS Venus Pro II or the RoseSkinCo Lumi.

Our male testers found that the small treatment window presented a minor time challenge when using the device on the chest or back, as it takes a lot of flashes to provide full coverage. This was less of a problem for our female testers, though leg treatments did take longer than those from Ulike or JOVS.

It’s also worth noting that The Flasher 2.0 is rather intense at level seven, and most of our testers stayed below that point in their process. This may be due to the lack of a sapphire cooling crystal, as well as the fact that it can attain a greater energy output than the Lumi despite having a smaller treatment window. Thankfully, those seven power levels provided enough nuance for our testers to dial in a level that worked for them.

Visit our full Nood review to learn more about the IPL experience with The Flasher 2.0.

RoseSkinCo Lumi

Best for bathing suit areas

Roseskinco Lumi Ipl Device

Photo by Innerbody Research


  • Narrow treatment window easily accesses bathing suit areas
  • Rated to last 900,000 flashes
  • Longest power cord in our guide
  • Available in white or pink
  • Company also sells facial products


  • Lower maximum energy output than competitors
  • Power level display isn’t immediately apparent
  • No sapphire cooling crystal
  • Took the longest to ship to our testers

If you’re less concerned with treatments on your legs and more concerned with addressing bathing suit areas, underarms, or upper lip hair, then the small stature of the RoseSkinCo Lumi will benefit you. Its treatment window offers the same coverage area as the Ulike Air 3. However, it’s slightly longer and narrower, making it ideal for more targeted treatments while still being big enough to perform on larger areas if necessary.

In the research we’ve reviewed, power output didn’t have a significant impact on results for IPL hair removal. That said, most studies used devices that operated around five joules per square centimeter, and most of the products in this guide operate around that level, as well. The Lumi tops out at 3.8 J/cm². That might not be enough of a drop in power to make a difference in performance, but the low end of the Lumi’s range is just 1.6 J/cm², a number lower than what we’ve seen studied.

For extremely sensitive body parts, such as the bathing suit areas or underarms, this is good news; the Lumi will likely be comfortable to use, even at its highest settings. For other areas, the picture isn’t as clear, and it prevented us from choosing the Lumi over Nood’s The Flasher 2.0 as a budget pick.

In addition to its IPL device, RoseSkinCo offers:

  • An electric shaver
  • Two buffing devices
  • Body lotion
  • Facial cleanser
  • Facial moisturizer

This is a decent lineup, but it lacks products specifically designed for use around IPL treatments. Nood has two such products, one for before treatment and another for after, which it offers as a bundle. RoseSkinCo lacks a bundle that provides you with the Lumi and the body lotion without also including the electric shaver and buffing gloves — products you may not want or need.

Lumi pricing and warranty

Like The Flasher 2.0 from Nood, the RoseSkinCo Lumi lists for more than you’ll pay, with the advertised price at $229 with an ever-present 25% discount, bringing the cost down to $169 — the same price as the Nood alternative. And like Nood and JOVS, RoseSkinCo offers a one-year warranty on its device.

Our RoseSkinCo testing experience

From a handling perspective, our testers found the Lumi to be compact and easy to maneuver, even though its small window extended treatment times for larger body parts. Like the Nood IPL device, it lacks a sapphire cooling crystal, but this didn’t negatively impact our experience, likely because the Lumi doesn't reach the same power output as Nood’s The Flasher 2.0.

The implementation of the indicator light on the Lumi was somewhat frustrating. It’s designed to blink when the skin contact sensor detects the treatment window is fully covered. But in angular areas, the light may flash on and off as the sensor teeters on the edge of activation. That makes it seem like it’s blinking, so when it doesn’t fire, it can get confusing. We’d prefer it if the light stays off when not in contact and shines solid when contact is detected. That would improve the experience.

Visit our full Lumi review to read more about using this IPL device.

