Women have always been somehow obsessed with their bodies and specific looks, but there is a special focus on hair removal. Even from ancient times, women found ways to achieve getting smooth skin at any cost.
Now, in modern times, things are much easier, but yet there are some dilemmas when it comes to epilator vs shaving, or which one is better.
- Let’s talk: Epilating
- Let’s Talk: Shaving!
- Putting It All Together
Let’s talk: Epilating
What is an Epilator?
You surely want to know what an epilator is. An epilator is a small electric and indeed, convenient device for removing hairs somewhat fast and in the comfort of your home, or wherever you are, as long as you have this device with you (and cordless).
Once you invest in one of the best epilators, there are no costs or troubles in using it.
Epilators have a rotating roller that has a few sets of mini-tweezers. Once it’s running, you bring it close to the skin and you notice the tweezers plucking many hairs with one move.
This might answer the question of how does an epilator work. More on that later.
There is something similar to an epilator – a trimmer. There are differences though between these two, so read on.
The epilator removes hairs by plucking them from the root, whereas a trimmer just cuts the visible hair parts, leaving the hair root inside. This means epilators are indeed effective.
The hair removal pain is proof of it, as it means that the hairs are fully removed and not just cut.
How to Epilate?
And the next question that needs a precise answer is: how to epilate?
This is such an easy process, it is almost unbelievable.
Firstly, the skin must be clean prior to this process, if possible do an exfoliation too – it works wonders for making the hairs stick out better, which means less ingrown hairs.
So, how does an epilator work? We’re going to take this one step at a time, don’t run, take a deep breath!
Plug the epilator in an electricity socket (or you can have a cordless one or a battery operated one, this depends on what you bought) and turn the button on.
Then, try to maintain the skin tight or taut and the device under an angle, preferably 90 degrees. Then simply move the device along the skin, easy as that!
What about the face, can it be used there too? Of course, the same applies.
Tighten the skin (if you’re epilating your upper lip, then your tongue can come in handy in stretching the skin taut), move the device much gentler than other body parts, and after that moisturize with a little bit of antibacterial cream or ideally an Aloe Vera gel, to calm the skin down.
If you’re allergic to Aloe Vera, ice cubes work really well also!
Do epilators work on fine hair? Yes! This is the best part, unlike lasers that just get pigmented hairs, epilators, for example, pluck out the fine ones too, leaving the skin there even softer than before.
And same goes for thick hairs – epilators remove them just as easy, you can actually feel those hairs being removed completely.
And what would be the best way to use an epilator? Just keep a few simple things in mind:
- Don’t grow the hair out too long (you’re not waxing it, half a rice grain is a good length for an epilator)
- Have exfoliated and clean skin prior to the process,
- Tighten the skin,
- Hold the device under a 90 degrees angle and
- Move it gently all along, for legs and arms you can move it upwards in very small circular motions (this will help get all the hairs if they’re growing in different directions)
Voila, smooth skin!
Epilator + Ingrown hairs = Why Does this Happen?
This is quite a common question, so no worries, you’re not alone in this.
But to be completely honest, in the debate of epilator vs shaving – both methods give me ingrown hairs IF I don’t treat my skin properly.
Most of the time, ingrown epilation hairs appear because the skin was probably not exfoliated prior to the epilation.
But more importantly, the skin is not being treated properly AFTER epilation. You have to keep exfoliating, so the hairs can get out.
The first exfoliation should happen 2-3 days after your epilation session.
Also, shaving that skin once in a while could help in making the thick hairs show on the surface better, so they are plucked much easier.
Do Epilators Hurt?
To these questions, there will be various answers…
Every woman will give a different opinion. Some are more sensitive than others and that’s normal. At first it might seem a bit too painful, but in fact, that’s just the first impression, it needs getting used to.
Also, prior to your monthly period, the body gets more sensitive, so bear that in mind too – don’t try your first session of epilating prior to that time of the month.
First Time Epilating Tips
It is essential to choose the right product first. Once this is covered, the next step would be to gather some exfoliation creams or a loofah or even a glove-scrub.
