My days of plucking, waxing, and bleaching are over!
I started looking into electrolysis when I was 17 or 18. I used to have very unruly eyebrows and was getting fed-up with constantly plucking them or going to the salon and paying money to have them waxed. It's literally paying for torture. The hair kept growing back and it was time consuming to maintain them. I also had a few lip hairs that were nothing major (I've seen a lot worse out there!), but they did bother me. Bleaching doesn't work because even the little tiny hairs above your lip that are invisible become brightened and become noticeable in sunlight.
I looked in the phonebook and only found one electrologist and setup an appointment and free consultation/session. I was extremely lucky because I had no one else to choose from in my area and she had over 15 years of experience. She also had more certificates than I've ever seen in even a medical office. I decided to continue getting treatments and am very happy with the results till this very day.
Today, my eyebrows are perfectly shaped and I no longer wax or pluck. I occasionally will get a literal single hair pop up every so often (maybe once a month), but I can deal with that!
How Much Does Electrolysis Cost?
I had electrolysis done for about a year or so. Each treatment cost me $35. It varies depending on the length of the treatment and your market area. I live in New England, but I'm sure it costs a lot more in Los Angeles, for example.
I spent an estimated $400-$500 over the course of a year for this permanent procedure. I used to spend $15 every 3-4 weeks getting my eyebrows waxed, so it was totally cost effective for me.
Depending on the area that needs to be done, your results could vary. You might only have to go for 6 months or I've heard of some people going for 3 years to get permanent results.
Does Electrolysis Hurt?
Yes! I have read on websites where people say that it doesn't hurt and that some fall asleep during the procedure. To me, that has got to be a farce! It does hurt, as little tiny probes are entering the hair follicle and burning the root of the hair. C'mon!
What does Electrolysis feel like? I would say that it feels exactly like having your cat stick his claws into your skin. Personally, I did think it was better than waxing and much better than plucking (not self-inflicted!) After every treatment, your skin basically feels sore for a few hours and is comparable to the same feeling that you get after a wax.
Ways to Cope During the Treatment: It's permanent, so that is a good way to help yourself cope with the pain. Your electrologist can also use some skin numbing gel, which usually helps really well. By the end of my treatments, I didn't even need the numbing gel anymore; I got used to it.
What Parts of My Body Will Electrolysis Work on?
Anywhere on the body. Yes, even for your bikini line. Some electrologists do not do that area, but you can find someone that does.
And yes, even the gentlemen to the right could get electrolysis although I think he'd be going for many years to come.
Electrolysis is most commonly used for facial hair removal as it is very precise.
What to Expect
Do Your Research Before You Try It
Again, I was lucky to find a qualified electrologist. Almost all electrologists will give free consultations and you should take advantage of them. If you have several to choose from in your area, set appointments with all of them to find the best fit for you. You'll be going to this person for anywhere for a year to several years, so you want to make sure that they're good at what they do.
Questions to Ask Before You Set-Up an Appointment
- Make sure that they are a certified electrologist.
- Ask about their certification and training. I can go on eBay right now and buy my own machine; scary thought! Great damage can be done to your skin if the person is not skilled and certified.
- Make sure that they use sterilized probes; most use disposable sterilized probe. I personally would only go to an electrologist who uses disposable probes.
What to Do On Your First Visit
- Make sure the office is clean.
- Asks any further questions that you may have.
- Fill out pertinent paper work on medical history.
- Discuss what your expectations are and what areas you need done.
- Experience the procedure.
- Relax - it can be quite painful (especially on your upper lip).
- Be attentive when your given care instructions. You'll probably get a hand-out. It's very basic stuff such as no sun exposure for 24 hours, no makeup on the area, keep clean with soap and water, but you should really pay attention as they're going over the instructions with you.
- Decide if you want to go back and set another appointment in 2 to 4 weeks.
