Save your time and your money.
I was an ideal candidate for Tria -- I have dark hair and pale skin, and also a high pain tolerance and lots of patience. Unfortunately, this gadget let me down. I wish it would have worked -- but the truth is, the results were not permanent.
The Tria has five different levels. The highest level was uncomfortable, but not unbearable on my legs and arms. The highest level was very painful on my underarms. I ended up purchasing some lidocaine spray and numbing the area before use.
The laser only zaps a tiny bit of hair -- it has a surface area smaller than a dime -- at a time. This means you have to do a ton of "zaps" to cover even a small area. The actual laser is surrounded by plastic casing so it's impossible to tell where you zapped, so you just have to move the laser a quarter of an inch, zap again an hope you are getting the right area. This is very time consuming and since the device is so heavy, awkward and tiring.
Another problem is that the device won't zap unless it's on a flat area surrounded by skin. It's a safety mechanism. It's fine when doing flat area of your legs but makes it difficult to efficiently use in the hollows of your underarms, or around the knees.
While doing treatments, I immediately noticed my hair would grow in slower, lighter, and thinner! I had to shave less often and had fewer hairs to shave. Unfortunately, the hair reduction/removal was not permanent -- two months after stopping treatment, the hair returned. It has now returned to it's normal growth cycle and I've experienced no permanent results from Tria.
So far so good! While I have only been using the laser for roughly the last six weeks, I am already pretty impressed. While it hasn't yet had the chance to fully diminish hair growth on treated areas, it has already GREATLY reduced the coarseness as well as increasing the amount of time between shaves. It has already improved areas prone to razor bumps and ingrowns, without irritating the delicate skin (lower abdomen and bikini line), if not fully diminished them already. It's worked so well already that I can finally wear a bikini with confidence, without having to worry about embarrassing bikini line irritation. Of course any permanent results will take far longer to show, but the fact that I am already experiencing such great success with it is fantastic... and worth mentioning, for anyone who might be prone to impatience.
Some might initially balk at the price, but when compared side by side with other options, it is not only far more cost efficient, but more convenient as well. For the amount you'd pay to get JUST your bikini line done by a professional, you can spend on this miraculous gadget, and treat your entire body in the privacy of your own home. It sounded too good to be true to me, but now that I have tried it, I can't imagine being without it.
I can't believe people are reviewing this product after only 1-4 mo of use. You have to use the device a min of 6x 1 mo apart and then wait another 3 mo w/out treatment to determine your final outcome (that's true even of pro laser treatment). I used this for 1 yr religiously every month on almost my entire body (except back and torso). It's been at least 3 mo after my final treatment and you want to know what my results are? 5% reduction of hair. And that was using the highest setting on all areas except bikini. What people don't realize is that this is not a permanent solution in the least. While you're in the middle of your treatments you think it's working great, but after you stop, almost all the hair comes back. I tested this on my DH at the same time (he's the ideal candidate for this - fair skin w/dark hair) and his results were just as bad. Also, my pain threshhold is pretty high and this thing hurts like a SOB. I got a bad burn on the bikini area as well (left a scar). The unit is heavy and gets hot. The fan is so loud it's hard to hear the beeps that tell you it' ok to proceed to the next area. And don't even think you'll be able to do this while watching tv. After continued use, say 6 mo, the battery life decreases dramatically. I could only get 15 min out of it as apposed to 25. I wanted a home laser to work more than anybody, but this was just an epic fail. Don't waste your time or money.
** This is for the latest (2nd) version of Tria**
I freakin' LOVE this gadget! It has seriously changed my life, and I can safely state that it's one of the best things (if not THE best) I've ever purchased. I'm not going to get into details of operation and usage b/c I see other reviewers have already done so. This review will cover my results etc.
I also rebelled against Tria's warnings and bought this primarily for my face. I've inherited wonderfully abundant and coarse chin and upper lip hairs. They were so brutal and grew back so quickly after every tweezing session, that at times it was emotionally painful. Anyway... I've done 4 sessions so far, about once every 3 weeks on levels 1 and 2. I can't stand anything higher than 2 (I have a very low pain threshold). I'm noticing a DRAMATIC difference. Seriously, dramatic! The hair is much less, much finer, and the ones that do grow back are extremely slow. I'll update later after a couple more sessions.
I started using it on my underarms recently and my, oh my! Magic :) .. I could honestly see a difference right after the second session! Crazy, huh? I use it on level 1. I've only done 2 sessions so far and will update later.
