Here’s the thing: I’m 30 years old, and I’ve been religiously waxing for over 10 years. For me, I love the long-lasting, silky smooth look and feel. Mostly, I enjoy the freedom of enjoying summer days without having to worry about a stray hair here and there.
So, with salons being closed during lockdown, I tried my hand at being my owl personal waxer. Hours spent in the bathroom, the sticky wax that seemed to stay put for days, the stiff neck – honestly, it was a nightmare. Eventually, I cracked, and did (what was to me) the unthinkable: resorted to the razor. I immediately noticed the hairs growing back faster and thicker. The worst thing though, is that (as a self-proclaimed lazy girl), it was just *too* much effort.
You can imagine my relief, then, when beauty salons reopened. After all of this, I decided it was time to try something a little more drastic, so that I would never have to experience this (or any sort of hair removal) again. I’d been thinking about it for a while anyway, and the time had finally come: I booked an appointment for IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) permanent hair removal. There’s only one thing that I now regret: not having done it earlier.
1 Who should try it?
Hair removal – it’s totally a personal choice. Some love it, others prefer to leave it. This option is for those who, like me, a) like to remove their body hair and b) don’t like to use a razor. Before this, I was going for a wax around once a month – which for me, was the easiest solution to slow hair regrowth. Ultimately though, I tired of the endless appointment cycle, and was eager to find something more permanent, with less upkeep involved. Others find waxing too painful, which can also be a dealbreaker. If any of this sounds relatable, IPL might be for you.
2 How does IPL work?
Intense Pulsed Light hair removal acts directly at the root of the hair, by targeting the hair follicle. The light emits an electromagnetic pulse, which turns into heat, which is then absorbed by the melanin in the skin. This destroys the root of the hair permanently. It takes a few sessions to achieve a fully permanent result. Your technician will be able to give you a more exact time frame and treatment plan, but generally you can expect to need around 8-10 sessions at intervals of about 6 weeks.
3 The session
Okay, so here is how it went. I arrived at the clinic for a skin test 24 hours prior to the appointment, just to make sure my skin wouldn’t have a reaction to the treatment. This is super quick, and all went well which meant I was good to go for the appointment the following day. When I arrived, I was shown to a small treatment room, and given some protective glasses to wear throughout. The therapist then began the treatment, passing a small portable lamp over the areas that I had requested. Just like with a waxing session, you’ll be asked to change your position depending on the areas to be treated (for me, I decided on bikini line, legs, and armpits). 2 hours later, and my first session was completed.
4 Does it hurt?
Luckily, IPL is virtually painless, especially if you’re used to other methods of hair removal such as waxing. You might feel a slight tingling sensation, comparable to a minor sunburn at most. If you have super sensitive skin, or if the area you’re treating is on the delicate side (looking at you, bikini line), your therapist may suggest an anesthetic cream, in which case you won’t feel anything at all.
5 Good to know
I’ve now finished all of my hair removal sessions, and honestly? I’m so happy with the results. From the very first session, I noticed the difference – the hairs were growing back much finer and more sparse until eventually, they stopped growing altogether. Not to be dramatic, but this is kind of life-changing. I opted for the bikini line, legs, and armpits, but you can choose pretty much any area, including the face. Some things to note: the darker the hairs, the more effective the treatment. If in doubt, book a consultation – your practitioner will be able to advise how well the treatment will work. Also, avoid sun exposure for a few days before the treatment, and don’t shave for at least 5 days prior. Stick to this, and you’ll be good to go.
6 What do I regret?
The only regret I have is not trying IPL earlier. My last session was over a month ago, and my hair hasn’t grown back since. The treatment guarantees more than 80% effectiveness (as in, at least 80% of the hair will never grow back). If you notice a few stray hairs making an appearance, you can always book in an extra session, but this shouldn’t happen often. The best part? IPL doesn’t break the bank, and once you’ve had it done, it requires pretty much zero maintenance. Finally, freedom is mine.