I’m definitely not one of those lucky Asian gals who have no or hardly noticeable body hair. Instead I have tons of thick coarse black hair which, in combination with my super fair skin, makes shaving only effective for a day at most. Not to mention stubble makes me really itchy and I have borderline eczema so it’s just no good! I’ve also tried epilation, which basically is tweezing with a gizmo that has multiple tweezer heads that rotates at high speed… and as you can imagine, it simply equates to amplified pain to get the job done quicker. Now some people swear by it and say that after a while you don’t feel the pain anymore. But it definitely hurts (especially on the legs) so I tend to go for a long time in between sessions, which meant my skin never really got used to the pain. The additional downsides for me are that it takes a long time to do (~30 min), and I get lots of in-growns which are never fun.
Fortunately, I'm apparently the ideal candidate for laser hair removal. Since it targets pigmentation, having darker hair makes it more effective and lighter skin makes it more safe. After a little bit of research, I decided to try the Silk'n SensEpil:
It works by some type of pulsing light technology:
The treatment area is an approximately 1 x 1.5 inch rectangle (yellow):
You basically place the yellow part on the skin, press the button and it flashes like a camera. Then move on to the next area while it recharges (about 2-3 seconds) and repeat. This is supposedly fast compared to other at-home laser systems. It took me about 45 min total to do my legs and underarms, but I was very careful about overlapping areas to make sure nothing gets missed. It's safe for legs, underarms, bikini area, and even upper lip. As for pain level, it’s not bad (especially compared to epilating) but gets more uncomfortable as time goes on and as the unit gets hotter, so I’d definitely recommend doing more sensitive areas first.
I used it once every 2 weeks for a total of 4 sessions, and initially I was pretty happy with the results. Although hair did not fall out right away, they easily came off within a day or two. Because hair grows in cycles, it took 2-3 sessions to treat them all, and after that I was completely smooth for weeks! Any hair that did grow were very fine and not noticeable at all. And the best part? No in-growns!! But since I thought the results were “permanent” I stopped using it and ended up not keeping it. Over time, my hair started growing back, although to this day I still see an overall reduction in the amount of hair… probably by ~50%.
The unit retails for $500, and each $50 replacement cartridge lasts about 2 sessions for my legs and underarms. Here's where being petite is a plus because there's less skin to cover and the cartridge lasts for longer! It’s definitely not a frivolous purchase, but still cost-effective compared to professional laser treatment which costs thousands of dollars. There’s also a convenience factor since you can do it at home. The only downside for me is the need to keep using it (and replacing cartridges) to maintain results. But supposedly, after the initial few sessions, the treatments needed will become more infrequent.
I really miss the smoothness of the results and the convenience of not having to shave or tweeze for months at a time. I'm considering re-purchasing and giving it a long-term chance to work. Some other options include the other popular at-home laser system, Tria, which I've heard mixed results about and am not too familiar with:
And of course there's always the much more expensive professional laser hair removal, which I would be willing to pay for if the results are permanent without necessary maintenance sessions. But from what I've read, laser removal only achieves permanent hair reduction. The only FDA-approved truly permanent hair removal method is electrolysis, where a thin needle is inserted into the hair follicle, which sounds very painful as well as painstakingly time-consuming.
Please share if you have tried or have heard about any permanent hair removal systems!