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Time to break out the lasers again

shark_with_laserIt’s now been over 3 years since I last had laser hair removal treatment.

Mostly, things have stayed pretty much static on my body. As I mentioned in my last post on the subject, regrowth on my arms and legs has been minimal – I still have individual hairs here and there; nothing that a couple of minutes with a razor can’t sort out. My underarms have developed a soft downy hair, but it’s very easy to take off with a razor. The regrowth on my tummy hasn’t got a whole lot worse, but is still very evident. Likewise my bikini line. The sparse regrowth on my chest and bewbs has come back a little but not unacceptably so – a few moments with a razor sorts it out.

However, the regrowth on my face has been extensive, to the point at which I am struggling to hide beard shadow even with high coverage foundation.

As I result, I have decided it’s time to recommence laser hair removal.

The ProSkin clinic that I used previously is no more. The company behind ProSkin went into administration in 2016, and then were bought out. Looking at their website, it seems that the only clinics now operating are in London.

Googling for other clinics in my area who also use Cynosure lasers threw up Destination Skin in Festival Place in Basingstoke, which is convenient for me.

I contacted them, and got a phone call response, where I talked with AnneMarie who is keen to see me for an initial consultation next week where she can do a quick patch test (largely unnecessary considering how much laser I have already had, but necessary for them as they don’t have access to my ProSkin records of course) and also discuss with me what my requirements are.

The plan is to do some maintenance on my body regrowth and to attack my face in earnest with a view to completely eradicating my facial hair. I would imagine that is going to involve another whole course of laser for my face, and also a fair bit of electrolysis too. Due to my age, my facial hair is rather “salt and pepper” these days, and laser will only address the pepper. For the salt, we’ll have to use other methods like electrolysis.

I’m quite excited by this, as I have never been happy with having to trowel on foundation and would like a more natural look, but that is currently impossible with my beard shadow. Also, every time I blow my nose I have to touch up my upper lip to replace the foundation wiped away, and this is a constant source of annoyance and worry for me. As is getting foundation on people when I hug or kiss them. It would be nice to never have to worry about that again.

More news as it happens.

 

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Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Diary, Hair Removal, Transgender

 

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Review: Homedics Mē Plus

Me My Elos Plus

Manufacturer: HoMedics
Product: Mē Plus (also known as the HoMedics Me My Elos Plus)
EAN: 4051123000848
RRP: £449
Price: Around £200

Introduction

This is a review of the Mē Plus by HoMedics, a home permanent hair removal system using a combination of IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and RF (Radio Frequency) technologies.

I bought this in Costco for £179.98, which included Costco’s current special offer of £18 (£15+VAT) off the usual price of £197.99. I bought it because, although I have had quite a lot of professional Laser Hair Removal (as regular readers of this blog will know), I do have problem areas of regrowth including my face, and I thought that for less than the cost of one session of laser, this item might save me some money.
I confess that this was a bit of an impulse (no pun intended) purchase and I did not do any research on it or read any reviews beforehand.

Disclaimer: I have not been paid for this review, nor received any remuneration, discounts, or reward for writing it. I have no connection whatsoever with the manufacturer. I bought the product myself with my own money, and as such this is an honest and independent review. All opinions are my own.

 

Overview

I’m not going to go into great detail about what this product does and how it works, because that information is freely available all over the internet. Suffice to say that this product uses Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) in conjunction with Radio Frequency (RF) to zap your hairs, giving semi-permanent hair removal (no hair removal treatment is truly permanent). Although very similar to Laser Hair Removal, IPL does not use a laser but uses something analogous to a high intensity camera flash gun. The effects are much the same though.

Unlike all-in-one rechargeable products like the Philips Lumea range, the Mē Plus is corded; it consists of a base station that is plugged into the wall, and then a corded flasher unit that is permanently attached to the base station.

