Epilating definitely takes a little (or a lot of) time to get used to, but it's absolutely worth it. I have very dark, thick hair and previously to using this I had an endless battle with horrendously irritable, stubbly legs (sorry, TMI) - at the age of 20 I should be happy to flaunt my legs, but I've been too embarrassed to show them since I was a kid!
I wanted to take some time to share some of my thoughts and tips on the process to hopefully give others an idea of how to get the most out of it.
This is my first epilator, and so far I'm really happy with it. It comes in a handy bag with a charger, removable "massage" attachment and "sensitive area" attachment (allows for epilating smaller areas), a cleaning brush and a pretty exfoliating brush. All these extras are really handy! The epilator is compact and comfortable. My only gripe with it is that you can't use it whilst plugged into the mains - you have to charge it beforehand. It does last a good 45 minutes to an hour whilst fully charged, but it means that you have to wait an hour or so to recharge it if you want to keep using it.
Now, onto epilating itself. I made the mistake of getting too excited when it arrived and trying to epilate straight away, without any kind of preparation. I ended up with itchy red dots all over my legs! I'd highly recommend taking a hot shower, exfoliating well and shaving or waxing. When the hair starts growing back, take another hot shower and exfoliate. Dry your legs thoroughly and start epilating. (This works for me with no irritation even though I have sensitive skin - obviously if it irritates you then try waiting 24hrs like the instructions recommend before epilating).
It is painful - it feels almost like what I imagine getting a tattoo to feel like! However I find it to be much less painful on my lower legs than anywhere else on my body, which is good as that's where I'm mostly bothered about using it. You can try taking painkillers, or using ice packs, but I've mostly just gritted my teeth and tried to deal with it. I also find taking deep breaths and epilating on the exhale helps to detract from it a little. The good news is that the more you use it, the less painful it'll be. (Although I've had mine for a while now and I'm struggling with using it on anywhere above my knees! I'll get there eventually...)
It took me about 3 1-hour sessions over 3 days to get rid of all my lower leg hair. I use various techniques depending on what the skin is like: 1. I move it very slowly over any sparse hairs as this picks them up more effectively. 2. I move the epilator quickly but evenly over any areas with a lot of hair, to get rid of the majority of it, then switch to moving slowly to pick up the rest. 3: I move in small, even circles over areas with stubborn bits of hair that aren't getting plucked.
The most important thing is to *be patient*! This is a very slow process, and it can seem like it's not doing much, but it will. Just take your time, clean the head regularly, and make sure you exfoliate every time you shower to raise hairs and prevent ingrowns (although expect to have quite a few ingrown hairs in the first few weeks of using it). Finally, make sure to use a good soothing moisturising cream, like something with shea or aloe vera, to calm your skin afterwards.
Since my first lengthy session I've only had to pick it up occasionally over the weeks for when I notice any obvious patches or regrowth. This is the best part! Before this, I've *always* woken up with ugly, stubbly legs, and have had to plan to shave before any kind of activity or outfit that shows even a bit of leg. But now, I just don't have to worry about it anymore. Sure, my legs might not be flawlessly smooth, but because the hair is being plucked out the follicles aren't as noticeable and they look SO much better than they do post-shave, and it's so great not having to worry about it every day.
If you aren't happy with the results from shaving, and/or you find waxing expensive/messy/impractical, I'd definitely suggest trying epilating. It's a bit of a pricey investment but definitely worth it in the long run. Good luck!