The Best in the World

As prospective patients read Hairtell, the assumption is that the practitioners posting here are “the best in the world.” Really?

How many clinicians are on this site? Just a few really, 4 or 5? Does a client really have to travel thousands of miles for electrolysis treatment? If this really is the case, our profession is in wretched shape. I don’t know, maybe it is? If it is that bad, THAT is the real, and only issue. Yes, I am getting contacted from “everywhere” because of my limited involvement on Hairtell. It’s peculiar and I don’t understand it.

My own clients always say I’m “the best in the world.” How do they know that? The reality is that several electrologists in my tiny hometown are doing magnificent work. Maybe better than me? Point: public exposure does not necessarily promise a magnificent operator. But that is what media exposure engenders.

True story. The surgeon I’ve worked with for years is Dr. Chapple. He is usually less expensive than others in the area, but his work is matchless. I have a wealthy friend in Montecito that wanted a chemical peel. I told her that Chapple would do a great job at a very low “friend of mine” cost (about $2,500). But that was not good enough for her; she had to have “the best.” So of course, she went to Beverly Hills. She paid $20,000 for the (same) procedure. But that is not the preposterous part.

The surgeon in Beverley Hills was not an expert in this particular procedure, but he was a friend of Dr. Chapple. I found out later, by accident, that the Beverly Hills doctor was in constant communication with Chapple during and after the chemical peel on my friend. “My” doctor talked the high-priced surgeon through the procedure! Frankly, the procedure did not go well and she had a very long recovery. (BTW, Dr. C doesn’t have a website and does not use pre-surgery imaging … but his work is pure wizardry.)

My point is that a stellar public persona does not necessarily translate into magnificent work. This is especially true without verifiable objective criteria. If the AEA can ever get off their “duff” and create actual “Standards of Practice,” then the client would have something tangible to work with.

I have conducted electrolysis seminars in twelve countries. In each group of electrologists I found phenomenal operators … they were “first rate.” So, why can’t these operators be found in their locality? Makes no sense to me.

Some of you know my family was in the entertainment business. What I’ve learned (first hand) is not to believe your own press. It’s a heady thing to have a big public image, but believing it yourself can get you into real trouble.

I agree, public exposure doesn’t always promise a magnificent operator, but the more people that go to that operator, the more likely you are able to hear reviews about their work. I think it helps that we are able to see pictures of your work on here and I’ve seen posts about people satisfied with some of the electrologists work on this forum. It also really helps that you guys care enough to educate and encourage people through the process.

I’m sure there are more excellent electrologists out there, but from my experience and the experience of plenty of people on this forum; it appears to be hard to find someone who can provide adequate results with a minimal skin reaction. If I were to come across someone who could do that, I would be praising them the best in the world too. It is sad really that many of us are driving hours away trying to find someone that can get the job right. It is even sadder to not get results that you want after dishing out much time, money, and emotional disturbance through the process.

Then, we clients come on this forum and see and hear about the results that a select few electrologists are giving and out of desperation, we travel even further. That is why you hear from people “everywhere.” I honestly wish it were different, as we all cannot afford to do that.

I agree. There aren’t enough electrologists who either advertise or can show their work. When i began looking, every electrologist I called shied away when i mentioned beard removal. I was steered toward laser for such a large area.
For one i don’t think there is enough info about electrolysis being practical for large areas. All one ever hears is “one hair at a time.” So consumers generally just picture eyebrows or a few stray hairs. I blew so much money that could have been used for hair removal because I simply didn’t know it could be done.
I do believe there are more capable electrologists out there. But maybe they need to advertise more or something. Also it seems that electrologists who will do “marathon” sessions are lacking. For those of us who need a lot done, it’s easier to fly across the US than to drive 4 or 5 hrs for a 2 hr session once every two weeks or so til clear.

Your comments are extremely important to me and I thank you. If this profession is going to advance, all of us must work to improve the base. Why can’t everybody do beards or “marathon” sessions? I thought everybody did this! Frankly, I steer away from the “few hairs here and there.”

Something is really wrong with this picture. And, I seriously had no idea of the actual state of our profession. I don’t think the national association ever did an accurate assessment … that would be a great “first step.” Before a problem is solved, you need to identify the problem.

With schools as rare as hen’s teeth, it’s no wonder the profession is struggling. I’m getting an education and it’s called “Hairtell!”

I have had the same experience as templje.

I didn’t know that electrolysis was an option to be considered on large areas. I thought laser was the only way to be permanently smooth.
All the laser cliniques I have been to either start laughting or act very criticly when I would ask something about electrolysis. Electrolysis is good when you want to remove just a few hairs, and thats all it is good for. It is way to expensive and time consuming, they said.