- Realize that you might have redness for 24 hours after. My first treatment had redness for about a day, but the ones near the end of my treatment plan only had redness for about an hour or two. You can use ice and aloe vera gel to help the redness.
It's can sometimes be a difficult decision to choose electrolysis, whether you are worried about the pain or even the financial costs. Personally, I am completely happy with my results and love the fact that I no longer have to wax, pluck or bleach!
Judy6600 on August 30, 2011:
So what about us people with... uh... "hormone problems" as in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome? How long would you say someone would need to go for that? You mentioned 4-5 times per follicle... but I've been going for years! I'm getting a little discouraged. Maybe my chin hair has super powers from hormone regeneration?
Anita on June 11, 2011:
Great informative article.
Satisfied on April 20, 2011:
You can get Emla for pain. I had electrolysis on my bikini line and underarms years ago, and it has held up to this day. Once in a while, ONE hair grows in that I pluck. I'm about to start it on my chin. As I get older more hair is growing in and I can either pluck it constantly and be annoyed by it, or get rid of it permanently. As pointed out above, of course electrolysis takes more than one session because hair is growing in at different times. But at least you have hope of it being over some day! To me, it hurts a LOT less than waxing, which always makes me break out and is highly impermanent.
bbb on March 23, 2011:
@ pinkflower. I wouldn't go for IPL if I were you. I have been doing research and IPL works best on beard-like hair growth and people have recommended electrolysis as the best method for facial hair removal. Also, for people with darker skin (anything above a type 3 on the chart) there is a large chance of hyperpigmentation so you could have darker parts on your face/scarring.
issy on February 26, 2011:
Hi jseven. Plucking actually stimulates the blood supply to the follicle and teh root of the hair is strong with darker, coarser more resilient hair growing. Also using a laser on the female face can cause growth in hormonally sensitive areas such as the chin and jawline.
Joey from Michigan on February 25, 2011:
It does hurt and the lady that worked on my chin and lip did not use numbing solution either. She charged $50 for and hour or $25 for a half hour. Since she was the only one I could find in my area, and that was a 45 minute drive, I only went once a month. Unfortunately, it did not do much good because I needed to go more often. I went for five months and now am wondering if I should try laser. I had ovarian cysts before my hysterectomy and my mom had this facial hair issue. My sisters have it, too. I know that petrochemicals are in so much food and products today; causing hormone problems, so I try to eat very organic and healthy.
It's such a pain and she told me not to pluck, but shave, because it would cause more little hairs to grow. I don't know if that's a fact, though. I keep praying that lasers will get better for for this problem.
Glad it worked for you and good article, here.
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on January 25, 2011:
Monyax3 - Unfortunately everyone is different. It depends on hormones and other physiological factors, too. Since no two people are the same, it would unfortunately be impossible to compare my results to yours. In order to gain a realistic end time, I would consult with your electrologist. She should be able to give you an estimate as she can see the rate at which your hairs grow back, as well as their thickness. From what you have written it sounds as though you are having good results, though.
monyax3 on January 22, 2011:
I've been doing electrolysis for about 7 months now on my jawline, sideburns and have recently started doing my upper lip. This procedure does in fact hurt! A LOT! My results are seen and in fact there has been a lot less hair growing. I went from going each week to going every other week to 3 weeks and now I'm at every month. Although the average is about a year I do not believe that this will be done in a year. I was wondering--do you still have to go for random clear ups of unwanted hair that you have or did it just take a year and no more hair grows back?
pinkflower on December 22, 2010:
Thanks for your reply!! I will definitely go in for a consultation. At the moment I am leaning towards IPL instead because with electrolysis it would take a long time and in between treatments it would look weird! thanks again!!
