A few things come up during wedding planning that you would probably not have thought of before—and pre-wedding hair removal is definitely one of them! No surprise, laser hair removal is a popular pre-wedding treatment. To make sure everything goes smoothly, we talked to Christian Karavolas, owner of Romeo & Juliette in New York City, to get the lowdown on everything you need to know before getting laser hair removal for your big day. Here, the answers to your most-asked questions.
How does laser hair removal work?
“The laser is a beam of light that bypasses the epidermis and disables the reproductive cycle of the hair within the follicle,” explains Karavolas.
Who are the best candidates?
The best candidates tend to be people who have lighter complexions and darker hair. “The laser targets the melanin in the hair. So the darker the hair, the more effective the treatment. That said, with the advent of new lasers, even darker skin complexions can be treated safely and effectively as well.”
How much does it cost and how long does it take?
The cost is typically anywhere from $75 for a small area (like the underarms), up to $700 for a large area (like the legs), per session. Each session can take anywhere from 5 to 40 minutes, depending on the area treated. It usually takes approximately six sessions, spaced six to eight weeks apart, to yield permanent results. So it’s best to book your first session six to nine months before your wedding date.
Can you treat any area?
You can treat anywhere, with the exception of around the eyes (that includes eyebrows, upper cheeks, and temples). Protective eyewear is a MUST during treatments, both for clients and technicians.
What should you look for in a treatment center?
Do your research! First, you want to make sure you go to an experienced, reputable center that is dedicated to laser hair removal—as they specialize in this field and have the most experience in delivering permanent results. Second, pick a place with high-quality, well-maintained equipment. The best brands are Synchro Replay Excellium 3.4 by DEKA, as well as Candela and Cynosure. “The Synchro Replay Excellium 3.4 is particularly recommended, as its beam profile and speed allow for a fast and effective treatment with minimal discomfort,” says Karavolas, who also recommends avoiding IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) devices, which aren’t as effective. “Because they mainly target the epidermis, they work on the skin’s surface and don’t disable the hair growth within the follicle as effectively as a true laser.”
Are there any specific questions you should ask a potential treatment center?
Always ask for credentials (think years in the field, experience, and client testimonials). And don’t forget to inquire about whether the lasers are new and if they’re serviced by the manufacturer or an outside vendor.
Does it hurt?
Good news if your pain threshold is rather low: It doesn’t hurt…well, not that much. Most people describe it as rubber band snapping against your skin. “With the advent of new lasers with new cooling mechanisms, pain is quite minimal,” says Karavolas. You may experience moderate redness immediately after your session—nothing a little aloe vera gel can’t soothe—but it goes away within a couple of hours.
Can you shave, wax, and tan during your course of treatment?
While shaving a few days prior to treatment is recommended, steer clear of the waxing salon for two to three weeks prior to each session. Karavolas recommends that people don’t tan for at least three weeks prior to treatment. And skip the faux glow for two to three weeks before your next appointment.
What's the biggest mistake people make when getting laser hair removal?
The biggest mistake that people make is selecting a treatment center based on price only, without doing proper research, according to Karavolas. Another common faux pas? Not coming back enough times to complete the full course of treatment.
What results can you expect?
After your course of treatment is complete, you’ll experience stunningly smooth results. Laser hair removal is permanent—if administered correctly and proper settings are applied—which means you’ll be stubble-free for your wedding, honeymoon, and life together!