If you want the silky-smooth finish of shaving, without the mess of depilatory creams, or the long growth-requirement of waxing, then you are in the right place. The answer to your prayers is an epilator, and that silky-smooth finish we mentioned? It can even last for up to 6 weeks!
Epilating is easy to get the hang of, but there is a knack to it. We are going to talk you through how to use your epilator, so you get the best results and get the most out of it. In no time at all, this handy little device is going to be your new best friend!
Epilators can range in price between $30 and $300, depending on the quality you choose, and they certainly were not created equal! Higher quality products have more tweezers, can catch hold of shorter hairs and have more attachments for either using on different areas of your body or for helping you get a better finish on your epilating.
If you are new to epilating, it is a good idea to choose a “wet and dry” epilator, which you can use in the shower. This will mean that the warm water relaxes you and opens your pores, meaning you feel less discomfort and can get used to the sensation. It is also a bit more convenient because the hairs just get washed down the drain – you don’t need to sit on a towel while you epilate or vacuum them up after!
If you would like more information on choosing the right epilator for you, take a look at our reviews of different epilators. We certainly recommend paying a bit more to get the quality. The body epilator we loved most was the Braun Silk Épil 9 which catches 0.5mm length hairs, gives you a shaver for more sensitive areas and even gives you a set of exfoliation brushes to prevent ingrown hairs!
Once you have your new epilator, don’t forget to put it on charge!
2. Plan Ahead
Especially if you are new to epilating, you don’t want to be doing it in a hurry! You want to set aside a time when you are not feeling rushed and can take breaks if the sensations get a little much for you. It takes longer than shaving does, but after a few goes, you will find that you speed up. Even when you are a seasoned pro, you may get little red dots on your skin for a few hours after you epilate, which is natural and harmless, but not ideal for an event!
Top Tip: Try and do in the evening – it tends to hurt less and you can let the redness go down overnight. Also, it is a good idea not to epilate while you are on your period as you are likely to feel more sensitive to the pain.
3. Preparing Your Skin
Before you begin epilating it is a good idea to exfoliate. This will remove dead skin from the surface and reduce the chance of you getting ingrown hairs. We recommend a hypoallergenic option like St Ives, which is free of oils, sulfates and parabens, and the exfoliants are natural.
If you choose a corded or non-waterproof epilator, then you will need to make sure your skin is thoroughly dry. To help the hairs stand up, dry your skin in the opposite direction of the way the hair grows. Some women also pat on some baby powder, which dries the skin off thoroughly and can make the hairs more visible, but be careful not to clog your epilator!
On the other hand, if you have a “wet and dry” epilator, you obviously don’t need to have dry skin, but it is always best to have clean skin. This is not just because it is more hygienic, but also because moisturizers, lotions and body butter can make the hairs oil and harder to catch hold of with the epilating tweezers.
4. Turn It On!
The next bit may be a bit daunting if you are new to epilating, but it really isn’t as bad as you think it is going to be! Epilators sound far scarier than they actually are. Start on an area that is less sensitive, such as your lower leg. With one hand, hold your epilator at 90°, resting against your skin but not pushing into it. Any other angle and the tweezers won’t pick up the hairs as efficiently and may snap them off.
With your other hand pull your skin taut. This helps the hairs come out easier, and noticeably reduces the discomfort you feel. Take a deep breath and switch on your epilator on the slower setting and have a go at gliding it along your skin, against the direction of your hair growth.
Sure, it can be a little uncomfortable and even sting, but we are sure it isn’t as bad as you expected. Once you are a bit happier with it and used to the sensations, you can begin to work over the whole area, always against the direction of your hair growth. The direction your hair grows in may change gradually across your body, or for some trickier areas like your underarms it may grow in two directions or even more! Just work methodically, in one direction then the other.
You don’t need to do this quickly. In fact, passing the epilator over your body slower gives the tweezers more of a chance to pick up the hairs. Plus, it is ok to take breaks or to epilate in stages. The more often you epilate, the less it hurts – the hair is finer and it will come out easier.
By now, your skin will probably be a little red and bumpy – that is perfectly normal and it will probably go in a few hours. It may also become less obvious next time and every time you epilate, but it could happen every time. You can soothe your skin with an aloe vera or witch hazel-based moisturizer. Alternatively, you can use tea tree oil on areas such as your bikini line or underarms (although it will sting) as it is naturally antiseptic and can prevent folliculitis.
You can now put your feet up and relax! The hard part is over, and it will be easier next time!
Remember you need to clean your epilator now! Most models come with a little brush where you can dust off the hairs. Alternatively, if you have a waterproof epilator, you can rinse the head and any caps or attachments under a running tap, and clean it with rubbing alcohol.
7. Next Steps
After a few days, exfoliate your skin again to prevent ingrown hairs. You will want to do this at least once a week now, for as long as you continue to epilate. You may also notice a few areas that need a touch up after a few days. This may be because you snapped the hairs rather than removing them from the root, or it may be because they are at a different stage of the growth cycle to the hairs you removed and have only just pushed through!
Touching up gradually is good – it’s a smaller area so its less sensitive and you will keep that smooth finish for longer. Plus, if you have chosen a high-quality epilator, you’ll be plucking hairs as small as a grain of sand, that you haven’t even noticed!
Top Tips For Using Your Epilator
We’ve covered almost everything, but these are the top tips we have you:
- Choose a wet/dry model – this gives you more flexibility and is especially a better choice for beginners. It is less painful to use and the clean-up is easier.
- Choose one with a light – many models have a smart light LED on the front, which shows up the finer and fairer hairs you might otherwise miss.
- Epilate in the evening – you are more relaxed in the evening, your pain threshold is higher and if you get red bumps on your skin they can settle overnight.
- Shower before – or during if your epilator is waterproof! It will clean the skin, make hairs easier to grab and open your pores for easier hair extraction.
- Pull your skin taut – especially sensitive areas. It helps catch even the awkward hairs and make the epilation easier, quicker and less painful.
- Epilate warm – your pores will be more relaxed and open and your skin will be less sensitive while it is warm. Goosebumps make it harder to remove hairs.
- Exfoliate, regularly – immediately before and a few days after to prevent those pesky ingrown hairs. Try to choose a natural exfoliant.
- Know your cycle – you are most sensitive to pain during your period, and often you will be least sensitive to pain immediately after it.
So those are our best tips for getting started with your new epilator. If you would like to find out more about epilating, check out our blog, or if you would like to see some reviews of what we consider to be the top epilators on the market right now, check out our buyer’s guide.