How much is laser hair removal? The short answer — laser hair removal costs as little as $75 to as much as $900 for large areas. Below, we’ll show you what you can expect from a session and give you some tips for maximizing the (very expensive) investment in yourself.
Laser Hair Removal Cost Guide
Laser hair removal is a popular alternative to shaving or waxing. Nearly painless but not pain free, this procedure can be done on small or large areas of the body for smooth skin wherever you want it.
If you assume laser hair removal is out of your price range, check out this guide. You’ll see that this procedure can actually be quite affordable, at an average $143 per treatment session.
The cost of laser hair removal varies quite a bit based on your location, the specialist doing the procedure, the area of hair removal, and more.
We’ll talk about the different cost factors and what you can expect to pay for laser hair removal. If you’re ready to shun shaving, nix the Nair, and wipe out waxing, finding out how much laser hair removal will cost is the first step.
Keep reading to find out what laser hair removal is, how much it costs, and what factors into the total amount you’ll pay.
What Is Laser Hair Removal?
Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure that removes hair by exposing follicles to laser light pulses. The powerful laser destroys the hair follicle at the root to discourage and, in many cases, prevent hair from growing back in the treated area.
Laser hair removal has been practiced for decades, but it’s only been a commercially available procedure since the mid-1990s. Since the light beam from the laser is so strong, it shines down the length of each hair shaft to contact and heat the hair follicles underneath.
Heat is what destroys the follicles to prevent future hair growth. Laser hair removal is a selective process. The lasers only target “dark matter” under the skin – melanin, which gives dark hair its pigment – and not the surrounding skin.
This means if you have light hair that is blonde, white, or strawberry blonde, it won’t respond well to laser hair removal. That’s because light colored hair is pigmented with pheomelanin instead.
The hair must have enough melanin in it to be successfully targeted by the laser. Likewise, if you have dark skin, the laser may not be as effective in detecting the presence of melanin in the follicles beneath the skin.
Laser hair removal is typically done in sessions to achieve the desired smooth result. The average laser treatment takes 5-7 sessions to complete. Fewer sessions are required for smaller areas or areas with less dense hair growth.
Laser hair removal sessions are typically scheduled anywhere from 4-8 weeks apart. This gives the hair time to continue in the growth cycle, making new hairs available to be treated by the laser.
Read Next: Should I Get Laser Hair Removal?
How Much Does Laser Hair Removal Cost?
Since laser hair removal has to be done in sessions, the cost will keep adding up with each additional treatment. If you’re considering this procedure, you need to get an idea of how much it may cost per session and in total.
According to mariehayagmd.com, the average cost per session is about $143. Multiple sessions are required for complete hair reduction/removal, so plan on paying $715 to $1,000 on average for full hair removal in a given area.
|Treatment Area||Average Cost Range|
|Face||$250 - $650|
|Lip only||$100 - $300|
|Chin only||$100 - $300|
|Sideburns||$75 - $150|
|Chest||$150 - $450|
|Underarms||$150 - $250|
|Back||$300 - $800|
|Abdomen||$150 - $400|
|Butt||$250 - $400|
|Half legs||$250 - $650|
|Full Legs||$600 - $850|
|Half arms||$250 - $650|
|Full arms||$350 - $500|
|Bikini line||$150 - $450|
|Brazilian||$250 - $500|
While we’ve listed the most common areas for laser hair removal and the average cost range for each, keep in mind that these costs represent the nationwide average. Your costs locally may be lower or higher than what you see here.
As you can see, larger areas typically cost more than smaller areas with less hair. You can get laser hair removal on sideburns for as little as $75, but you could pay as much as $800 for laser hair removal on a large area like the back.
Laser Hair Removal Cost Factors
What factors into the overall cost of laser hair removal? Your final costs will depend on things like the area of hair removal, session length, number of sessions, desired amount of hair removal, location, and specialist expertise.
The location of the clinic or facility where you get laser hair removal will affect the cost. In high-demand areas, costs may be higher due to a higher concentration of specialists with expertise in the procedure.
Alternatively, if you live in a heavily populated area with several laser hair removal options, the competition in the area can drive costs down.
In any case, the average cost of living is a good predictor for laser hair removal costs. Areas with a higher cost of living tend to reflect that in the pricing of laser hair removal.
Facility and Specialist
Different types of facilities offer laser hair removal. The type of facility you choose and the type of specialist who performs the procedure will affect how much the procedure will cost in total.
If you choose to visit a medical spa or clinic to be treated by a laser technician, your costs will be lower.
Going to a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist for laser hair removal will increase the costs, but possibly give you better results due to improved equipment and skill.
The area being treated also affects the overall cost of laser hair removal. Small areas like the lip, chin, underarms, or bikini line cost less per session and overall than large areas like the back, arms, and legs. To reduce your overall cost, you can opt to have partial coverage in a given area.
