Epilation – All things That You Must Know
Most women like to get rid of their body hair and keep smooth and silky skin. Unfortunately, the ways to achieve that like waxing, threading etc are generally painful and damaging to your skin. That is why we are here to provide you with any and all the information you may need about Epilation. Epilating is a relatively new and unknown method to get rid of that unwanted body hair. This method’s results are long lasting and it also doesn’t harm your skin.
What is an epilator?
An epilator is an electrical device which is used to remove hair from the skin. It achieves this by mechanically grasping multiple hairs at once and then pulling them out of the skin. The method to pull out the hair is similar to waxing, but unlike waxing, This process doesn’t pull out the cells from the epidermis. There are a few types of epilators now available in the market. They are available in corded, rechargeable and battery-operated designs. Epilators are convenient to use and don’t have pretty much any running costs, so they are economic in that way.
Generally, epilators are designed as portable, handheld devices. They usually have a rotating roller which is made up of a bunch of tweezers. You have to place the epilator against your skin as the roller rotates and pulls out the unwanted hair.
Types of Epilators
Technically, ‘epilation’ is the term which describes any process of removing hair from the root, not just by using an electronic epilator. Consequently, waxing, tweezing and threading are also types of epilators. But for this article, we will be using epilating as in reference to the usage of the electronic handheld epilators.
Let us look at the mechanisms behind the different types of epilators available in the market:
Epilator is a relatively new invention. A company called Mepro first invented the first epilator in Israel in 1986. They named it Epilady. The epilady had a coil spring in it. There was a motor inside which rotated the coil spring. When users moved the rotating spring across the skin, it caught and pulled out the hair.
Rotating Disc Type
Soon after Mepro made the first epilator, an American company called Remington came up with an epilator called Lady Remington Smooth and silky. It operated similarly to the Epilady, except it had metal discs instead of springs. This similarity caused many patent-based litigations in Europe. The rotating disc type became a standard.
At this point, the designs have been subjected to many refinements and enhancements. So, modern epilator does not contain complete discs. They generally contain a series of metal plates housed in a container, which is generally plastic. The plates rotate in such a way that their tips move closer and apart in a single revolution of the head. This process creates the effect of tweezing, which catches the hair when the plates move closer. Then, as the plates move away they pull out the hair. Then the plates separate and they discard the hair. This methodology creates a continuous cycle in which the hair is pulled out from the skin and discarded too as the device glides over the skin. This type has become the standard now and is the most common type you will find in the market.
Wet Use type
Now, Epilators are available which can be used either wet or dry. You can even use such epilators in the shower. You can also use creams or gels with this type to reduce the pain and irritation which can occur while using the dry type of epilator.
How to use an Epilator
Now, that you have sufficient knowledge about what epilators are and their history, let us learn how to use them. Epilator is basically a set of tweezer heads on a rotating wheel. It is very basic and simple to use.
- You just have to turn on the device and roll it over your skin where you want to remove the hair. The epilator will catch the unwanted hair and pull them out from roots.
- Epilators also come with speed settings, so it is advisable to use it on low speeds at first. This is because epilators can cause considerable pain initially, although not more pain than what one experiences during waxing.
- The level of pain goes down considerably as you epilate. This is because of the fact that epilating yanks out the hair from the roots and you’ll have much smoother skin the next time you have to epilate.
- If your epilator is battery powered, you should make sure to charge you epilator fully before starting.
- Pull your skin taut where epilating so that it does not catch on your skin. You will feel pain if it does.
- The best place to start would be on your lower legs or other easily accessible areas. From there, move onto parts with higher hair density.
- Use circular motions thoroughly for best results.
- Wet type epilators will probably be more preferable for use on wet skin as it will be much less painful.
- Hold the device perpendicular to your skin for the best results.
- Glide the device against the grain of your hair. This will ensure that the hair gets pulled out and does not just break in your skin.
- Don’t press down the epilator too hard on your skin. Holding it lightly will work better for you.
- When using the epilator, move it over your skin slowly and carefully. Do not rush during the process.
- Before starting to epilate, make sure you are in a comfortable position. Lay down some towels to catch the hair if using the dry versions.
