After a year of waxing I have finally made the decision to get laser hair removal. I have been wanting to do this for almost 7 years, but the first time I had a consultation the pricing was out of control. So I waited, and waited, and waited some more until I said the hell with it and booked my first appointment. What a great decision that was!

I am going to tell you my personal experiences with both waxing and laser hair removal, the differences between waxing and laser hair removal and try to answer the most common questions about the two. If you are also looking to make the switch from waxing to laser then you’ve come to the right spot.

What is laser hair removal and how does it work?

Laser hair removal is used for permanent hair reduction. The procedure is performed by a doctor or registered nurse using laser energy to target a specific area in which you no longer want hair. The laser produces a high-energy light that targets that melanin pigment in the hair shaft, produces heat in the hair follicle and destroys the follicle so it will fall out and not grow back. You can have laser hair removal performed on virtually any part of the body. The common areas are legs, underarms, upper lip, chin, back, chest and bikini line.

How much does laser hair removal cost?

From personal experience I can say that laser hair removal is worth the cost and you will see results after the first visit. The cost depends on the area you want treated, how many treatments you will need, and the type of hair you have. Every person is unique and most places have packages you can buy. If four treatments cost more that $600 you are paying too much.

Does laser hair removal hurt?

The best way to describe the feeling is like little tiny rubber bands being snapped on your skin or a subtle stinging sensation. If you have ever had your bikini waxed it’s safe to say that is pretty painful. The laser is far less painful and on a scale from 1 to 10, I’d say a 2 to 3, but that’s just my experience. Those with thicker, darker hair will experience more pain than those with thinner, lighter hair because the thicker, darker hair will absorb more of the laser light.

What to expect during and after your laser treatment?

Before the treatment you may want to shave the specific area you want lasered. Depending on the area you might wear a gown and always goggles to protect your eyes from exposure to the laser light. Sometimes a numbing cream is put on to dull the pain or an ice pack is used to reduce discomfort. Since the laser is burning the hair out of the root you might smell the odor of singed hair. The time it takes to complete the procedure depends on the size of the area. The upper lip can take only a few minutes where a full leg or back can take an hour or two.

After your laser treatment you are ready to go about your day as normal. You might notice some redness or swelling, but that goes away after a few hours. The hair will fall out between 10-21 days after treatment.

  • It is advised not to exercise for the first 24 hours because perspiration can cause irritation.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure for several weeks after treatment and use sunscreen.
  • Avoid tanning booths because the ultraviolet light can damage the skin.
  • Don’t wax, pluck or bleach for three weeks before your laser treatment.
  • Don’t rub or scrub the treated area afterwards. Gently wash with soap and water.
  • Never get laser if you have a sunburn or suntan.

How many treatments will I need?

Results vary from person to person. I know that’s probably not what you want to hear, but you should see great results after 3-4 treatments. I have already noticed a reduction in hair just after my first session. Some people respond better to laser hair removal than others. Experts say that between 4-7 treatments 80-90% of hair will be gone. After undergoing your first treatment you will schedule another treatment 4-5 weeks out. Hair grows in cycles and that time frame will allow the hairs that have been dormant to be affected by the laser. That is why multiple sessions are needed.

Does the hair grow back?

Sometimes the hair will grow back and does not stay permanently removed, and maintenance treatments might be necessary.

What skin type is best?

Laser hair removal works best with people with lighter skin and darker hair. It is harder to laser people with darker skin because the laser light can lighten the pigment of the skin and/or not remove the hair at all. When the skin and the hair are the same color the laser does not know where to absorb the light. But there are different types of lasers that can be used for darker skin. Make sure you go to an experienced practitioner who uses the 1064nm Nd:YAG laser if you have dark skin.

Laser Hair Removal versus Waxing

For areas like legs, bikini, underarms, back and chest I would hands down choose laser hair removal. In the long run you will end up saving money and have permanent or long-lasting results.

With waxing you have to have at least a 1/4-inch of hair to ensure a proper wax. That means that you must allow your hair to grow out before having it removed. This can be cumbersome and annoying depending on the area. With laser treatments you can shave in between each session. With waxing you cannot. Waxing lasts at most one week before the hair starts to grow back. There can be permanent hair loss with waxing, but it can take years for that to happen.

