Monday, March 10, 2014

Laser Hair Removal: The Approach You Should Avoid...

My sister just got a laser hair removal machine. As in, zip-zap-zappo and the leg hair is gone. And we're talking one of the big, fancy, commercial kind that spas use, not some dumb little diy at-home model. Can I just say how exciting that is? Especially when she says things like, "Hey Jenny, your pasty white skin and dark hair just happen to be perfect for laser hair removal. Would you mind growing out your leg hair so I can take before pictures of it and then letting me zap it ALL AWAY FOREVER?"

I had to think about it. For about a millisecond. Then operation grow-out-my-leg-hair commenced. (Of course I already had about a week's head start on it. It's like I'm psychic or something, because I'm sure I never went that long without shaving my legs before...)

That was about a month ago, and today was the big day. My sister has a friend who is training people to use the machine, and I was to be the practice subject for today's student. I admit that I wasn't crazy about the idea of someone 'practicing' on me, but if the end result is no leg hair, sign me up. So this morning I took my hideously hairy legs over there for a little laser action.

I arrive, and she (the trainer/friend) takes a few pictures of my lovely legs and then tells me to shave. See, a laser burns the hair out of the follicle, and the more hair you have above the skin the worse it hurts. Cause it burns. Unfortunately, being the optimistic person that I am, I disregarded the implications here. You know how pamphlets for stuff like this always say things like, "You may experience some minor discomfort," or "The sensation is something like a small pin prick,"? Yeah, as a matter of course I always assume these things to be gross exaggerations made for the faint of heart.

You know what assuming makes you, right?

And so, with my usual disrespect for such precautions, I whipped out my little electric shaver. It's true that the batteries were low, but that didn't worry me. A quick (and not very close or thorough) shave later, and I was ready to have my hair follicles burned out by a high powered laser.

Have you ever smelled burning hair? Have you ever heard the sound of hair follicles popping as they're disintegrated by the beam of a laser? Have you ever seen wisps of smoke coming off your own legs in the aftermath of said disintegration? Let me tell you, it may sound bad but it feels much, much, much worse. And the whole time the teacher and trainee kept saying things like, "Wow, that whole patch really popped, didn't it?" and "It's starting to smell like burnt popcorn in here," (chuckle, chuckle, chuckle). (I was not chuckling.)

The ankles were the worst. Especially because the 'trainee' didn't seem to get the part about keeping the laser pressed straight down on the leg. You see, if you tip it or lift it THEN IT ARCS. You know, like what lightning does when it causes a building to burst into flames? Or like a 50,000 volt electric fence will do if you get too close to it? Yeah, she couldn't seem to get that memo despite the fact that I kept saying  things like, "Um, I think your TIPPING IT!!!" (This last would come out as a shriek as the arc of the laser made contact. Popping and wafts of smoke would generally follow.)

Finally, however, it was done. Over. Finished. Kind of. Because I'll need at least one more treatment, and probably two or three to get rid of all the hair. Is it worth it? Definitely. People get their hair ripped out with hot wax repeatedly, so I think I can take little laser arcing and follicle burning in the name of hairless legs. But will I shave, and then shave again, and then shave again before I go back for round two? Uh, yeah. And I recommend you do the same if you ever get a chance to get any of your hair lasered, because the amount of 'slight discomfort' you will experience will be significantly more if you fail to pay heed to that one, simple, and vastly important step.

The things we do. All in the name of beauty, right?


Melissa Bastow said...

I have decided that I don't mind leg hair. At all.

Jen said...

And you have made my day. Thrice.

And I love the pic! I think I'm really needing a new one, now that the one I'm using is five years old...

Emily Ross said...

There are really lots of things we do in the name of beauty. Moreover, it’s important to have a reliable practitioner in order to have a satisfying treatment. Anyway, it’s nice to know that you’ve had a great hair removal experience. I hope you’ll be able to share your next sessions with us. Thanks for a great read! :)


Pat Hammond said...

I am definitely sure that I don't mind hairy legs. :)

Glad you think it was worth it.