SARAH BERRYMAN FROM I AM FABULICIOUS: MY HONEST REVIEW OF THE TRIA 4X LASER
I’m Sarah, the face behind the established beauty blog I Am Fabulicious.
I am Fabulicious was born in 2010 when I combined two of my great loves, beauty and writing.
I have been self-conscious about my body hair ever since I can remember, so when Tria asked me if I’d like to try out their iconic Hair Removal Laser 4X – I jumped at the chance!
As ridiculous as that may sound to some, particularly as we are currently being swept along in a wave of body positivity movements encouraging people to accept and embrace their bodies, which by the way I think is brilliant and well overdue, yet I still cannot help but have this insecurity.
I naturally have very dark hair and for 90% of the year I sport porcelain white skin, so as you can imagine, this is a combination which means that my body hair is usually very obvious.
Just to add insult to injury, I also suffer with eczema-prone, sensitive skin which means that hair removal methods such as shaving, epilating and waxing frequently result in razor grazes, bumps, ingrowing hairs and localised skin reactions to waxing which causes redness, burning and itching.
All in all, not great if you are someone who has chosen to remove their body hair.
I’ve spent years tempted by the idea of booking myself in for salon IPL hair removal treatment, but have always been put off by the hefty price tag and while not a prude, I would feel slightly awkward about asking a complete stranger to zap my lady bits.
After spending last summer dealing with sore, razor grazed skin or tender, bruised feeling skin due to waxing, I decided enough was enough and I put my faith in Tria Beauty.
Well dear reader, I did a LOT of research because there are now a plethora of at-home hair removal devices on the market, nearly all of which feature a technology that you may be familiar with called IPL.
Not so the Tria device.
The Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X features diode laser technology, not IPL.
What is the difference? I hear you ask, well, allow me to explain.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) hair removal devices produce a range of different wavelengths and colours that are dispersed at various levels of depths (making it impossible to focus the light energy as a concentrated beam) meaning that the diffused energy does not only target the melanin in your hair follicle, but also the surrounding skin.
Only a small percentage of the IPL energy is effectively absorbed by the hair follicle, meaning that more and regular treatments are required as thicker, deeper hair follicles may not be reached and disabled effectively.
Also, (and I didn’t know this), IPL does not permanently remove hair. You will always need regular top-up treatments on an ongoing basis, plus if your treatments get interrupted, the hair follicles will re-activate and your hair will simply grow back.
I’m not here to discredit IPL devices and they certainly will reduce and slow down hair regrowth, but they will never permanently remove your hair.
I’m here for long-lasting, nay, PERMANENT hair removal, so I knew that IPL wasn’t going to be for me.
So, step forward Tria.
The Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X was the first clinically proven laser available for home use.
It boasts the same diode laser technology preferred by dermatologists and unlike IPL, it offers targeted results by disabling your hair follicles to stop hair growth for permanent results.
The laser’s single spectrum, pure light energy in one single red colour and wavelength is targeted directly to the hair follicle, achieving accurate and permanent results.
The laser’s specific wavelength and beam precisely targets the dark pigment (melanin) in your hair follicle in order to heat the follicle, disabling its ability to regrow hair, without heating or damaging the surrounding skin.
Unlike IPL which will require ongoing treatments, users of the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X may find that they can stop regular treatments altogether after three to six months, though an occasional top-up may be required.
I was sold.
Before I go any further, it’s important to note that the Tria laser is not suitable for all skin tones.
Those with darker, deeper skin tones will not benefit from the laser because it cannot accurately identify the melanin in the hair follicles beneath the skin, while those with lighter hair colours such as white, blonde, red or grey will not benefit from this device as the follicles will not absorb enough of the laser’s energy to disable the follicle because, as I have mentioned, the laser is designed to target dark pigment in the hair.
Once I’d established that my skin tone and hair colour made me the perfect candidate for this treatment, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
Available in two aesthetically pleasing shades of hot pink or soft green, the laser itself comes in a box with a charger and a detailed set of instructions.
There’s no long-winded, complicated set-up, simply plug the charger into the base at the back of the laser and plug in to power up (although my laser arrived partially charged and ready to go).
There is an easy to decipher display screen on the top of the device which displays the battery indicator, treatment level, pulse counter and a special ‘lock’ safety feature.
There is a large, power button at the base of the screen, and that’s it.
To begin, ensure that you have charged your laser for at least 2 hours before you intend to use it, or anytime the battery indicator is ‘empty’ and blinking.
It’s also worth noting that before you plan to start your treatment, you need to stop waxing, plucking hairs or having skin peels.
