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The Truth About Epilators

Updated on November 14, 2010

First things first...

After having searched the internet for real honest reviews about epilators and never really finding anything more than what’s already on the box itself I decided to carry out an experiment of my own on my never ending quest for smooth, hair free legs. These results may not ring true for everyone, we are all different after all, so I feel I must first explain my predicament to give you chance to compare fairly. I am a fair skinned, dark haired and generally on the hairy legged side 46 year old… this paints a rather ugly picture initially, but with razor in hand and a good shaving cream I can scrub up to the point where I remain feminine, hair free and generally happy in my own skin! I do not have the luxury that fair haired women have in shaving once a week and barely noticing any regrowth, my youngest daughter does have this luxury, but I am one of the unfortunate ones who needs to attack my legs every other day in order to keep them perfect, so if this sounds familiar and you are contemplating an epilating regime, maybe this will help you decide….

My Experiment

I read lots of articles about what was the best epilator to buy and all about how the hair grows in cycles and decided that the only way to try this for real was to do it over a long period of time. This would, in theory, consist of catching all the hairs of a certain length in the first session, then catching the rest of the hairs as they grew. I was prepared for the fact that at first my legs would not be smooth, but expected this to rectify itself after a few sessions. Six months later, and without ever giving in and reaching for the shaving cream and razor this is what I have found

At first the pain was unbelievable. The instructions warned me of this and said this would become less painful as my skin became accustomed to this new sensation. I took advice from others on the internet, had a hot bath to open the pores, exfoliated thoroughly and grabbed the epilator. OUCH, it was like slow torture, it was so bad that tears were welling up in my eyes and my skin looked uncannily like a plucked chicken’s. It actually was so bad I finished up taking a couple of paracetamols just to help numb the pain so I could finish both legs. After a couple of days the redness went and I was surprised to find the hairs took a bit longer to grow back and did actually seem a lot finer than previously.

Second attempt was about a week later.. it wasn’t quite so painful to be honest and I was very relieved to be done in half the time, but I still wasn’t happy with the end result, legs were still nowhere near as smooth as with a razor, but I was determined to continue, hoping that over time these initial disappointments would be resolved.

3 months into the experiment and I was still persevering. By now I had been on holiday and used the epilator both previously and during my trip, all with the same results. I found that it no longer hurt anywhere near as badly, and the hairs did in fact grow back finer than before, but I still wasn’t entirely happy with the result. My legs looked ok, but they didn’t feel smooth which is what I wanted. I had also by now realised that I was not hair free for up to 4 weeks at a time like the advertisements had suggested, so by now I was having my doubts and wondering if this experiment was going to fail.

My Observations

6 months into the regime I have now decided to share my experience with the world, and this is what I have found:

  • The pain does subside over time and it takes less time as you become more experienced to complete both legs, but I could never do a thorough session in 5 minutes a day like I had read… it still had to set aside at least 30 minutes to do a proper job.
  • My legs are never smooth as they are with shaving. That lovely soft, smooth sensation has become a thing of the past. I hoped that over time and with regular sessions over many cycles of hair growth that this would improve, but after 6 months my legs still feel like sandpaper so not happy.
  • The hairs do grow back a lot finer than previously but I hoped that the regrowth would be a lot slower than before. The hairs actually grow back at the same rate, but because they are finer they are less noticeable. After about 4 months I realised that I was having to epilate twice a week to keep up with hair growth, which kind of defeated the object I thought!
  • No matter how often I exfoliate and having tried dozens of different exfoliating products I have found the ingrown hairs to be the major downside of epilating. After every epilation I have to spend a ridiculous amount of time tweezers in hand looking for the dreaded ingrowns and removing them by hand. Even then they still find a way to return and consequently the itching has become more unbearable than the hair legs used to be….. even after following all the instruction to the letter including preparation and moisturising.

The Outcome

So there you have it, I hope this honesty is useful for you. To sum up, if you want the ‘appearance’ of less hairy legs and don’t mind your legs feeling slightly rough then go for it and give it a try. If however, like me, you prefer that smoothness and much quicker option then stick to a good razor and moisturising shaving cream. Again I must repeat that not everyone has the same experience as me. For those lucky women who don’t need to shave their legs as regularly or have fine blond hairs that are barely noticeable then the epilating option might be fine once you become accustomed to the sensation.. but for me to have silky smooth hair free legs I’m afraid it’s out with the epilator and in with the razor again.

Last night I ended my epilating journey after I felt a fair and thorough 6 month trial and today my legs are soft, smooth and luxuriously hair free for the first time in over half a year! All that remains is to thank my ever sympathetic husband for his constant support and patience, for never complaining about my sandpaper legs and to promise him that from now on my legs will be soft, smooth and feminine for evermore !!!

Why not share your experiences?

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    • juliesbiz profile image

      juliesbiz 7 years ago

      Good luck! I tried waxing previously too but hated the long time in between to allow the hairs to get to correct length! Hope it works for you.

    • Spider Girl profile image

      Spider Girl 7 years ago from the Web

      I've never tried epilation but am thinking of trying this after being sick of waxing (which is hell time-consuming for me!), your review is quite helpful, hoping that I adapt to this pain too :)