There’s a saying that if something appears too good to be true, it probably is. It’s an adage I used to live by, before I decided that I was an optimist and I would stop looking for the bogeyman around every corner. Well, as it turns out, I shoulda gone with good ol’ pessimism in the case I’m about to relate to you, because this newfound “glass half full” foolishness cost me almost J$10,000.
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Gustazos website, which offers deals and discounts on everything from hotel stays to spa treatments to meals at restaurants. I am subscribed to the site, so I get an email every day. Early last month, I spotted a deal that looked “too good to be true” – seven weekly sessions of permanent laser hair removal, plus two follow-up monthly treatments, all for a cool fifty per cent discount. It was being offered by a place called Couture Allure, located on Holborn Road in the New Kingston area. I’d never heard of the place before, and had never come across it in my research into laser treatment options in Jamaica, so I was initially cautious as I did my Googles. According to the website, the practitioner was super qualified and had worked in London for seven years, with celebrities and media personalities amongst her clientele (that didn’t sway me to go for it, I promise). Additionally, Couture Allure is one of very few laser clinics insured to treat dark Asian and black skin for laser hair removal. In the end, it seemed legit, so I said a prayer, hit the ‘Buy Now’ button on the Gustazos site, forked over my good good J$9,328.67 and booked my first appointment.
Now, I know most of you reading this don’t know me personally, but I am a bit hirsute. Ok, whatever: I have a hairy face. In addition to being robbed in the booty area, this is further proof that I hit the genetic jackpot. Thanks, Mom and Dad! I have been trying to get rid of these blasted hairs by shaving, waxing, tweezing and praying since I was in high school, all to no avail. In fact, things have just gone from bad to Sasquatch. I had done one laser treatment at another place earlier this year, but that cost J$15,000 per session, and as I’m currently freelancing, I just couldn’t afford to do it regularly, so I was excited for this deal. That 15k session was really good, as I’d noticed an immediate difference in the number and density of hairs on my face within a few days, and I went almost two weeks without having to shave, so I was looking forward to these seven sessions and hoping I could put the problem of my hairiness to bed for good.
The first session at Couture Allure was… interesting. I had no idea what to expect of the place, but it certainly wasn’t to find a little room at the back of some building that appears to be an apartment complex slash plaza setup. Anyhoo, I don’t look down at small beginnings, and the place was clean and neat and smelled good, so I didn’t run for the hills. According to the Gustazo I’d purchased, each session would be between 15-20 minutes. So, imagine my surprise when after a few zaps of the laser wand, the lady announced we were “all done” and was taking off her gloves. I asked if she was sure, because I hadn’t felt the laser on certain parts of my face, but she insisted she hadn’t missed anything. In the end, I shrugged, got off the high chair thingy and made my next appointment for a week later.
The next week, I admit I hadn’t shaved beforehand, because I had done so the day before to go to church, and my face kinda hurt. I don’t know how men do this every day. Kudos to them. The lady (I’m not sure I should name her) told me I wouldn’t get good results because of this, as the laser would target the hairs on the surface rather than beneath my skin. It was on the tip of my tongue to tell her there had been no results from the previous session either, cuz within two days I was back to looking like fricking Chewbacca, but I didn’t. It was another quickie session as less than five minutes in, she announced that she was done. I was already beginning to feel duped, so I rolled my eyes, got off her chair, and made my next appointment while somebody else was knocking on the door for her appointment.
Hurricane Matthew put the kibosh on my appointment last week, so it was rescheduled for today, and it was more of the same. No. Actually, it was worse. This time around, I didn’t even get on to the chair properly before she informed me that I would have to pick one area of my face to treat, as she had been doing the sides of my face plus my chin by mistake – it should have been one area: chin or sideburns, and she had been absorbing the cost of this “extra” service. Whatchu talmbout, Willis?! What kind of patty shop foolery is this o? In the end, I settled for chin, and she zapped, like, three areas before she was hustling me off the chair. It dawned on me that she hadn’t even put on gloves this time, and she hadn’t even offered me the protective glasses or asked me to close my eyes. I was now sure this woman was a samfy specialist and I was among the idiots to fall for her scheme. I wasn’t even in her office for three minutes, guys! What the actual heck?!
I made my fourth appointment for next Tuesday, because I was determined to get my money’s worth, but as I was walking to Half Way Tree dazed, confused, and angry, I decided I wasn’t going back. I’m kinda over paying for people to disrespect me and take me for a ride. I cooled off on my way home, and sent her an email outlining all the issues I’d had with her services from the first day. Big and brave of me to cuss after the fact, I know. But the Lord is still working on me where my temper is concerned, and I didn’t want to end up allowing the devil free use of my tongue, so I kept my mouth shut until I was thinking clearly again and could articulate my displeasure sans claats. I don’t cuss, but on the odd occasion where I black out, I cannot be held responsible for what I say or do. *hoosah* I figured I had already lost that money, so I might as well let her keep the rest. I told her she can recoup her “losses” from my balance and consider the rest a tip.
So now, I’m back at square one: hairy as heck. And I’m still mad, dang it. I’m not even so mad at this teefing woman as I’m upset with myself. I should have put my foot down from day one, or better yet, been more careful in my research. I mean, there were no real reviews on her Facebook page, but I figured she was new here and hadn’t yet built up a buzz. And I want to kick myself for ignoring my inner grammar snob who had sent up an alarm after noticing that the word ‘couture’ had been misspelled in several places on the website – even in the URL. That should have tipped me off! I mean, how you gon spell the name of your business wrong? Hindsight really is 20/20, nuh true?
One day, I hope to look back at this misadventure and just shake my head and not miss the money I wasted. Once I get my money right, I’ll be going back to the place I’d gone to originally, as I had noticed immediate results with them. I’m hoping I can achieve permanent results within a few treatments, because I’m really over this problem. I know it’s not the end of the world, and it’s not that big a deal in the grander scheme of things, but you don’t know the embarrassment of having little kids stare at you on the bus and ask their mothers why that lady has hair on her face – or worse, ask you. Or the annoyance and disgust of having men tell you it means you’re “strong” and ask where else you have hair *wink wink* -_-. And as I said before, having to shave every time I’m leaving the house is physically painful. #FixItJesus