Now's The Time For Laser Hair Removal


There comes a time, every five weeks during the course of a suite of laser hair removal sessions, when you're lying partially naked on a table in front of a stranger, asking yourself "Is this really the way to start my week, 9AM on a Monday?" That thought passes relatively quickly once your technician starts zapping away at your hair follicles (I was having my bikini hair taken care of) because you're unable to think about much—other than not yelping in pain. I mean, it's not that bad. The same way I imagine that getting a tattoo is not that bad... It's certainly not pleasant, but you're a goal-oriented young urban professional and having no pubic hair is your one and only KPI.

I decided to semi-permanently remove all my pubic hair (there's a delicate way to say that, but why bother? We all have it) for a number of reasons. Chief among them was that I just never understood the economy of waxing. It's expensive. It's painful. It's invasive. And it requires two weeks of hairy preparation every single time. What gives? Don't try and explain it to me—I don't care. It doesn't make a lick of sense.

And yet shaving is not really a comparable option. You know why, but I'll explain if you don't: I don't think skin really likes being shaved. Particularly if coarse hair grows out of that skin. It's a hotbed of irritation, ingrowns, and discoloration. You can do it—lord knows I did—but there are better ways to go about it. You just have to pony up the dough.

Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, I fear I have to clarify: All of this is optional. You're totally welcome to have hair and not care. Stop reading! I really don't mind! Personally, I'm not a huge fan of body hair on myself. Never have been. And if we're allowed to trim the hair on our heads and thread our eyebrows, I don't think having a hairless bikini line (or entire nether region) is that political. Do as you (just you) please.

If you are still reading, I imagine you might have some questions. What's the process? What are the results? Am I a good candidate? Well, I can answer a few of those. Laser hair removal happens when you focus very concentrated light at the hair follicle. The pigment in the hair follicle will heat up from the light—and that heat will eventually kill the follicle dead. If you prefer to be a bit more macro: A licensed technician uses a light gun to sting you a bunch of times for five-to-seven minutes and then you pull up your pants. The zaps feel like rubber bands snapping a million times over on a tiny little spot. Again, not great...but also not the worst. Particularly because it takes no time at all and the nicer techs will soothe each section with a damp cloth as they go. I hear the coarser and darker your hair is, the more it hurts—but also the better it works. See, you want the light to target the darkness (the hair) and ignore the skin. I'm pale with dark, coarse hair; an ideal candidate. I went to Spruce & Bond because everyone I talked to pre-laser also goes there. They're the pros, but there are plenty of good Groupon deals to be had. Ask people in your office—they love talking about hair removal. Trust.

After five sessions, I'm about 70% hairless. I got that statistic from the lovelies at Spruce & Bond—it's what they preach and they're right. If I think too hard about what's left, I sort of feel like I'm balding down there. To be 100% like Dr. Evil's cat in Austin Powers, I need to spring for the maintenance package. It's another five sessions, but I haven't made up my mind yet. I also have a Tria 4x gathering dust in my apartment. Been too chicken to try it. Anyone have any reviews? @ me below.

Overall, I'd do it again. Maybe not for any other body part, but definitely for my bikini line. The hair is soft and cute now, almost to the point where I don't mind it anymore. Oh! And no more ingrowns. Literally none. But were I to start from scratch, I'd re-adjust my timing. The thought occurred to me just as bikini season was dawning—and one cannot get direct sun exposure to the treated area for a full week before and a full week after each session. Kind of defeats the point of lasering off your pubic hair in the first place. But like all things related to this process, I've tried not to think too hard about that, either.

—Emily Ferber

Prefer to wax? Here's how to do it yourself.