What are Epilators?
An epilator is a small electrical device used to remove hair at root level by mechanically grasping multiple hairs simultaneously and pulling them out, resulting in smooth skin that lasts for 2-4 weeks.  The way in which epilators pull out hair is similar to that of waxing, yet they do not remove cells from the epithelium of the epidermis (waxing does).

There are no parts in epilators that require regular replacement.  Epilators come in corded, rechargeable and battery operated designs.

Many people find epilators too painful to use; however, many of the newer epilators have pain reduction built in (e.g. cooling or massage rollers).

Are there different types of epilators?
Epilators generally consist of three types:  Spring, Rotating Disc, and Tweezer.  The first two are largely outdated, however, and have been largely replaced by Tweezer Epilators (older models and certain exceptions do exist, however).

With tweezer epilators, depending upon the strength and brittleness of the hair, some may snap off rather than be pulled out.  In such cases, because those hairs snap off just above the skin surface, they can sometimes resemble the stubble one might see after shaving.  The difference, however, is that this "stubble" is far more sparsely spread due to other hairs having been pulled out entirely.

How can I reduce pain?
Many people give up using an epilator after their first attempt, but it's important to remember that the first time is the most painful it will ever be.  As your skin gradually gets used to the sensation you will become less sensitive to the process and the pain will become more of a discomfort than outright painful.  It's impossible to remove hair from the roots without some pain, and using an epilator is one of the easiest do-it-yourself methods for getting rid of unwanted hair.

To reduce pain, try choosing an epilator with built-in pain reduction.  From there, it's simply a matter of easing into things and taking it slowly:  bathe first (this opens your pores), practice using your epilator in a less sensitive editor so that you can get used to the sensation/process, use one hand to hold the skin taut, proceed slowly.  Evening is best.

Are there any risks or side effects?
Though uncommon, you risk infection from using an epilator in unsanitary conditions.  Also, don't forget that epilators are electrical devices and as such can cause electrical shock if used under unsafe conditions.  Avoid getting the epilator wet; do not use it in the shower or bathtub.

The most common side effects include skin bumps/irritation, redness, and problems with ingrown hairs.  To help avoid these side effects, apply a mild body lotion—following epilation—to soothe irritated skin.  Once the skin has calmed down, be sure to exfoliate the treated area daily with a loofa or body buffer to prevent ingrown hairs.

What brands are best?
Braun seems to be the most popular (as evidenced by their bestselling and well-reviewed Braun 5270 X'elle Body System Epilatorover at Amazon, pictured above), but there are many other brands as well:  Panasonic, Emjoi, Epilady, etc.

View all Epilators at Amazon