After all my time using an epilator for my body and facial hair, I’ve had some pretty frustrating experiences like skin redness that I didn’t plan for and a totally obnoxious ingrown hair below my knee that I couldn’t get rid of for months. I’ve also found that the disadvantages are totally worth the benefits of epilation compared to other hair removal methods I’ve tried.
Deciding to use an epilator is a personal decision that each person will have to make on their own, though. Learning about all the major and not so major pros and cons that I’ve experienced or heard about from other users can help you do your own cost-benefit analysis before you invest in a new epilator.
So what are these epilator pros and cons?
One of the best benefits of epilation is that it provides long-lasting smoothness. Epilation pulls hairs out by the root, so they take longer to grow back. You only need to epilate once or twice a month to enjoy silky-smooth skin, all day, every day.
No In-Between Days
If you wax, you know that you have to grow your hair out a while before waxing will work. Not so with epilation. Epilators are better at grabbing really short hairs that waxing can’t. In fact, some epilators can remove hairs as short as half a millimeter. In contrast, waxing usually requires hairs that are at least 2 millimeters long.
Can Be Less Painful Than Waxing
Compared to waxing, some epilators are more gentle and can cause less pain. This is because many epilators these days come with built-in mechanisms like massaging heads that trick your nervous system into feeling less pain. They can also be used in a hot bath or shower, which reduces pain and makes you feel more relaxed.
Semi-Permanent Hair Removal
Epilation is definitely a temporary hair removal solution, but there are some permanent benefits if you use them long-term. Roots can only grow back so many times, so hair growth reduces over time.
In the meantime, hair grows back with finer tips than with shaving, so hairs are softer and less noticeable.
All Over Body Hair Removal
Epilators can be used all over the body, including the legs, arms, face, underarms, and bikini area. Most epilators come with multiple caps that you can put on the head so the epilator will work better on certain areas like the face or bikini area.
Zero-Waste Hair Removal
Epilators produce no waste, other than the hairs they remove. There’s no shaving creams, no supplies, no disposable parts to buy. They use a minimal amount of electricity as well. Essentially, they are one of the greenest methods of hair removal.
One of the Cheapest Hair Removal Methods
Once you buy an epilator, that’s it. There are no additional costs. A good quality epilator can be bought for around $100 and it should last at least one or two years. Many can last much longer than that.
Compare this to one waxing session, which can cost $30 or more or the price of replacing razors every month and you can quickly see that epilation can save lots of money compared to other hair removal methods.
Ideal Hair Removal for Extra Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin or skin that gets irritated easily, an epilator can be a blessing.
Epilation doesn’t pull on the skin or rub against it like shaving. It doesn’t require chemicals like depilatory creams. It’s like using tweezers, so the skin is minimally affected. You’ll be a little red, but other than the possibility of ingrown hairs, epilation doesn’t have many drawbacks for sensitive skin.
Since daily hair removal with water can dry out the skin, it’s also a great hair removal method if you have skin that dries out easily.
Hair Removal for All Hair Types and Skin Colors
Epilation won’t affect the color or tone of your skin, so no worries in that department.
There are epilators designed for every hair type as well. Whether you have coarse hair, thin hair, dark hair, light hair, or anything in-between, epilation will remove your hair.
Fast DIY At Home Hair Removal
Owning an epilator means that you don’t have to go to the salon anymore for waxing. So no more awkward moments when you are half-naked with a stranger who inflicts pain on you.
As I’ve heard one epilator user say, pain can be more tolerable when you are the one in control of it (like with an epilator). It’s more stressful when you are at the mercy of someone else (like with waxing.)
Being able to remove hair at home is also less time-consuming. You don’t have to make time for a commute to your appointment. And you don’t have to work around someone else’s schedule. You can do it anytime you want.
Convenient Hair Removal for Travel
Epilation is a great hair removal method for traveling. e largest epilators on the market can fit into a purse or travel bag with ease. There are no messy creams or waxes and you don’t need water. If you have a cordless model, you can epilate pretty much anywhere, even out in the wilderness or an airport bathroom.
Easy and Simple Way to Remove Hair
Learning to shave or wax can be a little difficult. You can end up with cuts or just a huge mess of wax all over the place until you get more skilled with those methods.
There’s no learning curve with epilation. Modern epilators are easy to use. Just one epilation session or two, and you will be a pro.
Hair Removal for Busy People
No more waking up early every morning to shave. No more rushing from work to the salon for waxing. No more sitting around with stinky creams on your legs, waiting for them to work.
Essentially, epilation is a great option for busy, stressed-out people. It is the least time consuming hair removal method. Just turn on some Netflix and chill with your epilator for 30 minutes, twice a month. That can be the extent of your whole hair removal routine. How sweet is that!?
This is one of the most dreaded aspects of epilators. Epilator pain sucks. It can be really horrible the first few sessions. Some people try epilating and decide they just can’t handle it. But for those who can get through the first few times, it does get better. Eventually, most epilator users don’t experience pain when epilating, just some mild discomfort.
Ingrown Hair From Epilating
Some people never get ingrown hairs, no matter what hair removal method they use. For those who are prone to ingrown hairs, epilating can be a huge downside.
If you want to prevent ingrown hairs after epilation, I recommend exfoliating like crazy before and after you epilate and then at least once a week. This doesn’t work perfectly to stop ingrown hairs for everyone, but for most people, it does the trick.
However, the good news is that epilation does make hairs finer and softer over the years, so it is possible that long-term epilator users can become less prone to ingrown hairs just from this side effect of epilating.
The upfront investment for epilation can be an obstacle for some people. It’s definatley more expensive than a bag of disposable razors and shaving cream.
However, even the best epilators on the market can be bought for around $100 these days. If you are on a tight budget, some epilators are as low as $30.
Epilator Charging Time and Epilator Batteries
Cordless epilators are nice to have, but you have to keep on top of charging them before you use them. And some don’t have rechargeable batteries. With these, you have to worry about the additional cost of replacement batteries. If you don’t keep some extra batteries around, you may find yourself half-way through epilating a leg when your battery dies. Not an ideal situation.
Skin Redness After Epilation
After you epilate, your skin is going to be red. If you use an epilator, you do have to plan ahead a little due to this inconvenience. Epilating at night is an easy way to solve this, though. It gives your skin time to calm down before you have to be out in public again.
Epilators and Sensitive Areas
Although epilation can be done anywhere on the body, some people find it is just too painful to epilate certain areas, like the bikini area. A lot of people end up using an epilator for legs, but then turning to other methods for their underarms, bikini area, and face. This is obviously not an ideal situation but may work for you too.
So Should You Use an Epilator?
Choosing a hair removal method is a personal decision. There is no perfect hair removal method that works for everyone.
There are many advantages and disadvantages of using an epilator for hair removal. Epilators are a cheap, eco-friendly, and time-saving way to have smooth, hairless skin for weeks at a time. However, these epilator benefits come with the cost of pain and possible ingrown hairs.
What is the best epilator for beginners?
My pick for the best epilator overall is the Braun Silk-épil 9. However, for beginners, I typically recommend the Emjoi Epi Slim (click to check it out on Amazon). This is a small affordable epilator that works best for the face, underarms, or bikini area. The low price lets you test out epilation for yourself without spending a lot. Then if epilation works out well for you, you can eventually upgrade to a better epilator and use this as a back up or travel epilator.
Have more questions about epilation? Check out the Epilator FAQ and Beginner’s Guide!