Epilating and waxing are both forms of hair removal that pull hairs out from the roots. They are both notorious for smooth skin and long lasting results, and may well be the strongest contestants when it comes to hair removal.
But which is stronger?
I decided to weigh up the pros and cons of epilating and waxing to see if I could get a definitive answer.The epilator vs waxing, which is better?
What I found is that when it comes to waxing vs epilating it is about how brave you are and what you can handle. It is about your pain and patience threshold.
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- What Is The Difference Between Waxing and Epilating?
- Epilator vs Waxing Showdown
- And The Winner is…
What Is The Difference Between Waxing and Epilating?
Epilating is actually a term used for any hair removal that pulls hairs from below the surface of the skin. But for ease of this article, I am only going to use the word epilating when referring to using an epilator.
An epilator is a device that pulls out your hair from the roots using coils or tiny tweezers that when rotated pick up your hairs and pull them out. It is an electrical device that you will need to buy.
Waxing is a method of pulling your hair out with… wax.
Wax is placed on the area where you want to remove hair, a strip of cloth is placed on top (or if it’s a hard wax then no cloth strip is needed), and the wax is pulled off, bringing your hair with it.
Although the wax does stick to the skin, so it can pull it. This can cause irritation. Mainly redness, bumps, and itching.
It can also pull off the skin and cause bleeding – if you’re very unlucky!
Whereas an epilator will only pull on the actual hairs. So waxing side effects can be worse than epilator side effects.
But, lucky for us, there’s sugar wax in the world, which is a superb option for people with sensitive skin.
You have to be quite careful after waxing. The area will be sensitive and doesn’t like friction or perspiration. Which means loose clothes, no sex after a bikini wax and don’t do a facial wax before a night out in the town (as the area will be red and possibly swollen).
An epilator you would normally use at home. Whereas for waxing you can go to a salon and get a treatment (or try DIY and waxing at home with some good music and scented candles).
As both methods are ripping out your hair from the root they have the same regrowth time.
For a wax you have to wait until your hair is ¼- ½ an inch long. Whereas you can use an epilator after just a few days of regrowth. (They can grab hairs as short as 0.5mm!)
Epilating takes quite a bit longer than waxing, especially when you are getting used to it. And at first, it can be rather painful. Especially if you are used to shaving vs waxing the area or leaving it to grow naturally.
If you have been waxing or tweezing the area, it will be less sensitive.
Basically, the epilator is a slower method than waxing. Waxing is like pulling off a band-aid; quick, finished and over. An epilator is a slower thing, so you really have to champion yourself. (And as you do it at home, no one is there to cheerlead, but you.)
Epilator vs Waxing Showdown
Epilator vs Waxing: Pain
Which hurts more?
When it comes to epilator vs waxing pain, it is down to how you experience it. One is over quickly, the other is slow and controlled.
Imagine yourself by a pool on a beautiful day, but the water is cold. An epilator is like dipping your toe in the water and slowly lowering yourself in. Waxing is like jumping in head first.
Some like to go slowly and cautiously, while others like to get it over with quickly. This is the same for waxing vs shaving.
Do you like the slow control or to get it over with?
There is also the after pain to think of. Waxing does run the risk of pulling off some of your skin’s upper layer, which can cause irritation, and sometimes even bleeding. Whereas an epilator will just pull on the hairs.
Epilator vs Waxing: The Bikini Area
I feel like this is the thing that everyone wants to know about really.
How do I get my bikini line nice and smooth? So here is the low down…
Waxing at a salon is pretty easy. Book it in and they will handle everything for you. You will have to pay a bit of a premium though.
You will go into a beautifully clean room, wear paper panties, have warm waxed spread on you and asked to get into some rather weird positions. (The more ‘thorough’ the wax, the more you will end up with your butt in a strangers face.)
Then you get to go home, hair-free fairly quickly.
Or you can wax yourself at home. Which is cheaper and more private. But it can be difficult to get into the right positions to achieve everything you want.
For example, if you want a Brazilian, which is everything off underneath, then you will have to get quite flexible. Maybe they should invent a new type of yoga that prepares you for the positions of at home bikini waxing?
Either way, afterward you may experience some sensitivity. The thing is, that wax sticks to your skin as well as the hairs you want to remove, so it can end up tugging at your skin.
Now, the epilator will not be sticky or awkward or expensive. But I will tell you this: It hurts. And it hurts a lot.
You can get a special head for your epilator to use on the bikini line. It has fewer tweezers attached, which is better for sensitive areas. Although, this still makes it a rather lengthy process.
I’m am not convinced that epilators actually hurt more than waxing, it is just a slower process. So the pain is prolonged. But once you get used to it, it is very convenient.
