10 tips for pain less epilation

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.

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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.

Check out our guide to Physical and Chemical exfoliation to see how it works and its benefits for your skin.

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. Check out our guide to Numbing Creams for Hair Removal for more information.

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.

Waxing vs Threading

What are the differences between waxing vs threading and which is better?

Waxing and threading work similarly to remove hair. They both remove hair from the root and can last up to 2 weeks. But which will work better for you? We’ll help you decide by comparing waxing vs threading on 5 key points – which lasts longer, cost, pain, which takes longer to do, skills needed, and convenience.

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What is waxing?

Waxing is the removal of hair using a resin or a wax to grab the hairs and pull them out entirely, from the root.

There are 2 kinds of wax – soft wax and hard wax. They both have different consistencies. Soft wax is more gooey, so you apply it and then remove it using wax strips. Hard wax, also called stripless wax is less gooey. With hard wax, you apply the wax, let it cool slightly and then remove it by gripping the edge of the wax and pulling away from the skin to remove the hair from the root.

Waxing is the most popular form of semi permanent hair removal in the world. Sugaring, epilating, and threading are all less popular but growing in demand and equally effective methods for removing hair semi permanently, from the root but without killing the follicle like laser hair removal.

Want to learn about waxing at home? Get started with our guide to at home waxing that covers the features of wax kits, how to pick a wax, and the top waxing kits available for anyone who wants to save money by waxing at home.

What is threading?

Threading uses a doubled up cotton or polyester thread to quickly tweeze and remove hair from the root. A tweezer removes a hair at a time, but threading can remove sections of hair with each pass of the thread. The doubled up thread is rolled over your skin, catches the hair, and pulls the hair out entirely.

The practice of threading originated in India and today is used all over the world primarily to remove facial hair or to shape eyebrows. People with sensitive skin prefer threading hair removal over waxing. Threading also allows for more precision with eyebrow shaping, especially you are looking for a more natural looking final result.

You can get your hair threaded by a professional at a salon. There are hair removal salons that are specialize in threading, and many brow shaping businesses offer at least one professional trained in threading.

You can also learn how to thread at home. There are two ways to threading – the traditional method of using a doubled up thread or via a threading machine that helps hold the the thread in the proper position. The machine is easier to use as a beginner, but the traditional method can also be learned easily.

Compare – Which lasts longer: waxing or threading?

Both waxing and threading are known as “semi permanent” hair removal. So what does that mean? Basically, it means it last longer than shaving but is not permanent like laser hair removal. Because each method removes hair from the root but does not kill the root, the hair will grow back.

So how long does waxing or threading last? On average, either method will last 2 weeks but it really depends on how fast your hair grows in general. Some people don’t see results for longer than 1 week, while others can go up to 3 weeks.

Another thing to remember that is that both waxing and threading need hairs to be a certain length before you can do a second hair removal session. So perhaps, you would know how long before you have to wax or thread again. Again it depends on how fast your hair

grows back in. But we can also look at the required lengths needed to wax or thread again:

To get good results with waxing, new hair should be about 1/ 4 of an inch. With threading, you need hairs to be between 1/ 8” and 1/ 4” before you can thread them successfully.

So theoretically, you could thread new hairs faster than you could wax them. But in reality, it’s hard to determine when your hair is only 1/ 8 instead of 1/ 4. However, if you were pressed for time and maybe needed to get your eyebrows cleaned up before an event or photographs, threading could be a better way to remove very short hairs.

Winner: No clear winner

Both threading and waxing remove hair from the root but use different methods. New hairs will grow back at your normal hair growth rate in a similar manner after removing with either method. Both will last the same amount of time before you have to do it again – about 2 weeks.

Compare – Cost

So is threading cheaper than waxing?

First, let’s take a look at the costs if you were getting a wax or threading at a professional salon.

For example, in California, it costs an average of $30 for an eyebrow wax. This can be a little more depending on your tip which is normally expected, but for this comparison we will just use this average.

To thread the same eyebrows, it would cost an average of $25 with an expected tip. So threading is a little cheaper than waxing when it comes to paying someone else to do for you.

Now let’s compare how much it would cost if you were going to do it yourself at home.

If you were using an 8oz container of Gigi wax which costs about $8 and can be used for up to 6-10 full body waxes, you might be spending pennies instead of dollars per eyebrow wax. Let’s average the number of full body waxes per container of Gigi wax to 8 total. So that is $1 per total body wax, and about $0.10 per eyebrow wax.

There is certainly no doubt waxing at home is cheaper than waxing at a salon. What about threading?

