Everything you know about epilators is wrong

Let me start by saying I am ethnic and therefore my birthday suit comes in a higher thread count.

To stay hairless, I have to shave every other day. But to stay smooth? Daily.

I could probably file my whole tax return – twice – in the time it would take me to shave my body every month. As an accounting cadet, I take less time on taxes than most, but still… the hours.

Enter the epilator.

It sounded too good to be true – a time saving, easy, at home, rechargeable device that removed hair from the root and didn’t hurt as much as waxing? Yes please.

Five minutes after I switched on my miracle machine, I was disillusioned.

It’s a fate so many of us have faced. The promise of long-lasting smoothness is plucked from us slowly and painfully, after we run over it with an epilator six or seven times. It took half a dozen run throughs on the same spot for the rotating tweezers to pick up my hairs, and that the pain was beyond excruciating. The whole process took the same time as two weeks worth of shaving, and afterward my flesh looked brutalised.

But it wasn’t until I tried it on my sister – and drew blood in the process – that I realised maybe I was doing this wrong.

Turns out, I was!

But guess what?  I’ve figured out how to use the epilator in a painless way.  It takes about 20 minutes to do, and lasts as long as a wax. Oh, happy days.

1. Make sure you have an epilator that can operate wet

Most come with that feature these days.  But if you’re thinking of skimping out, don’t.  You’ll regret it – because you will literally electrocute yourself. Do. Not. Epilate. Dry.

2. Charge it fully

No one likes a buzzkill.  And nothing is worse than your epilator losing it vigour too early in the game. There is nothing sadder than sitting around for hours with a half-plucked leg, waiting for something to charge.

3.  Exfoliate

Use a body wash or conditioner and do it well.  Those scratchy pink gloves you can buy at the $2 shop actually work wonders. And as an added bonus, they don’t fill nearby waterways with tiny beads.


4.  Use lube

Good old-fashioned shampoo will do, and yes, the cheap stuff is fine. Squeeze a ten cent-sized blob onto the head of your epilator and let it buzzes with foam.  Please don’t use bar soap.  Unless you like pain... in which case just epilate dry and save water (don’t do this).

5.  Lather shampoo on your skin and go to town

You should feel subtle pinpricks as the hair picks up.

It takes a bit longer to epilate a body part than it does to shave it, but the long-term results are worth it. Once you’re done, rinse and check for any parts you may have missed.  If you find any random lines of hair, just run them over with the epilator again.

When I wax my arms, I usually end up with a line on my shoulder where my arm-wax ends and the peach-fuzz on my back begins. An epilator can fix this. Just pick up momentum as you epilate above the elbow. When you move the epilator quickly, it plucks out less hair, so you can create a graduated effect with your hairline going from hairless to sparse, to a bit of fluff, rather than a straight-up THIS IS WHERE MY HAIR STOPS look.

Shami's arms before (top) and after (bottom) epilation


o   Remember to stretch your skin tight with your other hand as you epilate.  That way it won’t hurt as much.

o   Use a slower setting on long hairs and a faster setting on short hairs.  Otherwise you’ll either break the hairs, or miss them all together.  Not ideal.

o   Small fast circles work best.  Please don’t go up and down with your epilator!  You’ll rupture your skin and it’ll take forever.

o   Always ALWAYS moisturise afterwards.  My favourite is anything with tea-tree oil in it, because it has anti-bacterial qualities AND helps prevent in-growns.

There you have it - your newly hairless body will be enough to spark envy in even the most naked of mole rats.

What's your preferred method of hair removal? How long did it take you to figure out how to do it?

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