Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Laser hair removal

I think I've already discussed hair removal to death and I know that some of you just forgo it altogether (I'm talking to you, Greenpa!), but I also know at least one of you has sprung for laser hair removal. On one hand, the environmental impact of manufacturing the laser machines isn't something to sneeze at.

I have no idea how much energy is needed to run the darn things, but I suspect that once the machines have been built, delivered and you take into consideration operating expenses, you hope that they run long enough to offset the initial carbon footprint investment, so to speak, by eliminating the need for razors and other consumer products used in the whole shaving process.

But really, the best thing is to not bother shaving and just get comfortable with one's hirsuteness. However, for some of us who were born and raised by gorillas, this is a little less easy than it is for others. And, thus, the shaving, waxing, threading, depilatorying and otherwise hair yanking continues.

So, what's a lady to do? As you may know, laser hair removal is very expensive so for most that's a huge deterrent to getting it done, aside from all the potential environmental issues. However, a few months ago, Groupon was running a deal in my area offering laser hair removal at about 20% the total cost.

Basically I got three hair removal session for 80% less than I would have to normally pay. It was too good a deal to pass up and it gave me an excuse, particularly since I was already eyeballing the whole lasering thing anyway. I haven't yet had my first session since you need to stop waxing for a while before treatment, but I'm hoping to do so soon.

Have any of you done laser hair removal and what's been your experience? Is it worth the cost or do you still end up shaving or otherwise removing hair from the treated area?

One last question. What's your reaction when you see the picture to the right? Americans are conditioned to have a certain societal response to body hair. So, do you think she's beautiful, are you grossed out, or are you conflicted by what you see - beautiful woman, but ick!


Kelsie said...

My reaction?

"Damn...I wish I could get mine to be so luxurious so it looks as though I intentionally haven't shaved for five months!" :)

P.S.--I'm desperately awaiting my Pioneer Woman Cooks book. Is it coming?

Crunchy Chicken said...

Yes, it's coming. I haven't been at work much this November so I'm not near a post office much. I'm planning on mailing it this week.

Kelsie said...

It's okay!! I just didn't want it to be lost in the mail. Here in the hinterlands, things often disappear and are never seen again.

Sparkless said...

I have had some laser hair removal on my face because I'd look like a man without it!
You may need more than three treatments though it really depends. I got a great deal because my sister is the one who does the laser hair removal. It hurts, alot. Like an elastic band is snapping you over and over.
I don't have enough money or courage to have my arm pits done. I have very black coarse hair and it takes many sessions to finally be almost hairless.
From what I understand sometimes it doesn't work as well as one would want but that just means another session or two are necessary.
I'm not disgusted by body hair, heck my husband is a beast so even for women it doesn't digust me. It's just the way were are made.

koolchicken said...

I was a little confused at first by the photo. I hadn't scrolled down enough to see everything, so I was a little shocked when I saw the *whole picture*. I have to admit, she strikes me as masculine. I'm assuming that's a typical American reaction though.

As for lasering, you are so lucky! Living in HI I'm in a two piece all the time and waxing is a pain. If I want to have laser done I'd have to fly to another island. I'm planning on buying a Tria in the next few months. I figured it's a hunk of plastic, but one I'm going to keep for a very long time. I can give my waxing pot to my sister (or keep it just in case). And at least it's a one time purchase, not like my waxing pot with all of it's refills.

Naomi said...

I think "woohoo!"

she has more hair than me though - I wasn't real sure about not shaving under my arms at first, and shaved it all off, but regretted it immediately. Now I'm kind of attached to my pit hair ;)

I used to wax my eyebrows, but haven't done so in about 18 months, and it doesn't look much different. Occasionally I might do my legs (i.e every 3-4 months perhaps?). Otherwise, my body hair stays with me.

Laser hair removal doesn't do it for me, although I've had friends give it a go with good results, but I agree, it would depend on your hair as to how many treatments you need and how effective it is.

Anonymous said...

