©Photo by iStock: ruizluquepaz

Photo Hair Removal in Japan: My Experience

Trying Japanese Photo Hair Removal

By Laura Miyasaka
May 24, 2024
Health & Beauty

With the first session at just 100 yen, what is photo hair removal and what is one of Japan’s most popular hair removal salons like?

As a society, we’ve come a long way in terms of body hair acceptance but for some of us, hairless skin is still the ultimate goal. From posters scattered across stations to adverts on screens, it’s no secret that there are numerous permanent hair removal salons in Japan.

I sat on the fence about permanent hair removal for some time—would it be worth it, how soon would I see results and would it even work on my skin? After some time debating whether to invest, I settled on Musee’s 100 yen campaign. This meant my first session was just 100 yen—a price so low I felt I had nothing to lose. I was also reassured that Musee is one of Japan’s leading chain hair removal salons with over 185 stores nationwide. 

Once I registered my interest online, I had my first in-person appointment. Over an hour, they thoroughly explained photo hair removal, its benefits and how long it would take to see results. Afterward, they offered me a one-time discount to purchase one of their packages for photo hair removal.

What is photo hair removal?

Permanent Hair Removal in Japan: My Experience© Photo by iStock: ferrerivideo

I was surprised to learn that photo hair removal is the most popular method of permanent hair removal in Japan. Like laser hair removal, photo hair removal is a permanent method of hair removal that uses a beam of light to target hair follicles. This results in reduced hair growth and new hair growing thinner and lighter.

Want to know more about permanent hair removal in Japan? Check out our article on Laser Hair Removal in Japan.

Photo Hair Removal Benefits

  • Skin pores tighten and appear less noticeable. 
  • Improves the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Suitable for sensitive and delicate skin.
  • Less painful than laser or completely painless.

Japanese Salons That Offer Photo Hair Removal

Musee’s Smooth Skin Control Hair Removal

Why I Chose Musee© Photo by Laura Miyasaka

Musee offers a type of photo hair removal called “Smooth Skin Control Hair Removal”. Along with the photo hair removal device, Musee’s own skincare gel is applied before the treatment. Afterward, the skin is coated with a moisturizer designed to nourish the skin and promote cell turnover.

What To Expect

  • If you decide to sign a contract with Musee you’ll download their app to book appointments. From there you can select the stores closest to you, your availability and book an appointment.
  • Before the appointment, it’s worth noting that you have to avoid any heavy exercise and keep your skin bare—this means no lotions, no deodorant or sunscreen. 
  • You’ll be expected to shave your body hair for the treated area a day beforehand. I recommend this electric shaver which they use in their salons. If you miss a few hairs they will shave these for you but if you’ve missed a lot they will skip that body part until your next appointment. It’s important to get all your hair, even thin blonde ones. They advise using a flashlight or your phone torch to double-check that you’ve got everything. 
  • During the appointment, you’ll have a private room with a locker. 
  • Your eyes will be covered throughout the treatment for protection.
  • A whole body appointment takes approximately 90 minutes and afterwards, you’ll need to avoid direct sunlight exposure and hot showers/baths.

How long does it take to see results?

Compared to laser hair removal, photo hair removal can take double the number of sessions to achieve the same results. Photo hair removal can take between 12 and 18 sessions until the skin is completely hairless with almost no growth, but in four to six sessions you can expect a noticeable difference. Considering the 60-day wait period between appointments, it could be two years until you achieve the desired results.

My Results One Year On

After one year with Musee, I have undergone a total of five sessions. I did have one laser treatment prior to treatment with Musee at a different salon and in comparison, I feel photo hair removal is gentler on my skin.

I’m pretty happy with the results from photo hair removal as I started off with thick, dark hair and now don’t need to shave as often. However, I think it will be another year until I achieve the results I want. As for the condition of my skin, I’ve also noticed that it looks better and healthier than ever. I think this is thanks to Musee’s moisturizing gel and lotion.

Why I Chose Musee

Permanent Hair Removal in Japan: My Experience© Photo by Laura Miyasaka

I decided to commit to Musee’s passport package, which gives you unlimited treatment sessions. It was relatively cheaper than laser hair removal and gentler on sensitive skin. I could also easily book an appointment at any store across the country. Plus, I’d receive skincare and hair removal treatment.

The most important reason for me was the unlimited number of sessions. Despite its name, permanent hair removal is never truly permanent, and maintenance sessions are required afterward. Considering this and the affordable price, Musee’s passport package was ideal for me.

How Much Does Hair Removal Cost?

Why I Chose Musee© Photo by Musee Platinum

Full body hair removal at Musee costs ¥22,000 per session (May 2024). However, with Musee’s ¥100 campaign, the price for new customers’ first session is reduced to just ¥100. Customers who join the campaign receive a one-time, exclusive discount upon consultation. I cannot disclose this offer but let’s look at the prices listed on Musees’ website.

Multiple sessions booked at the same time are usually discounted. Currently, by booking eight full-body hair removal sessions, you can receive a 20% discount, so instead of ¥176,000, it is ¥140,800 (〜¥17,600 per session). For 12 sessions, you can expect even more savings with a 30% discount (〜¥15,400 per session). Finally, if you purchase more than 12 sessions in one go, you are entitled to Musee’s forever discount, which equates to ¥14,300 per session.

What I Wish I’d Known Beforehand

  1. The wait time between appointments: You have to wait 60 days between appointments but it can actually be a lot longer until you get an appointment because there are just no available time slots.
  2. Considering other budget-friendly options: Using IPL (intense pulsed light) self-service devices at salons such as Self Datsumo is a much more budget-friendly way to undergo permanent hair removal in Japan. You book a time slot, go to the salon and use the device by yourself. Some gyms like ChocoZap are now offering this service too.

Do I recommend Musee?

Permanent Hair Removal in Japan: My Experience© Photo by Laura Miyasaka

In short, I do but it depends on how quickly you want to see results. If you want to see significant results within a year then I recommend trying laser hair removal instead. 

Laser hair removal will be more expensive but you’ll see results quickly. If you’re more budget-conscious or your skin is sensitive, then I recommend Musee. Especially the passport package which gives you unlimited sessions and access to stores all across Japan. It’s also nice to be pampered on the day—if you’re having your face treated they give you a face massage too. Finally, Musee often promotes beauty and skincare products so sometimes you’ll receive free samples. This also keeps you in the know about the latest beauty products.

Have you had photo hair removal done in Japan before? What were your thoughts? Would you recommend it? Let us know in the comments!

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