One thing the age of self-isolation has given us is the ability to experiment with some new looks and things we wouldn’t normally do if we had to see other people and be in public every day. It feels like everyone on Instagram has bleached, dyed or cut their own hair. But one thing for me that’s been a big thing to deal with during the Rona shutdown has been my laser treatments. So I took it into my own hands (literally) and started using an IPL machine; at-home laser hair removal.

My relationship with my body hair is pretty nonchalant, I don’t care about growing out leg or underarm hair, I wholeheartedly support the return of the bush. Who cares, as long as you’re happy, right? But when it comes to my face, my personal happiness lies in keeping things preened and in some kind of order. Eyebrow wax, lip and chin laser has been my standard for a solid while, until everything shut down.

So for the last few weeks while stuck in iso, I’ve been using a Happy Skin Co at-home IPL/zap machine. I won’t lie, I was apprehensive at first. I mean, those ones at the beauticians are so huge and menacing, and you have to wear safety goggles and do at least some kind of training to operate them, so how the fuck was I meant to zap my face at home without somehow doing a mischief?

at-home IPL laser treatment
Look mum, I’m an influencer!

One part of the process of at-home IPL treatment that I wasn’t ready for (but should have been) is that you have to shave the area before you go to town with the zappy bit. Which means I was in the bathroom shaving my face weekly. A thing I have never done before and wow, it is tricky. Kudos to those of you who shave your face on the reg, I have a newfound respect for you.

The machine I got, however, is much more compact than the big whirring monster at the beauty therapy place, and definitely doesn’t emit the same level of lasers as the professional ones. The at-home laser machines emit up to 5.5 joules of energy with its lasers, whereas some professional ones can go up to 120J.

Because of the lower energy emitted from the home machine, you apparently have to do more sessions before you see results. BUT you can also do sessions closer together. Like, literally once a week. The Happy Skin Co website says I probably won’t see physical results (like hair not growing back) until I’ve clocked in 12 weekly sessions.

I’m at about week five at the moment and I can tell you, the hairs on my chin feel softer, and like they’re taking a bit longer to grow back than they were.

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Using the machine itself is pretty simple, you just turn it on, pop it on the intensity that you want, press the glass laser panel against the area of skin you want to zap, and hit the longer button as soon as the machine flashes. It can be a little tricky to get a surface solid enough for the sensors to be like “yep, you’re good” so be prepared to pull some interesting faces at yourself in the mirror.

I sweep over the areas I wanna hit three times in a session, and then pop it away until the next week. Follow up with some aloe gel if you’re a bit sensitive, or just chuck on your hydrating nighttime skincare regime. No retinol or chemical exfoliants though, the skin’s prob a bit too tender.

at-home IPL laser treatment
This was harder to take than it looks.

So while we’re here inside, I’m gonna keen kicking on with this at-home IPL laser gadget. (Hi NSW, your beauty therapy places have opened up from Monday, June 1, you lucky bastards.) It seems to be the turtle of the hair removal game, slow and steady wins the race.

Image: Courtney Fry / Instagram / @timmhanly