The instructions say that it is not suitable for use on the male face since it may cause “patchy beard growth”. I have chosen to ignore this as I want to totally eliminate my facial hair and have had many sessions of professional Laser Hair Removal on my face already and am no longer able to grow a beard. So I figure the warning doesn’t really apply to me. 🙂

It’s worth noting that although the lamp is good for around 150,000 pulses, it is expensive to replace when it does go. A replacement “Quartz” lamp costs around £100-£150 depending on seller.
The lamp for the non-Plus models are much cheaper but also are rated for far, far fewer pulses making them actually poorer value for money.

There are various accessories available at additional cost – a shaver, an epilator, and a facial adaptor. The latter allows for more focussed single zaps to the face, although the manual points out that you can zap the face without it though. Some research online suggests that the shaver and epilator are readily available, but the facial adaptor is harder to find, and appears to merely blank off half of the flash window and reprogram the on/off button to be one flash per press.

 

Unboxing

The Mē comes in a square box.

The box

The box

Slipping the sleeve off it reveals a shrink-wrapped plain white cardboard box with everything neatly packed inside.

Neatly packed

Neatly packed

Inside is a thick instruction manual, the unit itself, some sunbed goggles, a cleaning brush, a power cord and two blanking guards – one for the accessory slot and the other for the flash unit. Presumably the latter allows you to use the shaver or epilator accessory without the flash unit, if you so wish. The accessory slot guard is pre-fitted to the head, whilst the flash unit guard is supplied loose.

Contents laid out

Contents laid out

Looking through the instruction manual reveals that only a very small proportion of it is actually in English and hence relevant. The picture shows the relative proportions – the English is the thin collection of pages on the left (obviously).

User Guide thinner than it looks

User Guide thinner than it looks

The ‘sunbed goggles’ are two heavily tinted lenses threaded onto a length of elastic. The elastic was secured with a tight knot of itself, rather than a cable tie, and I found it extremely fiddly to unpick this knot.

 

In use

Upon switching the power on, a fan in the base station immediately comes on and this appears to stay on permanently.

When the power button on the head is pressed, it too starts a fairly noisy cooling fan. It will not start flashing until the flash window is pressed against the skin, at which point it will start regularly flashing with a visual intensity similar to a camera flash gun. I’d suggest that at the minimum, you would want to wear sunglasses to protect against this.

I started out on the lowest of the 3 intensity settings, and felt none of the ‘being flicked with an elastic band’ feeling that I am used to from Laser. Moving up from Low to Medium to High, I still felt nothing other than a feeling of physical heat from the flash unit. I did notice that on the highest setting it flashed less frequently than on the lowest setting.

Initially I tried it on my tummy, since I have hairs there that I want to zap. Usually this is a moderately painful area when I have laser, but I felt no pain whatsoever. Next up was my bikini line, which is usually even more painful since some of the hairs are quite coarse and deep there. But, again, it was completely painless and the only sensation was of the skin getting slightly warm. There was the faintest smell of singed hair, so it must have done something but I did not hear or feel the familiar ‘snap, crackle & pop’ that you get with Laser. Finally, I put the sunbed goggles on and did my facial hair. With the Laser this is excruciatingly painful and I can only cope with one flash at a time, but with the Mē I didn’t feel a thing.

 

Conclusion

If pain is anything to go by, then I don’t know how successful this product is going to be. Obviously it is far too early to tell how effective it actually will turn out be though. And, equally obviously, it is going to be a number of weeks before I see the results from using it.

Just like with Laser, it is very hard to know where you have done and where you have not. When I have Laser, the Therapist draws a grid on me with white eyeliner pencil so that she knows where she has been. I will be doing the same for myself. I didn’t in this instance as this was just a test run.

I will post an update in a few weeks when I have something more to report.

 

Where to buy

All prices correct at time of writing.

Note that there is a cheaper version available (which looks the same) that does not include the word “Plus”. Be sure to compare like-with-like when making price comparisons!

CostCo: £179.98 Special offer – usually £197.99
Amazon: £229.95
eBay: £249.99
Boots: n/a Not available. The more expensive Pro Ultra is £349
Argos: £399.99

Note: Costco price is the in-store price. You need to be a Costco member, or the guest of a member, to buy.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2014 in Hair Removal, Health and Beauty

 

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Pew Pew Anew!