If you are used to waxing or plucking the area then it shouldn’t hurt too much. But if you have been shaving or letting your hair grow free, be prepared to bite on a bit.
The lower part is the most sensitive and I honestly don’t dare do this with an epilator, so I think it also depends on what style you want.
Although, I’ve also covered the best epilators for Brazilian as people have been looking and asking for them.
Epilator vs Waxing: for Facial Hair
If you have already been waxing or tweezing your face, I would try an epilator.
An epilator doesn’t affect the actual skin as much as waxing, so it is better for sensitive skin. Use a moisturizer afterward and after a couple of hours, the skin is back to normal.
Waxing is much better at precision though. For eyebrows, epilating is pretty useless.
I recently discovered a manual epilator. It is basically a spring coil a few inches long, with two small round handles either side of it. See below what I mean.
It’s worth having a little look at video tutorials to get it right. I was confused at first, but after 5 minutes I had totally nailed it.
I actually didn’t find it that painful either. But I am used to waxing and tweezing facial hair, so I think that really helps. People that usually use hair removal cream or simply have left their hair natural reported that it stings quite a bit.
In fact, I tried it on my thigh where I don’t normally remove the hair at all and OUCH! So it takes a bit of getting used to.
Again, it is hard to get the precision for eyebrows though.
You know, there’s actually a third method for getting the perfect eyebrows – THREADING! Epilators might not work for the eyebrows well, but, no worries, as I’ve looked into the debate of eyebrow threading vs waxing <– here!
Epilator vs Waxing: Legs
The legs are not too sensitive, so they are the perfect area to test what you like. The least sensitive area is the inside of the lower leg, so start here.
An epilator takes a while to master and will take longer than waxing. But waxing can pull at the skin (making the area dry and sensitive.) But using an epilator takes SO much longer.
Epilator vs Waxing: for Underarms
Wax hates sweat, so an epilator will cause less sensitivity afterward. But an epilator will sting like hell.
Epilator vs Waxing: Cost
This is a very simple answer. Regardless of if you wax at a salon or at home, it will end up more expensive than using an epilator. An epilator is one payment, then you are good to go.
Epilator vs Waxing: Ingrown Hair
As waxing and epilating are both methods that pull your hairs out from their roots, they both have a similar likelihood of causing ingrown hairs. (Which is when a hair cannot come through the surface so it starts to grow back in on itself.)
Use a bit of tea tree oil on the area, and a warm compress to soften the skin. Use some sterilized tweezers to gently pull out the ingrown hairs. Do not pick! (It is so tempting I know.)
You should also exfoliate between hair removals.
How Long Does Waxing Last For?
Anywhere from 2-6 weeks. You will have to wait for the hair to grow to at least a ¼ of an inch before you can wax again.
How Long Does Epilation Last For?
2-6 weeks. But you can re-epilate at just 0.5mm, so you can do touch-ups as needed.
Can Epilation Reduce Hair Growth?
Because epilation rips hair out of the root, it can cause permanent damage to the hair follicle. Which means less hair may grow. Resulting in reduced hair growth.
So yes, but there are no guarantees.
Do Epilators Cause Ingrown Hairs?
This is the same as the answer to Does waxing cause ingrown hairs? In short. Yes.
Any method that pulls hairs out from the root can cause ingrown hairs. The best thing to do is to exfoliate the skin between treatments.
And The Winner is…
It’s a tie.
An epilator has many advantages over waxing.
It is cheaper, better for your skin and you can do touch-ups, so you don’t have to wait for your hair to grow back to a long length (which sort of defeats the point of hair removal if you ask me.)
The epilator disadvantages are that it is painful, and it takes time to do, and get used to. Although, when you have mastered epilating and gotten used to the sensation, you do feel like somewhat of a champion.
Waxing wins when talking about the advantage in ease. You can simply book in at a salon and get someone to do it for you.
But the waxing disadvantages are that you have to spend more money, can end up with skin irritations and have to wait for regrowth between waxing.
So what do you think? When weighing up the pros and cons of epilating, can you brave the pain? And when weighing up the pros and cons of waxing, can you take the strain (on your purse)?
I think both methods have their merits. If you haven’t tried epilating but are used to waxing, give it a go. If you are not used to hair removal that pulls hair out at the root, then I would suggest starting with a wax.
Try both and see what works for you. If you have any thoughts on waxing vs epilating let us know in the comment section.
It’s always great to hear everyone’s different experiences. Word of mouth is the best way to learn about these things, (well, word of the internet, you know what I mean.)
fThere are probably many more pros and cons of waxing and epilating. So let’s share!