What is an Epilator?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

The epilator is a hair removal device that pulls out numerous hairs at the same time. It is not the same as tweezers or electric tweezers that remove one or two hairs at most with one application. Instead, the epilator, which is made by a several companies, is generally sold to women as a replacement for electric razors and slightly resembles them.

Epilators remove hair by the roots.
Epilators remove hair by the roots.

The original model of the epilator was the Epilady® and it was sold to the public for the first time in 1986. Using spring and coils, the Eiplady® grasped multiple hairs on the surface to which it was applied and pulled the hairs out. Unlike waxing, hair removal of this type didn’t remove the uppermost layer of skin, which to some people made removal slightly less painful. However, procedure to remove hair took as long as using an electric razor. This meant that instead of being subject to the one or two removals of waxing strips, the device caused an uncomfortable feeling at minimum and was painful to many for the entire hair removal process.

Shaving with a razor won't remove hair from below the skin's surface.
Shaving with a razor won't remove hair from below the skin's surface.

Nevertheless, removing hair by the roots remains popular among some women because it means hair removal lasts longer and the skin stays smoother. Other companies like Remington manufactured their own versions of the epilator, each with various hair removal processes. A court case involving Epilady and Remington went in Remington’s favor, and Epilady was not allowed to retain the patent on creating epilators. This has allowed many companies to enter this market with their designs.

Removing hair by the roots allows hair removal to last longer and the skin to remain smoother.
Removing hair by the roots allows hair removal to last longer and the skin to remain smoother.

Hair removal with epilators is not a perfect process. Sometimes the hair breaks off above root level and can look like unshaven legs or hair regrowth. Usually the first few times the epilator is used are the most painful and most difficult. Subsequent uses aren’t quite as difficult, though most people who use epilators would attest these products aren’t painless, ever. A few models do have cooling elements or massagers that might slightly reduce pain.

An epilator may be used to remove unwanted underarm hair.
An epilator may be used to remove unwanted underarm hair.

There are a couple of companies that offer a money back guarantee if customers are not fond of the epilator. These offers aren’t consistent, but it might help if people are interested in trying one. It is recommended that people bear in mind the first few times are likely to be more painful.

An epilator is a hair removal device that pulls out numerous hairs at the same time.
An epilator is a hair removal device that pulls out numerous hairs at the same time.

Some women use an epilator in between waxes to help keep the legs looking smooth. Since pulling out hair by the roots creates some nerve damage, subsequent tweezing or pulling of hair is not quite as painful for a few weeks after waxing. Others have given up on these products because they find them far too painful to use. Though shaving may not create extremely smooth legs for long periods of time, when done correctly, it usually doesn’t hurt.

Removing hair in the bikini area during menstruation may caused increased pain to the area.
Removing hair in the bikini area during menstruation may caused increased pain to the area.
Removing hair from the genital area during pregnancy may be more painful for some women.
Removing hair from the genital area during pregnancy may be more painful for some women.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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