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Indigo+Canary’s 12 Most Popular Posts Of 2012

This image doesn't have anything to do with this post...but I think it's hilarious. Don't you?

The end of 2012 is approaching, and once again, I’m looking forward to a new year that’s fresh with promise. I’m not one who believes the world is going to end this Friday, obviously! But I wanted to take a moment to look back at your favorite posts* of the year. Here they are, in all of their glory. Enjoy!

Dry Brushing to Detox Your Skin. I am still doing this most days, and I still adore how invigorating—and exfoliating—this daily treatment is.

Get Shiny, Glossy Hair—Naturally. I wrote this story for Breathe magazine; Julie Ebner offered some great, natural tips!

Natural Beauty Q&A with Michelle Witherby. She’s the founder of O&N Collective, and has great advice. She shares her comprehensive approach to natural beauty (and health), and a few of her must-have products.

Your Questions Answered: Laser Hair Removal. I had laser hair removal every six weeks for nearly a year…and answered your questions based on what I learned (and from asking my technician).

Natural Beauty Q&A with Sally Biondo. She’s a fantastic, all-natural makeup artist, and shared her beauty philosophy, her must-have products, and the one bad beauty habit she encourages everyone to break!

Natural Beauty Q&A with Karen Behnke. The founder of Juice Beauty told us about her path to natural beauty and offered some juicy inspiration.

Reader Question: Battling Hormonal Acne. Unfortunately, hormonal acne is something I continue to battle—and I offered up some techniques that can work on just about any type of skin that’s battling a hormonal acne invasion.

Sustainable (and natural) beauty. This story I wrote for Breathe features six natural beauty companies that take a commitment to Mother Nature very seriously.

Let’s talk about: Eyebrow threading. Threading is my preferred method of brow shaping and one of my favorite beauty treatments for a few reasons: it’s affordable, it’s quick, it’s (almost) painless, and it’s natural.

8 Leaps to Take in Your Beauty Routine. For Leap Day, I put together a special list of beauty “leaps” to try in its honor.

Roundup: Green Tea for Beautiful Skin. As an ingredient packed with antioxidants, green tea has taken the natural beauty scene by storm. And since the polyphenol in green tea, ECGC, has been proven to help rejuvenate and heal skin, fight inflammation, and heal acne, I put together a long list of products that include it.

How do you clean your yoga mat? I sought your advice for this post—and I’m so glad I did! There are some really great suggestions in the comments.

Did you have a favorite Indigo+Canary post this year? Any requests for 2013? —Aleigh

*This list doesn’t include any product reviews—I’ll tackle those in another post.

(Image via Leah Tihia™)

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Your Questions Answered: Laser Hair Removal

Last week I asked for your thoughts on laser hair removal, and it turns out you have lots of questions! Luckily, I have answers. (And if you have questions that aren’t answered here—or are about something completely different—ask away.)*

How painful is laser hair removal?
The truth is: It stings. It sort of feels like a tiny, hot bee sting. After the first few stings, though, my body adjusted, and it really didn’t bother me. After a treatment, the skin is slightly red and might be a tad sensitive, but not for long. Kelly asked if it was similarly painful to laser tattoo removal, and I’ve never had a tattoo removed, so I can’t say this with absolute certainty, but I would assume not. With laser tattoo removal, the ink is much deeper in the skin than the hair shaft that is targeted with laser hair removal. There are several things both you and your technician can do to help with the stinging:

  1. Take a pain reliever before your appointment
  2. Don’t schedule an appointment the week before your period or during your period (when your body is a lot more sensitive to pain), especially if you have a low tolerance for pain
  3. Ask your technician to adjust the laser’s intensity—he or she will ask during your treatment if the laser is too painful
  4. Ask for a numbing cream (I never needed one, but I think I have a pretty high tolerance for pain)

Everyone is different, so even though I found the stinging tolerable, if you’re sensitive, you might need to try one of these tactics.

How should I choose a laser hair removal professional, and what’s the price range?
I combined these questions because they kind of go hand in hand. Prices vary widely, and there are a few different kinds of treatments that can be referred to as laser hair removal—including IPL (intense pulsed light) and SPL (square pulsed light). I have not tried a treatment with an SPL device, but based on my research, a true laser is most effective. Beyond equipment, I would ask a med spa or laser hair removal clinic to tell you about the technician(s) who will be performing your treatment—what training and certifications do they have? Are they nurses or just aestheticians? Also, ask about what kinds of guarantees they offer. Laser hair removal is not always permanent (hormones and personal body chemistry can have an impact)—my med spa offered a lifetime guarantee if I purchased seven treatments, meaning that if I have hair growth, I can come in for a treatment once a year, for free, for the rest of my life.

Now, for the cost. Honestly? It’s a moving target. I signed up for my treatments because the med spa I go to was offering a discount on a series of treatments. In my experience, I’d say it runs from $50 to $100 or more per treatment. Typically, if you buy a package, you’ll get a better price per treatment, or if you treat multiple areas. Keep in mind that everyone’s hair removal needs are different, so it’s best to go in for a consultation so that a technician can see your skin and hair to give you a good idea of whether you’re a good candidate for laser hair removal—and also how many treatments he or she thinks it will take to get you the results you’re looking for, which will have an impact on the cost.

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What do you think about laser hair removal?

Every six weeks for the past several months I’ve been getting laser hair removal treatments. I have been really pleased with the results, and it’s definitely had an impact on some other aspects of my bodycare routine. But don’t worry—I’m not trying to make the case that laser hair removal is natural. It’s not.

With that said, when it comes to hair removal in general, I’m torn. I think buying plastic disposable razors is pretty wasteful (from the packaging to the plastic they’re usually made with), and the reusable razors with disposable cartridges aren’t much better. Then there’s waxing, which seems like a much more earth-friendly option, albeit a bit more painful—and kind of impractical for an area like your underarms, unless you have someone else do it. And it can be expensive and kind of a pain to find the time for regular appointments, especially for results that don’t last more than a few weeks at most. (Note: laser hair removal is not cheap, either!) Hair removal creams are not an option for a natural beauty (just one whiff of that stuff is enough to make me question its ingredients).

So. I decided to try laser hair removal for my underarms, and I have to say, I’m pretty pleased. I’ve finished seven treatments as of now, and I do still have to shave occasionally, but only maybe once every two or three weeks, and even then, there’s much less hair to shave anyway. Plus, my skin under my arms has lightened up significantly. And I feel good that with this treatment, I’m buying less of those disposable razor cartridges because I have to shave less often (although I admit I still do buy them).

But I’m wondering: What do my other natural beauty junkies think of laser hair removal?

Weigh in on this topic in the comments—I’d love to know what hair removal tools you use and love. Have you tried laser hair removal? Would you? —Aleigh

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