Everything you need to know about laser hair removal – a firsthand experience

Everything you need to know about laser hair removal – a firsthand experience
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Note: Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery is an advertising partner with the Agenda. They wanted us to review their laser hair removal treatments, so I stepped up to the challenge to try it out and review for all of you. This paid content was co-produced with their team, but my experience has been unaltered.


About me

First of all – I’m Lizzy, a 24-year-old gal obsessed with trying out everything beauty and skincare related. If you’re into the same stuff I am, you might remember me from (or be interested in) the last Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery try test I did.

Agenda related story: I got two lasers to the face for beauty – the price, the pain and the payoff

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This time around I tried out something that I’ve wanted to do most of my life. Since fourth – yes, fourth – grade, I’ve dealt with serious leg hair troubles and have been pretty unsuccessful in figuring out how to tame or get rid of it.

Obviously I have nothing against anyone who decides not to shave their legs, but I for one love the feeling of smooth legs and (before now) had never been able to truly achieve that.

My preconceived concerns and their real-life answers

First, I thought I’d break down a few of my mental road blocks for not trying laser hair removal sooner. I have a feeling some of you may have these same concerns:

  • My concern: For laser hair removal to work, I’d have to grow out my leg hair every month.
    The reality: You can shave any time between treatments. In fact, you have to shave before your appointments for the procedure to work effectively.
  • My concern: This procedure won’t actually last forever. It’s going to be a waste of money for a short-term payoff.
    The reality: These treatments are meant to reduce the hair in your follicles by 80% to 90%. This is definitely a long-term result. With that said, Criswell does recommend holding off on laser hair removal if you’re anticipating any big hormonal changes (like childbirth) as they can inspire new hair growth.
  • My concern: Every treatment will take hours upon hours in a doctor’s office.
    The reality: The entire procedure is 6 treatments – each lasting 45 minutes for your full legs. Plus, the fact that Criswell’s estheticians are really fun to chat with is just a bonus.
  • My concern: Laser hair removal is really painful.
    The reality: Due to the quick “zap” of the laser and because the laser only touches each section of your skin once during the session, you don’t even remember that it hurt once it’s over. I had no pain after my treatments finished – just a quick rubber band-like pain whenever the laser zapped my skin.

What exactly is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal/reduction can achieve 80% to 90% reduction of hair in the follicle. It entails a laser targeting your hair follicles (where hair growth originates), emitting heat energy deep down into the hair follicles, then producing long lasting results by “zapping” that follicle away. It’s quick and efficient.

To get to a point of no hair growth in the areas you’re treating, Criswell recommends patients undergo at least 6-8 treatments, usually spaced 4-6 weeks apart to target the hair during the growth cycle.

This kind of laser treatment is ideal for someone with pale skin and dark hair, so the laser can easily target and identify your hair follicles. With that said, Criswell can definitely accommodate other skin tones and hair colors, which you’d discuss if your initial consultation.

Treatment overview

To really break down what you can expect from each session during your laser hair removal journey, let’s start from the beginning.

Here are some tips to remember before you show up for any of your treatments:

  • Shave the night before or day of (no need to further exfoliate).
  • Don’t show up with self-tanner on your skin, or a tan or sunburn. It prevents the laser from “finding” your hair follicles when your skin is a darker shade than normal.
  • Never wax or tweeze in between treatments. This will remove the hair follicle the laser needs to target.

Once you show up for your appointment, it’s really a breeze. You’ll be led to a room and asked to change into a robe. They’ll then slather your legs with clear gel (yum), set the laser to your skin type, hair density and hair color, then laser every inch of your legs once.

I’d be lying if I said these treatments didn’t hurt. With that said, the laser is going to “zap” your skin over and over again in about 1″ x 2” sections of skin throughout the treatment, but it never touches the same location twice. Each zap feels like a rubber band is snapping your skin and then the pain is gone. It’s brief and 100% bearable.

Two items to keep in mind: 
1. Not all laser hair removal machines are created equal. The machine Criswell uses is much less painful than most of the machines on the market. Part of this is due to the crystal that is used on the skin. It’s cooled at a very cold temperature providing instant relief to the area, which is why the zap sting goes away so quickly.
2. Throughout your 6-8 treatments, your esthetician will bump up the intensity of the laser to take care of any stubborn hair follicles that haven’t fallen out. This will happen gradually after your first appointment.

One thing to be aware of (but not freak out over) – after some procedures you may see these red bumps show up. It’s simply your hair follicles retaining some of the heat from the laser. In my case, these didn’t hurt and went away within the first hour post-procedure. You can also apply a cold compress to the site or hydrocortisone cream to help these spots go away a little faster.

Following each treatment, you can expect the hair follicles that were successfully targeted to begin falling out. It’s an extraordinary thing to watch happen as the following week rolls by.

Keep in mind, this is a gradual process so you won’t be completely hairless after treatment #1. Personally, I found that by treatment #7 my hair follicles in the areas we targeted were 90-100% gone.

How much does it cost?

One aspect of laser hair removal that really hindered me from trying it previously was the cost. Before talking this through with the Criswell team, I was under the impression that laser hair removal was incredibly expensive due to its long lasting effects, expensive equipment and highly trained estheticians.

Great new – it’s actually really affordable, especially if you’re already investing in something like monthly waxing.

Here’s a cost breakdown by size of treatment area:

  • Small Area (think lip, sideburns, etc.): $325–$450
  • Medium Area (think bikini, chest, etc.): $625–$825
  • Large Area (think legs, arms, etc.): $925–$1,750

Interested in trying these procedures out?

You can find more information about laser hair removal here, and schedule a free consultation with Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery here.


This paid content was co-produced with Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery.

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