I have a revelation. I hate shaving. Always have, always will. Shaving as a form of hair removal has been my last resort since I started out as a young teenager. In fact, the first time I ever tried hair removal I went straight to waxing, and can honestly say that I’ve probably shaved my legs only about two dozens times during my life.
I was given my first epilator when I was about 14, it was an Emjoi Caress epilator (I still have it by the way). It worked so well at removing my leg hairs but it really freaking hurt! Even after a few years of using it I still felt the pain. I was then introduced to the Babyliss DuoFlex 7000 epilator and while the pain was much less, it was inefficient and I had to spend much longer to remove my hair. Then came the Braun Silk-epil9 SkinSpa, which has now become my favourite epilator!
So it’s fair to say, I am no stranger to epilators. I have been using them for about 10 years now and I have a lot to thank my younger self for. My leg hairs are so fine, and almost blonde. Barely noticeable now if you happen to walk past me down the street or sit down next to me. They take quite a long time to grow back, which is so helpful in my busy lifestyle. I mean who loves to shave their hairs every few days?
From my last epilator post on the Braun Silk-epil9 SkinSpa, I had many of you ask me questions about epilators and how I use them effectively. So I thought, with my knowledge and experience in epilating, I’d put together a guide to epilating sharing my top tips and secrets. Also, Braun has just recently upgraded their latest Silk-epil9 SkinSpa epilator, which now includes extra attachments for you to enjoy. This guide will be featuring this system and will cover tips for skin prep, using the epilator and aftercare.
Firstly, what is even an epilator?
An Epilator is an electronic device similar to an electric shaver but instead of it cutting your hairs, it has rotating tweezers which pluck out your hairs. The Braun Silk-epil9 SkinSpa features a MicroGrip technology with 40 tweezers rotating at a super high pace.
Prepping for Epilation
It may seem like a weird thing to do, but something I’ve learned throughout my years of epilating is that skin and hair prep can be an important part of the process.
1. Exfoliation is key
If you’re epilating, exfoliation is more important than ever. You can risk ingrown hairs if you don’t. Not only that, but exfoliation can remove the skin layers that do trap your ingrown hairs, releasing them from underneath your skin and making them available for epilating. It’s also essential that you remove your dead skin before you epilate so that you avoid blocking your pores through which your hairs grow. Try exfoliating the day before you epilate to avoid any increased sensitivity after exfoliation.
Lucky for you, Braun has made sure you never skip on your exfoliation by providing two exfoliation heads: one for lightweight exfoliation, and one for deep exfoliation. Because these are paired with the power of the epilating device, the sonic technology delivers more effective exfoliation. It really is a genius idea!
2. Leave plenty of time before going out
Don’t get yourself ready for epilating on the day of an event or going out. Epilating can cause raised bumps on your follicles afterwards. And although they do subside after an about an hour or two, it’s best to epilate the night before so that when you wake the next day your skin has gone back to being smooth, clear and you don’t risk any strange texture, redness or irritation on your skin.
3. Don’t leave too much time in between epilating sessions
This tip also helps to reduce pain during epilation. It’s a common misconception that you need to let your hairs grow just as long for epilating than you do waxing. Wrong. An epilator can tweeze out hairs as little as 0.5mm long, approximately four times shorter than needed for waxing. And, if you leave your hairs too long, you can cause unnecessary pain so schedule your epilation sessions appropriately. Because my hairs take so long to grow back, I epilate about once every 3-4 weeks.
Using Your Epilator
1. It’s better to epilate dry
Dry epilation is undeniably the most efficient method of epilation, although you can get hybrid devices like the Braun Silk-epil9 SkinSpa which can be used wet or dry. The issue I find with epilating wet is that the water can weigh down the hairs and make them stick to your skin so they aren’t as easily plucked than when they are dry and rigid.
Cleanup can be an issue if you dry epilate, so I make sure I sit somewhere comfortably with a towel underneath my legs to catch the plucked hairs so that I can just fold it up and put it straight in the wash.
Dry epilating is definitely the more painful way of epilating however. You can use a numbing cream beforehand but I find this unnecessary and it may make your hairs more ‘slippery’ so that the tweezers can’t grip the hairs properly. Instead, make sure you pull your skin taught with your free hand when you go over with your epilator to ensure your skin pulls less, prevents snagging and thus minimises pain.