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on December 22, 2010:
Hi Pinkflower - it is normal for every woman to have thin little hairs above their upper lip, some are just more visible than others depending on skin tone and hair color. I personally never got electrolysis on that area, rather on the sides of the upper lip where I had a few darker hairs. Electrolysis may be your only option to remove hair it that area, so I would definitely go to the consultation. Oh, and don't hesitate to visit several electrologists in your area to find the best one for your needs.
pinkflower on December 20, 2010:
Hi, I've been researching a lot about electrolysis and other upper lip hair removal methods, and it looks like electrolysis is te best option. I'm Indian, but have quite light olive, but more on the pale side, skin. The hair on my upper lip is thin however because my skin is light, it shows a lot which is really annoying! With other Indian girls, their skin is browner and so although you can see their upper lip hair, it looks normal.
Do you think electrolysis would be right for me? I'm worried that once all the hair is gone from there, it might look a bit too 'clean' if you know what I mean? And also because you have to go to several sessions I'm worried that in between my upper lip area would look weird.
I am planning to go in for a consultation but wanted to check on these issues, because I'm sure that they will say yes, yes do it, to get their money but I don't want to be more embarassed than I already am! thaaaanks in advance!
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on December 02, 2010:
Anon - I went for about a year. You should definitely see some improvement if you have been going twice a week for three months. You may want to have blood work done by your doctor to rule out any hormonal issues, which can cause excess hair growth. One common cause is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, hair growth is a major symptom. Many women do not know they have it. That disorder is treated almost exclusively by healthy eating and lots of exercise.
It sounds as though she isn't listening to your concerns. I would suggest reiterating them to her and ask again to turn the current down. YOU are the client and YOU are the one dealing with the hair and pain!
Best of luck.
Anon E. Mous on December 02, 2010:
Girly, how long did you have to go for sessions before you were hair free? I am getting really depressed because after three months of sessions twice a week, my chin and jawline are still growing in very thick, coarse hair more quickly than I would have imagined by this point. The electrologist attributes this to stress....??? Btw, I had to pay her $25 for a numbing topical and it doesn't work either, even taken with the pain reliever. She doesn't seem to be wanting to tone down the current either, so I am just stuck and in so much pain. *Sigh*
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on November 23, 2010:
The hair doesn't have to be that long. Just enough so the technician can insert the probe, send in the electric "shock" to kill the root and then use a small pair of tweezers to effortlessly remove the follical from within the skin. So, I'd say it has to be the same length as what you're used to with plucking. After a few treatments, the hair should grow in really thin (almost unnoticeable) so it'll be easy in between treatments after a few weeks! Hope this helps!
123_45555 on November 23, 2010:
I was considering getting electrolysis done for the hair that grows in between my eyebrows. I am a girl, and a unibrow is definitely not an attractive feature to have. The hair grows back so fast that i have to pluck the hair every morning in a magnified mirror. The area then becomes very red so I never leave the house without makeup on to cover the redness and the hairs that I miss. My only concerns are how long the hair has to grow before the procedure, because waiting and hiding out for a week until the hair grows is definitely not an easy option.
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on October 24, 2010:
Rebecca - you will have to consult a local electrologist so she can evaluate the state of the hair. Usually they can do electrolysis on hair that has already been removed with cream or waxing....it just might take a little longer (if I remember correctly the cream doesn't strengthen the root as much as waxing, so that works in your favor!). You should also consult a dermatologist about the skin in that area because it sounds like you may have chemical burns. It will be important to let those heal before continuing with any hair removal so as not to permanently damage your skin. Good luck!
