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The Lowdown on Laser Hair Removal For Dark Skin

The topic of laser hair removal is still going strong since I started posting from my monthly appointments, so it only makes sense to answer all your questions in one place right here. My decision to begin laser hair removal came from an extreme dislike to bikini waxing. I swear, I would be like a fish out of water on the table during waxing appointments. Flipping and flopping each time the wax was ripped off my skin. Dreading every session and leaving a puddle of sweat behind on the table whenever the poor lady was finished. After I had Maxwell, I knew I had to try something else. Shaving with a straight razor wasn’t going to be it because it left me with razor bumps, nasty ingrown hairs and scarring. I am at the age now where I just don’t want to be bothered with hair removal. Well, at least down there. It needs to GO!

Even though I hate most forms of hair removal, the decision to start laser hair removal treatments wasn’t exactly easy. For one, it’s not cheap. Two, I was worried about my skin and whether I would be able to find someone in the city who really understood how to do this safely working with coarse hair and skin with melanin. Appears like y’all have the same concerns too after reviewing the questions y’all left for my on IG stories. So here’s the list of FAQ’S:

HOW DO I CHOOSE WHERE TO GO FOR YOUR LASER HAIR REMOVAL?

Without a doubt, the most important decision, especially if you have dark skin. You need to go somewhere that has amazing aestheticians and have equipment with technology that is safe for a variety of skin tones and hair. I go to The Ten Spot on Queen St West and I have my Instagram community to thank for that. I used my IG stories to ask women of colour in the city for laser recommendations and the responses for the Ten Spot was quite overwhelming. There were of course, a few high end medical clinics that charge an arm and a leg and some cost effective recco’s made, but the Ten Spot locations seemed to have great staff and had the most technology advanced equipment. Plus, there are locations in every corner of the city (and across the country). If you are not in Canada or choose to go somewhere other than a Ten Spot location, make sure wherever you go, has the Vectus Laser Cynosure machine. My suggestion to you would be to do searches in your city for places that carry this machine and then do some price point comparisons.

WHAT MAKES THE VECTUS CYNOSURE BETTER THAN OTHER LASER MACHINES?

Technology has come a long way since laser hair removal was first introduced to the beauty industry. The secret to the Vectus Cynosure is it’s technology. It actually targets and destroys hair cells responsible for hair growth without damaging the surrounding skin.

It has different sized applicators, making it easy to remove hair from faces (with the exception of the eye area), backs, chests, arms, underarms, bikini lines and chests and the important thing to point out, it’s suitable and safe for all skin types; including very light and dark skin tones and hair colours thanks to the diode technology. For those with darker skin complexions that are worried about potential skin damage, the machine has a Skintel melanin digital reader device used prior to every treatment which determines the laser’s power level avoiding in any guess work for the aesthetician and can guarantee no burning. It even has an advanced cooling system to help eliminate any discomfort that may occur the further you get in your treatment.

DOES IT HURT AND HOW MANY SESSIONS DOES IT TAKE?

As you can imagine, almost all of you wanted to know if the process hurts and providing that there may be some discomfort, thought to go ahead and ask how many sessions it takes. And I don’t blame you. If you are considering this form of hair removal, it’s probably because you don’t want to deal with the pain of waxing. The deal is this, my first two appointments (I just finished my sixth treatment) were completely pain free. Like, I literally felt nothing at all and was even became skeptical that this shit was going to work. However, as I’ve progressed through the treatments, the laser strength has increased to help minimize hair regrowth and I am starting to feel some discomfort. And I say discomfort because it is not pain, well at least not yet. Apparently, once you get to the end of your treatment cycle where there is little to no hair left in the follicle, it can become painful but that means you’re closer to semi-permanent hair removal and you won’t have to endure it much longer. As things are starting to intensify, I decided to get myself a numbing cream to help with any discomfort so the aesthetician can use the appropriate laser level. It made a significant difference during my last appointment and I will continue to use the cream moving forward.

We all have different pain thresholds and after going through a natural labour for 43 hours, I would like to think my pain tolerance is pretty high but the cream just helps as I know Glaze wants to go a bit higher with the frequency. If you’re wondering what it actually feels like? It’s no where near the pain level of strip waxing, thank God! You may not feel anything at all in some places, especially in the first few sessions. While over other passes across the treatment area, you will feel a sensation similar to a zap or an elastic snapping, that happens so quickly and disappears just as fast. I almost wish the zaps were consistent throughout the treatment though. Not knowing when the zaps coming, which is probably determined by how much hair is left in the follicle in a certain area, makes me feel a bit tense throughout the entire appointment….even though I am only zapped a handful of times during my treatment. Glaze always has episodes of Friends playing on TV in the treatment room so watch and chat with her to keep me distracted.

