Soprano vs GentleLase - Need advice

Hi - had started this thread in another forum but as per LAgirl’s suggestion, I am posting here, below is a copy of the thread so far.

I have never had laser hair removal done before but have narrowed down my preferences based on some test patches I had done (i think). The areas to be treated are the brazillian and underarms. I usually shave/wax my underarms but only trim the brazillian area. An overview of my skin type, experience etc:

Skin type: I’ve been told I am 3-5 (visited around 5 clinics & each had a different opinion). I think 4 should be the closest match, darker in the braz area. I’m Indian (the actual Indian, not american).
Sex: Female
Age: 30
Hormonal issues: PCOS, under treatment (contraceptive pill) last 2 yrs or so.
Hair colour: Black
Hair texture: very coarse
Test patch for Gentlease results:
Tested underarm without shaving, around 1inch square, it hurt pretty bad, the tech said she used around 16joules I think. Not sure if all the hair fell out since I shaved several times after the test but a few have grown back since the last shave. Test done around 7weeks ago. No ‘pepper spots’ visible where hair fell out.
Was advised I’d need 2 treatments @ 6weeks, 2 @ 8 weeks & then 10 - 12 weeks as required.

Test patch for Soprano results:
Tested braz area (bikini, just outside underwear on thigh), quite a large area around 2inch square. Tech shaved area before test, used around 12joules i think, no pain just a ‘sensation’. Have not shaved area since, not all hair fell out and around 30 have grown back (that i can see). Usually have pretty thick growth. Test done around 8 weeks ago. ‘Pepper spots’ visible, possibly becoz I have not shaved or scrubbed the area.
Was advised I’d need 3 treatments @6weeks, 3 @ 8 weeks & 2 @ 10 weeks.

I am leaning towards the Soprano since it is a diode and apparantly more suitable for my skin type however another friend who is much darker than I went to this clinic years ago for her face and had bad results - her hair actually grew back more dense! I’ve heard this is possible in rare cases and only on the face area - she did have hormonal issues too (PCOS) and was in her early 20’s at the time. She has had great results at the Genlease clinic tho and strongly recommends it. Confused becoz she is much darker than me but still had good results with the Gentlease. I think her experience with the regrowth was with a Yag laser since the Soprano has not been out for that long & that clinic used to use the Yag previously.
Also confused becoz the area tested with Gentlease is smaller hence find it hard to judge results based on regrowth. Gentlease is cheaper tho, around $45 less per session (AUD, Im in melbourne, australia).
Please let me know what you think & if you need more info… I want to start treatment this week.


Response from LAgirl:

Since you’re Indian, you’re at least a type IV or possibly even close to V. GentleLASE is not a good machine for you. Soprano is also not great.

You should really research ND:Yag machines like Coolglide, GentleYAG, GentleMAX, Apogee Elite, Sciton etc. Those would be best in your case.

In order to use GentleLASE on you, they would need to use very low settings, which would mean results will most likely not be very permanent. There is also a high chance for burns. Soprano requires experience to use correctly. It seems many clinics out there still don’t know how to use it properly.

And your treatments should be spaced 8-12 weeks apart. You shouldn’t have anything to treat yet at 6 weeks if things go well.

You may want to post on the LHR forum which we check more often.

Thanks for the quick response! I’ll try n post to the LHR forum, I’m new to this site and was not sure how to go about posting so just did the first thing that worked:)

Unfortunately, being in Melbourne, I have not found any clinics that have those machines you mentioned - my choices are basically limited to GentleLase and Soprano. There was one clinic that had a Candela GentleMax but isn’t that basically an alexandrite too? Anyway that one’s way too expensive and had a weirdish male doctor who i’m not comfortable seeing!

Between the Soprano and GentleLase (assuming level of expertise is the same since there’s really no knowing for sure beforehand anyway), which one is more suitable for me? And can you also advise optimum settings given my details?


The Soprano is a great machine. We have people do Brazilian every day.
12 joules is probably too low i would say you need more like 20 but I’m not 100% sure on that.
Also, since it was just a test patch that could also be why they used a low setting, it was just to see if you react to it in any way rather then actually trying to see results from it.

Soprano could work fine in good hands as I said. But I wouldn’t recommend it as a first choice for your skin type.

As mentioned above, GentleMAX is a combo machine, i.e. both alex and Yag in one. So that’s your best bet.

Hm I didn’t know the GenleMAx was a combo. Strangely tho, the test patches done with this machine did not yield good results at all - just fried the hair on the surface, mostly. Also the silly doc left a small red patch that has not disappeared. It’s really tiny but just imagine what he could do on the entire area! Guess he’s not that good with the machine. Or with using it on Indians. So I’m definitely not going back there.

I will try and find some more such machines in Melbourne, doubt I’ll be successful tho, most of them use the alex ones.

On the bright side, since it seems that a diode is better (yeh i know, not the first choice) for me, I found another clinic that uses the Soprano. The doc seemed like someone I could trust - for one, he did not suggest an entire ‘treatment plan’ as did the other two clinics I mentioned. It seems they will only guarantee the treatment if I stick to their plan, which seems excessive given the 6 week schedule I was given. This new place tho, has said I need to get treated every 8 weeks so that at least is in line with what I have read about regrowth cycles. Also, they are flexible with treatments that don’t work and this can be discussed with the doc that is treating. So far they have told me I’ll need around 6 treatments and I’ve managed to get a package of 5 for a good price (if 6 treats are all I need, it actually works out cheaper than the other places that want me to get around 8).

If I can’t find any other GentleMax machines, I’ll go with the Soprano at this new clinic I found, I have a good feeling about it. And I’ll report back with my results so at least this forum will have a definite answer about treating Indians with the Soprano :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone with your responses, really appreciate it! It always helps to have unbiased opinions.

Until I have some results… seeya.

What do you mean by fried the hairs on the surface? Did you not shave close before treatment?

How long has it been since the test patch? Did they use the Yag or the Alex portion on the machine? If you see pigmentation, that may mean they used the alex.

Have you had a test patch with the Soprano? I would recommend it before committing to a set of treatments. I would also only have one treatment first before committing to a package, no matter where you go. You’ll need 6-8 treatments anyhow.

I think most places will allow you to do single session and if you’re happy with it, add the money and complete it into a package.

@edokid: no he didn’t shave the area, just zapped it straight off, could smell the burning hair and all!

@LAgirl: the test patch was done around 8 weeks ago. Not sure what setting he used, but if he used the alex when the yag was an option I guess that’s a clear sign for me not to go back :slight_smile:
Yes, I have had a test patch with the Soprano (details in my first post).

@odi & LAgirl: Good suggestions, I will definitely ask for the single treatment & package inclusion before committing.

Anyway, I did want to commence treatment last week but it’s not going to happen until June/July now coz I’m going overseas in a few days. Will report then. Thanks, all!

Next time, you should shave the area a day before treatment.

Yes, the area needs to be shaved prior to zapping.

That’s one of the problems then. If you didn’t shave first then all the laser energy would go into the hair on the surface and not the root. If they didn’t tell you to shave first then I’d stop going there as they don’t seem experienced at all. At minimum they should have shaved the area first for you.

Oh my gosh, unshaved?! That must have hurt. Whenever I don’t get a perfectly close shave in an area then it’s god awful! Definitely don’t waste time going to a clinic that doesn’t require you to shave first.

I just had my first treatment with the Soprano, today 11 Aug 2010. It was not even half as painful as the Alex laser test patches - I did the brazilian and underarm areas. I didn’t need an anesthetic cream tho i did use a cold gel plus a continuous cold air blast.

The setting was 7 - but she said she’d increase it gradually as we go along. Will keep you all updated with my progress.

GL30, can you give us more info on your Soprano experience?