- Make sure to clean your epilator first before starting. You should also clean your epilator thoroughly after using it. Epilators generally come with a small brush for cleaning. Use it meticulously on the head to get rid of any loose hair in there.
- It is a very effective way to remove hair. Hair also takes longer to grow back after epilating. We advise epilating every two to three weeks. The pain will also go down considerably after every subsequent session. Soon, you will hardly notice it at all.
- Dry epilation is more efficient than the wet one. This is because it will be much quicker. But if you are starting off, it is much better to use wet epilators as you will be in much less pain. Cleaning up will also be much easier as you can do it in the comfort of your bathroom.
- It is much better to epilate in the night-time or evening when you are done with the day. This is because after epilating your skin may get red and you may also get red bumps on your skin. Although this is completely normal and will go away by itself, it won’t look too good on you. It will also be less painful.
- After you are done epilating, it is a great idea to apply some moisturizer on your skin.
Skin care for Epilation
The process of epilation can be pretty harsh on your skin. Your skin won’t be as damaged as it would be in waxing but you still may feel considerable pain and irritation on your skin. That is why it is important to care for your skin properly:
- Taking a bath or showering or just soaking in warm water before you epilate will benefit the process greatly. When you remove your hair, it will be much less painful if your hair is wet. Using a wet epilator will cut this step short as you can epilate right while showering, in your bathroom.
- Exfoliating your skin is also an important step to follow before you carry on with the painful process of epilating. Exfoliating will benefit any method of hair removal actually. It discourages the growth of ingrown hair which is fantastic for the long run. It also removes any dead skin cells and makes your skin smoother, which will make epilating much less of a hassle. You can exfoliate using a loofah or a body scrub.
- You should dry your skin after washing and before epilating. Thoroughly dry your skin by using a towel. Rub the towel in the opposite direction of your hair to clean properly and so that your hair stands up on edge. It will make it much easier and effective while removing the hair.
- If your hair is short beforehand, it will be much easier and better to epilate as it works best on shorter hair.
- You can opt for numbing cream and apply it on your skin before epilating if you any fear of pain. You can also take a painkiller, as per your doctor’s advice, a little before you have to epilate. Although, we assure you the pain is strong for the first few times.
- After you are done exterminating your hair, your skin will look to be in a sorry state. It might show red spottings and your skin might be irritated. This is totally normal and your skin will revert to its normal state within a few hours.
- You can apply your preferred lotion or moisturizer to take care of your skin. If you use a product which has aloe vera in it, it will be more effective.
- You can also use natural antiseptics like tea tree oil(diluted) on sensitive areas like your armpits or crotch area.
- Creating a routine for epilating will be helpful and will ultimately give you the best results. It will slow down your hair growth and your skin will feel smoother subsequently. To slow down your hair regrowth significantly, epilate same areas daily for a week, then afterwards do it once every week. Pretty soon you will get rid of that pesky hair growth and will need to epilate only once every 3-4 weeks.
- After you have finished epilating your hair, clean the body parts properly. Also, use tweezers to pluck out any stubborn leftover hair.
Benefits of Epilation
After all this information, we are sure to have you sold on epilating. But, if you still aren’t fully convinced yet, here is a detailed description of the benefits which you will get if you start epilating:
- Lasting smoothness: Epilating makes you hairless for longer periods of time, more than any other methods. This is because of epilating yanks out your hair from the roots. And when the hair does rise back up they will be weaker. That is to say, the hair will be softer and will make subsequent times when you have to epilate much less painful and more efficient. Modern epilators will also remove tiny hairs. You won’t have to grow your hair out between sessions like it’s with waxing.
- Versatile: Epilating can be done anywhere on your body as long as you are careful. For sensitive areas and parts with loose skin, remember to hold the skin taut and don’t press the epilator down too hard. Epilators also come with attachments which make them better suited to use on different body parts. You can easily use epilators on your face too when using appropriate attachments.
- Efficient: Using epilators is by far the most efficient method. You will ultimately spend less money than any other method. It takes almost the least amount of time and you can take your epilator anywhere with you since they are mostly portable. On top of all that, they are very easy to use without any risks or side effects.