HOW MANY SESSIONS DO YOU NEED AND HOW MANY HAVE YOU DONE?

The number of sessions is depends on several factors. Your skin tone and hair type for sure but also the area you are getting done. The upper lip or sideburns may only take 6-7 sessions while doing a Brazilian may take double the amount of sessions. I have just finished my sixth session and we anticipate that I will probably have to do 10-12 in total. But, we shall see!

IS LASER HAIR REMOVAL PERMANENT?

I think this is the most common misconception. I am sad to report that it is not permanent but for what it’s worth, it’s as close to permanent as you’re going to get. I’ve spoken to several women who have gotten laser treatment done and they have all said that they are for the most part hairless but they do get the odd stray hairs popping up and they either pluck or quickly shave but it happens only a couple times a year.

IS IT SAFE TO GET LASER ON DELICATE AREAS LIKE YOUR BIKINI LINE AND VAGINA?

Yup, that is exactly the treatment I go in for. I opted for full Brazilian and I will be honest, it takes some getting used to having a stranger getting so up close and personal with you. She gets in places that not even Réjean sees to be honest. Even handles inside the bum crack.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

This shit is not cheap boo’s. You can go to a medical clinic, in Yorkville for example, and literally thousands and thousands and then there are a few cost effective spots but at the same time, do you want the cheapest option when you’re dealing with your skin? Probably not. The prices at The Ten Spot can be found on their website. I get the “Brazily” laser treatment and it costs $210 + taxes per session. This is their signature style with everything off – including treasure trail, full vajay, and between the bum cheeks.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST START NOTICING A DIFFERENCE

I started to notice a difference with the speed of growth after the third session. I am still getting hair growth now though after six appointments. I find that the hair on my bikini line is coming back slower and the hair is much finer. The rest of my vagina still has a ways to go yet, which is why we increased the frequency during my last appointment. I am hoping to be finished after 10-12 sessions.

IS IT TRUE YOU CAN’T GET LASER IF YOU’RE ON ANTIBIOTICS?

I don’t believe that is true but you can consult your physician if you have any concerns about this.

DOES BLACK  SCAR FROM LASER HAIR REMOVAL?

Lots has changed in laser technology since it was first introduced 25+ years ago. The old laser machines were only able to treat and remove hair on one type of skin tone. It worked best on white skin and moderately dark hair. Those with skin too fair or too dark often got burned and suffered from hyper pigmentation. The machines back then were not sophisticated enough to detect hair colour and melanin, requiring an aesthetician to use guess work to determine the laser frequency level to use during treatments. Now, with machines like the Vectus, there is no more guess work. A digital reading tells the aesthetician the exact range they should use throughout the treatment. It stores all the client’s information as well from previous appointments to closely track progress.

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH HAIR GROWTH IN BETWEEN SESSIONS AND WHAT IS POST CARE LIKE?

Between sessions I usually just leave the hair to grow in for the most part. However, with being on set for shoots and in bathing suits during our travels, I more likely to keep the area more trimmed than most. I use my Philips Bikini Genie Trimmer to maintain the area.

As for post care, absolutely nothing is required. The only thing you will be advised about is that within the first few days of having your session done, you should avoid direct sunlight to the area treated. That is not always avoidable so you need to make sure that you are applying sunscreen as well. I went to Miami the day after a treatment back in November and I just made sure none of the bathing suits I wore were high cut and while I was on the beach, I made sure to stay under an umbrella. I usually am not on the beach baking in the sun a day after going in so normally I don’t have anything to worry about.

The Ten Spot Laser Hair Removal - Sasha Exeter

DID YOU FIND ANY PIGMENTATION ISSUES BECAUSE I HAVE SO MUCH DISCOLOURATION?

Nope. Absolutely none since starting my treatments. I used to get awful in grown hairs when I waxed and shaved with a straight razor which left marks behind on my bikini line. I have not had one single ingrown since I started my treatments and I am even noticing the marks I once had are actually even fading now.

CAN LASER HAIR REMOVAL CAUSE KELOIDS?

