Beauty Wednesday: Laser Hair Removal

laser-hair-removalFor today’s beauty post, we thought we’d talk about a beauty decision this author made a while ago that was one of the best purchases ever made:  laser hair removal.  There are a ton of other articles that weigh the pros and cons and advise about how to find a good laser hair removal spot, but we thought we’d just write about it from a totally personal perspective.  We also asked a few friends who had also had it done to weigh in. (Pictured:  Ministry of Sound – Laser Light Show with DJs Deep Dish, originally uploaded to Flickr by Anirudh Koul.) In any event, this can be a bit of TMI, so we’ll put the rest of this after the jump — read on if you’re interested.

My reasoning: For myself, I only had my lower legs and underarms done.  Prior to this, I had used shaving as my primary means of hair removal, with the occasional time/energy/money spent on waxing.  My lower legs weren’t terribly hairy, but I hated having to shave them so often in the summer — at one point (when longer skirts were more popular) I had a 3-day wardrobe rotation of “short skirt, longer skirt, pants” to avoid having to shave more than every three days.  (Yes, I am incredibly lazy.)  As for my underarms, no matter what kind of razor I used, they just never seemed to be cleanly shaved, and it made me self conscious about it.  One day, a blogger I read announced a sale at a Laser Hair Spa that she had used (it was something like the first session was only $50, and a 20% discount off a package if you decided to book) — and I called to make an appointment.   (I did next to NO research on it, which is very unlike me.  I was extremely fortunate in my experience in that there were no problems, but I have had friends who were badly burned by the process (and she had gone to a dermatologist to get it done!) Part of my reasoning was that I was 30, so I figured I’d be avoiding at least 30+ years of caring about whether my legs were shaved in the summer.  After I signed up, about a zillion girlfriends came forward and admitted to having it done as well.

The cost: After that introductory session, I booked a package that, even at a discount, was extremely expensive — I remember thinking it was about the same price as the rent in my one-bedroom apartment in a fairly tony section of Manhattan.  I gulped, but decided to do it.

The experience: For me, the laser hair removal was much more painful than waxing — I became good friends with the woman doing the treatment because I would talk about anything on my mind in order to distract myself from the pain.  Think sharp rubber-bands-flicked-on-your-skin-repeatedly pain.  In theory, the underarms should have hurt the least since they were a nice and fleshy part (the bones around your ankles and calves supposedly hurt the worst) but for me they were the worst.  I had to wear goggles (well, really just scientific-looking sunglasses) during the underarm portion of my treatment.  For my legs, the woman doing the treatment would create a “grid” on my legs with a white eyeliner pencil, in order to keep track of what area she had done.  My legs and arms were always red and splotchy for like 10 minutes after the procedure.  The underarms only took about 5 minutes, but the lower legs took about 40 minutes.  There was significant (significant!) hair reduction after just 2 sessions.

The aftermath:  Best. Money. Ever. Spent.  And completely, totally worth whatever momentary pain I felt during the treatments.  I realized at some point last summer that I was wearing skirts and dresses so much more than I had in years past, and it hadn’t even occurred to me that it was because I didn’t have to worry about shaving.  Is there still a bit of hair?  Sure, yes — as any laser hair removal specialist will tell you, they’ll never be able to get all of it.  But I honestly can’t remember the last time I had to shave — what’s left is superfine and almost invisible on my legs.  My knees are a different story — the hair there is supposedly hardest to “get” — and I do need to shave those at least once a week during the summer months — but in general it’s totally worth it.

Final thoughts: If I were to do it again, I would research it — a lot — more than I did.  And, because of the time investment involved (including travel to the “laser spa” I went to, it was about 1.5 hours for each session, with about seven sessions involved),  I would advise whoever’s considering doing it to take a close look at your finances and see how “much” you can afford to do at once — for example, don’t do your legs, and then decide after a year or so if you want to get your underarms or bikini line done.

