Thinking of getting laser hair removal to permanently rid of unwanted hair but not sure what to expect? Is it really worth the money? How do you pick the right place? After considering it for a really long time, I finally took the plunge and started my laser sessions back in mid 2021. In this post I will be sharing everything about my experience with total body laser hair removal, some tips, and what I’ve learned along the way.

Which hair removal laser is the best?

Your practitioner will determine what laser is best based on your skin and hair type.

Laser works by penetrating the hair follicle which is absorbed by the pigment in the hair shaft. This generates heat and damages the follicle to inhibit hair growth.

I have light skin which falls in the Fitzpatrick (considers skin coloring and response to UV) I-III scale and my hair in areas like armpits, bikini, and below the knees is dark and coarse. I had two different laser machines used on me. The first 6 sessions were done with Trio Max Pro Alexandrite, and 4 sessions plus 1 touch up session with Deka MOTUS AX – both being “in-motion” pain-free Alexandrite (755nm) lasers.

This type of machine allows for repeated passages on the treated areas with low power pulses which induce gradual heating on the hair in order to avoid pain and side effects. Unlike the traditional aggressive alexandrite which can be uncomfortable because they heat up the hair follicle in one single shot.

They changed my laser after the 6 sessions because I was not seeing significant improvement with the first one. Both had a cooled tip and integrated cooling system to reduce discomfort.

It is said that Deka MOTUS AX can be used across all skin phototypes, both light and dark skin, by simply modifying the machine settings. I know that people with tanned skin have used it with no problem. However, settling for Nd:YAG (1064 nm) or Diode (810nm) lasers for hair removal if you have darker skin (type IV and up) could be a better choice so you don’t risk any potential side effects. There are Diode lasers that have “pain-free” modes, although not all of them. I would definitely consult this with the specialist to ensure you get the best option!

Why did I decide to have laser hair removal done?

After trying all types of hair removal methods for years, I decided to go for laser hair removal due to a couple of reasons. First, I have a combination of very dark coarse hair (mainly, legs from the knee down, armpits, bikini) and sensitive skin on my body (if picked).

The following hair removal methods had some drawbacks for me:

Epilating was extremely painful the first few times, so I could not use it on the bikini area. Hair took about a week to grow back, but on those first few days, every folicle was inflammed and I got ingrown hairs (despite exfoliating). The only place I could use an epilator with no issue after building tolerance, were my armpits.

Waxing was not as painful, but for me worked only when the hair was at a certain length because it was too thick for the wax to grab on to. So, I had to let it grow out a bit before waxing. This too made my my hair folicles inflammed and resulted in ingrown hairs. Another downside is that it got messy for me. Worked best on my arms though.

Shaving is the fastest and more convenient of all, but the hair grows back so quickly. And because of this, the bikini area became a nightmare for me. The hair pocking my skin for a whole week made it uncomfortable to walk. Also, because the hair on my legs was thick, I got a lot of irritation.

For me, it was so difficult to even wear a dress or go to the beach without my legs and bikini area feeling itchy and looking like chicken skin.

This truly affected my everyday life, and that’s why I decided to go for laser hair removal instead.

Things to do before starting laser

The first thing I would strongly suggest you do before starting the sessions is to have a blood test done and check your hormone levels. If you have a lot of hair growth due to hormones, you won’t get the desired results and your hair will come back. Laser hair removal is an expensive procedure, and you want to increase the chances of it being successful as much as possible. Consult with a medical professional prior to starting about what you should consider (like medications you’re taking or any pathologies etc).

Your specialist should advise you to do all these things. Unfortunately, I wasn’t asked any questions which showed a lack of professionalism on the part of the clinic I went to.

Almost one month after the first touch up – March 2023

How to prepare before a laser hair removal session?

You should NOT remove your hair by plucking, epilating, threading, or waxing starting 6 weeks before treatment and until you finish all your laser sessions, including touch ups. This is because the hair follicle needs to be present in order to be targeted by the laser! Otherwise, treatment will render ineffective. Shaving is your only option.

You should not shave or use lotions after your session to avoid irritation.

Avoid sun exposure. This is important because UV rays may irritate and cause skin discoloration. I would avoid prolonged sun exposure 10 days before and two weeks after treatment. Also, I applied sunscreen on the exposed areas daily if I had to go out. I went to the beach one month after my last session in 2022.

