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A Beginner’s Guide to Epilating

Many women don’t know that there’s an alternative between shaving and waxing. Epilating has been around since the late 80’s. An epilator is a mechanical device with tweezers on a rotating head that pulls multiple hairs from the root. Epilators can be battery operated or electric and can range from $20-$130, but consider it an investment that will pay off over time. It can be used anywhere on your body, but is most popularly used on legs and arms.


Epilating lasts longer than shaving and avoids the mess of waxing. It can even be done wet or dry. It’s great for people who have sensitive skin that gets irritated after shaving, or who have trouble getting a close shave. It helps avoid frustrating nicks and stubble from shaving. It’s a cheaper alternative than getting waxed but has the same effect since epilators pull hair from the root, allowing the hair to take a longer time and grow back sparsely. Personally, when I epilate my legs, it takes about a month to fully grow back.


I’m going to be honest, it hurts the first time. Like really hurts. But like waxing, it gets less painful the more you do it. Unlike waxing and shaving, however, more aftercare is needed, especially in the beginning. You also have to clean up the hairs, which can be as simple as laying down a towel or doing it somewhere you can sweep it up. If you’re prone to ingrown hairs, it is likely you well get some ingrown hairs from epilating. Some people who shave almost every day will not like the fact that you have to let hair grow out around 1-2 cms before being able to epilate. A good thing to keep in mind, especially if you have roommates, is that epilators can be VERY noisy.


Here are a few things I suggest from my personal experience:

1. Exfoliate beforehand to help lift up the hairs. This will make it easier for the hair to be caught by the tweezers and will be less work for you.

2. Pull your skin taut. This will help lessen the pain and again make it easier for the tweezers to catch the hairs.

3. Taking breaks is OK. Honestly, it hurts. So pace yourself.

4. For beginners especially, your skin will be very sensitive. I suggest applying a soothing gel, something like Bikini Zone Topical Analgesic Medicated Crème (be sure to get the topical cream, not the shaving gel). An alternative that has worked for me in the past is mixing Neosporin (which helps protect and numb) with a heavy moisturizing cream.

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