Monday, July 20, 2015

Hair Removal Options: Epilation (ouch!)

Please first read Thoughts about Hair Removal Options for some important preliminary information.

Epilation is a little known (and highly painful) way of removing hair from the root. I should know, I have used this technique. It is basically a mechanical form of tweezing. A small, hand-held device made of a series of high velocity rotating spring-coiled discs operates like tweezers, trapping the hair and pulling it out entirely. This system can remove even the shortest and thickest hair by the root.

Epilady® is the brand name of the machine I use, but there are several companies that offer this device. If you choose to try this method, the first time you do it you might want to have a cocktail, anything to numb the pain you are about to feel! If you use epilation consistently, it becomes less and less painful, though the very first time is quite uncomfortable. This technique is a great way to remove hair from the root, giving you a smooth, hairless surface for a lot longer than shaving.

You may ask why I use the thing at all if it’s so painful, and the reason is simple: I’m lazy. I don’t like shaving my legs, yet I want to have that just-shaved look and feel (this can be especially helpful during a vacation). The Epilady helps me achieve this; clean-shaven legs without having to shave. I not only don’t want to shave, but I don’t like having my legs waxed either. It’s just too painful—somehow more so to me than epilation. Maybe this is due in part because I can stop the machine at any time, which puts me in control vs. being waxed.

I no longer use this method regularly, but when I was a frequent Epilady user, I tried to do it at least once a week to catch any new hair growth that might be taking place. This way each time I used it, I didn’t have a whole leg full of hair to contend with. And this makes for much less pain; the more you use the machine, the less and less painful it becomes. I think you just get used to the sensation that occurs when the machine is turned on and turned loose on your leg hair.

There are machines on the market that allow you to epilate not only your legs but your bikini area and underarms as well. I haven’t ventured that far in my quest for hairlessness, but I know there are machines available for these more delicate areas. I have a friend who has epilated in these areas and said it caused a lot of ingrown hair. I find this to be true, too, with epilating my legs. Still the benefits—for me—are worth a few stray hairs that have lost their way.

I have a few recommendations. First, whether you are a first-time user or just haven’t used your epilator for a while, I recommend shaving your legs and letting the hair grow out slightly. Use your epilation machine when the hair is quite short—just long enough to be picked up by the coils; one quarter inch or a bit longer is ideal. If you try to epilate with a thick forest of long hair it is a much more painful process.

Second, use this machine after a bath or shower. However, do not use it in or near water—it is an electrical appliance so don’t get the epilator machine wet. After bathing, the hair will be softer, which may make for easier elimination. As you will no doubt find out during your initial visit with the epilator, easy is not a term that comes to mind during this procedure.

And lastly—go slow! My first time using the Epilady I did a patch about 3" square, then gave up—until the next day. I just couldn’t take it. But in my experience, over time you actually can get used to the sensation. Epilation is definitely not for everyone, but if you can get past the initial pain, the benefits are long-lasting and worth it.

For more information, see: