DIARY OF A HAIRY MONSTER: MY LASER HAIR REMOVAL JOURNEY
DIARY OF A HAIRY MONSTER: WELCOME TO MY LASER HAIR REMOVAL JOURNEY
Part 1: 23 February 2022
Hey, lovely people!
Let me introduce myself. I’m Elaine, Tria’s resident blogger. As you may know, Tria relaunched their fabulous blog last summer and in October; I was invited to join the team as they loved my writing style and wit, and also because I have a wealth of experience when it comes to health, beauty, and lifestyle blogging.
Here’s a little bit of info about little old me: As my bio states I live in West Yorkshire, but I’m British-American. I have a Master’s degree in English Literature and work as an editor and content writer. I love all things beauty and love to discover new techniques and products via social media, influencers, brands, and industry experts. I’m partial to an Oxford comma and a semicolon when writing (the nerdier part of me). I love writing, reading, travelling, going for walks in the countryside, watching theatre and films, eating afternoon tea, visiting National Trust properties (maybe I’m older before my time?), and spending time with my husband, family, and friends. I’d say I’m a fairly typical mid-30-something woman!
“Why am I reading this?” I hear you ask. Well, I wanted to give you some background before telling you all about what Tria has challenged me to do as it is all rather EXCITING!
They guessed that I am hairy (it’s a human thing) because they knew that I’ve previously had professional IPL hair removal treatment on my legs, arms, underarms, bikini, and bits of my face at a salon, and let’s face it, I have naturally thick dark hair. So, they’ve sent me one of their iconic Hair Removal Laser 4Xs and their Calm Soothing Gel and challenged me to go on an at-home laser hair removal journey leading up to this summer. I hasten to mention that not all my hairy body areas were treated at the salon, like my whole face, tummy and more embarrassing places (OMG!). Consequently, it’s these other bits that I will be endeavouring to conquer with the Tria 4X laser.
But that’s not all, you’ve guessed it, they want me to write a “warts and all” published diary-style blog about my thoughts, experiences and progress results with the Tria device. So, not a big ask – but an absolutely HUGE commitment from me, that means that I can’t use the device a couple of times and then sling it in the drawer (where most of my skincare tools have gone to die) or let it collect dust, and I can’t take a step outside my front door without wearing facial SPF protection post-lasering. Plus, I can’t use any other hair removal treatment like get waxing done or use Veet style products – how the heck am I going to do this?
Nothing like a challenge!
So, I’m not actually a “hairy monster” but when you have prominent dark hair on what feels like every inch of your body, it can really feel that way. I seem to have spent a large majority of my 20s and 30s trying to control body hair. With my upper lip, for example, I’ve used waxing, bleaching, individually plucking out all the hairs (yes, ouch!), epilating, smelly hair-removal creams, even shaving (eek). You name it, I’ve tried it. And that also goes for every other area of my body too. It’s been a constant battle to tame the outcroppings and try and pretend to friends, family, and partners that I’m not hairy at all – my own (hopefully) best-kept secret – except that one time when my husband caught me bleaching my lady moustache (omph!).
As established, I’m an incredibly hairy person and I’ve always been embarrassed by hair practically since puberty and sceptical of hair removal devices – because for the price, it’s an investment if they do not work – so when I saw someone post on Facebook about a local salon and the full round of treatment for only £1,200 for full body, I thought that that was brilliant, so I got in touch. I read up on IPL and it seemed to be a good option. As a side note, the diode laser didn’t really come up in my search.
I started treatments in 2019, but with Covid-19 hitting, my treatments were interrupted and originally, I was supposed to have eight months of treatments at £150 per go. I ended up having ten treatments in a row plus sporadic ones in previous months, meaning I spent £1,500 of my own money in the end. The salon owner did offer every client up to two free treatments since many of her clients had interrupted cycles and she wanted everyone to be happy with their results but since it’s her business and her income, I understood that she couldn’t give anyone several rounds of treatment for free.
So, even though I felt that £1,200 was a reasonable price for these salon treatments, the costs can really rack-up. Plus, this is a small, yet successful West Yorkshire salon, so the prices are what “people in the North” tend to pay. If you have the same treatments in a larger city like Manchester or Leeds, the prices can easily be double this cost and goodness only knows what the bill might be for a similar service in London’s famous Harley Street.
