Should You Epilate Before or After a Shower?


Best practices for epilation can be hard to figure out. And showering seems to be one of the most confusing topics when it comes to epilation. Because of this, I get tons of questions about when to shower.

So should you epilate before or after a shower? Whether you have a wet or dry epilator, it’s almost always best to epilate before you shower. There are several reasons why this is important, which I cover below. However, if you can’t shower before you epilate, you’ll be fine if you take a few precautions.

Why You Should Epilate After a Shower

Avoid Infection

This is one of the most important reasons to shower before epilation. After you use an epilator, your hair follicles are damaged and this makes skin more prone to infection.

So getting rid of dirt, sweat, bacteria and other microorganisms by cleansing skin in the shower before epilation will make infection less likely.

Prevent Ingrown Hair

Epilating makes you prone to ingrown hairs so you need to exfoliate when you epilate. Because your hair follicles will be irritated after epilation, it’s always best to exfoliate before epilation. Since most exfoilation requires water, it’s easiest to exfoilate in the shower.

The exception would be if you are using a chemical exfoliation treatment such as Tendskin. But even if you do end up using a chemical exfoliation treatment, you can’t cleanse the skin afterwards. So you may as well just shower beforehand.

Epilate with Ease

Warm water and steam from a shower open closed hair follicles. This allows hair to slip out of the pore with more ease. So you’ll miss fewer hairs and breakage will be less likely.

Calm Your Nerves and Skin

Warm water from a shower relaxes the body and calms the skin. The less stress you feel translates to less pain, which is so important when using an epilator. Warm water also calms the skin, which will limit the irritation it experiences.

Tips for Showering Before Epilation

Here’s a few tips and steps so you don’t miss anything important when you shower before you use your epilator:

Use Warm Water

Warm water is best. If water is too cool, it won’t open up pores. If it’s too hot, it may make skin prone to irritation when epilating. You want it warm to hotish, but not too hot. 

Exfoliate

Use a loofah or exfoliating gloves with an exfoliating scrub such as Soap And Glory Flake Away Body Scrub to cleanse skin and remove dead skin cells. Rinse thoroughly.

Pat Dry

Don’t rub skin dry. Instead, pat your skin dry with a towel to avoid irritating the skin. Make sure the towel is clean so you don’t expose clean skin to germs.

Avoid Skin Care Products

After you shower, don’t apply lotion, oil, deodorant, or other products to your skin. These will make it harder for the epilator to grab hairs. Once you epilate, you can apply a gentle moisturizer, but you should avoid most products for about 12 to 24 hours after epilating. 

Use Baby Powder

If after drying with a towel, your skin still seems too damp and you experience friction when epilating, use baby powder or talc powder on skin. This will absorb moisture and reduce friction.

Wait 30 Minutes

If you have thin hair or you have problems with hair breaking when using an epilator, wait 10-30 minutes for your hairs to thoroughly dry before you start using your epilator.

The Cons Epilating After Shower

Although it’s a best practice to shower before you epilate, there are a few reasons it’s not always ideal.

Friction from Damp Skin

I don’t hear about this problem often, so it seems to be rare. But my biggest gripe with taking a shower before epilation is the damp skin.

Damp, moist skin creates friction, making it hard to glide the epilator gracefully across skin. If you’re not careful, the epilator can catch your skin or cause a rug burn. 

However, you can solve this issue by either using a talc/baby powder on the skin to dry up excess moisture or simply waiting until your skin is thoroughly dry before using your epilator.

Hair Breakage

Another problem with epilating after a shower is wet hair. If your hair absorbs a lot of water, it will be weighed down, making it harder for an epilator to grab hairs.

Wet hairs are also weaker and break more easily. So an epilator may break hair off at the surface instead of pulling them out by the root.

To avoid this problem, you may need to give your 10-30 minutes to fully dry before you start epilating.

Inconvenience

Sometimes it’s just not feasible to shower before epilating. For example, if you’re sharing a shower with lots of people and can’t coordinate your showering schedule to work this way.

