Tag Archives: hair

“Unlimited” Laser Hair Removal No Longer

Throughout my life, I’ve been a naturally hairy person. Shaving was useless as it just left ingrown hairs and dark stubble. I honestly could never feel beautiful or desirable with the dark hair all over my body. Even my boyfriend, who is the least superficial person on earth, would not want to touch me a day after I had shaved because of the hair on my legs. My bathroom, shared with a roommate, would always be covered in hair from my various attempts to rid myself of human fur. Enough was enough.

So a few years ago I started looking for a permanent solution. Lucky for me, I was an ideal candidate for laser hair removal – pale skin, dark hair. It wasn’t cheap and it sounded frightening, so I spent a lot of time researching different treatments, lasers and pricing options. I went to probably about six different consultations. For starters, I paid $1800 for a package of six treatments for my face, because due to PCOS I had thick disgusting chin hairs and sideburns that I would spend every second of my life tweezing. Then, when my face didn’t explode from the first few treatments, I decided to get serious. I wanted as much of my body hair gone as possible.

At one consultation, where I paid for a single bikini treatment, the nurse started to upsell me on multiple treatments packages, which that one treatment could be applied to. I gave her the run down of everything I wanted lasered. Which was pretty much, everything:

  • Face
  • Behind the Neck
  • Armpits
  • Arms
  • Lower Back
  • Stomach
  • Bikini Area (Let’s leave a landing strip, thank you)
  • Legs
  • Toes 

Yes, I think that is just about everywhere person can possibly have hair, with the exception of her head. She added up the cost for six treatments per area, and filled me in on a little secret — another spa, where she worked part time, had an amazing deal for laser hair removal. Unlimited treatments in 90 minute sessions for $4500. While $4500 isn’t cheap, my total for six sessions in each of my planned areas was going to be something like $7000. Unlimited. Sounded. Unlimitedly awesome. I knew that laser hair removal was designed to reduce, not fully get rid of body hair, but from what I’ve read six treatments really wouldn’t be enough to make a serious dent. I liked the idea of being able to keep getting hair removed until it was gone for good.

So I splurged. It was my biggest purchase yet outside of my then $8k car. I bought “Unlimited Hair Removal” in March of 2011. I always knew that I was risking the spa going out of business in this purchase, but I hoped I could get the value out of the $4.5k before that time came. I had to stick to a very strict visit plan. I couldn’t hit all the areas each visit, and the treatments had to be 6-8 weeks apart, so that resulted in 1-2 visits per month to a spa about an hour away from my house, across a toll bridge. It was kind of a pain to get there, but the deal was worth it. I couldn’t find anything else remotely close to it, and the spa seemed actually reputable. I was so excited about the journey to becoming hair free as I made my way in for my first appointment.

Getting your body zapped with a laser is not fun. They say it is going to feel like a rubber band snapping against your skin but that is a lie. Basically every hair follicle shot by the laser gets so hot that it explodes under your skin and feels like tiny shards of hot glass. Early on in treatments, at least for the first six treatments, there are a lot of hairs each zap gets at a time. This is good because it goes faster, but when doing areas like the legs that are large, or the bikini that are extremely sensitive, the pain can be intense. I would use numbing creme for my bikini and face but that just helped minimize the shock. Trust me, it hurt. And each time they increased the strength of the laser, so it hurt more. 90 minutes straight of this is torture. But worth it.

Since it’s dangerous to have laser treatments when you are tan at all, I would take the summers off from going in for treatments, figuring that I had, well, “unlimited” treatments forever, I could wait. Then, this summer, I got a letter from the spa’s doctor saying “you are at the clinical endpoint of your treatments, you cannot come in anymore.” Wait a second. I was like, WTF? Unlimited doesn’t mean six months after I go in for a treatment you randomly decide that I’m done. Granted, some areas have seen serious improvement (my legs, while they still have a few strands of hair here and there, are a billion times better than they were when I started) but others are still a bit patchy (my armpits and bikini, which I figured would take just a lot more treatments, but again, I had an unlimited pass, so eventually all the hair would be gone.)

I wrote a nastygram to the company saying that it’s ridiculous they say I’m at the medical endpoint of my treatment because I’m treating multiple areas of my body and it’s impossible for them all to magically have the same medical endpoint. Also, my nurse, at my last session, said nothing about being close to a medical endpoint, which I kind of assumed would be told to me before the treatment was over (“oh, yea, this area only needs one more treatment and you’re done.”) But the nurses there constantly told me stories of women who would come in for years for treatments, if hair started to grow again, they would just zap it. That was the magic of this deal, which really was too good to be true.