That’s just my $.02, though — readers, please write in with your thoughts and experiences. I also asked some friends for their thoughts, particularly because they chose to do their bikini lines also:

From friend #1, who went to her dermatologist in CA:

Like you, I did legs and underarms. I did legs to a few inches above my knee. I’m actually thinking that I might need to go in and have a few more rounds, as the underarm hair is starting to grow back a little bit thicker than I’d like. Same for legs. But maybe I’m being super-sensitive to it. Overall, as for those two areas of my body, I have absolutely loved it — some of the best money I’ve spent on myself, even if I do need to go in for some touch ups. As you know, you don’t get super-smooth all the time, but it takes a long time for hair to grow back, and when it does, it’s finer and lighter than before. (Which reminds me, laser works for dark hair growth only, not light hair). Totally worth it for my business-casual office in California.

Re: bikini line, I was going to do it but after 1 or 2 times, decided it just wasn’t worth the time and money. I don’t know if it was any more painful than legs/underams, but that area is certainly more sensitive. Plus, I wasn’t sure I wanted to necessarily “commit” to what I exactly wanted, er, down there, if that makes sense. For me, getting that one area waxed is quick and easy for me, and therefore more suitable to my lifestyle. I can see how someone else might want to get laser for the bikini line – if they had a very active beach lifestyle, for example, or for whatever other reasons they wanted. But for me, it was not worth the time and money.
From friend #2, who went to the same spot that I did:
I did full Brazilian and LOVE it.  No more razor burn or itching from shaving.  Yes, it was painful, but not nearly as painful as waxing.  I had six sessions spaced approximately six weeks apart from each other (I think), and great results.  my last session was in January and there has been very little grow-back — and the hair that has grown back is so fine it’s virtually invisible.
If Q  is between bikini vs. Brazilian… I totally understand that some people may feel uncomfortable about the pre-pubescent nature of the Brazilian.  I was, too, at first.  I felt awkward at the gyn’s office and when traipsing around naked in front of my mom and sister while sharing a room on vacation.  But I got used to it.  Now I don’t even think about it except in the context of how happy I am not to have to shave.

Comments

  1. Lasering my underarms and bikini line were the best things ever! Shaving my underarms never looked clean and always left me with a rash. Now I shave about once a week and I can wear sleeveless all the time without hving to check first. I would do my legs too but the hair is too light. It’s definitely worth the cost and the mild to moderate pain.

  2. As a redhead, my test patch was a big fail. Jealous of you dark-haired girls, I’d do underarms and a brazilian if I could!

    • Also not for brown people – something about how the laser needs to differentiate between light & dark (obviously I am not a scientist)?

    • Oh, that’s sad. I always had it in the back of mind that I’d do it someday! Oh well. Good to know.

    • I have fair skin and blonde hair. I have done electrolysis, and am so freakin’ glad!! A little painful, but not too much, and so totally worth it!!

  3. Had my second session on my lower legs about 4 weeks ago, and the resutls are really starting to make me happy. Before that, I was a little unsure, especially in light of the cost (over $4 K, paid upfront).

    My package incluces nine sessions, and if I have the results I want before they are all up, I’m thinking about using the final sessions on my underarms. They “discourage” this because of the chance I will be “unhappy” with the results when they can’t get all the hair, but I know that going it, and it can’t get any worse from a couple of treatments. I suspect they just want me to buy another package.

    I agree with Kat that your thirties (or earlier, if you can afford it) are a good time to do it because you’ll still get 30+ years of benefit from the procedure. It also seemed less risky than having my eyes lasered so that I would not have to wear contacts anymore.

    Re: pain – it does’t feel good, but it is bearable, and it subsides very quickly. I originally declined to purchase the numbing cream because I thought I was tough and wouldn’t need it, but now I’m just refusing to use it on principal. Silly, I know, but I don’t to break down and admit that, yes, I should have just forked over the extra $30 for the numbing cream at this stage of the game!

  4. I have had mixed results. How do you recommend finding a good place? Which rating sites?

  5. OK, so let’s skip past the part where none of y’all are worried about long-term effects…

    Has it occurred to anyone that you may meet a man one day that, you know, is an ACTUAL man, and doesn’t want to have sex with someone that looks like a 7-year old girl, down there?

    • I really don’t think this is the place to start judging anyone’s personal grooming habits, especially when said habits have zero impact on you…

      • umm… when said personal habits have an impact on all women everywhere because of the ridiculous standards they impose on our gender and this blog happen to promote that habit, yeah, this is the place.