For the price, Tria is AMAZING! You're removing/reducing hair at the comfort of your home and for a lot cheaper than what you'd pay at a laser clinic. I hope the makers will release another gadget with a slightly bigger laser head to cover larger areas more easily, BUT I do love the small size of this one when it comes to treating small/narrow areas like the upper lip and such. For reference, I'm golden-tan, NC35-37 depending on the season. One charge covers my upper lip, chin, and underarms 2-3 times and a bit more -- I think this is pretty good!
UPDATE 7/18/2010: Did the 8th treatment of facial hair 2 weeks ago, ~90% hair reduction. 4th treatment on underarms 3 months ago, 30% reduction. LOVING IT!
UPDATE 3/18/2011: A bit over a year now. Still loving it for small areas. I do not have the patience for larger areas with such a small head, so I'll probably go to a pro for those. But honestly, I'm so glad I bought this! My upper lip hair is down by 95% after 10 treatments. I didn't have time to continue with underarms, but after 4 initial treatments and months of just shaving I see a stable reduction by about 30%. I'm sad to say that although Tria initially worked brilliantly on my chin, the results after a year aren't as impressive as I had expected. I only did 9 treatments on the chin on settings 1 and 2, so it might be that the hair is very stubborn and I didn't keep up, or it might be hormonal - YMMV. Overall, still very satisfied b/c the results I've already achieved have more than made up for the price I paid.
I purchased the tria a month ago and so far have finished one treatment on my underarms, bikini, and both lower legs. It is time consuming but I feel will be worth it in the end. I want to share a tip with everyone because making sure that you laser EVERY 1/4 inch area is essential, I use blue painters tape as my guide. Make sure to have a pen on hand, and mark the top and bottom of the tape, so that you can move the tape over exactly a 1/4 inch. This method works great for me and the painters tape is gentle when you have to pull it off.
I've had my TRIA for two months now. I've been a bit sporadic about using it so I can't even say how many treatments I've done in any given area but I'll go through the areas and make a guess.
I bought this for $595 at Nordstroms (good return policy - just in case it was awful!) but later realized that I should have ordered it from them online since they participate in cashback programs. Oh well - it was still worth the money! I've had my eye on this since it came out - it was $995 a couple of years ago! Then it wento $795 and when I searched it again it was $595 - I knew it was time to jump in! I was able to register mine online instead of calling, which was nice. I also got the newest model that has 5 settings - I freaked out at first because it still shows 3 light indicators but now the bottom (only) light is lowest, the middle (only) light is low-medium, the top (only) light is medium, the bottom TWO is medium-high and all three on is high. So don't panic that you didn't get the newer 5-level system if you only see three inidicator lights!
I've used this on my underarms, bikini area and (so far) one lower leg.
Bikini area: I'd give this 10 lippies if I could! I've probably done 5-6 treatments (not so much following the "use it every two weeks for the first three months" guideline because it's really quick and easy on the bikini line - why not try to speed things up?!) I would say that 95% of the hair is gone here. After several days I can still FEEL some hair (and still a few strays that I can see) but the hair I feel is really fine and not visible. I am sure that TRIA will never take care of those because it works based on the darkness of the hair. (And I know what you're thinking - "I don't have any fine blond hair in the bikini area" - but I thought the same thing so maybe you do!) I am really, really, really pleased with this and if it was the only thing TRIA could do for me I would be very happy with it. Definitely worth $600 as treatments (not to mention years of touch-ups) would have cost me this much. I use it on medium-high setting for this but if it really hurts I'll bump it back to medium. I do believe I did closer in on medium-low at first as it got more painful as you moved inward.
Underarms - I hate, hate, hate the fact that I'm giving the TRIA 4 lippies instead of 5 because I love it so much for my bikini area. But I haven't seen it do much for my underarms! I don't know why that is - I've done as many treatments and I use the same setting (medium-high) but it just keeps growing back. If there is less hair then it's not measurable enough for me to know it. And of all the weird things, it hurts a LOT more on my right underarm than on my left. So I often turn it down to medium on my right side. You might think my results are being impaired by that but the left side has the same results And I think it would be too painful on high. I am definitely going to keep trying with it, though - underarms are really quick so it's easy to keep going. This is the sole reason I'm not giving this 5 lippies - I assume that if it's not working for me here, then there are women for whom it won't work (here or other areas.)
