Dominique Holder of Brooklyn, NY, tells POPSUGAR about her electrolysis experience.
Before electrolysis, I was self-conscience, antisocial, depressed, and hated my facial hair that I was plagued with. I feared that my facial hair was obvious and everyone could see it, despite my efforts to conceal it. I would get my chin and neck waxed or threaded weekly and pluck any hairs that showed up in between. After my threading and waxing appointments, I would go straight home because those areas would be red and irritated, and I didn't want anyone to see.
Flash forward 18 months: the only hair removal method deemed "permanent" by the FDA has changed my appearance, my demeanor, and even my career.
My Struggle With Facial Hair
Very few people knew about my daily struggle with facial hair. It was my biggest, darkest secret. There were mornings that I would look in the mirror at my face and start crying because I was so unhappy with my skin's appearance. On top of the facial hair, I had caused other problems: ingrown hairs and acne that stemmed from hairs not being removed properly. Additionally, I had severe hyperpigmentation on my neck and chin from picking at the skin to remove the painful ingrown hairs.
"Examining my face for hair became part of my daily routine. I carried a set of tweezers in all of my purses, just in case."
Some days I felt so awful that I would call out of work and stay home in bed all day. Other days, I would relentlessly dig into my flesh to remove the ingrown hairs that were bothering me. In turn, this left the areas red, bleeding, agitated, and extremely tender. I would cancel whatever plans I had until my skin cleared up. My social life was nearly nonexistent. I wouldn't go out spontaneously when friends or coworkers would ask.
The hair on my face controlled my life and kept me from enjoying it. I didn't like to have conversations in close proximity to other people because I feared they would notice my hair growth and pass judgment. Examining my face for hair became part of my daily routine. I carried a set of tweezers in all of my purses, just in case.
I would pluck, wax, and thread my lip, chin, and neck weekly. Every time I went to the bathroom, I would check to see if there were any visible hairs. Before I went anywhere, I would check my face thoroughly. I was tired emotionally from dealing with my unwanted facial hair. It was taking up too much time and money to deal with every week or couple of days. At that time, I was in a relationship with someone, and he was very supportive, but I still thought that it was the worst thing ever.
My Electrolysis Journey
I first started receiving electrolysis in midtown Manhattan with Emily Limoges at Limoges Beauty in June of 2016. I was 28 years old.
I had heard about the process through a colleague who was receiving treatment after expressing to her my struggle with facial hair and my search for a permanent solution. Having heard so many horror stories about laser hair removal and the mixed effects on darker skin types, I didn't want to risk damaging my skin more than it already was and possibly stimulating more growth. After talking to her and doing a bit of research, I was willing to try it.
My first electrolysis consultation was very emotional. I was scared that the treatment wasn't going to work. I was also a little anxious about what to expect. I learned that the treatment uses a tiny needle, inserted into the hair follicle. The tip of the needle has a current that seals off the root to prevent the hair from regrowing. I was told that plucking hairs just made it worse, as what were once a few hairs were now hundreds. Several areas of my face were severely damaged and hyperpigmented from picking at ingrown hairs.
My journey took patience, time, and reinforcement. My hair growth was most prominent on my chin and neck, so those were my main areas of focus. When the hair growth decreased in those areas, I started to work on my upper lip and sideburns. I felt uncomfortable for the first couple of months during my treatments. It was difficult to see the difference because my hair was so hormonal and tough. Emily kept reassuring me my hair was getting a little thinner and a little less dense each time.
It is kind of like watching paint dry, or watching grass grow. You don't see the change right away. In theory, you know the change is happening. In my particular case, it was a slow process because of my hair type. We live in a world of immediacy, and electrolysis is not an instantaneous process for most people.
My Life Now
Over the course of 18 months, I invested approximately 40 to 50 hours in electrolysis. For the first two months of treatment, I would go once a week for one to one-and-a-half hours, then every 10 to 12 days for 30 to 45 minutes.
"I don't try to angle my face anymore like I used to, to disguise the hair. I don't look in the mirror and cry anymore about how I look."
I no longer plan my social schedule around my facial hair. I am confident when I talk to people I just meet, or even just walking down the street. I don't try to angle my face anymore like I used to, to disguise the hair. I don't look in the mirror and cry anymore about how I look. I feel emotionally lighter and happier in my everyday life. My family has told me I seem to have this glow about me now. I no longer have to wear so much makeup and can show off my skin to the world without the embarrassment I used to feel.
I decided to change careers after seeing that the treatment really worked. I went to school to become certified and graduated at the top of my class. I learned about the different types of electrolysis treatments, which method is best to use in what circumstances, and how to properly insert the probe and determine the pitch and depth. I studied skin and hair follicles and factors that contribute to hair growth in detail. I am also currently studying to become a licensed esthetician.
I'm happy to be helping others gain confidence and achieve the looks that they want. It means so much to me, especially since I come from a long hair journey. I'm extremely passionate about what I do and take pride in my work.
Today, I see myself as a beautiful woman who is more emotionally and physically confident. My outlook on life has become more positive. Being able to conquer my facial hair has taught me that difficult challenges in life can be very fulfilling and internally rewarding. The journey was long, with lots of emotions along the way. I feel I came out on the other side stronger mentally, hair-free, and more prepared for other challenges that life might have in store for me.