Fast forward to after my rounds of IPL treatment and I’d say that in some places the hair is 90-95% gone, but in other areas, I have patches of longer hair. One thing I have loved about my salon IPL treatment is that I used to have thick wiry hair on my legs and, since I’m pale, those black visible dots under the skin post-shaving, whereas now my hair is much finer and lighter, so I’d say that’s a result, but I want to be completely hair-free since I was the type of person who shaved every day without fail. IPL has been liberating in that the hair hasn’t grown back as fast, but I’m noticing more and more regrowth.
So, that’s what I’m hoping will be permanently removed by Tria’s 4X diode laser technology.
I want to remove the remaining hair on my arms, legs, lady bits, and my face and then other areas I didn’t have treated in my local salon when getting IPL because I was too embarrassed to ask – like my toes, fingers, tummy, neck, lower back, and under my chin. I get particularly bad ingrown hairs on the back of my legs and my upper thigh near my bikini area (I’ve read that’s a thing?) so I hope that this process will make irritated follicles a thing of the past.
I’ll see how it goes, but I’m going to go and remove the hair in these places now and check back in a couple of weeks.
Apparently, I have to use the laser every two weeks for 90 days, by which time my hair should have permanently vanished. However, I am told that new hairs can emerge, particularly with hormonal changes, so it’s advisable to do top-up treatments if I see any more hair appear. But, and it’s a big BUT, firstly, I won’t need to book salon appointments because I’ll already have the handheld device at my disposal and secondly, Tria tell me that I won’t need to do anywhere near as many top-ups as I would with IPL technology – well, I’ll be the judge of that, we shall see…
It’ll be a time-consuming process, yet nothing is more time-consuming than having to shave over and over – and maybe I can finally cancel my Dollar Shave Club and Estrid subscriptions. Even if razor subscriptions are more eco-friendly than disposables, plastic is still ending up in landfills and since I’ve gone eco-friendly with my period (moon cups and period pants), I want to go eco-friendly with hair removal. Hopefully using a hair removal laser means I can say farewell to razors, waxing, epilating, sugaring, whatever else – and spend the money on something more interesting instead, because let’s face it “I can’t wait to go home and shave my legs” said nobody ever!
Next weekend, I am going to unbox this bad boy and have a really good look at it, and maybe even rev it up and see how it rolls (and of course, I’ll be telling you all about it too).
DIARY OF A HAIRY MONSTER: UNBOXING AND USING THE TRIA 4X LASER
Part 2: 28 February 2022
After two nights of broken sleep and completely forgetting diary entries, I was determined to get some Zzzs, so much so that I didn’t drink a thing containing caffeine yesterday, my pillows were liberally sprayed with restful lavender, and I was in bed straight after the 10 o’clock news. Today, I feel ready to start some lasering and take on the world with my keyboard! What a difference a night of sleep makes, eh?
So, again, I need to do this every two weeks for ninety days and top-ups after that. If I go out, I need to remember my SPF, especially since I’m doing it on my face.
I started with unboxing the product. I was really surprised to see the lovely plain white box lid with green bottom hidden inside the more colourful outer sleeve. If you were ever going to gift this product to someone, that box could easily have a bow added and be really pretty.
I was pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy it was to get started. I have used the Philips Lumea 9000 series IPL laser – it was one of those beauty products that went to die in the drawer and I’ve since donated to my older sister – that I wasted £350 on not to use. So, with the Tria 4X, I unboxed it, pressed the sensor to my skin and it came on immediately, fully charged.
I turned the dial up to the highest setting since I don’t have sensitive skin and I wanted the strongest setting possible. I pressed the laser to my skin thinking “um, where’s the button to click the laser on” and there was no button. It’s automatic! Wah hay. So, you press it against your skin, it makes a beepy sound if it’s doing it or a sort of “uh oh” beepy sound if you need to do it again and lifted the laser too early. You do have to move the laser off your skin, say, a millimetre or two to go over the next bit.
Oh, I got quite jumpy the first time the “hairdryer” sound went off to cool the device because, even though I’ve seen other people talk about the device, I forgot that would happen. So, you hear the good beep sound, the bad beep sound, and the occasional hair dryer sound. But, all in all, it’s a quiet device.
I have sizeable calves from my high school days of running track and cross country and it took me eleven minutes to do the bottom half of my leg. It used one bar of battery (out of three).
