What is an Epilator?
It’s an electronic device that removes unwanted hairs from their follicles. There are small metal plates that close around the hairs, trap them between the plates and pull them from their roots through the constant very fast rotary motion of the epilator head, and then the metal plates open to release the pulled hairs.
We call those metal plates tweezers because they resemble the action and shape of a pair of tweezers and the epilator head becomes a tweezers head.
We all know what a pair of tweezers is. Imagine that, multiply it by 20 or 40 or 60 or 72 (the number of tweezers that various epilators have at the moment) and you get how epilators work.
The noise caused by that constant rotation is not the most pleasant one but that it’s bearable compared to the feeling elicited when the hairs are pulled from their roots.
There are the key words that answers the question do epilators hurt in an obvious manner: epilators remove the hairs from their follicles, from the root.
Pain receptors are found in the dermis, around the base of hair follicles, very close to the surface of the skin. There are also nerve endings running parallel to the hair shaft
Having a single hair pulled evokes pain. Since epilators remove multiple hairs at the same time in their rotary action with their very many tweezers, the pain is much more intense.
Do Epilators Hurt?
As we’ve already established, epilators cause us a lot of pain.
Just like waxing. They are similar in this one respect: epilators and waxing remove hairs from their root.
Shaving and depilatory creams are completely painless because the hairs are either cut or dissolved at the surface of the skin where no pain receptors reside. They are close to the surface but not above the surface. It’s the same principle when we get our hair cut.
I’m sure you were pretty much expecting that epilators hurt. No one expects waxing to be painless as well as no one expects epilators to bring no pain whatsoever.
The bigger question, besides do epilators hurt is another one:
Are they worth it?
Does the pain justify the results?
That’s a very personal question that each woman or man needs to find the answer to.
I’ll talk from my experience and then you can draw your own conclusion.
If Epilators Cause Pain, Why Use Them?
What is the result that can justify the pain?
The result is one that is very important for many people, myself included: 2 weeks of smooth hairless skin.
2 weeks of freedom where I don’t have to worry about the very many parts of my body that can get covered in unwanted hair.
I love my smooth skin, I love my hairless body just as some women advocate for an existence free of such constraints. They advocate for an existence free of the time, pain, and money that it goes into being hairless all the time.
Being hairless or letting your bodily hair grow naturally is a very personal choice.
In the real world, even though it’s a personal choice, we will be judged by those surrounding us if we leave the house with hairy legs or fully grown underarms hair.
I envy those who are so comfortable in their skin and who truly love themselves that they are not concerned with the sight of their bodies being covered in hairs.
I am a very hairy person.
If I’d let the hairs on my legs grow for a few months, I would probably be as hairy as my boyfriend. On him, it looks absolutely sexy. The whole world could tell me I was sexy with hairy legs and arms and underarms and intimate area and even a unibrow and I wouldn’t leave the house because I wouldn’t like myself that way.
I have been removing my unwanted hairs first through shaving, then waxing, then shaving again and finally settling on using an epilator for more than half of my life. It’s the reality with which I grew up with.
Using an epilator is part of me and I’m not giving it up.
What Is It About Epilators?
- using an epilator is one the cheapest hair removal methods – you pay for an epilator once and you get to use it for many years to come, no need for future expenses as it is the case with waxing, shaving, and hair removal creams
- it leaves the skin smooth for at least 2 weeks
- there’s nothing complicated about using an epilator, everyone can handle it – just move it slowly in the opposite direction of hair growth, don’t rush it, just hold it comfortably, without pressure and let the tweezers rotate and grab the hairs
- it’s not a messy process – grab a small pillow to sit comfortably, throw an old sheet on the floor or on the bed, grab a movie or play music to pass the time and distract you from the pain and that’s it, the hairs will fall on the sheet and no mess will be made
- even smaller hairs can be pulled from the root – epilators can be used whenever you are bothered by the length of the hairs, I still think that once every 2 weeks on average is a very good time frame but you can use it more often, just make sure to always moisturize after
Waxing requires a bigger investment, even if you are using an at home waxing kit. You still need to buy the wax and the applicators. You also need oil to clean the waxing residues. And not everyone can wax at home.
Because the answer to do epilators hurt is yes, a lot of people end up giving up on them rather quickly. That’s why I first recommend waxing, at least as a transition hair removal method for those who want to migrate from shaving to epilators.
Ingrown Hairs: the Other Concern Besides Pain
Here’s the deal:
Do epilators hurt? Yes.
But for me there’s a bigger question that also needs to be asked and answered.
Do epilators cause ingrown hairs? Yes, for almost everyone at some point.
Forget about the pain.
Ingrown hairs are horrible.
You need to exfoliate from the beginning.
Buy a pair of exfoliating gloves or a body scrub and use it almost daily. If things get serious, buy the Pfb Vanish or the Tend Skin Solution. Those chemical exfoliators will make ingrown hairs history.
You get used to the pain inflicted by those rotating tweezers that grab the hairs at great speed and pull them from the root.
However, the idea is, what are you going to do until your skin and senses get used to those new unexpected and somewhat unwelcome sensations?
If Epilators Hurt, What Can You Do?
If you’re already used to waxing, you’re fine. You know what to expect and, even though, epilation is a bit more painful than waxing, you’ll be able to get used to it.
If you want a slightly more gentle epilator, then choose the Panasonic ES-ED90-P. It’s a good device that doesn’t cause as much pain as the Braun Silk Epil 9.
I love my Silk Epil 9561 but it’s not a model that I would recommend to someone who is wondering do epilators hurt.
Distract yourself. You might laugh at this advice but it helps. Music works but watching something works better. You cannot lose yourself into music the same way you lose yourself into a movie or a TV show. Or maybe you can, whatever distracts you the most.
You will also stop measuring how much time has gone by since you started epilating and when it’s going to end.
Things get a bit complicated when it comes to cordless epilators because they only work for 40 minutes and then take 1 hour to charge.
But here’s the kicker:
Unfortunately, they are also the best devices at the moment.
The Panasonic ES-ED90-P is one of them.
So are the Braun Silk Epil 7 and the SE9. These ones are also the ones with accessories for the whole body plus face.
It means that you can use your epilator to remove hairs from the entire body, absolutely any place you want, and you can also use it for facial hair removal. That’s exactly what I’m doing.
Also, take an ibuprofen. It doesn’t do much but it might help you relax a bit.
Some epilators come with an efficiency cap for the legs and arms. Definitely use it, it makes things a bit more bearable.
Some models also have a sensitive area cap for the bikini area and the underarms. That’s very good.
But if you still can’t handle the pain in the intimate area, go back to shaving and resign to epilating just the areas where the pain is manageable.
Last but not least:
Keep the skin taught (stretched) with your free hand. I don’t know why, but it makes the pain less intense and, at the same time, the epilator is able to grab the hairs more efficienctly.
For the underarms, keep your arm perfectly stretched above your head so no folds of skin will be caught between the tweezers and epilate in the mirror so that you know where the hairs are and which direction to take.
After all this, after answering the question do epilators hurt with a definitive and very loud “yes”, if you’re still willing to give epilators a try, check out my epilator reviews for a full introduction to the very best models on the market and everything you need to know about epilation.