SmoothSkin Pure FIT

Best for sensitive skin


  • Automatic power adjustment based on skin tone sensor
  • Power adjusts in real time using glide mode
  • Contoured shape improves handling in some situations
  • Comes with a precision filter tip
  • Two-year warranty


  • Shortest power cord in our guide
  • No sapphire crystal for cooling
  • Pricier than most others
  • Only available from third-party retailers

Skin tone can be inconsistent across your body, even across the length of an individual body part. If you wear shorts or skirts often, your lower legs will likely be slightly darker than your upper legs — ditto for differences in sleeve length on your arms. And different skin tones react differently to IPL power levels, sometimes necessitating settings adjustments in the middle of a session and requiring you to learn what body parts need what power levels.

SmoothSkin removes that guesswork with its Pure FIT IPL device. Other companies employ sensors that can detect when a treatment window is pressed up against the skin, preventing them from firing into anyone’s eyes. SmoothSkin takes this idea a step further and uses a second sensor that can detect the skin tone over which the device passes and adjust its power output in real time. That may dramatically reduce the risk that you’ll use too much power on a sensitive area.

The only downside to the skin sensor technology is that you can’t turn it off or override it. So, if it detects skin that’s too dark, it won’t fire. That can complicate treatment in the vicinity of tattoos, dark patches of skin, freckles, or some anuses, where the skin can be darker than what surrounds it. Ultimately, this is all in the name of safety, but giving consumers the option to circumvent the feature would be appreciated.

SmoothSkin has a few other IPL devices, but these are all a little too small and somewhat underpowered. The Pure FIT is the only one of the three we recommend.

SmoothSkin pricing and warranty

SmoothSkin recently stopped taking orders directly from the public and now only relies on a pair of retailers for verifiable purchases. You can get its products on Amazon or through Current Body, a retailer specializing in external body care. In both places, the Pure FIT costs about $400.

If you decide to get yours through Amazon, where it’s occasionally on sale, make sure you’re getting a product that’s listed as “sold by SmoothSkin,” otherwise it might not be eligible for returns or warranty service. That warranty is two years long, tied for longest with Ulike’s Air 3.

Unlike the other products in this guide, each of which comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee, SmoothSkin’s Pure FIT doesn’t accept returns directly because it doesn’t sell its products directly. On Current Body, you have 30 days to return a product, but it must be unopened. Amazon’s policies are a bit looser, but they’re undefined, making other brands better choices if you aren’t sure IPL is right for you.

Alternatives to IPL for hair removal

IPL has been shown to be an effective and relatively safe tool for hair removal, especially in those with a combination of lighter skin and darker hair. It’s less expensive long-term than most other options, and it’s far less painful than waxing or even shaving can be. But IPL clearly isn’t suitable for everybody, especially those with darker skin and lighter hair.

Let’s compare IPL to some other options out there:

Waxing and shaving

While these tried-and-true methods are useful in a pinch, everyone is familiar with the high cost of razors, the potential for cuts and razor burn, and the pain of ripping out hair with a wax strip. If you don’t mind these shortcomings, then you may not need an IPL device.

Depilatory creams

These creams essentially burn away hairs with acid that breaks down their proteins. If you have even remotely sensitive skin, this acid can be a significant irritant, and the creams sometimes don’t work on thicker hairs. If your hair is finer and your skin can handle them, though, they’re extremely convenient and effective.

Laser hair removal

Laser hair removal works on a principle similar to IPL removal, but it uses a much narrower frequency range and a more focused beam of light energy. You can’t perform it at home, so a costly visit to a dermatologist or hair removal center may be necessary. It’s also more time-intensive than IPL because each laser blast can only treat a smaller number of follicles at a time.


Electrolysis works similarly to laser treatments, but it uses electrical energy rather than light energy. A current of electricity is fed into the follicle, causing enough damage for it to shed its hair strand and, in most cases, die. This process is even slower and more expensive than laser treatments, though its effects are typically superior.

IPL hair removal FAQ



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