What Is the Difference between a Shaver and an Epilator?

Nya Bruce

For many men and women, removing excess hair from the face, arm, legs and even the back, is an important part of the grooming process. This can be done with the use of hair removal equipment, such as a shaver and an epilator. The primary difference between these tools is whether the hair is removed above or below skin level. Comfort, how they operate, and how long hair has to be before the device can cut it are other differences between the two devices.

For many, the armpits and genital area are too sensitive for an epilator, so a razor is used instead.
For many, the armpits and genital area are too sensitive for an epilator, so a razor is used instead.

When it comes to a shaver and an epilator, it is the shaver that most people are more familiar with. It is typically plugged into an electrical outlet, but it can also operate on a rechargeable battery. Most often people associate shavers with men and facial hair removal. These devices are suitable for both men and women however, and can be used to remove hair on any part of the body.

It's typically easier to tolerate epilator use on legs than on armpits and other sensitive areas.
It's typically easier to tolerate epilator use on legs than on armpits and other sensitive areas.

Epilators are less recognizable than shavers, although people can purchase them for home use. Where shavers require the use of electricity, most epilators use battery power. They are available for use by either gender, although they are most often associated with women and leg hair removal.

Razors with oscillating or rotating blades can closely shave hair off the armpits.
Razors with oscillating or rotating blades can closely shave hair off the armpits.

Shavers use cutters that slice the hair off at skin level, leaving the root beneath the skin's surface. As a result, stubble becomes visible in a relatively short period and body hair appears to grow back quickly. Epilators are a type of device that removes the hair at root level using tiny, rotating tweezers. These tweezers quickly pull the hair at the root, resulting in longer lasting results than what is achieved using a shaver.

Shaving the legs may help them appear more moisturized and toned.
Shaving the legs may help them appear more moisturized and toned.

The most obvious difference between a shaver and an epilator is a matter of comfort. Electric shavers are, for the most part, pain-free. This is not the case when it comes to epilators, which are known for having a certain level of pain, or discomfort. It is primarily the pain factor that limits where the device can be comfortably used. For many, the face, armpits and genital area are all typically too sensitive for epilator use, and can be more comfortably shaved using a shaver.

Some women choose to routinely have hair in the underarm and bikini areas removed.
Some women choose to routinely have hair in the underarm and bikini areas removed.

A shaver and an epilator also have different requirements when it comes to how much hair must be present to successfully remove it. The epilator requires the hair to be at least 0.25 inches (6.35 mm) in length. This is to provide the device with something to grasp on to. On the other hand, a shaver can be used to cut hair that is closer to the skin.

Epilators are most often associated with women and leg hair removal.
Epilators are most often associated with women and leg hair removal.

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Discussion Comments

anon990652

I think epilators are the best, because if you shave, than you'll grow more hair.

Certlerant

Waxing is another option for longer-term hair removal.

Like an epilator, waxing is painful and can irritate the skin for a while after the procedure.

However, both more permanent hair removal methods will eventually leave skin smooth and eliminate or reduce the appearance of hair.

A compromise solution may be creams designed to remove hair or even bleaching, especially for unwanted facial and bikini area hair in women.

Although hair will regrow much more quickly with these products than with an epilator or wax, the skin will stay hair-free and smoother longer than with regular shaving.

Glasis

An epilator may be more painful than a razor, but the long-term benefits could outweigh the pain, depending on the user's pain threshold.

Since the epilator removes hair at the root, the hair is permanently removed, or, at the very least, will not be visible again for a long period of time.

This significantly reduces how often a person need to worry about hair removal.

Despite the pain, someone who hates shaving a few times a week or more, just to have the hair grow back quickly, may decide an epilator is better for them.

The high replacement costs of electric shaver heads or blades for non-electric razors could also tip the scales in favor of using an epilator.

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