Most home IPL and laser devices aren’t safe for dark skin, here we'll recommend some best laser hair removal devices for dark skin:


  • SILK’N INFINITY
  • ILUMINAGE PRECISE TOUCH
  • IILUMINAGE TOUCH
  • BRAUN PRO 3 IPL
  • THE RUNNERS UP FOR DARK SKIN (TO TYPE V)

 

 

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 color. 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

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 color, your melanin-rich skin cells also absorb the light energy and become 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.

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.


How Some Home Devices are Safe for Dark Skin?

There are some laser hair removal for dark skin at home in the market, how are these devices different from others?

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 matches 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.

 

Best Laser Hair Removal Device for Dark Skin

Let’s take a closer look at some devices and what they’re like to use:

1. SILK’N INFINITY

 


Safe for ALL skin tones, Fitzpatrick types I to VI light to black skin


Works on black to dark blonde hair

  

                                                                                  

 

The Silk’n Infinity is the 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.

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.

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. You can flash full leg on the lower intensities in around 9 minutes. That’s the fastest home IPL that’s safe for the darkest skin tones.

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

  • Clinically proven on all skin tones
  • Skin tone sensor lets you use only safe intensities for your tone
  • Easy to use with fast sessions
  • Flashes last 15+ years of monthly use
  • Slower results on the lower intensities/dark skin

 

2. ILUMINAGE PRECISE TOUCH

 


Safe for ALL skin tones, Fitzpatrick types I to VI light to black skin


Clinically proven to work on black to red hair colours. Grey wasn’t tested but should work by the same principle.

   

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 main-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 of 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 hair 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
  • Not suited to large areas & legs

 

3. ILUMINAGE TOUCH

 


Safe for ALL skin tones, Fitzpatrick types I to VI light to black skin


Clinically proven to work on black to red hair colours. Grey wasn’t tested but should work by the same principle.

 

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.

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 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

 

4. BRAUN PRO 3 IPL

 


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 to dark blonde hair

 

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

  • 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
  • Compact, quality & fast sessions
  • Clinically proven, CE certified & FDA-cleared

 

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. 

The Prestige is my personal favorite 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 foolproof option. They’re lightweight but robust, simple, and the fastest home IPLs you can buy.

 

Have you decided which is best for you now?