Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Laser Hair Removal : 6th Appointment

I had the 6th appointment a few weeks ago. I waited to post so that I could study a few rounds of shaving to see how my legs are doing. The nutshell version: the hairs on my thighs are tough, tough little buggers. They will not die. They are weakening. The bikini and love trail are disappearing. I have only stragglers. And on a new part of my bikini (I decided late in the game to laser more of the area) it is showing batchy-ness, which means that there are circles of no growth. So, bikini and love trail are taking to the laser more effectively, and the legs are taking longer.

Now, as I've stated, my technicians are very nice. I've had 3 of them, and there is one that I get frequently and we always like to catch up. As nice as they are, for my 6th appointment, I was upset. I was actually late to my appointment, as I frequently am and have to reschedule half of my appointment, but I still went in frustrated. At my American Laser Center office, they like for you to shave, or else charge you extra for dry shaving with a cheap Bic (ouch and razor burn). But, I was not going to pay, as I wanted the technician to see for herself, with her expert eyes, on how my leg hair is doing. The technician took a picture, as she usually does, and asked if I was pleased. I flatly said NO. It's been too long, I said. She said that she doesn't lie to her patients, and it can take 8 or 10 rounds for people. Even though she was probably upset with me for being late, she was visibly concerned that I was unsatisfied. To be fair, I think she and definitely the office manager who I had a consultation with and signed me up, did imply that the hair would be gone in 6 rounds. But with the 2 years of free appointments to clean up. I should have known that the 2 years were there for a reason. But, everyone loses the hair at different speeds.

So. Did the 6th round affect my leg hair? It really did. The hair is growing more slowly still, and not as prickly. I compare it to my lower leg that has not had any laser treatments. My leg hair is proving stubborn. But that is why I got it lasered in the first place. I didn't just invest in laser hair removal as a cosmetic luxury. I invested because I get ingrowns on my bikini which are painful and ugly; because my thigh hair is so prickly and irritating on my skin, especially in the summer; because I have good legs but don't show them in the summer because of these stated reasons.

Am I happy? Am I glad I invested? Yes. It is so hot here in NYC, and finally I am wearing short shorts. The shortest shorts I've probably ever worn. Short shorts that I would even go out running in, when they could pass for boy-shorts, if you know what I mean. I am not getting ingrowns. My bikini and love trail are almost gone. My leg hair is on the retreat, but is softer. I am not paranoid about ugly, prickly hair that I forgot to shave when I put shorts on.

Saving graces or added bonuses? When my technicians ask me in one appointment if I'm losing weight, and in another appointment if I'm a runner because my back legs are so "toned." If only my stomach and non-existent abs could have a similar affect on people!

Laser Progress Reports

Laser Hair Removal :: Appointment #8 laser hair removal
Laser Hair Removal :: Appointment #7 for pics of technicians laser hair removal
Laser Hair Removal :: Appointment #6 laser hair removal
Laser Hair Removal :: Appointment #5.5 for Bikini laser hair removal
Laser Hair Removal :: Appointment #5 laser hair removal
Laser Hair Removal :: Appointment #4 laser hair removal
Laser Hair Removal :: Appointment #3.5 laser hair removal
Laser Hair Removal :: The Second Zap laser hair removal
Laser Hair Removal :: The First Followuplaser hair removal
Laser Hair Removal :: The First Zaplaser hair removal
Laser Hair Removal :: War of My Legs Part 1 laser hair removal


Disclaimer: FashionMista, nor its author, are qualified to give medical advice and cannot be held responsible for anything that may occur. Should you have a medical concern, please consult your physician.

25 comments:

Sarah said...

Hi Mista,
I have found your blog very helpful in my laser research, but I have a few questions. I am currently debating whether or not I should sign up with American Laser Center for a full leg package of 6 treatments and the 2 year guarantee. They offered me it for $2000 - do you think that is reasonable compared to what they offered you?
Also, after your 6th treatment, what percentage of your hair is growing back? Of those grown back, are they noticeable enough for you to feel uncomfortable wearing shorts without shaving? Also, do you think the 2-year guarantee will do away with the rest of the hair so that you will never have to worry about attending to your leg hair in anyway?
I ask all this because I am seriously fedup with leg maintenance, as i'm sure many women are, and on think it worth it to pay the large sum of money if the treatments are really permanent and effective. What do you think?

Mista said...