I felt the laser in a couple of spots and it was more like a light “prickle” as if you’ve leaned against a hot radiator but it felt odd in that it was deep in the follicle and by the time my brain had registered the heat, the sensation was gone. So, I’d say it’s not painful even on the highest setting. If you’re more sensitive, then maybe you wouldn’t like that sensation but I found it fine and it only happened in a few spots.
So, I zapped, lifted, zapped, lifted the laser from ankle to knee. I did it in “rows” like you would shaving but I think I’ll try my next lower leg in a “spiral” motion like the helter-skelter. I’ll check back with how that goes and the timings on different body parts.
Eleven minutes for part of a leg is a long time but I plan to listen to my audiobook (I love an audiobook) or a podcast. You can watch a bit of Netflix or YouTube or whatever you fancy but you kind of have to be watching your skin so that you know where things are going so a more audible medium is recommended.
As I said, it’s time-consuming, but so is shaving every day of your life. Even if shaving takes ten minutes for full body all over hair removal and fifteen minutes if you’re being super careful over your shins and knees and trying to remove all the hair off the back of your leg, that’s an everyday thing. That’s an hour of your life each week just to remove unwanted hair.
So, I’d say that I can easily devote an hour to zapping my hairs with a view that in three months the hair will be gone and I’ll just have the occasional few minutes to invest with laser top-ups.
Also, I used to go to the IPL salon once a month for an hour each time. I’d be smeared in this gel – what I’d imagine ultrasound gel is like (if I had ever had children and knew what it was like to be pregnant) – and let me tell ya, it’s not very nice wiping that gel off your downstairs areas and then putting your knickers back on and trying to go anywhere but home after that.
I can use this Tria 4X laser with dry skin, at home, whenever I want. I could stagger my treatment and laser my lower legs one day, thighs and back of the thighs another day, face and arms a third day…you get the idea. I can make a hair removal rotation and then do it every two weeks. I don’t have to leave my house, which as a work from home hermit, I’m more and more in favour of these days. I used to be an extrovert but I’m just really used to doing everything from home in the CE – Covid era – of our lives.
Another initial thought I have about the product is that it is cordless and the charging cable is compact, the device is easy to hold, and it includes adapters for European and UK plugs, so that’s handy.
I didn’t notice with my first calf that the top of the laser has this counter thingy. I think it resets when you power it off (you hold the button down to power off). I did my second calf using a different technique and it took around twelve minutes again and I did 224 zaps with the laser. Plus, I used another bar of battery life.
I then moved on to my face – the whole “beard” area as if I was male. Most of my hairs in this area are blonde so I know the laser won’t get at those – but I have many above my lip, right under my lip, on my jawline, and under my chin that are dark so I want to go over the whole area and zap it. I got to about 65 zaps and three minutes before the laser decided that it was out of juice. I could definitely feel the heat more on the fifth setting on my face, but, for me, it wasn’t so bad but it did “zap” more than on my legs.
I’ve plugged it in now and I’ll see how long it takes to charge. The instructions say to charge it for around two hours, so it has about half an hour of battery life. You can’t get your full body done in that time but you can cover a significant portion of skin, I’d say. I think each week I do it, it’ll take a couple of days to treat all my skin areas, and I’ll do that every two weeks, but it’s at home, I can listen to an audiobook, and I can do it at my own convenience.
Apparently, IPL is usually not cordless because the technology needs a constant power source to create the flash, but the Tria 4X contains an integral lithium type battery as the laser light is very precise and therefore doesn’t need constant mains power to function.
Again, I’ll write down my timings on other body parts and give you a realistic indication about how long it has taken for my body.
Well, that’s my first treatment done, it really wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated. Now Gin O’clock time – except replace the gin with vodka for me!
DIARY OF A HAIRY MONSTER: MY EXPERIENCE USING THE LASER TO REMOVE ALL UNWANTED HAIR
Part 3: 3 March 2022
I charged my device overnight and on this second day of using it, the battery seems to have lasted much longer. I suppose that’s because it can only be “so charged” to sit in a box before someone purchases it.
Today I’ve chosen to laser my face again. 73 zaps and around two minutes (it probably didn’t need this many but I really, really, really want to get rid of all traces of dark hair on my face). I especially wanted to laser all the hairs around and under my chin. Read the first two parts of this diary if you need to catch up here: part one and part two.
