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.
DIARY OF A HAIRY MONSTER: LASER HAIR REMOVAL ROUND FOUR
Part 6: 5-7 May 2022
I’ve used the laser three times now and this is my fourth try with the laser. Overall, I’m noticing less and less hair. The hair that is remaining is softer, finer, and lighter, so I’m not sure that hair will be dark enough to be removed by the diode laser. On my arms, I’ve clearly missed a few bits and will have to concentrate on those more as is the case with my knees, bits of my ankle, and the odd bit on my legs. My armpits – I’d say – are almost completely smooth (hoorah!). My public bone is also almost smooth now too as is my bikini line but there are concentrated sections on my “undercarriage” that are hanging on for dear life. These are the bits I most want to remove hair from so I’ll keep zapping for as long as it takes.
As I wrote about in my last diary entry, having excess body hair can really do a number on one’s confidence. When I was younger, I even had people ask me about my excess of dark hair on my upper lip and my arms and it was, frankly, really mortifying, especially at an impressionable age. As an adult, I’ve had anxiety about removing hair and ensuring that no partner – or now-husband – seeing just how much excess hair I have to deal with. Much of that anxiety centres around my face and neck area and I’ve seen improvements from the laser. I’d say, again, these spots are almost completely gone (hallelujah) and I will praise the day when I no longer have any traces of moustache hair.
I once had this really embarrassing situation when my husband and I were first dating where he walked in on my bleaching my upper lip. He could see just how mortified I was that he caught me and he, a notorious comedian and jokester, kindly did not take the mick; however, he told me more recently that in his usual postman antics at work when someone brought in a birthday cake with white icing, he proudly covered his top lip in the cream-like substance and declared to the office, “Who am I?” And they responded with “Who?” And he said, “A woman bleaching her moustache.” So, yeah, not so happy to be the inspiration for this “joke” years later. He said one of the female colleagues said, “You’re not supposed to know about that sort of thing.” I asked him if he’d told our little story and he said no. Phew!
In another instance, I had a boyfriend back in my mid-20s ask me why I had dark hair under my chin. It used to be wispy but I never thought to remove it. I felt embarrassed by it and couldn’t help but ruminate about it but at the time I just told him body hair was normal and I didn’t know any way to remove the hair that wouldn’t take continual upkeep. In a third instance, one of my best friends at university, a guy that I hung out with who so many girls had a crush on, told me that girls usually don’t have hairy arms. I didn’t shave them at the time nor did I go and shave them immediately but it stuck with me. I told him it hadn’t occurred to me to remove my arm hair. All this is to say that I was definitely embarrassed by my body hair – and have been even all the way into my mid-30s – but I didn’t know good solutions then.
I’d had the odd moustache wax. I regularly bleached my upper lip hair. I’d tried depilatory creams and they stunk and I had a great instance or two of going to high school with obvious red marks on my upper lip from bad wax strips and depilatory creams that burned my skin. And in typical fashion, people asked me about it and I wasn’t bold enough just to admit the obvious. But I just didn’t know about good solutions to remove hair from more areas and I’d heard if you removed the hair from other places or shaved it, it grew back thicker so I was wholly uneducated about all the options.
All of these anecdotes also have one thing in common: every time someone mentioned my body hair it was a man! I’d say, on the whole, women are more accepting of other women’s body hair and don’t hold women to these impossibly high beauty standards. Plus, times have changed, and thanks to body positivity movements, people are beginning to appreciate all forms of beauty – not just the narrow view that touts Victoria’s Secret standard beauty as the only way.
As I think on it, even though I didn’t listen to what these men said (always) by removing that body hair straight away, it chipped at me. I’d never been under confident and I’ve never had trouble dating or anything of that nature, but my body hair has definitely played far too much of a factor in my life. Far too much worry and stress and anxiety has plagued me as a result of it so it’s empowering to be on my journey to conquering my body hair once and for all.
Without further ado, here’s my journey this week.
Charge 1: 27 minutes
Arms, hands, and fingers
I used the laser randomly during the week before my scheduled time because I saw bits of hair I wanted to zap, so the charge didn’t last as long when it came to this first round – obviously because it wasn’t used from fully charged.
Since I have a few missed spots on my arms, especially on the wrist side of my arm, I wanted to go over the areas a little more slowly so I took about ten minutes per arm whilst watching Selling Sunset and then I used the remaining time to zap the bits on my hands and fingers. Again, the fingers are a little tricky and I haven’t really noticed the hair thinning from this area yet. But the laser might not be getting to the right bits so I’ll keep an eye on my fingers!