Thats why I was STUNNED when I saw the stories here on hairtell. I couldn’t believe what I saw.
Because I’ve had countless bad laser experiences since the age of 16, I just thought I had to get used to the hairs. Because there is nothing more I could do.

You know about this Michael, but neither of the cliniques I contacted in my location (or neightbour contries, Danmark and Sweden) would be willing to treat such a large area, expect for one! (The “Skjonnhet og Helse” clinique in Oslo).

I think the reason why clients travel so far is because they simply doesn’t find anyone in their area that is willing to do the job.

In my case I have had lots of trust-issues when it comes to permanent hair removal, because of the history. When seeing the results here on hairtell, one really sees the skills of the person that is going to treat you. This is at least my reason for thinking that you, Josefa and others on this forum are the best one could get.

Michael, I read this soon after you posted but I wanted to give others a chance to post first.

I previously wrote about the state of UK electrolysis as a reply to a similar thread you started some time ago.

Given your background, it is not surprising that you know other skilled electrologists. What we as clients are exposed in terms of electrolysis carries more weight, I believe.

I think it’s very telling that HairTell regularly has posters asking for electrologist recommendations in their area and more often than not, no one can give them a recommendation. Often, the advice ends in suggesting travel to one of the HairTell electrologists. Or, for example, if someone asked for a recommendation in London, I would give the name of my previous electrologist but I would do so knowing that she is a million miles away (in terms of results) from who we are seeing now (Josefa).

Electrologists are few and far between and on top of that, there is a huge chasm in ability and set-up.

It would be nice to see the HairTell electrologists get together and compile a list of all the other electrologists they would recommend, to produce a list by country and city.

Yes, a list of electrologists recommended by pros that we trust would be great.

I also think a list would be nice! I’m sure a lot of really good electrologists go to these conferences and meetings and that in itself shows that they care to learn more about their profession. I’ve come across a couple of electrologists who were kind of stuck in their old ways, which isn’t bad, but no room for improvement either. I sometimes wish some of the pros on this forum could experience a first hand view of treatments from the people we go to so they could see what the majority of us experience and to help us truly understand what is normal and effective. Although, this forum does a pretty well job of that, I still think it would be an interesting experiment. Also, I’m sure you guys/gals had to experience that at some point in your own hair removal journey.

Funny you should say that. I used to make it a practice, that if I was in a strange city, I would check out the phone book (remember those?) and find out if there were any electrolysis practitioners near, and try to go in for a consultation and sample treatment. While I would do this without saying who I was, so that I could get treated like any other Joe off the street, people often took it as if I was either spying on them, or trying to do something nefarious. At any rate, it was rare that I found someone who I would recommend to my mother to visit for professional services, and when I did, I would tell them who I was, and ask their permission to post their info on HairTell so others could find them. A funny aside to this is, there are people who I have recommended on here, based on having had personal contact and treatment with, who for some reason refuse to admit that anyone has come to see them based on my recommendation. This even though I know for a fact that more than one person who saw them on this site, and identified themselves as such, is currently paying for work from them on a monthly or weekly basis. I guess they have trouble saying “Thank You.”

Anyway, the problem with any of us giving you any insight on who is good is that besides that being a personal opinion, people in this industry are loath to work on anyone else in the industry. This is especially true of those who may have some years of practice under their belt. Everyone is afraid that someone will have a negative view of their technique, instead of hoping for some give and take on the subject.

The Dectro meetings are so wonderful because those who attend find out quickly, that the intent there is NOT to have you sit and take notes, but to get behind a machine, and work on each other! I got so many new names to refer people to out of those class days, not to mention pictures of me having fun with lovely ladies at the cocktail and dance party they hosted on the last day.

Anyway, you have poked me on something that I have been mulling over for a while, and I guess it is time I just got the conversation started. There are some thoughts that I have had rolling around in my head about the whole professional/consumer review information sharing system in place these days, and I think I have to just get this off my chest.

Review information sources are mostly doomed to various states of worthlessness! I include HairTell in this indictment. Even we are limited to our scope of reach. If you live in New York or California, we can find you someone who works no more than four hours from where you live, who we trust can do fine work. If you live in Michigan or Montana… We can tell you what nearby state to drive to, but that’s about it. If you live outside of the US and Canada, Hairtell is still waiting on customer feedback to trickle in on your corner of the world.

As bad as that is, we are not so horrible as sources like The Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Online services like Yelp.

