Let’s Be Honest: This Is What It’s Really Like To Get Laser Hair Removal For The First Time

painless hair removal

Photo: AndreyPopov/iStock

I don’t know how to put this lightly, but I am a hairy human being. I shaved my legs for the first time when I was just 9 years old, because the kids at school mocked me relentlessly for the coat of fur that had sprouted on them, and I have spent the last two decades religiously attending waxing appointments to ensure that every inch of my body is silky smooth. I hate my body hair, and while I have so much respect for women who have chosen to embrace theirs, it’s a personal choice. At this point in my life, body hair simply isn’t mine.

Even so, I’ve always been hesitant about the idea of laser hair removal. I’ve heard so many horror stories from friends who have invested a lot of money into the process, only to discover that when all was said and done, the treatment didn’t work. But for every person I spoke to who lamented about the patches of hair that were still alive and well under their arms, there were others who swore by the “life-changing” process. So, after years of back-and-forth in my mind, I decided to give it a try.

To ensure the best results, I hit up Romeo & Juliet Laser Hair Removal in New York City’s Upper East Side, which is known among the beauty set to be one of the best. They work with six different types of hair removal lasers to ensure topnotch results and require touch-ups in between appointments in order to keep the process running smoothly. I had intended to only remove the hair on my chin, which has plagued me for years and become a constant source of insecurity, but after my 15-minute consultation with the team, I decided to add my armpits and full bikini line. (I was on the fence about the latter until my technician asked, “What are you going to do when it goes gray?!”)

It’s important to keep in mind that every person and every body part is different, and the amount of time the process takes from start to finish can vary. The best candidates for laser hair removal are those with light skin and dark hair, because the contrast makes it easier for the laser to target the follicle. My treatment plan, which will take up to a year and a half from start to finish, requires six appointments and six touch-ups. That’s why they say it’s good to start the process in the fall, long before summer rolls around.

At first, the appointments will be a 4-6 weeks apart with a touch-up in between, but as time goes on, they’ll spread out more and more. I was cautioned against going into the sun (because the lasers don’t work as well with tan skin) and told that I should try to shave as minimally as possible between treatments. Eventually, I would start to notice the hair falling out on its own, and over time it would get thinner and thinner until it was gone for good.

When it came time for the actual treatment, I didn’t know what to expect. We started with my chin, which took less than five minutes and barely hurt at all. My armpits, though, were another story. I hate to say it, because I do think it will be worth it in the end, but the 10 minutes it took to get through both pits was one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced. I was full-on ugly crying. But as the old saying goes, “beauty is pain,” right? Surprisingly, my bikini area wasn’t nearly as bad, and it was actually much less painful than my monthly wax. Apparently, the skin here is tougher than on the delicate underarms.

The entire process was over in less than 30 minutes, and the team sent me on my way until my next appointment. It’s been four weeks, and I can already see a major difference in my body hair. After the first week, I noticed that hair was starting to fall out as it grew back — especially when I exfoliated in the shower. And as someone who’s shaved her armpits every day since middle school, I’ve only had to touch them up once (seriously!) since the appointment. My bikini line is still completely bald. Needless to say, I can’t wait for what happens after my next five appointments.