I come from a long line of extremely hairy women. Not Lady Godiva-style, either. No, I’m talking mustaches and unibrows and veritable shrubs of hair growing everywhere other than from the tops of our heads–the first and only time that look has ever worked for any member of my family was a brief period in the 1970s, and sadly I was not around to enjoy it. In the mornings, it’s like Helena Bonham Carter is trying to push her head out from under my arms, and if I let it go for a day or two, Tim Burton joins her. If I lop it off in the morning, I actually get a five o’clock armpit shadow.
So when I got an email from Groupon last May saying that not only were we now living in an incredible and hairless future world created by lasers but that I could be part of this world at a steep discount, I leaped all over it. I was so enthusiastic about my smooth and hair-free underarm future that I actually took a before picture to share with all of you: I’m a giver.
Before I could be zapped by any frickin’ laser beams, I needed to have a consultation with their doctor. He explained to me how the process worked, and in what felt like an eerie callback to Bridalplasty, he told me that I have the perfect skin…for laser hair removal. Basically, my pasty, translucent fishbelly skin makes it easy for the laser to “see” my dark, coarse hairs and zap them. The light of the laser is absorbed by the pigment in the hair, which should retard future growth. Hair grows in cycles, so it takes multiple treatments to completely eradicate the hair. I was given three rules to follow over the course of my laser treatments: don’t tan, shave the area immediately before the laser treatment, and don’t apply any lotions/creams/deodorants to the treatment area on the day of treatment so that nothing impedes the laser. I followed these rules to the letter because I wanted the treatments to be effective, but also because I am a nerd who doesn’t know how to go about breaking rules.
I didn’t experience much pain during my treatments, more of an unusual armpit-based tingling. Some people experience a mild soreness afterward that feels like a slight sunburn; I did not.
I also did not experience any hair loss whatsoever. I have as much ratty teenage goth under my pits as I ever had, the only difference is that my wallet is lighter, 7 treatments in. I haven’t even experienced any hair shedding which is supposed to happen as the remainder of the zapped hair is pushed out of the skin. Each time I’ve visited the office, a different person has performed the treatment, and each time they’ve had a different explanation as to why it hasn’t been working on me:
*That I was on birth control *That I went off birth control *That my hair might be finer textured now than when we started *That they haven’t had the machine turned up high enough *Outright incompetence was hinted at but no one ever came out and said it
On the seventh visit, they switched me to their “most powerful machine” and turned it “all the way up” and they have comped me one more free treatment, scheduled three days from today, but at this point I feel it is safe to say that it simply did not work on me. Or that you get what you pay for, as upon doing further research on the company, it seems that the business is not BBB accredited (it is in fact rated an F), and the owner of said med spa had previously operated a med spa in Texas which underwent investigation by the state for not training their employees, for using lasers that didn’t work, for treating people with expired Botox and more.
As I can’t afford (or won’t pay for, which amounts to the same thing) full price laser treatments from a reputable company, Helena Bonham Armpit lives on. On the positive side of things, maybe I’ll be able to get her some work as a stunt double in the next Burton film.