I'm not going to lie - it does hurt. I find it hurts way less than waxing, though, so if you've ever waxed your legs, it probably won't be as bad as that. The best way I've found of dealing with the pain is to focus on watching the smooth areas grow, and kind of distancing myself from how it feels. The most painful areas, for me, are the backs of my calves and behind my knees. If you really struggle with pain, you could take some ibuprofen half an hour before you start, and remember that pain thresholds are lower just around your period, so try to avoid that time of the month!
2. It will take longer than you think.
Shaving your legs in five minutes is one thing. There is no way you're going to epilate them in that length of time! Especially the first few times, allow way more time than you think you'll need - to do both of my legs has been taking me around an hour and a half, though I'm hoping I'll get a bit quicker with practice. It's also worth bearing in mind that whilst it will take a couple of weeks for the hairs you remove to grow back, not all your hairs grow at the same time, so you're likely to end up a little prickly within a few days as new hairs grow in. I try to resist going over these with the epilator again, so that I can get them ALL next time and hopefully the results will last longer!
3. It's not a last-minute job.
Don't think you can epilate as part of your getting-ready-to-go-out routine; you probably could, but you'll be left with little red dots all over your skin where the hairs have been removed, for about 24 hours afterwards. If I was going out on Friday night, I'd aim to epilate on the Wednesday night or Thursday morning to give my skin enough time to settle down afterwards.
4. Skip the moisturiser.
It might seem obvious, but skip the moisturiser before you epilate - you'll struggle to get hold of all the little tiny hairs if they're nicely coated in body lotion! I'd also be very careful what you put on immediately afterwards; my skin is quite dry but I tend to wait 12 hours or so before applying any moisturiser, just to avoid irritating my skin. If you want to moisturise straight away, try to avoid any scented products and just use a plain, gentle body lotion or butter. Similarly, I find I need to be gentle when washing my skin in the shower for a day or so afterwards, as it can really sting!
The best technique I've found is running my epilator in small circles over my skin; I tend to start on my shins, as that's the area that hurts the least, and I can build myself up to the more painful areas! Circling seems to be the best way of grabbing all the little hairs that grow in funny directions, whereas simply running the epilator up and down seems to miss quite a few.
And those are my five top tips of things you might not know about epilating! Have you ever used an epilator? Do you have any other words of wisdom to share? What's your preferred hair-removal method?