We all suffer from it. Hair. We all want long, thick and shiny hair. Just not on our legs. Or underarms. Or anywhere besides our head. It continues to be a daily struggle. On the one hand, we're so busy using damage control shampoo, split-end serum and beer or egg washes — anything to keep those locks looking gorgeous. On the other hand, we're shaving, waxing, lasering, creaming — anything to keep those legs, and other parts, as smooth as your ex trying to get you back. We took a look at epilation to see if this is the solution we're all searching for.
Epilators have been around for a relatively long time, but have only just started gaining popularity within the past few years. Epilation uses an electronic device to rip the hair out from the root. There is also no need to go to a salon or clinic, as with threading and laser hair removal, because it has an at-home application.
There are several benefits to epilation, as opposed to other hair removal methods. Epilation pulls the entire hair out, including the root, and, therefore, lasts longer than shaving and hair removal creams — up to six weeks. Epilators are reusable devices. They do not need to be replaced every other month like disposable razors. They also don’t require the use of any other products such as creams or gels, making it a highly affordable and environmentally friendly option. It is almost mess free, as it only requires to be rinsed or brushed out for cleaning.
This process of hair removal also has a few disadvantages. Because it is similar to waxing and tweezing in that it pulls the hair out, it can cause a fair amount of pain until your body can get used to the new sensation. The ripping out of hair can cause swelling, redness and bumpy skin. However, the process gets less and less painful over time and the swelling, redness and bumps dissipate within a few hours.
Because you, our readers, are important to us, we have gone through trial and error to find the best ways to make epilation more comfortable, reduce swelling and minimise the chances of the dreaded in-grown hair. Here is what we have come up with:
- Choose a wet and dry epilator. This way you have some options for your daily routine. Wet applications are best used for a more relaxed epilation when you have the time to be thorough. Having a long, relaxing bath is the perfect setting for epilation as the hairs will just wash away with the water. Dry applications are better suited for a quick fix. Trust us, you will miss a few spots, especially during your first few tries. But it’s nothing a quick zap can’t fix.
- Make sure your hair is the right length. Your hair needs to be just a few millimetres in length. If your hair is too short, the epilator won’t be able to grab the hairs. And if your hair is too long, you risk the hair breaking off, which will increase the chances of in-grown hairs. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions on the leaflet for the length required for that device.
- Clean up. To get the best out of the application, take a bath or shower before you begin. This will remove any dead skin cells or other particles that could prevent the epilator from gripping the hair. It will also wash away any natural oils on your hair, which will better the grip. The heat from the water will also soften your skin and pores, allowing the hair to come out easier and more comfortably. Plus, who doesn’t feel great after a long soak in the bubbles or singing that solo under the spray?
- Do it at night. Hair being ripped out will no doubt cause redness and swelling whether it is one eyebrow hair being tweezed out or a full blown body wax. By epilating at night, you give the swelling and redness a chance to go down, so you can slay the next day.
- Exfoliate! Exfoliate gently after epilating. This reduces the risk of in-grown hairs and it will make your skin super soft and moisturised. Try mixing two parts used ground coffee beans with one part coconut oil and a few drops of your favourite essential oil (I’m feeling vanilla for this one) for a quick and easy at-home exfoliation scrub.
- Keep your razor. It will take a while for you to get used to epilation and to develop a schedule that will keep you smooth throughout all the hair growth phases. So we suggest you keep that razor handy — at least until you have gotten the hang of epilating.
- We recommend the Philips Satinelle Epilator for a gentle application. Alternatively, try the Safeway 3-in-1 Epilator for a more affordable option. Both epilators are available at Clicks.
So, there you have it. Everything you need to know about whether or not epilation is for you. Don’t waste away hating on those stubborn and persistent hairs. Just epilate!