Charge 2: 30 minutes
Face, chin, neck, and underarms
These areas don’t take a full thirty minutes but I wanted to spend as much time as I possibly could on these areas because my face is the most visible place. My underarms are looking pretty smooth but I want to make sure I’m still killing hair that’s in the dormant phase of the growing cycle so I zapped away. I had some battery left so I zapped random bits of my thighs until the battery ran out whilst listening to my audiobook. I used Level 5 for my face and had to put it to Level 3 on my underarms.
As our beautiful and recent guest blogger, Sarah Berryman, recently wrote in her honest review here, the laser is less painful and more an “uncomfortable” “shot of hotness” was how she described it. That’s exactly it. It’s a shot of hotness and sometimes delicate areas like the underarms really cannot take the heat!
Charge 3: 31 minutes
Since my thighs are quite large and muscular, I could probably spend half an hour per thigh, but I concentrated on spending 15 minutes per leg and used my L-hand technique (see pic) that I described in a previous diary entry. It’s not the most scientific of methods; however, I find it an easier way to remember where I have lasered My upper thigh is my least favourite part to laser because there’s just a lot of surface area to cover. On the upside, I can use Level 5 and not feel it.
For my thighs, I really wish the laser head was bigger. In the past, I had the Philips Lumea IPL laser machine and, although I know IPL technology isn’t as good, the window was much, much bigger and you could keep it plugged into the use it which meant you could do it all in one sitting. But, that being said, I spent (read: wasted) about £350 on that device and maybe used it twice. I can’t tell you if it would have actually worked or not because I didn’t use it long enough to know. I’d have been better off putting that money towards a dream pair of Louboutins – which one day, I might add, I will be able to show to full advantage with my hair-free, black-dot-free, and smooth legs.
Charge 4: 30 minutes
Calves, knees, and toes
Again, these three areas don’t usually take a full charge of the laser but I was being extra careful this week. I went over my calves, made sure to spend extra time on my knees because the hair is still quite visible there, and then moved on to zap my toes a few times.
Charge 5: 29 minutes
Chest, tummy, undercarriage, and bottom
The final push! I lasered areas of my chest (i.e. my breastbone), my happy trail, my bottom, and my undercarriage. It didn’t really take the whole charge of the laser but I zapped as much as I thought was adequate and then used the remaining charge randomly on my upper thighs. Again, I had to drop the laser down to Level 2 on my sensitive lady areas and my bottom but in the other areas, I could handle Level 5.
Yay! All done for this week and I spread the sessions out over three days instead, doing an hour each session on Thursday and Friday, and half an hour on Saturday.
This week I spent two and a half hours removing the hair to ensure that I did everything a little more carefully and so that after round six, I’ll barely have to do top-up sessions.
Two and a half hours is a long time to devote to hair removal, but how long do you usually spend shaving your legs each week for example? I mean in another month or two, I’ll no longer have to spend any time, lasering time or shaving time, removing hair so I consider this as time well spent. And I can easily waste two and a half hours watching mindless television when I’m in braindead mode after work on those days I really, really cannot drag myself to the gym – which is more days than I’d care to admit lately.
In her recent blog that I referenced before, Sarah Berryman, who is clearly more of a maths head than I am, noted that the sale price of the Tria 4X laser at £299 works out at around £25 per month. When I was getting IPL treatment, it was £150 per month and I had to take time out to shower, get dressed, drive fifteen minutes to the salon, find parking, pay for parking, go to my session, come home, and so on. I had a good experience in the salon so I don’t want to imply that I didn’t, but it was expensive and it didn’t fully remove all the hair. It’s easy to waste £25 a month just on morning coffee (I don’t drink coffee but big brand coffee shops are pricey), so if you’ve suffered with your body hair, it’s a small price to pay for that eventual freedom. Plus, Tria Beauty UK lets you pay with PayPal so you can split the cost over four months or longer. You really will not regret it.
DIARY OF A HAIRY MONSTER: LASER HAIR REMOVAL ROUND FIVE
Part 7: 27-29 May 2022
Since Part 6 of my diary entry, a lot has happened but I’ve been living those kinds of weeks where things are so busy they are a blur, but not necessarily busy with really fun and exciting things. In consequence, I’m a little late with this seventh entry and round five of laser treatment.
I have exciting things on the horizon – I’m really looking forward to the Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday (as are many Britons no doubt) and I have an amazing 10-day holiday planned to Kos in June around my 35th birthday! I cannot wait to see the sea and bask in the sun on one of those poolside four-poster beds, reading a paperback. I haven’t been away on a “proper” holiday since July 2019 when my now-husband proposed to me in Ölüdeniz, Turkey – which was such a beautiful, peaceful, and memorable holiday.
Since then, the pandemic has happened, I work from home continually, and seem rarely to leave my house except for the gym, which hasn’t been as frequent as I’d like. Trying to get back into the swing of multiple plans with people has been difficult – but I’m going out with the girls (and my older sister) this weekend for cocktails and a meal out. Yet, at the same time, my life seems busier than ever and my perpetual “to do” list seems to get longer. Can anyone relate?