Hi Sarah,
While I can't really comment on the price you were quoted, I can tell you what I paid: $2000 for my thigh, bikini and love trail. My office had just started up, so she said I got a deal. That was the 6 appointments with the 2 year guarantee.

My leg hair has taken a lot longer to go away. THAT said, I am finally seeing a big difference after my 6th appointment. I was actually able to skip a shave when I shaved my calves because there was nothing to shave. I did not do the full leg b/c my priority was upper upper thigh, where my hair is coarse and can get ingrown. But, their way of doing the upper upper thigh was just doing the whole thigh.

I'm going to say, a month after my 6th appointment, that I have 70% loss on my legs (thigh...I didn't do a full leg). The hair is having a harder time growing in. My bikini and love trail are 85-90%.

Of the hairs that have grown back, yes, I am totally comfortable wearing shorts. It is softer and a bit less. I think I mentioned it in this post, but I am wearing the shortest shorts ever for myself.

For me it has been worth it. Best of luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mista,

Thank you for writing such a fabulous blog. It has been very helpful in my research for laser hair removal.

I recently took the plunge and signed up for laser hair removal at American laser center. I too "won" the $300 prize.

After some negotiating, I got a great deal. In $2,000, they are doing my upper lip, chin, underarms, and lower leg. I referred a friend to the same center and she got a similar package as yours. In $2000, she's getting her upper thighs, bikini, and love trail. Plus they threw in 5 microdermabrasions.

I'm just throwing this out there for those who may be curious about price. Just be prepared to negotiate.

Take care!

nancy said...

I absolutely LOVE your blog and details about laser hair removal! I was just wondering, what does your Syrian friend think about the experience? Did she complete it? Did it work? You said it was painful for her...what exactly did it feel like?

I'm asking becuase I have really coarse hair as well and am really...REALLY tired of waxing and couldn't bare to shave down there (bikini). I need a solution but am scared about pain and side effects...I don't know what to do :(

Oh, and how young is too young for the procedure???

Mista said...

Hi Nancy,
Glad I could help! My Syrian friend was basically in a lot of pain. Probibly more to the tatto level. She also doesn't like dogs or bugs. So, maybe her threshold for pain is a lighter? (Love you, Syrian Dental Mista!!)

As for what it feels like, maybe I can get her to chime in for an FAQ that I keep meaning to create, but from my experience, on my coarser hair, the feeling was just stronger. It disappears quickly after you feel it. It's like, a very odd sensation. You can sort of feel the laser go into your skin, like if you were pressing a machanical pencil into your skin, but not breaking the skin. On the coarser pieces, it was like that lead from the pencil was very hot.

I did not experience the intense pain. I truly did not. I do keep myself occupied, though. I bring a book or magazine, or chat with the technitian the whole time. And wiggle my toes. It has been SO worth it for me. I hadn't shaved my bikini in at least 5 years thanks to waxing, because it made the hair really prickly and aweful. And forget excersicing in shorts, Prickly and Painful! The discomfort from shaving was so much worse that getting lasered every 2 or so months.

Now that I'm lasered, and the hair is on the decline, I actually can shave in between appointments, and the hair is softer, thank goodness. And I don't get ugly, painful ingrowns that I used to get.

For me, it was worth it worth it worth it.

As for age, I don't know. I'm not researched enough to know. I would assume that early teens would be too young, b/c hormones are changing. But I don't know. I'm 30, and started the process when I was 29.

Amy said...

Hey Mista,

I was so relieved to find your blog tonight! I have done 4 treatments with American Laser, and (like everyone it seems) haven't seen the results I was hoping for at this point. My 5th is in a few days, and hoping for some encouragement I turned to web reviews. Of course, I could only find terrible experiences, or reviews so fantastic they were obviously written by the company. Thank you, thank you for sharing your real and complete experience, it gives me hope that the pain (awful for me by the way) may still be worth it!

As for my particulars; I'm a redhead and blame my intense pain on the freckles! They're light, but I believe the laser is trying to zap them away instead of the hair....I paid $2700 for waist down (I was feeling brave). The prices seem to be pretty negotiable, and I got 20% off since my husband is in the Army. I have had both lasers used on me, and oh-my-goodness the newer one hurts so much worse! The technicians have been mostly nice, but I am still mortified everytime they're working in the nether-regions....once again, all worth the pain, embarrassment, and cost if it would just work!

Thanks again for sharing, I'll be able to sleep tonight because I found one review that didn't mention what a terrible fraudulent evil lying....etc company American Laser is :)

Mista said...

