Today is 2/10/2015.
I am from Trinidad. I have medium brown skin and very thick, coarse hair. When I was around 18 years old, I started getting one or two stray hairs around my nipples. I didn’t tweeze them until months later, when I started dating my ex-boyfriend. Over the years, these hairs grew in number because of my tweezing them. I also had long very fine hairs under my chin, which couldn’t be seen except in certain light. I got laser treatment on my face at Monard MEd Spa, but it did not work. It was a complete waste of money, and it even burned my face in a minor way. I spent about $3000 up front at Monarch Med Spa, but I didn’t even finish the treatment because of the burns and after 7 out of 10 sessions, there was no reduction anywhere except arm-pits. I never got my money back, and I wish I had never done laser. I may as well have thrown your money into the toilet and flushed it.
Until 2011, I was also bleaching regularly. This usually worked. One day, I forgot to bleach. My then bf (now ex), pointed out my hair to me. When I laughed, he said- I’m not joking. You need to shave or do something to take care of that.
After his heartless comment until 2013, I discovered the epilator- looks like an electric razor, but has a million mini tweezers. I epilated to remove hairs. Epilation at first seemed like a god-send. All of my hair was gone, and there were no scars. It hurt, but the more I did it, the more I got used to it. My ex never saw hairs on my face again. I epilated my face and my chest, in addition to bleaching. I did not epilate my moustache (too soft of a region). I simply used Nair. Over the years, I realized that epilation was the worst thing I could do to myself. The hairs increased in number and thickness. Basically, tweezing/epilation rushes blood to the area to heal the hair root, and that causes more/thicker hair to occur.
I finally stopped epilating in February of 2013. Frustrated, I began looking for a permanent solution. I found electrolysis. I had stayed away from electrolysis for years because I read it was the most expensive option. However, I wish I had done it sooner. Unlike Monarch Med Spa, which only promises a permanent hair reduction (any amount) and requires an up-front fee in the thousands for 10 sessions, you pay $20-90 per session for electrolysis. You can pay as you go along, and you are not tied into any contract. Laser requires you to shave before treatment, and this is harsh because shaving does cause more hair to grow. For electrolysis, your don’t need to do anything before the appointments. I am writing this post to document my journey through electrolysis. I will update this post at least once a month, with pictures so you can see if this is for you.
I have been getting electrolysis done for almost one year. I live in the Philadelphia region. When I first started doing electrolysis around March 2014, I went to an electrologist in Springfield named Kay Ann Mcnamara.
The first time did not hurt at all, she gave me a free 5 minute trial during which she cleared part of my chin area. I believe she gave me a very mild current. The subsequent times, it hurt- although not intolerable, especially compared to laser. After a while, the treatments became more and more tolerable (perhaps my skin became used to it). I couldn’t wait until each session. After each session, most of my face would be cleared, and the hair would slowly grow back by the next appointment. I saw her every week for half an hour, religiously. She is incredibly busy, so she wasn’t able to see me a few weeks. On occasion, before a big event I would see her for an hour. Her costs are listed below:
30 minutes= $50.00
45 minutes= $72.00
1 hour= $88.00
About Kayann: I only saw Kayann for my face about 2 months (March-May 2013). Kayann has been practicing for decades, but she is very up to date with all the latest technology. A couple of times, it was difficult to get an appointment with her because she would book up fast. I only stopped going to her because she booked up fast, and then I didn’t get an appointment for a couple weeks, and by that time I had lost my job and couldn’t afford weekly treatments. I can’t comment about the effectiveness of her treatments, because I only saw her for two months. However, she never left a single scar or mark on my face. She never cancelled a single appointment. She is always on time. When I went to her facility, she is respectful and she knows what she is doing. I always felt like I was going to the spa. She always updates her technology and she is very safe. You can be assured that her equipment is clean, and that she is giving you the best treatment. She gets the thickest and most obvious hairs first, and does an even job just in case you run out of time. Only minor issues I had is that she uses a timer, so if she doesn’t get to certain hairs, you are completely out of luck and have to wait until next session. Still, she is great. Keep in mind I have gone for only two months, so I can’t give an opinion about reduction of hair. But she answers all your questions, she is extremely polite, and she is probably the best I have seen. I would wholeheartedly recommend her. As soon as I get a job, I plan to go back to her. Currently, I am seeing her once every couple of months for half and hour to tweeze my moustache and hairs on breastbone and nipples. That’s all I can afford right now. But for those of you who are not worried about money-- go to her if you can! If you are worried about not being able to get regular appointments, just schedule them a couple weeks in advance. You can always reschedule for free if you give her 24 hour notice.