One thing’s for sure, though, I am really glad that I’m approaching this holiday with less body hair! I’ve talked about my struggles with body hair and my self-esteem issues regarding unwanted body hair. I have also alluded to the self-perception around my level of hairiness versus those around me, so seeing my hair lessen and get finer is life-changing. It really is as dramatic as it sounds!
The hair report
Before I start lasering this time, I’m doing a full-body sweep and hair report.
- Arms: my arms still have big patches of hair but I think that’s my use of the laser. I must be missing the bits on the outside of my forearms. Those bits are still a bit hairy but the hair is whispy and fine. It’s not something that would bother me too much but I think I’ll need extra sessions to remove the hair. The tops of my arms only have sparse patches of hair with lots of “gaps” between each little protruding dark hair. But all in all, I think people would have to get close to my personal space to notice.
- Fingers: the hair on my fingers is still there but it’s pretty light coloured so I’m guessing the laser cannot detect it. I have one to two dark hairs on the odd finger so I’ll keep zapping to see but might need to call it a day on this area.
- Underarms: last session I didn’t notice any hair coming through. During this session, I must have had more dormant hairs in the growing cycle poke through. I’d say only 15% of the hair is left and it’s 85% gone from my underarms. I may need more than six sessions to rid myself of underarm hair fully. Funnily enough, my left armpit has fewer hairs coming back and I’d say that one is probably 90% hair free and on the other side, no more than 40 hairs remain in my right armpit. I tried to do a bit of a calculation.
- Upper thighs: there are definitely “naked” patches on my upper thighs and there are also patches I’ve missed. Overall, my hair has reduced and I’m shaving much less often. The back of my thighs could use some extra help but that could be due to a lack of good laser technique in that area.
- Knees: my knees are looking pretty good but my kneecaps have some small patches that need attention.
- Lower legs: I’d say this area and my underarms are getting the best results. My calves and shins feel really smooth and most of the black dots of hair follicles under the skin are gone. I see the odd patch I’ve missed but it’s looking pretty good.
- Toes: I was surprised by this result since I haven’t seen the laser work on my fingers. My right toe only has a couple of hairs left to zap. My left has about four so I’ll need to keep going with that one!
- Tummy: the hair has been reduced greatly in this area but I’ll definitely need a few more sessions.
- Undercarriage: the front of my pubic area has some visible longer hairs that will need zapping but my upper thigh/bikini area is looking good and I’m starting to see some results “underneath.” But I expect that area is holding onto the hair for dear life. I’ll keep you posted on how this area is going.
- Bottom: I can’t do a visual inspection very well on this area. I feel some hair in the area that’s still a little on the prickly side so I’ll have to keep going with these areas. On my undercarriage and my bottom, I only zap at Level 1 or 2 so I know that the laser will take longer to work on these very sensitive bits. Plus, Tria doesn’t officially recommend you treat these areas with “darker” skin anyway. It’s working but slowly. I’ll keep checking back.
- Face, chin, and neck: my upper lip still has hair concentrated around my nose but it’s getting sparse and I’m seeing improvements. My chin seems pretty hair free visually but I can see some dark spots if I look really closely under the surface. Things on my neck are looking promising. I’ll just keep zapping away every couple of weeks until my hair is a thing of the past.
So, as far as hair, things are going in the right direction. The hair is thinning out and getting more sparse. Some areas still have more growth than others and it’s difficult with the small laser face to get everything. I’d say if you’re someone who is just zapping your underarms and that’s really important to you (keep in mind I zap underarms at a lower Level 3 or 4 too and that takes longer), then this device will work really quickly. If you’re doing your calves, this is another area that seems to work quickly, so you’ll be golden there.
I use the laser on lower settings for sensitive areas so I expect those might take up to ten sessions, maybe more. But it’ll be worth it to be hair-free in those sensitive zones.
For whole body, I expect that my treatment will take more than six rounds since I’m probably only 75% there in most areas. But that’s absolutely fine because, even though it is time-consuming, it works and I have the device for the next decade at least. It’ll be a useful tool in my hair-management strategy.
Time to laser
I’m not going to bore you seven parts in and describe all the zaps in each area! This time, I focussed mostly on the patches I could see instead of going over every single bit of each part of skin. I charged my device three times and used the laser for three full charges this time. Last time, I did five charges and I’d say I usually do four.
I know that this “spot” method will mean my treatments will take longer than the twelve weeks and six treatments. I think that you can remove your hair in that time but my hair is thick and challenging. Plus, it requires that you be extra vigilant when lasering by ensuring that you’re moving the laser perfectly over each centimetre of skin, which is incredibly time-consuming and, let’s face it, no one will have a perfect technique.