If you choose to thread at home using a spool of cotton thread which costs $5, you’ll be using maybe 2 feet of thread total. A spool of thread has 400 yards which equals 1200 feet. So doing the math, that means you could get 600 threadings sessions out of a spool and each threading at home would cost you $0.0083. Wow!

Alright, so maybe you have trouble holding the string properly for threading and need to use a threading machine. A threading machine will have a 1 time cost of about $20-30 and that is it! When you run out of thread, you can get a new spool like you would if you just used thread in our example above. So that is a 1 time cost of about $20, followed by $5 spool of thread that will last 600 uses! The per use cost would still end up being less than a penny!

Winner: Threading

Threading is definitely even cheaper than waxing, both if you got it done by a professional and if you did it at home. Threading at home will cost less than a penny per threading session!

Compare – Pain

When you remove hair with wax, you can apply wax in an area several inches wide and remove it in all at once with a wax removing strip or by using the hard wax method of gripping the edge of the wax to remove the wax and the hair.

This means, you experience whatever pain there is of removing many hairs, up to 30-40 hairs all at one time. You apply wax, and remove. It hurts but it hurts only once.

With threading, you are still removing more hairs than tweezing. Compared to waxing that removes hairs in patches, threading removes hairs in rows. Because threading removes hairs by trapping them in the twists of a thread and removing them, and because the direction of the thread determines which hairs are removed, the process lends itself to removing hairs in rows or lines. The lines are back and forth direction of how the thread is moved on the skin.

Threading still is a fairly quick process, but because the process involves removing hairs in rows instead of large patches, you’ll feel more hairs being pulling.

Winner: Waxing

Waxing removes more hair with each pass of wax than threading removes with each pass of the thread. You feel more hairs being pulled with threading, so waxing can feel less painful than threading.

Compare – How long each takes

So does threading take longer than waxing? Yes, it can.

Because threading removes hair in rows or lines instead of large rectangular patches like waxing, threading a larger area can take longer than waxing. For example, a full face threading will take 15-20 minutes longer than a full face wax.

On the other hand, you can look at how long each method takes in a smaller area. For example, we can compare how long it might take to thread your eyebrows with how long it will take to wax your eyebrows. In a smaller area where you have to be careful about only removing certain hairs to create an eyebrow shape, threading and waxing can take very close to the same amount of time.

Now if we were thread vs wax a larger like your legs, waxing would clearly be faster than threading. A full leg is simply too large of an area to thread quickly to remove hair. You are definitely better off waxing your leg than attempting to thread the hair off.

Side note: We disregarded any prep that you might need for threading or waxing, like cleaning your skin of lotions and makeup or warming up your wax.

Winner: Waxing

In a smaller area, waxing and threading will take the same amount of time, but as you get into larger areas, waxing is a much faster hair removal option than threading.

Compare – Skill needed

Is threading harder to learn? Is there a big learning curve to waxing? These are common questions.

Both waxing and threading remove hair in very different ways but with a similar end result – both get rid of the hair from the root.

There is certainly some practice needed to learn how to wax properly and actually pull the hair out instead of pulling halfway and breaking it. When you first learn how to wax, your first try or two might be awkward and you may end up breaking some hairs instead of pulling them out.

Want to learn more about waxing yourself at home? Read our guide to waxing, waxing kits, and tips for painless waxing.

Threading also requires some practice to do well but there are less risks for mistakes because you are targeting less hairs with each pass of the thread than with wax. Wax is also somewhat difficult to get off if you apply it on the wrong place. Especially if you are threading in the traditional method with just a thread (instead of a threading machine), it takes some practice to learn how to hold the thread.

A threading machine can take some of the guesswork out of the learning process because it stretches out the thread so that you only have to pass it over your skin to the catch the hairs. You don’t have to worry about getting the angle and twists on the threads right.

Winner: No clear winner

Both threading and waxing take some practice to get right, and each have their pros and cons.

Compare – Convenience

Waxing involves a bit more prep and cleanup work than threading.

Because wax won’t grab your hair if your skin has makeup or lotions, you may need to clean your skin before you wax. You can do the same for threading but you do not have to. It is a good idea, though, to clean your skin before you thread because some people note that they break out if they do not remove makeup or skincare before they thread off hair.

You also will need to use a post wax treatment, from professionally formulated wax residue removers to a simple oil like jojoba to remove wax residue. With threading, you do not have this issue and once you have removed hair, you can carry on with your life.

Winner: Threading

Threading has less prep and post hair removal work than waxing and so may be a more convenient way to remove hair.

Summary – Waxing or threading?

There is no clear winner between waxing or threading, as they each can work better for you depending on your lifestyle or skincare needs and wants.

Threading is certainly a simpler process but requires some detail, skill, and practice to do well.