- Economical: Epilators are by far more economical than other methods. You may have to shell out a bit of money if you want a good quality epilator, but there are no big recurring costs after that. Whereas waxing costs a lot every time and shaving also needs a razor replacement frequently, whose cost add up quickly and significantly. Epilators are more efficient overall with their performance as well and will give you better and longer lasting results than other methods.
- Less mess: Using epilators will cause much less mess than you would get using a razor or waxing. You can easily collect the hair without any unnecessary clutter. You can use them in the shower if you have the wet-type.
- Better than waxing: Other than the cost, epilating will also give you better results than waxing. Waxing is quite harsh on your skin whereas epilating is not. Epilating will only give you some superficial redness on your skin which will go away on its own in just a few hours.
- Gentle: You may not realize this but epilating is much gentler than other methods. Nowadays, many options are available which will help you with pain and go much easier on your beautiful skin. Many epilators nowadays come with the option of using them wet which will help you out immensely, both with the pain and hygiene. There are also options available in epilators which come with massaging rollers, which soothe and massage your skin as you are epilating. You will also avoid any harsh chemical products which may harm your skin.
Epilation vs. Waxing vs. Shaving
There are two broad categories under which all kinds of hair removal techniques fall. They are: epilating and depilating. As mentioned previously, epilating is the process in which the hair is removed directly from the roots. Whereas, in depilating, hair removal happens above the skin level. Among the most popular of hair removal methods, epilating and waxing are the popular ones which fall under the epilating umbrella, while shaving falls under depilating type.
You will benefit a lot more when going with epilating methods as they will provide you with smoother skin for a longer duration. But if you go for shaving, it will surely be quicker but your smoothness will be for a much shorter term. So, the choice is yours but we are going to break down all the differences between these approaches for you so that you can make an informed decision.
If you ever had any interest in beauty and hair removal you must know about this. Waxing is probably the most common and popular method of hair removal around for any beauty enthusiast. The method involves lathering hot or warm wax onto your skin and then ripping it off quickly along with your unwanted hair. So, in this way waxing also involves an element of exfoliation as well because the wax also gets rid of any dead skin cells on top of your epidermis. Waxing is pretty similar in its working to epilating since they both fall under the broad category of hair removal techniques.
I’m sure you are well aware of shaving even if you don’t do it yourself. Shaving is the process of gliding a razor over your skin, thereby, removing any hair in the process. It only removes hair on the surface level. Since it does that, the effect of the smooth skin is not long lasting at all and you will need to shave frequently if you want to keep up the smoothness. After you shave once, it will only be a couple or few more days before you start feeling the coarseness of the stubble. Overall, it may not be the best and most efficient method of hair removal around, but it is quite convenient. It also has certain ease of use and comfort level which is why it has been around for a while and a go-to method for women in a pinch.
You know the basics of this method by now, an epilator basically involves multiple tweezer heads on a rotating wheel. These tweezers pull out your hair from the root continuously as you glide the device over your skin. For your money, this is the best method of hair removal.
All in all, epilating comes out to be more efficient and useful in most categories which you will find out now as we discuss all the differences and similarities ahead. Starting with:
The cost will definitely rank pretty high on your list of priorities:
Starting with the cost of shaving, it won’t cost you a lot in the beginning. But, since you will need to shave a lot more frequently than other methods if you want to keep up your smoothness, the cost can add up pretty quickly. The outright cost of a razor or blades or foam isn’t high but when done frequently, the cost will aggregate into a huge sum which I’m sure you would rather like to spend elsewhere. In the US, it has been estimated that an average woman spends more than 10,000$ on razors and other shaving related products over her lifetime which is a pretty hefty sum. To summarize, the upfront and one-time cost of shaving may not seem significant but with the running costs it will cost much more than epilating.
Coming on to the method of waxing, it’s one time cost far outweighs that of shaving. You have to go to a salon or beauty parlour to get one decent quality waxing session done, and depending upon the quality, the costs can run quite high. You can opt for getting a home waxing kit but it will still be more expensive than shaving, even if you ignore your own effort involved in using the home waxing kit. Of course, you won’t have to wax as frequently as you would shave but still, the cost would be much higher than epilating.
