What to Do Before Laser Hair Removal on the Face

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Sick of shaving, waxing, epilating, and fighting against unwanted hair?

Laser hair removal has been an effective way to get rid of unwanted hair. But it’s expensive! After a few years of having to shave multiple times throughout the week, shaving can get tiring. On top of wasting your time, regular shaving makes you prone to razor bumps, rashes, and ingrown hairs. 

Laser hair removal offers a more permanent option. 

Whether you choose at-home laser hair removal or laser hair removal at a salon, you can use powerful, targeted lasers to zap your hairs at the root. You don’t have to worry about them growing back every couple of days. Laser treatments aren’t a permanent solution, but they’re as close as modern technology can get

Although laser hair removal may sound a bit intimidating at first, it’s actually a very safe, very simple process. In this article, we’ll look at What To Do Before Laser Hair Removal on the Face. You can prep your canvas so that you’ll be able to get the most out of your at-home or salon session.


Your First Laser Session: What To Expect

Many have heard that Laser Hair Removal is painful, with high-powered lasers burning off the skin.

Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser

The reality is less… exciting. We’re not talking lightsabers here!

The lasers used to remove hair are completely safe for your skin. They’re not going to burn a hole in you, cause cancer, or do anything unexpected. The image above, showing the Tria 4x at-home laser removal device, is pretty much how it works.

In fact, the only thing you’ll feel is a slight pinch as the small laser beam zaps the small hairs. Your skin may be a little bit red and sensitive afterward, but this should go away after a day or two. 

This is the case for both IPL and Laser Hair Removal.

For laser hair removal to be effective, you’ll have to do multiple treatments spanning several months. You mustn’t miss appointments as it may give your hair more time to grow back. 

If you’re going to a clinic, when it’s time for your treatment, the clinician will set you up in a private room with a laser technician who will be responsible for zapping your hairs.

Depending on the area being worked on, they may ask you to sit or lie in different positions. You’ll also be required to wear some special sunglasses to prevent the bright light from messing with your eyes for safety reasons. 

A few zaps later, and you’re all finished. Depending on if you’re working with an at-home device or going to a clinic, you won’t need to do it again for at least several days.

What To Do Before Laser Hair Removal on the Face

Not only will proper face and skin preparation make the process easier, but it will also save you money. Most laser hair removal centers will charge you extra if they have to do extra work to prepare your skin for the laser treatment.

Here’s everything that you should do to prepare your face for your first laser hair removal treatment (or any other areas of your body).

Wash Your Skin

You want the surface of your skin to be as clean as possible. A clean surface will ensure that the laser is able to do its job and reach down into your hair follicles. If you have dirt, oils, or grease covering your pores and hair, it can interfere with the laser beam and make the treatment less effective. 

Foreign contaminants may also cause more pain or a stronger zap when the laser comes into contact with them. 

Most dermatologists recommend that you wash your skin with a high-quality soap that’s able to remove all of the oils, makeup, and grease from your skin. If possible, wash your face with one of those facial scrubbing brushes to deep clean your pores. 

After your regular washing routine, it’s also a good idea to exfoliate your face with a scrub. Exfoliating will remove any stubborn dirt that got missed during the wash and will also get rid of any dead skin cells that might be building up on your skin’s surface or clogging pores and hair follicles. 

You should do all of this as close as possible to your appointment. For example, if you have an afternoon appointment, try to wash and exfoliate your skin a couple of hours before your appointment, so it’s as clean as possible. 

Shave Your Skin

Shaving is another important step. If you don’t shave beforehand, many doctors charge upwards of $100 or more if their technicians have to do it. Since the laser is essentially burning your hair away, longer hairs can cause more pain as they vaporize. The shorter your hair is, the easier it is for the laser to target each hair follicle at its core directly. 

You should shave one or two days before your appointment. This gives your skin time to heal so that it’s not irritated or inflamed when you come in for treatment.

Another pro tip is to shave with a single-blade razor. Modern multi-blade razors have a tendency to cut the hair off under the surface of the skin, which can cause ingrown hairs and decrease the efficiency of the laser treatment. 

Single-blade razors cut the hair off directly at the surface and leave the follicle open so that it doesn’t close up or result in ingrown hairs. You want your hair shaved prior to laser treatment, but you also want to make sure that your follicle remains open so that the laser can target it. 

What Not To Do For Laser Hair Removal

Once you’ve gotten your skin prepared for your first laser hair removal, there are several things that you should not do prior to your treatment. These are some of the most common mistakes that first-timers and even second-timers often forget that cost them lost time for rescheduled appointments or cost them extra money. 

Don’t Use Any Other Hair Removal Tools

There are multiple hair removal methods such as waxing, depilation creams/powders, epilators, tweezing, and IPL light devices. While all of these are effective for removing hair, you should never use them prior to your first laser treatment or between scheduled sessions. 