I pretty much grew up in an all hippie - all hairy, community with my mum being one of the only women I knew who shaved anything. That picture is the norm to me, even though I've been waxing, and now sugaring for what seems like forever. And I'm not sure going gorilla is necessarily better if the way you choose to remove hair is, well, sustainable. After all, whose to judge what is beautiful or ideal Men and women have been removing body hair for centuries or longer! :)

Megami said...

I used a Tria for awhile but it was just not worth the effort - takes ages and ages (small laser size), hurts (and I have been waxing for 15 years) etc. etc.
One thing to consider with laser hair removal - some types of laser are useless, or near to, if you don't have pale skin and dark hair.

FernWise said...

I would LOVE to have the hair on my chin lasered off - I have to tweeze DAILY so I don't have a goatee. But it's not something I feel I can afford.

Armpits - I've looked like that picture at times, but now that I'm over 50 the hair is migrating to my chin. I'm more interested in having skin tags removed by laser or any other means, they catch on things, get irritated, infected.

I guess I look leg/armpit/etc hair the same way I look at makeup (which I don't wear) or tatoos (which I'm interested in) - play with them if you want, but it would be best if no one felt COMPELLED to play with them.

Frondly, Fern

Billie said...

I had to not shave for quite some time once to determine if the pain/growth in my underarm was exacerbated by shaving.

It didn't particularly bother me but I found that deodorant didn't perform as well when the pit hair was grown in.

Anonymous said...

The picture looks a little odd to me, as the angle and zoom make it look like she has hair under her arms and nowhere else. But armpit hair in general doesn't bother me. I shave mine once a week or so, because I find that it makes me a bit less stinky.

Tree Huggin Momma said...

I can't shave regulalry. Not if I want to have skin on my body instead of scabs. My skin has become so dry and sensitive shaving is physically painful. Waxing doesn't bother me (other than the impact) except that I need someone else to do it (I can't cause myself intentional pain, I just can't do it) and its expensive. So I don't go as often as I would like.
DH is "disgusted when I don't shave my pits and legs" and I just remind him I married a wookie and I don't mind. Besides I tell him shaving actually causes me physical pain, and I am just tired of the pain.
I would love to laser as I am a great canditate. Light Skin (ghostly) with jet black hair. What worries me:
1. COST $250 or more a treatment
2. The tech shaves you and then does the lazer treatment - I don't want a razor near my face
Personally I try to live with my one eyebrow (but when I need a pick me up I wax). My Hairy legs are fine until summer when I want to wear shorts or skirts (so I usually spring for a wax).
In high school I knew a girl (strawberry blonde) who never started shaving, although you wouldn't know it (unless you were really close to her) and I envy that.
Both of my daughters got the hairy gene, afterall he's a wookie and I am a hobbit (hairy feet). Their hair is dark and very noticeable. I won't encourage them to shave, but my oldest has already asked about waxing. So this summer she will probably start.
But I would love to do lazer treatments for a year to never have to worry about it again.

Greenpa said...

eeeeeewwwwww! yuck. She's got no LIPSTICK on!!


aside from that, yeah, my programmed male response is "ick."

can't help it!

Aimee said...

Greenpa I'm disappointed in you.

I guess a lady can't win - if she shaves/waxes/lasers, then she's a vain, shallow anti-environmentalist, and if she doesn't then she's sexually repulsive. Some choice!

I am very lucky in that my husband grew up in a culture where women don't traditionally shave and so to him, hair is a rather mild turn-on. It is, after all, a secondary sexual characteristic, one that signals sexual maturity. Only little children have no body hair.

Nonetheless I shave sometimes. In the summer I shave before I go to the beach. I'm just not strong enough to endure the disapproval. I'm already fat, how many different ways can I stand to be disgusting all at once?

Kate said...

I guess my response is lamentably programmed too. My reaction is conflicted. I would probably have gone for the laser hair removal deal too if it had been offered to me. I've had some electrolysis done in my pre-frugal days. I can't justify the expense any more. But if I could remove the need to tweeze my eyebrows, kill off the few remaining dark hairs on my upper lip, and that one on my chin, I'd probably do it at the right price. I'll live with shaving my pits and other areas on an as needed basis.

Greenpa said...