Waxing can remove more hair at a time and so is a faster process for larger areas. You may also find waxing easier to learn than threading.

Both are great options to pick from or you can use different methods for different parts of your body.

Want to learn more about waxing at home, wax kits, and learn how to wax? Read our guide to waxing at home.

Waxing or Shaving?

Which hair removal method can work better for you – waxing or shaving?

Waxing and shaving are the most popular methods of hair removal. Shaving is convenient and easy. You can shave as often as you like, you can shave anywhere (at home or at a hotel), and shaving razors are cheap.  On the other hand, waxing can last up to 2 weeks and leaves your skin feeling soft. They each have their pros and cons. We’re going to compare waxing and shaving on 5 different qualities – time, how often you have to repeat that hair removal method, the skill required for each, and how long each method takes, and pain levels.

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Waxing definition

Waxing is a method of hair removal where warm wax is applied to your skin and hair and removed quickly to remove hair. Waxing removes the entire hair, from the root or follicle.

Waxing for hair removal comes in two consistencies – hard wax and soft wax. Hard wax can be applied and removed by gripping the edge of the wax. Soft wax is applied in the same way as hard wax but requires wax removal strips that are smoothed over the applied wax and then pull away to remove the wax from the skin’s surface and to remove the hair from its root.

Like shaving, waxing also exfoliates the skin while the hair is removed from it. When the wax is applied, it is applied to the skin and hair with the intention that it will remove the hair only. However, waxing also pulls off the topmost layers of skin along with the hair. Compared to shaving, waxing exfoliates more of your skin. Unless you have particularly sensitive skin, waxing will give you very smooth skin because it will remove hair and dead skin.

Want to learn more? Read our complete guide to waxing at home here for a breakdown on how to pick a waxing kit for home use, which features to look out, and tips for painless waxing.

Shaving definition

Shaving is a method of hair removal in which you use a blade, usually in the form of a razor, to cut the hair shaft to where it exits the skin. Shaving does not remove the whole hair from the root, but cuts very close to the skin’s surface.

Shaving with a good blade or razer removes hair in a way that it is no longer visible at the skin’s surface. Shaving is the one of the common ways to remove hair, far surpassing any other longer lasting hair. Men remove their facial hair using blades or razors and women can use the razor to remove hair all over their body.

Shaving also lightly exfoliates the topmost layers of your skin. When the razor passes over your skin to cut the hair, it can also pick up shedding skin and remove it.

Compare – How often do I have to shave or how often do I have to wax?

Shaving is a nonpermanent hair removal method because it only cuts the hair off at the skin surface. So depending on how fast your hair grows, you may find yourself needing to shave again in anywhere between 2 to 4 days.

However, the upside to shaving is that you can shave at any time, no matter how much hair has grown back in.

Waxing is considered to be a semipermanent hair removal method because it removes the hair from the root. This allows you to be hair free for longer than shaving, but it can again vary with how quickly your hair grows. You could be hairless between 1 to 2 weeks before new hair growth comes in.

However, you’ll need to wait for the new hairs to be about 1 / 4 inch long before you can wax again. This is because wax does not grab hairs that are shorter than this and it is hard to get good results.

Winner: No clear winner.

If you are able to wear longer clothes while your hair grows to a 1/4 inch to wax again, then waxing is a clear winner because you can go so much longer in between sessions. But if you can’t wait for hair to grow to a certain length before hair removal, then shaving is a better option.

Cost – Is waxing more expensive than shaving?

A good value razer like the Venus Gillette or the Schick Hydro cost about $20 to $30 for 6 disposable heads total. If you are changing out your razor every 4 weeks like you should, then you end up spending between $40-60 on razors per year.

To wax at home, you need a few tools to get started like wax, a wax warmer or wax applicator sticks and these initial tools can run you an average of $30-40. If you’re waxing your whole body, a can of 8 oz Gigi wax will last about 5 sessions. So let’s say you’re waxing every two weeks, then a can of wax will last you 2 and a half months before you need to spend another $10 for a wax refill. For your first year of waxing at home, with the initial tools, you’ll spend about $80 a year waxing at home. In subsequent years, you’ll only spend $50 a year because you don’t need to rebuy a wax warmer, only wax refills (or to stock up on cheaper tools like wax applicators or wax strips that you can buy in bulk).

If you’re getting a professional full body wax, then you’re spending $300-400 per session. If you’re getting this done every two weeks, you’ll be spending several thousands of dollars a year on hair removal. At this rate, you might look into laser hair removal instead.

Winner: Waxing at home

Waxing is a clear winner when you consider that waxing every two weeks for only a few dollars more saves you a lot of time in life. We think time is money. Waxing definitely saves you a lot more time than shaving, so waxing is definitely a better deal.