Wondering why? 

While it may seem intuitive or even helpful, fully removing hairs before laser treatment can actually reduce the effectiveness of the laser on your hair. Epilators pull out the hair by the root, which impedes the laser hair removal process.

Laser hair removal is a multi-session that requires numerous light treatments to work. 

The laser will slowly break down the hair follicle with each session until it no longer produces hair or produces hair at a reduced frequency. By using another hair removal device, you could temporarily block the pores which would prevent the laser from being able to target the hair. 

If you need to get rid of hair growth between laser sessions, it’s okay to shave. Just remember to try and use single-blade razors that don’t cut the hair off under the skin! 

Don’t Use Any Products Or Makeup On Your Skin

Now, this may sound a bit too obvious, but using products or makeup on your skin is a big no-no before going in for your laser hair treatment. Despite how obvious it may seem, though, your daily skin routine may be more ingrained than you realize.

It’s easy to subconsciously put on all of your makeup only to realize that your laser appointment is in just a couple of hours. 

You shouldn’t use makeup on your skin because it can seal your pores closed, cover up your hairs, and clog your hair follicles. In short, it puts a protective barrier on your skin that prevents the laser from being able to fully penetrate the surface. 

You also shouldn’t use any chemicals on your skin prior to a laser treatment. This includes popular acne creams or spot treatments (such as Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid), anti-aging creams, dark-spot treatments, or thick moisturizers. 

Not only can these chemicals block the skin’s surface, but they can also cause an adverse reaction once the laser touches them. While it’s uncommon, the laser may react to a skin product that you used and give you a nasty chemical burn. Trust us when we say this isn’t how you want to start off your hair removal treatment. 

Don’t Wear Fragrance Or Perfume

This is another one that’s commonly forgotten by patients. The first reason you shouldn’t wear fragrances inside of a doctor’s office or laser treatment center is common courtesy. Just because you like the scent of “Lustful Cherry Rose” doesn’t mean that your doctor, technician, or any other patients do. 

Since they’re forced to remain in the same room with you, you shouldn’t impose. In addition to this, some people are allergic or sensitive to certain scents or chemicals used in fragrances, and it could cause headaches, nausea, and other annoying side effects. 

You shouldn’t wear fragrance or perfume on your skin because it can interfere with the laser. Just like other chemicals that you may put on your skin, fragrance can contain oils and alcohol that can easily burn when targeted with a hot laser resulting in painful chemical burns. 

All that being said, do yourself a favor and save the perfume for date night! 

How To Take Care Of Your Skin Between Treatments

So, we’ve covered everything that you need to do to prepare your face for your first laser treatment, but what about after and in between your applications? Let’s take a quick look at the best way to care for your skin between treatments to ensure that you get the best results. 


Keeping your skin clean is very important if you want to avoid irritated skin, razor bumps, acne, or clogged pores. In addition to this, washing your face regularly will force blood to flow into the face, helping heal any superficial damage caused by the laser zapping the hairs. 


You should try to exfoliate once or twice a week with an exfoliation bar or cream. These creams typically have beads such as sugar or salt in them which are designed to gently scrub away dead skin, debris, and old makeup.

Exfoliation will also keep your hair follicles clean, which makes it easier for the lasers to target them. 

Remember, exfoliating once or twice a week is all you need. If you start exfoliating more than this, your skin might compensate by over-producing oil. This can lead to acne flare-ups and ingrown hairs. 

You can combine exfoliation with facial steaming to help hydrate and clear the face.


After washing, exfoliating, or shaving your skin, you should apply a toner. These are usually light astringent liquids that are designed to gently sanitize the surface of your skin, clean your pores, and then keep them tight so that no more debris is able to enter. 


Since laser hair removal can cause a bit of topical skin irritation, it’s important to moisturize wherever the treatment was done. Try to use a moisturizer that’s made for sensitive skin and is free from excessive ingredients or fragrances that could clog your pores. 

Shave When Necessary

As we mentioned, it’s perfectly fine to use a regular shaving razor between laser hair treatments. Since razors just cut the hair off at the skin’s surface, you don’t have to worry about them affecting your laser treatment. Just be sure to use a good aftershave product or a toner after shaving to remove any bacteria. 

Final Thoughts

Although lasers are effective treatments for facial hair, these treatments can often be costly. Going to a clinic requires you to schedule appointments weeks in advance. If you’re looking to achieve similar results, modern IPL (Intense Pulse Light) treatments do the same thing that laser hair removal does, with one exception- you can use them at home

IPL devices are affordable and provide long-lasting results. As long as you’re consistent with your at-home treatments, it won’t be long before much of your hair stops growing altogether!

The same preparation methods we discussed here should be applied if you’re using an IPL. It’s essentially the same exact thing as laser hair removal. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).