Should I buy this?

Long-time readers may recall that one of us has PCOS (that would be me).

One of the lovely things that comes with PCOS is dark hair growing places women are not supposed to have hair.  In me, that results in sort of a Fu Manchu facial hair thing going if I don’t pay attention.

Lately my facial hair has started to become a huge hassle.  Even with my tweezerman I’m spending more and more time plucking and/or shaving.

I paid for professional laser treatment on my legs once but even though I paid in advance, when an appointment had to be rescheduled I just sort of didn’t finish going to my sessions.  My leg hair is a lot thinner than it was prior to treatment and during some follicle cycles I have kind of weird bald spots.  I’m sure I would have more of those bald spots if I had finished the treatments.

My skin, btw, is super pale and my unwanted hair is super dark, making me the perfect candidate for laser.

In the best of all possible worlds, I would do laser again, this time on my face and I would go to all the treatments and I would be happy.  I don’t trust myself to actually go to appointments.  I can’t even get my hair cut more than once a year (and then only if I have free time during business hours when I’m in Boston).

So I was watching a youtube video and the commercial suggested I get a Tria home hair removal laser machine.  They are $450, or IIRC, about the cost of two-four professional laser treatments (it takes about 6 treatments done with the right timing for permanent hair removal).

$450 is a lot.  We will have money leftover from our year in Paradise and other expenses.  So we can afford it.  But should we?

It’s got 4 amazon stars on average, with 45% giving 5 star and 23% giving 1 star.

So… what should I do?  Buy this?  Laser?  Electrolysis?  Nothing?

This totally came without attribution from some random pinterest page. I don't know where it originally came from!

What would you do to avoid [the above] beard?

43 Responses to “Should I buy this?”

  1. hollyatclubthrifty Says:

    I don’t have PCOS but I definitely have hair in places I don’t want it. I never did until around age 30, but it didn’t take long to go downhill from there. I say, buy it! I don’t think I would have time for in-office treatments, either. With the at-home thing, you can do it when you feel like it.

  2. Leah Says:

    Will you actually use the machine? If the answer is yes, then I definitely think it’s worth it.

  3. monsterzero Says:

    Any sentence with the structure “If [thing happens], then I would be happy,” raises my skeptometer. Aka my eyebrow.

    I dunno, anything involving both lasers and my face, I would prefer that a professional do it.

  4. SP Says:

    The negative reviews, in combination with the high price, would turn me away. But it depends on how frustrated you are with the issue, and how motivated you are to find a solution. The worst case scenario is that you buy it and it does not work and you have wasted $450. That is not good, but it is an absorbable loss for you.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It is an absorbable loss, it is true.

      Currently I’m feeling pretty flush because I’m seeing a future in which I am back up to full salary and we’re paying half as much for our major expenses (housing, daycare). But that doesn’t mean I should be dropping $500 here and there.

      • SP Says:

        Yes, it definitely has to be balanced with other options and other “losses” that might occur…

        My first thought was no (just because the reviews were a bit mixed, even at 4 stars). With your lack of faith that you will actually use it, the answer is still no!

        But if you’ve evaluated your other options and this seems like the best, AND you are highly motivated to find a solution… it isn’t a crazy thing to try. In which case, you would have to accept the risk that it might not work. I like to look at the worst case. If it is something I can stomach, then I can talk myself into at least some risk. Otherwise, I’d probably never do anything, ever!

        Waiting is always a good option if you aren’t sure. Maybe it will never become important enough to decide to accept the risk.

  5. sallysue Says:

    At ‘over 70’ and therefore VERY ‘PCOS over time’ aware…. go to the professional. Less risk of evil damage and some hairs will not come back after one treatment and do it Before your hair starts to grey. Believe me with shaking hands, diminished eye sight and grey whiskers that pop up as they wish….. PROFESSIONAL and NOW. And make it important to you to get there like …. having court for custody of your children …… yeah, you’d get there for that. So just decide and do it.

  6. Cardinal Says:

    Worst case scenario could be quite a bit worse than it not working — it could leave you with disfiguring burns. As could professional laser treatments.

    I have PCOS, a luxuriant crop of chin hairs (now extending to cheeks too!) and middle-aged vision. Some days I say Fuck the Patriarchy and let the chin hairs flourish, and other days I go at them with the tweezers. Having paid for the good quality tweezers, the only other financial investment I’m willing to make in this situation is a large lighted magnifying mirror so I can actually see what I’m tweezing.

  7. Lucy Says:

    I am in the same PCOS and unwanted hair as you are, also with pale skin and dark hair. I go to a clinic and I am having laser done (face included). I did my legs a while ago and then stopped before I should because I have a sensitive skin. Now, I am back at it. I also considered buying the machine, but because of the senstive skin, I prefer to do this with a doctor at hand. You can have serious burns if it is not correctly calibrated. So I preferred to do the more expensive, but also reliable.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oddly, none of the negative reviews complain about burning, which makes me think that it’s probably a lot less powerful than the doctor’s version.

      I actually didn’t find having my legs done hurting anymore than advertised (specifically, it did feel like someone was snapping me with small rubber bands).

      Also I’m not entirely sure that the doctor’s office would be the safest in my case– when I called them up 5 years ago, they said that they rented their machine and only had it available once a week and only when a client specifically ordered it and the nurse who did it didn’t do it as her main job and hadn’t done many, while the aesthetician’s office where I had it done had their own machine and a woman who only did laser treatments and had an impressive track record with them.

