So you’re considering laser hair removal. Almost everyone I know has either already done it or is considering it. And why not? The thought of not shaving is simply a glorious one! While fair skinned, I am not fair haired and my body produces a little more than just peach fuzz. So I began my research into laser hair removal, which ultimately led me to take the plunge.
I found that no matter which website you visit, they mostly contain the same information: how many treatments you might need, what type of person is an ideal candidate, what level of pain you might experience and sometimes price. They typically phrase these useful bits of information as, “What You Can Expect.”
Let me tell you about the parts they leave out.
They conveniently forget to tell you the utter embarrassment and humiliation that comes with this particular treatment.
Maybe most of you girls expect that, and it doesn’t need to be said, but I wish I had been a little more properly prepared mentally. I do understand why they don’t cover this in the “FAQ” section. There’s nothing sexy about saying, “And then you’re going to turn on your side, lift your leg up and pull your butt cheeks apart.” But for a Brazilian style removal, that is exactly what you do. First you start on your back, butterflying each leg out to side separately, so that they can get the laser in the appropriate area. They use some sort of gel that is just plain disgusting when trying to wipe out of your nether regions. But the front isn’t even the bad part. Once they turn you on your side or back, that’s when it really gets fun. I’ve had different technicians and some prefer you on your stomach, while others instruct a side pose. Never fear. They are equally terrible. You’ve just shown this girl your full frontal, and now she’s getting up close and personal with your behind. She actually has you grab a hold of your butt cheeks and spread them. Tell me how amazing that sounds! Seriously, I’m not remotely a modest person.
I spent years as a dancer which meant being naked in the dressing room in front of tons of people, sometimes even the back stage crew, who wouldn’t blink an eye. So for me to say that this is incredibly not fun means something.Also, depending upon where you go, you might have a different technician every time. I find this particularly disconcerting. It’s embarrassing enough for one girl to see my privates; do we really need to expand the line-up by ten? And at this particular salon, they always seem to be super skinny and cute twenty something year olds. I mean, where is the big Russian chic named Helga? I live in a pretty small beach town where the pier, bars and eateries are where every local frequents. I’m inevitably going to see these girls at these spots. It’s unnerving to for me to think that the girl sitting next to me at dinner saw my butthole last week. The only way to avoid this dilemma is to visit a smaller boutique that has fewer technicians.
The length of the treatment is fairly short, probably around ten minutes. And I’ve experienced different levels of pain depending on the laser. One was extremely painful, while the one that is currently used on me is barely a problem. I can’t say for sure if the level of pain dictates the efficiency of the treatment. I think that some lasers just work better for some people.
There is a lot of varying information out there on how many sessions you will actually need. Most places will tell you somewhere between four and ten, depending on your hair type and skin. I’m not sure how many sessions I’ve had, because I’ve lost count. I would say somewhere in the 18 range. Maybe 20. Every six to eight weeks for two years. You do the math. And no, I am not remotely at the 80-90% reduction. I still shave once a week. You may be wondering why I haven’t stopped. Well, I told myself that once I made it to the two year mark, I was going to throw in the towel. But the last technician I had informed me that if I stop, the hair might return to its normal growth pattern. So, my next step is to try a different place. I can’t say for sure why I haven’t done that prior to now, except that my current place kept offering me great deals to stay. Yea, I guess I got sucked in. But clearly, the number of sessions you will need greatly impacts your overall cost. I would say the average cost per session in Los Angeles is $150, although some places charge as much as $350. I’ve never paid full price for mine as I’ve continued to only purchase larger packages when they have really great specials.
I have experienced a dramatic change though. It has been worth it. I used to have terrible razor burn and even when I shaved, the follicle still looked dark and not well shaven. It drove me nuts. I don’t have that problem anymore. I can head to the beach with no worries of missed hairs and scary bumps. But, had I known, I would still be doing this two years later, I certainly would not have embarked on this journey.
Ultimately you will have to make the decision for yourself. I know plenty of girls who have had much better luck than I have. I just think having realistic expectations is important and knowing exactly what you might be getting yourself into.
Photo credit: Maegan Tintari