So, from this point, I’m going to spot treat areas – maybe a little more in some areas – that I see are sprouting hair and that will mean saving time and targeting the areas of re-growth. I can continue to use the laser as long as I have hair in the areas so I’ll keep checking back with you and give a full report. My hair is getting finer and softer after each treatment so it’s doing something! And I have large swathes of skin that have no hair regrowth. Yay!
I’ll be on holiday in a couple of weeks so won’t be lasering whilst in Greece. I’ll have to do my next round of treatment when I get back. It’ll be a good place to monitor how often I need to shave too!
Right! I’m off to get packing and figure out which self-tanner I plan to use – I am going to try the Ashley Graham one! I’ll have to let my tanning product fade before using the device again so it doesn’t clog up the window. For some people, they love self-tanner and that is problematic in summer, but I promise that you will not regret it – especially if you struggle to embrace your body hair.
Also, I hope everyone has a fantastic Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday. Let’s just hope the weather improves as it’s not been the best lately. What happened to those sunny spring days we were getting? Here in West Yorkshire, we’ve been having wind, rain, grey clouds, and colder days.
DIARY OF A HAIRY MONSTER: LASER HAIR REMOVAL ROUND SIX
Part 8: 26-27 June 2022
Hi, lovely people. I last checked in with you at the end of May and it’s been almost a full month since then. I went away to Kos, Greece for my 35th birthday and I shaved my whole body before my trip; I haven’t shaved my arms or legs since so I could really see how my growth cycles were going and what areas of my body the laser has been effective on and the areas where it’s been less effective. Let me tell you, I’m impressed with the results so far. Let’s check out my hair report and my experience of the sixth time using the Tria 4X diode hair removal laser.
The hair report
My legs feel oh so smooth! As you’ll see from my photos, my hair has dramatically reduced in the time I’ve been using the laser.
For my face and neck, there’s the odd hair but nothing I can see with the naked (or glasses-ed) eye. Of course, when I use the full sun, no filters, and take a photo with my iPhone and zoom in, you can see those odd hairs but, interestingly, many of them around the top of my nose and corners of my mouth have turned blonde, which is unusual for someone who has always had very, very dark brown hair bordering on black.
As you know, the laser won’t be effective at removing any hairs that have turned blonde but I’ll keep monitoring them over time and zap any that return to dark pigmentation. I think another few sessions, especially on areas of my neck that I’ve missed, and I’ll be hair-free in these areas, which is amazing since that’s the area that’s most visible to people.
Last time, I reported that my underarm hair seemed to be completely gone. This time, however, another growth cycle must have hit and there are probably at least a hundred or so hairs (although the patch is very small) that have emerged from each underarm. Part of that problem may be that I’ve dropped the laser setting down in this area (from Level 5 to Level 3) as I’ve found it more sensitive lately. I’ll keep going over this area until the hair is kaput.
As far as my legs go, they are looking pretty good and my husband has remarked a number of times how smooth my legs are. You can see from my ankle picture, that there are the odd long hairs (mostly because it’s been sixteen plus days since they’ve seen a razor) but it’s nothing that I wouldn’t actually go out in because the photo is zoomed in and mostly people wouldn’t be able to tell my legs have a few hairs unless they’re closely inspecting them. Like my face, my knee hair has gone blonde but I can’t see it unless I’m rotating my knee in the light with my glasses on so I’m overall very happy with the results on my legs. My inner mid-thighs also have some long hairs but I can zap them easily.
Some arm hair remains but it’s much lighter. There are few, if any, dark hairs left on my arms and I’m happy with that result. I’ll keep zapping the odd hair here and there but the laser just isn’t going to work on the blonde hairs.
For my bikini area and undercarriage, the top of my public bone is mostly hair-free. I’ve still not managed to get it all yet and the upper thigh/bikini crease line is pretty hair free too. My undercarriage will still need work and that’s also because I’ve dropped the laser level down to Level 1. The lower the level, the longer it’ll take to work.
In the coming weeks, I’ll keep reporting on my bikini line but I think overall my body is at least 95% hair free with some of that hair now being blonde when it used to be almost black. It’s been around the twelve-week mark and six times using the laser now which is the time Tria Beauty estimates your hair will be gone. I think it’ll depend on the person and their level of hairiness. I expect I’ll need another session or two and the occasional top-up but I’m very impressed with my results. Reach out and let me know what your results have been – if you’ve started this hair removal journey too.
Time to laser!
I charged the device only two times fully this week (thirty minutes of zapping per session over two days, so only an hour this week which is a great improvement). I spent time zapping my face and neck carefully, being sure to cover all the areas, and then moved onto my underarms (which could take Level 5 this week) and tummy. Then, I lasered my arms, zapping in any areas I saw dark hairs and just extra zaps for good measure. I did random zaps in the covered areas until the full power was used up.
