How Badly Does an Epilator Hurt? & How I Make It Less Painful

If you're here because you want to hear the brutally honest truth about whether or not using epilators hurts, I'll tell it to you straight at the beginning: yes, 100% using an epilator hurts.

We're only talking about pain while using the epilator here, which is a prickle/pinching sensation while you're in the process of epilating. Because after you're done, there isn't lingering pain, really.

Does the pain from an epilator hurt badly? Personally, I think the answer is yes, using an epilator does hurt very badly, but, there are many ways you can make the pain lessen enough to tolerate it.

The very first time is the worst, especially on a newer part of your body that you haven't before used an epilator or waxed before.

Over time, the pain decreases considerably. So it's really just a matter of hanging in there until it gets easier (and I have easy-to-implement tips for reducing the initial pain, keep reading).

While the fact that epilators = pain is true for me personally, I also epilate almost everywhere on my body, and besides shaving it's now pretty much exclusively the only method of hair removal I use.

I'm sure those with finer hairs may disagree, but I wasn't #blessed in that department, I have incredibly thick, coarse hair, and that means, to this day, epilating still hurts (the exception being on my legs, where I'm completely accustomed to it now).

The only reason I epilate is because I managed to figure out how to make the process of using an epilator hurt substantially less, and tolerably, while the first few times I tried it, I got eye-watering pain and wanted to quit.

I will say, on my legs where pain has stopped, I've heard people on YouTube describe their experience as "it still hurts, but feels kind of good - I don't know how to explain it."

Here I'll say, I think I have the perfect way of explaining it: eventually, using an epilator on my legs went from being painful to feeling something like scratching an itch, a teeny bit of pain, but in a way that feels relieving.

Probably because epilating leads to ingrown hairs and those are actually itchy (very itchy with me nowadays since I have very dry skin sometimes).

Braun Silk-épil 9 Epilator -  Amazon

When I use the epilator in these circumstances, it hurts the teeniest little bit, but feels even better than it hurts, like it would if you were scratching really hard on an itch you couldn't relieve otherwise. It's nice.

Now, as for my tips - I'm not going to tell you to put ice on your shins or wear some weird numbing gel.

I'm just going to tell you how I personally use only my epilator (okay and my razor blade because I still shave in between epilating) in a way that's managed to make me much, much more happy to epilate, so much that I haven't bothered to go back for laser hair removal or use the IPL device I bought a few years ago, cause I think this is working out just fine for me.

I'm also going to mention that the epilator I use is the Braun Silk-épil 9.

I mention this because I have no idea if some of the techniques I use work just because I use this particular product.

Maybe this epilator happens to be better than others for catching small strands, for instance, which is an incredibly important part of my technique.

I also mention the device I use because I get annoyed when people don't say which particular product they're using, in case mine isn't as good and they're getting results that I'm not because their product is different and/or better.

Anyway, let's get into my tips for pain reduction when using an epilator.

For entertaining picture purposes only. Just don't epilate your cat okay?

Does an Epilator Hurt? Yes, but Here’s How I Significantly Reduce the Pain

1. Shave first, epilate straight after, and then continue to epilate each and every day over the same spot.

This is my biggest tip and I haven't seen anyone suggest it before.

Maybe that's because I have super coarse hair and this wouldn't work at all on people with fine hair?

It could also be because people haven't really tried it or thought about it.

Or maybe because the word on the block seems to be that you should be epilating when your hairs are x length long, and newly shaved hair does not qualify by any means as "long enough" under these (in my opinion) somewhat arbitrary lengths.

Anyway, I'd recommend trying it - what's the harm? Worst comes to worst, you get no hairs out, and you'll manage to start pulling hairs out with your epilator when they're the right length for your epilator to pull out.

The benefit of this technique? Your hairs grow out at different lengths, so you should have a lot less hair going through the epilator at one time using this technique than if you cut it all down to one length with a trimmer or waited for all your hair to grow out to a longer length and then epilated everything at once.

Having fewer hairs to epilate in one go, in my opinion, significantly reduces the amount of pain you feel while epilating. So try this out and see how it goes if the first-time pain of using an epilator is too much for you to handle.

Alternative to #1: Wax first, epilate once you start to see some new hairs.

I've seen people online suggest this, and I feel like it works as an alternative to #1, if you are okay waxing.

I'm not particularly fond of waxing, so I prefer my shaving method, but if you're a waxer and you want to transition to epilating, waxing first makes it a lot easier in the pain department.

2. To keep pain to a minimal, epilate as regularly as you can instead of waiting for all the hair to grow back and doing it in one go.

I have a feeling people don't always recommend doing this because they want the "completely smooth" finish that waxing will give you, but personally, I don't mind when there are a few straggling hairs left that I can't epilate.

I think constantly "topping up" on epilating works better for me because it keeps pain to a minimum, allows me to avoid that "waiting for the hair to grow out" period in an obvious way (on tanned skin, it's kind of hard to see a hair here or there, versus a load of hair you're waiting to grow out to epilate all at once).

If you're okay with this and can spare 5 minutes to go over everything one or two nights a week - I absolutely recommend doing this - because it significantly reduces pain in comparison to waiting an entire month or two to epilate everything in one go.

3. To reduce pain when epilating, use short strokes and repeat the same small area over a couple times.

So essentially, when I start epilating and it really hurts, I'll use very short strokes and keep epilating the same tiny section over and over until it doesn't hurt anymore.

This helps me get used to the pain, but also not overwhelm myself, as usually the first few swipes are so painful, but the next few, as they have far fewer hairs, are not so painful, so I can handle them much easier.

4. To reduce pain when epilating, start in one section, then move the epilator slightly to the left, then slightly to the right, and work your way out from your initial position.

After I've gotten one spot done, I work my way slightly to the left, then slightly to the right, then keep working my way out, away from the initial position, so that I don't completely overwhelm myself with the sensation of too much pain.

This really helps, in my opinion. It hurts a lot less than my first attempt, which was just to brute force and cover as much ground as possible.

That is stupid painful and doesn't work. This technique has been working for me a lot better.

5. If you want to epilate full arms (for example), epilate a small portion on a number of spots on each arm so your brain gets used to it.

This may be completely in my head, but what I started doing at one point was to try to "prepare" my brain for the pain that was coming by epilating teeny bits here and there on the sections of my body I wanted to epilate that session.

So if I wanted to epilate my whole arms, I'd do a bit on my hand, a bit on my forearm, and a bit on my upper arm, on each arm, just to sort of jolt my brain into knowing, okay these sections are going to all be feeling pain soon.

I used to do this with tweezing my eyebrows back when it hurt, too.

I used to find that the first couple hairs on each eyebrow that I tweezed would always make my eyes water, so I'd pluck a hair from each eyebrow, or a hair from the right then a hair from the left of each eyebrow, so I'd get all that pain out in one go, then when I tweezed normally after a few seconds, the pain wasn't substantial anymore.

Hang In There!!

All in all, if you like the idea of epilating, but it just is way too painful for you initially, I'd recommend doing whatever you can to keep at it and just hang in there, because it doesn't hurt as much over time, and people aren't just saying this, they mean it.

It's definitely good to have techniques for reducing the pain initially if you find it hard to stomach the "startup" pain, but if you keep in mind that it's just going to get better over time, it will help a lot.