Preparatory Woes

After struggling with hair removal for the past few years, I’ve finally decided that I want to go through with laser treatments. I’ve tried everything (from depilatories to epilators to soy proteins) and have, thus far, been unable to find a method that allows me to remain “hair free” for any tolerable amount of time. Ideally, I’d like to get rid of all the hair on my body! But while laser hair removal looks promising enough, it certainly isn’t inexpensive, so I won’t be able to undergo a full-body treatment anytime soon.

The area that makes me the most uncomfortable is my upper lip, so I figured I’d look into treatments for there first. The hair is coarse, thick and very dark; so much so that even after removing it, an embarrassing “shadow” remains. I recently heard a radio advertisement for Sona Med Spa ( is their website; I live in Connecticut) that’s offering a 30% discount on laser hair removal packages. I spoke to a consultant and they quoted me a $450 price for five treatments on the upper lip area. They also told me I’d be an ideal candidate because I’m fair-skinned and my hair is very dark.

As much as I’d like to begin this week and finally be on my way to a “permanent” solution, I’m worried about maximizing the effectiveness of my treatments. The last thing I want is to go through this process and find out that I wasted my money because of a fluke on my behalf! On a pretty regular basis (almost daily), I use an epilator on my upper lip to remove the hairs there. Yes, ouch! I’ve read literature that states hair goes through “cycles” of growth and that, if plucked, they will not be susceptible to being removed by the laser. Is this true? If so, how long will I have to abstain from plucking in that area before I’ll be able to begin laser treatments?

I’ve read through the forums here and have done plenty of research on my own, but this piece of information seems to allude me. If someone could help clear things up for me, I’d be very grateful! Thanks for taking the time to read my long-winded post.


Since the pigment in the roots is the target of the laser, you should probably stop plucking for several weeks before the treatment.

Once you start treatment you will have to avoid plucking and stick to shaving. No root bulb = no target.

It is unfortunate that you may get a slight shadow at first. Also a thing to note is that once the hair is zapped, it sometimes remains under the skin as a dark smudge for up to a week. Some just pop out though during treatment.


You need to stop plucking FOR GOOD and let the hairs cycle in, which may take anywhere from six to 13 weeks weeks to do so. So give the hair you plucked today a good 6-13 weeks to show it’s face again. Yes,laser needs a target to attack and the dark hair against light skin is most helpful. You may see some reduction in this area, but eventually, you will need to find a good electrologist to get total removal as some hairs will remain.

I am currently working on a young lady who had laser performed on her upper lip the presribed number of times, with so-so results. I am now chasing the thick, dark hairs that keep cycling in. Are these hairs new growth or regrowth??? I don’t know, but I’ll just keep zapping away until the area quiets down.

So, you may want to start a search for an electrologist to do the clean up, or better yet, use that 450.00 to start electrolysis on this small area for TOTAL permanent hair removal.


Thank you both for the advice! I guess I’ll be waiting a bit before I consider laser treatments any further. It’s going to be really difficult for me to stop plucking, but I’m hoping that I can motivate myself under the assumption that I’ll finally be working toward a “permanent” solution to my problem.

I’d also considered electrolysis as a viable alternative; it even seems a little cheaper! However, the issue I have is that it seems similar to plucking. As I understand it, I’d have to allow the hair to grow a little (past the skin) in order for it to be treated and pulled out. As silly as it may sound, I really can’t function day to day with hair on my face. It really lowers my self-confidence and makes me miserable. I thought about getting electrolysis during the interim, while I’m waiting for the plucked hairs on my lip to grow back. I’m not sure if that would detract from the benefits of laser, though.

More than anything, I want to set a goal for myself and begin working toward it as quickly as possible. On the other hand, I don’t want to compromise the effectiveness of whatever treatment I receive by rushing into something before it’d be the most beneficial. Thank you both, again! I really appreciate you taking the time to respond!

You can always shave inbetween electrolyis treatments, just so long as it is not immediately after an electrolysis treatment and the skin might not be suitable to your shaving tastes (and more than likely there wont be hair there anyway) or two days before an electrolysis treatment. Stop putting quotations around the word permanent and seek the true nature of the word.
In response to electrolysis being cheaper than laser, it depends. If you have someone who is really slow and not very effective with electrolysis it could cost more. Or if you have someone who charges ridiculously high hourly rates it could be more expensive. But when you are done you are done.
Laser can provide great results to people but at $200 a treatment it can become costly. I spent $1300 for five treatments. Nothing comes without sacrifice, be it finacially or mentally.

It’s funny how you ask this Keeitog because i’m in the same boat. Just waiting while all the hairs cycle in. It’s been about twenty days since my last epilation and I thought today, I’m getting there. But this morning I got two ingrowns, so I know there’s plenty of hairs that have to still appear. Someone mentioned times up to thirteen weeks, I’d like to get more opinions from others here on the board. Anybody have anything to add to this? Thirteen weeks the concensus for the longest period to wait? I remember seeing a hair regrowth chart where it took a little quicker than that for hairs to cycle in but I can’t remember which thread it was in. I’m probably going to start shaving with an electric razor until it’s about three weeks until laser time. Is this a sound plan, anybody? Also, I’d like to know from someone with some experience, what’s the ideal hair length to have when you walk into the laser office for the first treatment? anybody? As always thank you everybody for sharing your wisdom and advice.


