Are you on a hair no more mode but you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on laser treatments? If you are, then you should read this article and find useful answers to vital questions like, “What is an epilator? Do epilators work? How to use an epilator on different parts of your body?”
Basically, an epilator is a device used in electric hair removal, mainly by mechanically grasping several hairs at once and pulling them out. It can be used either wet or dry, as well as used by men and women in the removal of facial and body hair. It works in a similar manner as waxing albeit it doesn’t remove epithelium cells from the epidermis.
While there will be mild to moderate epilator pain, the rewards of epilation far outweigh the risks including the discomfort that comes from the regular and proper use of epilators. These benefits include long-lasting skin smoothness (i.e., absence of visible hair in the treated area) for up to four weeks, suitability for men and women of different skin types and color, and suitability for cold and dry seasons, among others. Indeed, if you want hairless skin, you should buy the best hair removal epilator you can afford and enjoy the benefits of epilation!
How Does an Epilator Work?
The best epilators to remove hair work in a similar manner. As its head passes through the skin’s surface, it grabs multiple hairs and pulls them out. The hairs are removed at their roots so these don’t grow back faster than when waxing and shaving methods are used.
Note: In answer to your question - “By pulling hair out, will it grow back when I use an epilator?” – yes, it will. Epilation isn’t a permanent solution to hair removal – it gives temporary results like waxing and shaving albeit for a longer period. Plus, as the hairs grow back, these are softer and finer resulting in less noticeable hair.
We want to emphasize that the best way how to use epilator largely depends on its type and design. We always suggest reading the instructions on an epilator first before using it, even when it isn’t your first time to use one.
Each manufacturer typically has specific instructions for use for their epilators so it’s best to read them for safety reasons.
Nowadays, there are several major types of epilators aside from the different designs for men and women as well as for the face and body. Manufacturers usually label their products either as an epilator for men or an epilator for women in consideration of the differences in anatomy and hair quality between the sexes. The former, for example, may have more power and speed because of the thicker and coarser quality of male facial and body hair.
Manufacturers also offer facial and body epilators, again in consideration of the differences in hair quality. Remember that facial hair tends to be finer than body hair, while epilating the pubic area requires more care than epilating the legs. For this reason, the best face epilator will likely have different functions than the best epilator for legs or the best epilator for Brazilian.
Of course, there are multipurpose epilators that can be used on different parts of the body. But we suggest getting dedicated epilators for your face and body for best results.
Going back to the different types of epilators, here’s a basic introduction.
- Spring type
The first type of epilator was the Epilady, a product manufactured by Mepro and released in Israel in 1986. The original design consisted of a coil spring bowed into a curve. On one side of the coil spring, the coils were tightly squeezed together while the other side featured coils that were spread apart.
The motor rotated the coil spring that, in turn, caused it to flex while in rotation. When the rotating coil spring was moved across the skin’s surface, the hairs were caught in it and it pulled out the hair. This proved problematic since the coil spring has to continuously flex.
The modern design is a definite improvement over the original design, as evidenced by the numerous positive Epilady reviews online. In the current Epilady, the coil spring is also bowed into a curve, which is then placed on the skin surface with the unwanted hair. By turning the two handles, the hairs caught between the coils are pulled from their roots.
- Rotating disc type
The second type is the rotating epilator, as exemplified by the Remington Smooth and Silky Epilator. While rotating epilators work in a similar manner as spring epilators, the former have a series of metal disks instead of coils. Many people consider it as the best epilator for bikini area because it’s powerful enough to efficiently pull out the hairs yet gentle enough to cause only mild discomfort, when used properly.
- Tweezers type
The third type is the electronic tweezers, which are essentially a variation of the rotating disc design. In electric tweezers, the head has a series of metal plates inside a plastic housing. These metal plates may have their ends exposed either at one of both sides depending on where will it be used – on the face or body.
As the head, wherein the series of plates are positioned, rotates once the motor is turned on, the ends of the plates move together and apart, once in every revolution. The result is a tweezing effect – the plates catch the hairs when they close and release them when they open.
Also, the hairs are pulled away when the plates rotate away from the skin and then released when the plates move apart. The best tweezers for facial hair and body hair work by having a continuous cycle of gripping followed by pulling, removing and discarding the hairs with every movement over the skin’s surface.
Epilators, especially the bikini epilators can also be used in wet and dry conditions. The Braun epilator (model Silk-Epil 9), for example, has a built-in rechargeable battery so it can be used with cream or gel. The wetness of the skin from the cream or gel aids in minimizing the pain, discomfort and irritation of epilation; dry epilation can be more painful, especially for beginners unfamiliar with the discomfort of the hair removal process.
Epilators also come in corded (i.e., with wire), rechargeable, and battery-powered designs. Many of these products also come with a wide range of attachments, such as various heads for use on different areas of the face and body, as well as an exfoliation head for skin exfoliation before and after epilation.