These things will help to prevent the “syndrome” of epilator ingrown hair.
When in the shower, wash and exfoliate, then pat dry really nice and well. And the process of device holding angle starts. Remember – pulling the skin taut makes it less painful!
Bikini Epilation Tips
This could sound trickier, since the bikini area is so incredibly close to the most intimate area, right? By now you may be wondering what’s better – shaving vs epilating.
No need to be worried, with epilation the bikini will be perfectly fine.
If the bikini area hairs are long, trim them first. Then, together with the taut skin, the device must be moved mindfully (but not too slowly) to avoid pain. The epilator could have a special attachment for this area if so, use that part on the device’s head.
After finished, cool the skin down with Aloe Vera gel or some ice cubes. Don’t put moisturizers right after epilating your bikini area.
After you’re done, you can wipe the epilated area with special tissues that have soothing oils (but I’d advise putting oils only after at least 12 hours, as your pores are all open after epilating), or even better, rinse with mild soap and water and dry well.
Use an antibacterial, non-scented moisturizer sparingly to avoid clogging of pores that just got open.
And of course, if clothes cover that area, on that day, try to wear loose and comfy fabrics.
Epilator Pros and Cons
You can see many benefits of epilating, if done properly, of course. It has some drawbacks too, so let’s see:
- Saves time from going to salons.
- Saves money since you do it yourself.
- It is mobile, so you bring this wherever you go/travel.
- No costs for maintenance or similar issues.
- Your skin doesn’t have to be wet to remove hairs (opposite of shaving), you can epilate even while camping.
- It could cause mild hurting to some since it’s a set of tweezers.
- It could cause ingrown hairs (especially if the skin is not pulled taut).
FAQs about Epilating
Where Can You Use an Epilator?
This device can be used on intimate areas, legs, arms, stomach, and face – so you can be smooth all over. It is indeed practical.
If you’re wondering: “Which epilator should I buy?”, then check out these articles:
Can Epilator be Used to Remove Pubic Hair?
Of course, it works wonders on the bikini area as well as other body parts, leaving it smooth for weeks.
Can You Use an Epilator on Your Bikini Line?
Yes, of course, if there are epilators for Brazilian, you sure can use it on the bikini line. Just as the previous question says it, intimate area and/or just the bikini line can be perfectly smooth by using this device.
Can You Use an Epilator on the Face?
Of course, yes. If you work the device gently on the sensitive skin area, it removes hairs just as on other body parts.
How Long Does an Epilator Last?
If you don’t throw it on the floor with full force, then no worries – these devices can last for many years, sometimes more than a decade even!
Does Epilation Reduce Hair Growth?
Yes and No. It depends on your hormones and DNA. I went bikini waxing for 3 years and got no reduction of hair growth. The hairs did become softer, though. They weren’t as course anymore.
But for some, the lucky ones, hair actually do start growing less. Or at least, they appear to be less, since the hairs do become finer.
Will Epilating Stop Hair Growth?
Epilation surely reduces hair thickness or hair quantity, but it’s likely you won’t see permanent results.
Unless, you’re one of the lucky ones that do have a story of permanent hair removal in one spot just by using an epilator – if so, please do share with us your story in the comments! We want to give you a compliment of how lucky you are!
What to Do if Epilator Just Breaks Hairs?
First of all, you might have a wrong epilator that doesn’t suit you.
But, most likely, you are moving too fast on the skin. Slower movements on a taut skin are perfect. Don’t just go over a skin section once, go over it a few times, slowly until smooth.
Also, pay attention to the angle. Don’t press the device, and also don’t soothe your skin by holding the device too far.
90 degrees and taut skin.
If hairs still break, it means either some of them were too short to be plucked 100% or your epilator needs to be retired and a new one has to take its place.
I know what you’re thinking – too expensive! There are good, cheap epilators out there, read this article!
Why are My Legs Not Smooth After Epilating?
You probably tried to epilate them when the hairs are way too short for the tweezers to be able to catch the hairs, didn’t exfoliate or didn’t hold the skin taut. Try epilating after you get out of the shower to make hairs softer.