Hi Amy,
I'm so glad. People get so mean and nasty on the web. And I think that negative experiences motivate people more than positive ones. When I started this, I knew that people would be searching for laser hair removal stuff, and my goal, really, was to paint a picture of what it's like. It is now that I see all of these negative American Laser Center reviews, and commenters, and even competing bloggers who want to share their experiences at their laser places.

Bottom line for me: I just want to share what it's like. And it's been so great hearing from others like you! The best has been the famous and re-appearing Original Anonymous, who was so upset at first, and now is seeing results.

Freckles: Oh my goodness. I can only imagine! I had one freckle that did raise up after the first appointment. It probably is zapping the freckles. Not bo be scary, but are they raising up or changing at all? Just curious. Good luck on your next appointments!

Amy said...

Thankfully, no scary side effects with the freckles! I'll be watching more closely now, yikes....I probably should have asked a dermatologist, but from what I read the freckles shouldn't cause any extra risk. Thanks again for your story! :) Amy

Katie said...

Okay, I am really really freaked out, because I just signed up today with American Laser Centers and am paying them $900 for underarms and bikini, which seemed like a really good deal... but only if it works.
Now I came home and have read terrible review after terrible review (with, yes, the occassional excellent interview than was obviously left by an employee). I also just saw that the Medical School that Dr Kathleen whatever (front person for ALC) got her "medical training" at Wayne State, where you only have to have an MCAT score of 9.something to get in... Almost ALL medical schools expect you to have a 30 or better... Any GOOD medical school does, anyway... Even good STATE medical schools. basically, there are 3 areas of the test where you can get a 1 to a 15 (max score is 45). So... you would need to get a 3 out of 15 on each section to get into this med school (i mean the scoring is more complicated than that, but REALLY... that's NOT GOOD). Anyhow, so the thing is this... Apparently they have thousands of customers, and if they were really that bad, there would be more complaints than there even are, right? But... When I went, the "manager" is some 23 year old who went to trade school for a year. The "technician" didn't look older, and there was some sort of secretary who was just REALLY rude... I'm freaked out that I just handed these people $900. I feel so stupid.
Also, this other lady was there (only one other), and she said she had an appointment for today, and they insisted she didn't, and that it was supposed to be next thursday blah blah blah, and the technician (who wasn't doing anything) said, "well i'm the only one here..." the manager seemed nice, but really... i'm pretty freaked out.

Katie said...

Also, I read that the two year guarantee starts when you sign the contract... SO... it's really more like a year after you finish, if you're lucky.

Mista said...

Wow. You seem to know a lot about your MCAT scores. So why didn't you seek out reviews before you handed over your cash? Guess you felt nervous, huh? I don’t know the “front person” you are talking about, but my focus would be on the people developing the technology.

I don't know for sure, but my impression is that American Laser Center offices are franchises. So, they are run by different people. Sounds like your people have bad bedside manner.

As for technicians, mine aren't brain surgeons. They just record the settings, take a picture of my skin, press a button on the laser, and make sure our green glasses are on. You or I could easily be a technician. I wouldn't want to stand for that long, but it could be done. You could say the same about dental assistants. My friend who went to another company here in New York says that her technicians are just pills. They charge her for any extra zap that isn’t strictly on the map. Another friend who went to her dermatologist said that the dermatologist was snooty.

At the end of the day, just make sure you don’t have any hair left. That’s the goal.

Mista said...

Woa. Katie, I just read your comment about the 2 year extension. I have an appointment on Tuesday, so I'm going to find out. That would be very odd and bad.

Amy said...

From http://www.americanlaser.com/dsp_contact.cfm

"American Laser Centers is proud to offer the industry’s first–and most comprehensive–written guarantee for hair removal satisfaction. After undergoing the normally recommended six-treatment Laser Hair Removal Protocol, American Laser Centers guarantees complete satisfaction for a full two-year period, following the final treatment."

Phew! Y'all had me goin there for a second.....I will SO need the 2 full years! I just had my 5th appt on saturday...we'll see in a week or so if maybe THIS time will show a dramatic change. I'm feeling optimistic :)

Mista said...

Amy - You are too great. Straight to the source! Smart girl. Yes, I would have been SHOCKED if that 2 year agreement was a loophole, since I refer to it with my technicians all the time.

Here. I'll try to make that link be an active link:

http://www.americanlaser.com/dsp_contact.cfm

Anonymous said...

