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Body hair is something not many people are comfortable talking about. Still, it’s something everyone has, and removing body hair is a regular activity for a lot of people. One of the methods that is becoming increasingly popular is epilating – but many are confused about how to use an epilator properly and what the effects of hair removal will be.
The epilator can help you remove hairs for a long period of time. Not just that, but it can save you money. Just think about how many times a year you pay for a waxing session! While an epilator has a higher initial cost, it will help you save in the long run.
Still, this doesn’t answer the burning question: How to use an epilator? And how does this little device actually work?
Let’s dive right into it!
- Check out our top Epilator reviews for this year on our review page
- If waxing is more your thing, check out the best home waxing kits available now
- Not sure how to use them? We got you, see our waxing kit guide for the full lowdown
What is an Epilator?
Before you learn how to use an epilator, you need to know what this little device is. And no, this isn’t the same as the device professionals use during permanent laser epilation!
An epilator is a small electrical device that removes body hair by mechanically grasping several hairs at the same time, then pulling them out. The process is very similar to waxing, except it doesn’t remove the cells from the upper skin layer. This makes hair removal much less stressful to the body, which allows you to go over the same skin area as many times as you’d like.
Early models have used coil springs, but today’s technology enables it to work without any parts that need replacing – except batteries on some models. They come with various attachments and some can even be used on either wet or dry skin.
Many people prefer epilators over other hair removal methods because of several advantages they have. These include:
- They are much cheaper in the long run
- It takes a lot of time for the hair to regrow, unlike with shaving or hair removal creams
- They are mess-free
- You can use them at home without any prior preparation
How to Use an Epilator?
Most people today own a tweezer-type epilator. However, even if you own some of the other three types, the rules to using them stay the same.
Here is the step-by-step process on how to use an epilator at home:
Step 1: Exfoliate
In order for the hair removal process to be as thorough as possible, you should always exfoliate your skin before using an epilator. Exfoliating ensures your skin is squeaky clean but also removes any dead skin cells. This will help prevent ingrown hairs – a common issue during any hair removal process.
Of course, you should avoid shaving your legs for 5-7 days before the epilation process. Otherwise, the hairs might be too short for the tweezers to pick them up.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t moisturize before epilation. While you might think this would help your skin feel soft afterward, it’s actually a bad idea. The hairs might get stuck to the skin and the epilator won’t be able to pick them up or they would slip. Also, too greasy products might cause the device to malfunction, although this is rare.
However, showering before epilation is a good idea. Warm water will soften the skin, open pours, and make the hair removal process much more comfortable.
It’s important to note that an epilator will most likely cause redness on your skin. Use it in the evening, or on the days you know you won’t be showing off your legs. Also, keep your skin safe from the sun for the first 24 hours after the process.
Step 2: Choose the Right Angle
The angle is everything. If you position your epilator at the wrong angle, it may not be able to pick enough hairs. This will make the process lengthy and barely effective. You should always position it at a 90-degree angle. This way, it will pick up most of the hairs after the first movement, speeding up everything.
Also, you should always hold the epilator loosely against the skin instead of pressing it on your body. If the unit is directly on your skin, it might not catch as many hairs as it would if it was slightly above your skin.
Step 3: Begin Epilating
To epilate, turn the device on and move it across your skin in the direction of the hair growth. If you go the other way, you’re risking ripping the hairs instead of plucking them, which will give you nearly the same result as if you were shaving.
As the head rotates, it should pluck the hairs as it goes over them.
You should start with the slow setting first, especially if this is your first time epilating. This will help with the pain. Wait until your skin is used to the sensation before speeding it up. If you’re overly sensitive, you can complete the epilation process at a slow setting. This won’t affect the result – it will only make the process quite slower.
You might notice that not all hairs will be removed after you’ve passed with an epilator once. This is quite normal, and you should always go a few times over the same skin area to ensure you have plucked everything. Don’t worry – epilators won’t harm your skin the same way wax would. This means you can go over the same skin area as many times as you deem necessary. Once you feel like the epilator is no longer plucking hairs, you should move it onto a new area.
Step 4: Final Touches
Once you’re done with epilating, you should clean your epilator. Most units come with a cleaning brush, so this step should be effortless. Remember to keep the device turned off while you’re cleaning it!
Also, now is the time to moisturize! Just keep in mind you should use a gentle moisturizer suitable for irritated skin. Don’t use overly greasy products, as they might clog the hair follicles, causing severe irritation and redness.
What are the types of Epilator?
There are four types of epilators. There are:
- Spring type – The first type of epilator, designed back in 1986. While rare today, there are some models designed to be used on the face.
- Rotating disc type – The improved version of the spring type.
- Tweezer type – The modern type of epilator that is most commonly used today.
- Wet use type – The sub-type of the tweezer epilator suitable to use in showers.
As you can see, most types of epilators were created by upgrading existing types. While their way of work is different, you can use them in more or less the same way.
How does an Epilator Work?
This type of epilator used a curved coil spring. One side of the spring was squeezed tightly together, and the other one had coils that were spread apart. The epilator worked on a motor that would rotate the spring, causing it to flex. This would cause the hairs to be caught up in the spring, and then pulled out.