        • What may be “ridiculous standards they impose on our gender” to you is a personal preference for others, with zero to do with any so-called standards promoted or expected by society and/or possible romantic partners. Let it go.

    • KateSouth :

      Perhaps it hasn’t occurred to you that a real man doesn’t care or judge how a full-grown woman chooses to groom herself and neither should you.

      • Again, just because one has a personal preference for hairlessness on certain parts of her body, does not mean she is giving in to societal pressures to conform to cultural standards. Maybe you are self conscious because of your unusual desire to be hairy.

        • my “unusual” desire?

          yeah, one’s desire to remove hair has not at all been driven by unequal societal expectations of men and women. it’s very interesting how among men, it’s “unusual” to wax one’s genitals to such an extent that only about 3 salons around the country do it (and those that do are in chelsea, west village and the castro).

          and yes, it’s so “usual” and “normal” for women to want to do it that they’re willing to endure extreme pain like that described by other posters in order to fulfill this completely “natural” compulsion.

          you know, it’s sad when people try to oppress others, but it’s even sadder when the oppressed buy into the bullshit of their oppressors. enjoy your stockholm syndrome.

        • I don’t think anybody assumes that NO women like to have hairless legs, underarms, or pubic areas; but I think it’s pretty clear that hair removal would not be as common as it is if there wasn’t serious, serious social pressure to remove it. And I also think that many women have internalized a social idea that “beauty” = “hairless” without giving it much thought.

          “Maybe you are self conscious because of your unusual desire to be hairy.”

          You think somebody must be “self-conscious” because they have an “unusual” desire to keep their body in its natural state.

          QED.

    • My mom was (and still is) very worried about the long-term effects of the procedure. I didn’t tell her I was doing it until I was nearly done with the sessions, though, and at that point I figured it was best I not know the threats of what might happen in the years to come — so I still haven’t researched it and can’t speak to any possible long-term effects.

      My friend and I talked about the Brazilian before she did it — my advice to her then (and now) is the same — talk to your grandmother about it before you get it done, because hey, who knows what’s to come in terms of physical changes in that, um, area. I would also say that if you’ve never had a Brazilian wax, for God’s sake don’t decide to get one permanently — I absolutely HATED the feeling of it the one time I had it done, particularly because I didn’t like feeling like a 7-year-old again. But: to each their own.

      • Good call (although I shudder to imagine that conversation!) — As I read through this I considered the advantages of never trimming anything again (I’m a low maintenance kind of chick) against changing my mind about liking a Brazilian look…

        …but it never occurred to me to visualize whether older me will look… good (??) with a perma-brazilian (although I don’t see older me liking maintenance any better!)

    • WARNING – TMI AHEAD
      I have not gotten laser hair removal, although I have thought about it a lot. I have PCOS and I’ve heard that because of our turbo-androgens that make hair grow like crazy, it’s sometimes not all that successful – the hair grows back just as thick as before. If I get it, I will get two areas done – a weird patch on my upper inner thigh that grows thick dark hair (I know, it’s so creepy and I have no explanation for it other than the hormonal thing), and my pubic area, going full Brazilian. I could give a crap what anyone (my husband included) thinks about how much pubic hair I do or don’t have. I like being hairless better. It’s a personal choice. I am an old married lady and I only have sex about four times a month (max) anyway. It’s definitely not worth shaving/waxing/lasering down there for that. I like not having to pull the sticky side of a pad off my pubes or check to make sure my bush isn’t showing before I walk out to the pool. I like not having to choose underwear with the right kind of elastic so it doesn’t pull hair out at the wrong time, like while walking to a meeting with a bunch of male coworkers. FYI, not sure if you’ve seen elderly ladies at the gym or pool changing room, but after a certain point, most of it falls out anyway. No one is going to confuse me with a 7-year-old girl at this point (boobies are too big, not to mention I think the pregnancy stretch marks are a dead giveaway), so if I can do something that I like and that makes my life easier, you’re damn right I will. If you don’t like it, feel free to grow your bush out as wild as the Amazon rainforest. I promise I won’t judge you.

      • A, you are my new hero! I love your empowerment!