There is almost zero risk of getting keloids, if you’re prone to them, from laser treatments unless your skin gets severely burned during a treatment which would only happen if you have a poorly skilled technician and/or a machine that is not meant to be used on dark skin. To be honest, the chances of burning today with the right laser machine is slim to none.

IS IT TRUE IT’S POINTLESS TO DO LASER BEFORE YOU HAVE KIDS BECAUSE THE HAIR WILL GROW BACK?

I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s pointless to do it before kids. I mean, there are plenty of women who have not gotten pregnant yet and they are lasering their lives away. I waited until after having Maxwell to do it but that’s just because I procrastinated for years. I did ask Glaze to confirm or deny during my last visit and she did say that she advises if you’re planning on getting pregnant soon, wait until post baby. When you’re pregnant, your hormones and prenatal vitamins promote crazy hair growth, so you won’t want to be wasting time and money removing hair that is just going to grow back thicker and faster during those nine months. As for fertility, some of you have asked whether treatments may affect fertility and you will be happy to know that it doesn’t.

THE CONCLUSION

Well the question y’all all want to really know is, “Does it work?” Well, I can’t quite answer that just yet. Am I seeing some results so far? Yes, but truthfully, I would have thought I would be seeing far less hair re-growth by now. But, perhaps I just have stubborn hair that is going to need a full round of treatments. We shall see, but if all goes well, I will be getting my armpits done next. If you’re in the Toronto area and want to try out The Ten Spot, ask for Glaze. She’s amazing and has won all kinds of awards for her laser work in 2018. I will circle back with you all in a few months with another update once I have finished my 12th session.

THIS REVIEW IS SOLELY MY PERSONAL OPINION AND IS NOT SPONSORED OR IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ANY OF THE BRANDS MENTIONED IN THE POST.

Practical & Life Changing Hair Removal

Let’s get straight down to business and chat hair removal shall we because you guys have showed so much interest in my hair free journey since I opened up about it recently on Instagram. If you happened to miss it thanks to the apps awful algorithm, you can find it here. I have complained for years about every single aspect surrounding this topic. I started shaving when I was about 13, I think. Maybe even 12. I started waxing my armpits and bikini line in my early twenties. Then graduating to full brazilians shortly thereafter. FML. I am in my late thirties now so that’s a lot of years of painful agony from waxing and annoying nicks from straight blades. This summer I had enough. Like, why the hell was I making myself suffer? It had to end.

Philips Har Removal - So Sasha
I just want the smooth and soft legs that Maxie has

So, what happened next was an immediate call to action on my IG stories asking my followers to dish on their go-to hair removal methods. The response…well let’s just say most of the women agreed that waxing is savage. There were many that still shaved but to be honest, I was blown away by the amount of women who had turned to epilators and laser hair removal treatments. Like tons actually! I got feedback from the black community on what clinics in Toronto were the best at dealing with darker skin tones and started looking into the option of electric shavers and epilators after a few people brought them up. I ended up booking Holly from The Ten Spot Queen West location for my laser treatments on my va-jay-jay and I am going to see how that goes, then determine whether I am going to get other areas done. Who am I kidding? If it’s as good as people say it is, I will literally be a Kardashian and do my entire body head to toe. At $210 per session, you better believe they use the best machine in the game that is able to detect the amount of melanin in darker skin to avoid burning. I’ve only done two sessions so far and I promise to report back on the progress but so far they have been virtually painless (requires no numbing cream) and I have about 8-10 sessions left. I am excited to not have to worry about it anymore. But in the meantime, it’s just the one area and I am using the Philips BikiniGenie Bikini Trimmer in between appointments to keep things in check down there. Holly is infamous in the beauty and aesthetician community when it comes to laser removal and is The Ten Spot’s laser guru. She actually advised me to stay away from waxing completely from now and suggested I use my trimmer only as needed. It’s so easy to shape and trim with it. Its battery operated and portable, making it really convenient to use anywhere, especially when traveling and it can also be used in or outside of the shower. With that area now taken care of, you’re probably wondering what I am doing with the rest of my body that sprouts more hair than I would like to admit.

