What you should know before using an epilator to remove hair

If your preferred method of hair removal is shaving or waxing, you need to know about epilators. Easily purchased online or over the counter at your local drugstore, these handheld devices bring convenience to your doorstep, allowing you to get rid of all those pesky hairs whenever (and wherever) you want. "Epilation works by gently plucking hair from the root with a series of tweezers which can grab the smallest of hairs (as short as 0.5 millimeter — the equivalent of two days growth)," Nathalie Eleni, a Braun Beauty Ambassador, explained to Grazia.

And this gives epilators a huge edge over other hair removal options, "because unlike waxing, you can epilate the moment you spot a hair, even hairs less than a millimeter long," Gretchen Frieling, a certified dermatopathologist and CEO of GFaceMD, told Good HousekeepingThe results last up to four weeks, making it ideal for anyone who's short on time or looking to ditch the razors. But before you run out and buy one, it's important to be aware of a few things.

Epilators can be painful

There's no getting around it: You'll feel some pain when you use an epilator. "I would lie if I said it didn't hurt the first time," said Sabina Wizemann, senior chemist with the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab. She recommends it only for those with a high pain threshold or who are regular waxers. And Eleni echoed this unfortunate fact. "If it's your first time trying this method, purchase an epilator which can be used in the shower as the warm water open pores, which loosen the hair follicles so they are removed easily."

Also, epilators have been known to cause ingrown hairs, so you need to be sure to hold your skin tight when using the device in order to prevent them. "That way, you're more likely to remove the entire piece of hair from the follicle, and not just break it above or below the skin," explained Dr. Frieling. And finally, one size doesn't fit all body parts, meaning that while you can use the same epilator on your face as you do your legs, it's not really recommended. Instead, you should invest in a smaller epilator for smaller, more delicate areas.