About two months ago, I was trolling Sephora’s website, when I first saw an at-home laser hair removal system. “WHAT a bad idea,” I cackled to myself, “WHO would do such a thing?
Why do I always set myself up like that?
When I explored at-home waxing, that was one thing. It was doable and it for sure saved me a lot of money, but it’s not without pain and a little bit of mess. Sure, it could be less messy, but I’m not all that coordinated when transferring hot wax from the pot onto my BODY. But at-home laser hair removal? Can we leave nothing up to the professionals? Seriously. Leave it to me to try it out and end up, like, vaporizing myself in my own living room. At-home laser hair removal was not for me. Or so I thought.
And then fate stepped in.
This is my friend Matt.
We work together, we rage together, we regret together. I always forget that Matty works for Remington. The weekend after I first discovered that at-home hair removal systems even existed, he mentioned that Remington wanted me to try out their at-home laser.
“Matt, that is some Buzz Lightyear shit,” I told him. “No good can come of me having a laser in my own home.”
“I know!” He laughed. “That’s half the fun!”
“I am going to hurt myself. I will definitely burn myself, not to mention, like, blast my arm off or something.”
“I don’t really think that’s how it works,” he said, not quite sure himself. “Whatever, it will be funny.”
So, next thing I know, boom, I was the proud owner of the Remington iLight Pro, and was hoping for the best. I initially thought it was just going to be the size of one of those Schick Intuition razors, or an electric razor or something. Wrong! This thing is BIG.
This is the iLight unboxed.
Using the iLight is way easier than I expected. First, you plug the power chord into an outlet and then into the iLight. It runs on electricity instead of a battery, which is great since you won’t have to worry about sucking up all of its power too quickly after only lasering half your body. Awkward. Just plug it in and zap yourself to your heart's content! When you flip it on, it beeps, and then a fan starts to whir from inside, so it kind of sounds like a computer.
Even better, it sounds expensive.
Before you use it, you have to actually shave the part of your body that you are going to use the iLight on. This is kind of anticlimactic because it makes the before-and-after a lot less dramatic. Removing the hair is essential because the light will heat up the darker pigments of the hair, which may end up damaging your skin. Shaving the area beforehand also gives you a clean workspace to ensure precision when putting the iLight up to your skin and shooting the maximum amount of light on the smallest amount of surface area.
When you are shaved and ready, you must unlock the iLight by placing a patch of your skin on the skin tone sensor. The iLight will determine if your skin tone is too dark for the laser. The iLight is meant for usage on light to medium skin tones. Darker skin tones conduct heat more drastically and using the laser on darker skin tones could cause swelling, temporary blisters, or change of the skin’s color.
This is a common problem for at-home lasers right now and I trust that we will soon have the technology to be able to use a laser on any skin tone -- I mean, it’s 2013 for crying out loud. The weird flipside of that precaution is that if you have gray hair, you shouldn’t use the iLight since the laser needs hair to have dark pigment to work properly.
Here is the chart of skin tones that Remington says is acceptable:
Once you have unlocked the iLight, test the laser on your skin by placing the iLight onto the chosen body part and giving it a zap. There are five energy levels that you can use, so if the first one isn’t too intense, turn it up to level two and try it again. If two is bearable, try three, and so on. Then wait 24 hours to ensure that there are no adverse effects.
I, of course, did not test it out. I just cranked that bitch up to level five and went at it.
I was fine! I love pain. Actually, I spooked myself a little with the first zap, because it’s a very odd sensation. At first, I thought it hurt, but then I realized that really, there was no pain at all, just the sensation of a very small part of my skin heating up very quickly, and decreasing immediately. If I had to compare it to anything, I’d say it feels like being lightly pinched.
The iLight’s intense pulses of light target the pigment in hair in your skin’s follicle, gently heating it to disable the growth cycle without damaging your skin. Hair has a continuous growth cycle, usually taking 18-24 months to complete a full cycle. Light-based treatments such as this only affect hair in the active growth phase, which accounts for around 90% of all hair follicles. After you shave and use the iLight, it might look like the hair is still growing, but the reason is because the hair is being pushed out of the follicle. Remington recommends using the iLight every two weeks for the first three sessions, and then only as needed as hair begins growing back.
I am officially two weeks past my third session, and I’m pretty impressed with the results.
I decided to laser my chest because, well, I don’t really know why. I think since I waxed it for y’all a couple of months ago, it might as well make another appearance. GUESS WHO’S BACK?
Oh, I ALSO DID MY FEET. I am so sick of hearing I have “Hobbit feet!” RUDE. What does that even mean? Can’t a bitch wear flip flops and just live?
This is the before.
I’m using that photo again since it’s the only one I have of my natural chest.
Two weeks after the first session, I didn’t really notice any huge difference. That didn’t bother me though; it actually tells you not to expect much after just one use.
This is two weeks after my second session, when I really started to see a big change in the amount of hair that was growing back.
And this is after my third.
Sorry my nipples show up in like 1/3rd of my articles.
I think I could use one more round before I put the iLight away for a while, but I do have to say that I am pleased. It really got rid of a significant amount of chest hair (and feet hair THANK YOU), as well as broke up the density of hair in the middle of my chest. I don’t mind my natural chest hair at all, but it was in this weirdo shape that made wearing v-necks sort of a trial (apparently I have no real problems).
I won’t front you, this thing isn’t cheap. But it is an investment, and it sure beats paying to have it professionally done time and time again! Do you get laser hair removal treatments? Would you be down to try it at home? Do you have any questions that I, in my infinite wisdom, can answer about it? If getting lasered is your thing, then I’d recommend it. It worked for me, I didn’t get burned, and I still have all my limbs!
Tynan doesn’t have Hobbit feet on Twitter: @TynanBuck.