First-timers should know the basics of how to use an epilator to maximize the results and minimize the risks. But many men and women who have used epilators several times will still be surprised about the information presented here! But don’t worry as there’s no harm done since using hair removal methods usually involve trial and error, especially where DIY methods are concerned.
Aside from knowing these basics, you will also want to know the best epilators and, thus, make the best choice for yourself. After all, the tool matters as much as the person who handles it – and it applies to your choice in an epilator, too.
Basically, a hair removal epilator is a small, handheld electrical device used in the temporarily removal of facial and body hair at the follicle level. Each epilator acts as electronic tweezers that pluck hair away from the roots, thus, explaining the discomfort and the effectiveness of epilation. Emphasis must be made that an epilator for men works in the same manner as an epilator for women albeit with a few differences in features to account for the differences in physical anatomy and hair thickness.
Every hair epilator works in a similar manner – it grabs multiple strands of hair, pulls them away from their roots, and discards them, a cycle that continues until it is turned off. But the actual mechanism differs depending on the type of electric epilator, of which there are three categories.
The spring type epilators are the first of their kind – these were developed and released in Israel as Epilady in 1986. Basically, a curved coil spring with a rotating mechanism that opened and closed continuously (i.e., one part of the coil spring was squeezed close and the other part was apart). As one side flexed, it grabbed multiple hair strands while the other side plucked out the hairs.
Nowadays, the spring type epilators are used mainly for the removal of unwanted facial hairs (i.e., face epilators). These also feature a coil spring and two handles that can be turned to grab and pluck hair.
The rotating disc type epilators are easier to use than the spring type although both work in a similar manner. In a rotating disc epilator, the metal discs (i.e. plates) mounted on its top rapidly rotate over the skin and, in the process, grab, pluck and discard the unwanted hair in an action similar to tweezers.
The tweezers type epilators typically have a head where the moving plates are placed; the tips of the moving plates are the ones making direct contact with the hair. As the head rotates, these tips open and close (i.e., come apart and then together) once per rotation. The rotating action causes the tips to catch the hair strands between them, akin to a tweezing action, pull them away from their roots, and release them afterwards.
Do epilators work regardless of their type? Yes, they do and, in fact, these products are considered as the best temporary hair removal method! Keep in mind, however, that correctly using an epilator will largely determine whether an individual can enjoy maximum use from the device.
There have been countless epilator vs. wax vs. razor comparisons but in most, if not all, of them, the epilator wins on all counts! While buying an epilator requires a higher initial cost, the continuing cost is significantly lower than buying waxing and shaving supplies. Many users even say that their epilator lasted for 10 years and it’s something that cannot be said for waxing and shaving supplies that are quickly used up within a few sessions.
And in answer to the question of, “Does epilation work?” yes, it does! Epilation, which includes using an epilator and waxing, gives smoother results over a longer period than shaving ever will.
Does epilating hurt? Using an epilator involves mild to moderate discomfort, a given considering that the hair strands are pulled out from their roots, but it becomes more tolerable with each successive session.
It’s a similar experience with waxing so shaving is the least painful hair removal method of the three options. But the discomfort is well worth it because the epilator before and after results are excellent!
You will love your smooth, hairless skin that will last for three weeks at least before you see a need to epilate again. You will also notice that with each hair regrowth, your hair becomes finer and softer so it becomes easier to remove and less noticeable.
In comparison, you have to shave again in three days because the stubbles start appearing. The short period between shaving sessions can become inconvenient in a busy lifestyle.
Don’t be turned off from epilation because of the mild to moderate discomfort reported by newbies and veterans. There are numerous ways how to make epilating less painful although we have to say that it will never be 100% painless.
Keep these useful tips in mind and you will not feel as much discomfort as you expected while epilating.
If you are thinking of drinking alcohol or taking recreational drugs before epilating, perhaps as a means to decrease the discomfort, you shouldn’t under any circumstances. These substances may numb your mind and body but these can also adversely affect your judgment, and your good judgment is a must when using a hair removal device! You don’t want to use the epilator in the wrong area or use it the wrong way.
Be sure to check that the hair strands for removal are also of the right length. Experts suggest epilating when the hair is about 2-3 millimeters in length, the ideal length because it allows the epilator to grab and pluck hairs with ease.
If the unwanted hair is too long, the device will just cut it instead of pulling it away from the root. If it’s too short, then the epilator can’t grab the hair well. If possible, check that the hair is about the same length for best results.
When you’re just starting out with epilating, you may have to do it within a few days of each other. This way, you can catch ever hair as it goes through its natural growing cycle.
But if you’re still hesitant about hair removal epilation or you want to skip an epilation session, you can also read our best hair removal cream reviews. Hair removal creams are as painless as shaving so it’s a great option for pain-averse individuals.
When you have done the abovementioned preparatory steps, you are ready for the following tips on how to epilate and get the best results. Remember, too, that these are general epilator tips that can be used on whatever area of your face and body you’re working on. You will find more specific tips in the following sections so be sure to continue reading.