      • I agree. I got only the bikini line done a while ago – not a full Brazillian because I was worried that some guy might prefer a more “natural” look. But two years later, I realized that I don’t care. I prefer having it all off so I’m going to go back and finish the job. It’s not because I’m trying to impress men – I’m not the type of girl that worries if I haven’t shaved my legs for a few days.

        For anyone considering going, I got mine done at a dermatologist’s office and was very satisfied. I also hear that it can be done cheaper elsewhere.

        In addition, I was told I would need 3-6 treatments, but I ended up needing only 2 sessions for the parts I got done already. There are a FEW strays, but nothing that I care about. I suppose you need more sessions if you want is absolutely perfect.

    • Lawchic, I don’t particularly care what a man would or would not like me to do with my body hair. That having been said, I agree with the concern that this obsession with hair removal has become normalized. People are acting as if it’s a “choice” when really, for most women, it’s not a choice – it’s a requirement of our jobs because women are considered freakish for having hairy legs and underarms. The idea that a woman would “at least” shave a few times a week is a given.

      I’m young and attractive, so I get a lot more lee-way than other women in terms of appearance. I don’t shave any of my body hair, because I know I’m better able to “get away with it” than most. I’m not going to judge any woman who feels pressured into it, but I am still sad to see people act as if OF COURSE every woman would remove her hair, or refer to it as a “grooming” habit (as if someone who doesn’t do it is less clean).

      • As the person who referred to it as a “grooming” habit – maybe my word choice was wrong – I did not intend to imply that removing body hair or leaving it alone has a darned thing to do with cleanliness. To my mind, it’s like wearing makeup or using hair products/styling tools – not necessary for cleanliness, but some may choose to do it for a wide variety of reasons. I know what I choose for me, and why, and far be it for me to judge any other woman on her choice.

        • Um, it feels pretty darned good to have silky smooth legs. Not hairy monkey legs.

    • Anonymous :

      Agree that possibly long-term effects should be considered. But about the grooming thing: so what if a girl/woman wants to be clean-shaven? I think half of our personal grooming choices (or mine, anyway) have more to do with me, and what makes me happy, than they do about my boyfriend or any potential guys I’m dating. I shave my legs even I’m the only one who will see them, because it makes me feel better. Maybe what makes me happy is the result of society’s choices or what-have-you, but frankly I’m too busy working a ridiculously demanding job to spend much time worrying about it. And if I want to take some hair, I don’t think that it’s anybody else’s place to judge.

    • Found my man. I like it bare, fiance likes it bare. Would save me the trouble or shaving all the time to get it lasered, but haven’t got the money to do it.

      Good luck finding your actual man. Sorry that so many of the nice women and men out there aren’t “actual” enough for you.

  6. I’m with N – I’ve been wanting to do this for ages but have had little success with my research attempts. Any specific endorsements for places in Manhattan would be great.
    Also, I really want to do my upper lip – anyone have advice as to any tips for that specific area? I don’t care about shaving my legs so much – under arms, lip and bikini line are far more annoying to me than a quick shave each morning (and yes, I shave nearly every morning).

    • I had my arms and face done at Romeo and Juliette on 57th and 5th. They seemed to be highly recommended online, and I never had any problems with them. I think their prices might be on the higher end, but it’s the kind of thing you want to pay to ensure quality. Anyway, most of the techs were beautiful women who seemed recently arrived from eastern Europe, but they had several machines and were efficient and pleasant.

      • I second Shawn on Romeo and Juliette. I had my upper lip done there a couple years ago and had a great experience overall. It was money very well spent, though not sure I’m ready to fork over the significantly higher amount for legs or underarms. Also, I recently got a Brazilian wax at Completely Bare (Madison/65th) and the technician did a laser treatment on one of my underarms as a test patch freebie. She was also very good so based on that limited experience I would recommend there as well.

  7. I was thinking of this but only for my upper lip – based on your friend’s comment that it only works for “dark” hair, now I am unsure whether it’s an option. Can anyone weigh in? I have a mixture of light and dark (but all fine) upper lip hair growth…I wax it myself every week or so but wish I didn’t have to monitor it.

    • I also have a mix of light and dark hair on my upper lip and have thought (some might say obsessed) about laser hair removal (on the upper lip and just about everywhere else) for years now. One aesthetician told me laser wouldn’t be worth it on the upper lip because it would never get rid of the blonde hair and I’d still have to wax anyway, but then a dermatologist encouraged me to do it so I gave it a shot. It hurt a lot and didn’t do any good at all so I haven’t been back, even though I know it takes more than one session to really work.

