I am blessed with an abundance of hair – thick, dark and fast growing, this particular gift is great when it comes to my crowning glory… but not so great below the neck!
It pains me to say so, but I am the type of woman whose legs develop a 5 o’clock shadow by lunchtime, and for whom beach holidays induce fear far greater than any potential for bikini-wobble. Shaving leaves me stubbly, waxing brings me out in lumps and bumps, and as for those smelly, messy depilatory creams… well, no amount of smooth skin makes up for being marooned in your bathroom in a cloud of eye-watering chemical fumes!
So when Team Sassy received an invite to test-drive Lavar’s laser hair-removal treatment (and everyone else backed away slowly, citing low pain thresholds), I gleefully cast aside the razor and headed down to the salon to investigate.
Situated bang in the middle of Lan Kwai Fong, Lavar is stylishly decked out in cool grey tones, which (I’m told) are designed to appeal to men and women alike. Yes, naïve as I am, I failed to realise that it’s not just the ladies who are on a mission to stay smooth – meaning that Lavar does a brisk trade in waxing and laser treatment for both sexes, with the ‘male bikini’ being a surprisingly popular choice. You learn something new every day!
As I crept nervously through the door, I was immediately reassured by the friendly and knowledgeable Lavar ladies, who gave me a rundown of exactly how laser hair removal works, what I could expect to experience during the treatment and typical results. I had opted for bikini line and underarm hair removal, but it’s possible to treat almost any area of the body as the therapist can adjust the intensity of the laser according to skin sensitivity.
Duly educated, I followed my friendly therapist into the small treatment room, disrobed and hopped onto the table. Now, having had a baby (and all the attendant gynaecological check-ups), I find myself relatively unabashed about nudity these days… but for anyone not so keen on displaying their wares to a total stranger, the therapist will put you completely at ease and help you to cover up with towels to preserve your modesty throughout.
And so to the bit you’re all waiting for… the pain factor! I’ll admit that having Googled “Laser hair removal how much pain?” I was bracing myself for something truly awful, and was gritting my teeth before that first zap. So imagine my delight and surprise when it actually… wasn’t that bad! Unlike old-style laser hair removal, Lavar’s state-of-the-art machine simultaneously fires a laser beam and an icy-cold jet of air, meaning that all you feel is a slight tingling sensation, with some very mild stinging over the most delicate areas (I found the inner bikini line to be the most sensitive, but still totally bearable). I can honestly say that I’d take this every single day over waxing, with the caveat that – as with a wax – you should avoid scheduling your treatment around the time of your period as this can make you more sensitive to pain.
It’s far quicker than waxing too. In around 20 minutes, my session was over – both bikini and underarms – and I was off on my way with my aftercare advice. Essentially, the hair gradually falls out over a period of around two-three weeks, and you can help it on its way (and avoid ingrown hairs) with gentle exfoliation.
I saw a noticeable difference after my first session, and didn’t need to shave my underarms for close to four weeks (hooray!); most people need around five sessions or so to achieve permanent hair removal, depending on hair and skin type. My follow-up session was six weeks after my first (a typical hair growth cycle), allowing the therapist to see exactly how much hair had been permanently eradicated first time around. This time, I was braced for the sensation and mostly breezed through, although once again the inner bikini area made me catch my breath a couple of times!
If – like me – body hair is a preoccupation and you are sick of the bother of maintenance, laser is a great option. Ok, so it’s a little pricey upfront, but if you weigh the cost (and sheer hassle) up against a lifetime of waxing appointments, the numbers are pretty favourable… And just think of all the things you’d rather be doing with that time!
It’s fair to say I’m a total laser convert. I can’t wait to get all the way through my remaining sessions to follicular freedom… in fact, this birthday I’m asking my husband for lower-leg hair removal. Perhaps not as romantic as flowers or dinner, but a lot longer lasting!
Bikini laser hair removal starts from $2,200 per session; underarm is $1,200 per session.
Lavar, 13/F, 1 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong, 2915 0918