I've now had 4 appointments at Romeo & Juliette in NYC. It was $1800 for a brazilian bikini...guess I should have shopped around. Although, after only 1 session, I hardly had any hair left. Now, after 3 sessions, I just have a few blond hairs, but am definitely not going to need all 6 appointments. From the comments on this blog, it seems like the lasers at R&J might be stronger. At R&J, there is no guarantee, but un-used appointments can be refunded or used in another area.

Mista said...

That's good to know about Romeo & Juliette. I'll have to see what city's they are in. Maybe I'll experiment and try them for a different area. I keep thinking that my leg hair is just very resistant, since my bikini is going away faster. Maybe I'll try them for underarms.

~ Original Anonymous ~ said...

Hey all!

Thought I'd post on my last appointment. I was thankful in that I had a really sweet technician again. But, that's about the only good news, unfortunately. :( I had the technician turn the machine up all the way, and it was *very* painful... but, I figured, "No pain, No gain!" Sadly, it was just pain with no gain. I barely got any shedding at all on my legs (lower region), and not much shedding on my underarms either. I was really disappointed, because for my last appointment, my underarm hair shed at least 90%, and I noticed the awesome side effect of less underarm sweat and odor (woohoo!). Sadly, that effect was only temporary.

Ok.... I'm wondering about something. Because this last treatment was so painful (much more so than the previous one), the technician asked if it was that time of the month for me, saying that it usually hurts more if it's around that time, as we tend to be more tender then. Well, it was just a couple days before I started.... so, I'm wondering now too if somehow the laser ends up being less effective during this time??? That sounds odd, but if one feels more pain during this time, maybe something else is going as well that could possibly hamper results? Hmm.... wish I knew. Maybe this is just wishful thinking on my part, because I’m really hoping for another good appointment at some point.

I was really excited about my underarm hair last time, but I've had 4 treatments now and really feel that I've only had "one" good treatment. A girlfriend of mine went to a lesser known place in the area and had awesome results. I chose American Laser Centers, because I thought it would safer, as it's the most popular laser hair center in the U.S. I wish I had just gone where my friend went - I believe they used the LightSheer on her, which is a diode laser. I do kinda feel like I wasted my money, but we'll see... maybe the next appointment will go better. I'll report back!

****And hey... ladies, for those of you who feel silly or stupid about spending lots of money up front with ALC, don't be so hard on yourself. I'm the queen of research, and even I bought into ALC. ALC is the best known and most popular laser center in America, so *of course* we all thought we were making a good decision! I have learned from this that *good marketing* can give a company great business and an imagine of success, but this doesn't necessarily mean quality, so it's best to still research, even if it doesn't seem necessary. And ladies, it could be so much worse! Think of all the people that have invested thousands with someone they trusted only to lose it all - or someone who paid thousands for a home, only to find out they had been badly scammed! Really, we're just talking about a couple or a few thousand dollars here. I'm thankful that my first bad experience with a contract was only over a couple thousand... as it could have been much, much worse. Our mental health is more important than a couple thousand bucks. Try to get your money's worth if you can, but please don't stay awake at night over this! Okay.... I'm done with my pep talk here. :)

Mista said...

Hey Original Anonymous!!

Great comment. I'm into my 1st year of my 2 year extension with American Laser Centers, and I can report 95% loss on my love trail, 80% on my bikini, and 60% loss on my thigh.

I did just have my 8th appointment, and need to blog about it. But really, there's not much change. No drastic change, that is. My love trail might almost be done (which in all honesty, was the first thing I wanted gone, and the first thing I started waxing).

As for pain during that time of the month: I haven't heard that, but I have heard that coffee (caffine) before the appointment could increase pain. I know it did for waxing, and I believe it has for these appointments as well. I do not have a lot of pain during these appointments. Or maybe I just forget about it too soon. But, there could be something to that. I do know that caffine creates other physical side effects in our bodies, so why not increased senses. The period does increase our sense of smell, and sometimes hearing. And cravings. So why not our skin senses?

Ok, off to write my 8th appointment post.

~ Original Anonymous ~ said...

Thanks Mista! Great points you brought up and good to know about caffeine! I'll definitely keep that in mind for my next appointment! :)

Mista said...

Ack! I forgot to check in - I wrote the 8th appointment in case you haven't seen. My love trail is all but gone, and bikini isn't too far behind.

http://fashionmista.blogspot.com/2007/11/laser-hair-removal-8th-appointment.html

Anonymous said...