Smells like victory.

It’s been almost 5 months since I had my final session of laser, and in the intervening time I have kept an eye on how successful it has been. On the whole it’s been pretty good; an awful lot of my hair appears to be gone. However, I have had some regrowth.

On my arms and legs it has been limited to individual hairs here and there; nothing that a couple of minutes with a razor wouldn’t sort out. Likewise with my underarms. My tummy was a whole different story though and has had pretty much total regrowth (albeit sparser and thinner). My bikini line likewise. My chest has suffered some regrowth too, albeit not to the same extent as my tummy. And on my face, there has been some return – not enough that I can grow anything more than salt & pepper stubble after almost a week but definitely enough that girl mode still needs a lot of foundation to cover the shadow.

So, I decided it was time to have a 7th session of laser and made the booking. I had the session today.

The girl who did the treatment was an emergency stand-in who had come over from another branch because the regular girl was ill. This didn’t bother me too much as I have only had one session with the regular girl as the ones I started out with have both left now so I have no real attachment to anyone.

She suggested we ramped up the intensity since the notes said I coped fine with the previous settings; something I was very happy to do as I was just about to ask for that. So right away I felt we were on the same page. And, indeed, it very quickly became clear that she was very competent, thorough and fastidious. I got a very definite sense of her doing a proper job and not skimming over things in a hurry, which is something I can’t say for the girl I had last time who did the whole body in record time. When I posted about it at the time I said that I thought she had done a good job but I can see now, with comparison and with hindsight, that she rushed it rather.

The more intense settings were extremely painful at times, and we had quite a bit of ‘snap, crackle & pop’ and a definite smell of burnt hair in the air. Smelled like victory.

Another thing that was pretty cool about this therapist is that pretty much nothing phased her. I tentatively asked if she’d zap my bum crack and perineum and, without even blinking, she said she was happy to do that, which is totally awesome. I’d already shaved myself down to a neat triangle and, um, also in the areas I just mentioned (I’m probably giving TMI here) and she just zapped my bikini line to where I’d shaved and also the aforementioned (blushes). As I said earlier, she was very fastidious which means I am a little sore because hairs got zapped that have never been zapped before. But it was so worth it.

For my chest and face, she dropped to a smaller spot size but put the intensity up even further to compensate. The chest didn’t hurt much but the face was excruciating and we did it in little zaps with rests in between. She also zapped hairs on my underchin and neck which I realise now, with hindsight, that the previous therapists missed. So, as I said, this girl was *really* thorough. I mentioned this to her by way of compliment and feedback, and she said that she likes to provide a level of service that she would want to have if someone was doing it to her, and also she doesn’t like to waste customers’ money. Amen to that – I wish more people had that attitude. She also said that she wished she had my pain threshold to do the entire body at once. I have to say, I’ve never considered myself to have a particularly high pain threshold. But I can be pretty determined when I want something and I have quite a lot of mental fortitude, so I just deal with the pain because I know it is transient and it is worth it. I don’t think I would cope well with systemic or chronic pain though.

Finally, and this is a first, she got me to sit up so she could check the tops of my shoulders and did some final zappage there. So, just to say this one more time, she was *really* thorough and fastidious. I really felt like I got good value for money on this one.

It turns out that the branch she usually works at is actually closer and more convenient for me. The only reason I go to the branch that I do is for historical reasons; it’s because a good friend recommended them and was able to get me a referral discount there too. But the people that my friend recommended are long gone now so I have nothing to keep me going back there. I’ve therefore asked for my records to be transferred to her branch so that I can get her again.

Right now I’m a little sore but extremely happy about today. I’m looking forward to seeing what the long term effects of today’s session will be. Certainly I am left wondering where I would be now if my previous 6 sessions had been done to this standard.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2014 in Diary, Hair Removal

 

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The final “pew pew” (for now)

Today I had my sixth and final full body laser hair removal session. That’s not to say this is the last time I’ll have laser, but it is the final session of the six full body sessions that I paid for up front in exchange for a discount.

