Should I choose Laser or IPL for my salon?

As a trainer for these modalities, this is something I hear all the time from therapists who are looking to branch out into the world of hair removal. I hope after reading my thoughts and comparisons I’ll help find you an answer to ‘should I choose laser or IPL for my salon?’

Many moons ago, when IPL and laser were still new in our industry it was deemed that laser was more comfortable to have done than IPL. It was the runner up in all things hair removal, but wow, how times have changed. As IPL is now right up there in popularity with diode laser and therapists are more aware of the comfort level IPL can offer, the thought of IPL being the runner up to laser is bonkers! In my opinion IPL is even better for your business, and here’s why.


A classic diode laser machine will remove unwanted hair in a fast comfortable way over a course of treatments. Fantastic, that is what your clients are wanting after all. So, you’re thinking you’ll invest in a diode laser, job done.

However, whilst being a trainer in this industry I have seen many business owners a couple of years down the line, regretting this purchase. They are now seeing competitors in their town offering not only hair removal but incredible treatments for skin conditions too! Their beloved laser machine is only bringing them in one income stream (hair removal). This is because the savvy business owner down the road did their homework and looked again at IPL, without following the old school crowd into the world of laser.


Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and diode lasers are both popular technologies for hair removal. However, they differ in several key aspects, including technology, ease of use, range of treatments, and potential income for beauty therapists.

In terms of technology, IPL utilises a broad spectrum of light with various wavelengths, allowing it to target multiple chromophores in the skin. This makes IPL versatile for treating various skin conditions beyond hair removal, such as pigmentation issues and vascular lesions. With the option of different filters and an ice cooling head, IPL treatments can be customised for client comfort and needs. On the other hand, diode lasers use a single, focused wavelength of light, making them more precise in targeting specific chromophores, primarily melanin in hair follicles.


Ease of use is a factor that may favor IPL systems. IPL devices often have larger treatment heads, enabling practitioners to cover larger areas quickly. Along with different lens filters like SHR (super hair removal) this can result in faster treatment times and increased efficiency. Diode lasers, with their smaller treatment heads and focused beams, may require more meticulous and time-consuming procedures.


The range of treatments offered by IPL is broader, making it a more versatile option for beauty therapists. IPL can address sun damage, vascular concerns, uneven skin tone, rosacea, improve active acne, and heal acne scarring, in addition to hair removal. Diode lasers, while highly effective for hair removal, may be more limited in their applications.


From a financial perspective, beauty therapists may find IPL machines to be more lucrative due to their versatility. Offering a wider range of treatments can attract a larger client base and increase the potential for repeat business. Diode lasers, while effective for hair removal, may not provide the same diversity in services.


Technology has moved on a great deal in every industry, so why should ours be any different. We once thought the Blackberry was the best thing since sliced bread, but when was the last time you saw a Blackberry?  iPhone has taken over, just like IPL has taken over from laser. These machines are a big investment for any business, so the investment really needs to be working hard and bringing more than one income stream. This is where IPL stands out. Yes, you can treat unwanted hairs just as effectively as a diode laser, but who wouldn’t want to be offering skin rejuvenation facials, the very same facials the celebrities have!


The choice between IPL and diode lasers depends on the specific needs and preferences of beauty therapists. However, for those seeking a more versatile solution with a broader range of treatment options and potentially higher income potential, IPL machines may be the preferred choice. The ability to cater to a diverse clientele by addressing various skin concerns makes IPL a valuable investment for beauty professionals.


IPL really is the gift that keeps on giving to any salon or clinic owner.


Are you ready to introduce your customers to IPL treatments? With our free demonstrations you can try out treatments for yourself, receive feedback you trust and ask our trainers any questions you may have. Free demonstrations truly are the best way of finding out if your beauty business and clientele are suited to the machine and treatments you’re looking to offer.


Author: Becci Dakin

Silhouette Dermalift - Supplier of Non-Surgical Beauty Machines