I was advised to shave 24 hours prior treatment. This will depend on the machine used though. I’ve had two sessions of Diode laser done back in 2019 and the hair needed to be about 2mm above the skin surface. They kept postponing my sessions because the hair was not in the needed length, so I stopped going altogether. But I found a way later!

The truth is that hair doesn’t grow at the same speed on every area. I tried to observe my hair growth for some time, and I noticed that the hair on my bikini area grows the fastest. Then the hair below the knee, and then thighs, armpits, and arms.

TIP! There are two things you can do in this case:

  • Shave each part on separate days according to your hair growth rate.
  • Use an electric razor to get all the hair at the same length.

Important! Make sure to shave well. A couple of times I had some long hairs in the bikini area and when the laser hit them it was very painful.

Does laser hair removal hurt?

The pain was one of the things that made me hesitate to get laser hair removal done for some time. No matter how comfortable or painless it may seem on advertisments, to me it always looked painful. But now that I’ve experienced it, to accurately answer this question, there are 3 main things to consider:

  1. The laser machine that will be used and its settings.
  2. The pain threshold varies by person.
  3. Different body areas will have different pain tolerance.

1. Traditional laser vs “Pain-Free” or “In-Motion” laser. Lasers have come a long way and the newer technologies aim to make them as comfortable as possible while still being effective. Most have a built-in cooling handpiece, like the one that was used on me. These are way more comfortable, especially for those like me with thicker, darker hair.

Even some professionals recommend starting with this type of laser first for those with darker hair, and after some treatments when the hair has been significantly reduced, they can change to a traditional laser to target the stubborn hair that’s left.

2. Pain tolerance varies from one person to another. Unless you are super sensitive, you should be fine with a “pain-free” laser. Also, you can ask the practitioner to test it on a small area. So before fully commiting, you can have it tested on a few areas and see if it’s tolerable.

With each session, the settings will be increased up to a point, but for me it felt the same every time.

3. Now, based on my experience, it was pretty painless on certain areas. I didn’t feel it at all on my arms. Legs were fine too. But I felt it most on my armpits, bikini, and perianal area. The sensation is exactly like being snapped with a rubber band. Since the practicioner will be moving the handpiece around, you won’t feel it constantly though.

This depends on the hair length too. The longer the hair, the more you will feel it. But since the hair needed to be shaved close to the skin surface it wasn’t as uncomfortable as you’d imagine. Plus, you get used to it after a couple of times.

One thing I do know for sure though! I would not be able to have laser hair removal on the bikini area with a traditional alexandrite laser.

Is laser hair removal permanent?

Will my hair grow again after laser hair removal? Laser hair removal is often advertised as a permanent hair removal method, but the truth is that it only reduces the number of unwanted hairs and it doesn’t get rid of them completely. However, you should be able to maintain the results with touch up sessions.

The only permanent hair removal treatment is in fact electrolysis because it completely destroys the hair follicle so no hair can grow again. It’s very time consuming for large areas and can get very expensive though.

Laser hair removal cost

How much is laser hair removal? This will depend on your country, clinic, and laser device. In some places, if you pre-pay the sessions, there can be discounts, which is what I did.

I did mine at a SPA clinic and it cost as much as one month of the average wage in my country – 450 euros. And this was one of the affordable options. Every touch up costs 100 euros. There were some things I liked and didn’t like regarding the place I chose.

Before you pick a place to have it done, please carefully consider:

1. Know who will conduct the procedure, and make sure they are a a licenced professional.

The staff where I went to did receive some training but had limited knowledge and couldn’t answer some of my questions. This made me feel uncomfortable and frustrated in some instances.

Also, they changed the person every time I had the laser done. I didn’t like this because they couldn’t know how my sessions were progressing.

So, make sure there’s the same practicioner that will follow you from start to finish!

2. The laser machine that will be used and why. Avoid clinics that use outdated machines.

3. Testimonials. – Very important! Check for customer reviews on their pages and google. You can find out a lot of details about the clinic from their responses.

4. Booking process. The clinic I went to was open until 9 PM so that was a good thing since you can go after finishing work. You could also call them and easily reschedule your appointment. What I didn’t like is that every time I went, I had to wait at least 30-40 minutes before treatment.

How many hair removal sessions do you need and how often should you get them?

