Tested: At-Home Laser Hair Removal

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Photo: Photo: Courtesy of TRIA

For D.I.Y. home beauty treatments, there's the good (masks, pedicures), the risky (bang trimming, waxing) and the really risky (anything else hair-related, like cutting or highlighting). So it's hard not to be skeptical about the TRIA Hair Removal Laser, which claims to leave you hair-free after six months of use. TRIA first launched a few years ago as a late-night infomercial product before gaining mainstream popularity and is now sold at the likes of Bergdorf Goodman and Nordstrom. The handheld laser uses the same diode technology that you'd normally find in professional lasers but is adapted to be used safely at home. Here's how it works: Hair follicles absorb energy from the laser, which is then converted to heat by the dark pigment found in hair. The heat eventually destroys the follicle and prevents it from producing any new hair growth. So while the technology won't work on anyone with darker skin tones or light hair, the TRIA is ideal (or so the manufacturers claim) for light to medium skin and dark hair. There are five settings: Users are recommended to start at the lowest and build up tolerance with each biweekly use. At $395, the TRIA isn't cheap, but could it mean no more time wasted on waxes and shaving, especially crucial now that we're in bikini season? And more important, will it hurt like hell when you start zapping away? Two intrepid volunteers gave us their testimonials.

TRIA Hair Removal Laser, $395 online