With my second charge this week, I moved to my legs to zap any of those dark patches of hair I saw. Finally, I spent time zapping my bikini area and undercarriage (and bottom – but I can’t get a visual on how that’s working) and then randomly used up any remaining zaps on my legs whilst listening to my audiobook. The zapping action whilst catching up on light entertainment (either Netflix or an audiobook) has become part of my process and even though the laser window is small and it is time-consuming, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s worth it to be hair-free. I cannot wait until I can fully ditch the razor. But when you’re down to only a few precision areas and then random zaps like I am, then it’s very easy to complete this action of lift, place, and zap over and over whilst watching television!
Already, I can go days (and weeks) without shaving and that’s time-saving and freedom! Plus, there are no more razor knicks or spending ages soaping up or using environmentally-unfriendly shaving cream to make sure I don’t miss spots on my legs. I’m still shaving my face and undercarriage/bikini area but I’ll report back on how I’m getting on with the lower settings of the laser in that area.
What I’ve been up to
As I said, I’ve been to Kos with my husband for my birthday. We had a lovely time going on a three-island all-day boat trip to Vathi on Kalymnos, Plati, and finally Pserimos. I could’ve stayed on Pserimos all day; it was gorgeous. We also went on a sunset cruise with a private beach BBQ, took lots of bus journeys from our hotel’s location in Agios Fokas to the little town of Kos, and ventured by ferry over to Bodrum, Turkey for the day and enjoyed an amazing guided castle tour.
We soaked up the sun (with lots of suncream and not going out during peak hours and finding shade), sand, amazing Greek food, lots of swimming, and I read a book that my colleague bought me as a birthday present (We Are All Made of Glue by Marina Lewycka). Read it if you haven’t already. It was brilliant!
I haven’t been away since I went to Ölüdeniz, Turkey back in July 2019, when my now-husband proposed, so it was a much-needed break and our first ten-day holiday.
Here are some photos!
Twelve weeks plus in and after six laser sessions, I’m impressed with Tria’s 4X diode hair removal laser. I didn’t know what to expect before I began this journey and if it would really work as well as it says it does, but I’m very happy with the results so far.
I’m definitely not finished after only six sessions and, as I say, I might have another session or two to go before I feel the hair is fully gone but it’s almost there.
DIARY OF A HAIRY MONSTER: LASER HAIR REMOVAL ROUND SEVEN
Part 9: 20-22 July 2022
I last wrote in June but my diary entry was published a little late. I’m back now a month later in July and I’ve just enjoyed a long and very hot weekend in Dublin.
Once upon a time, I was the wife of an American army officer and we were stationed in Germany where I met the most amazing girlfriends I’ve ever made in my life. We were such a close-knit group – the kind of friends who always fill up your cup and your energy levels. We just had the best times together: travel, dinner parties, get-togethers, balls, the lot. And one thing about the military is that it scatters you around the world but those bonds you make are inseparable despite the distance.
I may have a divorce under my belt and be living back in my native Great Britain, but I’ve had the good fortune to keep in touch with these ladies and see them from time to time, which brings me back to Dublin.
My lovely friend Jayde, whose husband graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in nuclear engineering, and she herself has more than one Master’s degree and went to the prestigious Tulane University in New Orleans works as a Senior Programme Manager for the Wikimedia Foundation (i.e. the people who run Wikipedia). She’s an amazing superwoman. She’s beautiful, smart, a mother of two gorgeous children, talented, and hard-working at her job – she’s forged the most impressive career. I really don’t know how she does it considering she only seems to sleep five hours a night! Anyway, she told me that she’d be in Dublin for a week for work and she invited me to tag along.
Of course, I didn’t hesitate to say yes, so I flew over on Saturday and stayed in an Airbnb in the prestigious and affluent Castleknock neighbourhood of Dublin – because Jayde was going to fly into Dublin the next morning to stay at the nearby Castleknock Hotel. My Airbnb was hosted by the loveliest family, an Irish woman named Leona, her son, her husband, and charming little dog, Bear. Aren’t Irish people just so charming and friendly? They lived in a massive (and I mean massive) apartment overlooking a beautifully landscaped woodland and I was given a large bedroom with a king-sized bed and my own private balcony and sitting area – all for the very very very affordable price of £108! The place is about twenty-three minutes from the Dublin airport so it costs a fair bit to get back into the city centre but I’d definitely stay there again. Plus, the place was close to a local stately home, Farmleigh, which is the official Irish state guesthouse and was formerly one of the residences of the Guinness family and was purchased from The 4th Earl of Iveagh in 1999. Incidentally, you could see a corner of the Farmleigh estate from the balcony!
