It’s funny when you consider how society’s perception of beauty and the ideal woman have morphed over time. Classical paintings of women depict voluptuous females proudly lying on one side, stomach overspill rolling over proudly for all to see. Nowadays we are bombarded with images of women without an inch of fat on their skeletal frames and consequently, we spend a lot of time and money manipulating our bodies to fit this mould.
I commenced research into this review thinking that I would be able to insert a little feminist tirade about how the last century has placed unrealistic and unnatural demands on how women should look, favouring the skinny over the squishy and (very troublesomely for me) the smooth skinned over the follicle-y challenged. But exploration has revealed that whilst our views on how big a woman should be have changed over time, our aversion to the sight of hair anywhere on women’s bodies other than their heads goes back to ancient times. So bang goes my defence that 200 years ago I wouldn’t have had to worry about hair removal – even in Greek times, women spent many hours on hair removal using gadgets such as razors and pumices!
These days, we have more hair removal methods at our disposal – but creams are too smelly, shaving is only fleetingly effective and leaves unsightly red lumps, whilst waxing requires too much re-growth time and costs a fortune when done regularly. With this in mind, I marched myself down to Nude Beautique Of Waxing for my first ever laser hair removal session on my underarms and bikini. Laser hair removal has been around for years, but its reputation of being excruciatingly painful and the large upfront payment required has meant that most women stick with their personal routine of hair removal, however painful/expensive/time consuming/ineffective. So I decided, for the sake of women everywhere, to undertake this as a science experiment in an attempt to disprove these two key factors!
Factor One: The Pain
I’m not ashamed to admit that I approached the salon with trembling knees – what had I signed myself up for?! Heart racing and clothes discreetly shed, I lay in the peaceful salon room having a staring contest with my torture machine. When I asked Pauline, my expert therapist, just how painful this would be, she honestly answered that the pain was variable and subjective. When I asked her if people ever cried, she had to admit some did. At that point I was ready to run out of the room naked. But, for the sake of scientific research and for Sassy readers everywhere, I stayed put!
And you know what, it REALLY wasn’t that painful. First of all, Pauline prepped the area whilst I twiddled my thumbs. Then she pointed the cooling air machine on one underarm; its purpose is to cool the area to the point where it was less sensitive to pain. Then, as my skin was pulled taut, the laser was applied. Nude uses a cutting-edge system called Syneron, which applies a twofold technique – before the laser zaps away at the hair root, hopefully killing it and scuppering its plans to return, the area is preheated using radio frequency. This heats the hair in its follicle and makes the ensuing laser application even more effective and also allows for a lower dosage to be applied, making it less painful.
Each burst of laser is accompanied by a beep from the machine creating quite a soothing rhythm. Each application felt like someone was blowing a sharp pin down a straw and inserting it into my skin before quickly withdrawing it. Don’t get me wrong, some of the zaps are painful but they’re over so quickly that you barely have time to register the pain before they have moved onto the next zap. Out of all the zaps on my right underarm, I only winced (like full-on face wince!), three times. Seeing as there were more than 20 doses I think that’s a pretty low number.
According to Pauline, the laser is most painful on densely hairy areas with darker hairs as they absorb more energy. As this isn’t everywhere, the nice thing is that you forget how painful the more sensitive zaps are when lulled by the gentler ones in between. Before I knew it, it was over and the other underarm was equally as uneventful. I was actually quite enjoying conquering my body hair one zap at a time!
My bikini line was slightly more painful, especially on the fleshier parts, but Pauline was meticulous, quick and sensitive. The pain felt more acute here, so it lingered slightly longer, but it honestly was a bearable sort of pain.
The second time round, six weeks later, I was all confident and full of arrogance. My underarms were zapped uneventfully, again with only a few winces but I was braver on my bikini line and had more hair removed. This will pay off in the long term but I must admit some of the zaps second time round actually made my legs recoil. However, the pain was over in a second and the majority of the zaps I barely noticed. As more hairs die each time, the treatment gets less and less painful… so roll on treatment number three!
So ,for me personally, the treatment was far less painful than I imagined it would be. Maybe I have a high pain threshold, maybe I was just expecting it to be too bad, but I honestly wasn’t dreading returning. The pain at the moment of application is sharper than waxing, but there is no lingering pain or soreness associated with waxing, no itching or any other discomfort. So my scientific conclusion is that the pain alone is not enough of a reason to avoid having laser hair removal. Why would you ever choose monthly, expensive waxing trips when 5-8 hour long trips to Nude’s professional salons could leave you hair free for life?!
Well maybe because of:
Factor Two: The Cost
OK, there is no getting away from it, laser hair removal is expensive. The cost of each session on your underarms comes to a whopping $1,700. Factor in that most women require on average five treatments and this amounts to an even more bewildering $8,500. However, if laser hair removal lives up to its promise of permanently killing the hair and eliminating re-growth, then this cost should cover you for life. Thus, it is not fair to pitch the cost of one waxing versus one laser session; instead, you need to compare the life cost over a period of let’s say, ten years. The below table is based on the assumption that the average woman gets their bikini line and underarms waxed every 6 weeks, and that laser hair removal is conducted a total of five times. Both calculations use Nude’s pricing to make a fair comparison.
Nude Underarm Waxing
Nude Underarm Laser
Nude Bikini Wax
Nude Bikini Laser
Price per session
Price over ten years
As you can see, when you take a long-term view of your finances, laser hair removal wins hands down! That is, as long as it actually works. From my experience, I have so far had two sessions and the amount of regrowth has dramatically fallen. I only need to shave my underarms once a week and the difference between the lasered and non-lasered bikini areas is visibly noticeable.
Scientific conclusion regarding the price? Laser hair removal requires a bit of upfront pain in terms of cost but in the long term, as it DOES actually work and isn’t a false promise, it works out significantly cheaper.
So when you take into account the saved time, the eradication of the worry that you may be inadvertently pulling a Julia Roberts, and the disappearance of pre-holiday panic to get your bikini line into shape, and combine this with the savings you will be making over a ten year period, it really does make you wonder why laser hair removal isn’t a compulsory coming of age passage for every woman!
In terms of my experience of Nude’s salon… well at Sassy we love Nude. Devoted to the art of beautifying women, their therapists are all highly trained, super professional and instantly put you at ease. As I normally take care of my hair removal regime at home behind closed doors, I was a little embarrassed by the idea of literally bearing all to a complete stranger, but Pauline’s professionalism and discreteness meant that I needn’t have worried.
So if you are finally tired of the ongoing fight with the follicle, take a big “man up” pill, save up for a little bit and march yourself down to Nude and say goodbye to your unsightly bodily hair. Forever. The Greeks would be proud.
*Note: Number of sessions depends on the individual hair and skin type. Results may differ for each individual.
SASSY DEAL: To help get you over the fear and the cost, Nude are offering Sassy girls 50% off their first laser hair removal treatment when you quote Sassy on booking.
Nude Beautique of Waxing, 14-01 M88 Building, 2-8 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2868 9100