Sunday, September 1, 2013

Product Review: Me Smooth

I. Hate. Body. Hair.  Hate it.  Hate it on me.  Hate it on him (a little is ok, but seriously, not a requirement and I'm not offended by males who shave or trim body parts other than their faces).  I shave everything every other day without exception even in the winter except on the weekends when maybe I let it go two days.  All this ridiculousness is costing me precious morning minutes.  It's hard enough to get out the door as I have 100% of the childcare duties in the morning - I would love to get back the hour or so per week that I spend shaving.  Especially because minutes in the morning seem to be worth more than minutes at any other time of day for some reason.  I had considered professional laser hair removal before but the expense and formality of it scared me off.  After all, I don't have a hair problem.  I have light, wispy hair (darker on my legs), no facial hair problems, I don't even wax my eyebrows because tweezers once a week is more than enough.  But I am human and I do have hair.  And I want to be smooth at all times.  So when I saw the Me Smooth on Sephora and it's stellar ratings, I considered the benefits of an at-home treatment.  My initial thoughts - probably if you stick to it it will save you money over professional treatments.  Will it be permanent?  Judging from the manufacturer's inserts, probably not, but it will probably save you a lot shaving time.  Particularly if you're a "good candidate" - light skin with dark hair, from my cursory research, although the Me Smooth supposedly works on all skin types.  I won't be able to test that claim.  I'm as white as it gets.  It's also nice to be able to do something as private as hair removal in the privacy of your own home.  Not to mention the convenience of not having to make appointments and drive somewhere.  The system isn't cheap - I paid $399 plus tax and every cartridge refill is $50.  But I hey, I have a job and if this thing means I only have to shave once a month or less, It'll be more than worth it.  I went for it.

Like I said, the reviews on were good, but I noticed that a lot of them were written as soon as the purchaser took the thing out of the box.  The reviews were basically reviews of the purchaser's excitement rather than of how well the system works.  People liked the large window of the "laser zapper" wand and they didn't like the placement of the power button because it's easy to accidentally turn off mid-treatment (this turns out to be really annoying but not a deal breaker).  They also like that it says that it works on all skin types (but does it really?).  And it's painless and easy (but does it work?).  One or two people said it really did what it said and was worth the money.  So to settle all my questions I'm going to do my own review, I'll set out the first few and last few treatments in excruciating detail for those who are interested.  If you just want the bottom line, you can skip to the last paragraph.    

First treatment 7/8.

I assembled the wand and followed the instructions to power up the machine, which are ridiculously easy.  If you somehow lost the instructions you'd probably be fine.  I did a test on low as the instructions recommend.  No irritation. So I went forth and did a medium treatment.  I guided the wand up and down my legs, bikini area, and under arms slowly and methodically, making sure to get every inch.  I tried to go in a continuous motion as instructed but i was being so meticulous that I felt compelled to stop and let the flash happen before moving again.  The instructions aren't totally clear on this point anyway.  They say move the wand as you would a razor, you don't need to stamp...but should you pause?  I typically do.  The wand basically flashes and clicks simultaneously every second or so as you move across your skin.  The flashes are seriously bright.  The brightness is probably my number one complaint about the machine.  I wore sunglasses and tried to look away the whole time and I still got blinded quite a few times.  I'm not sure why it wouldn't be feasible to provide shields so the user doesn't get flashed in the face 2,000 times per treatment (disclaimer: I'm not actually sure what the average flashes per treatment are, I was too involved in the RH of OC to count, I'm sure there is a statistic out there on the interwebs).   Aside from my own annoyance at the flashes I was sure I was going to get a knock on my door from the neighbors wondering if there was some silent alarm going off inside my house, or a police car parked out front.  I was sitting next to a sliding glass door and I'm pretty sure you could see these flashes from space. 

The other complaint I have is how long the treatments take.  As advertized, it takes "just minutes!" to remove all your hair. Forever.  Or at least that's the implication.  In reality, it took forever to slide that thing all over my parts and then, re-reading the instructions, I realized I had to do the same thing 3-4 times!!  In one sitting?  This could take hours.  And it pretty much did.  About two hours.  This will definitely not save time over shaving in the short run.  And then you have to do that 7 weeks in a row.  And once a month after that.  So if you're contemplating this purchase, be sure you have the stamina to stick with it long term.  The price tag was sufficient motivation for me to use it. 

Second treatment 7/15. 

As an initial matter, my hair kept growing during the first week.  Part of me thinks it's thinner but that might be all in my head.  It's only been one treatment after all.  The idea is that different hair follicles grow on different cycles and so if you do a weekly zap session for several weeks, you're bound to get all of them at the right stage.  But just doing it once will make very very little difference. 

I started the treatment on my legs on medium this time.  Since it didn't hurt I tried it on high and it was fine for my legs but got a little "zappy" as I neared the inside of my knee and the bikini line.  But still tolerable.  I'm one of those people that wonders if things work when they're not hard/painful enough. As I was playing around with the low/med/high settings this time I noticed that the flashes came very fast on the low setting and gradually got slower (and more intense) as I changed to the high setting.  As I was bound and determined to keep the setting on high, the slower flashes made for a very, very long treatment.  It lasted over an hour to do my legs three times.  and that was just my legs.  It was getting to be so long that I decided from now on to stagger my legs treatments and my bikini/underarms treatments.  I would have been there all night if I had tried to do everything.  And probably would have burned out the mechanism.  It was really hot by the end of the session. 

Mid August

I have dutifully done Monday leg treatments and Wednesday underarm/bikini treatments for the full seven weeks.  I don't have to shave my legs between treatments.  My underarms are getting to that point and don't have that in-between stubble that seems to grow out 24 hrs after shaving.  That means shaving once a week with much smoother skin in previously hair prone areas.  It's pretty miraculous.  I am very smooth.  I am going to give it about two more weekly treatments and then do a review one month after that (apparently, after about 7-10 weekly treatments you can move to the more leisurely once-a-month frequency).  So mid-October (where is my life going?!).   Bottom line so far is that this thing delivers on smoothness and reducing shaving sessions.  Whether it has long-term effects as remarkable remains to be seen but I am hopefull.  On the price factor, it costs a lot.  Not just the $400 or so for the machine (i think you can get it cheaper on @maz0n, but also the $50 per cartridge.  I am going through about 1.5 cartridges per treatment.  I am very meticulous though, I'm not saying this is a necessary consumption but I want this thing to work, darnit.  Others might get great results with less time and fewer cartridges.  Stay tuned.     

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