Also, when we’re talking about epilating legs or arms, move upwards using small circular motions.
How Long do the Results of an Epilator Last?
Just as with waxing, after epilation expect the skin to be smooth for a week at least, and the second week after epilating the first stubble might appear, so overall for 2 weeks you have no worries.
How Long Does Epilation Last For?
Epilation lasts a bit longer than shaving because you might need to use the device again or a few times on the same skin section, compared to shaving. So, still, this is a fast process.
Do Epilators Cause Ingrown Hairs?
Nothing can cause ingrown hairs on its own. We either don’t exfoliate or use hair removal methods recklessly.
So, to avoid ingrown hairs, always exfoliate, remove hairs after you get out of the shower and use steady, slow movements (a bit faster movements for bikini area).
Or get a good ingrown hair product.
How Often Should You Epilate?
You should epilate as soon as hairs are not too short and not too long.
So, approximately every 2 weeks more or less is perfect. If you have a truly good epilator, your hairs can be as short as a half of a rice grain – it will do the job.
Although, the first month of your epilating journey will be different. You’ll have to take out the epilator every 3 days or so for the first 2 weeks, as the hairs grow in different stages so new hairs will be coming out frequently.
Shave once every week to make them in one level, then epilate again in a few days.
Does Epilation Cause Dark Underarms?
No. The pigment of the hair depends on the person and their skin tone.
However, shaving could make underarms darker because shaving is done more often and hairs show much sooner. Also, the fact that shaving leaves the roots under the skin, which gives the impression of dark armpits.
Epilation does not cause this.
Does Epilating Make Hair Grow Back Thicker?
No. Epilation removes hairs from the root, so they are not stronger or thicker.
Can You Use an Epilator on Varicose Veins?
If the veins are varicose in the initial state, it can be done. But, if the condition is worse or more serious, epilation is best to be avoided.
But I 100% advise you to contact your primary physician to approve of the idea of epilator on varicose veins, as he/she knows you (and has actually seen you)!
Let’s Talk: Shaving!
What’s the Difference Between Shaving vs. Epilating?
The everlasting dilemma: epilators vs shaving. We all compare between epilator vs razor all the time since one does the job slightly faster than the other, or is less painful etc.
But, of course, the difference is that epilators leave skin smooth for weeks, and razors just for a day or two.
Epilators remove hairs from the root and reduce hair growth, and it seems (or feels) that razors worsen the hair growth.
What Type of Razor is Best for Sensitive Skin?
In any shop or pharmacy, there are special razors for many purposes.
Even if you are a female, you can opt for razors for men since sometimes they have a great design and multiple blades with a head that rotates or twists.
The choice of such razors is almost limitless.
Read more about good regular razors for sensitive skin, here.
Although, I have to say that I’ve switched from regular razors to a quality safety razor, as it is MUCH gentler to your skin. It takes some time getting used to it but is well worth the investment if you’re in an endless fight with razors bumps and razor burns.
What Kind of Razor Should I Use for My Pubic Area?
Ditto for this. There are many varieties of razors, and usually on the label, it says if it’s fit for angled areas, sensitive skin and so on. Also, an electric shaver is a smart idea for this body area.
And if you were wondering if a safety razor can be used in this part of the body, then yes, it can! Just go slowly and carefully.
Say goodbye to nasty red razor bumps in the bikini area if you shave with a safety razor.
Shaving Pros and Cons
We saw the good and the bad for epilators, let’s look at the same for razors.
- Painless (unless you cut yourself).
- Easy to carry with you for an emergency shave anywhere.
- No costs for maintenance or similar issues.
- Can get a really close, silky smooth shave.
- Costly – good razors cost a lot and need to be replaced frequently, plus all the shaving creams.
- If your skin is very sensitive, you can’t shave every two or three days (as it is in my case) due to razor burns and bumps.
- Smooth skin doesn’t last long – up to 1 or 2 days only.
- Can’t dry-shave, whereas with a cordless epilator it is possible to remove hairs even in a forest.
FAQs about Shaving
Is Shaving After Epilating Different?