Waxing can be very painful depending on the area you have it done. My tolerance for pain is pretty high so I could stand the ripping of wax on my bikini area, but it is not for the faint of heart. Laser hair removal hurts way less.

If laser does not work for your skin type, then waxing is the second best option. Both treatments are performed every 4-5 weeks, but with laser after a few treatments you are done.

Make sure if you choose to go with laser hair removal that you go to a qualified doctor or nurse who has many years experience. It is the best decision I have made for myself. And if you have any other questions that I didn’t answer please feel free to ask!

10 Responses to “Laser Hair Removal and Waxing”
  1. WaxtoLaser says:

    Interesting that you say this. I have been waxing for almost 12 years now, and I had my first laser treatment last week. I don’t know why, but i felt a brazilian bikini wax was less painful than the laser; however, I was reassured next time as my hair gets thinner it would not be as painful….I guess we’ll see….

  2. Michelle says:

    When you were waxing, did your hair grow back thicker or thinner? The person who I go to for waxing told me that it grows back thinner, but I notice that my hairs are actually thicker now. For the laser hair removal, is it a guarantee that the hairs will grow back thinner/lighter? I’ve already had my first treatment and it seems like the hairs are the same. Unfortunately, I didn’t do enough research on the PA who performed the treatment, so I got a couple of burned spots. It only took her about 20-30 minutes to do my back, chest, abdomen, arms, and face. I was quite disappointed in the result. Later, I consulted with another doctor, which seemed to be a more professional and experienced one, and he said the cost for all the parts I mentioned before was $800. Do you think that was a decent price, or do you think I could’ve gotten a better deal elsewhere?

  3. Oodora says:

    That price sounds accurate. Those are all large areas. I only did 4 treatments and honestly that hair is only maybe 30% reduced. You have to do at least 8-10 sessions and the hair will grow back if you don’t maintain. Everyone is different so it’s hard to say if the hair will grow back lighter or thinner.

  4. hi:) says:

    Hi, so I havent gone to my 2nd laser removal session and it’s been since mid august. Yikes, thats about 3.5 months or so. Did i waste a lot of money? Is my hair going to “start over” now?

  5. Patricia V says:

    i want to know wher would one of the best places to get a hair laser removal & where are they at?

  6. Lee says:

    I’ve been getting laser hair removal for eight years. Lasering is much MUCH more painful than waxing.
    And I have the preferred skin and hair type. Light skin dark hair.

    First off you always shave before you laser. Because if you don’t the hair left out will burn your skin and most likely cause scarring. You have to shave. If you don’t the technician will dry shave you there and you will probably get irritation (razor burn) from this and then that will be zapped as well. (Little hint: this makes it hurt more)

    If you are considering getting laser hair removal you should actually need it. Because there is no reason to be going through all the expense and hassle of the process if you have a normal amount of hair or are blonde.
    You must be blonde or have very fine light brown hair if you rate the pain as a two or three. I’ve never experienced anything below a five or a six, even with numbing cream and a Vicodin derivative. And I have a normal threshold for pain.

    Laser hair removal works and for most people it does get rid of the hair permanently. But actually I would just suggest waxing. It’s much easier. You can do it yourself, it’s cheaper.

    If you’re going to do laser hair removal get the numbing cream. Order it from the place you are getting the lasering so they can have it there for you and apply it.
    If you can, get a prescription painkiller for the treatments if possible.
    Waxing is less painful. Wam Bam they rip off your hair, you feel a throb then it’s gone, you go home.
    Lazing there is more prep, the procedure takes longer because they are shooting the laser into each hair follicle. It feels like what it is, an electric shock into your skin.
    (And the redness sometimes takes only a few minutes to go away. It depends on your skin type. I’m no longer red after fifteen minutes.)

    Also the coarser the hair. The deeper the follicle, the deeper the laser will absorb into the pore, the more pain you will feel.

    In the end if you did the math. Lasering is cheaper. Depending on when you started your hair removal and how many treatments you are going to need. When you consider that waxing is a consistent periodical thing, yes laser hair removal in the long run is cheaper. You shell out a lot of money now so you don’t have to deal with the hair later. But waxing is easier.

    I still recommend waxing for most people. Laser hair removal is only for people whose hair is excessive and is a real hindrance, NOT just an annoyance.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been getting laser hair removal for eight years. Lasering is much MUCH more painful than waxing.
    And I have the preferred skin and hair type. Light skin dark hair.