Cynosure Elite

Cynosure Elite

For this session I was with a new girl who I had not had before, as the two that I had built a rapport with have both left for pastures new. However, this girl (whose name I did not get) was extremely efficient, professional, confident and quick. It look quite a bit less time than in previous sessions to do the whole body and the professionalism extended to having absolutely no hangups about zapping wherever I wanted to be zapped (*blushes*).

On the whole, it hurt a little less than previous sessions although the chest and tummy were still rather painful. And, of course, the face was really painful but a little better than previously. As with last time, we used the same 15mm spot size on the face as we used on the body, only she stretched the skin on my upper lip (the most painful part) with her fingers before zapping me, and also rubbed / massaged my skin with her fingers between zaps. This seemed to make a huge difference to the pain (or perceived pain anyway). I mean, yes, it still really hurt but it somehow seemed more bearable.

One little thing that did make me giggle was this little snippet of conversation:

*crackle* 
"Some of your hairs popped right out of their follicles"
"Um, that's good, yeah?"
"Oh yes!"
15mm

15mm

We finished up in record time; just over 90 mins I think it was, compared with the 2+ hours it usually takes. Yet I didn’t feel like this girl was rushing; she was just very efficient and confident. I did tell her so, and she thanked me for the compliment, although I’m convinced it all came out wrong and that I sounded like an idiot. Oh well.

Now that this course of six is over, I am going to take some time out to review the results and keep an eye on the regrowth. Then I can decide what areas need further treatment, and how often.

From shaving myself in the bath this morning, I can say that my arms and legs are pretty much hairless now apart from the odd rogue hair here and there. Certainly I would not need to shave them before going out, although for a special occasion I might carefully examine them and take off any stray hairs with a dry disposable razor.

My chest and tummy are likewise, apart from a couple of hairy moles which can’t be lasered. But. again, the razor will take care of that. My chest has been a particular success as before I was pretty much denied low tops as no matter what hair removal I used on my chest (I tried waxing, depilatory cream, shaving and an epilator*) I would end up sore, red, blotchy and, in some cases, bleeding. But no more. Yay!

My back was never particularly hairy, although hairy enough I would think twice about wearing a dress or top that showed it. No such worries now.

Finally, my face. Sadly my facial hair was a bit ‘salt and pepper’ (with maybe a hint of blonde) before and, whilst the laser has eliminated all the pepper, the salt is unfortunately still there. This means that although pretty much all the dark hairs have gone, I don’t have a smooth & hairless face. The inescapable fact is that I will need to have extensive electrolysis in order to finish the job and that is really going to hurt.

Would I recommend this to others? I would, but with certain caveats. The results will depend on your hair colour and skin type. I am very lucky in that I have dark hair and fair skin, so I am absolutely perfect for it. What would have been even more perfect is if I’d done this 10 years ago before I started getting any grey hairs, but there’s not much I can do there. But if you are suitable, and can afford it, then go for it. Certainly I have no regrets.

 


Footnote

* – I am of the opinion that the epilator should be banned under a special meeting of the Geneva Convention as a “cruel and unusual punishment” and banned from sale or use.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Diary, Hair Removal

 

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Pew!Pew! Six

laser-symbolI had another session of laser yesterday. It hurt just as much as the last one but I just gritted my teeth and got on with it. The pain is only transitory and the redness and swelling goes down really quickly with me. By the time I left I didn’t even look like I’d had laser, even on my face. I guess I’m really lucky there because some people are inflamed and blotchy for several days after.

