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Lose the Beard for Good: Is Laser Facial-Hair Removal Right for You?

There's a new trend in men's grooming, and it doesn't involve quadruple-blade razors or artisanal shaving cream. Guys who want to go hair-free on their faces and necks are lasering it off like the ladies (who regularly go under the ray gun) and paying for permanent hair loss.

Michelle Moyer, co-owner of Pulse Laser Skincare Center in New York City, estimates that her office sees nearly a dozen male clients a week for the service. "Some are shaping their goatees," she says. "Others just want to target patches on their cheeks or the front of their neck. And of course, some want to do all of it."

In Chicago, Catalina Ruiz, founder of Lapiel Laser Center, confirms the growing popularity of not growing facial hair, noting six new male clients "just this week."

While many men view facial hair as an opportunity to show off personal style—growing a beard is like sporting new glasses but cheaper!—others are just over it. Between time and money spent shaving, not to mention irritation from razor burn and ingrown hairs, some guys are saying, "No more."

One happy customer cites morning-routine fatigue as the final straw in his decision to laser his beard. "I calculated that if I shave for an average of 10 minutes per day, 4 times a week, 50 weeks a year over a 40-year career, I would spend nearly 8 weeks of my life shaving."

Interested in cutting minutes from your own grooming routine? Here's all the buzz on laser hair removal.

How it Works
Lasers target pigment in hairs, destroying them at the root. After each session, less and less hair grows back. The laser itself feels like a rubber band snapping on your skin. Not fun, but not too painful either.

Time Commitment
You need at least six monthly 15- to 30-minute sessions for permanent hair reduction and up to 12 sessions for thicker follicles.

Cost
One session for just the front of the neck or cheeks can cost $125 to $250, while a session targeting the full beard will run you $175 to $375. If you're thinking about taking the plunge, look online for spa deals. Buying a package of sessions usually nets you a discount as well.

Results
Moyer says, "We have a 'Come to Jesus' moment with clients when we tell them, 'This is permanent. Are you prepared for that?'"

After laser sessions, facial hair is finer, making it easier to shave—when you need to shave at all. Those especially prone to razor burn, rough stubble, and ingrown hairs find significant relief from the procedure.

Caveats
Laser hair removal only works on dark hair (since the laser targets pigment), so it doesn't work as well on men with salt-and-pepper or graying hair.

Where to Start?
If you're contemplating giving up your razor for good, you may want to start by getting rid of the hair on your neck and part of your cheeks. Even if you ultimately decide to keep your beard, you'd be grooming those areas anyway, so you won't suffer follicular regret.

—Megan Collins writes the men's blog Style Girlfriend.

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Also on Details.com:
The 3 Biggest Old-Timey Hair Offenses and How to Do Retro Right
4 Types of Facial Hair So Bad You Can Only Get Away With Them on Halloween
Is Men's Skin Really That Different From Women's?

Photograph courtesy of Txema Yeste/Trunk Archives.
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