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  1. #1

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    Laser Hair Removal

    I got a quote for laser hair removal today, and am considering it. It's quite expensive and would mean I can't leave Beijing for summer holidays because I will use the money for the hair removal. The clinic is reputable and answered all my questions. I am looking a basically getting the works deal (full leg, full arm, under arms, Brazilian, face...), and am looking into a 5-session package. The place is more than an hour from my house, so I would get everything done each visit to make the most of the long commute. My hair is dark and grows quickly. I currently use a combination of waxing and shaving, and I hate it with a passion and get lots of ingrown hairs too. The doctors said I will probably need more than 5 visits in some areas (darn Lebanese genes!)

    Does anyone have any experience with laser hair removal? Is it worth it?

  2. #2
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    5 visits likely will not be enough.

    A few years ago I had my underarms done. The first few times I went once a month. After that it was once every 4 months or so. Then it's recommended to go again after a year. The hair grows in cycles, so it can take over 2 years to make sure every hair has been zapped at least once.

    I still get hair in my underarms (I moved away and didn't get to go again after a year and a bit), but it's definitely much thinner. Beforehand, even if freshly shaved, I always had what I described as a 'dark shadow' of hair left - it never looked cleanly shaved. Now I don't have the dark shadow and the hair is much more sparse and lighter. I definitely don't regret it. I had gone about 7 times (I think. This was a few years ago)

    My technician had 2 different kinds of wands. For one, the part placed on my skin was cold to help numb, and for the other, it was a regular wand and she sprayed a cold spray on the skin, zapped a few times, then sprayed again. I much preferred the second one.

    And the description of it feeling like elastic bands being snapped on the skin was quite accurate in my case. A brief bit of discomfort when doing that area, but it quickly fades.

  3. #3

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    The package is only for 5 sessions and she did say it wouldn't be enough in some areas, maybe all. There is a significant discount of 30 to 50% for any sessions after five, and she said it was impossible to tell how many sessions I would need until after it started. She also said about 5-10% have yearly maintenance.

    Screech, could/would you shave/wax now? Or there's not enough hair? My hair is quite dark (as close to black and dark brown can be). I don't get the dark shadow when I wax, only when I shave.

  4. #4
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    I still shave my underarms on a somewhat regular basis. But if I go a few days without, it's not noticeable. If I went a week, I probably wouldn't wear a tank top, because the odd hair would be noticeable, but it's still much softer, thinner and more sparse than before.

    I had my underarms waxed once, and apparently I'm a bleeder when it comes to waxing my underarms, so I haven't since.

    And also, when doing all the treatments (over the course of the couple of years) do not wax. If you do, when the hair starts to grow again it starts the growth process again from the start, which means it may be another 2 or so years before the laser is effective on the hairs.

  5. #5
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    I've had my underarms and lower legs done. I had about 5 sessions for underarms and 4 for my legs. I have a lot less hair now but I'm stuck "finishing" with electrolysis because after a while, as I was told, they couldn't do anymore laser since I didn't have enough hair left. I've had 5 electrolysis sessions on my underarms which are more painful and also cost a chunk of money and I still have hair. I won't do the legs since it would be way too costly, time consuming and painful so I'm still shaving. I can only imagine what it would be like for the bikini area.

  6. #6
    Internet Beyotch
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    I had my chin and mustache done. I'm glad because it makes life easier not to have to worry about shaving my chin every day but it hurt like hell and I'd be reluctant to have it done again. I certainly wouldn't do it on any area you couldn't see.

  7. #7

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    I was told that dark hair responds best to treatment. If you are blonde, or grey, the laser will not be as effective.

    My mother paid for the two of us to have it done on our chins. We were both grey at the time, although I still had some blonde. We were given a dye to use on our chin hair so that the laser would work. Well, it didn't. We both have to pluck or shave daily despite having 6 full treatments.

  8. #8
    Port de bras!!!
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    I had lower legs, bikini and underarms done. Love it. I do need occasional touch ups but the difference is amazing. I barely ever shave anymore, no move waxing (ouch!), etc. But JasperBoy is correct that it doesn't work well on white/blond hair. Gotta have dark.

    The wand that was used on me had a blast of cold air to help soothe the irritation. It was as mentioned--feeling of rubber bands snapping against skin. So much less uncomfortable than waxing.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  9. #9

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    Thanks for all of the feedback! I've decided to check out another place (actually a hospital) which is closer to me. It's probably a bit more expensive again, but because it's closer, I would get areas done bit by bit, rather than the whole shebang all at once. This would also allow me to save up in between visits!

  10. #10
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    I did my bikini line (with IPL, not laser), and I think I had 8 sessions spread out over 2 years, but I'm not sure there was a noticeable difference between session 7 and 8. I still have to shave at the start of the bathing season, but in winter I can go without, and I don't get any ingrown hairs anymore, which is one of the main reasons I did it. I have to say zapping the uppermost area on my right thigh hurt like the devil. On the less thin/sensitive skin it was like rubber bands snapping, but the worst ones were outright burns. I only blistered slightly once though, so it was worth it.
    Last edited by Evilynn; 01-15-2013 at 11:29 AM.

  11. #11

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    A friend of mine got her underarms done at a laser salon couple of years ago, but balked at the price for getting her legs done. Instead, she researched "at home" personal laser products and purchased a Tria laser and treated her legs herself. It cost her $400 but she said it's the best of the home lasers. (She is an uber-reseracher - she researches everything for weeks before she makes a purchase because she does a lot of online shopping and hates to return things after she buys them.) She also bought it directly from the Tria website instead of from the home shopping network, because the website had the best price. And yes, lasering won't work if you have light colored hair OR if you have dark skin. It has to be a combination of dark root in lighter skin, because the laser works on that contrast.

