Is an Epilator Better Than Waxing?

Reviewed on 5/3/2021

Epilator
Epilators can be used if you are too busy to visit a salon and need to remove the upper lip or eyebrow hair.

Other than individual preference, neither technique is better than the other.

Epilators are electronic devices that mechanically pull each hair completely from the roots. There are different types of epilators available in the market that can be used either with or without water. Epilators can be used if you are too busy to visit a salon and need to remove the upper lip or eyebrow hair.

Waxing is an effective method of hair removal for the arms and feet because it removes the hair completely from the hair root in large quantities. Following are the differences between the two methods.

  • Time required: Epilators are quicker in removing the hair than shaving and waxing.
  • Convenience: Epilators do not create a sticky mess such as waxing. They do not require more setup to work and are easier to clean up. Some epilators can be used with water and are convenient to use during a shower. However, some epilators can be used without water. Therefore, they are convenient to use anywhere.
  • Discomfort: You may have some discomfort with both epilators and waxing, which reduces over time.
  • Regrowth: Results with both methods are long-lasting, and the hair may not grow for three to six weeks. However, epilators can remove just 0.5-mm-long hair, whereas waxing may remove 2- to 12-mm hair. Therefore, epilators’ effects last longer, and the hair will take longer to regrow in between sessions.
  • Durability: Epilators are durable and compact, unlike waxing products. However, waxing is cost-effective compared with epilators.
  • Side effects: Most side effects of waxing and epilators are similar. A person may get painful bumps and rashes around the pores for a few hours after using epilators. This generally resolves after some time. If you have sensitive skin, you may have severe rashes and boils. You may also experience some ingrown hair after using epilators and waxing. Exfoliation before using an epilator is the best practice to avoid ingrown hair. Moreover, try to avoid tight clothes on the area that have been epilated recently. If you have sensitive or allergic skin, you may experience more bruises, rashes, or bleeding in some more sensitive areas of skin. Similarly, while waxing, if you do not practice proper hygienic care, there may be a risk of skin irritation, bleeding, folliculitis (infection of pockets from which the hair grows), or infection. Additionally, your skin may get very dry or sore if you need to do it for the same area multiple times.

Ultimately, both epilators and waxing are great hair removal methods for long-lasting effects. If you have extra sensitive skin and cannot tolerate pain and are fine with additional prepping, then it is best to go for traditional waxing. However, if you can tolerate some pain and need a quick, easy and convenient durable gadget, then epilators are a much better option than waxing. There are different types of epilators, but tweezer-type epilators are more effective.

Which is more painful?

Both epilators and waxing pull the hair from their roots, so they are both equally painful than shaving. Epilators can be particularly more painful if you normally shave or use hair-removing creams or depilatory (shaving) creams. This is because, in shaving, the hair is generally not removed from the root but only from your skin surface. Over time, the root of your hair regrows more hair each time you shave, and the hair follicles may get quite strong.

With waxing or epilators, it may feel like your hair is growing back less and finer. If you have shaved your hair for a long time, it is beneficial to wax off all the hair once, then epilate the regrowth. In this way, epilators may hurt less.

High-powered electronic epilators can have 100 tweezers that pull a lot of hair once with each pass similar to waxing. However, the process of application of warm wax, pressing and quickly removing may hurt less. It soothes your skin and reduces the redness of the skin. Waxing hurts very little, and it is easier than epilators for the first time. Both waxing and epilator sensations are different. Some people may quickly get accustomed to the pain of epilator and find it convenient than waxing.

How to wax safely at home

Waxing at home can be an affordable method for hair removal. For the best results, dermatologists recommend the following tips.

  • Before waxing, ensure the optimal length of your hair is about one-fourth to three-fourths of an inch long. If your hair is longer, trim them before waxing for a less painful experience.
  • Avoid over-the-counter creams containing retinol or retinoids for two to five days before waxing your facial hair.
  • Before waxing, gently wash and remove dirt and dead skin cells and dry the skin properly.
  • Test the temperature of the wax by applying a small amount inside of your wrist. Check whether it hurts.
  • Apply the wax to a small section of your skin with unwanted hair in the direction of your hair growth for best results.
  • Place the cloth strip over the wax and press down firmly for two to three seconds.
  • Hold your skin tightly with one hand and use your other hand to quickly pull off the cloth strip in the opposite direction of hair growth.
  • While waxing sensitive and tricky spots such as underarms, request another person to help you.
  • Soothe your skin by applying a cold pack or aloe vera to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Avoid waxing sunburn and very sensitive skin or if you have taken isotretinoin in the last six months.
  • If you experience severe redness and swelling after waxing that lasts more than two days, see your dermatologist.
  • Avoid performing bikini wax at home; approach a professional to help wax sensitive areas.

What are the side effects of epilation?

There are minimum side effects of hair removal (epilation), which include

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Infection of the follicles (pockets from which the hair grows)
  • Scaring
  • Darkening of skin
  • Ingrown hair

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References
WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/beauty/cosmetic-procedures-hair-removal#1

https://dermnetnz.org/topics/epilation/

Skin Research Technology: Bjerring P, Egekvist H, Blake T. Comparison of the efficacy and safety of three different depilatory methods. Skin Res Technol. 1998 Nov;4(4):196-199. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0846.1998.tb00110.x. PMID: 27332688.

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