I bought a package of 8 full sessions (plus 2 touch ups every 6 months). I had to get 1 session every 40 days. The new laser had to be done once every 30 days. This was the default for everyone, and the clinic didn’t offer me any customization based on my individual needs (because not everyone has the same hair type or growth cycle).

The number of sessions and appointments will depend on the laser used, but your hair growth situation should be also considered. So, make sure to ask your practicioner. They should advise you on the number of treatments based on the area, your hair density and color. You may need to go at different intervals for different body areas too.

All in all, I wasn’t offered any individualized schedule and this was another thing that I didn’t really like about the clinic.

Total Body Laser Hair Removal Results – Before and After

My total body hair removal package included these areas: Full arms and fingers, armpits (axilla), the vertical hair strip starting from the belly button, full brazilian hair removal (bikini and perianal area), buttocks, the lower part of my back, thighs, legs and toes.

I mentioned in the beginning that after some sessions I wasn’t getting any significant results or what I was expecting, so I ended up doing 10 consecutive sessions instead. And for dark and coarse hair like mine, it may actually take up to 12 full sessions!

Advice: Many clinics advertise that you will be hair-free in as few as 4-6 sessions! And that can be true for many, especially if all conditions are met such as: no hormonal problems, the right laser machine, and the practicioner is knowledgeable and knows what they’re doing.

However, that’s not always true and to help you avoid getting discouraged or disappointed, keep these two things in mind:

  • Expect to go through more sessions than what’s advertised!
  • Have a larger budget available than what you initially thought you’d spend, just in case you’ll have to go through more treaments.

My experience

I wish I had taken more pictures before starting and between appointments, but I will try to explain as much as possible.

1-2 weeks after each appointment, maybe around 30% of the hair in each area fell out. Except for one time which was the fault of the staff and was replaced with a free session.
You should see your hair falling, but again, don’t pluck it. You can also use an exfoliating loofah to loosen the hair and it gets out very easily.

However, after 30 days from the session, each time I also had a lot of re-growth which was especially noticeable in the bikini area where a good 70-80% of hair was coming back. That’s why I think maybe more frequent treatments were needed but the clinic didn’t provide it.

I was getting results but not the ones I were expecting. You can see in the picture below that even after 8 sessions there were some parts on my legs (fortunately just a few) that still had super dark coarse hair re-growing. In the next session they were targeted better and fell out though.

After doing the full 10 sessions plus 1 touch up I am way more satisfied with the results on my legs. Even before my touch up there was a good amount of re-growth (around 40%), but the hair was light and soft. I can shave the area very easily now and it doesn’t become irritated or inflammed.

The armpits are where I see the best results! There’s almost no growth there. Only a few hairs that are undetectable.

The hair on my arms, although dense, it was never coarse. There is a noticeable change for sure, but there’s a lot of re-growth of fine hair too. After all these treatments I was expecting a bit more. My satisfaction level I’d say would be 70%.

The same goes about my thighs but a bit better. Hair is similar to the hair on my arms. There is some regrowth, but it remains soft and it’s only noticeable up close.

The treatment wasn’t that effective on my lower back and buttocks where the hair is thin and without noticeable pigment. And this is understandable since the laser targets the pigment in the hair so there wasn’t much to work on.

Now to the bikini part. This area and my legs below the knee were my biggest concerns. And the bikini area has been the most stubborn. I had the most re-growth here. Even before the 10th session, there was around 70%-80% of the hair still present. The hair does feel a bit softer than what it was, but still. After so many sessions the results are not optimal.

Fortunately, I didn’t get any blistering, hyperpigmentation or irritation from the laser. My skin would be a tad bit red just for a few minutes and nothing else.

Does laser hair removal work? Is it worth it?

Well, yes, it does work. Considering how difficult it was for me to remove my hair, overall, it was worth going for the full body laser hair removal! And I’m glad I did it. It saves me a lot of time and effort, too! I just wish I was a bit more informed before starting.

Does it meet my expectations though? Is it as good as I was expecting it? Yes and no. With some areas I’m satisfied, especially my legs (you can see the second picture). They feel smooth and I don’t get inflammed follicles anymore. For other areas, I expected more.

For my next touch up session after 6 months, I am considering changing the clinic and see if there’s a better option to proceed with. I will update this post for sure.

Did you find this post helpful? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Disclaimer: This post does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only.