I’ve been on 5 laser hair removal consultations. That was my goal before purchasing any major packages beyond what I bought already (8 face treatments and 5 armpit w/ GentleLASE). So I went up to San Francisco last night to two laser hair spas (which both happened to be on the same block – even though I didn’t realize that when I booked the appointments) just to get a taste of what laser hair removal spas are like in the city versus the Peninsula.
Both places were very different. Spa #1 was great – clean, and very nice. They use the Candela GentleMAX which apparently has a GentleLASE in it, but it’s still different than the GentleLASE that was used on my face and armpits. I’m not sure how. The RN who met with me was obviously very intelligent and answered every question I had without any sales pressure. I really liked her and this spa. And I like that they use the Alexandrite laser which I really think is better for my skin type (III/IV) versus the diode. My lower back, which was treated with a LightSheer last weekend, doesn’t seem to be shedding at all, the hairs are growing back but still firmly stuck in. They just have a weird texture. I didn’t get prices for this spa yet, but I think they’re fairly comparable with basically all the other places I’m looking at / maybe a little more because they use Candela’s technology. I’ll find out full prices on this place today.
Then I went to another laser hair medspa down the street. There was definitely a major different in quality and type of place, which I saw right away. This place looked, well, cheaper. It looked kind of like a salon in the front, very much set up like a “walk in and get yourself lasered” type place with some Feng Shui thrown in. So my initial impressions of this place weren’t that great. Then I met with the woman who would be doing my treatment. They use the Cynosure Elite, which apparently is a combo machine with an Alexandrite laser and a YAG laser for darker skinned clients. The room for the treatment wasn’t clean – I went to put my purse on a stool and there was hair all over it. This place reminded me more of the salons where I would get my eyebrows waxed before I discovered threading and eyebrow only shops.
The woman was really nice, but didn’t seem that knowledgeable. One thing I’ve been most surprised about is how many of these nurses don’t know about other technology on the market. The GentleLASE, Lightsheer and Apogee Elite seem to be the three main lasers that clinics are using these days, it shouldn’t be too hard to be aware of all three and why the laser you use is better. Not even knowing the other lasers exist (or calling them IPLs, which they’re not) makes you just seem kind of dumb to anyone who spent 5 minutes researching laser hair removal on Google.
All that said, this woman proceeded to do a “test patch” on my stomach with the Cynosure Elite, which is an Alexandrite laser (the kind I think I should use on my skin type, though it can burn badly if used wrong). She was just going to do a small spot but she ended up basically going almost all the way around my belly button and down a little bit towards my pubic bone on one side. It hurt like a bitch with no numbing cream, but I could see it working. The hairs popped out of the skin.
Then, the office manager quoted me an amazing rate for basically my entire body (other than my face) – which I still don’t believe is a legit rate, but I have it written down so hopefully they will hold true to this rate if I decide to book.
Now, you’re probably thinking, don’t go for the cheaper place because you’ll regret it later. That’s a possibility. But even with the more expensive place where I’m getting my armpits done I’ve had hyperpigmentation and I haven’t been happy with the service. So price isn’t everything. This place is also fairly new, which is good and bad. Bad because they can go out of business. Good because they price lower in order to get new business.
All in all, now I’m extremely confused about where to get laser hair removal. I think, if the $4000 for 6 treatments of everything below the neck (including back of neck, but not arms) holds true, I almost can’t say no to that. That’s over $1000 less than I was going to be spending for a diode laser, and more than $2000 less than any Alexandrite laser I’ve found. It really does seem “too good to be true” so I’m hesitant to just book it. But I also just want to get started with these treatments. My stomach seems to be reacting ok, it’s still a little sore, but eh. They also include free numbing cream with the treatments… I just don’t understand how this place can be so much cheaper than everywhere else. If they want to build up a clientele, I can take advantage of that, but I can also get screwed over if they fail to do so and go out of business.