      I go back and forth, but ultimately don’t think it’s worth it for the areas where there is enough light hair that I’ll still feel the need to wax even if all the dark hair is gone …

      That said, re laser hair removal in general, I know a few people with dark hair who’ve done it (including a darker-skinned Pakistani friend of mine) basically everywhere and they have nothing but good things to say about it.

  8. Legally Brunette :

    I cannot comment on laser but I have used electrolysis on my upper lip and chin with fabulous results. I was never particularly hairy in those areas but made a big mistake of tweezing that area, which left me with coarse and wiry hair growth. I tried threading and waxing but the hair just came back more coarse than before. It also made that area of my skin darker, which was embarassing.

    Over the last year, I have gone to a wonderful electrologist who truly knows what she is doing. There are two methods: galvanic and blend. Galvanic is used for those coarse hairs and blend for more fine hair. In the beginning I went every 1-2 weeks, and now I go about once every 4-6 weeks. There is pain, but it’s not a big deal, and the sessions aren’t usually more than 15 – 30 minutes anyway.

    I have spent about $1500, which for me is totally worth it. Unlike laser, electrolysis is the only hair removal method which has been approved by the FDA as a permanent removal solution.

    Electrolysis isn’t a good solution for a large section of skin (ie: legs, arms) but for facial hair, it’s fantastic.

    For those considering laser v. electrolysis — my understanding about laser is that you have to shave your upper lip area between sessions, which really scared me because I did not want to bring a razor anywhere near my face! With electrolysis, you’re not supposed to touch your hair between sessions, although you can use a scissors to snip small hairs.

    • I agree, my choice would be electrolysis instead of laser, for small areas of the body.

      • I have tried waxing, electrolysis, and laser for upper lip hair removal. For me, electrolysis did not work well, even though it did remove the hair, because of my sensitive skin. My face would swell up and be red for at least a week after the procedure. So as soon as the swelling/redness went down, it was time for another session. Laser worked well and wasn’t too painful if I used a prescription numbing cream first.

        Just something to think about if one has sensitive skin.

    • Hair removal cannot make hair thicker or more wiry; that’s genetic. Moreover, in my experience you don’t have to shave your lip between sessions for laser (why would you have to?).

      • Hair removal doesn’t make hair thicker, but hair that has been in an area for a longer time does thin out. So new growth seems thicker and more wiry than old growth.

    • Thanks – As I read the first part of your post I was mentally making a note to Google laser v. electrolysis — and I had no idea about which was/not FDA approved.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Oh, and the other benefit to electrolysis is that it doesn’t matter what your skin color or hair color is — my understanding is that it works well on everyone.

  9. I’m so glad Kat’s talking about this!! I’ll share my experience. I’ve done over 18 treatments on my face. I am VERY fair and have VERY dark thick hair which really should be the perfect combination for the laser, but it has not 100% gotten rid of my hair.

    I bought two packages of 6 treatments each and together have paid around $3k. My last package included free re-treatments for a year (though I think I might have been going for longer already, they haven’t charged me). The difference between pre- and post- laser is like night and day, but unfortunately not quite perfect (thin hairs remain pretty much all over).

    A year and a half ago I also did 9 treatments on my underarms. The results were amazing after a few months (no shaving for weeks!), but now I have started to shave every 2-3 days (before laser it was every day). Even so, the $900 or so I spent for those treatments was totally worth it, and I’ll do it again just as soon as I can afford it.

    I also didn’t do much research before the treatments, just found a place that a friend went to (she also didn’t do research …) and that place (Sleek Med Spa, they’re a chain) has turned out to be a bit pushy with the sales and sometimes too expensive, but I’ve never really had a bad experience. The underarms I did at a smaller place non-chain that was running a special I found online. Also didn’t have any problems with them.

  10. I have a genetic facial hair situation that’s plagued me since junior high. After years of taunts, etc., my husband convinced me to spend the money on laser hair removal (he didn’t pressure me, but knew I wanted to get it done and that I was apprehensive about spending the money on something that’s essentially cosmetic).

