Is laser hair removal worth it?

This is my true story of how laser hair removal changed my life in unexpected ways.
How laser hair removal changed mmy life in unexpected ways
By Laura Gladman
September 19, 2020

This is my story about a long struggle with unwanted body hair, finding laser hair removal as a long-term solution and how it changed my life in an unexpected way.

How hairy was I?

My body hair became a “thing” when I was 13 years old. I remember one afternoon in swimming class, noticing some of the hairier girls had shaved their legs and armpits. I felt no pressure from my friends to follow, so I wasn’t too fussed. However, not long after, my older brother made a throwaway remark that I needed to shave my hairy legs. It hadn’t occurred to me other people noticed, or worse – thought it was gross. My Mam and my Aunties very often had hairy legs and pits – they just didn’t seem to care. But I now did, and I became increasingly sensitive about my body hair.

Photo of long dark soft hair on a lady's legs
Natural, long and soft lady-leg hair growth. No bother.

I have fair skin and dark hair that grows very fast indeed. And, thanks to puberty, I had an abundance of it. It started at my ankles, and extended all the way up my legs and thighs, joined with my bikini line and faded out just below my tummy button. And I got more than my fair share of underarm hair too! During the brief time it didn’t bother me, l let it alone, so it was naturally quite long and soft. It gave me no problems.

But that changed. Watching TV and movies, and looking in magazines, no one was hairy like me. I concluded (wrongly so) I must therefore be smooth to be beautiful. To fit in and be normal.

And so it started.

What on earth is this lady shaving? Where’s the hair? Will someone please acknowledge the hair!

Why is hair removal such a big deal?

If you let your body hair do its thing, then you won’t appreciate why ‘managing’ it is such a big deal. Also, some people have soft, light, sparse and slowly growing body hair which is easy to remove and not so much a big deal. Well, I’m about to get personal and explain why HAIR REMOVAL IS A BIG DEAL TO ME and many more like me.

Brace yourself.

#1 Shaving stubble, rash & irritation

Shaving seems like such a good idea at first. You love your soft, silky-smooth hairless skin. But then comes the stubble.

Close up photo of short stubble on human skin
Itchy, sandpaper-stubble

And mine came fast. I’d shave in the morning and feel stubble by 5 pm the same day. Legs like sandpaper, armpits like razors and an itchy as f*uck, prickly bikini line – I remember these well. And you can’t shave this stubble. No. That creates an angry rash, many bumps and cuts.

Shaving side effects totally defeat the purpose of shaving in the first place! Instead of touchably smooth skin, you’ve stubbly, raw skin that hurts to touch it. Plus, your clothes stick to you like Velcro. You must wait a few days for some softer growth before you can even think of shaving again. So, to clarify, that’s about 2 out of 7 days nice and smooth, the other 5 spent itching and shredding your bedding. Totally nuts 🥜.

I fondly remember how much I loved Winter months, spent cocooned in jeans, trousers and thick tights. You can go months without shaving. But Spring and Summer are the worst. I’d strategically plan my shaving days, to match activities requiring bare skin such as swimming and cycling. Or special occasions when I’d don a frock. My pasty legs did not often see sunlight. It was rubbish and I longed for another way.

#2 Waxing & epilating are sh*t too

Later, aged 16, I tried waxing. And I loved my first professional wax! The beautician was skilled and quick, so it didn’t hurt. After my skin calmed, I remember it silky-smooth to touch, just like that very first shave. But this time it lasted for weeks!

A beautician waxing a lady's legs. Nice and calm, no hair in sight, and not even a small red patch. LIES!
Professional waxing: quick, easy, thorough, lasts weeks, but expensive!

And…then it grew back.

Before you can do it again, you must wait. My follicles could proudly push out razor sharp stubble in hours. But to reach the required 0.5cm? Well, it takes a week or so to cultivate such Velcro legs. Then, to top it off, the next waxing results are never as good. Patchy regrowth appears in days. Plus, I just couldn’t afford the wax, regrowth, wax again cycle.

A close up of short stubbly hair growing out of several follicles.
Squeeze out those hairs! Minimum 0.5cm long to wax and epilate
A lady in her bathroom using pre-waxed strips on her legs. Not sure why, she's not very hairy at all.
DIY waxing is affordable but it’s messy & takes HOURS

And then there’s epilating.