In response to my nastygram, the assistant wrote me back saying, contrary to the note I received, that this package had been discontinued. Now, that really got me boiling, because you can’t discontinue something that I bought with a signed contract for unlimited treatments. A few more nastygrams later, which threatened bad online reviews and legal action, they offered two dates when I could come in and meet with their doctor (who also owns the business) so he could look over my history and current progress to determine if I needed more treatments. This was a pain in the ass because the doctor was only available in the middle of the work week, and I live an hour away from the clinic, but I figured once I showed the doctor my armpits and some other areas that clearly still need treatment he’d be reasonable.

Unfortunately, when I came in, the doctor told me the REAL story – they were selling the business. In three days. And they couldn’t tell anyone about it. So… I was pretty much SOL. I negotiated one more 90 minute treatment the next day in the late afternoon, which required traveling a 2 hour trip to the spa that normally takes 1 hour because of traffic. I really couldn’t do anything other than that. Funny enough, the nurse who first recommended me this deal that I met at the other spa in 2011, who had left this spa for a while, was randomly back working there one day a week, and she was the only nurse with an appointment to fit me in. So it was like coming full circle.

As she zapped me I thought about how glad I was that, despite not having a truly unlimited deal, that I was able to have about 10-12 treatments per area for $4500, which really would have cost something like $10k-$15k had I paid separately. It was still very much a worthwhile deal, I’m just bummed that my “unlimited” treatments only lasted for two years. Had I been smarter, I would have not taken the summers off, and made appointments more frequently, at the risk they would sell or go out of business.

 

 

Image Makeover for Corporate Success: Part 1 – New Hair?

Until recently, my hair has always been on the short side. As a child, my mom loved to approve of the bowl cut, and eventually let me have hair a few inches past my shoulders. I was convinced my hair just wouldn’t grow longer than that, but in reality it was my hair dresser who refused to let it grow any further.

So I grew up with a complex about my hair, among other things, always admiring the other girls who had long, beautiful hair when mine would just not grow. As an adult, after chopping off my hair to chin-to-shoulder length for the ease of it during college and for a show I was in shortly after, I let my hair grow. I’ve had a few trims here and there, but basically I’ve been all about the long hair style. My boyfriend loves long hair on me, and even though I never know what to do with it, I admit it’s the more flattering for my round ball head than most other looks.
But with my new job and my dedication to creating a professional image for myself, I’m torn. Do I cut my hair off and look corporate slick, or keep the hair long the way I (and my boyfriend) like it and just wear a bun or something when I’m at the office. It’s not like I work in New York, and business casual around here is a little looser to define than in some other environments. However, if I’m going to be doing any world travel, the culture quickly changes, and I want to look like I mean business.
It’s kind of amazing how many powerful women have short haircuts. Just look at the list of Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women of 2009 and you’ll see what I mean. Granted, most of them are in their 40s and 50s when a short hair style makes more sense, but most of them have short, really manly hair styles. It doesn’t even look that good, but I guess it makes them less sexually desirable by men, so they could be taken seriously. It makes me sad to think that might be true, but why else would all these high-power women want a crop top? Just to limit prep time? I’m not so sure.
In addition to figuring out what hair style to get (likely I’ll just go for the trim this time around), I need to figure out how often to get my hair cut. Up until now I’ve lived by the two cuts a year rule. I think it’s silly to spend money getting any more hair cuts, really. I feel like it’s a huge conspiracy by the hair dressers who want you to pay them more often. That said, my hair probably could use to be cut more often than twice a year. And with this image makeover I’m doing for myself, getting a trim every 8 weeks won’t kill my budget, and may help a lot with my overall presentation.
What do you think? How often do you get your hair cut? What style do you wear and is it appropriate for your job?

Laser Hair Removal Update

I’ve been writing a lot about laser hair removal lately because it’s one of the largest purchases I’ve ever made in my life, outside of my $7000 car. Part of me still feels like I shouldn’t be spending the money — it’s much smarter to invest it, deal with shaving twice a day all my life, and that’s that. But, I’ve come to the decision that now I am going to spend some money on myself, within reason. And of everything in the world I can spend it on — vacations, jewelry, etc, I choose to spend my money on laser hair removal.

The one place I’ve been considering is giving me a really amazing package rate. $4000 for six treatments of basically everything except my face and arms. Which is like 76% off their single treatment rate. The normal discount as these places is maybe 40% off or for a special 50% off. All other places I looked at, at the cheapest for the same treatments, cost $5000 – $7000.

At first, I was very skeptical about this place. Why so cheap? That’s always something I’m cautious about when paying people lots of money to burn my hair follicles. So I went in for a full treatment — bikini and buttock (yes, there’s hair there. I’m a fairly attractive girl but my hormones make me look like Godzilla without an OCD maintenance program.) I got them to give me a 20% discount off the price of the two treatments — $460 total. That will apply to the full $4000 package if I decide to go for it, which I likely will. I just want to make sure my skin doesn’t melt off in the next two weeks, and that the hair sheds properly.