    I had my face lasered (full-beard area, neck, upper lip, etc.) and the results are amazing! The package that I bought included 6 treatments, 6 weeks apart, plus 2 years of treatments after that if the hair was still there. I finished up the 2 years of treatments beyond the 6 original ones in December, and the hair is about 99% gone, and what remains is very fine…I still go in for touch-ups every 6 weeks, but now I pay-per-treatment. They told me that I have a prime skin to hair color contrast for the treatments to work. I’m Italian/Puerto Rican, and I have lighter olive-toned skin and very dark brown hair.

    Does it hurt? Yes, but it’s not horrible, and if you take a pain killer (Advil, Tylenol) and ice your skin before-hand, it’s bearable. I also ice my face afterward to help with the redness. As the hair decreased, so did the pain, even though they turn up the laser with every treatment. I don’t really feel it anymore, and I’m on a very high setting now.

    The only thing I would say to people thinking about having facial areas done, is to consider that you will have to shave the area, and you can’t wax or use any hair removal method that removes the hair from the root while you’re having the treatments, since it will screw-up the hair growth cycle. If you’re ok with that, then I can’t recommend laser hair removal highly enough!

    • AnonToday :

      I also have a genetic facial hair situation. I began laser treatments in college (1999-2000) when the technology was really new. At that point, I had about 5 treatments spaced a month apart.

      Though I saw significant change at that time, I went through another 5 treatments between 2005 and 2006. At that time I was also on BCPs and the technology had changed significantly. I was happy with the results and went several years without a laser treatment (occassional threading/waxing).

      Now, I am in the midst of my third round of 5 treatments. I’ve completed two and scheduled a third. I am no longer on BCPs but am very pleased with the results so far.

      I have always gone to a derm because my insurance covers part of my treatments. (Since it is an endocrinological condition, I can justify it as a medical expense.)

      Yes, it hurts but you can use a topical anesthetic. (I’ve used Emla in the past.) Pain and redness should fade an hour after treatment is my understanding. If not, you may have been burned which can cause temporary skin discoloration.

  11. I would go for a consult if you’re unsure if your hair will be treated, but be forewarned: if you wax the area you want to laser, you should stop waxing 1-2 months (really longer is better) before you laser. Otherwise you’ll be wasting some of your money. Laser can’t hit the hair follicles that have been damaged by waxing, it can only destroy “healthy” hair follicles. You should also be as white as possible in that area: meaning no tanning/sunning whatsoever for a few weeks/months beforehand, because then they can use a strong laser instead of a weak one.

  12. Sort of on-topic: If you can’t afford to do the laser thing, or have darker skin/lighter hair, I would highly recommend the REM Spring for a hair-removal tool for the face. $15 on amazon and it really does work. Nowhere near painless, and not a permanent solution, but its something you can do in 30 seconds while sitting on the couch watching TV. Once you get all the hair out, it really is just a matter of going over your face once a day or so and grabbing the new growth.

    http://www.amazon.com/R-E-M-Spring-Facial-Hair-Remover/dp/B001FXUTUM

  13. Has anyone tried one of the at-home laser hair removal tools? There is at least one FDA-approved device I’ve heard about and have been tempted to order.

  14. I did bikini line – nothing crazy, just so that I would feel more comfortable wearing a swimsuit (shaving and waxing irritated my skin terribly). Completely worth it, although it hurts like crazy while they do it (but because it’s a small area, it’s over pretty fast). I asked my dermatologist for a recommendation. It helped that I have light skin/dark hair – there’s still some occasional hair left, but it’s really fine and easy to shave once in a while without irritating my skin.

  15. This was the best money I ever spent as well, but I have heard horror stories so I would strongly advise going to a dermatologist for this and not having it done at a spa. After several treatments with no problem, I had a fairly severe allergic reaction to the numbing cream they use and was *extremely* greatful I was at a doctor’s office who could treat it immediately.

  16. This is one area where I know society has slipped backwards. When I was your age I was allowed to have hair. I didn’t even shave my legs much – given that the hair was blonde. And bikini hair removal? No way.

    So I’m glad you all can earn better salaries than we did but I think I’ll keep my hair. Except the new stuff on my chin and lip. That has to go:).

