Real talk. I have crazy sensitive skin and in my pre-laser past life, I was the homeowner of some pesky ingrown hairs. And while I wholeheartedly support women who are saying a big F-U to societal pressure of being hairless felines, I wanted to say goodbye to the horrors of shaving, for good. So, a few years ago, after deliberation and many Groupon rabbit holes, I decided to pull the trigger with laser hair removal. Many moons and three spas later, it feels like I’ve been doing this for ages, and that despite my best intentions, I entered this process pretty blindly.
I’ve found that there is a lack of education and comprehensive breakdown of what the end-to-end process would be. In a way, it’s like going to a salon for a haircut, you go, they assume you know the drill, suggest a few things, but there’s never a huge article to read or a warning that a change in hormones will throw your entire hair removal game off. So just sit tight, I’ll go through everything.
You’ll need at least nine sessions
So heads up that this will be an investment with not only time but money… most estheticians will recommend nine to twelve sessions, depending on how hairy you are. I like to think that I’m on “less-hairy” end of the spectrum, and I’ve been doing the whole process on-off for years, which is not recommended, but you should be going every six to eight weeks to stop the regrowth cycle.
BUT it is so worth it. Even after one session, there’s a noticeable shift in hair. I really haven’t had to shave my underarms since my first session, which is kinda insane.
You’re going to be pulling hairs out after
A fascinating tidbit that my friend once told me, is that afterwards, the hairs start pushing through and you can literally pull the hairs out through your skin. She apparently had been sitting on the toilet at work just pulling out strands. So you can see them poking through and just pull at them, and they slide right out, stopped in their tracks.
No laser spa is the same
I bought a six pack of sessions at Skinney Medspa. Everyone there was so nice, and they had this laser machine that looks like an ultrasound, so you put this gel on your area to be lasered and then the machine glides over your skin. This kind of laser treatment is able to cover larger areas of skin in shorter amounts of time, and is “virtually painless.” But it won’t be painless for everyone (we’ll get to that part later).
And for my next foray into the world of laser hair removal, I found a deal on Gilt for Erase Spa in Chelsea, so I decided to try it out. They have a whole different beast of a machine that’s basically got a quarter-sized see-through thing where the laser is, but then it blows cold air to minimize the feeling of the laser, so there’s no gel or real contact with the skin. Erase Spa explains that this is one of the best laser models, because their dual-wavelength system helps deliver the energy faster, which brings faster results. According to their team, the other ones are not as efficient.
You should do it in the winter
Like I said before, you need at least nine sessions and you have to wait a few weeks in between. But the other thing I didn’t know before I started is that you aren’t supposed to go into the sun two weeks before or after you have laser, so if you’re having laser hair removal treatments every six weeks, that really scraps off your entire summer. You have to get this done in the winter, which I guess has prolonged this journey for me.
No physical activity right after… not even that one 😉
If you think missing out on the sun is hard, you’re in for a real surprise. Your skin gets really red and blotchy right after the laser hair removal treatment. It is advised that you don’t take any hot showers or get sweaty in any situations for 12 hours after your session. Plan date night well.
You’ll have to sit in the weirdest positions
The entire session is just about five minutes, but don’t expect to sit comfortably during it. One of the most unpleasant positions is what I describe as a reverse fetal position, like you’re on your back with and have your legs up and that’s when they zap your asshole. You also have to do this weird frogger position, also not my fave. You heard it here first kids!
It might hurt
Let’s be real. It WILL hurt. If you have a low pain threshold, pop some ibuprofen before heading in. Also, you’re supposed to completely shave everything, everything, beforehand. And I think if they zap and it hurts, it means that you left something behind.
Changing birth control can fuck with the results
Throughout this journey, I went took a year-long hiatus from birth control, and after few months off the sauce, I noticed I was having major hair regrowth. It was in the normal bikini line, which definitely should not be happening. So I went back to Skinney Medspa with my story, and the woman at the spa explained that this typically can happen when you experience a change in your hormones, i.e. going off birth control. She told me that everything grew back for her when she was pregnant.
You’ll want to do it again
So after all the time and money I’d spent on laser hair removal (remember, nine sessions with anywhere from six weeks to six months between each), I was annoyed for the hairs to come back.
But I’m giving this a go again, and this time I’ve done a lil #treatyoself upgrade and am doing the underarms as well, which is such a game-changer. You never have to have that “shit, I forgot to shave my underarms” feeling ever again, also this was the first time I’ve never had any hair grow back ever. As for the bikini line, I now know that might grow back again, but we’ll see. Never underestimate the female anatomy.