IS LASER HAIR REMOVAL FOR YOU?
Razors, wax, tweezers … chances are, if you have unwanted hair, you’ve tried them all before. But what about lasers? These days many women looking for a more permanent solution are turning to laser hair removal, whether with a professional or at home. Options abound, so we’ve got answers for you on the science, the cost, the effects, and more.
Let’s start with the basics: laser hair removal targets hairs and exposes them to pulses of laser light. These pass through your skin and damage the hair follicle to prevent further growth, all without harming your skin. This means no hair can hide! You can laser your legs, bikini, mustache, underarms, and anything in between. Your blissful post-treatment period of hairlessness will last anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on you and your fab follicles. Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn’t…if you’re ready to invest (and maybe grit your teeth).
The average price of laser hair removal in the U.S. is about $430; it can be more or less depending on the size of the area you want treated. Usually it takes multiple sessions to achieve the goal of long-term smoothness (an average of three to six, varying customer-to-customer), and most facilities oer a package that can be purchased up front.
“But wait,” you might be thinking, “what was that you said about gritting my teeth?”
We cannot tell a lie—laser hair removal doesn’t feel great. In fact, it can hurt quite a bit, depending on your individual sensitivity. The general comparison is to being repeatedly icked with a hot rubber band. Sounds nice, right?
However, most laser-lovers report less pain than your average bikini wax, and say that the whole process is much faster. The pain also decreases as your sessions continue, because the hair is ner and there’s less of it. Plus, we pro-laser-ers think a little sting is worth the months of silky smoothness that follow.
BEFORE YOU LASER
So, are you ready to sign on? If you are, you should be sure to avoid tanning of all kinds, waxing, chemical peels, and/or collagen injections in the two w
eeks leading up to your appointment. The day of, make sure the area in question is clean and clear of all perfumes, lotions, or deodorants. The interference of these types of products with the lasers can cause irritation. Same goes for immediately after your treatment. Before diving in, it’s important to note that laser hair removal might not work for you if you have dark skin or light hair. The lasers target the pigment in the follicle, so it follows that a dark hair on light skin is an easy target, as is thicker hair. However, darker skin/lighter hair tones confuse the process, and can even result in burns in certain cases. For those of us on the light (hair) or dark (skin) end of the spectrum, or those wanting to target baby-fine hairs, electrolysis may be the answer.
AFTER YOU LASER
Things to expect post-laser are redness in the area (usually lasting a day or two) and swelling of the hair follicle. These are perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. To soothe them, you can use cool compresses or antiseptic creams. It is rare, but possible to experience mild blistering, especially if you have a darker complexion, but they heal quickly and won’t cause any permanent marks.
You should take extra care of the area for the next month, especially when it comes to the sun. If you have treated your face, it’s okay to wear good quality, non-comedogenic makeup the following day. Over the thirty days following your hair removal treatment, the hair will fall out. To that we say goodbye and good riddance!
The high price tag of professional laser hair removal has inevitably lead to the development of many at-home devices. We tested out the Tria At-Home Hair Removal System, considered by many to be the crème de la crème of it’s kind.Here’s our impression of this DIY option.
The Tria, at around $500 online, may be more expensive than its competitors, but doesn’t require replacement of laser cartridges, ultimately saving money. It is designed to last for 90,000 zaps, which translates to about two and a half years of treatments. Tria’s results are good, especially for people with fair skin and dark hair, and the convenience of doing treatments at home whenever you want is unbeatable.
We love the built-in skin tone sensor, which determines what level you should be using. This is very important, as using too harsh a setting can damage your tissue. We also like that it is cordless and small enough to target tough areas like the bikini and underarms.
However, the small size of the lasers is a denite con for those who want to cover large areas like the legs, simply because the process will take longer. We also didn’t like the fact that you can’t use the Tria while it’s charging, so make sure the battery is full when you want to use it. It is important to note that the machine has little to no effect on hair that has gone grey.
If you’re not sold after you try it, don’t worry, there is a 90-day money back guarantee offered on the company website. If you decide to do-it-yourself with a Tria, we at FR strongly encourage you to read the manual well and to do the recommended “patch test” on a bit of your skin before treating a large area. Every body is different! $449; triabeauty.com