Since May 2013, I have been seeing a Philly electrologist. “Electrolysis by Mindy” on Bustleton Ave. Mindy is a nice Jewish electrologist who has been practicing for 17 years. Mindy’s prices are much lower, and her schedule is far more flexible. I have been seeing Mindy since May, and have almost never missed a week. For each of my half hour sessions, Mindy charges $32/half hr. For those of you who are broke, I would definitely see Mindy. Mindy gets more hairs done than Kayann. Much more hairs. Kayaan takes more time with each hair, and only gives you exactly as much time as you pay for. Mindy doesn’t keep a strict time. Sometimes, she finishes your session 5 minutes early, sometimes she gives you 5 minutes extra. But I don’t think that is a big deal. If you want her to get a couple of extra hairs, she will always do that even if she is over your time limit. If you have the cancel, she is pretty flexible and doesn’t charge you.
I had Mindy do under my chin and my chest and stomach region. I decided not to have Mindy do my chest because my breast bone has tiny little marks to this day. It is a very sensitive area, and most electrologists I have done a session with has left tiny, minor scars. (If you are doing breast bone- I would recommend KayAnn, because you are less likely to have a scar with her, even though breastbone is very delicate and even KayAnn has left one or two marks on me, which look like tiny freckles). Mindy never leaves scars on the stomach. She did my lip once, and it did leave one little scar (so tiny you can’t see it except in certain light), so I don’t let her do my moustache anymore. She does under my chin/neck pretty well. There are little tiny marks on my neck from the electrolysis, but most people won’t notice it because they just look like dark freckles. Mindy doesn’t believe those are scars from electrology, but I know they are because I didn’t have them after Kayann, and because it’s my face so I keep record. I believe you can get rid of these tiny (never serious) brown specs with turmeric and yogurt. I will try it next month, and keep you posted on a future blog. So for under chin and neck and stomach and arm- go ahead and use Mindy. For moustache and breastbone- use KayAnn.
The amount of hairs since my initial visit in May 2013 and the thickness has not decreased since I have seen Mindy. I recently read that you have to see an electrologist for about 2 - 3 years before hair growth stops. Because of a snow storm in Jan, I did not see her for 2.5 weeks and after that I saw there were just as many hairs as I had started with. I get sad whenever I see the same amount of hairs that I started with.
However, here is the good part: 1. Hair never gets thicker (unless the electrologist is tweezing), so there are no disadvantages to doing it 2.Mindy is quite affordable and flexible 3. I used to go every week, but now I only need to go every 2 weeks. The hair grows back at a slower rate. For hairy people like myself, this is extremely important. It is painful and disheartening to have to remove hair every other day, so the fact that hair has started growing back at a slower rate is promising. When you get thick hairs in between sessions, just cut them using a tiny scissors. Mindy says not to use Nair, because this can make it worse, and I believe her. For those of you out there with blonde peach fuzz, I think it’s okay. But for those of us with black facial hair that is thicker in diameter, I would follow Mindy’s instructions and only use scissors in between treatments, as necessary. You can certainly use facial bleach (which will not work on thick hairs, but will work on thinner facial hairs).
I plan to go to Mindy for under my chin for another year and a half. I will document with pictures my progress every month, not just post sessions, but also in between sessions so you have a good idea of the electrolysis journey of someone who has been doing this for some time.
Keep reading future posts, as they will be available soon, with pictures.