Epilators FAQ

Epilating

We found that a lot of answers to our questions about epilating were hard to find or were scattered across the internet. That’s why we made this handy FAQ with all the questions we had ourselves, and that others had asked. We want to make this an ongoing resource, so please let us know if there is anything we missed or that you would like added!

Q: What is an epilator?

A: An epilator is an electrical device similar to a shaver. Though instead of simply slicing the hairs it uses many small tweezers to pull hairs from the root. This results in smooth skin that lasts for around 2-4 weeks. Check out What Is An Epilator for more info.

Q: Does epilation work?

A: Absolutely. Epilation technology has been tried and tested by many women and remains an extremely effective hair removal method.

Q: I have never epilated before, how should I go about it?

A: If you’ve never epilated before, there are a few things you should read into before making any decisions. First of all read our What Is An Epilator? article to understand a little more about what epilation actually is. Next, we recommend our guide tailored to answering the question “Which Epilator is Best for Me?”. Finally, you can have a look at our Guide to Perfect Epilation.

Q: Does more hair grow back if I epilate?

A: No. Many people believe that if you shave or epilate, hair will grow back thicker. This is merely an urban wives tale. We think the misconception comes from the fact that women tend to epilate more often in summer when the warm temperatures increase circulation and thus gives hair follicles more nutrition, encouraging growth. Another reason is that when hair grows back it retains its original colour and hasn’t had the chance to be bleached by the sun!

In dermatological tests it has been proven that this is not the case. In fact studies show that on-going epilation actually results in the opposite. Not only will epilated skin be hairless for weeks, when it grows back it will be thinner and lighter, which in turn makes it easier to epilate again!

Q: How do I best prepare my skin for epilating?

A: Simply put, a nice warm shower or bath is the best way to prepare your skin for epilating. The warm water makes your skin relaxed and clean. We also recommend exfoliating at least once a week. This routine will leave your skin smooth and perfect for epilating. Exfoliation clears away dead skin cells that are likely blocking the exits where hair comes from. This results in poorer epilation. If you exfoliate right before or right after epilation your skin will likely be delicate and can result in further irritation. The best time to exfoliate is a day or so before you plan to epilate.

Q: What are the benefits of epilating with a wet and dry epilator?

A: The only time your skin will be more relaxed and soothed than after a warm shower is during a warm shower! The water helps with circulation in your body and actually causes pain-reducing substances to be released. This makes your skin less sensitive and dampens the feeling of the epilator plucking your hairs out.

Q: Is it safe to use wet and dry epilators in the shower and bath?

A: Absolutely. Do remember not to use them while they’re plugged in though! Most wet and dry epilators actually have a built-in shut off mechanism that doesn’t allow them to work while plugged in. Please make sure to check whether your epilator can be used under water. If in doubt, check out our Epilator Guide.

Q: Does epilation hurt?

A: We so often hear about the terrors of epilation pain, but the truth is it’s something our bodies can get used to surprisingly well. Most people give up on epilation after the first time but its so important to remember that the first time is the most painful it gets. To get the level of smoothness and long lasting effects that epilation brings, you’ll have to pull the hair from the root and with that comes a bit of pain.

The reason for the initial discomfort is likely due to the fact that there is simply more hair to epilate the first time. Hair grows back at different rates and so the subsequent times, there will be less hair to epilate and it will be thinner. This means less pain!

Check out our article here to find out How to Reduce Epilation Pain.

Q: How do I exfoliate for epilation?

A: The Smooth Life recommends that you try to exfoliate once or twice a week. If you haven’t exfoliated when you’re about to epilate, don’t worry about it. Exfoliation is something that should be done regularly in order to keep your skin smooth. If you do it right before or right after epilating your skin may be too delicate, which could lead to marks or rashes. If you feel like using something to soften your skin we recommend using a body gel or simply epilating in the bath.

Q: What areas of the body can epilators be used on?

A: Epilators can be used anywhere, but some are suited to different areas. You can buy epilators that are designed to be good at epilating more sensitive areas such as the face, underarms and epilating bikini line, and some that are better at epilating arms and legs. Most epilators these days are able to epilate your whole body. If there were one place I had to say that shouldn’t be epilated, I would say stay away from the eyebrows!

Q: Why does hair grow back if I have removed it from its root?

A: Well, when you remove hair through epilation you are removing hair at the root but are not actually removing the root. This allows the hair to continue growing, but it will be weeks until it reaches the surface of your skin again.

Q: When is the best time to epilate?

A: Sometimes after epilating, we are left with red bumps as the skin gets irritated. For this reason it is often not recommended to epilate right before going out somewhere. We feel that the evening is the best time to epilate. You can jump into bed right after and by the time you wake up you’ll have smooth, irritation-free skin.

Q: How can I deal with flat-lying hairs?

A: Sometimes you get those annoying hairs that just won’t get picked up by our epilator. There are many reasons for this and ways to make sure you don’t leave any hair behind.

  • Some epilators have small combs on their heads that you can use to lift up hair.
  • Try epilating dry – it may be more painful, but it’s far more effective.
  • Some epilators have lights on them to make sure you’re getting all the stray hairs.