Legs: I've done all of my right calf now at least once with a couple of areas that have been done three times now. The areas that have been hit a few times look very good! I used this to do my knees, too, because shaving is so hard there. I figured that even if it doesn't work well (due to taking too long to do such a large area) then I'd be happy to not cut up my knees anymore! But I have been really impressed with my legs so I'm going to keep going on them. I also use medium-high here but I think in most areas I could bump it up to high.
Pain factor - every once in a while it will hurt like h*ll. But usually it's either nothing at all or a small snapping feeling. It's almost like you can feel how hot the hair got (HOT!) My underarms hurt more than legs, right side more than left (what's that about?!) and my bikini area is not bad. I also think that the bikini area has hurt less and less over treatments, which makes sense. (If you're damaging the follicles and hair isn't growing, then there is no dark hair to absorb the light, therefore no heat, therefore no pain.) Also suggest that you do this only with FRESHLY shaved legs. I did a part of my calf the other evening that had been shaved that morning (about 12 hours before) and it definitely hurt more than other areas even though it still felt smooth. It wasn't unbearable at all - but definitely hurt worse. For this reason, I also recommend a good, clean, sharp razor - the closer the shave the less pain!
I would so, so, so buy this again. I have been so happy with my leg results that even if I charge it so much that it wears out, I would repurchase (provided I continue to be happy and see these same results.) I realize that things will never be perfect - fine/light hairs that will never zap, they do grow back eventually, etc. But if it allows me to not have to shave every single time I want to wear shorts, to be able to toss on a swimsuit at a moment's notice, to wear tank tops whenever I want with minimal/less-often shaving then I am thrilled!
OK. A little about me: I have light skin and very dark, coarse, dense, hair. I purchased the TRIA specifically to use on my face (chin, upper lip, sides). As other reviewers pointed out, I was and am aware that this hasn't been cleared as yet for the face in the US, however the same unit is sold in the UK and has been cleared for the face.I have been using the TRIA for 4 months. This is a diode laser just like you would have used on you at a laser clinic using a diode laser (though, obviously, less powerful). This device works, and works VERY well. I have undergone professional laser treatments in the past but ran out of money before receiving the recommended or sufficient number of treatments. Back then, in 1996, I was thrilled with how my results were coming along (I had 5 treatments on my face).....but I just ran out of cash. This little beauty is delivering those same results....I have used it a total of 9 times in 4 m,onths (with today being treatment 9). The hair is just disappearing and my face and skin look awesome and smooth for once in my life (without a shadow beneath the skin). People at work who don't know I even have an issue with hirsutism make comments like "wow, your skin and make-up looks great....did you have a facial or something"? I am thrilled that I can use this in the privacy of my home and I am thrilled that my prayers have been answered. I just can't explain how happty I am.....you would have to have lived in my shoes to know how much this means to me. I'll add the same disclaimer as my other MU Alley friends: I am not endorsing or suggesting that anyone use TRIA on their face......I am just merely reporting on my own experience. Thanks!
Despite the company's disclaimer to the contrary, I purchased the Tria specifically for use on facial hair and have been using it now for 3 months. It's premature for any final conclusion, but I wanted to let other women with similar issues know what I've experienced so far. As background, I did a lot of reading and knew the Tria was used in Europe on the face with no reported problems. Also, I've seen doctors and had professional laser treatment on my face a number of years ago and knew what did and didn't work for me. I am very fair with quite dark hair, but if my skin were darker I would not try this on my face out of concern for pigment changes.
Having said that, Tria appears to work as advertised so far. I would recommend this product for someone who has dark hair and fair skin and a serious need to get rid of hair. Keeping expectations realistic is key. For many people, even after professional laser treatment, new hair will continue to grow and touch ups and additional treatments are needed from time to time. Frankly, if you've struggled for years with unwanted hair, an occassional touch up will not bother you.
I use this on the highest setting without numbing cream. The sensation ranges from barely there to highly painful in spots. It hurts most where the hair is thickest. I had to really steel myself to zap certain areas and the first treatment hurt the most. Since then, each session has been less and less painful and now I barely feel it at all. I am following the recommended schedule of using the Tria every two weeks for the first three months and may cut down to once a month from this point. I'll decide in two weeks when I can see how the hair looks. Minor tweaking of the manufacturer's recommendations should be alright, I think, as everyone will respond a little differently.
I can use the Tria now without any noticable after effects. However, the first time, my skin was red and puffy afterwards and I looked like I'd been attacked by swarms of mosquitoes. I also broke out afterwards, which is not normally a problem for me. The redness and swelling cleared up in a couple of days (the breakouts took a few days longer to resolve). I recommend using witch hazel (I like the 100% organic stuff) before and after using the Tria. I've had no further problems with breakouts since the first use.