In my area, the listings that the BBB and Yelp have posted are overwhelmingly populated by businesses that have ceased to operate. Of those that are operating, most are not even listed. It has come to my attention that those who buy a membership in the BBB start with an A+ rating and can only go down as complaints come in, while those who don’t buy in can only achieve an A+ by having a certain amount of positive reviews without any negative reviews. Well, let’s be serious, those with negative reviews are MUCH more likely to post them than those who have had a good experience. Don’t get mad at me, it is you people who can change that, by posting your positive experiences with as much frequency as you do your negative ones. Again, no matter what the client feedback is, the BBB plays favorites with its paid subscriber businesses, and will even post things like, “problem resolved” in a complaint thread and remove the lowered grade on a downgraded business that is a member, but non-members don’t get so lucky.

Next up, when a negative review is posted, some people scare the hosting service into deleting, or other wise hiding from the public the negative reviews. What good is it if a service that purports to tell you who is good, and who is bad censors the bad reviews? There is one business I know of that has had bad reviews from at least 5 different former customers that I know of posted on a review site, and who knows how many others on the same review site, and had them all removed. Now when someone goes to that source for information, the source is making it look like this business has nothing but good reviews, or no reviews at all. Here on HairTell, we have usually tried to just get both sides of a bad review, and let you all decide what you think really happened, with maybe a little practitioner and long time client wisdom thrown in for perspective. Alas, even that has cost us friends, as some people felt that we were “taking sides” by not deleting the negative information, even when we did our best to explain what we thought the misunderstanding to be.

In any event, no review source can give info that people don’t share with it, and on that point, I have to hold YOU PEOPLE accountable. If your area of the world has little to no info on who is good in that area available on HairTell, it is because YOU have not posted your experiences here, good, bad or indifferent, not because Mike and I have not traveled the world tirelessly in search of getting as many sample treatments and consultations as we can.

I have worked privately in my office with Keiko (JSA Japan), Sidsel (Norway), Madeleine (Holland), Ermtraud (Germany), Evelyn (Canada), Steve (NZL), Marta (Peru) … and pretty much anyone who wants to legitimately share and work together. All of us should be “an open book.” I have spent my entire professional career as an “open book.”

James, making a secret appointment IS spying! I would be damned resentful; it’s not the thing to do. Making a secret appointment denotes an attitude that you think the person is hiding something. From that point of view, your opinion is already tainted. Naughty, naughty, naughty!

And, over the years, I have encountered some who “look with the intention to disapprove.” I can feel when I’m being looked at with condescending eyes. When it comes to electrolysis, I’m like a Republican: “Never speak ill about a fellow electrologist.”

I would say that creating a “good and bad” list is unthinkable. Who the hell and I to judge other operators? All of us have made errors (well, me anyway). If there is a “good list” the criteria should be objective, neutral and obtainable. The other not-so-subtle message in a “good list” is that you are saying there are “lots of bad electrologists out there.” I know you think that’s the case; I do not. Can you judge an operator by a few minutes of looking at their work?

I disagree Michael. If I visit someone’s office, and they know that I am THAT James Walker, I am by definition NOT being treated like a normal customer off the street, unless that person shares my opinion that I am no one special. :wink: It is no different from the food critic writing for the newspaper. While Average Joe gets "I don’t treat men! <click> on the phone, James from HairTell would get some softly worded excuse as to why there is no room in the schedule this month. In the same way, if the food critic calls to make a reservation, the owner of the place oversees, or actually cooks his food personally. That is NOT what Average Joe off the street gets. (I have had many open exchange appointments with open minded professionals like yourself as well.)

I agree with you that the industry can’t agree on what the definition of good and bad treatment is. On the other hand, customers are not so disparate on what they perceive as work worth paying for.

James, I agree.

I always leave a review, good or bad. As you are aware, I have done so on this forum for both Laser and electrolysis. I know some people who have had tested some electrologists, were not happy but have not reported back here because they do not want to deal with possible criticism or that the electrologist might come across those posts…
There is one recent example of this happening.

Once I was satisfied with my London electrologist I reviewed the salon on Yelp. Now, here is another problem. In my review, I clearly stated that I was reviewing electrolysis only. However, this salon does all beauty treatments and Yelp only has a ‘health and beauty’ category. This review would only be found by those looking for a beauty salon… not an electrologist.

I’m not going to repeat everything I wrote in the other thread but it’s a fact that electrology is a dying profession here in the UK. Beauty students are not choosing to study it, preferring Laser instead. In the real world, outside HairTell, I know many, many people who have gone for Laser or IPL (mostly unsuccessfully) but they hadn’t even heard of electrolysis. I am the lone voice amongst these people, telling them how wonderful it is and helping them find an electrologist in their area and let me tell you… it’s not easy.

