Do epilators hurt? How to make epilating easier and pain free
Using an epilator can be incredibly painful. Like waxing, the epilator removes hair by yanking many hairs out from their roots at the same time. Pain tolerance varies from person to person. For those with sensitive skin, using an epilator for the first time can be a scary and painful task.
But it doesn’t have to be. With some planning, epilation pain can be reduced or even eliminated. Using the following tips, you can make epilation hair removal as easy and painless as shaving but with longer lasting results.
Tip 1: Epilate right after a warm bath or shower
Warm baths or showers make your hair softer and open the pores in your skin. Epilating is easier right after a warm shower for this reason.
You can also epilate while in the shower, which can make clean up easier. This brings us to our next tip…
Tip 2: Use a wet/dry epilator
Wet/dry epilators can be used in a shower or bath in addition to dry situations. These epilators are waterproof. Epilating in the middle of shower can make it easier to contain and clean up the hair. You can also wash off your epilator while still in the shower.
Many wet/dry epilators are travel friendly and you can use them in your home or in a hotel. For example, the Braun Silk Epil 9 comes with led lights and is battery powered. So is the Panasonic ES-ED90P which also has multiple epilator heads that allow you to epilate, shave, and do it a pedicure.
Tip 3: Pull skin taut
Make sure the epilator has a flat tight skin surface to skim along, so that it can capture as many hairs in every pass. Pull your skin taut in areas such as your armpits or upper thighs or wherever your body is softer. Less passes over skin means less pain.
Tip 4: Avoid goosebumps
Try to epilate when you are warm, if you are prone to goosebumps. Goosebumps make it harder for the epilator head to touch a flat skin surface. This can result in the epilator breaking hairs halfway instead of pulling them out from the root. These hairs will grow out sooner and will feel like stubble. Epilate when your skin does not have goosebumps for a longer smoother result that does not hurt as much.
Tip 5: Exfoliate
Exfoliating your skin a few days before epilating helps remove dead skin and any ingrown hairs that need to be epilated. Also exfoliate a few days after epilation to minimize ingrown hairs. Add a little brown sugar in your normal body wash for a natural scrub or a body wash scrub like Gigi No Bump Body Scrub.
For a spa like exfoliation, use exfoliating gloves like the Aquasentials Exfoliating Bath Gloves. The gloves are also good for reducing ingrown hairs after epilating. They make it easy to exfoliate and act as a loofah for your body wash.
Tip 6: Shave for an easier start
Shaving is an indirect way of exfoliating. Shaving 2-3 days before your first epilating session is a good way to start slowly. Shaving will reduce the number of hairs available for epilating and your first time will be less painful. As you condition yourself to the minor pain, you can continue epilating every few days with more hairs as they grow back out.
Tip 7: Use a numbing cream
If you are extra sensitive, use a numbing cream like LMX5 Anesthetic Cream to numb your skin temporarily for epilation. You won’t feel the pain as much. This is especially an option for more sensitive areas of the skin, like under bikini, underarms, or face. Numbing creams are great tools for hair removal as they can give you about an hour window where you experience less pain than usual. Not sure if a numbing cream is right for you? Learn more about Numbing Creams for Hair Removal in our our guide to Numbing Creams, which covers how they work and different cream options.
If you experience pain after epilating, press a cold compress or an ice pack immediately on the skin to numb the skin. You can also use products like witch hazel toner or an antiseptic lotion like Finipil to reduce the pain, prevent ingrown hairs, and keep the newly smooth area clean. If you are prone to breaking out after hair removal, Finipil can go a long way to help keep your skin hairless without break outs.
Tip 8: Take an over the counter pain medication 30 minutes before epilating
A last ditch option can be a regular strength over the counter pain medication for short term numbing. For best results, take 30 minutes before epilating.
HOWEVER! It not recommended that you take pain medications for every hair removal session. If you are not able to tolerate the pain, it is a better idea to look for a different method than epilation. Shaving, depilatory creams, laser hair removal are all great and less painful options.
Tip 9: Wait 6-8 hours after coffee or soda
Caffeine is a stimulant that can make you feel greater pain sensation while it’s in your system. It takes 6-10 hours for caffeine to exit your system. It will vary person to person, but you may find that waiting until there is no caffeine in your system means a less painful epilation session.
Tip 10 (for women): Epilate right after your period
Epilators do hurt more during menstrual bleeding. Many women report their bodies are the least sensitive to external pain in the 3 or 4 days right after, and most sensitive right before their period. You may or may not also notice a similar pattern with your own pain tolerance. If you do, then you will find it less painful to epilate right after your period. So if you have trackable or regular periods, epilating during your next period or in the days after might be easier.
Other women report low sensitivity during ovulation, due to the increase in hormones. By keeping track of your sensitivity over the month, you might find that you are more or less sensitive to hair removal pain during certain body events. These windows might make for an ideal time for a pain free epilating session.
Still no luck?
Have you already tried all of these and epilating is still painful? Shaving might be a good painless backup for you. But you still have to shave more often to maintain smooth skin.
Waxing is also a similar option. Getting waxes at salons can add up. But nowadays there are more and more at home waxing systems on the market that can save you money.
If epilating, or waxing, are too painful and you find that you have to go back to shaving, an at home laser system might be a good option for you. It requires shaving before use. With each use, it also helps kill the hair follicles. Over time, you will see less hair growth and have to shave less often. So if epilating or waxing don’t work for you or your lifestyle, try an at home laser hair removal system along with shaving for long term benefits.