There’s an “Electrolysis & Skin Care Studio” in my area. Their site quotes prices that average about a dollar a minute. That doesn’t seem unreasonable to me, especially not for an area as small as the upper lip. As mentioned, though, a skilled practitioner will make all the difference in terms of cost-effectiveness and actual results. I’m definitely aware of this, but I think that later today I’ll schedule a consultation for Sunday and, if they seem capable and competent, I’ll go through with a treatment.

I realize that I could shave in between electrolysis appointments, but the “shadow” that remains afterward is what bugs me the most. I don’t doubt that after a single laser treatment I’d have the same problem, which is why whatever method I choose to pursue in the long-run is going to wear on my determination.

The concern I have right now is that undergoing electrolysis on my upper lip will perpetuate the growth cycle issue I’m currently dealing with. The advice in this thread has been to abstain from plucking in preparation for laser treatments in the months to come. So, I’m not sure if electrolysis is so similar to plucking (since the hair is removed after it’s treated) that it’ll factor into all of this. I’ve also been told that it isn’t uncommon, especially with an unskilled practitioner, for hairs to grow back or for new hairs to appear even after being treated. I, ultimately, would like to pursue laser and still feel unsure as to whether or not electrolysis (during the interim) will play into its effectiveness on me down the road.

And I definitely sympathize, Mantaray. I was so compelled to run the epilator over my lip this morning, but somehow opted to settle with shaving. I’m trying to remind myself that it’ll just prolong the problem if I succumb. Thirteen weeks does seem like an awfully long time, but I don’t have anything else to compare that data with. Right now, I’ll be aiming toward six and will see how long I can hold out for. Even that length of time will prove immensely difficult!

Thanks for the help, everyone!

Six to thirteen weeks is a wide window for ALL hair from different body areas. There has been a lot of debate about hair growth cycles. These are just estimates because the few clinical studies on hair growth cycles that have been done aren’t as complete as we would like it to be. Some estimates are not based on published clinical data and some are. I tend to refer to a chart in a book titled COSMETIC AND MEDICAL ELECTROLYSIS AND TEMPORARY HAIR REMOVAL by Richards and Meharg that is a little more helpful. Basically,we would welcome more study on hair growth cycles,but until that happens, I will rely on that 6-13 weeks window so as not to complicate and confuse my clients about an issue that is not cut and dry.



If you are going to go laser, then just shave. Start whenever you feel ready, but preferably a few weeks after stopping plucking. Then they space appointments out by six weeks, so eventually if it is going to work it will.

If you go with electrolysis, then you also have to stop plucking and start shaving. But before an appointment you need at least a couple of days growth for the electrolygist
to get their tweezers on. They treat the root and then pull out the hair. They are actually applying intense heat to the root in the case of thermolysis, so they are killing the root. That is not the same as plucking. Plucked hairs regrow. Electrolysis treated hairs usually don’t.

Sometimes their is a slight tug when they remove a hair and it has a big bulb, but they should not be plucking your hairs.

Getting rid of facial hair can be a problem if you are worried about a beard shadow. You would probably have to have dense growth for that. You could try makeup if that is an option. Also growing facial hair out for a couple of days can be a problem if there is a lot and you are self conscious.For some people it can be a matter of having to just put up with this for while.

Good luck, Alicia

I’m probably going to start shaving with an electric razor until it’s about three weeks until laser time. Is this a sound plan, anybody? Also, I’d like to know from someone with some experience, what’s the ideal hair length to have when you walk into the laser office for the first treatment? anybody? As always thank you everybody for sharing your wisdom and advice.


Not shaving 3 weeks before your laser treatment is too long. The hair will be too long, laser energy will be wasted on hair above the skin surface, and you are more likely to burn. Generally, you should shave the skin clean down to the skin before a laser treatment to get maximum effectiveness. Of course, no plucking, tweezing or waxing.

Sometimes, on follow up treatments, they may want you to leave 1mm of hair above the skin so they can observe regrowth patterns. My practitioner prefers her patients to be clean shaven before laser treatments.

Hope this helps.


One thing I would always do was shave in the shower about two hours before my laser treatment. This would give me plenty of time to make sure the skin was smooth, no hair was above the surface, and any irritation would fade by the time the treatment began.

Hi- I went for electrolysis because I didn’t want a shaved feeling on my lip from laser. If you can’t stand to have any hairs growing on, what you can do- if the electrolysist is close to you and you have the time- is make a 15 minute apt. every day with your eledtrolsyst. That way, she can clean you every day until you can go for a while without seeing her.

Are you done with your electrolysis or are you still having it? Sorry if you have already answered this somewhere else, just curious. Email me if you like so we don’t feel a laser post with this.

It’s not a good thing to have electrolysis on your upper lip every day as this is a small area and overtreatment can happen. You need time to heal after a treatment (at least a week) and would not want to keep traumatizing an area that has already been treated. When I treat the upper lip, I see clients once a week until the upper lip is cleared. In some cases that means they need six treatments,or six weeks worth of electrolysis, until clearance. In others it may mean 10 treatments. Thereafter, we cross that beautiful threshhold where we go into maintenance mode for the next several months and I may only need to nit pick for hairs every 3-4 weeks until completion. Patience! I know one is anxious to remove those hairs, but do this right so you save your skin.