Which hurts more – Waxing or Shaving?

Since shaving only cuts the hair at the skin’s surface, the actual shaving is not very painful. If you’re clumsy, you might end up nicking or cutting yourself in areas that are awkward to shave. Some people also suffer from excessive goosebumps, which can make it difficult to get a close shave and smooth skin.

Overall, shaving is a painless process.

Waxing rips out your hairs from the root or follicle, and it definitely hurts more than shaving. How much more? That depends on your pain tolerance. For some people, the pain of the wax removal is about the same as a sting, and for others, it is much more painful. It definitely hurts more the first time you get your hair waxed because you’re not mentally prepared for how much or how little it can hurt – you don’t know what to expect. This is a natural psychological response.

If you’ve only shaved your hair and then you get your hair waxed, it will hurt more the first time. This is because when you shave your hair over a period of time, the shafts and follicles of each get quite strong and are thicker beneath the surface of your skin. Ripping out these hairs by their follicles can be a little more painful than ripping out hair with young follicles. Waxing pulls out hair entirely and it will grow back finer.

This actually contributes to a myth that waxing reduces your hair. In reality your hair just grows back finer AND in phases. So immediately after waxing, all of your new hair will not grown back at once. Rather hair grows in different phases that activate at different times, so in say, 2 weeks, you may only be seeing hair that was activated into its growing phase.

With shaving, because you’re just slicing the hair somewhere along its shaft, the fully developed hair just at your skin surface continues to push up and so it seems like you have more hair regrow after shaving.

Winner: Shaving

Waxing hurts much more than shaving, which is a painless process.

Compare – How long does each hair removal method take?

Normally, people shave during their shower. A full body shave can take about 10 to 15 minutes. However, shaved hair grows back quickly and so you may be spending those 10 to 15 minutes every other or third day. If you wax every 3 days, the in the course of a month, you wax 10 times. So in 1 month, you spend 100 (1 hour and 40 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hour and 30 minutes) total shaving your hair.

You can’t wax while you’re showering. Waxing also requires some prep time to warm the wax, which take about 5 minutes. But if your wax is ready to go, a full body wax takes about 30-40 minutes. It can take longer if you’re just starting out and haven’t gotten the handle on waxing.

The average for waxing is every two weeks. That is to say that most people wax twice a month. So if you use waxing as your primary method of hair removal, you’ll spend 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes a month total waxing off all of your body hair.

Winner: Waxing

At first glance, it seems that shaving takes less time but you have to shave more often. If you look at how time you spend over a period of time, waxing takes less time because it lasts longer.

Skills needed to shave or wax

Between shaving or waxing, shaving is easier to learn. Gone are the days where you shaved with only a blade. Now razors come fitted, angled, and attached to a handle that makes it much harder to cut yourself and even have built in lotion strips that help condition your skin while you shave. Sure you can still cut yourself in awkward areas, but shaving is a fairly straight process that is easy to learn.

Waxing is no child’s game, but it’s also not rocket science. It does take a little bit of practice but it’s all worth it for 1-2 weeks of no hair. Waxing incorrectly can lead to ingrown hairs but there are preventative measures you can take to avoid them. If you’ve never gotten a wax before at a professional salon and you want to start waxing yourself at home, it could be worth it to get professionally waxed once to see good technique and care. Otherwise, youtube has countless videos that can help, and hopefully you are not the type to get discouraged quickly.

Both shaving and waxing can cause ingrown hairs, despite technique, as some people are just more prone to them. But with some attention to exfoliating regularly, you can help keep them at bay.

Winner: Shaving

Shaving is easier than waxing, and requires little skill to do well. Waxing is not difficult but takes a little bit of practice to do well.

So which is more convenient – Shaving or waxing?

Sure shaving is easier and doesn’t hurt at all, but waxing saves so much more time and lasts longer than waxing. Waxing is only slightly more expensive than shaving if you are waxing yourself. That makes waxing a clear choice between the two with having shaving as a backup for a night out when you can’t wait for hair to grow back to the necessary length required for waxing (1/ 4 “).

That said, some people suffer from skin illnesses that can be irritated by waxing. There are certainly waxes specially formulated for sensitive skin or skin that is prone to acne breakouts. But sometimes waxing is not suitable for your skin. In this case, shaving is the way to go.

Overall Winner?

Waxing wins, for us. Being hairless for up to 2 weeks far outweighs any downsides it may have compared to shaving.

Want to learn more about waxing at home and how to get started? Read our in depth guide on how to pick a wax kit, the different options in waxes, and tips for painless waxing.