Have you ever heard the saying, “Do it scared?” Well, that personifies the journey of Keisha Wagner-Gaymon, founder of PeachFuzz Laser Studio.
Wagner-Gaymon is a board certified nurse practitioner, and PCOS survivor, who learned firsthand what it feels like to deal with the debilitating effects of hirsutism. After receiving her diagnosis as a teenager, and growing into adulthood while seeking hair removal treatments that cater to the necessities of Black skin, Wagner-Gaymon realized that a void was present – and it was hers to fill.
“I started this business in 2020 during the pandemic. But for years I was contemplating opening a business, and I was so scared to do it,” she told 21Ninety. “I just want burgeoning entrepreneurs to know that they can walk past fear. Walk into that dream, and make it happen. It’s better to say that you did it and failed, than to never have done it at all and live in regret.”
Today, PeachFuzz Laser Studio has become a hub catering to Black and Brown skin in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. It has welcomed over 2,500 clients. It not only provides laser hair removal treatments, but caters to skincare management for anyone dealing with PCOS, hirsutism and more. And it has people all over the country yearning for the brand to expand beyond its New York borders.
Read as Wagner-Gaymon shares her firsthand experience with PCOS, how she has watched her clients blossom through her studio’s treatments, how people can find relief through PeachFuzz’s skincare line, what’s next for the brand and more!
Jadriena Solomon: Outside of being the founder of PeachFuzz Laser Studio, you’re also a board certified nurse practitioner. What initially sparked your interest in opening up a laser spa, and filling this void for people of color?
Keisha Wagner-Gaymon: I was inspired by my own struggle. Around the age of 15 or 16, I started growing excessive facial hair and it was devastating. I didn’t know what to do about it and my mother had no idea what was going on. And as you can imagine, being that young, it really takes a toll on you. I felt ugly. I didn’t feel good about myself. And I did all of the things to try to get rid of it – the squeezing, the shaving, the threading – and it really destroyed my skin in the process.
I found laser hair removal in the late 90’s – early 2000’s. And I learned that I had something called hirsutism, after finding out that I also had PCOS – which is when women grow hair in a male-like pattern. I joined this forum where they were talking about laser hair removal. And I felt like it was what I needed to do. I started doing it and it made such a difference for me. But back then, and still today, I didn’t really see any laser removal studios or businesses really catering to people of color. A lot of the ones that are present don’t really understand our skin and its needs, or have the right machinery to cater to it. And I realized that from my own experiences, bad and good.
I said, ‘You know what? I think I can do better.’ So after becoming a nurse practitioner, I realized there was a larger problem present in addressing PCOS and really bringing it to the attention of women of color – a lot of them didn’t even realize they had it until I informed them. So PeachFuzz Laser studio came about because I had my own struggles with it, and I knew that there had to be other people going through the same thing.
JS: One of the leading issues of PCOS is hirsutism, something that you’ve suffered from yourself. Can you speak more about your day to day experience with hirsutism and how it affected you physically, mentally and emotionally?
KWG: Suffering from excessive hair growth as a young woman is embarrassing. One example of a real life instance is going on a date, and being fearful of someone touching your face because you’re scared they’ll notice it. You’re scared they’ll feel the stubble. And sometimes you can also see it – some women have it so bad that it’s visible. And it feels so debilitating.
You feel embarrassed and it can also feel like a challenge to your femininity. For myself, I ended up not really wanting to live my true life until I was able to have the problem addressed. And it has the same effect on women that I see today. One of my clients cried to me, telling me how she didn’t feel good about herself and was so grateful to have found me. And it almost brought me to tears.
This is so much more than just a cosmetic thing. It’s mental. And if I can help my clients in one small way with this, then that’s huge. It goes beyond getting the hair removed. It goes into confidence, building self esteem and feeling good. And it impacts everything in someone’s life down to the clothes they decide to wear on an everyday basis and whether they feel good enough to get a new job, or go out on a date.
And when it comes to women of color, it can be so subtle to detect. There may be cysts on your ovaries that haven’t been found, you can suffer from infertility, you can have irregular periods, and then of course experience excessive hair growth. So you can have some of these things, or all of these things, and be suffering from it and not even know.
View this post on Instagram
JS: In the past two years, PeachFuzz Laser Studio has welcomed 2,500 and counting clients from the New York tri-state and North East regions. In what ways have you noticed PCOS, hirsutism, and other ailments, affect the quality of life of your clients? And what effects do the treatments that you provide have on them?
KWG: There’s no real cure for PCOS, but you can get on medication to treat it if you consult with your doctor and determine that you are dealing with an extreme case. Doing so definitely improves the quality of life.
As far as the effects of the treatments on my clients, I’ve noticed many that were once very shy and to themselves, blossom. They tell me how they feel so free. They don’t feel compelled to always wear makeup to cover their scars. So it definitely makes a noticeable difference. Once you feel better about yourself, you’re able to do anything.
JS: PeachFuzz launched its first skincare collection in June. Why do you feel it was necessary to go a step beyond treatments and provide your clientele with these products?
KWG: I personally didn’t see enough products that were geared towards people of color, especially when it comes to hair removal. Now there’s a million products catering to us for growing hair, but what about those that need hair to be removed?
It’s just like in the hair care aisle, our hair is different so the way that we remove also needs to be specific to our needs. Because our hair is thicker, when we remove it, we need products that prevent ingrown hairs and bumps, as well as the hyperpigmentation that can also form. Not having the right products and continuously dealing with the scars is enough to make someone never want to remove their hair.
So I felt that we needed products that were directed towards us. For example, our Silky Botanical Shave Oil has tea tree, has clarity botanicals that help coat the hair, and allows your razor to glide on the skin. So you have less of a chance to suffer from nicks or ingrown hairs.
View this post on Instagram
JS: Your skincare line consists of the FuzzClinic Ingrown Hair Serum, FuzzClinic Post Laser Aloe and Arnica Relief Gel, FuzzClinic Brightening Sunscreen with Niacinamide, FuzzClinic Shimmer Oil. What product do you recommend is a must-try from the line?
KWG: So I would say the products are not just for anyone dealing with PCOS – they’re really for anybody. I would definitely say that our Brightening Sunscreen with niacinamide is a must-have. Yes, we know that using sunscreen can help prevent cancer and wrinkles. But it’s also great for preventing hyperpigmentation, and dark spots from becoming worse.
I’ve introduced this product to so many women – many who didn’t know the importance of using sunscreen, and why it’s even more important to use one consistently when undergoing laser hair removal. This product is key if they want their skin to look good and combat the effects of the sun.
View this post on Instagram
JS: What can we expect next from yourself and PeachFuzz Laser Studio?
KWG: I definitely see this brand going nationally. I get DM’S and emails all the time, from women all over the U.S. who say that they wish there was a PeachFuzz Laser Studio in their city. So I would definitely love to make that happen.
We cater to women of color. We make people feel good. And we want them to feel confident – it’s a part of our mission. And it’s more of a holistic approach. We don’t just care about the process of the hair removal, we also want to know what else is going on. How else can we make you feel better about yourself? So I definitely see PeachFuzz Laser Studios becoming a national brand, and being in stores across the country – particularly Target. We definitely wanna make that happen.