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Razor or Laser? Women's Choices Often Prove Costly

Aug 27, 2008
Women executives might spend a good part of their day conducting cost-benefit analyses, figuring out how business expenditures measure up against the value gained. But when it comes to their personal expenditures, they often fail to realize the actual costs of achieving the benefits they're seeking.

Women might be surprised, for example, to discover that they spend tens of thousands of dollars over their lifetime on their hair - not tending to it but removing it. At American Laser Centers, we recently uncovered the real amounts that women spend on temporarily eliminating unwanted hair through shaving, depilatory creams and waxing. As the nation's largest provider of laser hair removal and other noninvasive aesthetic services, we conducted an online survey of 540 women between the ages of 18 and 65, asking them 30 questions about their preferred hair removal approach, their attitudes toward the procedure, the time they invest in it and the money they spend on it.

The survey, conducted through Zoomerang, found that an average woman will spend between $10,000 and $23,000 during her lifetime on hair removal by shaving, applying depilatories or waxing. In all, she will devote nearly 58 - days of her life to removing hair from her body over a period of 53.6 years.

Women in the study reported they spend an average of $15.87 per month on shaving supplies, an amount that adds up to a lifetime investment of $10,207.

Those who use depilatory creams or lotions pay even more than those who shave: $10,555 throughout their lifetime, removing hair once or twice a month.

Nearly six out of 10 of the women said they paid a professional for waxing services; and, as a result, while they wax only one or two times a month, women spend more than twice as much on this service, an average of $25.06, as they do on shaving. Over a lifetime, waxing costs average a total of $23,000.

The study did not report on the costs involved for those who use more than one technique. It did note, however, that women turn to shaving primarily for underarms and legs and secondarily for bikini lines. They use waxing mainly on their face, although they wax legs and bikini lines to some extent as well. Depilatories are used mostly on the legs, although they, too, are purchased for use on other parts of the body. So the figures in the study may be much higher for women who, for example, use shaving for their underarms, depilatories on their legs and/or waxing on their face.

Most of the women surveyed said they spent between $1 and $10 a month on hair-removal products, but a few spent as much as $50 to $100 a month.

American Laser Centers calculates that, on average, women can save $7,000 by receiving laser hair removal on the areas of the body they typically shave. And for those that they wax, they'll save some $20,000 over their lifetime with laser treatments instead.

Laser hair removal has become an attractive alternative also because of advances in scientific techniques. Laser energy permanently damages the hair follicles. In the past, however, lasers were not effective in removing hair from those with dark skin or light hair because of the nature of the light absorption. Recently, however, protocols and technologies have improved, and laser procedures have proven clearly to be successful for people of all ethnic backgrounds and skin types.

As people have become more time-crunched than ever before, laser hair removal has evolved into a lifestyle decision for women. In my practice, I often equate laser hair removal to Lasik surgery for those who wear glasses or contact lenses - laser hair removal is a decision many women make to free themselves from one of the most mundane and bothersome processes in their lives. Increasingly, they are considering laser hair removal; because, when performed by professionals, it is safe and effective. It also is a budget saver, the research suggests.

Women who are concerned about the environment may take additional comfort in findings from the survey confirming that laser hair removal can help conserve water. Of the respondents, 52 percent reported shaving with the water running the entire time. On average, they indicated they spend 10.9 minutes shaving, and they shave about 12 times per month. Assuming the average shower uses five gallons of water a minute, the average woman will be responsible for the consumption of 7,848 gallons each year just from shaving. That translates to 420,652 gallons of water over their lifetime - enough to nearly fill an Olympic-size swimming pool. The study found that only two percent of women shavers do not use water when shaving.

The numbers show that women can save green and go green at the same time with laser hair removal. Never again will they need to be concerned about shaving time cutting into their day.
About the Author
AmericanLaser.com is the largest and most successful laser hair removal, skin rejuvenation and cellulite reduction therapy company, with more than 220 locations in the United States. For more information, please visit AmericanLaser.com.
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