Does my skin colour and hair tone affect the way IPL works?

Permanent hair removal? It sounds like a dream come true. Say goodbye to dealing with razor burn, ingrown hair, or painful waxing as you zap your hair follicles until they simply stop growing. But Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) may not be the best choice for all skin and hair tone combinations.

Our obsession to make sure Jenzi’s handheld device is safe for our customers (and we recommend laser at your spa when it’s not) was our motivation to write this guide. You can use it to know whether your unique skin colour and hair tone combination will affect the way your IPL works – and whether IPL is the right choice for you.

IPL vs laser hair removal

While both IPL and laser use light energy, target the melanin in the follicle and allow lasting results, they are slightly different.

Whether it is a laser or an intense pulsed light (IPL), intensity, frequency, and hair colour all determine how effective a treatment is. But true lasers use a monochromatic coherent light source, a very narrow beam of light that focuses on the hair follicle rather than on the surrounding skin. It yields amazingly fast results and can remove hair on dark skin tones for that flawless look.

IPL uses a broadband pulsed light source to provides gentle pulses of light that target and heat up the hair follicle, damaging a portion of the follicle with each treatment. With a broader spectrum of visible light in each pulse (known as Variable Pulsed Light or VPL), IPL devices can treat a wider range of skin and hair tone combinations for that silky smooth feel, right at home.

With zero long-term side effects (if used correctly), IPL is also one of the safest light-based facial treatments available. This is all gain, no pain! Most home IPL devices like Jenzi have different settings that allow you to change the light pulse settings to best suit your skin/hair tone combination, making it a fabulous, user-friendly option for anyone doing IPL at home.

Colour compatibility for IPL

IPL can treat an extremely broad range of hair tones and skin tones. But choosing the correct light intensity level for your skin and hair type is particularly important if you want the best results.

Do you have quite dark skin? Then you shouldn’t use an IPL device at all to be super-safe. If the intensity is set too high on dark skin tones, the brown pigment in your skin will absorb too much light, which could cause blistering. If the intensity level is set too low on lighter skin tones, your hair may not absorb enough light (and you may notice no effect at all).

Here’s a helpful guide so you can see the skin and hair colours that don’t gel with Jenzi’s IPL device:




Light Brown



The device also doesn’t work well if your hair colour is light blonde, grey, red or white. Check the colour table below:


Dark Brown

Medium Brown

Light Brown

Light Blonde


Setting the intensity level

You can set the intensity of your Jenzi according to your specific skin/hair colour combination.

This is incredibly easy to do with the help of the handy manual you’ll find in the box with your Jenzi. You have up to 8 intensity settings to give you the broadest possible range to meet your needs. The following table will help you set the light intensity setting:

(insert light intensity table).

In general, it’s best to start off with an intensity setting on the lower end of the recommended range for your specific combination of skin and hair tone. Once you’ve performed a spot-test and started your treatments, you may find that you can slightly increase the intensity setting to help speed up results. With Jenzi, you can play around with the 8 settings to achieve the fastest results, depending on your specific skin tone.

What else makes the Jenzi unique

The Jenzi device allows you to choose between two modes of operation, depending on the area you want to target. For larger hair removal areas such as the legs, arms, stomach and back, choose ‘Auto’ mode. This allows your Jenzi to automatically generate light pulses every 3 seconds, so you can quickly treat these areas in the least amount of time. For smaller areas such as the upper lip, armpit, fingers or bikini area, switch over to ‘Manual’ mode.

Have you used Jenzi for your skin and hair tone combination? Let us know how it’s been working for you in the comments! Or click here to shop for our Jenzi at-home IPL device and get lasting hair removal with one click of a button.

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