I first had laser hair removal on my underarms 12 years ago. It was my 18th-birthday present from my mom. (My dad got me a drill and full tool kit but that’s another story for another day.) I was thrilled and eagerly went to my first laser session. It was so painful that I had to send my mom out of the room, to save her from learning new swearwords. Thankfully, technology has come to save us all because the laser hair removal experience now is completely different. And painless. It’s painless now.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the gorgeous Luxe Laser salon in Sea Point for some complimentary treatments, and since some fine hairs have started to grow back (sometimes it can happen due to hormonal changes; I was still a teen when I initially had them done), I chose to do my underarms again.
If you’re considering going for laser hair removal, here are a few things you might want to know.
1 You will need a few sessions, probably somewhere between six and 10.
The experts at Luxe Laser say that each individual’s needs vary. Plan for 10 sessions and if you only need six, lucky you!
2 Laser hair removal isn’t painful, but that doesn’t mean you won’t feel it.
In my personal experience, I can promise that there are a lot of everyday things more painful than laser hair removal – like period pain, eyebrow threading, wearing heels for more than 45 minutes and the weight of the patriarchy. The older method of laser called IPL therapy felt like a red-hot poker being stabbed into the skin. But the newer technology – like the machines used at Luxe Laser (Soprano Ice/eLase Motif) – feels more like an elastic band snapping on the skin. Not unpleasant, but you’ll know it’s happening. The therapist will also let you know that should you feel a buildup of heat in one area, to let her know and she’ll move onto a different area. This only happened to me once during my underarm treatments (I’ve had four sessions so far) and it wasn’t sore, just uncomfortable.
3 You can laser any area of your body.
Thanks, technology! If you want your lady-mo reduced, hair-free legs or a full Hollywood, go wild. The only place that can’t be lasered is over a tattoo.
4 You need to tell your therapist about any hormonal medication, Botox or fillers.
None of these would hinder you from having the treatment, they would only need to schedule the timing between sessions around it.
5 You should shave before you go, and don’t moisturise or apply deodorant.
I always forget and the therapist cleans the area and shaves it with a new disposable razor.
6 Your therapist will analyse your skin and hair, prep you, and talk you through the process.
Then when she’s ready to start the treatment she’ll draw squares over the areas she’s treating. Before she starts she’ll apply a gel, like you see in the movie before they do a sonogram – except on your underarm/leg/whatever you’re getting lasered, and instead of looking at a baby they’re zapping your hairs. So basically nothing like getting a sonogram. Just the blue gel.
7 You get to wear cool, spacey goggles.
Reminiscent of Rihanna’s Dior sunnies, your therapist will put goggles on you to protect your eyes from the laser. She’ll also wear protective eyewear, only hers is yellow and easy to see through, and yours will be opaque. Now that you’ve been blinded and are forced to stop scrolling through Instagram, lie back and relax; it’ll be over really soon.
8 Like really soon. It only takes a few minutes.
Depending on the size of the area being lasered, of course, but it’s pretty quick and both my underarms take 10 minutes – and that includes greeting the receptionist, getting undressed and small talk.
If you’re keen to get started, head over to Luxe Laser. They have three salons in Cape Town.