Finally, let us look at the costs which you’ll incur if you go for epilating. Buying an epilator can be considered more expensive relatively. Depending upon the level of quality, the cost of buying an epilator in India will start from about INR 1,000 and can go up to tens of thousands. So, the upfront cost is higher which can be daunting and misleading. It is misleading because while the upfront cause is high you will have to spend lesser money over time. Compared to other ways the ultimate cost will be insignificant. The running cost of an epilator is basically nil since you pretty much will only need to pay for electricity against running costs. Since you will have to epilate much less frequently than shaving (similar to waxing), the costs that way are minimized too.
Overall, it is clear that epilating is the most economical and efficient way for hair removal.
The Pain Level:
There is some inherent assumption that you will have to go through some significant levels of pains if you wish to achieve smooth hairless skin. Broadly, it is true for the most part but we are going to detail the differences and the nitty-gritty for you. Starting with-
This is the one method you should not be feeling any pain with unless you get a cut on your skin by the blade. Shaving is pretty smooth generally if you do it correctly. There are some variables to consider while shaving which may cause you pain. But as long as you wield your common sense to battle the hair, you will be fine and pain-free. Just take care of the hygiene and change your razors frequently, and do not use any blunt or rusty razors.
This method has become notorious for the pain it has caused to women worldwide over the years. When you are just starting out with this method, you will feel considerable pain. You may also claim it is unbearable and also shed a tear or two. But the pain does go down with subsequent sessions. The wax, when being applied to your skin, also has to be warm which opens your pores and relaxes you which can lead to lesser pain.
You do need to take care of some things, whether waxing yourself at home or getting it done at salon or parlor. Most importantly, make sure that the temperature of the wax isn’t too high. Otherwise, you may get a burn or even worse, your skin may get peeled rather than your hair.
Finally, coming to epilating, the pain levels will be similar to waxing. Since your hair is being pulled out from the roots, you have to be ready for the pain accordingly. The pain will be higher when used on sensitive areas like your armpits or private areas. At first, it might prick a lot but the pain will go down even while you are using the epilator. The pain levels will continuously go down if you regularly use it over time. You may not even feel anything after you have done this a few times.
This is because when you epilate, the subsequent hair growth will result in finer and softer hair. Those hair are much easier and less painful to remove. You also have to do this much more infrequently than other methods like shaving. Overall, epilating will be the most convenient and painless method of hair removal.
There are also some techniques you can follow to make your experience of epilating even less hurting than what it already is. Epilators are broadly of two types – dry and wet. Dry ones are the normal ones which you use as a standard. But wet epilators also provide you with the option of using them while bathing or when the skin is wet. You can epilate while you are also taking a warm shower. This can be very useful as a warm shower will make your pores open and the hair will cause much less pain when being pulled out. You can even use some epilators while lathered up with the shower gel of your choice. That can help soothe your skin and lessen the pain even more.
Convenience and efficiency:
In this section, we will discuss in detail the ways in which the particular method will impact your lifestyle in general and how easy it would be for you to follow regularly. We will also take a look at the ease of portability of each method. We will assess how easy or it difficult it would be if you want to travel with the equipment or tools. Let us begin with shaving:
This one is kind of a mixed bag. When shaving, the time taken for each session is quick as you can shave off your unwanted hair pretty hastily if you are in a hurry. It is also convenient, as you can shave your legs and pits within 15 minutes in the shower. The only thing to remember is that you will have to shave much more regularly than you would in other methods.
As far as portability is concerned, carrying a razor with you is very easy. You can just bunch it with your other toiletries and you are good to go. They are also extremely common and you will be able to get one pretty much anywhere you want to go.
Waxing is certainly the least convenient among all of these. Generally, you have to go to a parlor or salon to get waxed. And it also takes the longest amount of time to do. Getting your legs and armpits waxed can easily take you more than an hour. You can wax yourself in your home also but that will also take time as you have to do it all by yourself. Waxing at home will also lead to a bit of a mess which you will have to deal with additionally.
While travelling, you can take some cold wax strips with you but it is not the ideal way. Or you have to find a parlor at your destination which is, again, a tricky task.
You will find that epilating will provide you with the most convenience when considering everything. You will get pretty quick at using the epilator rapidly. Then, you will be able to epilate almost as quickly as you can shave. The waste produced is also easy to handle and dispose of.