No. Shaving is always the same, no pain, no troubles. After epilation shaving, in fact, can be simpler, since there are not too many or too strong hairs.
Does it Hurt (Due to Ingrown Hairs)?
No. Shaving never hurts, and same goes for skin with ingrown hairs.
The only exception to this is if you’ve not exfoliated properly and you’ve accumulated a lot of ingrown hairs that almost look like goosebumps when you’re cold – then the shaving process will be unpleasant.
Do You Exfoliate Before or After You Shave?
After shaving is not obligatory to exfoliate, but prior (as with every hair removal) it is. It opens pores nicely so that hairs stick out all the way to be removed.
But exfoliate at least twice a week to not let those lazy hairs that don’t want to come out of the skin become ingrown hairs.
How Do You Make Razor Bumps Go Away?
Once you got them, try to skip shaving the following 2-3 days. In the meantime, use good antibacterial, non-scented soaps, moisturizers or for serious bumps hydrocortisone creams, tea tree oil or Aloe Vera.
Keratosis Pilaris (a.k.a. Strawberry legs) seems like rough bumps, if you have it, read more about it and how to treat it, here.
Also, no tight clothes, just comfy fabrics.
What Causes Razor Bumps After Shaving?
There are a few reasons for this.
Goosebumps skin that is shaved can irritate pores and cause red bumps.
Also, a razor that is used for too long will give you razor bumps – so, try to replace the razor once you feel the blade tugging the hairs and cutting your skin rather than leaving your skin super-smooth.
And don’t forget to use lots of soap foam or shaving cream during shaving.
Why do I have Pimples on My Pubic Area After Shaving?
This area is very gentle and needs proper care and after-care. Shave this section when you’re in the shower, so the steam softens the skin and pores. Use only a new razor, not a dull-blade one.
Apply shaving cream based on soothing items like Aloe Vera, for example. Or special aftershave creams.
If all fails, use an electric shaver for this part.
Do Razor Bumps go Away on Their Own?
Yes and No.
For the razor bumps to go away, you need to do some work too.
But, nothing special – comfortable clothes and good fabrics (like cotton underwear if you just shaved the bikini area), mild soaps and really good moisturizers after showering – preferably those for rashes or sensitive skin.
Can I use Nair on My Pubic Hair?
Of course. Clean the skin well and decide which section you cover with Nair.
Prior to this, trim too long hairs if needed. The skin shouldn’t be completely dry, just wet enough to be soft. Apply Nair and avoid the vulva area.
After 3-4 minutes, rinse the product, and if there is a burning sensation, rinse immediately and moisturize.
Do You Shave Up or Down?
As a rule of thumb, the first pass with the razor is in the direction of the hair growth to avoid bumps. The second pass is opposite the hair direction, and this is called a ‘closer shave’.
Can Shaving Increase Facial Hair?
No, says Amy McMichael, chair of the Department of Dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Health. You only have a certain number of hairs follicles, they won’t multiply once you shave that area!
Although, you might say: “My hairs DO grow back thicker and coarser”.
Let me explain.
Each hair is like the tip of a pencil.
It may appear that the hairs grow back thicker due to the fact that you’re cutting the hairs in the thickest part of the hair (nearer the root than the end of the hair where it is the finest), so now the tip of the hair appears to be thick as it was cut straight at the middle of the whole hair.
Putting It All Together
As we see so far, when it comes to epilation vs shaving, there are pros and cons to both methods.
The hair removal process for both methods could be almost the same length but epilation reduces hairs, leaves the skin smoother for a longer time and has the same effect as waxing.
Shaving, on the other hand, lasts just a day or two for most people. But shaving is the last-minute resort in situations that require urgent hair removal.
The choice of which team to join – epilator vs shaving – depends on the time, money and patience you’re willing to invest. Also, a pretty significant key factor is your pain tolerance.
If you’re still in doubt of what to choose – epilator or razor – then I’d say: Try both.
Check your skin’s reaction to both methods after 2 days – which one gives you razor bumps/burns? Which one gives you more ingrown hairs? The method that is better even after 3-5 days after the hair removal process, would be the one I’d chose.