You can have a shower or bath before you epilate to soften your skin, but you have to epilate immediately and dry your skin thoroughly.
2. Or, use an epilator wet to minimise pain
To those who are scared of the pain, you can use your epilator in the shower or in the bath (provided your epilator is waterproof) to minimise the pain. It helps in two ways: the warmth helps to open up your pores, making it easier and less painful when the hairs are plucked, and also the warm water can help to soften your skin whilst providing some stimulation so that less pain is experienced. It’s also a cleaner and more convenient process than dry epilating.
If you are using it wet, make sure you rub your skin in the opposite direction of your hair growth to ensure your hairs are not stuck to your skin when using the epilator otherwise they won’t get plucked out as easily.
3. Glide your epilator perpendicular to your skin
Glide your epilator against your skin, in the opposite direction of hair growth and perpendicular to your skin. If you angle your epilator too much, less of the revolving head will contact your skin which leads to a very inefficient epilating process. Keeping it at 90 degrees to your skin will mean more of the tweezers can pull out your hairs.
It is also a good idea to rub the skin and hair in the opposite direction to which the hair grows. This will help the hair to stand upright leaving them in easy reach of the epilator.
4. Slow it down baby
An epilator works best if you glide it against your skin slowly. Slow and steady wins the race, trust me. If you go too quickly, you will snap your hairs off instead of plucking them from the root, and you are more likely to miss a tonne of hairs, meaning you’ll have to go back over the area many more times then necessary. Although, unfortunately those who are intolerant to the pain, this means pain for longer. But here is where it’s important that you purchase an epilator which is powerful and efficient. The Braun Silk-epil9 features a revolving head that is up to 40% larger than other epilators, meaning more hairs are pulled and a faster epilation for your comfort.
5. The more you do it, the less it will hurt
One of my biggest tips to first time epilator users is, please do not get turned off by the pain!
I’ve heard too many times that people stop using epilators after they first try them because they couldn’t cope with the pain. Trust me, I know how this feels and I did have the same intentions to trash my epilator after I first used it as well. But I persisted, and it was the best decision! The more frequently you use your epilator, the more tolerant you will become to the pain and that goes for anything really.
Take solace in the fact that the first time you epilate will hurt the most. So push through the pain you feel and keep at it and you will notice with each time you do it that the pain will become less noticeable. Now, I barely feel any pain from epilating and it’s mostly just little tickles I feel now. But, by far the least painful epilator I’ve ever tried has been the Braun Silk-epil9 SkinSpa and I cannot be more honest than that. So if you want a good one to start with, this will be perfect.
1. Exfoliation is key
AGAIN! Exfoliation is super important to avoid ingrown hairs, so make sure you up your exfoliation if you are just starting out using an epilator. Epilating will for sure increase your risk of ingrown hairs, so make sure you are exfoliating accordingly. If you have the Braun Slik-epil9 SkinSpa, make use of the exfoliation attachments!
As with any form of hair removal, moisturisation is key. Use a fragrance and alcohol free moisturiser in order to avoid any irritation to your skin after epilating. I like to use the massaging attachment of the SkinSpa system to massage body oil into my skin. Feels awesome, helps with the pain and moisturises!
3. Maintain your epilator
Cleaning your epilator is super important to remove any hairs that get stuck in the head to avoid clogging your rotor head up. Most epilators will actually come with a small tool that you can use to clean your epilator head, use it!
4. Lastly, don’t give up!
I know I’ve said it before, but being the epilator advocate I am I wanted to drill it in to you. Don’t give up on epilators! The initial pain outlay will be big, but we all go through it. Soon enough you will become so tolerant to the pain that it won’t be an uncomfortable experience anymore and you will get excited to epilate like me!
You can find more info on the Braun Silk-Epil9 Skinspa here and is available from Shaver Shop.
That completes this guide! Let me know if any of the tips are helpful, they are just my way of using epilators and they have worked for me during my years of using them. Know of any other tricks to using epilators? Let me know in the comments!
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*The Braun Silk-epil9 SkinSpa was provided to me for editorial consideration. All opinions and material presented is honest and my own, under no obligation for a feature.