As far as the portability is concerned, an epilator is hard to beat. You can easily travel with it in your luggage. It is a lightweight and portable device. You can easily find battery powered models in the market which will suit your needs of portability even more.
You also will have to epilate much less than shaving. About once every 3-4 weeks will do it actually. All in all, the epilator will give you unmatched functionality, convenience, and efficiency. You will not be able to go back to other methods once you get used to its wonders and keep enjoying the silky smooth skin you’ll have by epilating.
Getting rid of your unwanted body hair and experiencing the pleasures of silky smooth skin does not come without any costs. And they are not just monetary. Let us look at some of the ways in which the pursuit for hairless body could prove a little bit inconvenient or harmful:
Shaving can lead to a few side-effects which many women are intimately familiar with. Razor burns can happen and you should be careful and gentle while handling a razor. It can also occasionally cause a few bumps, cuts and irritation. You are more prone to these while shaving your more sensitive areas like armpits or crotch. You can also come across ingrown hair because of this once in a while. Though, that is less likely than it is in other methods.
You can circumvent and avoid a few of these by keeping your skin damp or moist while shaving. Or you can try shaving towards the direction of your hair growth but that will result in a lesser smooth skin. Also, never use rusty and/or blunt razors, ever.
Waxing also comes with its own baggage of side effects. You can peel off your skin accidentally, which is painful and unsightly. It may also cause some bleeding. Can result in a few ingrown hairs too.
Epilating will result in the least amount of side-effects among all of these. Occasionally, you may get ingrown hairs, which, again, can be reduced if you exfoliate regularly. Epilating may result in some superficial side effects like red dots on the skin or general redness of the skin. This is a reasonable reaction to hair being yanked out. These will go away by themselves soon with time, generally a few hours only.
If you have been following us in this article so far, it must have become crystal clear by now which the best method for hair removal is. Sure, you have to have your own preference but when trying to look objectively and trying to get some concrete answers, Epilation rises to the top of the pile. In short, epilating is almost as quick as shaving and much quicker than waxing. It is long lasting and does not make nearly as much mess as you would get while waxing. An epilator is highly portable and you can take it with you anywhere. Its side effects are minimal when compared to other hair removal techniques. The best part is that it gives you the smoothest skin you can get and you don’t have to do it every couple of days.
We are pretty confident that if you were unsure about which path to take before, you have got a clear picture of the hair removal scenario. And now, you can make your decision wisely.
Tips and Tricks
Following are a few tips and tricks which will help you make your experience the best you can get and make it go as smoothly as possible.
- Find the best epilator for you. There is a wide variety of epilators available in the market today. Which epilator you should choose will depend on your personal requirements.
- Since the overall cost accrued is much less than other methods, it will benefit you greatly if you buy a good quality branded epilator. Consider it as an investment towards looking more beautiful.
- Prepare your skin for the process. Your skin will be better off afterwards.
- Exfoliate your skin. It will prevent the occurrence of ingrown hairs.
- Use circular motions when epilating. It will get most of your hairs yanked out in one attempt.
- You can epilate basically anywhere on your body. Just remember to be careful and pull your skin tight where you want to epilate.
- Epilators also come with attachments to make them more suitable for certain body parts. You can use them to make it easier on yourself.
- When starting off, it is a good idea to shave or wax a couple of days before you epilate for the first time. This is because epilating works best on short hair.
- Wet epilate if you want to lessen the pain. You can epilate in the shower if you have the appropriate device for it. It could also be more convenient for you to clean up.
- Epilate at night. The night is the best time to do this because you will get red spots on your skin and we are sure you would prefer to keep them to yourself. The spotting will be long gone by the time you wake up and you will be left with silky smooth skin.
- Even if you don’t want to wet epilate, you should take a warm bath or shower before epilating. It will relax your hair strands and clean your skin which is important.
- When using a dry epilator, wipe your skin with a cloth or towel in the opposite direction of the hair growth to get better results. It will make your hair stand up and taking them out will be easier.
- Make sure your skin is as dry as possible before dry epilating. If doing it wet, make sure your skin is clean and free of any oils or dirt.
- Don’t start epilating at the ankles. This is because ankles are very sensitive. Start with a hairy and less sensitive area like your lower legs.
