We are obsessed with unwanted body hair. That explains why laser hair removal is now the most popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedure after botox. A Tampa company is even franchising the concept. Ideal Image, with nine centers in the Southeast offering nothing but hair removal, just announced plans for 16 more across the U.S. by midsummer. About 18% of customers are men, says CEO Dean Akers. Usually they come to zap back hair, at $4,000 to $5,000 for five treatments. Women more likely want facial hair removed, which might cost $700 to $1,000.
The low-energy laser used to get rid of hair permanently targets the darker pigment in hair follicles. Patients usually experience only mild discomfort, but there is a risk of burns. So it's important to make sure a physician oversees the facility, says Dr. Jay Calvert, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. If the laser operator is not an M.D., the next best thing is a nurse or physician's assistant licensed to perform laser procedures.
Here's good news for those trying to cut down on unhealthy fat: Many foodmakers are reducing or eliminating the amount of artery-clogging trans fat in their products before Jan. 1, 2006. That's when a new Food & Drug Administration requirement for including trans fat on food labels kicks in. Products with zero trans already on the label include Tyson's (TSN) chicken nuggets, patties, and tenders; ConAgra's (CAG) Blue Bonnet, Fleischmann's, and Parkay soft spreads, Kraft's (KFT) reduced-fat Oreos; Pepperidge Farm's (CPB) Goldfish and other crackers; and Frito-Lay's (PEP) chips.
Still, even "trans fat-free" products may not be totally rid of the stuff. Foods with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving are allowed to round down to zero. If there's "partially hydrogenated" vegetable oil, there's trans, says Michael Jacobson, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest. Also look at what replaced the trans. Palm oil is high in saturated fat, and both saturated and trans fat raise bad "LDL" cholesterol (trans also lowers good "HDL"). Canola, corn, soybean, and sunflower oils are healthier alternatives.
Making a fashion statement isn't only about the clothes. Now it's about your toilet. Kohler's new Purist Hatbox toilet, unveiled in February during Fashion Week in New York, does away with the clunky tank, flusher handle, and familiar bowl. Instead, the simple elongated tankless design uses a sensor-driven electric pump to flush. The $2,890 toilet comes in six colors and will be available nationwide by May (kohler.com).