This area also boasts Phoenix Park, which was originally part of the Farmleigh estate, and Steward’s Lodge is situated in the park which is used as a residence by the Taoiseach (or prime minister) of Ireland, who at present is Micheál Martin.
All that is to say that I felt lucky to stay in such a beautiful part of Ireland and, although I’m very fortunate to see park views from my current home in West Yorkshire, this countryside was quite different and quite refreshing. Instead of venturing back into the city solo for some solo drinking, I opted for a night in so I ordered takeaway to the apartment from a restaurant recommended by my host, ate it on the balcony, and then enjoyed watching the new Persuasion on Netflix.
I say enjoyed, however, it wasn’t really accurate nor was it entirely the Jane Austen version of the story but more of a Bridgerton meets Fleabag version. Anne Elliott is supposed to be rather meek as a character but she’s sensible, humble, proud, generous, capable, and giving of her time. She sacrifices herself for what is right and does so gladly. This Anne was a little bold and very much a “wine mom” plus there were anachronistic phrases about people being “5s” and “10s” not in keeping with Austen. The themes of social class and the fact that at 27, Anne would have been in danger of penury if she hadn’t married, especially given that her father and sister spent lavishly and that all their title and estate were to be conferred upon Sir Walter Elliot’s death to his heir Mr William Elliot, meaning the unmarried girls would be at the mercy of an indifferent cousin. This same theme troubled Mrs Bennet in Pride and Prejudice because she worried about what would happen to her five daughters if they hadn’t found rich husbands! Anne’s older and vain sister, Elizabeth, at 29 had the sort of position enjoyed by Emma in Emma where she plays the pseudo-wife to her father and finds that she has more social standing and importance as being an important, unmarried daughter running her own household than as a wife but her position would still be tenuous when her father dies if one of her wealthier sisters don’t take her in! Although, Austen never writes past the marriage part so we never do get to see what becomes of these characters. The novel gets at the heart of why Wentworth – and those around her – would love Anne so much and the characters of Louisa and Mary are much too likeable in this newest version that their silliness and foolishness aren’t displayed like in the novel.
Plus, the story leaves out the small, yet vital role of Mrs Smith. In the novel, Mrs Smith is Anne’s widowed friend who was a few years older and was very kind to her in childhood, so even though she’s fallen greatly in rank and is essentially poor and disabled after her husband was financially ruined and then died, Anne is such a good person she still goes to visit her. These plot points are important because A) Anne goes to visit Mrs Smith instead of going to an engagement of the all-important Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple (Lady Dalrymple, surname Carteret) and her daughter The Honourable Miss Carteret, which disgusts her father and B) Mrs Smith reveals the true nature of Mr William Elliot’s character. Even though Mr Elliot wishes to marry her, she feels there’s something not quite right (even despite still having feelings for Captain Wentworth eight years after their broken engagement) and Mrs Smith reveals that Mr Elliot was a close friend of her husband, borrowed money from them, and when he married his very wealthy first wife for money (making her miserable) he invited his friend to spend himself silly and to ruin (and ultimately, to death). Even though the Smiths bankrolled Elliot in his less wealthy years so that he could keep up the appearance of being a gentleman, when they were ruined, he refused to help cover their debts. Plus, he refused to be the executor for his old friend’s estate which left his widow in penury since she didn’t have the means to apply for a living made from an estate in the West Indies – all of which meant that she was in poverty without hope of rising above these circumstances since legal matters would have taken money she didn’t have. In removing that character from the film, it doesn’t make sense at the end when Mr Elliot runs away with Mrs Clay – in the novel he’s trying to prevent her from marrying Sir Elliot and producing an heir to usurp him (which is made plain in the film, actually). Anyway, as someone who studied literature, that’s my view of the film versus the book, but as someone who appreciates an Austen adaptation – be it Clueless (Emma) or Bridget Jones (Pride and Prejudice) – I did find the cinematography beautiful and the film fun.
And just as Bridgerton and 50 Shades got people reading, I hope this will bring some new readers to the joys of Austen.
So, that was a very long tangent about my Dublin trip! Back to that! So, my friend arrived the next morning and I met her at her hotel. She had lots to do to prep for work matters but we had a lovely time in between with catching up, going for pints, walking, laughter, and lots of time spent with her colleagues, who were all charming and from all parts of the world, including Amsterdam, Ghana, Croatia, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, England, Ireland, the US, and more. It was really interesting meeting this lovely group of people and hearing about what they do for Wikipedia. One of the trip’s highlights was that we went on an architecturally-leaning walking tour of the city led by one of the Wikipedia members who is a native of Dublin and she did her PhD on the subject. All in all, I had such a lovely time and I cannot wait to see my friend again.
The flight from Manchester was not even an hour but all the airport waiting and security is never fun! Make sure you check out the blog I wrote on luggage for recently decreasing luggage sizes – my luggage seemed to be the max limit for RyanAir!