Rebecca Falcon on October 24, 2010:
hi! since i was 14 ive had major sideburns and chin hair like a beard. not like a full grown beard but like how a man gets a shadow. ive been using sally hansens for 4 years now and i desperately want to get rid of it. just going through this has made me so depressed sometimes i feel like i cant go anywhere. when ever i do the cream it burns so much but i dont care but to look pretty. please will this really work for me! the hair is not thin and grows back from the chemicals every 2-3 days
Anon E. Mous on October 23, 2010:
Girly, I will ask her about trying to get some type of numbing topical. It may also be possible that she hasn't suggested it to me as an option because I struggle with adult acne, and after almost two decades I have managed to finally get my face clear. I'm not sure if the topical would clog my pores or cause me to break out again. She has turned the frequency down a time or two which helps a little. She has had eighteen years of experience and, like you, has more certificates on her wall than I have seen in any doctor's office. I'm not sure that anyone does free consults around my area... she didn't. Also, unfortunately, there aren't many electrologists in my area. She is the closest and she is a half hour away. There is another one that is about 40 minutes away, but when I called her to find out more information, I could not understand her due to her extremely thick accent. Thank you for your article and response, though. I will definitely see about what she recommends with regards to the topical.
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on October 22, 2010:
Anon - you should definitely ask her to get you a topical analgesic to help with the pain. They aren't that expensive and you are paying her good money to get this done. Don't be afraid to ask her - speak up! Also, if the pain is so bad, they can also turn down the level of the current (less pain!), until your face adjusts and is able to handle it. It could just be that your electrologist isn't as experienced as others (can't believe she doesn't use numbing gel!). If possible, ask for free consults with others in the area and see if it is as painful. Electrolysis is a skill that takes many years of practice to learn and maybe there is someone more skilled (that will cause less pain), in your area. Good luck!
Anon E. Mous on October 21, 2010:
IT HURTS!!! I am currently getting my chin, jawline, eyebrows, and upper lip done. I was only going for the chin and jawline but the electrologist decided that she wanted to work on my eyebrows and upper lip too with the time remaining since the hair is taking longer to grow in and she has less to work on during each session. Personally, it doesn't bother me to pluck my eyebrows. Women are expected to work on that area. It is the other areas that bother me. I go through sessions twice a week for 15 minutes each day. Unfortunately, the electrologist hasn't offered me any type of numbing gel for the pain. She did offer that taking an Aleve at least a half hour before the session should help... but I have not noticed much help from it. And since I am getting all different areas of the face done, I can say that in my experience, the upper lip is the worst! It is so painful that she only gets four hairs in one session since she doesn't want to overwhelm me with too much pain in that delicate area. The rest of the session is working on other areas. Least painful to me is the eyebrows, with the chin and jawline in the middle. My advice... try the Aleve.
Pro1Review on May 04, 2010:
thanks for this hub! I'm linking to it from one of mine :)
thelaserman from Buffalo, NY on February 28, 2010:
I have had electrolysis done on my eyebrows. It does hurt but I could handle the pain! But because it's one hair at a time it could take forever for large areas like a women legs or males back.
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on February 16, 2010:
I'm sorry to say that there is no procedure out there yet that will get rid of unwanted hair in just one session. (I wish!) If the cost of electrolysis is a factor, then you may want to consider bleaching or hair removal cream specifically designed for the face. With bleaching, it depends on your skin tone because bleaching could make the hair more noticeable.
Best of luck to you!
Bubble on February 15, 2010:
I have unwanted uper lip hair that i get made fun of everyday.My selfesteem has gone down and i feel worse and worse aabout myself everytime someone makes a comment about it.My mom wants me to look into it but im not going to pay that much. I dont want to have to keep going backi just want one procedure and then be done with it. Is that possible?
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on November 01, 2009:
For certain people, you do have to have treatment on each hair more than 3-4 times. It all depends on the person's hormones. It would be impossible for the lip hair to grow back darker and longer after several electrolysis sessions. Electrolysis is 100x time more effective in reducing hair than waxing, shaving, plucking, etc. It really weakens the hair follicle via an electrical impulse (much more effective than plucking), so eventually - the hair starts growing very fine and thin and eventually can't grow at all once the root is completely dissolved.
yikk on October 31, 2009:
I still doubt if it works...because lots of girls said, after they done the lip hairs three of four times, they grew back again ...
i indeed want to do the lip hair, but just worry about the result , what if it grow back longer and darker??
shelley on October 23, 2009:
yeah its not that bad but hopefully it works
StrictlyQuotes from Australia on October 04, 2009:
I know that pain! I've had one 45min session, with a very experienced technician, and I'm not sure if I will do it again, because it hurt so much! I mean, I have Botox injections and they were nothing on this! For me, it felt like getting a Tattoo (but with a HOT needle!).