- Half legs vs full legs
- Half arms vs full arms
- Bikini line vs Brazilian
- Lip or chin vs full face
Hair and Skin Color
Laser treatments for hair removal work best on fair-skinned people with darker hair. If you have light hair or dark skin, it makes it more difficult for the laser to target your hairs effectively.
This means more sessions are required for complete hair removal in patients with light hair or dark skin. More sessions mean higher overall costs. As long as your hair is darker than your skin tone, it can be targeted by the laser.
But if your skin tone is very dark, it can attract the heat from the laser and result in burns or damaged skin. Any laser hair removal specialist can consult with you to determine if you’re a good candidate for this hair removal method.
Every laser hair removal session takes time. The amount of time each session takes is a factor in the overall cost of this procedure. If you’re having a small area treated, like the underarms, each session will be relatively brief.
But if you’re having your legs, arms, or back treated, each session will take longer because there’s more area to cover. In most facilities, longer sessions increase the cost, while shorter sessions reduce the cost.
Most laser hair removal sessions will take 60 minutes or less. Be sure to check with your potential laser hair removal specialist to find out how long each session should take for the areas you want treated.
Number of Sessions
It’s not just the length of each session that affects the cost of laser hair removal, but also the number of sessions required to get your desired result.
The number of sessions varies. But the norm is anywhere from 4 to 8 sessions. Most need somewhere between 5 and 7 for complete hair reduction/removal in a given area.
Remember that your hair color and skin tone determine how effective each laser session will be. You might need more than 8 sessions – up to 12 – if you have a lighter hair color or a dark skin tone.
Desired Amount of Hair Removal
Each session removes 10%-30% of the hair in the treatment zone. If you’re not after a silky-smooth result and just want reduced hair growth, you might only need a session or two.
Men who want to make shaving their facial hair easier while keeping enough hair to grow a beard in the future often opt for one or two sessions to thin the growth out. Fewer sessions mean an overall lower cost.
Is Laser Hair Removal Right for You?
The assumed cost of laser hair removal is what keeps many people from taking the first steps. If you were afraid this procedure was prohibitively expensive, you know now that the cost of laser hair removal can actually be quite low.
But is laser hair removal the right choice for you? Or are you better off continuing to shave, wax, pluck, or depilate the areas you want hair-free? Here’s what you need to consider.
Cost of Laser Hair Removal vs. Other Techniques
Complete laser hair removal with multiple sessions is around $715 to $1,000 on average. That’s on par with the cost of electrolysis, which can run about $45/session.
But this requires up to 30 sessions ($1,350) to completely remove hair. Compared to the cost of shaving, waxing, or depilatory creams, laser hair removal is more expensive upfront (but a lot more convenient).
- Shaving: Average cost of $15.87/month or $10,207 in a lifetime
- Waxing: Average cost of $35.76/month or $23,000 in a lifetime
- Depilatory cream: Average cost of $7.98/month or $5,131 in a lifetime
There’s a larger upfront cost with laser hair removal, but it actually costs thousands less over a lifetime than shaving, waxing, or using depilatory creams like Nair.
Pain During Laser Hair Removal Procedure
If the cost is doable for you, the next thing to consider is the pain associated with laser hair removal. This procedure isn’t supposed to be painful, but you will feel a snapping sensation similar to a rubber band snapped against the skin.
Experts say that the area you’re having treated has a lot to do with how much pain you’ll feel. More sensitive areas like the bikini area and underarms may be more painful to treat than areas with thicker skin, like the arms and legs.
Permanence of Results
You should also consider the results you might get with laser hair removal. This procedure damages hair follicles with light that is converted to heat.
After multiple sessions, the damage should be outstanding enough to completely destroy those follicles and result in permanent hair removal. But sometimes that doesn’t happen. In fact, laser hair removal is designated as a hair reduction solution, not a permanent hair removal solution (for that you need electrolysis).
Follicles that are merely damaged during laser hair removal sessions will eventually grow back. Some patients have to go back for more sessions a year or more after originally having the procedure.
This would not only decrease your quality of results, but also increase the overall cost of this treatment for you. It’s good to keep this in mind before you get the procedure done so there are no surprises.
Is Laser Hair Removal Worth the Cost?
Overall, whether or not this procedure is going to be a good choice for you rests on your wants and needs. If you’re sick of shaving, waxing, plucking, or using depilatory creams to get rid of unwanted hair, laser hair removal is a great alternative.
The time you’ll save without needing to take care of hair removal each week really adds up. And the mental freedom that comes along with being 100% smooth without effort – that’s pure bliss.
Be sure to do plenty of research to find the best laser hair removal specialist in your area. This will ensure you get the best possible results, plenty of education during consultation, and confidence that your results will last.