But avoid tugging your skin until it hurts either. Just aim for a relatively smooth and flat area of your skin where the epilator will be moving along.
Choose the lowest setting on the epilator first. You can switch to the high setting when you have become familiar with the sensation and you have determine that you’re moving in the right direction.
If you are under stress or pressure for any reason, we suggest postponing your session with the epilator. You may use the device in a hurried manner resulting in extra-sensitive skin with red bumps, broken hair, and pinched skin.
You also have to decide whether you want to epilate wet or dry. This is a matter of personal preference and experience so there isn’t a right or wrong method here.
Some people like wet epilation because the moistness of the skin combined with the heat from the hot shower lessens the discomfort. Some people also like to epilate dry since the epilator can get a better grasp on the hair strands and, thus, do its work faster and better.
If you choose the wet epilation method, the less painful one according to many epilator fans, you should first apply a small dollop of shower gel on the treatment area. You shouldn’t apply cream, oil and lotion on your skin as a lubricating agent since these will make it more difficult for the epilator to grab and pluck hairs.
If you want the dry epilation method, you should wipe your skin with a clean, dry towel until it’s completely dry. Interestingly, a less than dry treatment area can mean more discomfort because the damp hairs become slippery and sticky. These are then harder to grab and pluck.
A few days after your epilation session, you should gently exfoliate your skin to prevent ingrown hairs. The emphasis here is on gentle as rubbing too hard on your skin can increase your risk of ingrown hairs, not to mention bring back its sensitive state.
We also suggest using a gender-specific epilator. This isn’t a case of gender inequality and bias but in consideration of the differences in hair type and physical anatomy between the sexes. An epilator for men, for example, may have a larger size than an epilator for women since men typically have larger hands than women.
If you’re new to epilating, you should ideally test a small area in a less obvious area. You can then test whether you’re holding the epilator in the right manner and you can tolerate the discomfort. You can try it, for example, on your ankles first before moving to the rest of your legs and thighs.
After using the epilator, be sure to clean it! You don’t want trapped hair as well as bacteria, germs and other pathogens to take up residence in its parts and, thus, increase your risk for infections and injuries the next time you use it.
When you’re epilating your face, you should ideally use a dedicated epilator for face because it has face-specific features. Face epilators, for one thing, are smaller in size than body epilators and have batteries. But if you have a general purpose epilator and it can be adjusted for use on the face, then it will suffice for the purpose.
The abovementioned preparatory epilating tips still apply. Taking a warm shower, exfoliating a day before epilating, and applying a soothing cream are arguably more important when you’re epilating the face. You will likely have more sensitive skin in your face than in your legs and arms so it pays to be extra-careful.
You should be careful when moving the epilator in awkward areas of your face, such as above your lip. Slow and steady is the way to go when you want to remove all unwanted hair, especially a subtle mustache. Be extra careful when maneuvering the epilator near your eyebrows, obviously.
Just as with the face, we also suggest using the best epilator for legs for best results. The process of epilating legs follows most of the steps mentioned above, too, not to mention that the legs are arguably the best place to start your epilating journey.
If you’re a beginner, you may want to keep these tips in mind, too.
You may have to epilate your leg hair 2-3 times a week when you’re starting. This will get all the hairs out. You may also do touchups between full epilating sessions.
The skin on your underarms and private areas are more sensitive than the skin on your face and legs. You must then use a dedicated epilator for bikini area although the general tips on how to use epilator still apply here.
You may also buy the best epilator for Brazilian maintenance. While you can use an epilator to achieve a full Brazilian effect, we don’t suggest it because of the higher density of hair in the pubic area. You can, however, use it to maintain your Brazilian wax.
Prior to epilating bikini area, we also suggest starting first on a small patch of skin, such as the top part, to test your pain tolerance. Most of epilators for the bikini area come with attachment heads and massagers designed to reach awkward places and to cater to different types of sensitivity – get to know them before using the epilator.
A few useful tips for epilating the bikini area with less pain than expected.
Of course, you should assume a comfortable position wherein you can easily see the area where you intend to use the epilator. You can sit in front of a mirror and prop yourself up using a pillow.
As for your underarms, you should stretch your arms over your head so your skin is as stretched as possible. You may want an assistant but, in time, you will be more familiar with the process and do it on your own.
Yes, there’s a learning curve as well as the inevitable trial and error method when using an epilator. But after a single session, you will find that it’s easier to use than you expected and give best results, too!
I developed a love for the outdoors, particularly enjoying gloomy days spent in the forests. Almost every Sunday, my dad would drive my mom, myself, and my older sister to go hiking for family time and escaping the "city" life. Because of this, you'll find me writing a lot about various health topics.Whenever I get the opportunity I also love to write about make-up, skin, and hair! I've been obsessed with it ever since middle school so be sure to check out these topics that I write about as well.