Immediately prior to your treatment, cleanse the intended treatment areas, moving all cosmetics, lotions and creams.
Shave the treatment area to remove surface hair as this improves comfort and allows the light to better reach the hair deep below the skin’s surface.
In order to use the laser, you must ‘unlock’ it.
This safety feature is in place to ensure that only suitable skin tones use the device.
To unlock, simply press the power-on button. The screen will reveal the lock and skin sensor icons. Hold the laser against the skin you wish to treat, at which point the laser will automatically check your skin from its sensor on the base of the device.
Once it has processed your tone and providing it is suitable for you, it will emit a series of beeps and unlock.
Next, you can set your own treatment level.
You can select from level 1-5 by pressing the power button to increase or decrease the energy level, though unsurprisingly for best results Tria recommend using the highest setting that you can tolerate.
Once ready and set to go, it’s actually exceptionally easy to use.
Hold the treatment window on your skin until you hear two beeps, then lift the laser and place it back on the skin so that it overlaps the previous spot.
Every time you reposition the treatment window, move it about half the distance of the window (about ¼ inch). This overlapping pattern ensures that you’ve covered all of the hair follicles in the treatment area and the pulse counter (on the display) will equate to roughly 25 laser pulses per square inch of skin.
The pulse counter guide included within the instruction manual provides really helpful information about how many pulses you should expect to see for optimum results on various parts of your body.
For example, if you were treating your underarms, you should expect to see a tally of 100 pulses per side which would roughly take 4-5 minutes each side.
For your bikini, expect 200 pulses per side, taking about 8-10 minutes each and if you’re treating your legs it’ll be roughly 600 pulses for your lower leg, 600 for your upper and can take between 25-30 minutes per side.
For me, the skin on my legs is unsurprisingly more hardy than the delicate skin under my arms and on my bikini area, so I decided I’d be happy to stick with shaving them for the time being, but I was desperate to zap away my underarm hair and bikini hair.
As I have sensitive skin, I opted to begin my treatment at level 3 to test my pain tolerance, though to be honest, I think ‘pain’ is too strong a word for the sensation experienced when using the device.
A better description would be that it feels more like a quick shot of hotness, or like the feeling of an elastic band repeatedly snapping against your skin type of experience rather than pain. But you quickly just get used to it.
It can be uncomfortable as opposed to painful, but if you’ve ever had a bikini/underarm wax then it’s the type of discomfort that you’ll have no problem in tolerating, trust me.
I sat on the edge of my bed, put some music on and zapped away until I had treated the entire area.
Surprisingly, my skin felt perfectly calm and not at all tender after use, well, bar the usual razor burns from shaving the area first!
After your initial treatment, there will be no visible change to your hair- it does not cause it to immediately fall out so don’t get your hopes up, after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
However, as your hair grows in cycles, with multiple, regular, targeted treatment (which is suggested as every two weeks for up to 3 months) you will eventually notice things changing.
Within about 4 weeks I noticed that the hair was beginning to grow patchy.
It was at this point I decided that as I could tolerate level 3, it was time to ramp it up to level 5.
Naturally, the uncomfortable sensation increased, however by now I could begin to see real improvement and was spurred on!
Within 8 weeks I noticed that, unlike shaving where you can still see the hair beneath the surface of the skin, in certain patches, I couldn’t see any hair at all.
Within 3 months I was all but hair-free.
To say that I’m over the moon is the understatement of the century.
Not only am I hair-free, but I no longer suffer from the pain of grazed skin, nicks, ingrowing hairs or angry-looking razor lumps and bumps which is a big deal for someone like me with sensitive, reactive skin.
I no longer have to factor in time for my hair removal to prepare for holidays, occasions, nights out etc – I’m already ready and raring to go!
Now as you may expect, the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X is more expensive than your shaving or waxing paraphernalia; however, unlike those, this will be a one-off purchase and when you consider how much money you have spent in the past on at-home hair removal or salon waxing etc, you’ll find that it’s very likely more financially economical than you thought.
Priced at £375 (though it is currently on offer for the bargainous price of £299) It is actually one of the more reasonably skincare devices products on the market, more reasonable even than some of the non-permanent IPL devices, which is awesome.
That £375 works out as just over £31 a month for a year (or just over £24 per month if bought at £299), which let’s be honest is probably less than you’d spend on a monthly in-salon waxing treatment.
I have literally nothing but positive things to say about this device.
Deciding if or how to remove your body hair is a deeply personal choice, but thanks to the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X it has helped me achieve silky, smooth, hair-free skin in areas which had bothered me for such a long time and for that I am extremely grateful.
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