Enviro Girl is of hairy Germanic ancestry (plus one part Yeti she suspects) so summertime creates hair removal challenges. She gets a 5 o’clock shadow under her arms and on her shins daily, to give you some sense of her prolific ability to grow hair. Aside from going au natural (she’s just not comfortable with that look, nor with the looks people would give her) or wearing neck to toe clothing year round (bad enough to sport turtlenecks and jeans from fall to spring in Wisconsin, she enjoys exposing bare skin), her only option is to remove the hair. Enviro Girl spends her summer in a pool, too, so she needs to remove a lot of hair.
For years Enviro Girl shaved. She used a Venus razor with disposable blades, creating minimal waste in her garbage bin, but a constant expense and she had to shave daily in the shower or walk around with stubble gracing her legs, underarms and bikini area. Shaving also scrapes and burns and creates an ugly bumpy rash on occasion.
She inquired about waxing, more painful and expensive at $60 for her legs, $40 for bikini and underarms, but only required every 6 weeks (or so). For four trips each summer she could enjoy smooth skin, but create a pile of cloth strips and spent wax for the garbage bin–more waste than her Venus razor blades in a single waxing.
Then she explored laser hair removal–a procedure requiring electricity and a bit of gel, nothing disposed of (other than her hair) and boasting generally permanent results. Most hair can be permanently removed through laser treatment in 6 sessions or less. At $50 per session for underarms, $300 seemed like a steep investment for never shaving again–but was it? Enviro Girl decided to shell out the cash for underarms and bikini area. Here’s what she learned:
* Laser hair removal is fast. She’s in and out of the office in 20 minutes, the nurse zips the laser across her skin and she’s on her way just as quickly. For a total of 3 hours (she’s including driving time in her estimate), she’s eliminated shaving from her life forever.
* Laser hair removal creates NO waste. The nurse daubs gel on the area, goes over it with a laser while Enviro Girl wears special goggles used by all the patients. The nurse wipes the gel away with a terry cloth towel (laundered and used by other patients) and daubs the area with aloe vera. Nothing gets tossed in the trash.
* Laser hair removal is a little painful. Imagine getting snapped with a rubber band–each time the laser hits a hair, that’s the sensation. Happily, the sensation lasts only a second and that’s that. Afterwards the skin is red and tender like a slight sunburn. Enviro Girl’s redness disappears an hour after her appointment. She does know other risks can occur: blistering, cracking, peeling, soreness. She hasn’t experienced any of those side effects.
* Laser hair removal is effective. It takes about 2 weeks for the hair to fall out after a treatment and because hair grows all the time in cycles, she returned every 4 weeks for another treatment for a total of 6 treatments. After her first treatment she noticed a significant difference, having to shave only 4 times all month instead of daily. After her second treatment she shaved 2 times. The therapy doesn’t work on light-pigmented hair, so that blond fuzz still grows on the skin beneath her arms, but that’s not noticeable by anyone.
* Laser hair removal is not that expensive when compared to waxing. Enviro Girl figures that after 3 summers she’d have spent on laser hair removal what 4 months of waxing would cost–but she enjoys the benefits of laser hair removal year-round.
If you’re looking for a green alternative to shaving, Enviro Girl encourages you to explore this option. It’s a little expensive, but it’s waste free and liberating–Enviro Girl is ready for swimsuit season today and will be stubble-free tomorrow!