The Epilator - A Revolution in Hair Removal
For a while now I've been thinking of compiling a list of my favourite products ever.
It would include my bargain £4.99 hairdryer, the flowery dress that I "borrowed" from my sister many moons ago, and Danish liquorice. And my epilator would be very near the top of that list.
I don't know why more fuss isn't made about this product. It has revolutionised hair-removal, for me and countless other women around the world. You can very quickly become hair-free without having to get messy from wax or depilatory cream, and without risking the bloodshed that you sometimes encounter when you're using a razor.
No More Razers
I've spent many years doing a lot of shaving. Who knows how many razors I've got through? (Which is a worrying thought both from the point of view of my finances and the environment).
Fed up with how often I had to shave to maintain that "smooth-leg look", the skin rashes, and the clumsy razor nicks I inadvertently inflicted on myself, I invested around £25 ($39) in a Philips Satinelle massaging epilator.
It came with a little brush for cleaning and a small plastic attachment that clips on for shaving sensitive areas. The epilator itself is a plastic gizmo resembling an electric razor, but instead of blades it has small metal discs which whirr round at speed when you turn it on. There are two speeds, fast and super-fast! And the idea is that hair gets trapped in between the discs which act as lots of tiny tweezers when they go round.
Taking the Plunge
I have to admit that at first I was a bit nervous about putting these rapidly revolving discs anywhere near my skin; they look and sound as if they could cause some damage. But having bought it I decided to bite the bullet. And it wasn't too bad.
Yes, there is pain involved as you are ripping out your hairs at speed, but I would say that compared to waxing it really isn't that bad. The model I bought has a row of small beads attached, which massage the skin just before it's treated, and this does seem to help.
And I have definitely found that the more you use it the more you get used to it, plus the pain itself as well as the re-growth reduces over time as you gradually weaken the hair root (just like with waxing).
As each hair is removed from the root, you can stay hair-free for weeks, just like if you get a wax. But with an epilator you can see this result in minutes, from the privacy of your own home - I never much liked the idea of having to show my private parts to some random stranger in a beauty salon - and you don't have to get messy like you do if you try to wax yourself, or use depilatory creams.
I find it very easy to epilate my legs. Like with shaving, it can make my skin a bit dry so I make sure that I moisturise too.
It's also really simple to remove underarm hair. This did hurt a bit more at first as it's a sensitive area, but very soon it became no problem at all. In fact I find under-arm epilation especially convenient and I never realised how quick and easy it could be to have hair-free pits for such a long time! Now I have no excuse at all to go out with hairy armpits (well, unless I want to).
So you might be thinking, what about down-there? (Well, that's what I was wondering when I bought it). It took me a good long while before I even attempted to put my epilator anywhere near my bikini area.
Once I plucked up the courage, (ha, no pun intended!), I realised that this is indeed a sensitive area. So the plastic attachment came into its own. Once I'd gained a little confidence, and learnt how to angle the epilator so it was always against the direction of hair growth, I found that it was also pretty quick and easy to remove bikini hair. And like elsewhere, the result is quite long-lasting.
I believe that the small plastic attachment helps in sensitive areas because it limits epilation to a small patch of skin, reducing the pain-factor. But after a few bikini-line epilations, feeling very much the seasoned epilator, I dispensed with it altogether. Of course, this is very much a matter of personal choice.
I haven't tried epilating any other parts of my body, but I imagine that it would work well on most body areas.
No Turning Back!
So from initially slightly fearing my epilator, I have now come to think of it as a bit of a luxury item. Unlike shaving or waxing, using my epilator is not a chore. I love hair removal! I find it quite relaxing, a little like getting a massage.
1. Epilators are noisy, but don't be put off by the noise.
2. It looks more scary than it feels. The discs whirr around very fast, but this is so that your hair can be removed quickly. Fast removal is much less painful than slow removal.
3. To help put your mind at ease, turn the epilator on, and run your finger along the silver discs. You can't feel a thing. This should reassure you that the epilator will grab your hair but not hurt your skin.
4. Before you epilate it's best if your hair isn't too long. The optimum hair length is about 5 millimetres.
5. Pull skin taut before treating the area.
6. Like with waxing, you need to move the epilator against the direction of hair growth.
7. Try not to epilate during your period, when your skin is at its most sensitive. While it's certainly manageable, it's probably not the best idea to try it for the first-time during this time.
8. Like other forms of hair removal epilating can cause ingrowing hairs and dry skin, so moisturising and exfoliating are recommended.
Wet and Dry Epilators
There are many types of epilator on the market; one has an ice pack which has a numbing effect and helps reduce pain. There's a whole generation of epilators that can be used wet or dry, and which can apparently remove hair as small as a grain of sand.
There are epilators made especially for men. You can also get smaller epilators for bikini areas or for facial hair. More and more epilation products are appearing over time.