I even wanted to zap my nose on the side because I always have that random dark hair or two poking out to greet me when I venture a peek into the 10x mirror, which I try not to do too often because it’s too horrifying. I’d love to get between my eyebrows – my unibrow – but I think only the precision laser is supposed to be used there so I’ll leave it for now.
Tummy and fingers
It took less than one minute to zap my happy trail (30 zaps) and it took around 23 zaps to do my hands and fingers, but this area is hard to do because you have to keep wiggling about the laser for it to “take” because it’s a bony area. If you have particularly thin fingers, this laser won’t work for you on your fingers and that would be a job for Tria’s Precision laser.
Now for the more embarrassing areas. I did have IPL on my “lady bits” and I’d say that the hair is about 97% gone from the front of my pubic bone but there are some areas that still have fine long hairs of growth, which I unequivocally do not want, so I zapped the whole pubic area and inner thigh-pubic-area again and it took about two minutes and around 23 zaps. This area was a lot more sensitive than other areas but it wasn’t so bad.
Now for the very sensitive areas. I think IPL removed around 50% of the hair from my “undercarriage” but it never thinned and went away the way I wanted and I particularly hate thick dark prickly, itchy hair down there so I shave daily. I cannot wait not to shave daily and not to have hair. But this area is not for the faint-hearted. This area did sting with the laser and I had to reach for the cooling gel. I think it was more of a shock – the sensation – than anything as the laser was painless everywhere else so I didn’t expect it to “zing” the way it did. I braved it in front of a mirror to help out with ensuring I was getting the right areas. I didn’t count my zaps here because I took breaks between areas. I think as the hair thins – at least in my experience with IPL – it won’t feel as sensitive.
My advice is that this area shouldn’t be done for those who have particularly sensitive skin and very low pain tolerance. I’m not saying it’s super painful or unbearable but it’s more on the “quite uncomfortable” side. The Tria official guide does say not to zap this area – I read that too late. My bum area did not hurt so there’s that! Again, I don’t think Tria officially advise anyone do any of these more sensitive bits.
When I did my underarms it took about one minute per armpit so I hope I got it all. I did around 25 zaps per armpit. My armpit was a bit stingy and sensitive because there’s a higher concentration of darker hair follicles, but it wasn’t “painful” so it was fine.
On my arms, I did all of my forearm, fingers, around my elbow, and a little up the back of my arm and it took around five and a half minutes per arm. I did 137 zaps on one arm and then started to do the other arm but it ran out of battery before I could count the zaps. When my laser was recharged, I did 153 zaps on the other arm – so maybe I overdid this one. I didn’t really feel the heat in most places but where I had thicker hair or where I hadn’t shaved as closely, it was a little hot.
Since my thigh area is my largest body area to cover, I started with both knees which took around five minutes but I forgot to check the zaps. I didn’t feel any discomfort on, around, and a little above my knees. I think legs are the least sensitive spot and that’s probably where most people will want their hair removed.
I started on my left thigh and it took around 19 minutes and 525 zaps to do the whole area. As I said, I didn’t feel the laser on this area of my body. I then moved to the right leg and began about 11 zaps before the battery died. Back to the charging station!
For my right thigh, I took 21 minutes to do 545 zaps – I guess I got a little carried away with this leg! Again, I didn’t feel it but I did discover a new method to help cover areas. I wonder if I could get one of those skin-safe white pencils to “zone” out bits of skin real estate! But what I did to help “zone” areas was hold the laser in my right hand (my dominant hand) and then put my finger and thumb in an L shape and press that shape to the zones of my leg. I used my finger as a guide to move the laser along and when I was finished zapping the row, I moved my finger down slightly. That way – I hope – I’ll find I’ve missed fewer sections when I come back to do it again in a couple of weeks.
All in all, to do my full body hair removal since I’m busy – as are many of you – it has taken me about four days of small sessions. I didn’t spend more than twenty to thirty minutes per day with hair removal and I used it as an excuse to listen to my audiobook or music.
I charged my device four times to do my entire body. So, I’d say that’s roughly two hours of hair removal over the days I used the laser. After completing my last area – my upper thigh – I had one bar of battery left but I’ve popped the laser back on charge so that I can use it with a full battery in a couple of weeks.
