Are you dreaming of sleek summer gams? Peach-fuzz-free pits? A shave-less bikini line? I know many of you are just starting to see the winter snow melt, but let me tell you why now is the perfect time to start dreaming of these things: the TRIA Hair Removal Laser System. You know about razors and waxing and depilatories and Iím guessing youíve heard of laser hair removal at salons and spas.† But the beauty of TRIA Laser is that now you can bring laser hair removal to your living room.
Iíve been fascinated with these at-home laser hair removal systems since I got my legs professionally lasered about two years ago. It was expensive, it was definitely uncomfortable/borderline painful, but holy moley, it worked! Pre-lasering, I had to shave. Every. Single. Day. I just got back from a camp trip with my family a few weeks ago and went over a week sans-razor and sported shorts on the trip. I am a believer.† So when I heard that I might be able to get smooth results for less than salon prices, at my own convenience and in the comfort of my own home Ė I had to check it out.
Below Iíve answered some of the questions I had and hopefully some youíre thinking of too!
What is it? TRIA is a handheld, cord-free, FDA-approved, super-easy-to-use laser hair removal device that you can use in your living room, bathroom or backyard to get silky smooth skin anywhere from the neck down (the TRIA isnít approved for use on the neck/face). There is a handheld device, a skin sensor (more on this later) and a power cord to recharge the battery which lasts for about 30-40 minutes before needing to be recharged.
How does it work? Like all laser hair removal, the TRIA laser is attracted to the dark pigment in the hair follicle.† It heats up the follicle causing the hair to gradually fall out and eventually to stop growing back. Your hair grows in cycles so all laser hair removal requires multiple treatments in order to continually disrupt the hair growth cycle.
Who is it best for? Since the laser zeroes in on the dark pigment in the hair, those with lighter skin and darker hair will have the best results. The darker your skin or the lighter your hair, the harder it is for the laser to be attracted to the follicle.
How do I use it? First, start with newly shaven skin. Unlike waxing where you need to grow your hair out in order to use the treatment, with laser hair removal, you donít want any hair on the surface of your skin.† Then, apply the skin sensor (shown at right) on the area you want to laser. You hold it up to your skin and press a button. If the light turns green, youíre good to go.† If it turns red, it means that your skin is too dark to use the TRIA. (TRIA offers a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you buy it and you find that your skin everywhere is too dark to laser.)† This sensor is vital because it not only lets you know that the TRIA is safe to use on your skin coloring, but it also is the only way to unlock the handheld device.† When the light is green on the sensor, you turn on the handheld and wave the sensor in front of the lights on the handheld.† This will unlock the handheld device so that you can use the laser.
TRIA recently released a new version of their device that includes five laser settings to choose from (their last version only had three).† You want to use the highest level you can handle which will vary based on your personal pain tolerance and the location you are working on (as you can imagine, some areas are a bit more sensitive!).
Then itís as simple as pressing the triangular tip of the handheld device to your skin and waiting for the start and stop beep. Then move it slightly, overlapping treatment areas, and wait for the next set of beeps. No button to continuously push. No other steps to take. Just place, zap and repeat. (An error buzz will occur if you didnít get the tip completely against the skin or moved it too soon.)
How often do I need to use it? In the beginning, TRIA recommends one treatment every other week for the first 3 months and then cutting back to one treatment a month for the next 3-5 months.† Of course everyoneís growth cycle might be a little different so you might need more or less treatments.† Zapping more frequently than the recommended spacing however wonít get you faster results. If youíve already zapped the follicle for that growth cycle, zapping it again, isnít going to do much so patience and consistency are key.
Does it hurt? Youíll definitely feel it (if you have the power level high enough). Imagine each hair follicle getting a little pin prick. Obviously some areas are more sensitive than others, but thatís the benefit of having five different power settings to choose from. You may also want to consider enlisting a girlfriend to help with the process so that you can focus on relaxing (or managing your pain) through the experience.
Does it work? Of course, this is the most important question. And I can say an unequivocal YES! At least for me. Iíve been using it on my armpits and bikini line for 5 treatments cycles and have started to see the proof. ButÖ.(you knew there was a but coming), hereís the thing Iíve found Ė when I got laser hair removal done professionally, I had a set appointment that I never missed.† When you are doing it at home, itís easy to think, ďOh, Iíll fit in a treatment some time this weekÖ.Ē and then get distracted with life. Plus itís not always easy to find the time (or privacy, as a mother of two) to sit in oneís underwear for 30 minutes and do some DIY laser hair removal. And suddenly itís been two weeks since you were supposed to have a treatment and you still havenít done it!† So consistency is key to seeing results. The TRIA system comes with a handy 2010 calendar and sticker set so that you can plan out, keep track of and hopefully stick to a treatment scheduled that will get you silky smooth for summer.
There is still snow on the ground! Why should I be thinking about smooth summer legs now? Two reasons: 1) remember that youíre going to need 3-5 months to see results, and 2) being tan, even spray-tanned, decreases the effectiveness of the laser (and may keep you from getting a green light on the sensor), so the best time to laser is definitely in winter when your legs are generally their lightest and probably havenít seen too much exposure yet.
Iím sold! Where do I get one? With their latest TRIA release, they not only added two more power settings bringing the total up to five, they also dropped their price $200!† Now you can buy TRIA through their website for $595. (They also offer payment plans.) I know this is a chunk of change, but I can tell you that I paid about $700 on sale to have just my legs done and now I have a device that I can use on any part of my body and for any needed touch-ups for years to come. Plus they have that 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you’re not happy with it, you can also return it – no questions asked.
Have other questions? Leave them in the comments section and I’ll be sure to answer them the best I can.
Disclaimer: TRIA provided a sample of their product for this review.