Q: How can I avoid ingrown hairs?

A: Ingrown hairs are essentially hairs that curl back on themselves and grow in the wrong direction. They can also be caused by dead skin cells blocking the exits through which hairs grow. When this happens it results in a small and painful bump, which can be unsightly.

The main way to avoid ingrown hairs is to exfoliate. Exfoliation clears away dead skin cells that may be blocking the path of growing hairs. It also results in smoother and more relaxed skin, allowing for easier epilation.

Q: What if I have sensitive skin?

A: Epilation is actually better for your skin than more traditional hair removal methods. Shaving involves running a blade across your skin, and results in only short-term smoothness. Waxing can damage your skin and oftentimes puts too much stress on it leaving you red and sore. Epilating in the bath or shower is a perfect alternative to these. The warm water soothes your skin, reduces pain, and leaves you smooth for weeks at a time. A lot of modern epilators even have hypoallergenic heads for enhanced cleanliness and can be used with your bath gel.

Q: Is epilation better than waxing?

A: Epilation and waxing are two types of hair removal that pull the hair from the root. The problem with waxing is that it can be expensive, bad for your skin, and often pushes hair flat against the skin making them difficult to pull.

Q: Can I let someone else use my epilator?

A: For sanitary reasons, it’s recommended that only you use your epilator.

Q: Can I epilate if I have varicose veins?

A: We recommend that you consult with your doctor before trying epilation.

Q: How do I clean my epilator?

A: Most epilators come with a small brush. This brush can be used to clear the stray hairs off your device. Some epilators even have an inner chamber in which the pulled hairs are collected.

To wash your epilator, simply run some warm water over it and make sure all hairs are washed away. We highly recommend that you also dip your epilator in alcohol or an alcohol-based cleaner to avoid skin irritation and possible infection.

Q: Do my epilator’s blades need to be sharpened?

A: Epilators actually don’t have blades they have tweezers. This means that they don’t need to be sharpened.

Q: Are epilators only for women?

A: Definitely not. Many men use epilators to remove hair. A great example is the iVog X-Tweez, but any epilator (despite its colour!) can be used by men.

Q: Are there any risks or side effects?

A: Side effects of epilation include redness, irritation and potential ingrown hairs. These side effects can easily be remedied by applying cream and lotion to your skin after epilation, or exfoliating about a day beforehand. Redness usually subsides after about half an hour.

Very rarely, you can get an infection from using an epilator in unhygienic conditions.

Q: Can I use an epilator on my face?

A: Absolutely! See our Epilator Guide for face-friendly epilators.

Q: Does my hair need to be long or short? Does it matter?

A: Epilation works best on short hairs. The longer the hair, the more likely it will be that the tweezers break the hair instead of pulling it from the root like it is supposed to. These broken hairs will then have to be taken out with a tweezer manually, which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid.

If you have any questions that aren’t here, please leave a comment below and we’ll answer them as best we can!

8 Comments

  • Reply Joni Winsett September 9, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Help!!! I have gone through 3 epilators this year 🙁 They work great for about 3 months, then the tweezers get stuck and don’t spin. I clean after every use! Brush, water and rubbing alcohol. I love epilating, but can’t afford paying $100 every 3 months. Anyone else have this problem? Any helpful tips??
    Thanks!!

    • asmoothlife
      Reply asmoothlife September 21, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Joni!

      That sounds like a nightmare! Which epilators are you using? Hopefully I can help out 🙂

  • Reply Trisha April 15, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    My epilator seems to be dull. Doesnt work as efficiently as it used to. Takes alot longer to epilate because i have to go over each area multiple times. Is there anything I can do. Or do i need to buy a new one?

    • asmoothlife
      Reply asmoothlife April 16, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      Hi Trisha!

      Some epilators have replaceable heads that you can buy separately, what epilator do you have?

      It also could be a problem with the epilator and you might just have to get a new one, how long have you been using it?

      Before you try any of these make sure you check out our Guide to Perfect Epilation, which should hopefully make a difference!

  • Reply Laura June 13, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    I’m new to epilating having tried it three times on my legs with the Braun 5. I’m disappointed at how quickly the hair grows back — it doesn’t last any longer than regular shaving. Should I be patient and keep using it every four days or return it for another?

    • asmoothlife
      Reply asmoothlife June 14, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Hi Laura!

      I’d recommend you keep using it. What happens with epilators is that every time you pull hairs the follicle gets weaker. This means that over time the hair gets weaker and fairer, and actually starts to grow back less often. Just give it time and you should see better results 🙂

      Let me know if you have any more questions and i’d love to hear how you get on!

  • Reply Alicia September 9, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Could you please offer some advice and guidance on using an epilator on the pubic area? I have recently purchased the Braun silk epil 9.
    Very much appreciated 🙂

    • asmoothlife
      Reply asmoothlife September 27, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Make sure you use the correct head that comes with your Braun Silk Epil, and go slowly! It will hurt more than epilation in other areas so be prepared for that. You might need to do it in multiple sessions.

      Also check out the guide to perfect epilation on this site 🙂

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