A variety of laser technologies are now able to successfully remove unwanted hair. Successful removal is based on an understanding of laser physics and appropriate wavelengths, pulse durations and cooling of the skin. Although ruby lasers were among the first to be used, alexandrite, diode and neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet (Nd:YAG) lasers, as well as a variety of broad-spectrum intense pulsed light sources, are currently more commonly used for the treatment of unwanted hair. Darker skin types are more difficult to treat but can also be treated. Complications can occur after laser hair removal but can be reduced through an understanding of the fundamentals of laser removal. These complications include the obvious, such as scarring and pigmentary changes, and the not so obvious, such as reticulate erythema and uveitis. Laser hair removal is now widely accepted as a successful approach to remove unwanted hair in both men and women. The future will involve office-based laser and light source hair removal, as well as a variety of laser and light-based home devices.