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Hair today, gone tomorrow

I'm not grateful to my Neanderthal forebears. While facial hair might be a hipster requirement, having it sprout from all orifices as it does in my case, is not. I, and those of us who don't want to look like Uriah Heep or some other Dickinsonian character, have to keep facial and, for that matter, body hair, in close check.
I dislike shaving my face but I think that very frequent full-face waxing may be too painful even for me, a seasoned believer in depilation, to endure. There is light at the end of the personal-hair removal tunnel. It is called Or, a pulsed light from French Technology company, Yperion. The Or-Light uses technology similar to LED and Laser to achieve permanent hair removal; skin rejuvenation and the removal of skin blemishes.

People who know about permanent hair removal know that electrolysis (a way of killing individual hair follicles) is a much used if somewhat dated technology but it takes a very long time and is not suited to removing large areas of hair like from the chest, leg or back. Laser treatments have also proved effective but some people, and I'm one of them, don't like the smell of burning hair or pain associated with having laser treatments.

The laser route

When Carol Boag, the owner of The Glasshouse Men's Grooming, the place I all too frequently visit to have my hairs pulled out by their roots, told me about their acquisition of the Or-Light machine and offered me a demonstration I didn't think twice. Sonja Schroder of The Cosmoprof Foundation that markets the unit was on hand to demonstrate.

Those that know that I subject myself to hair removal by hot wax always want to know how painful it is. In a word: very. And, because the hair grows back, the pain is compounded by its on-going nature. Fortunately Glasshouse clients are offered beer, whisky or coffee with their treatments but as I don't drink I have to take Myprodol and still my screams can be heard by people lunching at Beluga.

Having hair waxed from my nostrils, for example, feels like a hard slap in the face and other areas are even more painful. Having laser treatment before on my face to remove visible blood vessels felt like being stung by a bee. I also really didn't like the feeling of heat or the bright light which even with protective goggles is visible.

The Or Light.
The first time I experienced the Or-Light, applied in nine pulses across about four centimetres of my beard, it felt much like being flicked with an elastic band but when I had it on other parts of my face (to remove pigment from my forehead and to reduce the bags under my eyes) it was only mildly uncomfortable. Compared to waxing it is totally painless. I really liked that the treatment was fast and that after the initial sting there was no lingering pain, redness or unpleasantness. I could immediately see a lessening of the under-eye puffiness but the real improvement was the next day. The technology stimulates the skins collagen and elastin to give the impression of smoother and "fuller" texture.

Claimed to be faster, and more pleasant

The permanent hair removal works by targeting the melanin in the follicle and, because the Or-Light claims to be three times faster than competing products, the experience is faster and more pleasant. Like all new technologies it comes at an elevated price but, as Carol points out, over 10 years you'll spend more on waxing and shaving. Six to 10 sessions are recommend for permanent hair removal but after just one session I can already see the results from the Photo-Lifting. I recently had a 90-minute intense skin repair facial treatment. I think my skin looked better after five minutes on this machine so if you're after fast results this is for you, too. And, if time equals money, consider how much you are saving.

The Glasshouse has just celebrated its seventh birthday with the acquisition of the Or-Light. For now they reputed to be the only Cape Town salon with an Or-Light. See or telephone 021 419 9599 for more information.

About Brian Berkman: contributing editor, travel

Brian Berkman can be contacted on 083-441-8765 or email .