"Aimee said...
Greenpa I'm disappointed in you."

Just being honest. Sorry about that. :-) No, really. As a biologist, I realize I'm probably missing out on all sorts of subliminal cues- but I'm stuck with it.

Culture! Advertising. Very hard to circumvent the childhood conditioning.

dc said...

I think it's a photo shopped picture-- looks like a guys armpit. I knnow women who don't shave and they're not that hairy.

Anonymous said...

I have to be honest and say that at first I couldn't tell if that photo was a woman or a man. Because I am totally conditioned to believe that hairy armpit = man. Or maybe it's not a real photo and so it doesn't look right to my brain.

I would love to be evolved enough to just accept the hair, but I am not. So I am interested in hearing your lasering experience, when you post it.

Robj98168 said...

If I could afford it I would get laser on my back hair,Not the chest though. After years of self therapy I have decided I kije my chest hair. Maybe a good waxing on the back??? OUCH

Robj98168 said...

You know, back in High School, My German teacher, Die Frau, would were sleveless blouses-and when she asked a question she would raise her arm and out would pop tina turner from under her pits. Gives a impressionable boy trauma. So maybe that's why I think women need to shave the pits- I frrl the need to say something in German when I see a girls hairy pit.

ruchi said...

I don't really care about shaven/unshaven legs. Most people I know have very light leg hair. Even if you didn't shave, it would be pretty unnoticeable. Besides, how come it's okay to have hair on your arms but not on your legs? That's just weird.

But the pits? Yeah, I'm not so into that. To be fair, I don't like armpit hair on men either. I think everyone should shave that!!

Also, is there really a major environmental impact of shaving? Or threading? I've used the same crappy razor for years, and my blades usually last over a year.

Aimee said...

Tina Turner!!!!! OMG are you sure that's okay to say? I feel bad for laughing.
Here's my childhood association: When I was about ten, I went to MOMA in new york and saw the most gorgeous drawing ever - an Egon Schiele pen and watercolor sketch of a women with one arm raised and curled over her head. It was an extremely sexy picture (if you know Egon Schiele you know what I mean) and I was mesmerized. The woman had compelling eyes, strong, angular lines, an air of sexual danger and challenge... and a small tuft of armpit hair.

Thirty years later I can still see this picture in my head clear as day.

Aimee said...

Kristijoy said...

I think oh looks like my pis and I DO have about that much hair.

women can be hairy we're just not used to seeing the variation because we're culturally 'not allowed ' to have any.

Leah said...

I would love to get the hair on my legs lasered and my bikini area cleaned up. It feels like a ridiculous splurge, but I'm saving up anyway. Any leads on where to look for good deals? That said, I'll NEVER give up my armpit hair. It makes me feel sexy and naughty.

Robin said...

Both her arm pit and her hand (especially her fingers) look like a man's.

I'm sure that it's because I was brought up to believe that women SHOULD shave everywhere.... but I do think it looks better.

Susan K. said...

Reaction: ick

personally I don't mind not shaving and don't do it on a regular basis when I do it's for 1 of 2 reasons.

A - I'm going to wearing something sleeveless, shorts or a bathing suit
B - it's annoying me

Hubby doesn't care at all which is a plus and since no one else really knows how much i do or do not shave - I've never really had a problem

koolchicken said...


I was thinking the same thing. I've even come back to look at the photo three times. I think it's photoshopped. I've known some women with "man hands" as my Aunt calls them, but her's are extreme.

Crunchy Chicken said...

You guys are too funny. That is a woman, with woman hands and some big ass hairy pits.

Megami - thanks for the info on Tria. I was wondering how useful that thing was.

Greenpa and the rest - Thanks for your honesty. I think we all have a visceral reaction to certain things, and for many, hairy pits is in the negative camp.

Rob - I think the German word you are thinking of is "Wunderbar!"

Greenpa said...

2 things: I'm ASSUMING you all know the lipstick crack was totally a joke. Actually, I think kissing lipstick is an ick. :-)

and; Amber -"I would love to be evolved enough to just accept the hair, but I am not. "

lol. Please don't beat yourself up about your preferences! Seriously- it's not anything that logic or reason have any traction on- these things are formed in early childhood, and imprinted, just like baby ducks on mama.

