Wondering what laser hair removal is like and if it really works? (And more importantly, are you wondering how bad it hurts?) Get the skinny from SheKnows.
Get rid of unwanted hair for good
Laser hair removal sounds too good to be true. Is it really possible to say goodbye to unwanted hair forever? SheKnows did a series of laser hair removal treatments to see how effective this pricey hair removal option really is.
When I purchased a discounted series of laser hair removal treatments, I knew exactly which part of my body I wanted to target: the bikini area. While I eventually want to get a treatment on my upper lip, I wasn’t ready for the months of hard-core sunscreen use needed to make the treatment most effective. Let’s just say my bikini area doesn’t get a ton of sunlight, so I knew that would be the easiest option to try first.
How should you prepare for your first appointment?
You should shave the area being treated about three days before your appointment. This catches your hair at a growth stage that makes it easier to zap. Arrive at your appointment in comfortable clothes and don’t wear any lotion or makeup on the area being treated. For a bikini treatment, expect to strip down to a gown and be prepared to bare all. Your aesthetician will go over the treatment basics and aftercare with you before getting started.
How bad does it hurt?
I’d clock a laser hair removal treatment somewhere between bikini wax and tattoo on the pain scale. Luckily it doesn’t take as long as a bikini wax or a tattoo, so even if you find it pretty uncomfortable, it's over quickly. Your laser hair removal specialist will gently move the laser around on your skin, treating small areas at a time. It feels like getting snapped with a rubber band. I’d describe it as stinging and hot. For a Brazilian treatment, it took less than three minutes to get the whole area. Other than the smell of burning hair, I didn’t find it overly unpleasant. My skin remained pink and slightly irritated for about six hours.
What happens next?
After your treatment, your laser hair removal tech may recommend that you follow up with aloe gel. You shouldn’t shave or otherwise try to remove the hairs that have been treated; they’ll fall out on their own. Resist the temptation to pull the treated hairs out or exfoliate them too roughly. They’re best left alone. Once they’ve fallen out, you’ll see that your regrowth is much sparser. Keep in mind that it takes several treatments to see serious results for laser hair removal. Keep the area out of the sun.
Does it really work?
After six treatments, I can safely say that laser hair removal is effective. The area I had treated was previously covered in very coarse and thick hair. While the hair isn’t completely gone the way it would be after a shave or wax, it grows in very sparsely and it takes far less effort to groom. I will probably go back for a few more treatments to see if I can get things even more bare down there. Laser hair removal works best when there’s a contrast between skin and hair color, but you should always talk to your doctor or technician to find out if what the best treatment option is for you.
More on skin care