  17. I would to do this if I had the money. I love getting my bikini waxed, but I get lots of ingrown hairs from the process. I just feel, I don’t know, neater and cleaner when it’s done. I honestly don’t think my husband care at all.

  18. Been there :

    This is a good solution but not permanent. You don’t have 30+ years to enjoy it as it will grow back and you will have to do touch ups that add up.

    I got my upper lip and under arms done in 2008 and had great results with the under arm (darker hair) and zero results on the upper lip (blond but still annoyingly noticeable). I only needed 6 treatments for total hair removal. I didn’t shave my underarms for a solid year but the hair is starting to grow back. Now I have to shave once a week. It grows back in patches. The laser was so painful that I wanted to tell the person to stop or lower the strength of the laser but never did as I wanted my money’s worth.

    I chose a new place last year to get my leg and bikini done since I wasn’t crazy about the service of the first place. They use a “cool touch” laser that sprays a blast of something on before each zap so it numbs you. I hurts significantly less but still a lot. I have had 5 treatments and still need to regularly shave both areas. I see significantly less hair in the bikini (dark hair) and much less razor burn when I shave. I am paying for the full Brazilian but asked them to leave a landing strip to avoid the 7 year old girl feeling. I think I wasted my money on the legs (blond hair) as I don’t see significant results yet.

    I will continue to spend the money in this endeavor as the amount of time it saves is awesome. I’m athletic and work out often and the hidden benefit is that I sweat and smell less in the underarm area.

    • Been there – I just broke out into hysterical laughter (to the point of watery eyes) over your comment, “The laser was so painful that I wanted to tell the person to stop or lower the strength of the laser but never did as I wanted my money’s worth.”

      Hysterical! Pain is beauty. I get it. You are hilarious.

      • These posts are just making me smile. The laser for the lip was VERY painful and I asked the beautician to “stop” when she removed the hair under my nose. The result was that I had three VERY dark hairs under my nose (not an attractive look) and I had to go back for the painful sessions. Now I’m (almost) hairless and very happy!

  19. Any suggestions for removing hair (other than shaving) if you have pasty white skin and dirty blonde hair? Sounds like lasering is out.

    • I’m a pasty redhead and I use a depilatory. Veet works well for me. I have sensitive skin, but I buy the sensitive skin Veet and don’t leave it on more than the 6 minutes your’e supposed to, and haven’t had a problem.

  20. Has anyone tried this one their arms? I’m very pale with very dark hair (my French-Italian heritage!), so in addition to shaving my legs pretty much every day, I also use Jolen or Sally Hansen about once a week to bleach the hair on my arms. The bleach works great, and i do it as often as i do because I live in Texas and don’t ever want to worry about if I need to wear long sleeves — but it’s a weekly hassle I could DEFINITELY live without!

  21. 2L Student :

    my friend had her underarms done along with her bikini line. she loves both but said that the underarm one made her sweat more than she used to. She said the drs warned her that it was a pretty common side effect.

  22. I don’t know about NYC, but here in SoCal medispas are on every street corner, so make sure to negotiate your package. I got 2 laser packages for brown spots, and negotiated myself free Botox for a year and 3 chemical peels.

  23. Since we’re into TMI here, has anyone had Botox in their underarms to address excessive sweating? If so, any thoughts or advice for women who are considering it?

    • No personal experience but a friend who had underarm Botox said it worked well but now her feet sweat more than ever!

  24. This worked really well for me (pale skin, dark hair) for a couple years, but now I’d need to completely redo, as eventually it all came back. To be fair, I only did 2 sessions — maybe more would have made it permanent. Also, where I went, the woman gave me topical anesthetic to put on my legs an hour before (spread like lotion, then cover with saran wrap to keep it from rubbing off). I didn’t feel a thing! I didn’t realize most places don’t use that – seems like such an easy fix for the pain.

  25. I have had laser on the lip, chin, arms, bikini and LOVE it. Worked best on my arms and chin (because I’d never waxed there before). I am Irish American so very fair white skin and course dark hair. I am so much less self concious about my appearance after the laser treatment (in my late 20’s I’d waxed for so many years that I had a shadow over my lip so it looked like a mustache from the follicles — very embarassing!). I can’t recommend it enough. It’s money well spent esp b/c you don’t have the expense of waxing. During summer months I was spending at least $50 every two weeks on bikini wax.