Hi Mista,

I saw a bunch of comments regarding price on this blog so I wanted to share my experience. I go to Americal Laser center and recently referred a friend.

She got a terrific package. In $2600, they are doing her full legs, Brazilian, underarm, Chin and upper lip. Six sessions with the 2 year garantee.

I nearly fell off my chair when I hear the price. Much lower than what they charged me.

Have a good one!

Mista said...

Oh my Gosh! That is a great deal. I know that with my office for American Laser Center, Claudia, the office manager, offered me a rate based on the fact that they had just opened that specific office. If I were to go now, and Claudia has told me this, that my rate would not be the same. In fact, for my fiance, she gave me a rate just for him because I am me. So, they definitely negotiate.

Thanks for your experience!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mista - found your blog through a google of course, but not for laser! i just happened to see this link come up when i was reading another post.

anyway - i have had 4 laser treatments done on my upper lip and chin - 2 more to go. i did not choose to go to american laser center or any of those done by "laser technicians" because i have heard some shady stories. i am sure that those of you on here have been fine, but through word of mouth and reading various articles/watching news segments, i heard that a lot of these technicians may not be properly certified or trained. i knew that it would be much more expensive to go to a dr, but even so, i chose to go to an actual doctor who is the only one that does the laser for his center. he has been in the business for 8 years and was originally recommended to me by a dermatologist i'd been going to for years in my area. he also is a general practitioner for my area, so i did a lot of research on him and that made me feel more comfortable.

i'm just saying for those people considering laser, PLEASE do your research no matter who you are going to. i'm not saying that all laser centers with technicians (not drs) are bad, i'm just saying to know your stuff when you go in there and to always question things if it sounds fishy.

besides that, like i said i just had my 4th treatment. i have a hormonal imbalance that causes me to have excessive hair grown. this came about when i was 22. i am italian with light skin and dark hair, so prior to that it had been annoying to have to wax eyebrows/lip every week and half, plus i have SUPER sensitive skin. but at that point it just went outta control. and medicine doesn't cure it - so finally i decided to plunk down the $$$ and go for it. i am seeing a HUGE difference. almost all of the hair on my lip is gone, but there are a few coarse hairs that are still coming through - like i said though, i was an extreme case. the hair grown was just like ruining my life! honestly! it was causing me serious distress as shallow as that seems, but it's hard for a girl to have to deal with plucking hairs out every single day and being self conscious about it. my chin is so much better, i'd say about 90% is gone. there are a couple of spots that have hairs that keep coming back but again, my chin was horrible. i am SO GLAD that i did this. if there is anyoen out there like me, i STRONGLY reccommend it. even if the dr said to me sorry tehre's no more we can do, you'll be left with these few hairs forever, i'd be like OK THANK YOU. because i can definitely deal with what's left when i compare it to what it was before.

i also have heard that no matter who you go to or what you do, every couple of years you will probably need one laser treatment to sort of re-zap the area. but i guess we'll see!

i hope it works for everyone and i'm crossing my fingers that the next two treatments get rid of more pesky hairs.

oh and PS - for me it definitly hurt it some spots! like i said, i had VERY coarse dark hair and VERY pale skin! so when it got some of those bigger follicles - OUCH. but the pain is gone as fast as it happenned - it only lasts like a second. so for those real deep hairs, it's kinda like a warm not so sharp needle poking where the hair is. it's MUCH LESS PAIN THAN WAXING! i don't wanna scare anyone, but the whole "it feels like a rubber band" thing that i had read, i felt like it was a little more severe than that on my chin. but like i said, if you don't have very coarse hair, it probably is just like the rubber band. afterwards i was pretty red for a few hours, but that's because i have the coarse hair and i have mega sensitive skin. after a little bit of time (and lots of aloe vera loation) it goes right away.

whew this was long! please don't think i am trying ot say "Oh you went to a shady place" because i'm not, i'm just letting people know that as any sort of franchise type of business, you have to check on who exactly is running that specific center.

Anonymous said...

my freckles raised and they had "never heard of that before" and allowed me to get out of my full body treatment for 4562 (after my first treatment) rather than 6945 for six treatments to the whole body..... Im screwed

Mista said...

Anonymous re Freckles:

Wow. One or two of my freckles did rise, and they had never seen it either. If you were able to get out of any of your payment, I would say that is pretty amazing. Based on all of the comments at the other review posts I've done here at FashionMista, no one has gotten money back.