I was impressed with the quality of treatment at this place. I’ve been to a more expensive laser spa and the nurse was like a typical doctor — in and out, no time to waste. Not only that, but she burned me under my arm (I now have purple spots there the size of the laser, I hope they’ll fade.) So I’m not sold that cost has anything to do with quality when it comes to laser hair removal.

Ultimately, it’s how comfortable you are with the RN, and how comfortable the RN is with the laser. So this RN was really nice about everything, which was necessary when she was lasering in such delicate places. Yes, it was painful, esp behind the upper leg and inner thigh (youch!) but it’s so worth it. For me, anyway. Even for all that pain, knowing I’ll need 5+ more treatments in the same area for it to really do anything significant, and the reduction in savings I’ll have this year. It’s so worth it. I’m excited about the $4000 package and hope in the end I don’t regret it. I haven’t signed on the dotted line yet, but I’ve pretty much already paid 1/8th of it so it’s silly not to go all in if I like the place and I’m going to get it done anyway. Right?

They do have Care Credit — which gives 18 months free financing. I don’t need it, but I might be better off paying a few hundred bucks a month vs all at once. I can also put it on my credit card and get air mileage, which could be nice too. I’ll probably do that since I have the cash.

When to Get My Hair Cut

My hair is growing. It’s longer than it has ever been (as in, my mom never let it get this long as a kid with my trim every 6 weeks, so I just assumed it couldn’t grow past my shoulders). I like having it long, my boyfriend likes it long, but at some point it needs to be cut. I can’t figure out if I’m imagining these dead ends or not, but I’m getting to the point where I want to go get my $60 hair cut and be done with it.

Last time I posted about hair cutting costs – The Cost of Having Pretty Hair, I got quite a bit of feedback. Everyone debated whether that six week trim was worth it. For me, I tend to do a 20ish week trim. I try to get my overpriced hair cut twice a year to keep my mane in check. As a professional woman, I wonder if that is enough. Or do I look dowdy?

Given that my goal is to save $20k this year, every cent does count. If I can pick up a few more side projects I could offset the cost of a hair cut, easy. But I’m still already behind in my $20k quest. Makes me want to shave off my hair entirely.

So, ladies, how often is too long to go without a hair cut?

The Cost of Having Pretty Hair

I just read a post over at Saving for a Home of My Own that details the $$$ Saving Diva has spent over the years to perfect her coif en route to her currently frugal lifestyle. Her post is so great! She breaks down, by hair style, how much it has cost her to maintain over the years. $2225 a year for the bleach blond hair, $1374 for dyed brunette locks, and now $104 per year for the low-cost, low-maintenance version.

It’s amazing how much money us girls spend on our hair. Even without going to fancy salons, the costs quickly add up if you follow the recommended “get your hair cut every 6 week” myth of the salon saleswomen.

When I was younger and my parents were paying for my hair maintenance, I would get my hair cut every six weeks. From middle school on, I got my hair highlighted and dyed. It must have cost my parents a small fortune! Sometimes I’d dye my hair myself with drug-store bought brands, but it would usually come out shitty and I’d have to get it redone at the salon.

After graduating college – now that I’m paying for my own hair care – I fall somewhere between “spending way too much money on my hair” and “frugal.” I admit I like to splurge on my hair, when I get it done. But I just get it done about two to three times a year. $200 three times a year or so is not going to break the bank, but every three weeks would be awful!

I think it’s important to have a good hair cut and style. Makeup you can buy cheap and you can go w/ just some concealer and maybe basic lipstick to look professional. But hair is so key in your look. It doesn’t need to be dyed at all – I think the cut is what’s worth spending the money on.

I used to go to supercuts for a while and spend $20 on each cut, but half the time I’d end up with crooked, messed up hair. I like my hair stylist now and she knows what would look good with my face shape. Sure, it costs $60 (plus tip) to get my hair cut. Then the dye is another $100. I don’t do highlights anymore, they are way too expensive. And right now my hair is dyed my natural color, almost, so I may just let it grow out and stick to cuts until I go gray and need to start coloring again.

Speaking of tips (not roots) I wonder how many people actually tip their hairdressers. I always tip 20% if someone does a good job and usually tip about 10% if I don’t like what they did and don’t plan on coming back. If they really mess something up I won’t leave a tip at all, but that’s very, very rare.

My friend – who comes from a lower-income family (not poor or anything, just not upper middle class like my family) apparently never tips her hairdresser. She goes back over and over again and her hairdresser, who has been cutting her hair since she was a kid, doesn’t seem to mind much at this point.

I just wonder… how many people tip their hairdressers and how much? It seems like the tipping cost alone adds up fast. But I am very cautious of tipping poorly to people who do things like cut my hair, etc, because I want to go back to them and I don’t want them to make it awful the next time around.

How much do you tip your hair dresser?