Hair removal is a something that has a lot of different methods, and I’ve tried most of them over the years – shaving, waxing, epilating and depilatory creams. Shaving always left me with irritated skin and stubble the next day, waxing and epilating hurt a lot and depilatory creams just didn’t work. I decided to get IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) hair removal a couple of years ago, after seeing my mum’s great results. I started with my underarms, and have since done my bikini area too – might be too much information but I’m all about being open here! I am so glad I did – the salon I go to says “Once you’ve tried IPL Laser Hair Removal treatment you really will wonder why you waited so long” – and that is SO TRUE.
The best explanation for how it works is as follows:
As the IPL treatment head is guided over the hair removal treatment area, light flashes are discharged on the skin. These pulsed light flashes are absorbed by the hair. When the pigment in the hair follicle absorbs this light, the energy is converted into heat, which damages the hair follicle. Hundreds of hair follicles are destroyed by each flash; the hairs then fall out in one to two weeks after the treatment.
– Terra Nova Clinic
Most people need about 8-12 sessions, spaced 4 weeks apart, to get the desired results and after the 8-12 sessions then you only need occasional maintenance treatments. I’ve had more than that, because my hairs are SO thick and dark – seriously, they exclaimed about how unusual it is to see that on someone of European descent like me. In addition, many of my follicles have two hairs in them, which makes it even harder to treat. I did get a bit frustrated at first with the slow progress of it, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. Never having to think about wearing a tank top or a bikini because of the state of my hair has been so great – it sounds really minor but it has honestly changed my life! You can still shave between treatments, no need to grow the hair out like with waxing – they just ask that you don’t shave that day or the day before usually, which isn’t a big deal at all.
Depending on the different specials they have on offer, the pricing can vary, but based on a current deal it’s around $50 per session for underarms and $70 for brazillian. This is a bit more than waxing but the results are much better, so I think it’s worth it. One question I’ve been asked a lot is about how much it hurts, and I think it’s roughly equal to waxing. There’s a bit of a sting but it has gone away by the time that I walk out the door, there’s no tender skin that I need to baby or anything, life goes on as usual.
Here’s the real evidence – some pictures of my underarms before, and after about a year of treatments. There are still hairs afterwards, but they are so fine and pale that you couldn’t see unless your face is right up in there.
It’s important to make sure that you go to a good salon for your treatment – this isn’t something that I would want to cheap out on. You want qualified, experienced technicians and good quality machines. If you are in Auckland, I highly recommend Terra Nova which have salons in Ellerslie and Birkenhead.
If you have any questions about the whole IPL process, please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Bear in mind I’m not a beauty therapist or anything, just someone who likes to read about this kind of thing!