Make up and break up. My epilator experience.

After years of suffering at the blade of a razor, getting hives from wax, and burning from depilatory creams, I thought it was time to try something different. Since laser treatment is out of my price range, I did some research on epilators. If you haven’t heard of an epilator, it’s basically 40 tweezers on a rotating disc that rips tweezes your hair as you glide the disc over your legs.

Here’s the pro’s, according to the interwebs:

  • No more razor rash (I’m allergic to most shave creams)
  • You don’t have to grow the hair out for 2 weeks like you do for waxing. A couple of days will do.
  • You can epilate whenever you have a few strays (see above).
  • It involves no heat or chemicals, so less chance of an allergic reaction.
  • The results last for weeks (!)
  • Hair grows back finer and less noticeable.
  • Since you are disrupting the growth cycle, only a few hairs will return at a time, and they will be finer. These lighter hairs will be less painful to remove.

The only major downside is the pain (supposedly).

The method looks something like this:

1. Grow out hair for a couple of days.

2. Epilate.

3. Exfoliate every other day or so.

4. Repeat as needed.

After weeks of research on methods, models, and brands, I finally grew a pair and picked up an epilator at Target. The following account is what happened in the days and months after that fateful day.

My epilator experience:

Day 1:

  • Drink a full glass of wine in the bathtub. Wipe down legs with free “soothing wipes” that came with epilator
  • Epilate one inch of my leg
  • Pass out from the pain, drown in the bath tub
  • Realize what I’ve gotten my self in to but am too stubborn to be wrong after spending $100
  • Epilate one more inch of my leg
  • Spend the next 40 minutes or so in agonizing pain. It feels like I’m tattooing my own legs. This is no joke. I have tattoos, and it feels the same.
  • Consider putting a label on the box that women should only try epilating if they have given birth without an epidural.
  • Complete one leg. Consider starting a new trend of having only one smooth leg.
  • Suffer through another leg, convincing myself that this is the worst it will ever be.
  • Finish epilating
  • Realize that despite the huge, red welts, my legs are still not smooth.
  • Shave
  • Admire my red, swollen, bumpy, yet remarkable smooth, legs

Day 2

  • Wonder how much longer every pore on my leg will continue to be red

Day 3

  • Start to see new growth. Shave

Day 5

  • Muster up the courage to epilate again
  • Exfoliate
  • Epilate. It hurts, but not as bad as the first time
  • Experience burning from exfoliating first

Day 7

  • Notice my hair is coming in finer.

For the Next Month:

  • Shave when I feel like it
  • Epilate when I feel like it
  • Enjoy the freedom of only addressing my leg hair once a week or less

The Following Weeks:

  • Start developing ingrown hairs
  • Pick at ingrown hairs, breaking the skin
  • Exfoliate, rubbing salt into the open skin
  • Curse
  • Shave
  • Curse at the redness, itchiness, hives, and bumps
  • Shave several more times until the hair is “thick” again
  • Epilate. Pass out from the pain. Realize that shaving has made all the hair grow in at the same rate and now I’m back to square one.

The Final Weeks

  • Pick at ingrown hairs compulsively
  • Wear long skirts and pants despite oppressively hot weather to cover the scabs
  • Exfoliate
  • Shave
  • Epilate
  • Wear long skirt to cover the redness from epilating
  • Pick at ingrown hairs
  • Shave, slicing open all bumps created by picking at skin
  • Pick at skin some more
  • Realize that OCD is not a joke, and this is not healthy
  • Quit epilating


  • Shave only when absolutely necessary.
  • Consider joining a hippie commune and never shave again.

As you can see, it didn’t exactly go well. Basically, as soon as the hair follicle was damaged, the hair grew in finer. The problem was that the hair was too fine and couldn’t break the surface. Exfoliating didn’t help this. If I shaved in order to cut off the fine, tapered end of the hair, I was allowing more hair to surface- thus increasing the pain each time.

The real nail in the coffin was me and my uncontrollable picking. I could not leave a single ingrown alone- effectively creating the opposite of the smooth legs I desire. My legs were covered in little red micro scabs and scars for weeks.

After three months, I’m feeling pretty defeated. I think my only option now may be to save my pennies and laser that shit off. Or, ya know, stop conforming to the social norms of hairless legs and enjoy healthy skin. At least for winter.

Got some great trick for irritation free hair removal? Leave it in the comments, please!


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