You learn, taught or not, "this is the right way"- and it sticks pretty much forever.

Actually- as a behavioral/evolutionary biologist- I have a very very strong hunch that "sexual orientation" can frequently happen exactly this way too. Not always- but often- a happy early sexual experience may IMPRINT your preferences; and so might an unpleasant one, in the opposite direction.

So much agony is expended on this aspect of our lives- and I don't think "imprinting" is even, ever, mentioned as a possible part of it.

Rosemary said...

I'm just cracking up at the picture. Can't say why exactly.

I got laser hair removal about 8 years ago on my legs, bikini, brows, lip and chin. I LOVE IT, it is the best thing I ever ever bought. I think I paid about $1500 for a package that has proven to be nearly perfect.

Background: for some genetic reason (some say Irish), I have black body hair that is/was prolific. Waxers used to exclaim. Shaving was a daily chore. Waxing was better, but of course it grows back for a while before you can wax again, and there were ingrown hairs, it's still more of a time commitment than I'd want to have now, and it was not cheap, either (I did a cost analysis, for a laser payoff of about 4-5 years). I had my eye on lasers since I first read about them in 1995 or '96. I did not care too much about the green aspect, and still kind of don't, I confess (except the razors)! One laser can serve a lot of people.

Results: awesome, for me. My skin is pale, most hair was dark, and I only cared about getting rid of the dark hair. What I understand is the laser seeks dark pigment and cauterizes the follicle which then inhibits or stops future growth. For my legs this has been about 95% successful. I have stray hairs on my legs and for some reason it didn't work so thoroughly on my knees. But most hair is gone, and in the summer if I shave once a month it is enough to look hair-free. Brows, well that actually took off a little more than I intended at the ends, but they look fine, I tweeze some strays about once a month. Lip is about 90%, and I dry-shave to get rid of some dark hairs about once a month. Chin is more problematic. I go for laser touch ups a couple times a year, as this area is hormonally controlled, and though the follicles may be permanently treated, new ones tend to crop up.

Though some claim this treatment is not permanent, it has been for me on most areas, much more so than the people I know who did electrolysis (and I can't imagine doing electrolysis on legs!). I researched the type of laser, and I feel that is important. I HIGHLY, TOTALLY recommend the treatment. Not sure if your deal is going to give you a permanent removal, because, like I said, it can have a lot to do with the type of laser. But I LOVE the reduction, and feel it would have been worth it for whatever I could have afforded. It has been such a relief for me, I don't care if it's vain and against nature. Hair removal has been done for thousands of years, and I'm not ashamed to say I find excessive body hair unattractive on myself and others...... sorry.... I don't hold looks against anyone in a personal way, still like and respect hairy people, I just find it unappealing.

Rosemary said...

OH, and in the last 8 years, I confess I have bought some disposable razors. I'm working on a pack of 3 that I bought 5 years ago.

And, also want to say thanks for the groupon reference; I never heard of them and went and signed up!

Frodannah said...

I think she looks great! = )
Honestly, shaving is quite the personal preference. If you're grossed out by body hair, go ahead and shave! If you aren't/think it's a waste of time, go ahead and leave your hair! But as someone who used to shave 3-4 times a week, I know what it's like to be on both sides.
When I first decided to not shave anymore, it was just the legs. I thought it would be too gross to not shave my armpits! But when I forgot for two weeks (don't really know how???), I realized it wasn't a problem at all. In fact, I feel all nasty-slick when I do shave now! = ) Not shaving isn't a matter of hygiene - just personal preference. Bushels of hair can be a little "woah," but otherwise, some natural hair is beautiful! = )

Unknown said...

I don't shave any of my body hair and live in a community that generally doesn't either. I find it natural and beautiful.

However, this photo was a little surprising to me. I think it is because it has a commercial/advertising look. And even though I am used to seeing unshaved women, I am not used to seeing in advertisements or media.

I find it interesting how many commenters have found the woman "masculine", which I didn't see at all.

