By Megan S. Willman

I take considerable pride in the expression “low-maintenance woman.” I wear my graying hair short enough that I can style it with my fingers and a little gel, and my skin care regimen includes soap, water, and a dollop of the least expensive moisturizer I can find at the grocery. I’m not sure whether I’m an aesthetician’s nightmare or dream client, but this assignment gave me a chance to explore a realm thus far unknown to me.

Considering some beauty treatments, but feel awkward as to where to start? Opportunities for women to enhance their beauty range from minimal procedures to those that are quite involved, and the price points for those treatments vary just as much. Where does a person begin? How does she know what to expect from the treatment, and what if the whole concept feels somewhat uncomfortable for her? To answer these questions, Today’s Woman contacted local experts to get all the information you need.

Laser Hair Removal
Louisville Laser Med Spa

What is it? A laser beams highly concentrated light into hair follicles. The light is absorbed, and the hair is destroyed. The process was surprisingly simple and pain-free. It took less than five minutes to treat my underarms. I noticed a tingling feeling during the procedure and for about 15 minutes after we finished.

Pre-treatment preparation?

  • Shave the area to be treated 
  • Avoid sun exposure, self-tanning lotions, and sprays in the area.

Cost?Pricing varies depending on the area being treated. The best option is to purchase a package, which includes eight treatments and a four-year guarantee. Costs range from $499 to $2,199. Specific pricing is listed on the website.

How quick are the results?Hair will continue to grow normally for about two weeks, shedding the dead hair that was treated. Continue shaving as normal. After 10-14 days, you won’t have any new hair growth for four to six weeks.

Time commitment?Treatment lengths vary depending on the area. My underarms took less than five minutes.

Frequency of touch-ups?Treatments are scheduled three to six weeks apart. Six treatments will reduce hair by 70-80 percent. An eight-treatment package guarantees full hair removal and includes any touch-ups or maintenance.

Post-treatment?Only shave; no waxing.  If the area is red or irritated, apply aloe.

Thoughts:I had no idea what to expect when I went into Louisville Laser for my hair removal treatment. Preparation was simple. The night before I only needed to shave my underarms, the area we had decided to treat. Before we got started, Jessica explained what I could expect from the procedure, and then gave me a pair of rose-tinted glasses to wear. She fired up the machine and we got started. I heard pop noises and caught the reflection of little flashes of light, but I felt nothing more than a slight tingling sensation. After five minutes, we finished and Jessica put some aloe on my skin to soothe any irritation that might come. I made a mental note to pay attention to how long the tingling sensation lasted, and by the time I got to my office 20 minutes later, I realized it had faded away. My hair will continue to grow for about two weeks, as it sheds the dead hair that was treated. From there, I will have four to six weeks of no hair growth — a nice break from the razor! If I decide to continue with treatments, I could eliminate the need for shaving my underarms in only eight visits. This is such a pain-free and simple procedure; I can certainly see the value of the investment.

Expert: Linda Linker, Faceworks St. Matthews

What is it? Microdermabrasion treats the surface and deeper levels of your skin with the use of a diamond-tip wand that buffs and polishes your skin. It removes dead skin cells, cleans your pores, and revitalizes your skin. Regular treatments can improve sun damage, dark spots, and scar tissue.

Pre-treatment preparation?The treatment begins with a thorough facial-cleansing, so there is no need to prepare your skin ahead of time.

Cost?A single microdermabrasion treatment costs $85. If you are adding microdermabrasion on to other treatments at Faceworks, it will cost just $50.

How quick are the results?I noticed an immediate difference. My face was smoother, brighter, and felt really clean and healthy.

Time commitment?Treatment lengths range from 45-90 minutes depending on the individual’s needs.

Frequency of touch-ups?To maintain healthy skin, Linda recommends microdermabrasion a minimum of four times a year.

Post-treatmentDon’t clean or moisturize your face until the next day; this lets the benefits soak in Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen preferably with zinc and titanium.

Thoughts:I had heard from friends of the renewal benefits that come from having microdermabrasion, but I had no idea what a relaxing procedure it would be. Linda began by cleansing my face with a variety of creams, lotions, and warm cloths. The microdermabrasion machine does exert some pressure as it removes the dead skin cells and opens up pores, but I felt no pain. Linda explained what she was doing every step of the way and talked to me about the healthy properties of each aspect of the procedure. We finished up with a facial mask, and I was handed a mirror to see the finished product. To be honest, I’ve seen friends who have had microdermabrasion, and their faces were red — even scratched — from the process. That certainly wasn’t the case with me. Linda’s pre- and post-skin care, in addition to her professional touch during microdermabrasion, left my skin bright and smooth like I haven’t seen it in years. I definitely saw the benefits right away.

Photos by Melissa Donald 

Eyelash Extensions
Expert: Jennifer Cunningham, Lash 

What is it? Eyelash extensions are silk or mink lashes that attach individually to your own lashes. They come in different lengths and curl patterns so they can be customized to each client’s preferences. Lashes are applied with a safe, medical-grade adhesive to prevent irritation and allergic reaction.

Pre-treatment preparation? Nothing needs to be done by the client beforehand. Lashes are cleaned before the treatment begins, so any eye makeup is removed in that process.

Cost? An initial full set costs $150, and subsequent fill-ins are $50. Clients can also request a mini-fill, which is 30 minutes for $30. It does not include cleansing and will not be as full a set because not every single lash will get an extension.

How quick are the results? Immediate.

Time commitment? The initial first set will take anywhere from two to three hours, depending on the individual’s face, age, eye shape, and amount of natural lashes.

Frequency of touch-ups? This also varies by individual, but fill-ins are needed every three to four weeks.

Post-treatment? After-care is important in order to maintain the lashes. The four most critical points to remember are:

  • Avoid water, sweat, or steam for the first 24 hours. 
  • Clean your lashes daily. (Jennifer provides the appropriate cleanser.) 
  • Brush your lashes daily. (Jennifer will send you home with several brushes.) 
  • Avoid touching, rubbing, or pulling your eyelashes.

Thoughts I confess I was very nervous about this treatment. Not only am I not accustomed to makeup of any kind near my eyes, but I’m also very skittish — just having to put in eyedrops is a real challenge for me. Jennifer quickly put me at ease, however. She talked with me about my expectations, collected information about my health history, and explained the process to me step-by-step. Once ready to begin, I moved into a comfortable recliner, and Jennifer cleaned my lashes. She put eye pads under my eyes to secure my lower lids; we didn’t want them ending up stuck to my upper lids! Jennifer warned me that applying those pads would be a bit awkward, and it was true. However, in just a few minutes, they were in place, and she began to affix the lashes. For the first few minutes, I was quite aware of what she was doing, wondering if it would start to hurt in any way. Much to my surprise, the process was very relaxing. I enjoyed our conversation and the cozy chair. It did take two and a half hours to complete the set, but the time passed quickly. When we finished, Jennifer handed me a mirror, and I saw lashes that looked very pretty and natural. The transformation is fairly subtle yet really enhances my eyes in a way I didn’t expect. It’s a big change for a relatively small investment of time and money.