Be patient. It will take 2 or 3 weeks before hair starts shedding. I was very worried the first 2 weeks that nothing was happening and constantly checked to see if hairs were shedding. They took forever to work their way out but by the end of the first month I had a huge reduction in hair. By the 3rd treatment most of the hair was gone. You simply can not imagine what that meant to me. Anyway, for the next 2 months, the hair was gone. This month, I've notice fine hair returning here and there but this should be hair on a different growth cycle than the previously treated hair. I will update at 6 months and let you know what's happening with regrowth. In any event, it's so fine that it's barely noticable, which I find acceptable at this stage.
I am very happy with my current results. I was hesitant to write a review after only 3 months use, as this will not answer the average user's question about whether this permanently gets rid of leg hair (if that were my only issue, I'd be thrilled). However, I am writing this review for the many other women dealing with the very distressing situation of unwanted facial hair . When I get up in the morning, I look in the mirror and see clear, smooth skin - what's better than that?
For me, if the Tria does nothing more than maintain where I'm at now, it will be well worth 600 dollars. Professional laser treatment is so much more expensive and requires maintanance anyway. I hope this helps anyone considering a Tria purchase. It's not for everyone and I do NOT suggest anyone else do what I've done. But there's very little info out there about this subject and I wanted to share my experience.
Update: March 27
After 6 months, I notice some areas remain hair free and other areas have regrowth of very fine hair if I don't treat for several weeks. All in all, I'm still very happy with my results. I suspect this will be a maintanence tool for me and will not give completely permanent results but that's the same result I had with professional laser treatments (for far less money). For me, this makes excess facial hair a minor problem to be managed rather than a daily trauma to battle. I hope for continued improvement, however, and will update after I complete the recommended 8 months.
Update Nov 13
It's been a year now and I am very happy with Tria. The hair is better than 95% reduced. I do an occasional treatment every couple of months to keep things in check. Other than a few very fine dark hairs, my skin is clear and smooth. This is exactly the same result I had with profession laser treatment. All in all, this is a very good product for the right person if you are realistic about the eventual results.
Okay, I am just starting this review as I don't know the results yet as I just used it yesterday for the very first time. I will tell you that Bliss World is selling it for $595 and they have a 15% off code 09HOL15. So, I got it for $505 brand new (which is a steal!). It was very simple to activate -- I called the number. I was a little confused because the product documentation says it has only 3 settings, but there is a card insert inside of one of the little manuals that says it uses 5 settings. Before I activated online, I called Tria to activate it because I wanted to make sure it was a brand new 5-setting Tria. There is also a manufactured date that says July 2009 on the bottom of the hand held unit. I wanted to make sure that I was getting the 5 setting Tria and that I wouldn't have to return it. The lady on the phone said that was the date the housing was manufactured and not the guts inside of it. So, I activated it, and plugged it in to be charged. I also asked the lady about use on the face and why that wasn't approved. She said the reason it wasn't approved is because skin on the face is thinner and during clinical trials, some of the ladies damaged/burnt their skin on their face (which sounds scary). She advised using this every 2 weeks for the first 3 times and then once a month after that.
So, I have used my underarms as my test area. Let me start off with saying that I have had laser hair removal before. I have had some on my face (area between my eyebrows), one time on my arms, my armpits, and my bikini area. I have had the best results on my armpits. I had a 70 to 80% reduction of hair on my armpits and about a 70% reduction of hair on my bikini line.
