When compiling a list of pre-wedding beauty treatments worth real attention (and the cost!), there’s a category that editors and dermatologists all agree can be life-altering in the long run: Laser hair removal (aka LHR). “LHR is the best way to treat ingrown hairs or irritation from shaving,” shares Dr. Rita Linkner of Spring Street Dermatology in NYC. And for those with sensitive complexions, a few short appointments can deliver a more comfortable future. “By permanently removing the hair at the follicle, patients can be rid of annoying bumps or ingrown hairs—oftentimes just two to three monthly treatments can do the trick,” says Linker.
Though it may seem pricier than the alternative, LHR removes years of product purchases that can add up—not to mention plastic litter from a notoriously wasteful disposable care industry where an estimated two billion razors are thrown away each year. LHR’s surge in demand has given way to safer, more versatile machines that deliver faster results. At Manhattan’s Beam Laser Spa, which touts and all-female staff and lounge-y waiting room stocked with butterscotch candies and Nest candles, brides and grooms are booking appointments well in advance of the big day. “LHR is something that can be started months ahead of the wedding,” share co-founders Andréa and Liza Young, who acknowledge the appeal of honeymoon prep that doesn’t require a last-minute strategy.
For those interested in exploring pre-wedding laser hair removal, the Young sisters offer the ultimate breakdown.
“Beam actually has many couples that start the laser process together!” Andréa enthuses, noting that male clients often clean up areas like backs, chests, and necks that are prone to aggravation. Too nervy about the idea of going bare and regretting it? A couple of appointments can help thin out texture without completely clearing an area.
It Isn’t A One-And-Done Process
The number of sessions required varies from client to client based on skin and hair type, so it’s best to plan several months ahead to be sure there’s a “high degree of follicle clearance,” as Liza describes it. Body sessions can be booked every eight weeks, while the face (which grows more quickly) can be scheduled monthly.
It (Finally) Works on Every Skin Tone
Thanks to the new technology of the Candela-Syneron GentleMax Pro laser, any skin tone can be treated, unlike old-school versions that only catered to the fairest of complexions. “This laser has two wavelengths in one, which allows us to switch treatment parameters based on the client’s skin tone,” explains Liza. “The Alexandrite laser treats clients that have fair skin, while the YAG laser treats clients who have olive skin up to highly pigmented skin.”
It Doesn’t Require Extreme Pain Tolerance
The pain is comparable to a rubber band snap, followed by a cooling mist to take your mind off of it. “Some clients swear by taking ibuprofen one hour before the sessions, though many mention that the laser sensation is much more tolerable than a monthly wax,” says Andréa. Check with salons ahead of time to make sure they invested in machines with a “larger spot size” like those at Beam, where wider areas can be treated for faster, more comfortable appointments.
It Will Put Your Sun Exposure in Check
Part of prepping ahead of any travel plans is making sure to carve out a solid two-week cushion before and after treatments where sun is fully avoided and SPF is a daily must. Otherwise, hyperpigmentation can be an issue. “Sunblock use is very important prior to and for the duration of the treatments,” shares Liza. Tizo Photoceuticals sunscreens blend skin care and sun care with head-to-toe mineral options, and a full coverage approach should ideally be practiced daily even in the absence of appointments. Andréa and Liza have found that having a solid reminder sparks healthier skin habits. “Many clients have mentioned that they have an increased awareness of the amount of sun exposure they get and how they protect themselves.”
It’s Best to Chill Out After A Session
Any sources of elevated heat (think saunas, baths, and applicable exercise) should be avoided immediately after a laser session to play it safe and prevent irritation. And for skin care staples, harsh ingredients like retinol, acids, and acne medication should be swapped out for more comforting alternatives like the nourishing peptides in Replenix’s Biocellulose Recovery Mask designed to soothe post-procedure skin. “The idea is to abstain from using topical products that will compromise the skin right after a laser treatment,” Andréa notes. What better excuse to skip hot yoga and lounge indoors during your busiest social season?