The hair report
I shaved before my trip and one of the glories of using this device is that I didn’t even pack a razor. I was that confident that I’d be smooth and pretty much hair-free for my four days away.
I have some patches of hair in my underarms that I need to zap. I’d say my legs and arms are about the same – there are small patches of hair that I’ll need to zap away but they’re looking pretty good. My face is still holding onto some bits of hair that keep reappearing (probably not the same bits but just bits in general) but that could be hormonal so I’ll keep topping up bits of hair there. My stomach and bikini line is looking good with the odd tiny bit of growth. Again, the main area I wanted for the hair to be removed from is my undercarriage and that hair is stubborn but it seems to be reducing slowly. Because I only laser on setting level 1, I expect that will take some time but I think it’s going away in some parts. I’ll keep checking in.
Since I’m not zapping absolutely every inch of hair except on my face, underarms, and undercarriage, I only needed an hour of zapping this session. Thirty minutes in the aforementioned places and thirty minutes zapping the visible hairs on my legs and arms and then randomly until the battery died. My husband, Michael, is impressed with my results and wants me to do the (sparse) hairs on his back and chest so since I’m almost finished with my sessions – I’d say another two and I think the hair will be 95% gone – then I’ll gladly oblige.
My hair is hovering between 90-95% gone. My “lady bits” are getting there but the higher settings are too uncomfortable for me but this isn’t an official Tria-approved area to laser. The hair is going and reducing but maybe not as fast as I’d like. The higher the laser setting, the faster the hair will zap away and be destroyed for good – but for sensitive areas like underarms and lady zones, my skin can’t handle the hotness of the laser so I have to knock it down to the lower settings. My skin can, however, handle the higher levels 4 and 5 on my arms, legs, stomach, face, neck, and bottom – I hardly feel the zaps – so the level your skin handles will depend on your body’s tolerance. Again, the higher the setting, the faster you’ll see results in that area.
À demain! Until I write again in October for my final instalment.
DIARY OF A HAIRY MONSTER: LASER HAIR REMOVAL FINAL THOUGHTS
Part 10: 24 October 2022
It has been a hot minute since I last wrote and I wanted to give a final update on my hair removal journey. The last diary entry was published in August but written in July. It has been three months since I’ve maintained my regular laser sessions and I wanted to let you know how hairy (or not) I am now.
My husband, Michael, and I went on our honeymoon/first anniversary trip to Cancun, Mexico for fourteen days at the end of September and I tell no lie when I say that I shaved the Friday before my trip and didn’t shave for two whole weeks whilst I was there. I didn’t need to. In fact, I didn’t shave the week after I was home either!
Is every single bit of my unwanted body hair gone? No, but most of the remaining growth is now downy, soft, and blonde (probably from the suntan I caught in Mexico). And remember, blonde hair cannot be treated by the laser as there’s not enough pigment in the hair for the red laser light to detect the hair beneath the skin’s surface and destroy it.
It was glorious being able to swim and lounge by the pool and not have to worry about having hairy legs or a dark moustache or arm or armpit hair. I’ve not fully gotten rid of all the hair “down below” but it’s all a work in progress. Either way, I’m happy with my results so far and I know if I keep treating the areas, I’ll reach my desired result. I’ve just gotta keep going!
I’d say that, overall, the hair on my body is about 95% gone. I’ll continue to do top-up sessions here and there to remove the hair completely.
You may be thinking: okay, so since you still have a little hair and you’ve done six recommended treatments…does that mean the Tria Laser 4X doesn’t work? No, not at all. It has worked in the areas where I’ve treated the hair effectively but no user is going to have a 100% perfect experience as that’s just not how beauty treatments work at home or in the salon. There’s no such thing as a miracle treatment; we live in the real world!
No user is going to zap every single centimetre of skin perfectly overlapping the treatment window at every session, which means some areas may take longer than others to see permanent results.
But, don’t be discouraged, even if you did use the laser perfectly each session, if you didn’t laser the hair during the specific phase in the growing cycle, then you might just have temporarily disabled the hair. It might disappear for a couple of weeks and recover and then if you treat the area again and zap it during the growth phase, you’ll then permanently destroy the hair follicle. Let me explain how the laser works so you’ll understand the process which explains exactly why you need to keep up with regular treatments until you see the regrowth stop completely.
So, how does a diode laser work exactly?
To understand fully how a diode laser works and what happens when you use your Tria 4X laser, we must get our heads around the fact that only hairs in the active growing phase are being zapped and permanently disabled (i.e. the hair will not grow back).