      I don’t know what the landscape is now. A lot more of the beauty shops in town also do laser which makes me worry that it’s not as safe at the beauty shops as it was when only one place was doing everyone. The doctor’s webpage hasn’t changed since I last looked at it 5 years ago, but I can’t imagine having it more available at beauty parlors has made the doctor’s office any safer.

      • Lucy Says:

        Ufff, yeah, that sounds bad. No way I would rent!! I see that it depends on the country :-) I did it when I was living back in Europe, and in my specific country of origin lasers could only be used by doctors. I see now that other general beauty shops also have them. But I stick to my European doctor when I visit back a couple of times a year. Here I would have to take a plane to an actual city to find one of those machines in the first place :-) So now I am in moustache-growing mode, in preparation for my travel in a few weeks…grrrr, hate this phase.

  8. First Gen American Says:

    i would stay with a professional. One of my friends had a laser hair removal thing go badly and she had 3rd degree burns.

    My wedding present to myself was laser hair removal, BUT I did all the sessions. I have fair skin and had very thick dark hair on my legs..like 5 oclock shadow an hour after shaving kinda bad. I have almost no hair on my legs anymore except around my knees (which I think is because it’s kind of hard to reach). I still have some in my bikini area and armpits but I have been too lazy to go back. Plus the bikini area hurt the most from the treatments… The legs bugged me the most and they’re fixed and I have other things to spend money on at present.

    Laser hair removal does work. If you put the time in, you’ll get the benefits back…especially if the sessions are already paid for. The way I understand it is that the hair grows in different cycles, so you can’t zap it all at once. Hence the need for multiple treatments. Some of it’s effectiveness is around how well you’ve timed your hair growth spurts around your treatments. If you’re considering it, I’d do it before your hair starts going grey. Then it’ll be a lot harder. It really does work. I may have some blond hair still left, but it’s hard to see so I don’t care that it’s there.

    I’d also only use a person that owns the machine. Some spas/salons rent their units and only use them a few times a month. My burned friend went to a place that only operated the equipment occasionally and didn’t really know what they were doing.

  9. Cloud Says:

    I was going to offer an opinion, but realized I have no idea what I would do! So there’s something nice about fair hair, I suppose….

    Have you tried the lotions that are supposed to help suppress hair growth? I wonder if they would help at all on your face. I used them for awhile on my legs, and maybe they worked. But… fair hair, aging, and two pregnancies make it impossible to pinpoint why my leg hair is sparse these days.

    So I guess all I can really offer is sympathy!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      There are lotions that suppress hair growth?

      I know there’s Nair-like products that remove hair, but I don’t think you’re supposed to use them on your face, and back when I was a teenager Nair gave me rashes under my aims.

      • Cloud Says:

        I think they have “botanical estrogens,” usually from soy, or maybe retinol. I last used one in the early 2000s, so I have no idea if they are still on the market or whether the available evidence indicates they work. They are not Nair-like at all. If they work, they do so my discouraging hair growth, not by making the hair that is there fall out.

        My quick google search has failed to turn up the mainstream brand one I used (maybe it was St. Ives? Or Suave? I cannot remember). But I found a lot of anti-aging creams with phytoestrogen, and at least a couple lotions claiming to help slow hair growth… So there is something similar still out there.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Huh. The internet suggests a prescription cream called Vaniqa.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Though it looks like it’s just as much trouble as tweezing based on the reviews (you have to do it every day but don’t see the effects for months, which means if I did use it enough to get it to work I’d forget to keep using it and then I’d be back where I started). :/

      • Ana Says:

        VAniqua may end up costing more than $500—you pay about $80 for a TINY TINY tube and it goes fast (I’ve had patients ask me for it and I usually talk them out of it).

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Thanks for the info!

      • Cloud Says:

        When I used the lotion on my legs, I just used it once or twice a day in place of my regular lotion. I thought my leg hair was less noticeable, but… who knows? I would not have the patience to use a cream multiple times a day, unless it is doing something like stopping an itch. (I have an eczema patch on my elbow right now, and have NO PROBLEM AT ALL remembering to apply cream to it regularly….)

  10. chacha1 Says:

    I’ve considered buying one of those things, and I don’t even have PCOS. But it really comes down to, would you use it.

  11. Ana Says:

    I would try it if I were you. I agree that something you could do at home is way more convenient than having to make appointments and go to them (that and the cost is why I never did laser hair removal of any kind…and I also don’t have the right coloring). If it works, great! If not, you can move on.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You make a solid point.

      I’m thinking what is going to happen is either I get fed up one day while plucking and rage-order it, or that doesn’t happen and I never make up my mind to order it.

  12. jjiraffe Says:

    I personally would pass. $450 seems a lot to spend on something that may not work – that is too many 1 star ratings for my taste ;) But I am really risk averse when it comes to anything money and beauty related, so caveat there.

  13. Flavia Says:

    OMG I am you! PCOS, pale skin, crazy dark coarse hair every-fucking-where (also, I have very sensitive skin, which means shaving is largely out). Bane of my life.

    Which is to say, do it and report back!!

  14. X Says:

    Try going to a professional place first – there is a chance that laser hair removal won’t work for you anyway. In which case there’s no point buying the machine. That’s my story, and I had multiple rounds of professional treatment :-(

  15. What happened when I rage bought the $450 laser hair removal thing | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] predicted, one day I had enough of plucking my chin and went to amazon and bought this home laser hair removal […]


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