Most, if not all, epilators are also designed with all-in-one convenience in mind. There are no parts that require replacement and repair, although it’s probably for the best since a repairing a malfunctioning epilator as a DIY project isn’t a good idea.
Besides in many Epi Smooth reviews, users also say that epilators can be used numerous times over several months. When you buy a high-quality hair epilator, you will get excellent value for your money for this reason, even when it’s on the pricey side.
How Does Epilating Compare with Waxing and Shaving?
In epilator vs. wax and epilator vs. shaving comparisons, using an epilator is the consistent winner and we aren’t surprised because it has numerous benefits! But before we compare these three hair removal methods, let’s first ask an important question: “What is epilation and depilation?” It’s important because these methods fall into one of these two categories.
The epilation definition is the removal of hair from below the skin’s surface so the skin maintains its hairlessness for a longer period. The use of an epilator, as well as waxing, threading and sugaring are epilation methods.
The definition of depilation is the removal of hair from above the skin. While these are quicker and cheaper to use than the epilation methods, these only provide smoothness over a short-term period. These methods include razors (i.e., shaving) and hair removal creams.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of epilating, waxing and shaving based on the following aspects:
Epilating has a higher initial cost because an epilator is more expensive than a manual and electric razor as well as waxing supplies combined. But it has minimal ongoing cost since there’s no need to buy additional supplies. In contrast, shaving and waxing may have low to moderate cost per session but these become more expensive over time.
In terms of convenience while travelling, it’s easy to travel with an epilator and a razor. It’s slightly harder to travel with waxing supplies.
- Pain level
Both epilating and waxing involves mild to moderate discomfort depending on your pain tolerance. But as you become more familiar with the process, your discomfort will be significantly reduced with each session. But you will still feel discomfort in every session since hairs are being pulled out of your skin.
If you want a relatively painless hair removal method, you can choose shaving with either a manual or electric razor. There should be no discomfort when shaving unless you accidentally nick or tear your skin.
Both epilating and waxing give long-lasting results lasting between 3 and 6 weeks. The main difference between the two methods lie in the quality of the hairs when these grow back – epilating produces finer and smoother hair as well as lesser number of hair with each treatment than waxing. Shaving your hair means smooth skin within 1-3 days only.
The quality of the results is obviously the substance of any epilator vs. waxing vs. shaving comparison. Epilating wins hands down!
- Suitable hair length
Using an epilator is possible even when the hairs are just 0.5 mm long. Waxing requires the hairs to be 2-12 mm long while shaving can remove very short stubble hairs.
In relation thereto, how long does it take for leg hair to grow back with epilating? Again, it will take between three and six weeks but the actual time period will depend on other factors. Emphasis must be made, too, that the hairs on your legs will likely grow at different rates.
Furthermore, some hairs may snap instead of being pulled out during epilation depending on their strength and brittleness. These hairs can seem like stubble from shaving but since most of the hairs have been completely pulled out, these are lesser in number (i.e., sparsely spread). After the first epilation, you shouldn’t see as much regrowth as with waxing and shaving, while regular epilation will significantly decrease the number of snapped off hairs.
If you’re epilating bikini area, you will also likely observe that your pubic hair doesn’t grow back as quickly as with waxing and shaving. But you may experience more discomfort because of the sensitivity of the bikini area, a worthwhile sacrifice considering the benefits, both in terms of hygiene and aesthetics.
Read more about epilator vs. waxing vs. shaving.
Where Can an Epilator be Used?
The best epilator can typically be used on all parts of the body, even on the face by changing its settings. Keep in mind, however, that dedicated epilators are also available and we suggest buying them instead for best results. For example, an epilator for face will be gentler in its actions than a similar device for epilating legs; facial hair tends to be thinner and finer than leg hair.
But the best epilator for face may also be used on the underarms due to its gentle yet effective action. Said epilator is small enough to handle, especially in getting the right angle around the awkward contours of the armpit.
Epilating pubic hair can be tricky, too, mainly because of the awkward angle, hard-to-reach areas, and skin sensitivity of the genitals. This is true for both men and women so we suggest always being very careful when using an epilator for bikini area – or waxing and shaving it on your own, for that matter.
People with sensitive skin can also use epilators but we suggest being meticulous about proper preparation of the skin, proper use of the device, and proper treatment afterwards. We also recommend reading epilator reviews since many epilators are more suitable on sensitive skin than others.
How to Make Epilating Less Painful
Yes, it does! This is the typical answer to the oft-asked question, “Does epilating hurt?” Don’t worry as there are many ways how to make epilating hurt less, not to mention that the pain becomes more tolerable with each succeeding session.
The initial pain is typically greater since epilation involved pulling the hairs out of their roots. This may also be due to the higher number of hairs that must be epilated during the first session. As the hairs become finer and softer, as well as lesser in number, the pain from their removal becomes lesser, too.
