That Thing About Unwanted Hair Removal


I have a love-hate relationship with the one thing I’ve been using for the past 20 odd years to remove unwanted hair – the razor. It’s the easiest and cheapest tool to get rid of unwanted hair from the armpits, arms, legs and even bikini area, but goodness me, the number of times I’ve accidentally sliced myself is far too many than I can remember.

Oh I know, I know, I should be using proper shaving gel, hair conditioner or anything slippery to prevent cuts and I do use them. They’re great to aid shaving with a razor, of course, but clumsy clogs me will still manage to cut somewhere with the damn razor. 😛 I’ve tried depilatory creams (hate them) and epilators (don’t like them either). So a few years ago, I decided to give professional hair removal a go. I tried IPL out.

IPL is Intense Pulsed Light treatment. It works by emitting a wavelength into the skin, which in the case of hair removal, targets pigment. The light is absorbed by the pigment in the hair. It quickly turns to heat which then kills the growing cells that make the hair. I don’t actually have much hair on my legs and while I have hairy arms, the hair’s thin in that area, which makes the hairiness far less noticeable. I opted for the armpits as my hair was dark in that area and it was my hair removal method of choice for a couple of years. I even had IPL done on my moustache. 😛

Hair Removal by IPL

The good thing about IPL is that hair takes ages to grow back and once you’ve had several rounds of IPL, most of the hair don’t come back. I have probably less than 10 strands of hair on both my ‘pits now and even though I don’t go for IPL treatments any more, most of the hair in that area don’t grow back. Many times I’d even forget to shave the last bits of hair because there’s just so little of them left!

The reason I no longer go for IPL treatments is that it’s expensive. It’s almost $100 just to do the armpits and you’d need a few rounds of it to make sure the hair don’t come back. Imagine if I had very hairy arms and legs. It would cost a fortune. Okay, I guess there’s also another reason I don’t go back for IPL – it bloody hurts. It’s like being snapped with a hot elastic band over and over. The more sensitive the area (e.g. the middle of the armpit), the more painful the IPL zapping is. My pain threshold is normally quite high but each time I was zapped right in the middle of the armpit, I’d tear up.

Still, will I go back to IPL some day? Yes. In fact, I’ve been thinking of going for a couple of rounds of IPL just to fully get rid of all of the hair from my armpits. I hate waxing and prefer to avoid as much in-grown hairs as possible. I don’t think I’m ready for the bikini area just yet though. *gulp*

But till then, I’ll stick with the humble razor. Just need to keep my fingers crossed to be a heck lot more careful not to nick myself again!

What about you? Do you get your unwanted hair professionally removed with IPL, waxing, etc? Perhaps you use an epilator or depilatory creams? Or do you stick to the humble razor?

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6 comments… add one
  1. Allison

    I enjoyed reading this, Tine. I’ve been very curious about IPL. I wanted to get it done on my chin and mustache area, but I have light hair and didn’t know if it would work. Plus the expense. Now that I know that it really hurts, maybe I’ll stick with the epilator and razor!
    Allison recently posted..Scentbird Perfume Subscription for the Holidays!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Thanks Allison. IPL works but only after a few rounds of it. Just once won’t show much results at all. At the risk of TMI, my armpits have very little hair now, and that’s after 2 rounds of 6 sessions each. It’s not cheap, but it really does work. The tougher bits of skin on the body can certainly take the “heat” but when it’s a sensitive area, it will sting. The mustache area was particularly sensitive. 🙁

  2. Jane

    Best money I ever spent was on IPL. Five years ago I bought a package of 10 treatments for $700. At each treatment I had my underarms and bikini area treated – it took 6 treatments each about 6 weeks apart and then 2 maintenance treatments – I never got to use the last 2 treatments because I didn’t need them. The hair has never grown back so all I shave now is my legs. I didn’t find it unbearably painful.

    1. Tine

      Nah, it wasn’t unbearably painful. Only one area of my underarms was particularly sensitive (right in the middle), and that was when I teared up each time they zapped that area. Upper lip stings too. But I agree; it’s great for removing hair permanently. If I had gone for the 3rd round of IPL, I would have hairless pits by now. 😛

  3. Cocoa

    The information on IPL really helps! Yes, I hate hair removal cream too. That was my first choice back then because it was cheap and required no skill. I got an epilator for a gift and have stuck to it since! Partly, I am also afraid to use razors.
    Cocoa recently posted..Five Things You Might Overlook Before TravelMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I’ve tried epilators and while it’s all right, I think I’ll stick to the razor. Or, y’know, when it starts raining money on me, I’ll do a full-body IPL! 😛 😛

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