Diva Dish: The TRIA Chronicles

Diva Dish: The TRIA Chronicles

March 19, 2012

When you’re a girls girl in the beauty world, nothing is off limits. So when out for drinks at the Jane Hotel and the topic turns to below-the-belt hair removal, no one blinks a (smoky) eye. Some of us wax, some of us sugar, some of us shave. I’ve personally done it all and no one method is ideal for its respective reasons (pain, nudity with a stranger in compromising positions, the awkward regrowth waiting period, irritation, ingrown hairs and so on).

Pretty much everyone present has also tried laser hair removal, myself included, at an overpriced city spa or derm’s office. Most of us were lured in by the promise of permanence but only went for a few sessions. The top 3 reasons why: cost, scheduling, pain. Which got me thinking that if these deterrents  didn’t exists, we’d all be silky smooth… FOR LIFE.

March 20, 2012

In relaying this convo to a close beauty editor friend, she mentions she knows the PR girls for the TRIA Hair Removal Laser. TRIA was the first at-home permanent hair removal device and to my knowledge, the only one that uses the same laser that is used in-office by professionals. I’m intrigued. The fact that you pay just a one-time cost of $395 and you can use it on yourself in the privacy of your home whenever you’d like is incredible to me. Especially in contrast to having to find at reputable medspa that (1) provides you with a technician you trust and feel comfortable with as she lasers your ladyparts, (2) can take you at a time that fits your busy schedule, and (3) doesn’t rob you blind. And if you never have to wax, sugar or shave again after 6 months of at-home use?? SOLD.

So I email the contact, who is so excited because she truly believes in the product and that it is life-changing. She ships out a complimentary device for me to test and review for the site.

And while I don’t think it will be walk in the park, I’m suddenly very ready and willing to ”disable” my follicles making them no longer able to grow new hair.

April 3, 2012

Before using the device for the first time, I do my homework in the form of reviewing press materials and reading tons of consumer reviews plus I ask a few beauty insiders for their professional assessment of it. Basically the main critique I hear is regarding the battery life — but it comes with a charger so you can just plug it in and recharge. And for smaller areas like the bikini line, that wouldn’t take much time anyway, it really wouldn’t pose a problem. I also see that it doesn’t work at all for some men and women, but it hasvery detailed skin tone and hair color specifications on who is an ideal user and I definitely fit the bill with olive skin and dark hair. More, all the people who had success with it LIVE for it. You can sense the elation in their posts. (Nothing like finding a real solution to your nagging beauty problem!)

I also find comfort in the fact that the device is FDA-approved and clinically tested and proven. I am, after all, about to put this laser up against some very sensitive areas that I really wouldn’t want to harm.

But first I have to determine my pain threshold.

There are multiple power settings, increasing in intensity and heat from 1-5. For best (and fastest) results, it is advised to “treat at the highest level you are comfortable using.” I am going to TRIA my bikini line and underarms and the terrified part of me wants to start with setting 1 or 2 to avoid pain while the badass part of me wants to suck it up and go for level 4 or 5 to get results and be silky smooth in fewer sessions.

Now in a salon or spa, someone else makes this determination – but when you are all alone, naked and nervous at home, it may as well be a come-to-Jesus moment between you and yourself. I take a deep breath and decide on level 4. No pain no gain, right?

For my first session, the pain, while real, is bearable. Not every pulse hurts either. A few feel totally fine and then – a zinger! The areas are so small, though, that I am done with both in 15 minutes. The underarm actually hurts more than the bikini line.

I experience a little redness and irritability that quickly fades.

April 17, 2012

For session 2, my experience is similar. I start to sweat out of fear that this pulse will be the one that stings, and there are several that do. I wince at those but otherwise I’m fine and I finish in 10 minutes now that I know how to handle the device and what to expect.

I do not yet notice any change in the hair growth.

April 30, 2012

I am just returning from Antigua and I am now a total believer. I actually have seen several small hairs with no follicle fall out on their own the past two days. I assume this is the hair that was under the skin and that the follicle is now dead and done. I feel victorious. Seriously.

I’m tweeting and facebooking this update like it’s breaking news.

I also love that I can shave in between and right before sessions so while in Antigua, I’m able to prance around in my bikini.

