Do Home Laser Hair removal devices work?
February 27, 2007 3:41 AM   Subscribe

Home laser hair removal devices? Has anyone tried one that works?

There are quite a few back questions advocating laser hair removal as the most permanent solution. The cost is prohibitive, and regular salon appointments are problematic for me. But having said that waxing costs about £80 pm on average. I've seen devices advertised for home laser hair removal at about £100 to £200.
Does anyone have any experience?
(FWIW I have the pale skin and dark hair which is said to be the most sucessful combo for laser)
posted by Wilder to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In my experience, the technology hasn't caught up yet to the marketing. A friend of mine bought the Rio one and we found that even after numerous treatments there was no difference in the amount of hair that grew back. The hair also tended to singe, which in a few cases caused some very mild burns.

It was as if the hair burned on the surface, but beneath the surface it wasn't affected.
posted by watsondog at 6:58 AM on February 27, 2007

No, in general home hair removal kits do not permanently remove hair. Commerical machines cost thousands of dollars, require certification to use commercially, require protective eyewear to operate, and hurt like hell so that there is no way you should try to use one on yourself. It is obvious there is a huge difference.

You will find a more experienced technician and a better deal if you find a dedicated hair removal place, and NOT a salon. They should be able to estimate the number of treatments, and at the very least give you a cost per treatment. You should search for a reputable establishment. Be up front about it and it will be (or should be) much cheaper than you might think.
posted by cotterpin at 7:47 AM on February 27, 2007

When Gillette enters the market, I'll be ready to try it. I think there aren't any good ones out yet, at least not in the U.S.
posted by daisyace at 8:21 AM on February 27, 2007

as a faithful Cosmo/Glamour reader (in various national editions) I have to say that the users feedback does not seem to indicate that the removal is permanent.

it's likely that the technology -- at least on the consumer-level machines -- is just not there anymore.
posted by matteo at 8:23 AM on February 27, 2007

Even the commercial laser-based hair removal machines out there are less than reliable.

The only really reliable and permanent method is electrolysis. And it's slow and painful.
posted by evilangela at 9:11 AM on February 27, 2007

The laser hair removal machines used in clinics and spas are huge and very expensive. If the home versions really worked, I don't think any clinic would still be buying the thousand-dollars versions. So no, I don't think home laser hair removal devices are reliable enough yet.

Is the real deal really that cost prohibitive? Have you asked around? I'm getting laser treatment on my legs, underarms and bikini area for around US$600. I'm in Mexico, though, and my city offers LOTS of options for good treatments with high-end machines, so maybe the high offer has run the price to the low side.

Maybe you can pay for individual sessions, and get one every time you save enough money, instead of having to pay for the whole treatment up front.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:29 AM on February 27, 2007

Any laser that would actually be powerful enough to remove hair permanently would be regulated on the state level such that you couldn't actually buy one. The thing is that penetrating the skin deeply enough to melt the follicle would be considered "surgery" in most states. That doesn't even address the issue that "real" hair removal lasers come in two basic flavors, only one of which works on all 6 basic skin tones (the one that hurts more, if you're curious).
posted by ilsa at 9:33 AM on February 27, 2007

DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT just get a "real" laser treatment here and there as you can afford it or you will spend way too much money and not like the results!!!!!!!!!

Hair follicles are active on a cycle. A new set of follicles starts doing its thing every four to six weeks. This is why a reputable clinic wants to retreat you every 4 to 6 weeks. Even on that schedulre, it takes at least 4-5 treatments to completely do the job. If you miss or subtantially delay a treatment, you are in some ways starting over. This is (part of) why some people "need" 7 or 10 or a dozen treatments.
posted by ilsa at 9:38 AM on February 27, 2007

I stand corrected by ilsa on the individual sessions thing. I didn't think that thoroughly. Maybe you should just start saving some money, and don't think about wasting it on home devices or expensive wax sessions. Just shave until you have enough money to get lasered. It *is* the best thing out there right now, out of the things I've tried, and considering different factors.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:55 AM on February 27, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks a million for all your feedback and for the people who e-mailed me. The main problem is the closest reputable centres are in London, all the local ones I've tried are cases of "well the manager bought this two weeks ago and she's trained us all up on it, well maybe not me, but it's easy right?"
I've been quoted £1,000+ for a course of three treatments which I thought was excessive, especially as it is likely from all your feedback it will need to be routine for some time.
It will pay off in the long term, but it seems like it would be cheaper for me to fly to Mexico a couple of times!!!
I'm not going to mark a best answer as they have all helped, you've saved me some money. Thank you!
posted by Wilder at 12:01 PM on February 27, 2007

I can't help but think you might find a more reasonable price in a larger city (you mention London). I live in the Dallas / Fort Worth TX area, where there is a lot of competition for personal services, including laser hair removal.

I recently completed the 4th laser treatment on my underarms, and I now have very little growth - just a few fine hairs. I paid $49 for 5 visits and the 6th (if I need it) is free.

My thought is that you might have to "fly to Mexico" more than a couple of times to eliminate all of your undesired hair.
posted by luckyshirl at 12:13 PM on February 27, 2007

Just so you know, laser is not yet permanent as in never again will you see hairs there. The best laser does at this point is remove a lot of the hair for n indeterminate length of time. And even that depends on the laser equipment plus your skin tone and hair color (which do seem optimal). Some companies will keep doing laser as long as it's still growing back, though.
posted by Amizu at 2:41 PM on February 27, 2007

Wilder, if you can't get a better quote than $1000 (sorry, no lb sign here) for a course of three treatments, I'd have to say it would probably be better to wait until there's a little more offer in your city. The treatment I described (underarms, legs, bikini) for $600 includes ALL NECESSARY sessions, for life. That means they'll keep zapping my hair until it's all gone, and if I get pregnant or something and some grows back, they'll zap it again. Like I said, my city's gone crazy for laser, so there's a lot of offer which is making these places come up with great offers.

If you're going to have to pay so much money, and they'll just treat you 3 times, I don't think it's going to be enough. I'm already on my 4th session and some hair is still growing. Granted, you probably have way lighter skin color than me, and that's supposed to be better for the laser, but still, 3 sessions sound like not enough.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 4:00 PM on February 27, 2007

Response by poster: Again great advice, I'm going to e-mail all the salons within good commute distance in London and ask them to quote me a price
posted by Wilder at 1:02 PM on March 6, 2007

CrazyLemonade, Where in Mexico are you? That's an AMAZING deal, and it would totally be worth the trip from LA
posted by thomama at 5:19 PM on March 9, 2007

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