    She said the Tria worked just as well as the salon/lab treatment, but you have to make the commitment to using it often enough. You have to be disciplined enough to do frequent treatments to get results. (Lasers work on zapping the root of the hair while it is growing in the follicle beneath the skin, but hair grow in cycles and have a dormant stage, so not all hairs are growing at the same time.) She had initially planned to do a treatment every week, but lapsed into doing one every two or three weeks because there was no official "appointment" for her to keep. But it still worked, and she raved about the results - said it worked exactly like the one in the salon and she saved mega $ doing it herself. She even used it on her face (mustache area and stray hairs on chin). The Tria has an adjustable strength, so she could turn down the strength of the "zap" for areas that were more sensitive. The weaker the strength, the more treatments you will need, so it's a tradeoff between comfort and time. She said doing the treatments took a lot of time, but she just decided to commit to it and made it her "me time". And now that she's done the major treatments, she just does touch ups when/where needed. And no ingrown hairs anymore.

    I tried her Tria on a couple of random spots on my legs and found I could tolerate it. It's really nice that it has variable strengths, because I found I was more sensitive on my shins (where the skin was closer to the bone.) It also makes a BIG difference if you use it a freshly shaved area vs. an area that has some stubble (The instructions say to shave just before using the laser). I didn't feel much at all when using it on the freshly shaved area, but the stubble seems to attract the laser's heat and it definitely hurt a bit if I used it there. She describes it as a harder "snap" feeling, but I would describe it as a hot or almost burning feeling. I guess each person has their own way of describing it.

    I'm pretty sure I'm going to buy one for myself when I get my tax refund this spring. I hate shaving/waxing.
    just my two cents...

  12. #12
    Port de bras!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evilynn View Post
    I did my bikini line (with IPL, not laser), and I think I had 8 sessions spread out over 2 years, but I'm not sure there was a noticeable difference between session 7 and 8. I still have to shave at the start of the bathing season, but in winter I can go without, and I don't get any ingrown hairs anymore, which is one of the main reasons I did it. I have to say zapping the uppermost area on my right thigh hurt like the devil. On the less thin/sensitive skin it was like rubber bands snapping, but the worst ones were outright burns. I only blistered slightly once though, so it was worth it.
    Whoa. Blisters? I will have to ask about IPL and blisters. Sorry you had that issue but in the end you are likely happy with the results, right?

    lurvylurker, your friend's research skills are very impressive!
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  13. #13

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    Both places have both IPL and lasers. A skin test will be done to ensure no blisters. I keloid scar, so one blister is a much bigger deal for me and would lead to a lumpy, permanent scar. Something is wrong if you burn!

    I'm too lazy to do it at home, plus I live on the top floor of my work and have very little "just me" storage space.

  14. #14

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    Nice to learn about this. I go for electrolysis on my chin and upper lip.
    I did learn to stop plucking on my chin - plucking causes the hair to get thicker! Shave or trim!

  15. #15

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    IPL is useless on me, the SHR seems to be a miracle. If I understand it right none of them is laser. I stopped the IPL in the middle in one of the areas since it was too painful. SHR was not, but I only tried that on the lower legs.

  16. #16

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    What are IPL and SHR?

  17. #17

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    SHR is super hair removal, IPL is intense pulsed light; IPL isn't technically laser, I'm not sure about SHR (but SHR is supposedly painless?)

    I bit the bullet and went to the hospital today to get a comparison. The prices were around the same, and the hospital is nearer. I liked the doctor, and she had time that day, so I decided to get my underarms done! Somewhere small, cheap and unseen, as a tester. I now know a new kind of pain, it absolutely killed even though they had ice packs applied at the beginning. Next time I have a prescription cream to use 1.5-2 hours beforehand. Oh my gosh, did it hurt! I'm still red, but only around the area, it looks like little dots the size of a small fingerprint. The doctor told me to shave as normal, but not for two weeks before the next appointment (in six weeks time).

    At this point, I can not imagine getting my legs done, or anywhere bigger than my underarms, but I'll see how it goes with the cream next time.

  18. #18

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    IPL has been great for me. I did my chin, neck and upper lip spread over 7 sessions so far. I have one session left and will probably do it in about 6 months since I barely have any hair left.
    Now I'm up to the bikini and underarms. The bikini hurts like hell when the flash occurs, but after 2 sessions, I have no hair left on the zone treated. It kind of depends on your hair if I understood my technician right.
    I sensed nothing for the underarms, and the neck is kind of pain free too.
    poths Void: MarieM carries a rusty old blade in her handbag!

  19. #19
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    I just had my first laser done on my upper lip this past week. Having never had it before, I was a little nervous and it did hurt way more than I thought it would. I think I was more worried my skin was getting burned during it, but it wasn't. Next time I think will be better since I know what to expect. I got a Groupon for $195 for 6 treatments and the place is literally next door to my work, and I could even see a difference after only the 1 session...so those are positives about it. I'd originally thought to get bikini or brazillian done if this went well, but if it hurts this much on my lip, I'm not sure I want that laser near my lady bits!!

  20. #20
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    There seems to be a groupon for laser hair removal weekly. I got mine at a local spa and I think it was 6 sessions on a small area for around $100. I get a free touch up session that I haven't gone to yet. It is like a miracle, I used to have to pluck out chin hairs daily, no more!

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