What Exactly is Laser Hair Removal & Can I do It?

In the era of innovative beauty techniques, you have a lot of options when it comes to being soft and smooth. You can shave, wax, sugar…even use creams that dissolve your hair in minutes. But, all of these methods have one thing in common: the hair grows back, and pretty quickly. A newer mechanism for eliminating unwanted hair officially dropped on the commercial market in the 90’s: laser hair removal. Unfortunately, there is definitely less knowledge, especially accurate information, out there on what it means to laser your hair away. So, here’s the breakdown: 

What actually is laser hair removal and how does it work?

Laser hair removal is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures in the U.S. It’s a semi-permanent treatment that minimizes hair growth. While it does not destroy hair forever, it drastically decreases hair growth. You can ultimately stop shaving altogether. The laser beams highly concentrated light into your hair follicles. Pigment in the follicles absorb the light, which destroys the hair. The contrast between the color of the skin and the color of the pigment in the hair follicle is what allows the laser to determine what to target.  

The treatments occur in installments. You get a treatment every 4-6 weeks, and each time, your hair grows back more slowly. You’ll notice a substantial decrease after just one treatment. 

Who benefits from laser hair removal?

People with lighter skin and darker hair benefit most from laser hair removal. Since the laser works by detecting the contrast between the color of the skin and the color of the pigment in the hair follicle, people with a greater contrast between hair color and skin color may benefit most. This does not mean someone will less contrasting skin and hair color cannot get lasered. They 100% can. Just make sure you go to a place that's well-trained and reputable, always!

People prone to ingrown hairs (ugh) also seriously benefit from laser hair removal. If you’re like me and have incredibly sensitive skin, shaving and waxing can have some irritating effects when the hair starts to grow back. Since the hair does not grow back nearly as quickly (if at all) when it’s lasered, and when it does grow back, it falls out, laser hair removal is strongly recommended for people prone to ingrown hairs. In this regard, laser hair removal was a literal game changer for me.

Okay, but it must hurt, right?

The pain will vary from person-to-person, but many people say it feels like the sting from being hit with a rubber band. It's somewhere between shaving and waxing. If you can handle waxing, odds are you can handle the laser.

It is important to remember to try to avoid sun exposure to the area you're treating during your treatment period. This doesn't mean you can't step foot outside, but please no super long tanning sessions. The sun makes skin more sensitive to heat, and using a laser on heat sensitive skin could potentially cause hyper-pigmentation and burns.

Okay, but isn’t it expensive?

Yes, so a single laser treatment is going to definitely be more than your waxing appointment. But in the long run, it saves you a lot of money. By the end of your treatments, you’re no longer spending 40-50 dollars a month on waxing. 

And, a little life hack here, Groupon has crazy deals on laser hair removal. I’m talking a 3-piece package for about 200 bucks, instead of closer to 1,000. Seriously, check it out. That’s how I did it.

So, is it worth it?

If you're prone to ingrown hairs or shaving and waxing don't quite cut it, give laser hair removal a shot. It has exploded in popularity, so finding a place that performs the treatments is easy. Just always make sure it's somewhere reputable, and get a consultation first. Kim K swears by it.