Epilators Guide: All About Epilation Hair Removal

What is an epilator?

An epilator is a handheld device that uses rotating tweezers to pull out hair by the root. Although most epilators look a bit like electric razors, the results are much more similar to waxing. Although it’s painful (like waxing), the results last much longer than shaving, and once you get into the habit of using an epilator, it starts to get less painful.

About the term “epilator”: Many people confuse the terms “epilation” and “depilation”. They both involve hair removal, but they actually mean different things:

  • Epilation: The entire hair is removed at the roots (a new hair will eventually appear in the same place)
  • Depilation: The hair is cut or removed at the skin level. This includes shaving and using depilatory creams. The hair never stops growing, and stubble will appear shortly after.
Using an epilator


The first epilators (Epilady was actually the first) used a rotating spring to grab the hairs out of the root. These springs often needed to be replaced after continuous use.

After that came rotating epilators, which used rotating metal discs instead of springs. Remington introduced this kind of epilator to the market.

The latest generation of epilators have rotary heads with electric tweezers and rotary epilators.

These devices use metal plates incorporated into a plastic housing to form the epilator head. These small electric devices come in corded, cordless, and wet/dry models to suit everyone’s needs.

Despite these advancements, epilators can still be painful. Let’s be honest – pulling multiple hairs from the roots will probably never be pain-free!

The Best epilator: How to choose one?

Epilators are personal care devices, so choosing an epilator really is a personal decision. Everyone has their preferred style, features, and price range. It can also depend on whether you’re a woman or a man.

So let’s break down the different features you might want to look for!

1. Wet/Dry (cordless) vs. Corded

Epilators come in cordless and corded models. Most of the cordless models are also wet/dry epilators, which means you can use them while in the shower or bath. Even if you’re not using it in the shower, a cordless epilator is still the most convenient option because you don’t need to be near a power outlet.

But there are disadvantages to cordless models. If you forget to recharge the epilator, it may not have power when you need it (although many models can be used while they are charging).

Also, all cordless epilators get their power from a battery, and after a few years of use the battery may no longer hold a charge very well. At that point you’ll usually need to buy a replacement battery or a new epilator.

2. Number of Tweezers

Epilators with more tweezers can treat a larger area at once. High end epilators usually have more tweezers.

However, more tweezers can also mean more pain.

3. Epilators Designed for Different Body Areas

One of the first things you should consider is the area that needs to be treated. Is it the underarms, the bikini line, or the legs?

Different epilators are designed for different areas, but most good epilators come with different heads or interchangeable parts that work with specific areas.

4. Massage Function

Some epilators have a massage function. This helps to reduce pain and friction during epilation.

How To Use An Electric Epilator: Before, During, and After

We’ve put together a list of quick tips to make sure your first epilator experience is a success!

What Should I Do BEFORE Epilating?

  • Taking a warm bath/shower (not too hot) helps to get you relaxed and open up your skin’s pores, which can reduce the pain.
  • Make sure your skin is clean, but don’t use any kind of lotion before epilating.
  • Exfoliating also helps to make the skin smoother and ready for the epilation process. Try to exfoliate one to two days before using the epilator.
  • Make yourself comfortable! It’s important to be relaxed, as this will help with the pain. (Note: Don’t drink alcohol before epilating – although it may help you relax, it will actually make it more painful!)

What Should I Do DURING Epilation?

  • If possible, try epilating under water. Most cordless epilators are both wet and dry, which means they are totally waterproof – so you can use them while in the shower like a regular shaver.
  • Start off with less sensitive areas like your legs. Then, once you get used to the feeling, go ahead with underarms or bikini area.
  • Hold the epilator at a 90-degree angle from the surface of your skin.
  • With your other hand, keep the skin taut. This prevents the skin from shifting and makes the epilating process easier.
  • Move the epilator slowly, against the direction of hair growth. Don’t rush!

What Should I Do AFTER Epilating?

  • Apply a moisturizer with Aloe Vera to help the skin recover. However, you should avoid using lotions with fragrances, as they may cause more irritation.
  • Now is a great time to clean your epilator. It will take your mind off the pain, and (more importantly) prevent bacteria from growing inside the epilator.

What Are the Benefits of Epilators?

Epilators have a lot of advantages over other methods:

  • At the root: Unlike razors, epilators remove the hairs from the root. That means the results will last longer than shaving, and when the hair does start to grow back you won’t have stubble.
  • More flexible: Compared to waxing, epilators can work with much shorter hairs. This gives you much more flexibility – if you have a date or event coming up, waxing may not be an option if the hairs aren’t long enough. Modern epilators can remove hair 4 times shorter than waxing can.
  • Cheaper: Epilators are usually much cheaper than laser or IPL devices. Also, although they cost a bit more (initially) than wax or hair removal creams, they are cheaper over the long run since you won’t have to restock.
  • Convenient: You can use an epilator almost anywhere, including the shower (if you have a wet/dry model). Plus, you won’t have any kind of cream or wax to wash off afterwards.
  • Fast: Epilating can take around 40 minutes, but you may only have to do it once a month. By comparison, shaving every few days (or every day) can really start to add up.
  • Semi-permanent: Epilating gets easier over time because the hairs start to grow back thinner and more slowly. Studies have also shown that after epilating for a few years, some of the hairs may not grow back at all because the root can only regrow a certain number of times.

Do Epilators Really Work?

Yes, epilators do work! Although it takes time and is pretty painful (at least the first few times), it is one of the most effective hair removal methods out there.

If the pain makes you hesitant to try it, there are plenty of other methods that also work. You can always try depilatory creams or IPL devices instead. But if you’re able to stand the pain, we highly recommend epilators. You can check out our list of the 5 best epilators to learn more!