    Next up are my legs!!

  26. I’ve had electrolysis and the technician gave me a numbing cream to place on the areas I wanted hair removed from before the treatment. The cream took about thirty minutes to take effect and made the procedure painless. I’m not sure if you can use a similar cream for laser treatments, but I think this would be worth looking into if you cannot tolerate the pain (I know I couldn’t).

  27. Can you use laser hair removal on your eyebrows? I have heard contradicting information on this.

    http://www.silkninc.com/

  28. I’ve been bleaching the fuzz on my upper lip, but lately it’s been growing coarser so I’m thinking of getting it lasered. Does anyone know if I have to stop bleaching it for a while before lasering, or does the bleach not get to the part that is lasered?

  29. I have very sensitive skin as well as PSOS which causes dark hair to grow on my face. I have thought about laser removal. However, I have a friend who is an aesthitician, she has learned a new technique called sugaring. It is similar to waxing, but not quite the same. It is less painful than waxing as the sugar compound does not adhere to your skin. I have had great results with this method. She sugars my upper lip, eyebrows, and bikini area. The last time I went to see her, she said there was some new research on the sugaring technique and that it is showing that this technique is an alternative to laser hair removal and electrolysis. With my sensitive skin, waxing would leave me with red skin for a few days. After a sugaring session, it is only red for a few hours. I have also noticed that my sessions with her are less frequent now than what it was when I was waxing.

  30. I know this is off topic – but it is Beauty Weds, after all – last night, my hair guy gave me the number for the woman who does his botox and the botox for everyone else in his salon (who knew?). I have thought about it over the past couple of years – my forehead is definitely started to get faint lines – but am a little scared to actually get injections. Aside from a general fear of needles and deadly viruses, I also don’t want to end up looking frozen (though I never noticed anything like that with my hair guy) or like a bat (a la Nicole Kidman).

    Is this something that everyone is doing? Any experience to share?

    • I got Botox and as long as the lines are TOO deep, and the nurse doesn’t use TOO much, it won’t look fake at all. My friend’s husband is a cosmetic surgeon and he couldn’t tell I’d had it.
      The good thing about Botox is, once it wears off, your line are fainter than they were before you got it, maybe because the muscles there have been immobile? But I only need it every 6 months or so now

  31. First of all, botox does work, but IMHO it’s not worth it. I just don’t enjoy getting multiple shots in my face every 2-3 months (and the shot anxiety that comes with it). If you decide to try it, ask if you can go early to your appointment and have them apply numbing cream and ice cubes. Takes about 20-30 minutes and the shot piece is alot easier. You can totally limit the number of shots you get and that will help reduce the frozen look, plus it’s less expensive. For me, after trying botox a couple of times, I’d rather just grow my bangs longer to cover the wrinkles and spend the botox money on clothes and travel.

  32. I’ve never heard of this before.
    I’ve been in the habit of only shaving a couple of times a year, if that, for a couple decades now (I’m 43) because I didn’t want to let my vision of myself be shaped by what society says. I generally shave the inner part of my upper thighs to be able to wear a swimsuit and not have an extension of ‘private’ hair sticking out.
    I started dating a guy 6 months ago who has totally surprized me by changing this habit of mine. Funny thing is, he doesn’t really care if I shave my lower legs or armpits. Until now, I’ve gotten the “Brazilian” look with a razor, but it is very time consuming and the regrowth itches like crazy. It’s a long-distance relationship, so I had thought I’d just do it a few days before we see each other (so the bumps can go down) but I do it in-between too, because of the itching. I’m startled that I would do this so easily for him, but I guess it’s because he stated it plainly (long before he knew what was down there) and I am just as clearly doing it to please him, just like I wish he’d get better-fitting jeans.
    Anyway, does anyone know anyplace in Tampa to get a good Brazilian wax job, and in case he proposes, can anyone suggest someplace in Tampa to get the lasering done?

  33. Generally persons are layered this way. There’s a thing different beneath than what’s on top. Yet sometimes, there’s 1 / 3, possibly deeper level, understanding that one is the same as the highest surface one.

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