Or, for example, if you need to save your hairdo from shower humidity but just realized your pits desperately need some weed wacking if you are going to wear that sleeveless blouse that matches your pants.

In these rare occurrences, you probably want to know if you can skip the shower before epilating without dire effects happening. 

Can you shower after epilating?

It’s not ideal, but you can shower after epilating instead of before, if you take a few precautions. 

Cleanliness

You need to have the most sanitary conditions as possible for epilating. So if you use a topical antiseptic like Bactine spray (which also helps with epilation pain) and wash your hands, the end result is the same as showering before epilating — you have a clean body before epilating.

Then showering is optional – both before or after epilating. 

However, if you don’t use an antiseptic, try to wash the area you are epilating before you epilate. If that doesn’t happen, then shower after epilating. This is not the best way to epilate, but it will still help prevent infection better than doing nothing at all. 

Exfoliation

If you don’t shower before you epilate, you need to plan ahead and exfoliate the day before you epilate. Once you epilate, you need to wait at least two days to exfoliate because your skin will be too irritated for exfoliation. 

However, if you are not prone to ingrown hairs, you may be able to get away with skipping exfoliating before epilating every once in a while. Just make sure you exfoliate 2-3 days after you use your epilator. 

Other Reasons to Shower After Epilation

Sometimes, you just may want to shower after epilation for other reasons. It feels good and can be calming to your irritated skin.

It also allows you to rinse stray hairs off your body and down the drain. So if you just feel like taking a shower after epilating, there is no reason to skip it.

Should You Epilate in the Shower?

If you’ve heard of wet epilation, you may be wondering if you should epilate in the shower. First of all, you should know that not all epilators will work in the shower and it’s dangerous to use dry epilators in the shower.

So before you even entertain the thought of epilating in the shower, make sure your epilator model is designed to work in water.

However, even if you have a wet epilator, I don’t usually recommend epilating in the shower. Water weighs hair down and makes it more slippery, resulting in less efficient epilation.

Wet hair also breaks easily, which means hair is not getting pulled out by the root and you’ll end up with stubble the next day.

In addition, the lighting in showers tends to suck, so you’ll end up missing hairs. Overall, it’s just not the best epilation experience in my opinion.

However, there is one major reason to epilate in the shower – pain. Warm water calms skin, relaxes the body, and the sensory experience confuses your nervous system, which makes you feel less pain.

So if pain is a huge concern for you, the reduced efficiency may not matter that much. In that case, epilate in the shower until epilating becomes less painful for you. 

Final Takeaways

Whether you are epilating your legs, bikini, underarms, or anywhere else, it’s almost always better to use an epilator after you shower. If you can’t do that, make sure you use a topical antiseptic spray like Bactine to prevent infection. And schedule time to exfoliate a day before you use your epilator so you’ll avoid ingrown hairs. 

If you have a wet epilator, you can epilate during a shower. But I only recommend this if you are using the shower to manage epilator pain.

Related Questions

When to moisturize after epilating? 

After epilating, you may need to wait 30 to 60 minutes to allow inflammation to go down before you apply moisturizer. Aloe vera gel is usually an exception to this rule. You can usually apply it immediately after epilating. It will help with irritation, soothe skin, and moisturize. 

When to exfoliate after epilating? 

Exfoliation irritates the skin and pores. And after you epilate, your skin will be irritated, so you need to wait 2-3 days to exfoliate. Then you should continue to exfoliate regularly every 2-3 days. 

What epilator do you recommend?

The epilator I currently use and get great results with is the Braun Silk-épil 9. If you just want to test out epilation or want an epilator for the face, underarms, or bikini area, I recommend the budget-friendly Emjoi Epi Slim (click to check it out on Amazon).

Have more questions about epilation? Check out the Epilator FAQ and Beginner’s Guide!

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Heather McClure

I've been a freelance writer for over a decade, specializing in the spa, wellness, and beauty niches. I've also worked professionally for years in a brick and mortar business in the spa industry. I geek out on researching wellness and beauty topics and love sharing this knowledge with other women.

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