In the world of hair removal, the best known methods include razors and waxing. Less widely used is the humble epilator. This powerful little electronic device offers advantages over other hair removal methods for keeping stubble at bay. Especially for those women with darker, more visible body hair, the epilator is a godsend. But just what is an epilator and how does it work?
What is an epilator?
An epilator is a small handheld device that looks similar to an electric razor, but instead of blades contains a rotary of small tweezers. The tweezers whirr around and quickly pluck hairs upon contact. Just like a razor, epilators may have a cable, or be wireless and run off battery.
Epilators are a somewhat costly up-front purchase, but can run for many years, some for up to ten years.
Epilator vs waxing
There is one major advantage of using an epilator vs waxing: epilators are effective at removing very short hairs, whereas waxing will not be effective unless the hairs are least one quarter of an inch in length.
If you’re used to waxing, you understand the frustration of waiting for new hairs to reach an adequate length for a touch-up. This means you have hairy legs half the time anyway. What’s the point?
An epilator provides a perfect solution. The epilator can pluck hairs as short as 0.5mm. Compare that to the half inch needed for waxing! You can remove unwanted hairs as soon as they grow in, without the wait.
Epilator vs shaving
Many women prefer epilating to shaving because they can get smooth stubble-free legs with less hassle. While shaving is by far the most common form of hair removal, it comes with a few drawbacks.
Since razors give the hairs a blunt cut, stubble is inevitable. Sure, your legs might be silky-smooth right after the shower, but it barely lasts. You must shave almost everyday to maintain smooth skin.
Epilating takes more time than shaving, but the results last longer. Most manufacturers recommend epilating every two to four weeks.
Granted, unwanted hair will grow in during this time-frame. However, many women find a weekly touch-up is all that’s needed to maintain silky legs and this is still a lower-maintenance hair removal method than shaving.
How to use an epilator to get the best results
You must maintain your skin properly for best results with an epilator. Epilators pluck hair from the roots, meaning new hairs may become ingrown if you don’t treat your skin properly.
Exfoliate regularly in the shower and moisturize. This will keep your skin supple, soft, and prevent ingrown hairs.
Use the following tips to get smooth skin with an epilator every time.
Work in straight lines against the grain
To remove hair thoroughly and efficiently, work slowly in straight lines against the grain. This action will enable the tweezers to remove more hairs.
Don’t be tempted to make a circular motion with your epilator. A straight-line motion will actually give the tweezers more of an opportunity to grab the hairs.
Epilate after a shower or bath
Your skin will be soft and your pores more open. When your pores are more open, the epilator can more easily pull the hair thoroughly from the root, instead of breaking it at the skin surface (breakage is the reason many people get stubble with an epilator). Make sure your skin is completely dry before you begin.
Epilating makes your skin very sensitive for about an hour. Hot water and soap can be irritating after epilating. Showering beforehand will save you this discomfort.
One of the most common complaints by epilator users is ingrown hair. Epilators pull hairs from the root, so you don’t get stubble. There is one problem: new hairs will have a difficult time surfacing. Instead, the hairs grow under your skin, causing bumps or visible hair that cannot be easily removed.
To prevent ingrown hairs, exfoliate your legs several times a week using an exfoliating body wash and a loofah.
Moisturizing is good for your skin anyway, but it’s absolutely critical when you epilate.
Don’t moisturize right after you epilate, as the cream might irritate sensitive pores. Add cream gently after you shower to help lock in moisture. Moisturizing will give you smoother legs and help prevent ingrown hairs.
Alternate with shaving
Shaving doesn’t just remove hair, it also removes dead skin cells. If you have a buildup of ingrown hairs due to epilating, try shaving.
The razor will help free most of the ingrown hairs. In another day or two, these hairs will be easily removed with an epilator.
Many women who regularly use an epilator also break up their routine with a razor.
Epilate as often as you need
Many manufacturers claim that epilating will give you two to four weeks of hair-free skin. This is a gross exaggeration for most people. Most women find they need to epilate at least once a week to stay reasonably hair free.
Ignore the promotional literature and use the epilator as often as you need. It will still be less often than you would need to shave.
Summary: a stubble-free solution
We’ve now looked at what an epilator is and how to use one most effectively to get the best results.
When used properly, an epilator is a cost-effective way to get smooth, hair-free skin every day. Remember to moisturize and exfoliate to prevent ingrown hairs, and use the proper technique to remove as many hairs as possible.
An epilator is especially likely to be the right choice if you have darker, more visible hair. If you have dark hair, you’re familiar with the struggle of keeping visible body hair and stubble at bay. An epilator gives you a stubble-free hair-removal option, without the downsides of waxing or shaving.
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