We’ve all heard that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”,
and to a large extent that is true. I have always believed there are cultural and societal “norms”, and if you fall out of those parameters, you may be deemed as “less attractive” than those that fall within the norms.
As of this writing, the beauty industry is worth $445 billion bucks. That is a lot of money! Both men and women are willing to spend an extraordinary amount of money to not stray past the boundaries of societal norms.
There are countless things we can do to make ourselves appear “more attractive”. I will cover many of those procedures in future posts. For now, I’d like to tackle my forte; Electrolysis (permanent hair removal.)
If you were around in the 1970’s, you may recall that hair was an ok thing. When I say hair, I mean hair everywhere. Men had hairy chests, backs and shoulders, and no one was horrified.
A great many women
stopped shaving their underarms and legs. They were not mocked or called left-over hippies. They were called liberated.
It truly must have been a terrible time to be an Electrologist! I can’t speak for all the women who decided to let all their hair grow wild, but I do have a theory.
I don’t think they did it because they felt oppressed and this was their form of rebellion. I’m not even sure they really did it to feel “liberated”. Shaving (and waxing) is a pain in the rear.
I think they stopped because society temporarily deemed it as ok. They didn’t have to worry about being shunned by their peers. It was like taking a sabbatical from shaving, and I think they just enjoyed not feeling like they had to do it.
My experimental stage in college consisted of not shaving my legs for 2 months. My skin is fair, and I have lighter hair, except on my legs. Blame it on my Eastern European and Spanish heritage. I had exceptionally hairy legs, and I was tired of shaving them.
It was in 1986, beyond the expiration date
when it was ok to have a thick, dark coat of fur on your legs. It wasn’t a new lifestyle I’d planned on adopting; I just wanted a little break from the hassle of shaving.
In college, when I would watch TV and have my feet on the coffee table, my roommates would throw a blanket over my legs. It was sunny Southern California, and I would wear shorts. My dark hair against my white skin was more than they could bear. They apparently didn’t appreciate the shaving vacation I was taking, or the fact that I wasn’t trying to hide it.
I didn’t give in to peer pressure. My decision to finally shave came from an odd experience that happened one day. I was crossing a busy street on a breezy day, and I could literally feel the hair on my legs rustling in the wind. It kind of freaked me out, and I shaved later that evening.
My have times changed.
We’ve gone from a culture that embraced hirsutism, to being ok with some hair, to being bald everywhere except the head, brows and lashes.
As I’ve mentioned, I am an Electrologist, licensed since 1987. Because our culture no longer accepts excess hair, I tend to keep fairly busy. I don’t treat hair in EVERY area, but I do face and body work.
Electrolysis is the only form of Permanent Hair Removal. Laser hair removal is classified as Permanent Hair Reduction, and there is a big, legal difference between reduction and removal.
As an Electrologist, people naturally think I’m anti-laser.
I’m actually not. Lasers can reduce hair in large areas and slow down the growth to make electrolysis more practical.
Laser is very limited on who can be treated. The best candidate is someone with very light skin and very dark hair. The laser needs to see the difference in color in order to work. Most light skinned people with blonde hair, or darker skinned people with any color of hair are excluded as candidates for laser hair removal.
Even those who’ve had great success initially with lasers end up coming to me for electrolysis to finish them up.
With laser hair removal, every time the hair grows back, it is finer and lighter in color, which seems like a good thing. Eventually the laser can no longer differentiate between the hair and the skin. The client becomes the victim of their own success. Once the hair is too light or thin, additional laser treatments will not render any additional success.
Electrolysis is the opposite. I treat the hair, and it comes back finer and lighter. The more I treat it, the better it gets until eventually it never grows back again.
When I first started my practice,
I had lots of free time. I did not have an established clientele, and had to build it up from nothing. We didn’t have cell phones back then, so I was metaphorically chained to my office. I did not have the luxury of running errands and forwarding my office phone calls to my cell. A lot of new clients would not leave messages, and there was no caller ID. (How on earth did I survive?????)
I knew if I wasn’t physically in my office waiting for the phone to ring, I could lose business. The only productive thing to do was electrolysis on my legs. I worked off and on for many sessions, until I finally conquered my beast-like legs and turned them into smooth stems. The transformation was remarkable.
I haven’t shaved my legs for 30 years.
And I don’t have any hair on my legs either! I doubt hairy legs will ever come back in style, and even if they do, you can count me out.
Even though electrolysis is permanent hair removal, it is a process, and it requires multiple treatments. It is impossible to say how many times a client would need to be treated, because there are so many factors.
Not all of your hair is growing at any one given time, so the only hair that can be treated during an electrolysis session is the hair that is visible.
We are aiming at a target beneath the skin, where the hair root and blood supply for that root are connected. The action of the current cauterizes (or seals off) the lower portion of the follicle and blood supply, which prevents another hair from being able to grow.
The blood supply for the hair root (known as the papilla), is not always sealed off completely in one treatment. Heat rises, and can reach the surface of the skin before the papilla has been cauterized completely.
It is not uncommon for electrolysis to take a year or two before completely eliminating the growth in the area, and sometimes longer depending on the circumstances.
That is a long time, but the alternative is to do whatever form of temporary hair removal (shave, wax, tweeze, depilatory cream) which will be required forever. Or until being hairy comes back in style.
I have an extensive consultation
and Q&A regarding electrolysis at
It doesn’t really matter what society says about one’s appearance. It is important that each person does whatever is needed in order to feel good about how they look.
How you feel about how you look has a profound effect on your sense of self and well being. Whether you let fashion, fads or culture dictate how you present yourself, always be true to who you are. Remember, who you are on the inside is reflected on the outside. Your outer beauty will always be enhanced by your inner beauty.