- Go at your own pace. It is important to keep a slow pace if you have little or no experience. This is because if you do it thoroughly you will get all of your hair out and pain will be lessened also.
- You can also adjust the speed of epilator. It is recommended that when starting out you use the lowest speed settings.
- Be as comfortable as you can while epilating. It will go more smoothly and you will feel better.
- When dry epilating, you can use a hair dryer on your skin before. This will dry the hair which will make them easier to be removed smoothly and that too with lesser pain.
- If you are getting too afraid thinking of the expected pain, you can apply numbing cream on your skin before epilating.
- You can use any frozen goods in your fridge like peas to soothe your skin once you are done with the hair removal.
- Having a warm bath or shower before or while epilating is advantageous because warmth opens up your skin pores. That will result in easier yanking of hair and less pain will be felt.
- When starting off, if you epilate frequently (every 2-3 days the first couple weeks) it will help you out a lot in being hairless. This is because it will discourage subsequent hair growth and the hair will be softer and smaller and hence easier to get rid of.
- Epilate against the grain of your hair. Use gentle smooth strokes against the direction of your hair growth for best results.
- Pull your skin taut with one hand when epilating. Especially when you are working on the more sensitive body parts with skin folds, like your calves.
- If you start epilating regularly, it gets less and less painful over time. Keep that in mind when starting off and just focus on the silky touch of the skin you will get.
- Always hold the epilator perpendicular (at 90 degrees) to your skin when epilating for best results.
- Don’t hasten. Take your time. If you hurry, a lot of hair will be left behind and you will have to go back and repeat the process for them.
- Epilate in small sections of your skin. Clear it of hair meticulously before moving. This will give you better results and ultimately it will also take less time.
- Applying a moisturizer after you are done can help soothe your skin.
- Maintain your device. Clean your epilator with the brush provided once you are done with it. Regularly use rubbing alcohol to disinfect it.
- You can use a bit of talcum powder on your skin to make it dry and then rub with a towel to make your hair stand up. This will make their removal easier and less painful.
- If you are having trouble while epilating your armpits, you can use some baby powder there to make the process much smoother.
- Try not to epilate when you are on or you’re near your periods as your skin will be much more sensitive. You would not like handling intense pain during those days at all.
- Do not share your epilator or borrow it from others.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q- What is an epilator?
A- An epilator is a device for hair removal. It removes your unwanted skin hair by pulling them out from the roots.
Q- Do they work well?
A- Epilating is great for hair removal. It is pretty much undisputedly the best method of hair removal.
Q- Do they hurt a lot?
A- You will feel a considerable amount of pain the first time you do it. The pain will lessen with every subsequent time you use it.
Q- How frequently do I have to epilate to maintain a smooth skin?
A- Depending on your hair growth rate, you will have to epilate every 2-6 weeks.
Q- Where I should not use an epilator?
A- You can use your epilator almost everywhere on your body unless otherwise instructed. Just exercise care and pull your skin taut while epilating. Epilators also come with different attachments to better suit certain body parts.
Q- How to avoid the ingrown hair after epilating?
A- The best way to avoid this is by exfoliating your skin regularly and before you epilate.
Q- What is the difference between Dry and Wet epilators?
A- You can use wet epilators even while you are showering or bathing. You can’t use dry epilators with water.
Q- Is it better to epilate before or after taking the shower?
A- You will get better results while epilating after taking the shower.
Q- Can I use an epilator on long hair?
A- You can, but it will be more painful and difficult. Epilating works best with smaller hair.
Q- Can I use an epilator on my pubic hair?
A- Yes, you can. Just take care around the folds and loose skin and remember to hold your skin taut.
Q- Can I use an epilator on my face?
A- You can get attachments for using your epilator on the face or you can also get a specialized epilator for the face.
Q- Can I share my epilator?
A- Since your epilator will inevitably contract some of your dead skin cells and blood, it is not advisable to share epilators.
Q- Is epilating a permanent method of hair removal?
A- No, it is not permanent. But it will slow down your hair growth rate over time. It will also reduce the thickness of your hair with time if you do it regularly.
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This article has been medically reviewed by Dr.Nagakeerthana S, MD (Dermatology) on 16/02/2019
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