When I do my next session in a fortnight, I may be able to do my full body in two days but I was more pressed for time this week.
Overall experience: positive. Some areas are more sensitive than others to the heat but I’ve found the sensation to be bearable, but you’d have to see how you find it.
It’s time-consuming and the laser screen is small but it’s well worth it to be hair-free forever – just imagine no more shaving! For those like me that have itchy hair follicles, ingrown hairs, and just constant hair-related embarrassment, then this will work for you. Because let’s face it, hairy girls have gone to much worse lengths not to be hairy (as in I once individually plucked out all my lady moustache hairs and let me tell ya, that is way more painful). As a result, I’d say taking some time to zap myself with a laser is not even close to the most extreme way I’ve tried to remove hair.
I can’t wait to see what hair has regrown – or more likely I’ve missed – in the next couple of weeks and for my hair-free journey in the next few months. Plus, after this week, I’m going to try my new “L-shaped-hand trick” to keep track of the areas I’ve zapped so that I’ll be more efficient next time.
Check back for my next diary entry!
DIARY OF A HAIRY MONSTER: LASER HAIR REMOVAL ROUND TWO
Part 4: 24 March 2022
So, a whole two weeks has rolled around since my last diary entry on the 3 March. I’ve been on annual leave this week so instead of the hyper-productive week I’d planned for myself of eating salads, soaking up the sun in my garden, going on long walks in the hills and in the park, and doing lots of writing, I instead slept in late and read three novels… I haven’t taken a single walk and let’s just say the only salad I’ve seen has been part of a sandwich. I guess they say relaxation is important, right?
On 16 March, my maternal grandmother, Grammy, as I call her turned 86. I intended to take her Tuesday night to Bangor to stay overnight and then go to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll (I have no idea how to pronounce anything Welsh but I absolutely love a Welsh accent – so charming and beautiful) the next day for the 16-minute drive to Plas Newydd, a gorgeous National Trust property overlooking Mount Snowdon.
Instead, the weekend before I got some kind of bad cold so, unfortunately, I ended up spending the entire weekend in bed. I think it’s becoming a theme but I really hope not! I rescheduled our trip for the Thursday instead when I was better and I drove the two and a half hours to Anglesey, North Wales with my eldest cousin and her beautiful three-year-old daughter, Eva in tow. The weather was absolutely gorgeous that day and my favourite part was when we sprawled out on the lawn to soak up the views. That and tea and cake!
After what feels like an interminably long and miserable season of unpredictable British weather, it has been so so refreshing to see a bit of sun and this week has been glorious.
This week, I only took two days to laser my hair instead of what will probably take me four days when I’m working again – even though I’m very lucky and do work from home. This week, I had time to charge the battery and zap again in the day. I got my whole body done in four charges of the laser this time and sometimes the battery seemed to last longer than other times – more on that later.
With IPL, my hair grew quite soft – the old prickliness was gone on my legs, arms, and armpits but not in my more intimate bikini area – and whereas I haven’t noticed my hair disappearing quite yet I did notice the texture had gotten a little more prickly again on my legs. I’m going to chock this down to the laser working and re-awakening hair in its growth cycle so that it can be zapped away. I’ll watch my hair over the next couple of weeks because I’ve been a little remiss at noticing if the hair has thinned, but, like I said, I only noticed that my leg hair was a little pricklier than it had been. I’m going to allow the hair on my arms and legs to grow over the next week and step away from the razor (gasp! as I’m a daily shaver) so I can see what the growth is like to report back.
This time, I started with my legs because I wanted to “get them out of the way.” I zapped my left calf 351 times and it took about fifteen minutes and one bar of battery. I did my right calf 367 times and it took about 16 minutes. I must have just gotten into my audiobook at this point. I used my L-shaped hand trick to guide the laser. I also zapped my hands and fingers and random parts of my upper legs until the battery ran out. I wanted to run the battery down for the next session.
After charging again, I zapped both upper thighs in sections, together, around 793 times and it took about 27 minutes. The laser usually lasts around half an hour so it didn’t last as long in this session as it did on my calves. Hmm! Back to the charging cable!
Then, I came back for the back of both thighs. I did the sides when I did the tops of my thighs so both backs of thighs only took around twelve minutes and 317 zaps so I may need to check over this area again in a week as I may have missed some bits. This took about one bar of battery.