There’s also the matter of the different levels of skin sensitivity. You will agree that epilating pubic hair involves more discomfort than plucking leg hair – the genital area has more sensitive skin than the legs.
And then there’s also each individual’s pain tolerance. You may report less pain during your first epilating session if you’re already a waxing veteran – both hair removal methods have similar pain levels.
Here are the most important epilator tips to reduce the pain or discomfort of the process.
- Take a shower or a bath first.
This will open up your pores and relax your skin that, in turn, will make it easier for the epilator to remove your facial and/or body hair.
- Exfoliate your skin.
Dead skin cells that have not been removed from the skin can block the growth pathways of the hair resulting in ingrown hairs. The blockage leaves small, painful and unsightly red bumps, which also makes hair removal through epilation more painful.
Be sure to exfoliate at least one day before you plan on using an epilator. Your skin will also be smoother after the exfoliation, which will make it easier to remove the unwanted hair.
- Wax your hair, if possible.
Get a professional wax in a salon before epilating at home. You will have a less painful experience with epilation since waxing also pulls hair from the root and causes the hair to be weaker and thinner when they grow back. When you epilate, you will be able to enjoy a less painful experience and remove the unwanted hair faster, too.
This is all too true when you plan on using an epilator for bikini area. Since your bikini area has been waxed and epilated, your genital area will be cleaner and smoother for it, too. You may also consider waxing before epilating armpits for the same reason.
But shaving can also be done before epilating if waxing isn’t possible for any reason. The key here is to never epilate long hairs – wait until your hair has grown back to its shortest possible length after shaving or waxing before using an epilator.
- Take a painkiller.
You may take an over-the-counter painkiller one to two hours before epilating. You should avoid drinking alcohol as a painkiller, however, since it can affect your judgment – and you don’t want to epilate where you don’t want to!
- Rub your skin.
You may also try rubbing your hands on your skin before epilating. Rubbing may help in lifting the unwanted hairs slightly and, thus, make it easier to remove them with an epilator.
You should also use your free hand in stretching your skin. By stretching your skin, the epilator can grab more hair and make it easier to pull them off. Plus, it will prevent loose skin or folds of skin from being nicked or nipped by the epilator.
If despite these precautions, you are not keen on using an epilator, there are always best hair removal cream products to meet your needs. You will find that while the best hair remover in cream form provides short-term results, its use doesn’t involve as much pain as using an epilator. You can also use a hair plucker with a hair removal cream to get similar results.
Tips on How to Epilate
First-timers also ask, “How to use epilator for best results?” and we have to say that it’s quite easy. Keep these epilating tips in mind and you should be good.
First, prepare your skin for the epilation. There’s no need for expensive creams and the like because preparing for an epilation only involves the following:
- Exfoliate your skin at least a day before epilating but not more than two days before your planned epilation. You can use a dry towel to rub down your skin or use either a mitt or an exfoliating scrub.
- Take a warm shower or bath before epilating for reasons mentioned above. You will also find it easier to epilate when your skin is softer from the bath.
Tip: Epilate the night or day before you intend to display your legs in an LBD, or wear a bikini to the pool, or flaunt your armpits in a tube dress. You should give your skin at least 24 hours to recover from the epilation and, thus, show less irritation.
When you’re already epilating, you will find these epilator tips useful.
- Stay cool and calm while using the device. You shouldn’t be afraid to handle an epilator because it’s designed for 100% safety when used properly. You can even use it in water, as is the case with Braun hair removal, to minimize the pain without worrying about electrocution and the like. You even have the benefit of massaging rollers and a cooling glove for a gentler epilating experience.
- Hold steady and natural. You should handle the epilator in a natural manner, as if you’re holding any other object that will be placed against your skin. But don’t press down on your skin too hard – a light and gentle yet firm press on your skin is sufficient for the job.
If you’re doing hair removal epilation on your legs, you should hold the device at a 90-degree angle to your legs. You may also stretch your skin with your free hand, which will make it easier to glide the epilator over it.
- Go slow. You should never go too fast with an epilator. Otherwise, you can break or snap your hairs resulting in ingrown hair – and it’s painful, too. About 15-30 seconds from your ankle to your knee should be enough to remove as many hair as you can without leaving behind ingrown hair-in-the-making.
- Run the epilator against the direction where you hairs are growing or in an upward motion. The upward movement will also lift, so to speak, the shorter hair for a more efficient epilation.
- Choose between dry and wet and stick to it. If you want a dry epilation, you have to ensure that, indeed, your skin is completely dry. If you chose wet epilation, then apply a small amount of shower gel on your skin.
After epilating, you have to moisturize your skin afterwards. And please don’t apply moisturizer before epilating because then it will be more painful.
How many times should you epilate? Experts recommend epilating once a week if you’re a newbie and then taper it off o once every three weeks afterwards.