Hair-Removal Methods: Choosing a Pracitioner

May 13, 2001


  • Doctors and other practitioners are salespeople, too. Many of them want to recoupi an investment in equipment that cost a lot.
  • Anyone can be fooled: Practitioners can fall for marketing hype or can be too busy or lazy to read clinical studies before buying a device.
  • What if it doesn’t work? No “permanent” method works for every consumer. Can you financially afford to take that risk?

Gathering Information

  • Read published clinical data.
  • Talk to your doctor, but remember that not all doctors are familiar with hair-removal issues.
  • Talk to clients: Ask relatives and friends, keeping in mind it’s hard for someone to judge long-term results. Preferably, talk with someone in person who’s been done 12 months and is happy. Remember, this is no guarantee of your own results.
  • Keep records: Note the date and where it appeared for both print and broadcast. promotions. If you seek a refund later, you may need this information.
  • Get some information over the phone
    • Make sure the pracitioner is licensed in your state (if applicable)
    • Brand and model of method used and how long they’ve used it.
    • Make sure they’re not selling a doubtful method like electric tweezers.
    • Name and credentials of person performing treatment.
    • Number of clients treated
    • Set up a consultation and test patch with the practitioner. Ask if both are free.

During the Consultation

  • Check out the office appearance. Are office and practitioners clean and professional?
  • Get a test patch done
  • Be sure that their claims are supported by published clinical data.
  • Check on pain-relief options
  • Discuss costs. Fees for waxing and laser usually vary with body area. Electrolysis is usually based on time.
  • Discuss treatment schedule and office policies
    • How often you’ll need to come in
    • How long each treatment will take (subsequent treatments may require less time)
    • How many treatments you will need
    • Office days and hours
    • Policy for missed appointments
  • Find out what to expect after treatment:
    • How long until hairs fall out after laser (it often takes a few days).
    • Ask about their recommended post-treatment care.
    • Possible side effects, and their assessment of your skin type.
    • Estimated time between treatments.
  • Get everything in writing
    • Any results they claim
    • Prices
    • Their policy if your hair comes back
  • Get every question answered. Anyone who avoids answering does not deserve your trust or your money.
  • Get more than one consultation if possible.

Signing up

  • Do not sign up for treatment at the consultation! First see how your skin responds to the test patch, and take home the info you get to do more research.
  • Read and understand anything you sign, and keep a copy
    • Waivers and “informed consent” forms
    • Agreement if you’re paying in advance for multiple treatments
    • If possible, pay with check or credit card.
    • If not, get signed and dated receipts for cash payments
    • Make sure your records of time or sessions remaining match the pracitioner’s records after each treatment.


Ms. James is a Chicago-based writer and consumer activist who owns

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This article was posted on May 13, 2001.