    First off you always shave before you laser. Because if you don’t the hair left out will burn your skin and most likely cause scarring. You have to shave. If you don’t the technician will dry shave you there and you will probably get irritation (razor burn) from this and then that will be zapped as well. (Little hint: this makes it hurt more)

    If you are considering getting laser hair removal you should actually need it. Because there is no reason to be going through all the expense and hassle of the process if you have a normal amount of hair or are blonde.
    You must be blonde or have very fine light brown hair if you rate the pain as a two or three. I’ve never experienced anything below a five or a six, even with numbing cream and a Vicodin derivative. And I have a normal threshold for pain.

    Laser hair removal works and for most people it does get rid of the hair permanently. But actually I would just suggest waxing. It’s much easier. You can do it yourself, it’s cheaper.

    If you’re going to do laser hair removal get the numbing cream. Order it from the place you are getting the lasering so they can have it there for you and apply it.
    If you can, get a prescription painkiller for the treatments if possible.
    Waxing is less painful. Wam Bam they rip off your hair, you feel a throb then it’s gone, you go home.
    Lazing there is more prep, the procedure takes longer because they are shooting the laser into each hair follicle. It feels like what it is, an electric shock into your skin.
    (And the redness sometimes takes only a few minutes to go away. It depends on your skin type. I’m no longer red after fifteen minutes.)

    Also the coarser the hair. The deeper the follicle, the deeper the laser will absorb into the pore, the more pain you will feel.

    In the end if you did the math. Lasering is cheaper. Depending on when you started your hair removal and how many treatments you are going to need. When you consider that waxing is a consistent periodical thing, yes laser hair removal in the long run is cheaper. You shell out a lot of money now so you don’t have to deal with the hair later. But waxing is easier.

    I still recommend waxing for most people. Laser hair removal is only for people whose hair is excessive and is a real hindrance, NOT just an annoyance.

  8. slayt says:

    just wanted to share some info.\i thought it could be useful just finished 5 sessions of laser treatment. I waited 6 to 8 weeks between each treatment if any technician tells you that you should do you laser treatments 4 to 5 wks apart they are stealing your money.. your hair has to go through the phases of growth which takes about 6 to 8 wks. Im not gonna lie.. if you have olive skin or “darker skin” and dark hair.. laser hurts like hell, it is not painless unless you are very fair skinned. I had a real cry fest on that table even with my high pain tolerance… the pain was well worth my results. I have never had legs this smooth and a bikini without the “5 oclock shadow” i am so impressed. I did however find a cream (on my last treatment) which worked wonders. It completely numbed the area i couldn’t feel a thing! It is a little pricey comes in two sizes small (enough for upper lip only) $15 med (enough for your legs) $58. Its called Emla and its available over the counter just ask the pharmacist. Apply it– do not rub it it but plop it on sparingly and then wrap the area tightley for one hour before treatment. If your doing legs… apply and wrap legs in saran wrap and put your pants back on… well worth the discomfort if you cant handle pain of laser. You will have some strays that will grow back.. its inevitable unless you are super ugly and it is ok to wax them ONLY AFTER THE FULL COURSE OF YOUR LASER TREATMENT is done. between treatments you must shave only to keep the growth cycle in check. well i hope this was informative good luck all

  9. Audra says:

    I would not recommend people putting Emla cream all over your legs and wrapping it. Do not do any form of numbing cream without a doctor’s approval. It could kill you.

  10. Erin says:

    Hi everyone, i know this was posted a while ago, but I got my first run of laser today (got a brazilian done).
    It definitely hurt less than a brazilian wax for me (although I was able to stand getting brazilians done anyway, I have a fairl good pain threshold).
    If any of you haven’t had good results it may be because of what the tecnician told me: for best results you have to get the lasers done at the right time, thereby meaning if u get it done once every 6 months it won’t be effective. If you do the course every 4 weeks (as the hair starts growing back) thats when it is effective.

    I really hope it works, I’ve been lucky enough to find a place that is doing a sale on laser and the brazilian is only costing $40 each treatment (and they let you prepay for as many treatments) and their price is usually $85!! SO i’ve paid for 6 treatments for $240. Massive saving!

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