For session 3, I feel like a pro, even when it’s uncomfortable. But I worry the TRIA may ruin my tan or my tan will interfere with it working.

May 10, 2012

Just when I thought I was ready to take it to the max (level 5), session 4 really stings. I chalk it up to monthly hormonal changes even though I’m not really sure they would affect skin sensitivity this way. I’m done in 10 minutes. And my tanlines are A-OK.

June 1, 2012

I am seeing a very visible difference after 4 sessions. This makes me unbelievably happy. Like happy-dance happy.

I am seeing less and less regrowth in the treated areas and the remaining hair is finer too.

It’s working!!

I wonder if the people who never go above level 2 or 3 get the same results over a longer period of use, or if they will never know this feeling.

I decide to stick with level 4 for my 5th session since it seems to be doing the trick and session 4 wasn’t exactly a joyride. It stings only for a few pulses but otherwise is back to a manageable slight discomfort.

June 11, 2012

Session 6 is pretty much identical to the one prior. Just a few hot zingers.

I also continue to see fallout and less regrowth. Which I am loving.

June 25, 2012

Session 7 is same old. I tense up for the few painful pulses and am done in no time.

July 12, 2012

For session 8, I really want to try level 5 so I go for it with a few pulses on the underarm and it’s instantly clear I wanted the truth but I couldn’t handle the truth. And the truth is I’m totally not tough enough for it.

As I treat both areas back on level 4, I comfort myself with the conclusion that level 5 must be for masochists.

October 1, 2012

October?! Time flies! Guess I took a little break. As in the whole summer.

Got crazy busy with work and kept putting it off even though my calendar alert went off every two weeks. I also was spending a lot of time in the sun and was a little worried the contrast from skin tone to hair color wouldn’t be optimal. And as someone who gets pretty bronzed even with her fair share of broad-spectrum high SPF, I didn’t want splotchy tanlines.

Now the TRIA website and press materials state that permanent results can be seen in as little as 6 months (with continuous use). I religiously used the device for 3.5 months before this 2.5 month hiatus and I am honestly shocked that my bikini line already shows only about 20% regrowth. And my underarm has about 40% regrowth, which is odd because it hurt more but still a huge improvement from my starting point. The hair is also mostly much finer.

I am kind of bummed I didn’t use the TRIA the whole way through because I could potentially be permanently hair-free by now. But I still call this #WINNING.

I complete session 9 at level 4 and am happy to report my body hasn’t lost it’s tolerance after the break. It stings a little but I’m prepared.

October 16, 2012

I’m about to tackle session 10 and the more people I speak to, the more I hear that there will be need for touchups here and there even when the areas are predominantly hair-free. For a device that can be used until it dies over and over again pretty much anywhere on the body at any time that’s convenient, I’m pretty ok with that. (It’s also said to be true for professional laser hair removal done at the spa or derm.)

I also consider the average consumer’s cost per use at this point in my trial: 2 areas 10 times each (after today’s session) is 20 treatments. A 1x cost of roughly $400 divided by the total treatments becomes $20/treatment. That figure, of course, continues to decrease with each use until it’s practically free. Or at least that’s how I like to look at it (my fave rationale for expensive clothes too!). For professional treatments, the cost per area per session is high to begin with and only keeps racking up until the areas are completely and permanently hair-free. Factor in things like tax and tip and we’re talking thousands of dollars.

And while we view them as more affordable options, how about the overall cost of having to wax or sugar or even shave for a lifetime. (Those moisturizing, pivoting, 5 blade razor heads don’t come cheap!)

If I’m drinking the kool-aid, it is definitely spiked because I’m starting to feel like this TRIA is a hair-removal no-brainer.

At least for certain areas of the body.

After hearing me go on about it, my best friend picked up one of her own. She is equally in awe of it, and she only goes to level 3.

I’ve also had very intrigued friends (both boys AND girls) come over to my apartment to see it for themselves.

So rather than continue documenting my own experience (although I will weigh in with any big news), I prefer to hear everyone else’s thoughts. On the TRIA. On laser hair removal. On hair removal in general.

That’s right, please (over)share with me!! That’s why we’re here!