Philips Har Removal - So Sasha

Philips Har Removal - So Sasha

I know the Philips brand has been known for their epilators and electric shavers for many years so I figured my experience with the BikiniGenie may mean that I will also love their other hair removal products. I am not quite yet ready to dole out coins for laser on my legs, pits or face just yet so it was worth a shot and the price point is so much more affordable than laser sessions. My first attempt was with the Philips Satinelle Advanced Wet & Dry Epilator. I was stoked for it because I heard that it had the ability to grab even the finest of hairs (even has a unique light to illuminate the area you are working on so you can target the teeny tiny hairs) and because the hair is removed straight from the root, it grew back slower, similar to waxing. It came with several attachment heads making it safe and easy to use all over my body but you know what…it’s just not for me. I am not quite sure what I was expecting in terms of pain level but it was far from pain free, I will say that. Personally, for me the discomfort level was not far off from waxing so I didn’t see the point however, if you can handle it and are looking for an at-home hair removal option that removes hair straight from the root and eliminates trips to the salon, this is the tool for you.

With the epilator no longer an option for moi, I tried the Philips electric shaver and have been using it religiously ever since on my legs, arms and armpits. So much different than shaving with straight razors. There’s a multiflex head with dual foils to make sure you don’t miss any hairs. I do find that I have to be very particular and hold it on a 90 degree angle when I am moving the shaver up my leg to ensure that

the blade cuts the hair as close to the skin as possible. I loooooove that I don’t need to be in the shower to use it like I would with a traditional razor. I’ve actually only used it in the shower once, I much prefer dry use. It’s a lot more convenient that way. I have traveled with this thing and even bring it on set with me to shave before a shoot if I don’t have time to do it the night before. You can’t expect to get the same shave as you would with a straight razor but if you’re anything like me, you’ll rush and end up slicing your skin. You can eliminate cuts and nicks from your shaving equation with the Philips SatinShave Prestige Electric Shaver. Plus, its only $60 on Amazon right now, so in the long run if you think about it, even more cost effective than purchasing straight razors for the foreseeable future.

Philips Hair Removal

For the ultimate in smoothness, I love to use Céla’s Seed to Scrub (a natural grain polish), their Exfoliating Mitt on my legs and arms followed by the brand’s Creme de la Creme Light moisturizer. And, voila…welcome to the softest skin ever. Also, just because I’m super extra, I wanted to also try out the Philips PrecisionPerfect Trimmer because why the hell not. I had gotten my brows micro bladed back in January so the maintenance on them is pretty minimal but now I don’t have to waste any time going anywhere to do threading to clean them up.

Philips Har Removal - So Sasha

Philips Har Removal - So Sasha

Philips Har Removal - So Sasha

Philips Har Removal - So Sasha

Philips Har Removal - So Sasha
Photography by Jess Baumung

I’ve linked all the products above so you can shop them directly from Amazon, because who doesn’t love receiving the products they have ordered same day? They are also available for sale in store at Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart, London Drugs, and Jean Coutu nationwide.

 

My Beauty Go-To’s in Toronto | Lashes, Spa, Make-Up, Nails, Wax & Hair

 

beauty in the city

Lately I’ve been getting questions about where I go in Toronto for my eyelash extensions, to enjoy spa treatments, who does my make-up for events, where I get my “hair did” and where I chose to go for nails and waxing. I am a believer in “Sharing is Caring” therefore, I am sharing with you some of my beauty go-to’s in the city!

My Eyelash Fairy Godmother | Jennifer Cowaan of The Forma Group and SFYGF.com

The Forma Group

I have to be completely honest, I have tried eyelash extensions a few times over the last two years, along with my cousin/bestie Melayna and I’ve always run into issues with them – either the lashes would fall off prematurely, which is saddening after spending so much money on a fill or my eyes would literally burn each time they would water due to the glue used. The latter was extremely problematic because my eyes tend to water quite frequently. After a long lash extension hiatus, I decided on giving it one more go with Jennifer Cowan of The Forma Group, who is also the creator and writer of SFYGF.com, a successful fashion and beauty blog. I swear, I truly think this chick is doing the lashes for every blogger, stylist and cool media personnel in the city. As Jennifer is a bit of a perfectionist (in a good way) she takes some serious time for applications, educates on how to keep them clean – the proper way, tips for longevity and you leave with a clean wand/brush after each visit.

SFYGF

Jennifer Cowan – Founder of The Forma Group and SFYGF.com

Bonus – I always thought that wearing mascara was an absolute no-no in relation to lash extension but according to Jennifer, she lives and dies by mascara on her own set of lashes…and you know what, it actually does work and looks FAB. For more information on hours and services head to www.theformagroup.com.