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on July 02, 2009:
Wow....you're lucky!!! :) It hurt for me, but perhaps there are different methods used. I remember that my technician said that there was another method, but it would take a longer amount of time per hair.
Bossy boots on July 02, 2009:
i went for the first time and it truly didn't hurt!
RedElf from Canada on May 06, 2009:
Excellent info, and beautifully presented. Thanks for navigating the rapids for us. Now we all can see where the rocks are hiding.
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on May 02, 2009:
You're welcome for the info! It definitely does work and is the closest that you'll get to permanent hair removal for your face.
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on May 02, 2009:
Thanks for the information! I never really believed it worked, maybe I will rethink this. :)
Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on May 02, 2009:
Oh goodness, I am really laughing now...why, me too! Hahahaha
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on May 01, 2009:
lol! I will! I would be the first to Hub about it, because I'd be wanting to shout it from the rooftops! I'd totally get my legs done if that ever happens. :)
Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on May 01, 2009:
And if they do, tell me. Promise to tell me! :-) LOL
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on May 01, 2009:
thanks for reading, ripplemaker! :)
If someone could come up with a pain-free approach to electrolysis, they'd have a goldmine! If it wasn't for the pain, it'd be a perfect procedure. :)
Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on May 01, 2009:
Yes indeed this is a HUBNUGGET nominee. Congratulations! If you want to vote for this hub, just click this link: https://hubpages.com/community/HubNuggets-Overload
Way to go girly_girl! :-)
You are right, it is painful. My mom had her eyebrows done too and she told me all about it. This is a very informative hub as you tackled all the information one can ask about electrolysis. I must confess though girly that I don't like that pain so I have to live with my unruly eyebrows Hahahaha
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on April 30, 2009:
Hi everyone, I just found out that this article has been nominated for Hub Nuggets this week! If you liked it, you can vote for me if you'd like to, in the weekly poll. https://hubpages.com/community/HubNuggets-Overload
There are also a ton of other great articles there to view, as well!
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on April 30, 2009:
Thanks for reading and sharing your comment. It would be very expensive for larger areas, I know the lady that I went to was doing her own legs (she'd do a few hairs every day, here and there) and it had taken a long time. Her goal was to completlely remove all the hair from her lower legs in a couple years. There is also laser removal, but I've heard that it's not always permanent and I know that's quite, costly too.
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on April 30, 2009:
Frieda- Thanks for reading and thanks for your compliment; it definitely is worth it if you can endure the pain. I've considered going back and having work done on the underarms...one less area to worry about haha. I don't think it'd be too painful in that area.
GeneriqueMedia from Earth on April 30, 2009:
Hmm..someone once recommended to me a product called "epilady," and other such things.
Electrolysis does hurt, for sure, from what I've been told (and have had tested upon me!)
Unfortuantely, it'd be a fortune to get some of the parts I want done. An Ewok fell through my family tree.
Frieda Babbley on April 30, 2009:
Fantastic hub! Great info. My sister got this procedure done in a different area of her body. It was pretty pricey, but she says it was sooooooo worth it. And may I just say your eyebrows are gorgeous!
girly_girl09 (author) from United States on April 29, 2009:
Thanks for reading! And oh, yes....very painful! There are some sites out there that claim there is minimal pain involved but for certain areas on the face, it is pretty bad. But again, its comparable to waxing or plucking.
Wendy Iturrizaga from France on April 29, 2009:
I didn't realize there was pain involved in this method. I should have suspected it.. Like they say here " Il faut souffrir pour être belle" (you must suffer to be pretty).
Thumbs up to a great informative hub.