A diode laser uses selective photothermolysis to target the melanin in the hair follicle without harming the surrounding skin (IPL is very different and uses a broad spectrum of light and wavelengths which isn’t as focused and advanced). The laser beam heats the hair follicle which weakens it. This causes a disruption in hair growth and regeneration. Actively growing hairs (in the anagen stage of the cycle) will be affected and damaged permanently (i.e. these won’t grow back).
Once damaged and destroyed, they’ll begin to fall out within a couple of weeks of treatment. Permanently destroyed and damaged follicles will not produce hair again. But our bodies are amazing at healing and some follicles will be rebuilt as part of our body’s natural healing process, which is why the occasional top-up may be needed. And this is also why you’ll need to be consistent in using your laser until you have destroyed or permanently damaged all of your hair follicles in the growth stage.
If you’re treating hair when it’s in the catagen, telogen, or exogen stages, then that hair will need to be treated when it’s in the anagen (or growth) stage (more on this further down).
As you can see, it’s a complicated business but the Tria laser does work and is the most effective laser on the at-home market but it requires time and dedication. For it to work, you need to treat the desired area every two weeks for twelve weeks (or six sessions) and you will see results. Even with “lazy” (i.e. not perfectly covering each area) regular use, you’ll see a drastic reduction in hair. I’ve not been a perfect user. I’ve mindlessly zapped areas of my body whilst zoning out watching Emily in Paris or listening to an audiobook and I’m happy with the 95% hair loss. I’ll continue to zap areas in a way that’s more targeted until I’ve managed to zap all the unwanted hair away.
The four cycles of a hair’s life: why you need to zap your hair during the anagen cycle to destroy it permanently
Who knew hair (in the wrong places) was anything other than just pesky and annoying? But it has a lifecycle – like every cell in our body.
Head hair and body hair have different lengths of time when they’re in each stage of the cycle, so we are going to focus on body hair since that’s what you’ll most likely be treating. Most of your hair during a given period will be in the growing phase (which is great for laser treatments). So, 85-95% of your hair will be growing at any given time. 1-2% is in the next catagen phase and 10-14% is in the telogen phase – and I’ll explain what each phase means.
1. Anagen: This growth phase is the longest phase. Head hair has a 3-7 year anagen phase, but body hair (arms, legs, eyebrows, etc) only has a 30-45 day anagen phase. When you use your Tria laser, we’re hoping that you zap most of your body hair during this phase so that you’ll see faster, permanent results. But that’s not always the case which is why treatment needs to be consistent and spaced accordingly.
2. Catagen: After your growing period, the hair will transition for around 10 days into the next phase where the hair bulb is pushed upwards and is keratinised (i.e. the skin hardens and dies). The hair appears short and thick. Growth stops and the outer root shrinks and attaches to the root of the hair. Think about if you’ve ever plucked your eyebrows and examined a hair only to see the “bulb” of hair is visible on the end of the follicle. That’s a hair in the catagen phase.
3. Telogen and exogen: these phases are when your hair is resting and shedding. In a head hair cycle, these phases are often separated out into two distinct stages but the phases are shorter for body hair and for our purposes, they’ll just be labelled as a combined “third” stage. In this phase, growth stops and the structure of the hair rests for a month to a month and a half for upper lip hairs, for example, and for three-to-six months for leg hairs. The keratinised hair is ejected and then the anagen phase begins again where that hair follicle begins to grow new hair (if it’s healed or undamaged).
How can I ensure that all my unwanted body hair is permanently destroyed?
When you’re treating your follicles with the Tria laser, the treatments are spaced two weeks apart and that is so you can target hair in the anagen phase. That way, you can destroy the hair at the root before it can recover and grow back.
Don’t be discouraged if it takes a little longer to target all your hair. Be patient. I know that I’ve invested in my Tria laser and I can take the time each week (or every couple of weeks) to laser an area until I’ve achieved my desired results.
The Tria 4x laser works. It takes time and patience. The treatment window is small, yet powerful. It’s smaller than the big lasers they have in the salon, but these professional machines cost in excess of £100k each. These salon lasers are not cleared for safe home use, but Tria’s lasers are, which gave me peace of mind. Plus, there’s a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Also, as I’ve discovered, one course of salon laser treatments wouldn’t be sufficient for me. I’d need to revisit for top-up treatments, adding more time, embarrassment, expense and inconvenience.
Plus, I’ve used the Tria laser on my face, arms, underarms, stomach, fingers and toes, legs, bikini area and other areas too – I can only imagine how much a full course of treatments on each of these areas would cost. I’d probably only be able to justify the expense of treating one skin area per year. A Tria Laser 4X is a one-off cost. It costs a fraction of the price of a single course of treatments at the salon. Check today’s offer here.
So, would I recommend it? Hell YES! Personally, looking at my results, I think it’s worth every penny!
Feel free to reach out on social media to let us know how your hair removal journey has gone. #trialaserjourney