As somebody with fairly abundant dark hair, the traditional methods of hair removal aren't really an option for me. Shaving and depilatory creams leave me with stubble after one day, and waxing and epilation is painful, takes ages, and still only leaves me hair free for about a week.
A few years ago, in desperation, I turned to laser hair removal. I have never looked back. I have had some laser hair removal in a salon and have also used numerous home devices. Of the home devices I have used, which include the Philips Lumea SC2001/00 IPL Intense Pulsed Light Hair Removal System
and the TRIA Permanent Hair Removal Laser System, the Elos system is the best.
Using the Elos can be a little fiddly. There are several buttons, some in rather counter intuitive places, and to make the device work you have to keep your thumb on the touch sensitive pad at all times which really can be a little awkward. However, once you get into the swing of using the machine, you can cover quite a large area of skin quickly. The size of the laser window is larger than other home systems I've used and the handset isn't too heavy, unlike some home device which can leave you with an aching wrist. I didn't find the procedure painful at all. As someone with pale skin and dark hair I used the highest power setting, and all I felt was a slight warmth.
I have used the system for a few weeks now and there is definitely a reduction in the amount of hair on the areas I have treated. The hair that has grown back is softer and lighter than the surrounding hair, and much hasn't grown back at all. For a home system, this is a great result.
However, I cannot stress enough that it is no comparison to laser hair removal in a salon. Home systems are simply not as powerful or as effective at permanently reducing the amount of body hair. Yes, using a salon laser is painful and expensive, but the results are second to none. With eight treatments spaced a month apart using a salon laser, the Candela GentleMax, I have gone from somebody with thick, dark, unmanageable body hair to somebody with just a few fine, light strands of hair in the areas I have had treated. In my experience, home systems do not yield anywhere near the same results unless used indefinitely every month or so.
For women with a serious body hair problem, I would recommend salon laser treatment every time. It's worth saving for and I can truly say it has changed my life. However, the Elos is a great option for women who are set on home laser hair removal. It is effective with ongoing usage, it isn't painful, it is pretty quick to use, and it is inexpensive for a machine of its type. However, beware! The laser cartridges
themselves will need to be replaced after about 90 minutes of continuous use, and they aren't cheap.