So, my first go round was just kind of testing various areas. This is easy to use. The head where the laser is smaller than a dime, but bigger than I was expecting for a surface area. The hair isn't super dense, but it is thick and dark on my underarms. When I use it on my underarms, there is a snapping, and it hurts. Not as much as a professional laser, but I am willing to have to use this more times than a professional laser to have most of the hair gone. Same for my bikini line. I did try a couple of zaps on my face, and my skin was fine. But, the head would be hard to use to get those small areas as all 3 contact points need to be touching. My arms are the most tan, but the rest of my body has light skin. I only felt a couple of zaps on my arms, but I have light to medium brown hair on my arms. And, hair that isn't thick or coarse, I felt no zaps, so I am not sure if it is working on those hairs. I decided to wake up early the next morning, shower and shave, and then apply some Emla that I got on Ebay. There is also a tattoo numbing cream by Dr. somebody or another that might work. This stuff is expensive -- $30 a tube. You are supposed to apply it thickly and then cover it with a plastic wrap and leave it on for 30 minutes or so. I find it soaks in better and works when I have been sweating a bit. What it does, is it numbs the area some. I don't have a high pain threshold. I don't like pain. The occasional zap is no big deal, but trying to do a bikini line or underarms without this cream numbing the area -- I wouldn't do it. I still felt some of the zaps on my underarms, but about a 75% reduction in the pain of the zap. So, it was manageable. I don't think I put enough on my bikini line area on the right side, so I didn't really like the zap there. I didn't run out of charge on the Tria, and I used it on my armpits and the outer edges of my bikini line. I wasn't even super precise because it hurt a bit too much on my right bikini line side. I just wanted to get started with it. I may have even missed some spots. I also did just one zap with my eyes closed between my eyebrows. I hate maintaining eyebrows! lol I'll keep you guys updated. Oh, I also did a couple of zaps on one of my knees (as I hate shaving my knees) to see if I could tolerate the pain of trying to do my legs. I would have to use a numbing cream to help. A few zaps -- no big deal, a lot of zaps, no thanks. lol UPDATE: 12/26/09 - Okay I just redid my arpits. There were a couple of spots where hair was still growing where I am pretty sure I missed the first time around. There might still be some hair under the surface that did not make its way completely out, but I do not have the normal 5 o'clock shadow. I still shaved everyday to get rid of everything and provide the barest amount of exfoliation. I am still using the same charge as last time, and I spent about 3 or 4 minutes on each armpit. There was just a couple of snaps during the process, very manageable on the pain level. So far, I am happy with this product. I will post again soon. UPDATE: 2/11/10 -- Have used 3 more times on my armpits, and I have about 95% less hair there. I can't tolerate the pain on my bikini line. But, I am using it at the highest setting. UPDATE: 7/27/10 -- Haven't used on my armpits for 3 months now, and I'd say hair reduction is 85 to 90% and not the 95% I reported last update. I will start up again.
Laser hair removal is a drastic and expensive choice, so I'm betting that the ladies reading this review are somewhat like me...I'm very prone to ingrown hairs so bikini waxes and shaving have always ended in an angry and ugly bikini line--never the sexy, smooth result I intended! And pre-Tria, my armpits never looked hairless because my underarm hair was so dark that it would show through my fair skin.
The Tria is ridiculously expensive, but where I live the cost for 6 sessions of "brazilian" laser hair removal is at least $1200 including tip. The Tria, at $795, would be a decent investment--if it works.
Well, a week ago I finished my 4th session and I can say it--so far Tria works at least as well as advertised. I've been giving myself a laser brazilian (eeps! can't believe I just wrote that publicly!), using it on my underarms and a few other patches of annoying hair.
I have about a 1/3 of the hair I used to have in the bikini area and hair is still shedding from the 4th session. I have some large bare patches and the hair I do have is mostly thinner and lighter.
My other favorite part--I stopped getting new ingrown hairs after my second Tria session and the old ones completely faded before the 4th session. I have been shaving regularly during this time, so I think that the hair loss and slowed hair growth is responsible for putting and end to my ingrown hairs.
As for my underarms--I shaved them 2 days ago and they still look totally clean. After 4 days I need to shave--but there are bare patches and the hair that grows in is finer.
Pain/Power Levels: Any pain you feel is from hair getting heated by the laser, so the degree of pain depends on how close of a shave you've got. The first time I did my underarms it was unbearable at level 2 and I had to keep it at 1. I now use level 2 or 3 on my underarms and it does not hurt at all because I have less hair. On the bikini area I mostly stick to level 2. Maybe I'm a wimp for shying away form level 3 most of the time, but I'm still getting good results with level 2 with very little discomfort.
I've also noticed that if you set the laser to level 3 it takes more time to rev up for each laser "blast" so you can't cover as much territory before the battery runs out (usually after a half hour). That's another reason why I usually stick to level 2--you can get about one laser blast per second so it's pretty easy to fully cover an area quickly.
Learning to use it: It takes some practice to get good at fully treating an area with a tiny circular pattern. But after my first session, when the hair fell out very patchy and it was clear where I had missed spots, I made an effort to be very thorough. It seems to be paying off.
One drawback--I would not use the Tria on my legs--it would take FOREVER to do it right. Also, because leg hair on women is usually finer and lighter than underarm hair, I doubt the Tria would be quite as effective on the legs.
In sum, I love my Tria. When you pick it up it definitely feels and looks like an $800 piece of technology, and fortunately it works like one too.