In lieu of frickin’ lasers

A story fragment hanging around the hard drive somewhere:

“I can’t answer questions about the Process itself,” she said. “Security concerns. I’m sure you understand.”

And so I changed the subject: “Who does your hair?”

I could hear, if not actually see, the grin taking over where her face was supposed to be. “Good one,” she said. “One of the side effects of the invisibility treatment, one we didn’t expect, was serious follicular damage. I have a small patch of peach fuzz on top of my head, but otherwise, I have no hair to ‘do’.”

“There’s a lot to be said for being low-maintenance,” I suggested.

“Oh, good Lord, yes. And I never have to shave my legs again, which suits me just fine.”

The alternatives to the blade might be even worse: Donna once described one particular method as “like a thousand bees descended onto my legs in a mad fury of activity.”

And then there’s something called Silk’n SensEpil, which attempts to replicate in your own home the expensive laser-treatment experience, though without actual lasers:

Light-based hair removal is based on the theory of selective photothermolysis in which optical energy is used to disable hair growth. In order to achieve such thermal effect, the hair shaft needs to selectively absorb light energy and transform it into heat. This selectivity is achieved when high optical energy that is delivered to the tissue is mostly absorbed by hair shaft pigment, while the epidermis and the surrounding tissue is actively cooled (by a cooling mechanism). Melanin is the pigment in the hair shaft that is responsible for the absorption of the light, which generates the heat that eventually disables hair growth. When hair growth is disabled, long-term hair removal is achieved.

Well, okay. Clearly this gizmo has to be able to distinguish between skin color and actual hair color, or it can’t deliver the high optical energy to the right place. Which tells me they shouldn’t expect any endorsements by, say, the Supremes, and which the FAQ confirms:

Do not use SensEpil on naturally dark skin complexion. SensEpil removes unwanted hair by selectively addressing hair pigment. Varied quantities of pigment also exist in the surrounding tissue of skin. The quantity of pigment in a particular person’s skin, which is manifested by their skin complexion, determines the degree of risk they are exposed to using SensEpil. Treating dark skin can result in adverse effects such as burns, blisters, and skin color changes (hyper- or hypo-pigmentation). Many other laser and light devices, professionally and at home, also have the same restrictions on naturally dark skin complexion.

Emphasis in the original. Plague of lawyers, incoming at 9 o’clock.

Meanwhile, the blade abides, as do various jars of goop and the swarm of belligerent bees. I am not at liberty to discuss any secret government (or otherwise) projects.


  1. fillyjonk »

    18 January 2010 · 9:21 am

    So I guess people like me, who practically glow in the dark, would be good candidates for lasering off the leg hair. (Too bad I’m way too cheap to do it…though maybe if I added up the cost of a lifetime (well, since age 13 anyway) supply of Daisys and the band-aids to cover the nicks, it would amortize out…)

  2. Deborah »

    18 January 2010 · 2:20 pm

    $500! Wooeee—that IS a lot of razor blades. Being a redhead of Nordic ancestry, I do not tan. Like the moon, I reflect light. Husband is occasionally indulgent though, so I might ask …

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