Q. I’ve been epilating for some time and my legs feel stubbly no matter how much I epilate. I believe my epilator is breaking the hair instead of plucking it out, what am I doing wrong? How can I tell? Do I need a new epilator?
While it is inevitable some hair will snap with epilation, most of your hair should be plucked cleanly from the root. If you find that most of your hair is breaking instead of being plucked it means that the epilator isn’t properly gripping the hair. The reason the epilator is breaking your hair is because the epilator is not gripping the hair properly. When the hair grows back, it should be soft and not feel stubbly when you touch it. It should feel soft to the touch. If you feel the hair is sharp like shaving, you know that the epilator is breaking your hair. Hair that is broken re-grows just like it was shaven. Before you run out and grab a new epilator after reading our reviews, there are several reasons why the epilator may be breaking your hair.
The first is that you are moving too fast or are epilating on too high a speed. This will break the hair instead of pulling it out at the root. With epilation when it comes to speed: Slower hurts more and takes longer but you will catch more hair and break less. The faster setting hurts less and goes quicker but it may end up breaking the hair especially if you have finer hair. Use the lower setting if the hair is not thick. When you first start epilating your hair, you might have to use the faster setting because you have courser hair. With the underarms and bikini area the faster setting may be okay, but always use a slow speed setting on the face. Over time as the hair grows in lighter you may have to switch to the lower setting. Pay attention to the thickness of your hair. See here to find out the best epilator for your hair type .
Like waxing, whether the hair breaks off at the skin’s surface or is plucked cleanly has a lot to do with technique. Try slow movements instead of quick jerky movements. You need to glide the epilator slow enough to catch the hair. The motion is very different from shaving. Think of it this way. The tweezers are like little mini waxing strips. In theory, what we are trying to do is wax in smaller sections. So when you are moving the epilator, it’s like applying a new waxing strip over a new area. Give it time to pull the hair before moving on. Think stop- pull. Epilating is not a race. Spend the time and go slow so you don’t break your hair. It so important that you start with the right technique even as your hands are shaking with apprehension the first couple times through. Quick jerky or choppy motion will just break the hair and lead to ingrown hair. Braun recommends spending at least 15 seconds from the ankle to the knee. The slower the better.
The angle of the pull also matters. You have to be sure you are holding the epilator perpendicular to the skin. Pull the skin tight as you move over the area you are working on. Don’t press the epilator down hard on the skin like a shaver. Touch it lightly on the skin and the epilator will work better.
The second most common reason for the hair breaking is that the hair has to be a certain length for the epilator to pull it out cleanly from the root. Hair that is either too long or either too short will break. Sometimes it depends on your hair, but in general hair that is 3 -5 mm long tends to work best.
Finally, I know they always say to epilate after a shower. If you have dry and brittle hair, you shouldn’t shower right before as this softens the hair, making it easier to break. Your skin may be damp from either showering or perspiration. The epilator won’t be able to grab moist or moisturized hair, causing the hair to stretch, snap, and grow under the skin. Before epilating, make sure the skin is completely dry. Instead of a shower, you can relax the skin by taking a warm towel straight from the dryer and applying it on the skin. To eliminate any more moisture, dust the area with a talc free baby powder. This will make the hair much easier to grip.
Here are some tips on epilating to get the smoothest and best results possible:
- If hair is strong, make sure you are using the correct technique with short strokes against the growth. If you are epilating from the wrong direction or wrong angle, the hair could break.
- Do not go fast, running the epilator over the area like a electric shaver. Use an extremely slow controlled movement, letting the epilator pick up the hair.
- Hold the skin tight.
- Glide the epilator gently on the skin. Do not press down on it.
- Use witch hazel or tend skin after epilating to prevent ingrown hair.
- Do not apply moisturizing lotion immediately after epilation, wait till the next day or a few hours later.
- The first time through with an epilator is never easy because of the pain.
- Make sure oils, makeup, or lotion were not left on the skin, causing the tweezers to slip.
- Try changing the speed setting. Removing the hair too fast or too slow could cause it to break. Use the lowest speed available for the finer hair. Otherwise, you’ll either break them or miss them all together.
- If you find the epilator is still breaking your hair, refrain from taking a shower immediately before epilating as soaking the hair will soften it, making it easier to break.
- Exfoliate right before epilating, but not right before. Try exfoliating the day before or a couple hours before. If you are exfoliating right before epilating, try dry brushing.