Laser hair removal VS electrolysis

I’m thinking of getting some kind of permanent hair removal done and I’m undecided between laser or electolysis. Here’s the deal: my NATURAL hair color is dirty blonde and my skin is so very light (I’ve never tanned in my whole life - I always burn). Also, I am a university student and don’t have all that much money to throw away. I want to get my eyebrows done, as well as my bikini line.

I know that in order to get my eyebrows done, I would have to go with electrolysis, as most LHR clinics do not go near the eye area (and as if I’d let them!). But for my bikini area, there’s not much to be taken off. I just want it groomed. Forever.

Just wondering if anyone had tried both electrolysis and laser, and which they prefer… Please keep in mind that I am on a budget. Thanks!!! :confused:

Welcome, Melanie!

You should not do laser near your eyes. I’d definitely do electrolysis there.

If your hair along the bikini line is light in color, you won’t have much luck with electrolysis there.

Here’s some tips to improve electro effectiveness on the bikini area (and to avoid unnecessary pain):

  1. Use a topical anesthetic like ELA-Max or EMLA. You can read about them in pain reduction tips.

  2. Wax the area first and have the electrologist get the hairs as they come back in. They’re easier to kill then.

  3. This area can definitely hurt for some people. Be sure to look into all the pain reduction options if you find this area uncomfortable to treat (I sure do!).

Thank you Andrea for such a quick reply… I’m still wondering if I should go for laser or electrolysis? I’ve read up on laser (thanks to your site!) and it seems to still be in the development stage…
Which is more effective? With which one will I see better/faster results?
Any feedback is appreciated!

Laser is past the development stage-- there haven’t been any significant technological improvements in a while.

There’s also been enough time to determine that consumers with light skin and blond hair do not respond to laser well (if at all). That’s because lasers target a kind of melanin in the hair, which is the pigment that makes hair brown or black. If your hair is dirty blond, you have almost none of the melanin you need to make laser work.

Laser is a good option for some, but it’s not a good option for people with the hair color you or I have (blond or red). Any ethical laser practitioner would tell you the same thing.

Andrea, when we talk about our hair color, are we talking about the hair on our heads, or the hair I want removed?
Just wondering, cuz the hair I want removed is around my bikini area, and although I am blond, that hair is definitely very dark brown, if you know what I mean!!!

I can say, from my personal experience, that the laser has no effect at all on light colored hair.

Mine grew back as normal, by this I mean it did not shed at all like the darker hairs. Up to today I have zero regrowth of the darker hairs but I do have scattered blondish hair growth. I will be contacting an electrolosys in a few weeks to finish off the job, so perhaps you might want to consider doing both.

Laser is over the long run probably less expensive and a lot less time consuming, sorry I cannot tell you which of the two is less comfortable to experience until I have electrolosys done on myself. Maybe if you did a consultation with both laser and elctrolosys and determined the total costs of each you would have a better idea of which one to choose.

Personaly laser is the I would recommend.

Melanie, we’re talking about the visible color of the hair in the area you want treated. If the hair is brown or black and you have light skin, laser may be the better option. Be sure to avoid getting any sun on the treated area for a couple of weeks before and after treatment.

If the hair in the area you want treated is gray, blonde, or red, you will not have much luck with laser on those colors of hair. The laser targets a kind of melanin in hair, which is the stuff that gives hair its color. If you don’t have the kind of melanin that makes hair dark, the laser can’t heat up the melanin, which is what causes the damage to the hair follicles.

If you don’t have a lot of hair, electrolysis might be a better option, but I suspect many people with dark hair would prefer a couple of passes with laser at the bikini line followed by any necessary touchups with electrolysis. Laser alone will probably not remove all the hairs in the area completely, though many patients with dark hair see significant reduction in size and color of hairs.

jonny_longer’s laser results are fairly typical for those with dark hair in the area they want treated. You will see reduction, but once you start having regrowth that’s finer and lighter in color, laser will not be as effective on the lighter colored hairs. If you want this light-colored regrowth removed permanently, you will need to remove it with electrolysis, which works on any color hair.

You should never do laser on the eyebrows, no matter what color your eyebrow hair is. There is too much risk of serious eye injury (up to and including blindness) for a laser to be used safely on the eyebrows.

[ June 26, 2002, 09:38 AM: Message edited by: Andrea ]

So has been established that laser does make some hair grow back lighter in color if it does come back? I thought the light hair was always there but I just didn’t notice it as much before.

The light hair on my chest seems more coarse than before, almost like wire. It grows very fast too. There isn’t that much though so it is tolerable for a day or two before I shave it off. It is tougher to shave the white hair with an electric. This is one time where a triple edge blade works better.

Maybe one of these days they will perfect PDT so all hair colors will be treated. Someone’s going to make a ton of money when that happens.


Yep, RJC2001. This was first observed back in the late 1980’s with quinea pigs treated with Q-switched rubies:

Hairfacts: Dover 1989 (leukotrichia)

The official name is leukotrichia, or hair whitening. Lasers sometime appear to damage the structures that produce melanin (called melanocytes). That’s why some people get changes in skin pigmentation with laser-- it can damage melanocytes in skin as well as hair.

Because lighter-colored hair is less visible than darker-colored hair, this effect can be a welcome one. One thing is that in some hairs, laser can damage the pigment-makers, but not the hair-makers. That leaves a hair-maker with no pigment, which means the hair is as thick as ever, but it no longer has any pigment that can be targeted by laser. That’s why most consumers will not have complete hair removal with laser and may require electrolysis to get the stragglers.

[ June 26, 2002, 05:45 PM: Message edited by: Andrea ]

Andrea, thanks for the clarification. Fortunately I don’t have a lot of white hairs left. So electrolysis may be the answer then.