 My Spa Haven | The Stillwater Spa at The Park Hyatt Yorkville

Stillwater Spa

There are many dope spas now within the city that offer phenomenal treatments, but I’m sorry, I just cannot stop going back to the Stillwater Spa. It is still THE spa to go to in Toronto for businesswomen, brides-to-be, fashionistas and the city’s “women who lunch” crew. Located in Yorkville on the ground and lower level of the Park Hyatt hotel, patrons will find 17 treatment rooms, a couple’s therapy massage room, an aqua therapy room, steam room, sauna, whirlpool and a fab tea room where you can enjoy lovely coffee, teas and some of the tastiest biscotti you will ever have in your life. My ultimate fave treatments are the essential Swedish massage ($143/60 mins) and the Red Carpet Rescue Wrap ($235/90 mins).

Stillwater Spa

Stillwater Spa

The aqua therapy room and tea room at the Stillwater Spa Toronto

Bonus – with any treatment purchased, you have free access to the entire facility (gym and water/steam therapy rooms, etc,) so make sure to get your money’s worth and set aside time for an entire day of relaxation.

Park Hyatt Stillwater Spa 4 Avenue Road Toronto, ON M5R 2E8 416.926.2389 Stillwater Spa Website

My Make-up Magician | Michelle Crichlow: Makeup By Michou

Makeup By Michou

I mean, if her stunning face and flawless make-up isn’t already an indication, Ms. Michelle Critclow is the bomb.com. I had the pleasure of being introduced to this young talent by a mutual friend and recently used her for a photo shoot and she is now my resident make-up artist. Michelle has been playing around with make-up and beauty products since she was  a teenager and two years ago she finally decided to turn her love and hobby into a career after lending her skills last minute to a “down on her luck” bride. She is currently studying Make-Up at George Brown School and Makeup and Esthetics and will be opening up a studio space this summer.

Michelle’s work can currently be viewed on her Instagram account and her current rate for make-up application is $75

Makeup By Michou

Makeup By Michou

Makeup by Michou

Bonus – Michelle will travel to you, either on site or a client’s home for make-up application and can be contacted at makeupbymichou@gmail.com.

My One-Stop Shop for Mani, Pedi and Waxing | The Ten Spot

The Ten Spot

If you live within the GTA then you probably already heard about The Ten Spot. It’s  no-fuss beauty and grooming boutique where you can get manis, pedis, facials, waxing and even male grooming done…I actually like to call it a “beauty bar” seeing as though it doesn’t really operate like an orthodox spa, which is pretty cool for those who aren’t into the fluff and they make it super easy for peeps to just pop in for a treatment. I usually go in for a mani/pedi but they also have affordable facials (and just $65)  that are done at their “facial bar” which is similar to a mani/pedi station, where you can just grab a table beside other facial clients within the same room.

The Ten Spot

The Ten Spot

The nail and facial bars at the Queen St. location – Photos courtesy of  The Ten Spot

Bonus – They pretty much have the entire GTA covered, with 6 different locations; Bloor West, Roncesvalles, Queen West, Leslieville, Beaches and Hamilton and very accommodating hours of operation.

Queen West (my go-to location) 749 Queen St. West Toronto, ON 416.915.1010 ext. 1

Sunday-Wednesday 8am-8pm

Thursday-Saturday 8am-9pm

For more information on services, locations, private parties and/or to book online check out their website here.

My Hair Guru | Sharon Nyah of Lids Lounge and mizshaaz.com

Miz Shaaz

Now that I have found my hair guru, Sharon, I don’t think I will turn to anyone else to take care of my tresses. For years I’ve scoured the city to find the perfect hairdresser whose prices aren’t astronomical, who is located centrally, can actually cut/style/weave hair properly and more importantly, one who doesn’t have me wasting my entire day at the salon because they booked three clients all at the same time (black women everywhere know what I am talking about)…I don’t think I have ever spent more than 1 1/2 hours in Sharon’s chair – no matter what I’m getting done. And, I receive nothing but compliments each time I leave her salon. One of my fave parts of going to the Lid Lounge – the fabulous convos on fashion and men with the gay men who make up the other 5 stylists in the salon.

mizshaaz

Bonus – Sharon specializes in all hair types (not only black hair) and you can book your treatment (cut, colour, wash, blowout, weave) directly on her website www.mizshaaz.com.

The Lid Lounge 115b Church Street Toronto, ON M5C 2G5 416.937.6436

Thursday- Saturday 10am-7pm

XO,

S

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