Part 2 of Diary of Laser Hair Removal Guinea Pig

I Go for a Consultation, Do I Go Under the Laser?

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As I mentioned in my last diary entry shaving leaves me covered in bumps and razor burn and the hair grows back so fast a couple days later my legs feel like sandpaper (and not the fine grit kind). Waxing is reportedly more painful than childbirth (I can't vouch for the pain of childbirth, but can for the pain of waxing, which I've endured more than a dozen times).

After years of nightmare hair removal options, I finally decided to look into permanent hair removal options. My research led me to a consultation at Manhattan's Completely Bare salon (212-366-6060), THE premiere permanent hair reduction spot in NYC. This is the spot where the celebrities go. It's been written up in every magazine and is so popular, you get the feeling they don't need to advertise, as word of mouth spreads very fast in Manhattan. I went in to get a consultation on hair removal on my bikini area.

Before going under the laser, I suggest you do your research and find an established facility for your procedures. Completely Bare is well known in NY, but before I found this salon, I had checked into some discount ones and learned that when it comes to laser hair removal, you don't want to cut costs. Along with your research, you should schedule a consultation to make sure your questions are answered, you feel comfortable with the technician and the procedure fits your needs.

At my consultation I wasn't expecting to go under the laser. In fact, I wasn't sure what to expect. My technician, Michelle, was laid-back, confident and attentive. When I asked what the results would look like, she lifted her arm and showed me the most perfect hairless armpit I'd ever seen. Knowing I was writing an article, she even showed me her bikini line. I was blown away with the possibility of never having to shave again. I didn't care how much it cost. Sandpaper legs be gone! So I did the bikini procedure. This is how it went (I couldn't find any description anywhere in my research, so I'm telling you what I wished people had told me).

Step 1: Technician leaves you with paper panties. I was given the paper panties then Michelle left. She came back in and I laid on the table in basically a splayed position (a bit uncomfortable, but then Michelle was so laid back and had showed me HER bikini line so what did I care?).

Step 2: Ice cold jelly-like goo is squeezed onto all the soon-to-be-lasered spots. The goo apparently protects skin and offers some sort of barrier from the heated light.

Step 3: The laser wand comes out. I had no idea what this looked like until I saw it. Lasers vary, but the one Michelle used on me reminded me of the part of your printer that you attach to your computer. The part that is closest to your skin is about 4 inches long and an inch wide (although they vary). Michelle gave me a pair of sunglasses.

Step 4: The procedure begins. Basically Michelle worked along my bikini line. I had asked about the pain and she said it would feel like a rubber band snapping the skin. She was right. The pain wasn't unbearable at all, nothing like the searing pain of waxing. The laser pulses with light and you feel a 'snap.' She moves along with each 'zap.'

Step 5: Clean up. Once the lasering was over, Michelle scooped up the goo, I got dressed and that was it. No need for creams or lotions or potions. Michelle told me the hair would fall out within 2 weeks.

On my way out the door the woman at the reception desk told me I was going to love the results. I left happy and confident she was right. Then the waiting began.

Two weeks later, the hair was gone and a new hair cycle had just barely begun to grow in. Hair grows in cycles so you should get about 6 treatments to ensure you kill all the hair follicles. A month after my first treatment I went in for my second. Find out what happened in my 3rd installment of Diary of a Laser Hair Removal Guinea Pig.

Basic Q&A:

How do you prepare for a treatment? Do not shave at least a week before your treatment since lasers require about a quarter-length of growth. The more growth the better since your technician will use an electric razor to trim hair the perfect length. Also, do not tan or expose the skin your getting treated to the sun. The pigment increases your chance of getting burned, according to Roy Geroneumus, MD, president of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, in the March 2006 issue of InStyle Magazine.

Was it painful? The procedure felt like a rubber band snapping skin. If you fear the pain, do not take aspirin, which can cause bruising, Geroneumus suggests numbing cream instead.

Is there anything to watch out for afterward? Yes. You should avoid exposing the treated area to the sun. This is why it's best to get the procedure starting in the winter months when you won't be exposing your leg or bikini area to the sun. That said, Completely Bare has a new laser which isn't affected by the sun. Read all about this in my next diary installment, part three. Read the complete series of diary entries Diary of a Laser Hair Removal Guinea Pig.

Completely Bare has two locations in NYC, 764 Madison Avenue and 103 5th Avenue. Contact them at (212) 717-9300.

Editor's note: The bikini procedure underwent at Completely Bare was done free of charge.

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