Ranges of transition costs: Hair removal

Hair removal can be the most time-consuming, and possibly the most expensive, part of transition. I estimate that permanent hair removal costs make up anywhere from 20% - 40% of most women's total transition costs.

It is vital to begin as soon as possible in transition. I strongly urge you to have as much electrolysis as possible completed prior to going full-time. At the very least, you should be clearing your face with one weekly session that can carry you to the next session. Once you're full-time, it gets harder and harder to deal with facial hair. Ask anyone. They'll say they wish they started sooner.

Amounts below are estimated totals. The full range of reported costs is even more extreme, from under $200 to over $35,000 for face alone. See notes for explanations.

Face: Start on your face, and worry about the rest later. Facial electrolysis usually takes from 40 to 400+ hours over 1 to 4 years. I estimate the average time to completion over 200 hours and over 2 years. Electrolysis costs start out very high and diminish over time as less and less hair returns. Plan on paying for one to five hours a week in the early clearing stages, at a rate from $25 to $120 an hour, with most people paying $50 to $60.

Body: This varies too much depending on what you want done and the amount of hair. Besides, hormones will reduce some of it (unlike face). Face is key-- if you have money or time left over, do body work.

Genital: Another thing not to worry about until a year before you plan on SRS. For more, see my genital electrolysis page.

Travel: Some people find they need to travel to find a competent practitioner. Figure that in.

Pain relief: Some people need none. Some use over-the-counter pills. Some use EMLA cream at $40 a tube if not under insurance. Some even get injected anesthesia. Figure in these costs. For more, see my pain relief page.

Skin care: Redness and bumps may require aloe gel and mild astringents after treatment. Some people get very dry skin or ingrowns, which will require additional skin care. Figure in these costs. For more, see my side effects page.

  • For tips on saving money on electrolysis, see my page on costs.
  • For information on a great salon that uses anesthesia and has outstanding results, see my page discussing pros and cons of Electrology 2000.
  • For the cheapest way, which I don't recommend, see my information on doing your own electrolysis.

Do not base your own budget on these examples!

  • Example 1 is the minimum anyone has reported for the category-- best-case.
  • Examples 2, 3 and 4 represent standard ranges, with Example 3 as my attempt to show the most typical.
  • Example 5 is the maximum anyone has reported for the category-- worst-case.

  • [1] Read all notes in purple for explanation of estimates.
  • [2] Notes in red contain very important information that will significantly affect costs and budgeting.
  • The "Your estimate" column will be filled in as part of Exercise 7.
  Example 1 [1] Example 2 [2] Example 3 [3] Example 4 [4] Example 5 [4] Your estimate
Electrolysis [5] . . . . . .
Face

2,000

6,000

10,000

13,000

16,000

.
Body

500

1,000

2,000

5,000

10,000

.
Genital

500

650

800

1,000

3,000 [6]

.
Travel to electrolysis

150

300

450

600

2,000 [7]

.
Pain relief

30

500

1,000

2,000

4,000 [8]

.
Skin care

30

80

120

200

2,000 [9]

.
. . . . . . .
Subtotals [10]

3,210

8,530

14,370

21,800

37,000

.
  • [1] Assumes 12 months to completion.
  • [2] Assumes 24 months to completion.
  • [3] Assumes 36 months to completion.
  • [4] Assumes 48 months to completion.
  • [5] Assumes $50/hour rate, including genital. This category has too many variables for accurate estimates of your costs. Hours to completion can range from 40 to 400. Rates can range from $25 to $120 an hour, significantly affecting costs.
  • [6] Assumes $150/hour rate for genital work.
  • [7] Assumes out-of town travel for treatment.
  • [8] Assumes injected anesthesia weekly at $20.
  • [9] Assumes Tend Skin or equivalent, plus alpha hydroxy or Retin-A.
  • [10] I have not shown costs for doing your own electrolysis, since the failure rate is very high. The few successful TSs report total costs around $200, not figuring in the hidden cost of time it takes to treat yourself. I have also not shown electrolysis covered by insurance, which is also rare. Conversely, I have not shown the most extreme costs at the other end. I have received anecdotal reports of women who spent $35,000 to $50,000 on their faces alone. If accurate, these would be extremely rare cases.

Order the interactive spreadsheet of this financing information.

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