Is Laser Hair Removal Worth It?

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If you ask me whether laser hair removal is worth the pain, I might have a different answer. However, I might not be a good person to ask because I have a feeling my pain tolerance is low.

Laser hair removal according to Wikipedia is the process of removing unwanted hair by zapping the hair follicle with pulses of laser.  It has been around since 1997, so for a relatively short time (or long time depending on how you see it).  The laser basically targets dark target matter and obliterates it.  You can laser any part of your body (personally I would avoid the face but that's just me) but some of the risks include hypopigmentation, hair growing back (e.g. it not working), and infection.

Is Laser Hair Removal Right for You?

Laser hair removal is actually not for everyone.  Because of the way laser hair removal works, for people that are targeting hair that is light in colour, it will not work that well.  It works best on fair skinned people with darker hair (the laser targets the melanin in the dark hair).  Also there are risks involve (as mentioned above) so if you're worried about the risks, it is probably not right for you.

Most importantly, if you have a low pain tolerance it might not be for you.  As the sessions progress, the laser beam is made stronger and stronger (to target the fine hair) so it will get painful.

How Much Does it Cost?

Is Laser Hair Removal Worth It?The cost for laser hair removal varies, but usually most laser hair removal centers require you to go for six sessions (with each session spaced 6 to 8 weeks apart) to ensure that all the different cycles of hair growth are targeted.  Each session (depending on the area of hair removal that you want targeted) can cost over $100 a pop depending on where you are planning to get the treatment.  Some places have annual or biannual discounts (e.g. 40% off per treatment or if you buy the package of six) to reduce the sting of the cost.

My Experience

My friends were raving about their laser treatments and touting it as the best $1000 (or a bit less) that they have ever spent, and said that they would have gotten it when they were younger if they could (we are all in our 30's, but perhaps this is something that we couldn't justify or afford in our 20's!).  After almost half a year of indecision, the place where my friends got their laser hair removal done had their sale again (about 40% off the treatments) and I decided to go for it partly because the place that I usually go for waxing moved about 15 minutes further than where it was previously.

The first session I had no idea what to expect, the large machine freaked me out a little (okay, maybe a lot).  It was quite painful, I didn't know whether the cooling air (used simultaneously with the laser) was more painful or the laser was more painful.  The actual laser felt like small elastic bands snapping against your skin (that's what most people describe it as).  However, before I had time to worry about how painful it is, the session was over (less than 10 minutes).

Is Laser Hair Removal Worth It?

Well, so far, I have only had two, and have seen some great results.  It was tough to part with so much money all at once but I calculated that it saves me the headache of going to the salon for waxing on a monthly basis and I will “break even” with my laser hair removal expenditure in two years.  Probably not the best investment, but so far it has felt “worth it”.

My friends have also gone under the laser and think it's money well spent and rave about how they wish they would have done laser hair removal sooner.  If you are planning to get pregnant soon, you might want to rethink laser hair removal because hormones affect your hair growth cycles and many people get their hair growth back (well not to the same extent as previous) during pregnancy.

You can check out reviews (public posts) of how much people spent and whether they thought laser hair removal was worth it on Real Self.  So far, about 88% of people say that laser hair removal was worth it.

Readers, have you tried laser hair removal before?  What did you think of it?

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

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