I wouldn’t wish these torture devices on my worst enemy. The slow, noisy, rotary plucking of my dense, stubborn hair caused cold-sweats and flinching pain. I feel sick thinking about it. It left my skin sore, inflamed and red, looking like a plucked chicken.

A terrible, terrible torture device known as an epilator. Rotating tweezer jaws of doom.
Evil torture device

Move on, quick…

#3 Ingrown hairs

Ah yes. You can’t forget ingrown hairs. Waxing and epilating were the biggest causes for me, but I know many get them from shaving too. Itchy, inflamed, angry red blobs all over my skin and especially on the bikini line. Very sore, unsightly and taking much care and time to heal.

A rather red an swollen blocked hair follicle with an ingrown hair.
An angry, ingrown hair – Ouch. I think it’s watching me.

I could guarantee if by some miracle there were no rogue hairs poking out my skin, they’d be at least a few of these babies to catch your eye.

#4 The realisation

After all this, you wish you’d never started. But you’re stuck in the cycle.

A close up of a lady's armpit which has soft, fairly long hair growing in it.
Natural & normal body hair, but I didn’t feel that way

Today, I have big love for women who embrace their body hair and don’t conform. But, back then, I simply didn’t feel that way. Because I didn’t feel feminine, I was ashamed of my body hair so I’d cover it up, shave it off, rip it out. And all the time desperate for a better, long-lasting solution.

And then I found it.

Game-changing laser hair removal

In my 20s, laser hair removal hit the Highstreet. It was billed as a permanent solution and so naturally it was very expensive. But I wanted it so bad! I happily saved my pennies for a few years until I had enough to pay a professional to zap my legs and bikini line.

SK:n clinic in Southampton where I got laser hair reoval and it changed my life!
It may not look like much, but this clinic changed my life!

I chose Sk:n, a High Street doctor-led clinic in the UK, and booked myself in for a consultation and test patch. All went well, so I signed the contract, paid the first instalment and never looked back. I had 6 sessions, 1 every 6 weeks. I started at the end of Summer and was hair free by the following Spring. It was worth every penny and it quickly changed my life.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? I know. But honestly it was a game changer for me. I found it no more uncomfortable or embarrassing than a waxing session. The worst bit is the smell of burning hair! But the best bit is the stunted hair growth which falls out about a week later. After just a few sessions I was virtually hair free. No stubble, no rash, and those pesky ingrown hairs vanished.

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INTERESTED? TRY THIS…

🔎 Find your local laser hair removal clinics with a simple Google search for “laser hair removal (+your city name)”.

🏷 Professional laser hair removal budget: £240+/$270+ per pair full legs session, lower face £128/$170+ per session.

👍 I recommend Sk:n laser hair removal in the UK. You can arrange a Sk:n consultation online here.

The BIG difference it made to me

I no longer needed an extra 20 minutes to shave my legs in the shower. Nor did I spend entire Saturday mornings locked away in my bedroom, painfully removing body hair. I woke, stubble-free every morning.

My confidence levels soared. No longer a ‘slave to the shave’ I wore what I wanted when I wanted, without a worry. My skin was clear and smooth, no chicken-pore skin, owie shaving rash or ingrown hairs. And no last-minute waxing before holiday trips either.

I felt free.

And I was hooked. My legs and bikini line were beautifully smooth. But my pits were still a prickly problem. However, instead of booking in again at Sk:n, I decided to invest around £400 on a home IPL machine. This meant I’d be able to zap my pits, plus any new hair growth on my legs and bikini line. And all in the comfort of my own home. I justified it because my chosen home device was cheaper than the professional laser course for my underarms.

How it inspired me to start this site

Choosing a home IPL device was simply overwhelming. First, I was skeptical they would work as well as my professional sessions. Second, I hadn’t a clue which device to choose, and back then there were only a handful! I researched for hours. It took me weeks to decide which to buy, and even then, I wasn’t 100% confident. Was I wasting £100s of my hard-earned cash?

My first at-home IPL device from Boots smoothskin. a rather clunky looking base unit with a small applicator flash window. Did the job very well1
Boots Smoothskin – my first home IPL machine from over 10 years ago

I decided on the original Boots Smoothskin home IPL. A big, clunky base unit with a corded applicator. Not very sexy, but it worked very well. After 12 weekly sessions my underarms were totally smooth for months on end. It felt amazing.

