When to Stop Shaving Before Laser Hair Removal?

How close to a Laser Hair Removal treatment should I shave? I am thinking about just letting them shave me right before the laser--will this affect the laser's efficacy?

Doctor Answers 13

Shave the night before or morning of laser hair removal

It’s best to shave the night before or the morning of your scheduled laser hair removal treatment. This will allow the laser to target the pigment in the hair follicle to effectively heat and destroy the follicle.

San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

I recommend to shave within 24 hours of your treatment.

It's really dependent on the machine.  If you are using a BBL laser as we have you can shave within 24 hours before your treatment.  A lot of other technologies we have at various locations such as diode, and candela, it is very important that you shave as close to your appointment as possible so it is shaved closely.  Many locations will have different policies on shaving.  We do not shave you before your treatment, that is a messy procedure and hard to get a thorough, close accurate shave on someone.  The technician can touch up if needed. 

Dinakar Golla, MD
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Right before session

It's better to shave right before your session, so before you come in would be a good time. However, some clinics do prefer that they shave you.

You should shave the same day of your treatment.

Shaving the hair  a day or two before the treatment is not a good idea, because some of the hair might grow back and be visible on the surface if the skin. To prevent side effects, such as burning we recommend to shave the same day. In addition if there is hair on the surface of the skin that hair takes up some of the energy of the laser and the treatment is not very effective.

Shaving before laser hair removal

Shave the night before or the morning of laser hair removal. If you cannot get all hair completely, like people sometimes experience when getting a full brazilian, laser hair removal around the thing line, etc. we can touch up areas. if people require a full shave, there is a small charge
It is important not to have hair on the surface of the skin, otherwise, that hair will absorb some of the laser energy. The objective is for the laser energy to go directly to the rot of the hair. This is a reason to select the ideal laser for your skin type. The alexandriite laser is best for light to medium toned skinned individuals. The long pulsed nd yag is best for dark skinned types

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Cleanly Shaved Before Laser Hair Removal

It is best to a have cleanly shaved area before treatment. The laser Light will follow down the hair follicle. If you don't shave you could have black dots that need to be exfoliated off. It could be Painful and Irritating. I would recommend shaving before treatments.

Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

Depends on Individual Hair Growth Cycle

In our office, we prefer that you shave the day of your treatment. This is because the less hair that is on the surface of the skin, the more energy that can be delievered into the source of the hair - the follicle. Shaving the day of will only increase the efficacy of the laser.

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Laser Hair Removal Prep

When having Laser Hair Removal, we want you to be as clean shaven as possible.  We recommend doing it in the morning before you come.  If you shave immediately prior to the laser, you can possibly have increased inflammation/redness after the treatment. 

Dr. Grant Stevens


Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Shaving prior to laser

We use the Laserscope laser in my office. The technique is painless as long as the laser does not encounter hair above the skin. So, my patients are advised to shave or use depilatories just before the appt time. No later that the night before.

We don"t take the time to shave you. That is something that the patient is expected to do before their appt. Good luck!

Beverly Johnson, MD
Silver Spring Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Just be sure to shave before laser hair removal

Laser hair removal relies on transmitting energy to the hair follicles to destroy them. It only works with dark hair because the laser targets the pigment in the follicle. If there is hair above the skin, the light energy will be absorbed by the hair and not the follicle and the treatment will not be effective. The best bet would be to let the physician shave the treatment area just before your treatment.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.