The difference between hair removal lasers: which is the best choice for laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal has long been a very popular treatment at skin therapists. We see not only women, but also more and more men starting laser hair removal treatments. Not surprisingly because not having to deal with hair removal and having beautiful even skin without stubble gives a lot of self-confidence.

However, we also regularly hear back during intakes that people have tried certain hair removal laser treatments before, and now get stuck with the results. Sometimes no or temporary results were achieved. Hair growth is too thin, the hair follicles are too deep or the skin is too dark.

They wonder, “Which laser is best suited for my skin type, hair color and skin tone?” Time to list the differences between the 5 most well-known laser devices. That way you can start right away, with the very best option!

The 5 most famous hair removal lasers

What is the best choice for laser hair removal: is it IPL, diode laser, Nd:YAG laser, Alexandrite laser or the Ruby laser?

The difference between hair removal lasers has to do with depth, power, setting and wavelength. This is the type of light beam and is called nanometer. This determines in what way the laser “sees” the type of hair. And thus can “hit,” to effectively destroy the hairs.

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)

The IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is a flash lamp that is often considered a laser, but is not. It works by emitting a wide beam of light, causing faster scattering and energy loss. The principle is similar to laser, but IPL is less effective and thin hairs are difficult to treat. It is not recommended in darker skin because of the increased risks of skin reactions. This technique was very popular starting in the 1990s but today there are much better techniques.

Diode laser 808-810 nm

The diode laser is generally effective at hair removal, but less effective than the Nd:YAG and Alexandrite lasers, for example. The diode works only on light skins and thick dark hair. With the Diode laser, (very) dark skin can be treated less safely, and deeper hairs are also more difficult to treat. Also, this technique is painful. In newer diode lasers such as the Soprano ice laser, an inmotion technique is therefore used. In which, with a milder setting, it glides over the skin more frequently. However, this technique is much less precise and also less effective.

Nd:YAG laser 1064 nm

The Nd:YAG laser has a longer wavelength than the diode laser and penetrates deeper into the skin. It is perfect for people with darker skin tones and safe for even the intimate area. By the way, this laser is also used to treat purple leg veins.

Alexandrite laser 755 nm

The Alexandrite laser is one of the fastest lasers for hair removal and is the optimal choice for excess hair on light to light toned skin. The latest generation even works with 1 and 2 milliseconds. The advantage of the Alexandrite laser is that it is the only laser with it that can effectively reduce thinner pigmented hairs.

Ruby laser 695 nm

The Ruby laser is one of the first lasers, but is not used today because there is too much risk of pigment shift and the results leave much to be desired.

[When did lasers originate? The Ruby laser was invented in 1960 and then the diode laser in 1962. Next came the nd:yag laser in 1964 and Alexandrite laser in 1983. IPL was marketed in 1994 and the addition of radio frequency to IPL came about in 2003. Diode lasers with filters emerged in 2012 (Soprano ICE) and 2015 (InMode). The development of the powerful ND:YAG and Alexandrite combinations featured the development of the GentleMax Pro laser in 2007, the Elite+ in 2012 and finally the clairty laser in 2016.*

The practitioner plays a big role on the outcome!

Choosing the right laser is essential to achieving the desired results and ensuring safety. It is important to choose the right type of laser that suits your skin type, hair color and skin tone.

It is important to remember here that the practitioner also plays a large role in the effectiveness and safety of laser hair removal. There is quite a difference in the quality of lasers and the knowledge of practitioners. Unfortunately, due to its popularity, there is beginning to be a proliferation of hair removal clinics where mostly unskilled staff perform the treatments. Therefore, always ask about the qualification and experience of the practitioner. You can also look up your practitioner yourself in the Quality Register of Paramedics.

As most of you already know, at The Laser Clinic we only work with HBO trained quality registered skin therapists who have a long time experience with all kinds of lasers. We only go for the very best!

Our choice is the Clarity2 (Nd:YAG and Alexandrite laser)

We very deliberately chose our powerhouse, the Clarity2. This laser is in the highest top of effective and safe lasers. The Clarity2 contains two lasers, the Nd:YAG and the Alexandrite laser. As such, it resembles some other well-known Alexandrite/ND-Yag lasers such as the Gentle Max Pro and Elite+, but the Clarity2 is even more advanced and even up to 45% faster as well as a lot more powerful. As a result, you achieve even better results and the treatment is more pleasant for you. More and more skin therapists and clients are therefore consciously choosing the Clarity2 laser.

By combining these two best lasers, it is possible to treat all skin types and hair thicknesses. The Alexandrite is the best laser for light skin and light brown or dark hair on light skin. And the Nd:YAG laser is the optimal choice for dark skin. The delivery of powerful pulses gives a quick effect, even for large areas such as a back or entire legs.

The Clarity2 is also an absolute leader in safety! Compared to the other combination lasers such as the Gentle Max Pro and Elite+, there are some key differences: The built-in temperature measurement is unique. The laser continuously measures your skin temperature and turns off when the temperature threatens to get too hot. This ensures optimal safety. In addition, the Clarity2 is coupled with cryo cooling. This cools the skin during treatment. The laser spot is larger than in other systems. (up to 25 mm diameter) This makes the treatment a lot faster and more effective. And as icing on the cake, there is a special handpiece on it where a tracker digitally measures the overlap. This ensures precision and no hair is skipped. We are extremely proud to have brought this beautiful technology to Groningen from abroad.

Finally, the Clarity2 gives us as skin therapists the ability to continue where other lasers stop. So even for “more difficult” hairs or when you get stuck with the results with other lasers, it is possible to continue with laser hair removal. Consider leftover thinner hairs or when you suffer from hair regrowth.

Wondering what we can do for you with the Clarity2 laser? Book a free consultation. We are happy to help you!


Written by skin therapists Manon & Lori


Sources: “Principles of Lasers” by Orazio Svelto, “Laser: 50 Years of Discoveries” by Jeff Hecht, “A Brief History of Lasers” by J.J. Ramsden, “Introduction to Laser Technology” by C. Breck Hitz, J.J. Ewing and Jeff Hecht. “A Review of Laser and Light Therapy in Esthetic Medicine” by Jeffrey S. Dover and Kenneth A. Arndt, published in Dermatologic Clinics in 2014. “Lasers and Light Sources for the Removal of Unwanted Hair” by Elizabeth L. Tanzi and Tina S. Alster, published in Clinical Dermatology in 2002. “Laser Hair Removal: A Review” by Maria Cristina PalangiĆ©, published in Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2018.

Are you curious about what you can do to improve your skin?
Feel free to make an appointment for a free skin scan.