I’m really pleased with how it’s going so far. My arms are completely hairless now, as are my legs apart from the odd rogue hair here and there. My back is also looking really good too, to the extent that I’m now confident about wearing tops and dresses that show your back. My tummy and chest are pretty good too, although there are little clumps of hairs here and there still. Hopefully this latest session will have nobbled some of those. We’ll see over the next few weeks.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2013 in Diary, Hair Removal, Out & About

 

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Image

Pew!Pew! Five – with added ‘ewwww’

I had my third session of laser on Saturday. I decided to grit my teeth and go for the 15mm rather than the 12mm we had to drop to last time. Initially it was very painful but then I sort of got ‘dialled in’ to the pain and it became a lot more bearable. It was still excruciatingly painful at times though, especially on the chest and tummy. For the face she dropped to a 12mm but that is usual. That too was very painful but fortunately over pretty quickly. So basically I managed to have a session on the settings she would normally use, rather than the milder ones we had to go down to last time due to the pain levels. So I feel sort of proud of myself on that.

I still haven’t worked out what the 15mm and 12mm refers to. From research on the web, it looks like it is the spot size. Yet Cynosure’s own website states that the 15mm spot size has a lower fluence (energy delivered per unit area) than the 12mm, which confuses me as the therapist says the 15mm is ‘more intense’ than the 12mm. If someone could explain this to me I’d be grateful.

Inflamed hair follicles from laser treatment

Inflamed hair follicles

One side effect of the 15mm is that your hair follicles all swell up, making you look like you have some terrible skin complaint. Fortunately it calms down after an hour or so, although I’m still very red and blotchy in places almost 48 hours on, especially on my chest and tummy. My face is also quite sore-looking and stubbly. If you’re thinking of having laser done and you have a Y chromosome then be aware that, for me at least, it is almost impossible to get a smooth shave for a few days after no matter how close you shave. It’s just something I’m learning to live with. From experience I know I will be smooth again by a week later which is fine as I go to work in the week ‘in disguise’ (so to speak).

Talking of next week, I have my next Voice Therapy lesson next Saturday in London. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been practising as best I can since my first lesson and it will be interesting to see how I have got on. I hope my cold has cleared up by then though, because right now I am able to do a quite passable impression of the old Carlsberg adverts. LOL.

Then the weekend after that I have friends over for the weekend. So it looks like I have a busy schedule for once. Yay!

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2013 in Diary, Hair Removal, Out & About

 

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Pew!Pew! Four

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had my second session of laser treatment yesterday. It was my third visit but only the second time any one part of my body had been treated.

I confess I had been expecting it to hurt a whole lot less, but I was sadly wrong there. Actually, to be fair, some parts barely hurt at all, but the bony parts of me, and also my chest and my face really hurt. Like *really* hurt, as if someone was stabbing me with hot pins. Eeps!

We started off with the 15 (I have no idea what the units are, or whether it refers to spot size or to intensity) and we tried that on my hand and wrist, and it hurt a lot. And then all the hair follicles swelled up and I looked like I had a skin disease. It was rather horrid actually! I couldn’t take that intensity so we dropped it to a 12 and it was a lot better after that. My arms are quite freckly though and that made it quite painful as the pigment absorbs the laser. Although it does have the benefit of reducing the pigmentation which could be good.

We did the legs after that, and that didn’t hurt too badly apart from some coarser hairs up on the upper thighs. And also my knees that hurt rather a lot. But that was nothing compared to the pain from my chest. I have some pretty deep follicles on my chest hair and they properly hurt. And smelt too! Horrid burnt hair smell.
We then took a bit of a break by doing things that didn’t really hurt, like bum, bikini line, back and neck. All that was left after that was the face, which was the worst of all. Less said about that the better, but at least I survived. All in all I was in there about 160 mins (ie. just 20 mins shy of 3 hours).

The salon room doesn’t have air conditioning, and also the cold air chiller has to dump its heat somewhere so just dumps it into the room. Also the laser machine itself generates a lot of heat too, so the temperature in the room was gradually rising and rising. I was just in my undies and also I like it hot, so I was finding it more bearable than the poor beautician in her uniform. We were both visibly wilting by the end though, and it was pretty unbearable. I think I’m going to write a letter to ProSkin about it, and say that I think they absolutely have to install aircon in there, or at the very least some heavy duty extractor fans to draw the overheated air out. I’m also surprised the Cynosure cooler doesn’t have some kind of ducting to dump its hot air somewhere else.

