Getting Laser Hair Removal before Backpacking Season
I used to need to shave my legs every day. For me it wasn’t a vanity thing and no one noticed or cared if I had leg hair or not, I shaved for me. Because a day or two without shaving, my legs would turn into a cactus and I just felt uncomfortable ALL DAY LONG.
When I started backpacking, this was honestly a thought that plagued my mind.
That coming summer, I was thru-hiking the High Sierra Trail, so I was going to be on the trail for at least a week. How am I going to survive going more than one night without shaving my legs? How am I going to stand being extremely uncomfortable?
I know many women start growing out their leg hair well before their thru-hike so it’s less itchy on the trail. But personally, this wasn’t an option. I just couldn’t stand it.
So I turned to laser hair removal.
I feel like this is a very hush hush topic, but it has literally changed my life for the better and cut out so much time off my showers. In this blog, I’m going to tell you all about what laser hair removal is, how it works, my experience with it, and hopefully open up the doors so more women feel comfortable having this conversation. I’ve brought it up to a couple women I’ve gone on hikes with and the response has always been the same. “I’ve thought about it, but I don’t know anyone who has gotten it so I don’t know if I should.”
Well here I am, I’ve done it, and I love it! Let’s dive in.
What is laser hair removal?
Laser hair removal uses a laser to heat up the hair follicle making it inactive to stop unwanted hair from growing. Unlike waxing and tweezing which just pulls out the hair and only temporarily removes the hair, laser hair removal stops hair growth which permanently stops hair growth. It’s noninvasive and nonsurgical.
Hair grows in three cycles, so typically six sessions are recommended to see permanent results. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but you won’t see results in one session. Your body, hormones, even the area factors in how many sessions you’ll need.
How does it work?
You don’t wax or tweeze for several weeks before, but you do shave! The night before your appointment, you shave the area being treated. Go in and relax while the technician does her thing.
You’ll still need to keep shaving regularly until the last couple sessions. Over the following four to eight weeks, your body will push out the dead hair. Then you go to your next appointment and do it again!
The treatment works best on fair skin with dark hair because the laser uses the pigment in the hair to heat up the follicle. But as technology gets better, they’re able to treat more skin tones and hair colors. It’s best to call and schedule a consultation to see if it’d work for you.
Don’t tan before and during your sessions! You want to be as pale as possible. For the two weeks right after each session, your skin becomes light sensitive, which just means you’ll burn easier, so wear sunscreen more frequently.
Does it hurt?
Nope! And I’m a HUGE baby with sensitive skin. I cry when getting shots and I was completely fine during laser hair removal. Around my ankles I felt it more, but they move through sections so quickly that it lasts only a second. The pain only feels like a rubber band snapping. On my thighs, I didn’t even feel it.
If you’re scared, you can also take an Advil beforehand. If you’re very sensitive or getting your Brazillian done, then you might want numbing cream.
I did my legs, underarms and bikini line and was fine without anything. The only time it did hurt a bit was when I went in for a session on my period. I’ve noticed that my body is more sensitive on my period, even working out and hiking is hard on my period. So then I made sure to schedule my appointments around it.
I’ve done my bikini line, my underarms and my legs. I started with my bikini line when I was still in college. I was so embarrassed from the razor bumps and not being able to wear a swimsuit because of it. That area went smoothly for me. I had to only get five sessions and I was done! It’s been years and I’ve had no issues, no hair regrowth!
Then I got my underarms and legs done at the same time. My underarms and legs needed around eight sessions. See how every area varies.
It took my legs a bit longer to catch up and stop growing, but they have. All the dark coarse hairs are gone and have stopped growing. Some very fine hair grew back, like the hair on your cheeks, the super fine soft hair you can’t see or feel.
On my underarms, about a year and a half after I finished I needed to get a touchup done. I switched birth control pills and my hormones were all over the place during the transition and I ended up having to have two touch ups done.
I’ve heard that overall, you will need to get a touch up here and there. Everyone is different. Some people don’t go in for touch ups for 10 years while others need them every couple years.
I will take a touch up every couple years over having to shave everyday and dealing with the misery and itch of missing a day or two. Especially on backpacking trips.
I actually left my appointments for all of the areas feeling amazing! Like I had spent an hour at the spa, it was wonderful. I think hair removal is a blast.
You can get it done pretty much anywhere! They won’t shape your eyebrows, but you can get the section between your eyebrows done. Anywhere that bothers you.
How much does it cost?
I went to LaserAway. There was one across the street from where I worked so I would go during my lunch break. The bikini line and underarm appointments took 10 minutes, and the leg appointment took around 45 minutes.
The price varies because of different promotions, how many sessions you want to get, the area, etc. But for my legs, I paid $1,500 for eight sessions.
Debra A. Roberts
That’s not a bad price as long as it does the trick! Thanks for writing this blog! It was very informative and makes me definitely want to do it!
Great article! I’ve had great results with laser too. These were the exact questions i had before i started too!! Thanks!
Thank you thank you thank you for opening up and posting about this! I hadn’t thought about this while prepping myself for my first hike-through. This is great news!