Is Laser Hair Removal Worth It?

by Denise Duffield-Thomas

Shaving, waxing, plucking, electrolysis - I've tried them all and like most women, I find hair removal an annoying task. Expensive and messy but worst of all, you have to do it over and over again... pretty much for the rest of your life!

Depressing, but for years I've been intrigued with the idea of permanent hair removal. Achieving hair free perfection is the holy grail of the beauty industry, but I've been wary of the technology and the claims made. I've heard mixed results and I wouldn't want to go through all that pain and cost for nothing.

That's actually the exact problem I had with electrolysis, which involves sticking a very fine needle-shaped electrode into each hair follicle, one by one to destroy the root. It really, really hurts, particularly in sensitive places. I spent hundreds on this type of treatment and it always grew back.

With the prospect of an upcoming wedding and honeymoon, a lot of brides will be thinking about the best solution for hair removal,  and as chief travel blogger for The Honeymoon Testers, I'm sometimes "stuck" in 5-star resorts which charge an arm and a leg for waxing. I'll admit that I'm often caught out looking... less than ideal... due to my lazy beauty regime.

With these dilemmas, I've been thinking about laser treatment for a while...

Serendipitously, I was invited to test out Sheer Light Laser Hair removal courtesy of Laser Dublin at the Hermitage Medical Centre, and I was pretty curious (and a little nervous) of why it's different and of course, to test out if it works.

The procedure

I arrived at the incredibly beautiful Hermitage Medical Centre and immediately felt reassured that I was in safe hands. This is a seriously high-tech place.

My technician Cherry guided me through a pre-treatment questionnaire, concerning my lifestyle, tanning habits and any medical problems.

Next up, I changed into a robe, leaving my underwear on and lay back on the table. Blacked out googles protected my eyes, but Mark took some video footage of how it works.

Brandishing a wand type instrument, similar to a bar code scanner, Cherry very quickly went over my underarm and bikini line, and the non-invasive laser zapped the hair follicle. 

It took hardly any time, less than 5 minutes each on my bikini and underarm. That's it! The surface area of the cooled hand-piece means that a lot of hair can be treated at the same time.

Cherry tells me that she can do a hairy back, or full pair of legs in less than 20 minutes. She's done a full body treatment in just over an hour. That's pretty amazing. 

She put some ointment on, gave me a post treatment checklist and told me not to wear any deodorant for 24 hours.

The pain...?

The potential pain, combined with the cost is probably the number 1 reason why people are afraid of laser hair removal. We ladies are understandably dubious of "pain-free" hair removal claims, because generally they don't exist!

Does it hurt? The truthful answer is... a bit.

The hand-piece has vacuum technology which sucks up your skin and almost pinches it. It feels hot, but not unbearable. The actual laser itself is a little jolt and then the technician moves on to the next section of skin. It's less than two seconds per section.

I have a medium to high pain threshold, so I find waxing reasonably painful but bearable. The treatment definitely doesn't hurt as much as waxing, more like a rubber band against your skin rather than hair being ripped out. Actually I found the suction hurt a little more than the actual laser, which is probably the point, it distracts your body!

Afterwards, my skin felt warm but it didn't hurt. There's none of the redness, blood or sensitive skin I usually have after a wax. I actually felt elated when I came out - so quick, no fuss and if it works....? Brilliant!

My tips

Definitely shave before you go! I had this instruction before hand, but I didn't follow it because I couldn't understand how it would work without at least some hair there! Note to self - just follow the instructions!

If you leave hair that's a bit long, like mine, it will burn and smell pretty bad for a few hours. It still works fine, but it's preferable to do the treatment on shaved skin. You can even shave on the day if you want to, but do it the day before if you feel comfortable with some stubble.

I also wore deodorant the next day, and it was fine. One advice I will follow is not to get my skin in the direct sunlight because it can affect pigmentation. 

I asked Cherry if there's anywhere she won't do, and she said they will do the treatment anywhere on your body. They have seen it all.


I'm writing this a little over two weeks later after the original treatment. I've shaved once under my arms and not at all on my bikini line. It still looks like I've had a recent wax.

As I mentioned, I didn't have the most ideal preparation because I had waxed fairly recently and then didn't shave before hand, but already I can see a difference on my hair growth. I've completely forgotten about shaving my armpits and there's only very light fine hair. My bikini line is completely smooth. 

At the moment, I'm very impressed, but the real proof will be after six weeks when I go back for another treatment. I'm sure it will start to grow back somewhat but I'm hoping it will be finer. Some people need to go back a few times to get the entire hair cycle zapped.

Cherry said she sees people who have remarkable results after just two treatments, but she can advise you about your particular skin type.

Ironically, the darker and thicker your hair is, the better the result will be! Great news for me, I have a good combination of medium coloured skin and dark hair. The good news is that the Sheer Light system can be used on any skin tone and ethnicity, unlike some other laser systems.

Is it worth the price?

A bikini session starts around €200 and the same for an underarm treatment and range from €60 for upper lip up to €400 for a full chest. Over my lifetime, I've probably already spent thousands on temporary hair removal. In theory, the numbers work out, but only if the treatment is successful.

If you have ever experienced shame, distress or embarrassment about excess hair, particularly relating to hormones or Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome - then don't wait, just get it done. Cherry described to me how life-changing it can be for her clients to realise they can fix the problem. People cry, rejoice and feel so much more confident after the treatment.

From what I've experienced so far, I would recommend it for anyone who wants to be hair-free, and I'll write an update after my next session to let you know the results. 

I could see how it would be addictive. I can already see other parts that I'd like to get done! Watch this space!

Another Review.....

I had my Brazilian bikini lasered in Hermitage Clinic Lucan, I was extremely happy with my visit and treatment at this clinic, professional from the initial phone call through to consultation and treatment. The place demonstrated EXCELLENT service, has a great staff and top of the line equipment.

I arrived and the staff was efficient, friendly, and helpful. The person who looked after me- Aideen, was extremely professional, knowledgeable, competent  and informative. Shauna very helpful and gave me great advice. She is such a nice, positive, supportive person.

 I am delighted to have found a laser treatment that actually works!!

 I am  very happy with the treatment and the  results . My results speak for themselves.

I can enjoy hair free- skin everyday.

I would highly recommend this clinic. I did extensive research before having my laser treatment and picked the best laser for  hair removal. It is the ONLY place in the city to go. I was really scared of the price, but it was well worth it!

 Its  better to go for a medical center with a better machine & a good laser specialist, than waste money and time.  Joanna, Dublin

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