Will I be smooth after epilating? While it is possible, your legs will probably not be smooth when you first epilate. It really depends on your genetics, when you last shaved, and how you well you epilate. After the first couple of sessions, it’s common that that you may still feel a tiny bit of hair.
The reason why is because your hair grows in 3 different cycles – hair growth (Anagen), hair death (Catagen), and rest (Telogen). On the legs, the growth phase lasts about 4 – 6 weeks. On the legs, only about 20 percent of your follicles are actually producing hair. The rest are dormant under the skin. For the face, about 70 percent of the follicles are producing hair. For the underarms and pubic area, about 30 percent of follicles are active. For most of us, it is very difficult to tell what stage the hair is until you actually pluck it and observe the root.
In the beginning each individual hair is in a bunch of different cycles. The goal of epilation is to try to get everything synchronized in about 3 – 4 batches. In order to sync the growth, you should do your first couple of sessions an equal distance apart of about 1 or 2 weeks. Whenever you epilate your hair, you interrupt the natural cycle of the hair. A new growth cycle will begin. Each hair that is pulled out at the root will take about 28 days to grow back. The idea is to stack the growth on top of each other so it grows out at the same time instead of it being chaotic.
Before you first epilate, you should have at least 3 weeks of growth. This way you will have a high percentage of anagen hairs growing out. From there you can trim hair to about 1/8 of an inch. Then epilate. This will allow you to catch a lot of the hair in the same cycle.
With epilation it is difficult to get things lined up perfectly, because it is hard to predict exactly when the growth cycle will start. Like any hair removal, you have make sure that the majority of the hair is being pulled at the root and not being broken off at or below the skin’s surface. If your epilator is breaking too many hairs, you can reduce the occurrence of this happening by placing a warm damp towel over the area you are epilating and by using a talc free powder to remove any excess moisture from the hair.
Because we are removing hair in the opposite direction of growth, you have to be careful about ingrown hair. It is so important to develop a daily exfoliating and moisturizing routine to be sure that the hair can easily exit through the skin. I like to dry brush in the opposite direction of the growth as it really sloughs of the skin, but spa gloves in the shower also work.
When the hair starts to grow back, there will always be a period of time when the epilator won’t be able to grab super short stubble. I’m okay with that. It’s not like waxing where you have this awkward period of letting the hair grow out. Once you have got everything lined up, I find regular epilation every 3 to 4 weeks is essential for maintenance. You don’t want to wait too long as the roots will get stronger. If you want smoother results, you can also shorten the time between your epilation sessions.
Should I Shave?
Should I shave? This question is always asked on the website. Before I would have said flat out said, “No.” Now after thinking about it, I have changed my mind. I know many will disagree. Let me know in the comments
I know a lot of women who use epilators want the smoothness of shaving so they shave. The result is so much smoother than shaving alone. I don’t recommend doing it every time, but if you want to go smoother for special occasions, I don’t see any harm in doing this. Shaving will not cause the hair to grow coarser. Hair will just have a blunt tip instead of a softer one. The reason they tell you not shave between waxes is because of the length of hair. It will be too short to wax.
When you shave, you are going to have to wait for the hair to grow to the proper length before you can epilate or wax it. It’s not a big deal since unlike waxing, epilators can grab hair when they are super short. I say don’t do it every time because if you shave always, it is possible that the hair might never get epilated so it will be out of sync with the hair you have epilated.
I also interviewed someone who has been epilating for 8 years, and she told me you can also sand off the hair using a hair buffer like Smooth Away. She told me it makes her silky smooth and works great for exfoliating the skin and preventing ingrowns. Just be sure not to overdo it because it can leave skin raw.
The longer you stick to epilation, the better it gets. After epilating for awhile, you will catch more hair in the same cycle, leading to longer periods of smoothness. Typically, for the legs it takes about a few months to really see the benefits of epilation. The hair will grow in finer and slower. While epilation is not for everyone because of the initial pain, it sure beats having to shave every 2 days to remain smooth.