One of the reasons you may be hesitant to start epilating is that you’ve heard it can be a painful experience. This is only partially true, and I promise you the benefits outweigh the discomfort.
This post will tell you about epilation pain and will walk you through some foolproof methods to reduce it.
Why does epilation hurt?
Epilation is a process that involves pulling your hair from its root. It is extremely effective and you won’t have to epilate again for up to 3 weeks (though if hairs start coming through you can easily get them before they pose a threat). Epilating damages the root and causes the hair to grow back thinner and weaker than before.
As with waxing, it’s going to hurt. But it’s also important to remember that each time you epilate, the pain will get less and less, and the first time is the worst time. This is simply because your skin gets used to the sensation.
Absolutely. There are a number of natural techniques that will prepare your body for epilation and if it’s still too much, there are specialised products.
If you don’t want to invest in products to help with epilation pain, there are plenty of ways to prepare yourself.
There’s nothing like a nice warm shower or bath to relax the skin and open up the pores. This will make hairs easier to remove and will result in a much less painful experience.
Tip: Try a ‘wet and dry’ epilator! These kinds of epilators can be used in the shower and even underwater in the bath. They take a little longer to do the job but the pain is significantly less. Find the best wet and dry epilators in our Definitive Epilator Guide.
Dead skin cells will often block growth pathways and will cause ingrown hairs. These leave small red bumps that are painful and unsightly. We recommend exfoliation a day or two before epilation as skin tends to be more sensitive post-exfoliation. This can cause unwanted redness and irritation of the skin if you epilate straight after.
Additionally, your skin will be smoother and hairs will be pulled easier. This saves you having to redo parts of your body for hairs that you missed!
You may be used to shaving, or you may be used to waxing. Regardless, if you want a less painful epilation experience for your first time you may want to think about getting a professional wax about a week before you epilate. Waxing will also pull hairs from the root and will cause the hairs that grow back to be weaker and thinner, meaning easier to pull out when you epilate for the first time.
For people who have epilated before, don’t worry about waxing. Do try to keep your hairs of a similar length though. Longer hairs are more painful to pull and are more likely to break instead of being taken out entirely.
Tips While Epilating
There are also things you can do during epilation to reduce pain and have a smoother experience.
- As we mentioned above, try to keep your hairs of a similar length. This makes for more effective epilation and can easily be maintained by regularly epilating every 1-2 weeks. It will make your future epiation experiences far more manageable and tolerable.
- Make sure your skin is taut. The tighter the skin, the less chance there is for the tweezers to pinch you. It also lifts the hairs so that they’re easier for the epilator to catch.
Tip: Epilating your underarms can be quite painful. We recommend raising your arm above and behind your head so that the skin is tight and there’s little chance of catching it.
- Some epilators have dual speed settings. The fastest speed will give you results much more efficiently and will make the whole process faster. If you feel like it’s too painful, try the slower speed. There are many different devices we’ve reviewed that are dual speed. It could be a good idea to start on the lower setting and when you’re more comfortable, move to the faster one.
- Cooling pads are something not often seen, but are not a bad way to reduce epilation pain. The Braun Silk Epil 5 comes with one, and should be used after epilation to soothe the skin.
Specialised Products (Numbing Creams & Painkillers)
Some people have very sensitive skin and aren’t able to epilate without the help of special numbing creams (also known as lidocaine creams).
These creams are used by people undergoing surgery so you know they do the trick and will make sure you don’t feel a thing while epilating.
You should generally apply the cream (without rubbing it in) about an hour before epilating. This should be sufficient time for it to take effect. Remember: when using products such as this please read the instructions and consult with your doctor if you’re unsure.
Can I use ice?
We don’t recommend the use of ice to numb your skin for epilation. Firstly its not the most practical of methods and secondly it tends to close the pores of your skin, making epilation much more difficult.
For you first time epilating, some women recommend taking a light painkiller. It might not be all that effective but to each her own. We prefer a glass of wine!
The main thing to remember with epilators is that the pain will very likely only get better, and once you feel how smooth you are after a couple of sessions I’m sure you’ll agree its completely worth it.