My only worry about writing the letter is that they might instead decide to simply not offer full body treatments in one session, and that would be a big bind for me as it takes me around an hour to drive over there and I don’t want to double my journeys.

I have to wait another 6 weeks now before I can have my next treatment. That feels like forever right now!

 

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2013 in Diary, Hair Removal, Out & About

 

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Running out of steam

I really don’t want this blog to go the way of so many, where the author has an initial burst of enthusiasm and then runs out of steam and posts less and less.

The truth is, the loss of steam is not in my blog but in my life. I’ve had a little bit of a lean patch of late, what with stuff, work, laziness, lack of motivation, depression, and also that incident last month probably affecting me more than I thought it did. Certainly the muse hasn’t been on me lately and I haven’t felt motivated to do, well, anything really.

Also that date that I had last month sadly came to naught. He seemed like a really nice guy and we emailed every day and then suddenly… nothing… for a week. Then a text (in response to mine) that promised more info later. But it wasn’t forthcoming. I feel quite downhearted by it and don’t understand what I did that caused such a promising start to so abruptly end. 😦

Having said that negative stuff, I have my next session of laser hair removal this Saturday. Pew! Pew! I’m really excited by it. Although it will be my third visit to ProSkin, it will only be the second treatment for each given part of my body, since my first two visits were essentially splitting one session into two visits. From this visit onwards it’s going to be the whole body in one session. We have 2½ hours allocated for Saturday, and it will probably take that long too. Eeps!

So far I’ve had great success from the laser. My arms are completely hair free apart from the odd one, which is great. My legs are pretty hairless too, but there are patches of hair here and there. Same story to varying degrees for the rest of me too. So it’s all very encouraging. Only downside is that grey and white hairs are unaffected, so I have just as much of those as I did before, only they are now a lot more visible. So when I’m further down the line on this, I’m going to have to look at either electrolysis or the newer Applisonix Ultrasound system to remove those. Obviously you’re getting into the law of diminishing returns there, but it’s got to be done to complete the job.

Anyway, hopefully things will perk up again soon and I’ll be back to my old self again shortly. Fingers crossed.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in Diary, Hair Removal

 

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Pew!Pew! Three

Today I had the rest of my first Laser Hair Removal treatment.

Last Saturday was the easy bits – legs, bum, bikini line and back. But today I had the really painful parts; tummy, chest and face. I also had arms and shoulders, but they were inconsequential.

God it hurt. I don’t just mean unpleasantly uncomfortable, but more like this…

 

It’s said that there is a fine line between pleasure and pain. I am by no means a masochist (far from it!) but every time we stopped for a few seconds during the most painful and intense bits, I burst into giggles. Mainly from relief but also from endorphins. It was odd!

Anyway, pain is but a transitory sensation and it soon passed. And I am so happy and excited to be treading this path. It is so going to be worth it!

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2013 in Diary, Hair Removal, Out & About

 

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Pew! Pew! Two

Cynosure Elite

Cynosure Elite

I had my first proper session of “Pew! Pew! Layzorz!” today. I had full leg, bum, bikini, underarms and back done. Next week will be chest, tummy, arms and face. After that I’m going to switch to everything in one session.

The girl who did it was really nice and we had a good natter and swapped make-up tips, which was fun.

The laser hurt at times, occasionally a lot (like she was sticking needles in me) but it was bearable. But I’m really not looking forward to the face next week.

Only embarrassment today was when she asked me how I wanted my bikini line trimmed (ie. how much to take off, and what shape to go for) and I didn’t know because I hadn’t really given it any real thought. LOL. It’s not really something I’ve researched but I guess I’m going to have to now. So we just went for something basic for now and we can refine it when I have an idea what I want to do.

To the Internetz with SafeSearch turned off!!

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2013 in Diary, Hair Removal, Out & About

 

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