I always recommend people to book some short treatments after the initial consultation to give someone a fair go. From this, you can usually figure out enough to make a judgement, except effectiveness. And to be honest, that is what I find most lacking.

By the by, there is one electrologist I visited a few times and I would love if I could take you both there. It would be an eye opener.

I’m just looking at it like this:

Imagine that another plastic surgeon “sneaks” into Dr. Chapple’s office to “evaluate” him? Or a dentist pretends to be a patient and goes to another dentist? Sorry, this behavior does not lend itself to what I expect from professionals. I’d never consider doing this.

Yeah, just my opinion. And, you know what they say about “opinions.” They are like '&^%##@," everybody has one!"

Michael my friend. I think you are taking this “evaluate” thing too far. What would a dentist or plastic surgeon find out if they “sneak” into someone’s office? They find what anyone walking off the street finds. What their greetings and consults are like, what they try to sell as add ons, and so on.

How is that evaluating their actual insert tab A into tab B?
The work evaluation side of this is not about professional minutia, it is simply what would the average client think at the end of this sample treatment, based on our most often reported priorities and complaints on this board. Obviously, each of us have our own ideas as to what should and should not be done, and we have made that a fact in our own practices.

What clients want is MUCH LESS stringent. Just ask the readers here what they would have on their good/bad treatment evaluation list and you will see that pretty quickly.

Well, I’m dropping the subject. We do not agree on this “methodology” at all. This only creates resentment, distrust and might actually work against you.

Actually, the surgeons and dentists do work on each other. But there is nothing clandestine about it.

We should spend more time assisting each other, than in trying to find fault.

I was thinking of more of a directory of electrologists that you all would personally recommend to a friend or family member. You would know what qualities you would look for and in turn, likely provide business and notoriety to a fellow practitioner. These would be colleagues or maybe even people that you have trained personally.
I just know that it IS difficult to find someone willing to do long work on large areas. And I do believe that one who knows their profession well would know that electrolysis is a viable option for chests, backs, arms, beards etc. Unfortunately, that information isn’t so easily found by the consumer.
I can say I was shocked the first time I saw the photo of the gentleman’s chest that Mr. Fino Gior completed.

I must admit that in the last few weeks, understanding the state of my profession has caused me some “angst” and depression. I feel like we have let you down. I feel like a failure. What are we thinking? Hairtell has been a real eye-opener. For decades the associations have been saying they are “getting the word out.” I guess not! If you look at the run-down of speakers at the upcoming national convention you see virtually nothing on the nuts and bolts of electrology. (I believe the Dectro conference is going to be hands-on, and I applaud the effort.)

A few years ago one of my patients had a suggestion. He is the media coordinator for all the University of California campuses. When a lecture is being made at Davis, for example, he can read-time the thing to Los Angeles or any of the other campuses. He also had a $100,000 digital microscope for projecting microscopic surgery on a big screen.

We had this idea: to have all the “world experts” in one place and actually show, close up, their work. The audience could participate, ask question … but really see what was happening. This could also be recorded and transmitted virtually anywhere: even folks at home on their computer. I always learn better when I actually SEE something being done. Oh yeah, he offered the entire production facility of the University at no cost at all! You know FREE!

Would you like to guess the reaction of the association? Well, I won’t go there. However, I do think it would be a fabulous idea for some on-line “live” programming with the experts and the people wanting to see and learn from them. This could be interactive and run through the University. Imagine being at your home computer and watching James, Dee, Arlene or Josie etc., actually doing a procedure and then being able to talk directly to them (There ARE other experts, you know). How do I organize such an event without national support? My big ideas are always met with distain. No wonder I spend so much time sanding and painting.

You have to understand that there are those of us who would have no problem with that, and then there are those of us who don’t even want you to know how their office looks like, let alone what their work looks like.

It has been my experience that when you talk about doing hands on focused training, or high resolution projection training in this profession, people circle the wagons and chant their own church of electrolysis orthodoxy, instead of opening the mind to see a different point of view, and evaluate what may be useful to them.

Bruce Lee always said, “Use what is useful, discard what is not.” One can’t discard it without first trying to figure out its usefulness.

I would love to make something like what you pointed out above, but, alas, I have no power to make it happen. Maybe when I get my video scope set up, and maybe when I have a webcam set up with it, but until then…

I think the lack of advertising for electrolysis has really been detrimental to it. I mean Laser hair removal is all over the place. I think some video of television or something showing the benefits of electrolysis would be great. it’s amazing that the gold standard is so little known. And there have been changes in equipment and techniques that people who once only knew of single probe galvanic would need to hear about. I just hope there is a surge in info and electrologists so people won’t have to feel hopeless if laser hasn’t worked for them.