Unfortunately, people of that time not knowing how to use an epilator wasn’t the greatest issue. This type of epilator would easily break as the springs wouldn’t last for too long. There was no way to fix them other than to replace the springs altogether, so they included regular purchasing of spare parts. Because of this, these epilators aren’t commonly used today, other than a few slightly modified versions that are still used for facial hair.
Rotating Disc Type
To fix the flaws of the spring type, Remington and Silky invented a new epilator that used a series of metal discs. Other than that, it worked in the same way as the spring type.
This is the type of epilator that is most commonly used today. It sports metal plates mounted inside a plastic housing. The plates’ ends are exposed, usually at one side of the housing but sometimes on both. The epilator head rotates, while the plates’ tips move together and apart during the rotation. Essentially, they work like tweezers, catching hairs and pulling them as the plates rotate further away from the skin before releasing them. This allows a continuous cycle.
Wet Use Type
This type of epilator is essentially the same as the tweezer type, but with one important difference: They work on batteries and have a waterproof housing, so they won’t malfunction if they get wet. This allows you to use them during a shower if this feels more comfortable. Of course, you can use them on dry skin, just like you would do with a tweezer-type epilator.
Epilator Safety Tips
Epilators are safe devices, and not many things can go wrong. Actually, the worst thing that happens to most people is irritation and redness of the skin.
Still, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take some precautionary measures. In fact, they are essential to know how to use an epilator properly.
Here are some of the important safety tips for using an epilator:
- Don’t epilate wet hairs, unless your device is waterproof. This might damage the epilator.
- Similarly, don’t get your epilator wet. If you use it in the shower and it’s not intended to be used in water, you’re risking not only the device malfunction but also electrocution. While rare, this can happen.
- While most modern epilators have a safety shut-off function, keep the turned-on epilator away from clothes. Try to avoid wearing socks or any type of clothing right next to the skin area you plan on epilating. Otherwise, it might catch the fabric, tearing it. On rare occasions, the device itself might break.
- Avoid using epilators on damaged, irritated skin. Wait until you’re healed before removing hairs from the area.
Post-Epilation Tips and Recommendations
Unfortunately, for some people, any type of hair removal might cause irritated skin and redness. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, you might experience ingrown hairs and irritation after your first time epilating.
Here are some tips on how you can prevent this from happening:
- Always clean your epilator with rubbing alcohol right after use. This will keep the bacteria from forming and ensure everything is sterile for the next time. Also, remove any loose hairs.
- Make sure your skin is clean before you use the epilator. If you use the device on skin that hasn’t been cleaned, you’re increasing the risk of bacteria getting inside the tiny wounds in your skin.
- If you’re using numbing creams, make sure they are suitable for sensitive skin.
- Moisturize after epilating, not before. This will keep your skin smooth and healthy.
- Always go in the direction of the hair growth to ensure the hairs are plucked and not ripped apart.
- If you have problems with skin irritations, avoid epilating sensitive skin parts, such as under your armpits or your bikini area. These areas are much more prone to infections and ingrown hairs than the rest of your body. Fortunately, they are easy to hide and fairly small, so hiding them shouldn’t be an issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s jump into some frequently asked questions often pondered before diving into the world of epilating.
Is it Painful to Use an Epilator?
Yes. Using an epilator can be painful, purely because of the method it removes hair. Much like waxing, it pulls the hair directly out of the follicle completely.
So, measuring how painful it is, is relative to your pain tolerance level. Especially for users with sensitive skin or people trying it out for the first time it can be a nerve-wracking time.
However, there are a few things you can employ to make your life easier, such as doing it after a hot bath, using a numbing cream, or taking pain killers 30-60 minutes before your session.
Are Epilators Effective in Hair Removal?
As painful as they can be sometimes, they are truly effective. By removing the whole hair and root from the follicle, the hairs will take a long time to grow back. Giving you at least a few to many weeks’ hair-free after a good session. They are also effective price-wise, being a much cheaper method than their IPL and Home Laser counterparts.
Do Epilators Permanently Remove the Hair?
Although for most people they don’t result in a completely infinite bald area, what they can do is severely reduce the thickness of hairs after consistent use.
This makes it much easier to remove the hairs when they finally get enough courage to grow back, only to face the wrath of the epilator’s tweezers once again. Another trick is to wax your hairs before your first epilating session and then epilate the regrowth, this is much less painful than steaming right in with the epilator the first time around.
Can You Use Epilators Underarms?
Absolutely and another benefit of doing this is that you will see a reduction in dark areas under your armpits. This is because it pulls out the hair completely, rather than shaving where it cuts them back, but the dark shadow will remain. Make sure you stay on top of it and epilate the regrowth as soon as it’s long enough, to keep the shadow at bay.
Can You Use Epilators On The Face?
Yes, you can also epilate facial hair just like any other area of the body. Just bear in mind that areas of the face contain more sensitive skin than your legs or back. For example, so beware of possible redness or irritation occurring 24 hours after.
Most importantly, do not use this anywhere near your eyes, it’s not for eyebrows or furry areas high on your cheeks, especially if it has a large epilating head. You either need a specific narrow head or utilize another method for this.
Can You Use Epilators While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
In no way shape or form does epilating affect the mother or the baby. However, there is difficulty in terms of physical movement. Reaching to your legs or other areas that require stretching, becomes virtually impossible in the later stages, but yes you are safe. Additionally, you are equally okay to use while breastfeeding, hair removal will not affect this and can be done.