Now I wanted to share all my research and findings to help others embarking on the same journey. So, I created a few info pages and reviews on home laser and IPL devices at Wearebodybeautiful.com.

And I just kept going.

A line-up of the leading and lastest at-home IPL and laser devices.
A few recent & favourite tried & tested home IPL & laser devices

Eight years on, I’ve now tested and reviewed over 30 home IPL & laser devices. And other home beauty tech devices too, including microcurrent, microdermabrasion, cleansing, Radio Frequency, ultrasonic, red light and lasers. I enjoy learning all about them, comparing them and sharing every helpful thing I find.

Yup. I’m more than a little bit obsessed.

To wrap up

Laser hair removal changed me for the better. It took away all my body hair related stress and worries, and it gave me back my time, body confidence and freedom. And the bonus prize is my online baby, Wearebodybeautiful.com.

Today, I clearly see the anti-fuzz propaganda targeted at women. But I also see beautiful women sporting their body hair with total “so-what?” confidence. And I wonder…

“would younger me, with this newfound perspective and reassurance, still choose to permanently remove my body hair?”

Laura Gladman

I’m not sure 🤔. However, I can say I am now very happy and confident in my body. And I strongly believe it’s a personal choice what you do, or don’t do, with your body hair.

If you’re intested in hair removal, here’s an overview of the hair removal solutions available to you.

Shaving

“Cheap and readily available, but time consuming with stubbly regrowth and other nasty skin reactions”

1 / 5

Lasts days

💰

Pros

✔️ Relatively cheap
✔️ Some eco-friendly options

Cons

❌ Time consuming
❌ Nicks & cuts!
❌ Razor-sharp stubble!
❌ Shaving rash
❌ Ingrown hairs
❌ Wasteful plastic & blades
❌ Cost mounts over the years!

Solution & my rating Cost Lasts Pros & Cons
Shaving:
My score ⭐️ 1 / 5
💰 Days ✔️ Relatively cheap
❌ Time consuming
❌ Shaving rash
❌ Razor-sharp stubble!
❌ Ingrown hairs
❌ Wasteful plastic & blades
❌ Ongoing cost mounts over years!
At-home waxing:
My score ⭐️⭐️ 2 / 5
💰💰 Weeks ✔️ Soft regrowth
❌ Messy!
❌ Time consuming
❌ Hurts
❌ Ingrown hairs
❌ Must wait for hairs to grow
❌ Wasteful plastic
Professional waxing:
My score ⭐️⭐️ 2 / 5
💰💰💰 Weeks ✔️ Thorough & quick sessions
✔️ Soft regrowth
❌ Up-close & personal!
❌ Uncomfortable
❌ Ingrown hairs
❌ Must wait for hairs to grow
❌ Expensive
Epilating:
My score ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 / 5
💰💰💰 Weeks ✔️ One-off cost
✔️ Soft regrowth
✔️ No waste products
❌ Time consuming
❌ Hurts like hell
❌ Ingrown hairs
❌ Must wait for hairs to grow
Professional laser hair removal:
My score ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 / 5
💰💰💰💰💰 Months & years ✔️ Clinically proven long-lasting results! (permanent in many cases)
✔️ Thorough & quick sessions
❌ Up-close & personal!
❌ Requires a course of sessions
❌ Very expensive
At-home laser/IPL hair removal
My score ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 / 5
💰💰 to 💰💰💰💰 Months & years ✔️ Clinically proven long-lasting results!
✔️ One-off cost
✔️ Some give quick 30-minute whole-body sessions
✔️ Upfront effort then much less than shaving, waxing etc to maintain
✔️ Results last longer the more top-ups you do
✔️ Options to suit different budgets
❌ Requires commitment to a course of sessions
❌ Too many devices to choose from!
❌ Some devices are expensive

And if you are interested in at-home laser and IPL hair removal, learn more on Laser & IPL hair removal 101, or check out my recommended tried & tested home devices to help you decide.

FAIR TO MID TONES
IPL & Laser

BEST FOR
black skin

BEST IPLs
for fair hair

Laura Gladman
I'm a bit obsessed with at-home beauty devices. It's a habit I've had for around 8 years now. I love the science, testing and reviewing them, and sharing my experience and feedback on my site Wearebodybeautiful.com. I'm also a crazy dog lady, and I don't care.

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