I did my arms really thoroughly because they are more visible from day to day and I took about nineteen minutes to zap my arms 453 times. The battery was gone after doing my arms and the back of my thighs but it lasted thirty-one minutes this time so who knows what this magic is. All areas at this point were done on the laser-level five.
A side note: I think since my brain got used to the laser sensation before I didn’t feel any heat or sensitivity at all lasering my arms and legs. I didn’t feel the laser much at all but arms and legs are quite tough.
Underarms, tummy, face, and neck
After another charge, I zapped both armpits 43 times and it didn’t even take two minutes. This area was actually a lot more sensitive than I imagined and it hurt a little but it was two minutes, so totally bearable.
I zapped my happy trail and between my breasts on my breastbone 42 zaps but didn’t time it. I imagine this was just a couple of minutes.
I did my face and neck as thoroughly as I could muster because, again, this area is very visible and I’m super paranoid about facial hair. I zapped my “beard” area 129 times and it took about five and a half minutes. I did bits of my nose too and between my brows in a single spot, making sure to be very very careful around my eyes. Tria does not officially advocate using the laser on one’s nose or between the brows at all so use it at your own risk. I did the front of my nose and singed some inner nose hair so that was a bit of a shock but not painful. Again, you’re not supposed to use lasers near open orifices so I won’t be doing that again. Oops! I’ve woken up the next morning with no ill effects so no harm done. In fact, that nostril doesn’t have pokey out hairs now so that’s a win – but, again, I know that it’s not really “safe” practise so won’t be doing my nose tip again.
After my face, neck, and “experimental” areas, the battery had some juice still so I did the front bikini area and that was under two minutes and 40 zaps.
Then, I moved to my “undercarriage” which is really where I also want the hair to be removed. I’d just showered and it was evening before I went to settle down in bed to watch some television with my husband – maybe this is a bad habit in the room I sleep in? And I wasn’t relishing the idea of the “heat” of the laser in my most sensitive area. The laser on Level 5 was too hot and too zappy and I thought, “Oh, no, I really can’t handle this right now.” Then, I had another think and realised the laser has SETTINGS! DOH! I turned the laser down to Level 2 and it did not hurt at all. Hallelujah! So, I’m not sure if the lower setting means it’ll take longer to get rid of the hair but who cares? Totally pain-free on a lower number. So now I don’t have to “brave” sensitive areas: I’ve figured out how to make the 4X laser completely zing and discomfort-free in all areas.
Top tip: my top tip is if you’re feeling any heat and discomfort, just lower the laser setting. It should’ve been common sense but I just wanted to get rid of the hair. But, the good thing about the laser is that now I have it, I can keep removing the hair for as long as it takes. I’ll have this device for the next decade, so there’s no need to worry about how long it takes to remove the hair per se.
After my “revelation,” I did 56 zaps on the lower setting and it took about three minutes to do my undercarriage and bottom area. The battery after all those areas was still a bar or two so I put the laser back up to level 5 and did 288 random zaps in places to wear the battery down. Now, back to charge it and revisit in two weeks.
Tria recommend regularly recharging the battery to keep it in good condition. This makes sense as the batteries in laser devices are inbuild and cannot be replaced. However, I do know that they sell additional chargers, so if you’re 4X charger dies or you leave it somewhere, then you can easily email their Customer Services for another one (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Again, this laser does take time. The window is small – I’d love if they could turn their amazing technology into a wider screen area that’s maybe corded? – but the good thing is that the laser will last long after my twelve-week treatment so if I’ve missed spits then I can just repeat the cycle until I haven’t. And when the hair thins and reduces, it’ll be easier to rid my body of any leftover hair.
I will check back in another couple of weeks to see where I am with my journey and, like I said, I’ll allow my hair to grow on my arms and legs to study any regrowth in the next week or so and take some pictures. Now, let’s go out and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts.
DIARY OF A HAIRY MONSTER: LASER HAIR REMOVAL ROUND THREE
Part 5: 13-15 April
I meant to pick up my laser the weekend before last and do a full-body session but time escaped me. Some weekends can be like that! On Friday, I went to Yo Sushi in the Trafford Centre in Manchester with my cousin and was amazed at how the portions have shrunk but the prices have not. Still, I enjoyed my time with my cousin, Pam. She was one of the bridesmaids at my wedding and she had a night off from her two small but very delightful children, Harry and Eva, who are five and three respectively.
