All about epilators: What they do, how much to pay, and aftercare
In the ever-expanding world of hair removal, there are generally only three options that people gravitate towards — shaving, waxing, and lasers. If none of these have been working out for you, here's an option that is constantly being overlooked: the epilator. Don't worry, it doesn't hurt as bad as it sounds, and epilating has some major benefits including longer-lasting results and zero required visits to the salon. We dish the dirt, below.
What is an epilator?
An epilator is a rotating wheel of multiple tweezers that pull out your hair from the root as you move it across your skin. The way in which epilators pull out hair is similar to waxing, although unlike waxing, they do not remove cells from the epithelium of the epidermis. We don't want to bore you with too much technical terms, so TL;DR: An epilator is an electrical device used to remove hair by mechanically grasping multiple hairs simultaneously and pulling them out.
What to know before getting an epilator
Epilation can be painful to some people because, as with waxing, it involves pulling hair out of the roots. Depending on your pain threshold, some people prefer to have the area professionally waxed first before reaching for an epilator to deal with subsequent regrowth. Wet epilators are comparatively less painful to use as removing hair from wet skin involves less pain. If the pain is intolerable, using a numbing cream prior to hair removal will reduce the pain to a large extent. If your epilator allows you to toggle its speed, keeping it at the lowest setting may also reduce the amount of pain involved. So, if you have very sensitive skin — or are dealing with severe inflammation — epilators might not be suitable.
Which areas does it work best for, and what are its benefits?
Epilators are best for areas with tough skin, such as the arms and legs. Technically, it can be used on more sensitive areas of the body too, such as the bikini area, face, and underarms — but it might hurt a little more depending on your pain tolerance.
With epilation, you’ll be able to remove those irritating fine strands of hairs that waxing might not be able to reach, resulting in softer, smoother skin. There’s also the added benefit of being able to DIY epilation. As opposed to in-office treatments like laser hair removal, epilation can be done anytime, anywhere, with the right tools.
What epilator should I get?
For your exact skin type and needs, we've curated a list of epilators we think you should look at.
How do I begin epilating?
Make sure to gently exfoliate the area before you begin. Then, decide whether you’re using your epilator on wet or dry skin. If you’re using it on wet skin, you’ll want to dampen the skin with warm water for at least 10 minutes, either in the shower or a bath. If you’re using your epilator on dry skin, take a shower to remove oils and weaken the hair strands. Once you dried off with a towel, brush the hairs against the direction of growth. Pull your skin taut, and gently glide the epilator loosely against the skin at a 90-degree angle, slowly sweeping it along the direction of hair growth.
After using an epilator, make sure to brush off any lingering hairs to prevent infection. Moisturize the area constantly to minimize irritation. Be sure to cleanse your epilator with alcohol, too. Your skin will likely be sensitive and prone to ingrown hairs within the first few days, so remember not to pick, exfoliate, or otherwise aggravate the skin.
While it’s impossible to guarantee a bump-free removal, there are a few things you can do to minimize your chances. Exfoliate. You can exfoliate at any point before you use the epilator. This way, you’ll be able to remove dead skin cells without irritating your skin. If ingrown hairs happen, don’t worry - and definitely don’t pick at them. Use an ingrown hair treatment or oil on the area to soothe and heal. If your ingrown hairs don’t go away, it might be time to see a doctor to have them remove the hair safely.
The results will usually last for three to four weeks, so there'll be some time for you to flaunt your baby-smooth skin before repeating the process again. Moreover, people claim that it'll hurt less the more often you epilate — go figure, huh?