Imagine a device with dozens of tiny little tweezers plucking away the hairs on your legs, underarms and bikini area. Sounds painful, right? That’s because it is. And that’s exactly what an epilator does. Yet women all over the world continue to use epilators, and are more than happy to do so.
I don’t know about you, but my eyes water when I tweeze my eyebrows – do I really want to multiply that pain ten-fold? For sleek, smooth skin, maybe.
The truth is that epilation is painful, but it doesn’t have to be torture. Use these tricks to minimize the pain, and start enjoying your silky smooth skin.
1. Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate
I can’t stress enough the importance of exfoliating before you use an epilator. Exfoliation gets rid of dead skin, which minimizes the chances of ingrown hairs – ouch! Ideally, you want to exfoliate the day before you epilate. Many people recommend exfoliating on a daily basis to really prevent ingrown hairs, but every other day should suffice.
There are plenty of ways to exfoliate your skin (coffee grinds, scrubs – please don’t use products with plastic beads – and specialty bath accessories), but I prefer to use an exfoliating glove because it can be used anywhere.
2. Shower First
Adding to your list of epilation prep, make sure that you shower before you start. Taking a warm shower will help open up your pores, which will also help prevent ingrown hairs and make it easier to grab the hairs on the first pass.
3. Hold Your Skin Taut
Holding your skin taut during each pass can help minimize the pain. It will still hurt, but it won’t be as intense. Use one hand to hold the skin taut, and the other to control the epilator.
The underarm area can be tricky – it’s not easy to hold the skin and epilate with one hand. I recommend stretching your arms up as high as you can to stretch the skin naturally.
4. Try a Wet/Dry Epilator
If you haven’t bought your epilator yet (or you’re looking to buy a new one), I highly recommend getting a wet/dry model. These epilators can actually be used in the shower, and they’re great for not only reducing the pain, but also preventing those ugly little red bumps you normally get with a dry epilator.
When you take a warm shower or bath, it opens the pores up, which makes it so much easier to remove the hair. If you can use the epilator in the shower, you’ll find the process to be so much less painful. I sometimes go as far as lathering up some shaving cream or soap for extra lubrication (i.e. less pain). Just be careful not to use too much cream or soap, or the epilator may have trouble grabbing the hair, and you’ll have to make several passes (ouch).
Some people use numbing creams to reduce the pain, but they’re surprisingly not as effective as you would think. The truth is that epilation is painful, but it’s not unbearable (okay, maybe it is if you really have absolutely no tolerance for pain). The tips above helped make my epilation sessions more bearable, and I’ve had fewer ingrown hairs, too. And if all else fails, you can always take an over-the-counter painkiller as a last resort.