I know what you are thinking. Is Christine really writing about the Epilator, that torture device that so many of us are afraid of using? Yup, and it really is not as bad as everyone thinks.
First, what exactly is "epilation"? Really, it's pulling each hair out from the root. That's exactly what you do when you wax, except the epilator is basically a rotating collection of tweezers that grab each hair. Since the hair below the skin is also removed your skin will be hair free and smooth longer than with shaving. Over time your hair will grow back finer and weaker.
For me, removing hair below the skin surface is very appealing. I have very pale skin with darker leg hair. I can see the hair below the skin when I wear shorts, which I hate! I also tend to get cold, and with goose bumps I swear that the hair comes out! I get stubble a few hours after shaving because of this. Removing hair below the surface is just the answer I needed for these problems.
The epilator is pretty easy to use. I run my hands up and down my legs to "rough up" any little hairs so they will be easier to grab. The hair can be pretty short actually, as small as 0.5 mm long (you need 2-5 mm for waxing by comparison). Braun includes some Soothing Wipes which they developed with Olay for pre-treatment. I'm not sure that these actually helped me at all. Run the epilator against the direction of hair growth to remove.
The epilator comes with a huge array of heads to use, each pivot by 15 degrees to make them easier to use, they lift the hair up to be grabbed and there are even heads to be used in sensitive areas like the underarm area. I especially liked that on the epilator itself there is a "SmartLight," which was basically a very bright light that really showed me where the hairs were.
I'm not going to lie to you. This process definitely hurts. At first it hurts a lot and it takes a few treatments to get used to it. The pain does lessen with treatments, and it is helped quite a bit by epilating after a bath or shower (so skin is softer) and by holding down your skin. In the end, the pain is well worth it though, you will be surprised by how much hair is removed. Even with short subtle it looks like you have removed quite a bit of hair.
My skin did have a bit of irritation after epilation, really it looked like each hair follicle was red and irritated and would just hurt if touched for about an hour afterwards. But, with a bit of cream or lotion (I liked my Cetaphil cream for this) the irritation was better and even without cream the irritation was gone within the hour.
I did not achieve perfectly smooth legs with this process. If I was planning to wear shorts or a skirt that day I did need to shave a few missed areas to have the perfectly smooth legs that I want. However, my legs definitely stayed smoother longer when epilated and I will continue to use it as with each use it hurts less. I loved not having subtle a few hours after I shaved just because I was cold!
The newest version of the epilator is available this month, the model numbers are 7280 and 7681 (the difference is added caps in the 7681 for facial and underarm hair). If you have the same issues I do, I really do recommend using the epilator in combination with shaving, I know I'll be using this more often!