hairI wanted to tell you about my first attempt at epilation. If you've never heard of epilation, let me explain...

Epilation is a method of hair removal which removes hair at the root, for example waxing or plucking. I'm going to try using an epilator. This is a machine which looks rather like a ladies' electric razor, but instead of the hairs being sliced off, they are plucked out, usually by a system of rotating discs.

Sounds painful? Hmm, let's see. I've always shaved my legs, usually with a wet razor, and I've never been brave enough to try waxing. I avoid pain whenever I can. But I am fed up with shaving. Even one day after shaving, I feel stubbly and horrible. There's got to be a better way.

Which Epilator?

I read several customer reviews on Amazon before choosing my epilator. There are lots of different epilator types to choose from, and many have various gizmos which claim to reduce the pain factor.

In the end I went for the Philips Satinelle Soft. I think it was the word 'soft', which described my personal level of toughness and resistance to pain that helped me to decide on this one.

Well, being a self-confessed pain-o-phobe, I expect you're wondering how I got on with my epilator. I had not shaved for several days when I tried it out (a mistake I think - see my first timer tips below). I chose a time when the rest of my family were out (apart from my teenage daughter who also wanted to try it out).

The model I chose had a kind of massage roller (to "relax the skin" and "ease sensations" - I took that to mean kill the pain). It also came with a guard which you can clip over the head to cover some of the discs (so for sensitive areas you're not plucking out too many hairs in one go). Another feature I liked was that it had two speed settings, with a slower speed for more sensitive areas (or all areas in my case).

In fact, after my first try with the epilator I didn't use the guard. I also realised after I'd finished that I had accidentally set it to full speed instead of using the gentler half speed, so I've stuck with full speed ever since. Maybe we don't really need those gizmos and they just help persuade us to give it a go?

Epilator Tips for Beginners

  • Try to have no more than two days' hair growth when you first try the epilator. This will mean that not all of your hairs will be long enough to be grasped, resulting in less pain!
  • Epilate every two to three days at first (same reason as above). Then once you are used to it, you can extend the interval between epilation sessions.
  • Plan your first try at epilating when you don't have to expose the epilated skin for at least 24-hours, just in case you have a reaction.
  • Stretch the skin with your 'spare' hand while you epilate. This makes the hairs stand on end so they are grabbed more cleanly.
  • Try sprinkling the skin with talcum powder before epilating. It helps the machine to glide more smoothly.
  • Moisturise after epilating (wait until you've finished, so you don't get your epilator all slippery).
  • Only use the epilator on your lower legs at first, where your skin is less sensitive. Later you may be brave enough to try it under your arms and even your bikini line.
  • Exfoliate your skin regularly. Waxing, plucking and epilating weaken the hairs and sometimes they are too feeble to penetrate the skin when they regrow. Exfoliating will help them to break through and avoid causing problems.
  • Consider buying a cordless epilator, particularly for when you're away from home.
  • Most importantly - it gets easier every time! Don't be put off if you don't enjoy using the epilator the first time. It really does get easier and easier until it's no more of an incovenience than shaving, and you won't have to do it so often either.