Then, on Saturday, I had my eyebrows done – it had been weeks as I’d forgotten to book an appointment – and they were in dire need of help. Then, I went to a friend’s, Carol Ann’s, book signing and she brought her charming granddaughters, Hattie and Esme. And I always like to finish the week with a lazy Sunday if possible, so it was mostly a time of reading and lazing around in the garden.
Last week was somewhat of a triumph for me. Long after I’d written that piece about how to keep New Year’s resolutions, I’ve begun to stick to mine! Bottom line: you truly have to be ready to meet your goals. It’s true that it does indeed take time, determination, and mental resolve to start and stick to things. The weather after my glorious week off – with my little jaunt in Wales – has been miserable and it’s not made me want to do anything. But last week, so far, I have walked at least five miles each day, either in my local park, basking in nature, or in the gym. I’ve been working with my personal trainer, Nicola, on aerial/hammock yoga type exercises – I used to do Olympic lifting with her but I’ve gone in for a gentler approach – and the moves are much harder and more intensive than they look. My strength lies, like many women, mainly in my legs and my arms are not as strong as I’d like them to be, so I leave my session with sore arms, a sore core, and sore fingers (from my death grip when hanging upside down).
Easter Bank holiday weekend (gotta love Bank Holiday) had lovely weather in my part of the world. On Friday, I took my niece, Caroline, for a walk in the hills.
On Saturday, I cooked a vegan chickpea and spinach curry with roasted sweet potatoes instead of rice for my father and my sister, my niece, my husband, and me. We all enjoyed this meal together (recipe from Bosh here). And on Sunday, I took my 86-year-old grandmother out for lunch and stayed at her house until Monday, which I spent as a lazy day reading. So, all my amazing effort of exercise in the week Monday through to Saturday was undone (or delayed) the last two days of the Bank Holiday (eek!).
I suppose I at least have one resolution I’ve stuck to: using my Tria 4X diode laser for permanent hair removal, so that’s something. I’m looking forward to being hair-free by summer and I haven’t needed to shave much this week. I only needed to shave in preparation for the laser in a few areas: my arms, underarms, and undercarriage. The growth on my legs is patchy and the hair is much reduced all over. My underarms and “lady bits” still have more growth than I’d like and I hope by the time summer is in full swing, the dark patches will have subsided, but I feel encouraged because the laser is working really well so far.
So, this week, I’m not going down the route of telling you how many zaps I’ve done as you’ve most likely already read that from previous weeks. And, besides, the number of zaps will be different for every person, depending on the size of the area. Overall, for full body hair removal, it takes me about two hours. I try and spread that over three to four days so I do a half-hour session per day. That works well with my schedule and for busy people, that’s what I recommend. You really want to use a full half-hour each time because you want to take advantage of the time the laser is fully charged and then discharge the battery fully before charging again. I realise two hours sounds like a lot of time, but just imagine how long it would take at a salon when you factor in the preparation and travel time as well. Let’s get started!
Charge 1: 32 minutes
Face, chin, and neck
The laser lasted a bit longer than usual and I used the laser at Level 5 but I turned down the power for more sensitive areas like underarms, so that may have accounted for the longer battery life.
The remaining hair not removed by IPL is finally disappearing with the Tria 4X diode laser and there are barely any dark patches at all. I have the odd black, spiky chin hair but hopefully, those patches will be less and less visible as I continue with the laser treatment. My upper lip hair is almost gone. I don’t always give full attention to my neck so that’s something I’ll keep working on in future too.
For my underarms, there are some dark patches remaining but I have some bald patches now. I had to drop the laser down to Level 3 as this area was surprisingly sensitive. But that’s the great thing about this laser; it’s adaptable to your tolerance and sensitivity that day. A couple of weeks ago this area could handle higher laser power but for whatever reason today it couldn’t so I can drop it down.
Arms, hands, and fingers
I’m not sure what’s going on today but my arms felt a little more sensitive as I didn’t shave the hair as closely. When you have longer hair poking up through the surface, I think the laser zaps a little hotter. I did my arms on Level 5. The hair is thinning out on my arms but there’s still more than I would like but this is only my third session with the laser, so I’ll keep an eye on it.
I was looking through my photo memories in Google photos and found an old photo I’d taken of a bracelet I wore and I realised just how hairy my arms were. So, thanks to IPL and now the diode laser clearing up the rest of the hair, there really isn’t much hair left at all. I do think in another couple of sessions I’ll be hair-free on my arms and face and I can top up and zap any stray hairs in future. Since I’ve spent so much of my life embarrassed by my body hair, this will be a triumph. I feel empowered!
I’ve put the laser on to charge and it takes around two hours to charge so I’ll come back and do my undercarriage, tummy, and chest. Then, it’ll need another charge before tackling my calves and a fourth charge before tackling my things.
Charge 2: 29 minutes
Calves, knees, and toes
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the hair on my calves is quite sparse. The prickly consistency of the hair I complained about the last session is now soft again.
I took half an hour to zap my calves, knees, and big toes whilst listening to the audiobook version of My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier. I read Rebecca a while ago but haven’t read this book yet, so I’m enjoying it thus far. It’s fairly mindless to get lost in a story and zap the hair off one’s legs!
I’ve run out of charge, but thankfully I’d finished zapping and did some extra zaps until the battery ran out. I did my legs on Level 5 and I didn’t feel it. I can’t wait to be hair-free for summer. Yay! I can’t remember the last time I shaved my legs – was it at the weekend prior? So, four days of growth (assuming) and I really could go out unshaved! I could pop on a skirt and no one would bat an eyelid. I’m actually surprised at how quickly the Tria device is working. It took longer to see results with IPL treatments.
Now, I’m charging my device again before I move onto my thighs!
Charge 3: 29 minutes
Chest, tummy, undercarriage
Even though this is a relatively small area, I wanted to take more care with my zaps in this area to speed up the hair removal. I want to ensure that I’m getting each part of my skin since the laser window is small.
I spent extra care on my chest, happy trail, and undercarriage (and bottom) but I still had charge left so I started working on the top of my thighs. The battery ran out eventually and I popped the cable in to charge the laser for the fourth time.
Charge 4: 28 minutes
The hair on my upper thighs was quite sparse except for maybe the back of my thighs so I spent time zapping the areas where I saw hair growth as opposed to using my all over L-hand-method. Maybe that’s misguided but I’ll check back in a couple of weeks and see where I am.
All in all, I did 791 zaps – I know I said I wouldn’t record it – for my upper thighs and the battery ran out at Level 5 after 28 minutes.
I’m not sure what accounts for the battery sometimes lasting 28 minutes and sometimes 32 minutes but I think you can guarantee an average of half an hour. Since the laser works quickly and you get to own it for as long as you keep it in working order, I do want the hair gone as soon as possible but I also know that I can treat areas as I see the hair crop up. I might need to enlist the help of my husband with the back of my thighs sometime! It’s a tricky area to see the growth properly.
I’m due for my next session the weekend after next, so I’ll check back at the beginning of May to let you know how I’m getting on with my hair removal journey. As is my usual “complaint” about the device is that the laser head is small but it’s working so that’s the trade-off. It’s time-consuming to zap all the hair, but then again, it’s two hours (and maybe three for some people) every two weeks for twelve weeks so, in the grand scheme of life, it’s a short space of time to rid oneself of the embarrassment of body hair – that is, if you feel the way I do about body hair. Plus, we often spend hours whiling away time watching mindless TV – who doesn’t love a Netflix guilty pleasure? – so you can laser whilst you watch.
Plus, I recently read Dawn O’Porter’s book So Lucky and in the novel, there’s a character with PCOS and she grows very thick hair which she spends her life being embarrassed about so much so that her activities seem to revolve solely around her expensive full-body waxing sessions and in between she covers her body practically head to toe no matter the weather. I felt so sad for this character yet related in a way. My body hair isn’t quite as bad as that described in the book, but sometimes – whether rationally or not – we let body hair hold us back from enjoying life because we feel embarrassed or ashamed. People may or may not notice our body hair but being hair-free can really improve someone’s self-esteem and confidence. I know that’s true for me. Seeing the difference in my old photo of how hairy my arms were, as one example, versus now is remarkable and I only wish that I’d known about the Tria laser back in high school. This device may be pricey for some (currently on sale for £299 with a free Calming Soothing Gel worth £50) but it’s way more affordable than expensive salon treatments and it can be figuratively life-changing for men and women who feel hindered by body hair issues.
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