Epilator Pain Scale: How Bad Do Epilators Hurt?

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Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch. Is smooth, sexy, soft skin really worth all the pain? Yes, yes, it is.

Epilation is a great way to remove unwanted body and facial hair. But it also has a reputation for being painful. Some people are scared to try it due to the epilator pain scale. Many feel that the scale goes from “hurts some” to “OMG!”

But is it really painful? How bad do epilators hurt, and why is it painful? Is there a way to make epilation less painful?

All those questions and other important information about epilation will be provided below. 


How Does Epilation Work?

Philips Satinelle Epilator

Before we get to the pain, let us first get to know what epilation really is and how it works. Well, first of all, epilation is a process of removing hair on the skin. It focuses on removing the hair right up to the root, unlike shaving that simply cuts the hair. In a way, it’s similar to IPL or Laser Hair Removal.

Also, epilation is more kind to the skin cells because it doesn’t strip off the outer layer of the skin with nutrients.

Unlike waxing, which removes anything it sticks into, epilation is more concentrated on the hair only. 

Epilation works with a tool called an epilator, which is essentially a mechanized tweezer. This process of removing hair is similar to waxing because it removes even the roots of the hair. This reduces hair growth.

However, epilation doesn’t use wax. Epilation plucks away multiple hair strands as you move the device over an area in your body. 

Philips Satinelle Epilator

Epilators can be powered either by a battery like the Philips Satinelle shown above, or it can also be plugged in like the Emjoi Epilator.

Many epilators can also be used while wet or dry. Of course, for wet epilation, be sure to check the manual so that you don’t get yourself accidentally electrocuted or the product damaged. 

Why Is Epilation Painful?

Braun Silk-Epil

When we cut our hair or when we shave, we don’t really feel pain as long as we don’t cut our skin.

The hair itself is made out of dead cells and there are no nerves in it.

However, the root of the hair is made of live cells and is responsible for growing the hair. It also contains nerves as well as receptors for pain. 

As we’ve mentioned, during epilation, the hair is pulled off from the root. This means the live cells from the hair root plus the nerve receptors are affected. It is also the reason why plucking, Laser Hair Removal, and waxing may also feel painful. 

The Epilator Pain Scale

Everyone feels pain but how painful something is will vary from one person to another. The reason for this is because different people have different pain tolerance. Pain tolerance and pain threshold.

Pain threshold dictates when you’d start to feel pain and pain tolerance dictates how much pain a person can handle. 

There are different factors that affect a person’s pain threshold and pain tolerance. The only way for you to really figure out if you can handle the pain of epilating is to try it for yourself.

Remember that when epilating, you’d be plucking multiple hair strands at a time to cover a bigger area. 

However, you shouldn’t be that scared because there are some areas of the body that are more painful than others.

Depending on where you plan to use the epilator, you might just be able to handle the pain it brings. Some people really dread trying an epilator, while others didn’t really mind because they didn’t get hurt at all. 

The pubic area is often the most painful spot. Click here for some recommendations on epilators for Brazilians.

How Bad Do Epilators Hurt?

Not as bad as labor, but pretty bad!

It’s often worst the first time, and part of that is the anticipation. You don’t know how bad it’s going to be, so you make up these scenarios where it’s terrible, and you just can’t do it.

Often it’s not as bad as what you imagine, but depending how and where you epilate, it can be worse!

Some people compare it to the level of pain of getting a tattoo, but obviously, the experience is quite different.

How To Make Epilation Less Painful

Some people may be able to handle the pain of the epilation process better than others. But that is not to say it won’t be painful for you. If you think epilation is too painful to use, you might find the tips below useful. These are effective ways to lessen the pain brought about by epilation. 

Take A Warm Bath

Warm baths or a warm shower will help your pores dilate. This makes it less painful to remove the hair with the root. Additionally, cleaning your body prior to epilation also helps remove the oils which can make the hair slippery. In this way, you can better remove the hair without having to do multiple passes. 

A bath also helps soften the skin so it can be more comfortable while epilating. When doing this, you have to make sure you use the epilator right after you take the warm shower and pat dry yourself. This is to make sure your skin is still supple through the process. If you have a waterproof one, you can take it with you to the bathroom for immediate access. 


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You can exfoliate the body by using different body scrubs like this Brooklyn Botany one that has pure lavender essential oil. Exfoliation will remove the dead skin cells plus it will also help deal with ingrown hairs.

Exfoliation should be done a day before you epilate. Then you should also repeat it a few days after epilating to lessen the chance of ingrown hair. 

Epilate While In The Shower

There are epilators that are completely waterproof so you can use them even while showering or bathing. Just like epilating right after the warm shower, epilating during a warm shower would endure that the skin is soft.

However, take note that epilating while showering could be less efficient than dry epilation. 

Work Your Way Up

Epilators usually have speed settings. Use the lowest setting first to get yourself familiar with the sensation of epilation. Even if you think your pain tolerance is high, it is still best to work your way up rather than shock yourself.

Also start off with your legs and don’t move in right away to your private parts. 

Consider Using A Numbing Cream

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A numbing cream can be used by people who are extra sensitive to pain. It can help your skin feel numb temporarily so that you won’t feel any pain.

If you feel pain after epilating, you can use an ice pack over the area to help numb the skin and deal with the pain. 

Final Thoughts

Epilation is a fast and easy way to remove lots of unwanted hair at a time. But many find it to be painful. The degree of pain you feel while using an epilator will greatly depend on your pain tolerance and pain threshold.

By using some of the tips we’ve listed above, you can position yourself lower on the epilator pain scale, and enjoy your hair-free, smooth, sexy body.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).