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Laser Hair Removal vs. Waxing: A Comprehensive Guide

Woman undergoing laser hair removal

In the quest for silky, hairless skin, clients frequently face the dilemma of choosing between laser hair removal and waxing. Each method offers distinct advantages, and understanding the nuanced differences is essential for making an informed decision. Thus, our Toronto laser hair removal experts present a comprehensive comparison of waxing and laser hair removal.

How Does Laser Hair Removal Work?

Laser hair removal harnesses the power of laser technology to damage and remove hair follicles, significantly reducing regrowth over time. This method involves emitting a light that is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair. This light energy is converted to heat, which damages the hair follicle, inhibiting future hair growth without harming the surrounding skin.

Before treatment, the technician may numb and cool the treatment area to help minimize discomfort. This is a popular hair removal method for achieving lasting results across numerous body areas.

Before and after comparison of laser hair removal on legs.

How Does Waxing Work?

Waxing removes hair from the root by applying either a hot or cold wax to the skin and then quickly pulling it off along with the hair. Available in different formulas, waxing can cater to sensitive skin and different hair types.

Though effective for achieving smooth skin, wax treatments are a temporary solution, with hair typically regrowing within a few weeks. Famously, this method can be painful, and can irritate skin after treatment, so it’s not always for the faint-hearted!

Key Differences Between Waxing and Laser Hair Removal

There are several significant differences between waxing and laser, ranging from treatment efficacy to safety and recovery time. Let’s examine these one by one.

Laser Hair Removal vs. Waxing

Treatment Areas

Laser hair removal is highly effective for areas like the underarms, legs, bikini line, and face, offering precision and comfort. Waxing, while versatile, can be more painful and less suitable for sensitive or hard-to-reach areas.


Laser treatments require clients to avoid sun exposure and not remove hair from the root (e.g., wax) beforehand. For waxing, hair needs to be a certain length for effective removal. This makes it unsuitable if you need to maintain a smooth appearance constantly.

Process and Safety

Laser hair removal is a non-invasive, FDA-approved procedure with minimal side effects. Side effects that can occur include red and irritable skin, although this is rare. Waxing, though generally safe, carries a risk of burns, irritation, and ingrown hairs.

Recovery Time

Post-treatment, laser hair removal has little to no downtime, whereas waxing may result in temporary redness and sensitivity. After laser hair removal, you should be able to expose your newly smooth skin in public without anxiety.

Duration of Results

Laser removal offers permanent reduction in hair growth, requiring several treatment sessions for optimal results. After five or six treatments, most patients remain hair-free in treated areas for years. Even when unwanted hair regrows, it is typically less noticeable than before. Waxing results last a few weeks before the hair regrows. The underlying follicle sites remain healthy and able to produce new follicles over time.


Initially, laser hair removal appears more expensive but proves cost-effective over time due to its permanency. Waxing requires continuous expense for repeat sessions.

Treatment Duration

Although laser hair removal sessions typically last longer than waxing sessions, fewer such sessions are required to obtain hair-free skin for long periods of time. Regular waxing sessions are required on an ongoing basis to maintain a hair-free appearance.

Pain Level

Laser Hair Removal Treatments are often described as a rubber band snapping against the skin, which becomes less painful over sessions. Waxing is consistently painful, especially in sensitive areas.

Side Effects

Laser hair removal may cause temporary redness or pigmentation changes, particularly in darker skin tones. However, with the advances of laser technology, this is more of a thing of the past. Waxing can lead to immediate skin irritation and ingrown hairs.


Laser hair removal is suitable for most skin and hair types, but it’s most effective on individuals with dark hair and light skin. Waxing is universally applicable but may not be recommended for those with very sensitive skin.

What about Shaving?

While waxing and laser hair removal are popular for longer-lasting smoothness, it’s hard to ignore the most ubiquitous form of body hair management: shaving. It’s quick, it’s easy, and almost everyone has tried it at some point. But how does it stack up against the more lasting methods of hair removal?

Comparison with Laser Hair Removal and Waxing:

  • Immediacy of Results: Shaving offers immediate results, similar to waxing, but without the pain. However, the results are fleeting compared to the weeks of smooth skin after waxing or the potential for permanent reduction with laser treatments.
  • Skin Sensitivity Issues: Shaving is generally well-tolerated by most skin types. However, it lacks the skin-smoothing benefits of waxing and doesn’t provide the long-term advantages of laser hair removal.
  • Frequency: The convenience of shaving comes at the cost of frequency. Hair can feel stubbly the next day, requiring a commitment to shave regularly, whereas laser hair removal and waxing offer longer intervals between sessions.

Laser vs. Waxing Comparison Table

Feature Laser Hair Removal Waxing
Effectiveness Permanent reduction Temporary removal
Treatment Areas Broad applicability Versatile
Preparation Specific requirements Length-dependent
Procedure Safety High Moderate
Recovery Minimal Possible irritation
Duration of Results Long-term Short-term
Cost Higher upfront, cost-effective long-term Ongoing expense
Pain Level Decreases over time Consistently painful
Side Effects Few, minor More common
Suitability Best for dark hair, lighter skin Universal

Laser Hair Removal vs Waxing: The Verdict

When considering hair removal methods, laser hair removal stands out as the superior long-term solution. While waxing provides a quick fix, the permanency, safety, and cost-effectiveness of laser treatments from providers like SpaMedica offer undeniable benefits. For those seeking lasting smooth skin with minimal discomfort and downtime, laser hair removal is the preferred choice of most clients.

Choose SpaMedica for Your Laser Hair Removal Treatment

Choosing between laser hair removal and waxing depends on individual preferences, budget, and the desire for temporary versus long-term results. We invite you to talk to our laser technician, to ensure this treatment is right for you. We’ve found that with all its advantages, laser hair removal, especially from reputable providers like SpaMedica, offers a promising way to achieve long-lasting, hair-free skin.

Waxing vs Laser FAQ

How long after waxing can I start laser hair removal?

It’s recommended to wait at least four weeks after waxing to ensure the hair follicle is present for effective laser treatment.

Does waxing reduce hair growth?

Waxing temporarily removes unwanted hair but does not affect the long-term rate of hair growth.

Does laser hair removal work?

Yes, laser hair removal effectively reduces hair growth, with many achieving permanent hair reduction after a series of treatments.

What is the best treatment choice for the bikini area?

Given its ability to reach all areas, and the reduced pain and sensitivity after treatment, we recommend laser hair treatment for intimate areas.

Are there any disadvantages of waxing the upper lip?

Waxing the upper lip can be particularly painful, may cause irritation, and can lead to ingrown hairs.

Does waxing remove hair permanently?

No, waxing does not provide permanent hair removal; unwanted hair regrows typically within a few weeks.

How many laser treatments will be required for permanent hair reduction?

Permanent hair reduction is not a guarantee, but it is a common outcome for clients who have had 6 to 8 treatments with several weeks between each treatment.

By SpaMedica Infinite Vitality Clinic Non-Surgical

The team at Toronto's SpaMedica comprises a distinguished group of Canada's top dermatologists, nurses, and technicians, specializing in non-surgical cosmetic procedures. With a wealth of experience and credentials, the team expertly delivers anti-aging, body contouring, laser skin, skincare, and vaginal treatments. Known for their commitment to patient care and exceptional results, the medspa team continues to lead the industry in innovative techniques.
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