Anonymous said...

I did the laser thing on my face and bikini...I had only 1 or2 on the bikini but like 5-7 on my face. Now at 6-8 months later only 30% still remains gone. It seems like it takes longer to grow which is great. I think if you plan on doing it forever on time you can be hair free. Once you stop new hair will come in.

Gypsy said...

I got a good deal on Laser hair Removal a few years ago. I got four sessions (then the deal ended). My skin at the time was a lighter olive tone and dark hair. I probably needed 6-8 sessions but for now the four eliminated the need to wax my upper lip (I was doing it every three weeks before) and has lightened and lessened the hair in other er- unseemly places (I'm Italian- it's everywhere!). Someday I'll go back and get more for sure!

Catherine said...

My first comment - oddly enough this is a topic close to my feminist heart!

I never doubted that the woman in the photo was a woman - she has a delicate face, breasts, and very smooth skin. I don't think she looks bad, though I find it a little odd to see her armpit hair when you can't see her head hair...sort of unbalanced. I have seen pictures of women with body hair that were really gorgeous (to me - I'm British, female and straight!).

However, when I experimented with letting my own body hair (which is fairly extensive - I have PCOS) grow free last summer, I couldn't hack the embarrassment I felt at displaying. Even my own mother told me it was 'disgusting'. That sentiment wasn't something I felt ready to oppose.

I've just had my 4th of 6 laser treatments on my jawline, chest, nipples and tummy (costing £400 for the lot). I find some areas can be quite painful but it's over fast. It's usually more of a 'weird' feeling than a really agonising one. I'm very pale with dark hair and have noticed an almost total end to hair growth everywhere except my tummy, which is slower to change as the hair's more stubborn.

I can't afford laser treatment all over and also didn't want to get rid of it all in case I ever decide to go natural again, so I am using an epilator on my legs - uses electricity but at least you only ever need one and there's nothing to throw away or refill.

Compulsive overshare?!

Catherine said...

PS I've had some electrolysis too on my abdomen, but it was agony and has left me with quite noticeable white scars.

Jordan said...

I think the picture shows a beautiful woman. Her smile and her eyes show that she's happy (if we disregard for a moment that this was almost certainly staged) and that goes a long way.

However, I think what some people may be reacting to is the lack of body hair anywhere else. It looks like either she has shaved/waxed her arms and hands, or that someone took a picture of the typical hairless model* and then digitally added some ancillary hair. Of course, there are many women who naturally have arms and hands that look like that, but the color and amount of her ancillary hair would lead me to be suspicious that she falls into that group.

That's one of the things I dislike about the idea of leg-shaving, actually: it's a gateway drug. A lot of young women I know shave their arms, too, which is where I draw the line. I don't care either way if someone else does it, and I understand that some people find leg-stubble unattractive, but I've just got better things to do than sit around removing all of my body hair because other people think it's icky.

*occasionally I'll get catalogs intended for the previous occupant of the apartment (I'm trying to get them stopped). Not only are the models all completely hairless except for their heads, eyelashes and eyebrows, some of them are faintly glowing. It's kind of weird.

Epilasyon said...

Thanks for laser hair removal information

ashe said...

She makes me smile! I don't shave my pits, and tufts on other girls makes me feel like we share a secret. It's tough at times to sport the look considering most people's reactions(my mother included, it somehow personally offends her). I was lucky to be with a supportive boy when I first grew mine out. Seems to be his preference now. Unshaven armpits are a bit erotic too(Egon Schiele is a great reference, personal experience, and has anyone seen Ang Lee's 'Lust, Caution?' Great scene to tip the scales.) H-o-w-e-v-e-r, I can remember being a senior in high school on my first trip to Europe and being quite shocked when our Italian tour guide gestured broadly, revealing her dark underarms. I also have quite a distaste for hairy legs. Can't stand to let mine go. I love smooth legs on a female. Can't break that imprinting? If I could afford it, I would definitely have the removal done on my upper lip and bikini area(shaping mind you, love things tidy, but have an appreciation for the dark triangle of our sex look.) I wish you luck with your experience!