So you may all recall that several months ago, I began a groupon-prompted round of laser hair removal. Here are lessons from my six sessions at the medi-spa:
1) Don’t be shy. If you want them to go “all the way back,” you might have to tell them that, even if you paid for a Brazilian. Now, you would think that they know that Brazilian means everything, but apparently, some of the techs wait for you to tell them how much you want done. Practice in advance. You’ll be able to feel where they’re doing and where they’re not. Think about what you will say to get them to do the areas that they’re not doing. It’s not easy to do delicately. Even if you say, “Please go all the way back,” they might not go all the way back. Be ready with either a euphemism or a vulgarity if you’re hoping to… um… tidy up the back porch.
2) No pain, no gain… or, loss. I was treated using the Isolaz broadband light treatment (not laser per se). It is advertised as painless, one of the most painless hair removal options out there, so I wasn’t surprised when the first few treatments were, well, painless. Turns out those first few treatments weren’t doing much. The painless version got the coursest of hairs, so I had fewer ingrowns, but other than that, no noticeable reduction. Then I got switched to the sadistic technician, and things changed. She kept turning the machine up until I flinched, and then turned it down one notch and did the treatment at that level, uncomfortable but do-able. I lost a lot more hair after her sessions than I had in the earlier ones. If you don’t feel anything, ask them to turn the machine up.
3) They will try to up-sell you. If you get your treatments using Groupon or Living Social or some other deal site, they will try to get you to become a full paying customer. The longer you spend in one of these medi-spas, the more you start to feel like maybe there’s some other stuff about you they could fix. In my case, the tech started talking to me about my skin, suggesting some kind of aggressive peel. You know what? My skin is fine. Well, no, it’s not. It’s a mess. But I have a dermatologist who deals with my very real skin problems (rosacea and eczema). I don’t need to be peeled any more than my sweet lovably-crazy dermy does for me already. The tech also tried to tell me that some laser technique called “cavitation” would supposedly reduce my belly fat and, get this, tighten the skin left behind by my twin pregnancy. Honey, if there were some non-surgical way of getting rid of twin skin, I would know about it. There isn’t. You’re full of shit. Now stop making me feel like crap about my body and just finish lasering away my pubic hair, OK?
4) You will start to want longer eyelashes. Three-quarters of the women in the waiting room and every woman who works at the medi-spa will use Latisse. They will all have very long, very lovely eyelashes. You will want those. I didn’t ask how much it cost, because I was afraid it would be reasonable and I would start paying someone for glaucoma medication to spread on my eyelashes like mascara. My eyelashes are already pretty nice. I once told an aesthetician who was doing my makeup that I was considering eyelash extensions and he laughed at me and asked, “How long do you need your eyelashes to be?” I don’t need Latisse. But ooh, pretty. Unless you have the most amazing eyelashes ever, you will probably at least briefly consider Latisse. (While I do not need my eyelashes to be longer, I do need them to be darker because I pretty much despise mascara. If you have blonde or light brown lashes and want to ditch the mascara, look into lash tinting. It’s awesome. If you’re local and know me in actual life, message me. I have a friend who comes to my house and does it. And sometimes we have wine after.)
5) You will still have to shave. Remember when I was all freaked out about “what if I shave crooked and then my pubes are crooked forever?” Yeah, no. Maybe if you have coarse black curlies, that would be an issue for you. But with what I would describe as sort of light brown and not extremely coarse body hair, no. Six treatments made a noticeable dent, but I still have plenty of hair. Here’s what I will say. At $329 for six treatments of Brazilian, I would do it again. I had serious problems with ingrown hairs from shaving. And even if I didn’t shave, I used to get painful cyst-like ingrowns that scarred. Those are gone. Money well spent. The hair that remains is the mellow hair. I can shave that easily with minimal regrowth discomfort if I feel like being all smooth. I mean, I won’t… but I could. Like, on my anniversary or whatever. Or not. My armpits did a bit better, as the hair there was courser. I can now get away with shaving my armpits every other week or so.
So that’s the story from the trenches. Isolaz… relatively painless. Does something. If you get painful ingrowns, it might help you. If you want to stop waxing or shaving, that will probably not happen unless you have coarser, darker hair than mine. And, most importantly, beware the culture of the medi-spa. Get what you want done done, and then get the hell out of there. There are an infinite number of things that they might try to convince you that you need to fix. You don’t need to fix anything. You’re beautiful just as you are.