13 Tips To Get The Best Results from Laser Hair Removal

laser

I am a low maintenance gal. I can never keep up with chipped manicures so I tend not to bother, I’m always trimming my own bangs because I forgot to book a haircut, again (sorry, dear stylist Ursula), I haven’t started to color my hair to cover grays because root touch-ups, and I rarely remember to even apply lipstick, let alone touch it up. My makeup routine is quick and not fancy. So when I mentioned I was going to try out laser hair removal, I think the Hubs was a little surprised.

But honestly, think about it: having the ability to go a few months without shaving is about as low maintenance as you can get without turning into an actual Yeti. I was curious. I was tempted. I was a little nervous, too, because I hear laser and I think “Star Wars”. My friend got laser hair removal in Hatch End and she said it was amazing, so I decided to try it.

I booked an appointment at a local spa to try it out. There, I learned a lot, and I’m here to share with you because I’m a giver.

laser

What you need to know BEFORE laser hair removal treatment

Do not:

  • Tan – either directly, using a tanning bed or spray tan before your appointment; check with your spa because everyone has their own guidelines. (My spa requests no tanning for 2 weeks before.) Excessive tanning could result in a burn or hyper pigmentation.
  • Wax, pluck, bleach or use depilatory creams. The laser is on a seek and destroy mission to kill your hair follicle at its root using the pigment of said hair follicle. If you remove the follicle…the laser can’t do its job.
  • Take painkillers or other medications with photosensitivity side effects. (Note: that “keep out of direct sunlight warning” refers to YOU, not the medicine.) Types of photosensitizing medicines can include some antibiotics (quinolone, tetracyclines, sulfonamides), antihistamines, some chemotherapy drugs and cardiac medications, and skin and acne medications, to name a few.
    [Note: this is not a complete list and I don’t even play a doctor on TV, so if you are taking ANY medication, check with your doctor first and be honest with the laser technician when asked.]

Do:

  • Let your tech do a test patch with the laser before you go whole hog and find out that you have a mean reaction to it. Luckily, spa810 (Plano) gives you a free treatment BEFORE you sign on for more, which is fabulous.
  • Shave (24 hours) before your appointment. Again, the laser seeks out pigmentation, so if you have visible hair, it will find it and you will feel it. OW.
  • Remove all lotions, creams and deodorants before the treatment.
  • Wear a light-colored shirt/bra if you don’t plan on stripping down. We’ve talked about how the laser works, so it makes sense that if it catches that pretty black bra you have on, it well could zap it. You don’t want holes in your clothes, now do you? I wore a white camisole because I’m modest and it was easy to access my underarm area in it.
  • Relax and RESIST the temptation of looking at what your tech is doing. Because lasers.

I was trying it out (because while I have a high pain tolerance, I’m a big old chicken) on my underarms only, so my appointment was relatively short as it is a small body area. The prep – including going over a very thorough checklist before we started – took longer than the actual treatment did!

And there were a few rules for after, too:

  • Don’t take a hot shower, bath, hot tub or swim for 24 hours after your treatment. Don’t exercise, either – the sweat could sting.
  • Avoid the sun on treated areas.
  • If the area treated itches or stings, do not pick or scratch it.
  • Around day 3 or 4, exfoliate the treated area well to help along the hair removal
  • If you start to see stubble and cannot wait for it to fall out (this can take up to 1-2 weeks), you can shave that area (but don’t wax!)

I know you want to know: did it hurt?
The answer: only a teeny bit.

With the system my spa uses, the amount of time the laser is applied is based on skin tone (and how well you tolerate it). The Soprano Ice system used has a cooling tip, so there were only a few instances where I felt a sting, like when someone pings you with a rubber band. Since I tolerated the recommended (for my skin type) 45 seconds per underarm so well (go me!) my laser tech went a bit longer on each side. But you might be using a different system or want to do some research on some. If you’re interested consider checking out the best laser hair removal machine to understand how it could work for you.

Now, here is something to note: laser hair removal is NOT some magical treatment. It doesn’t work immediately, although many people may go a few weeks before seeing new growth. In my case, actually, it seemed like the hair had accelerated growth – I had stubble by the end of the day! Thankfully, this apparently was NOT new hair growth, but instead was a result of the treated hair falling out of the follicle, which can happen because she used the laser a little longer on me.

*Note: This was my experience with the Soprano Ice laser used by my spa. Other people, based on the equipment used, their skin type and pain tolerances, might have a different experience.

The whole process was surprisingly easy and my laser technician Myndee guided me through the whole thing. After the treatment there was no pain, redness or after effects.

She noted that it will take more than one treatment to see full results, as we all have active and inactive hair follicles. The laser works to kill active hair follicles, and so several treatments are needed to catch all the follicles. I bought a package of 6 visits and the spa threw in one touch up visit. Nice!

Update: One year later, I’m not 100% hair free but I have minimal growth and I shave infrequently – maybe twice a month. I would consider this experiment a success!

Do you consider yourself high-maintenance or low-maintenance? Would you try laser hair removal?

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Comments

  1. Great info! I consider myself fairly low maintenance and laser hair removal is definitely the way to go when it comes to saving time on your hair removal routine.
    How are your treatments going? What have your results been like so far?

    • I’ve had four treatments so far, and I’m really only shaving twice a month – and just a little stubble at that. I almost wish my facial hair wasn’t blond so I could throw away the tweezers! It’s been fabulous.

  2. thank you for sharing this awesome information!! awesome!!

  3. Hey Jenn,

    Thanks a lot for the awesome information you provided.

    Really enjoyed reading your content. Keep up the awesome work!,

    Emily

  4. It is important to note that a proper removal requires expertise, preparation and commitment. Additionally, it’s essential to have your treatment performed in a dermatologists office by an experienced medical professional as you don’t want burns and scars caused by an under-qualified technician.

    • I think that licensed medi-spas are ok for laser removal as well – just check the technicians certification and how long they have been doing it!

  5. I have had a really bad experience with laser hair removal. I know it is not effective for dark skinned folks, but I anyways bit the bullet and had it done once. The hair removal was sub-par and the itching was unreal! It was so itchy that I had to apply a TON of coconut oil to have any relief at all.

    • I can imagine it was itchy and I wonder if your skin got too much laser exposure because of your skin color.
      My technician warned me not to wear dark clothing, because the laser looks for dark hairs (which is why I can’t do it for my legs – I’ve got too much blond hair); if I wore a black top, it could get singed if it caught a beam of the laser.

      Interesting comment from a hair removal site tho….

  6. This is SO helpful. I just had my first session last month. Going back again in a few days. I can already see a bit of a difference. Never thought about the dark top – so true! Definitly wearing white next time!

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