Everything epilators: What are they, how do you use them, and how do they work?

When it comes to hair removal, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. While some people prefer shaving, others rely on waxing, tweezing, threading, or more permanent solutions such as laser treatments. Epilators–which hit the market in the 1980s–are one hair removal tool that’s been seeing somewhat of a resurgence in popularity as of late. If you’re curious about the process of epilating, we’re here to help demystify the process from start to finish.

What is an epilator?

An epilator is a personal care device that removes body hair by pulling it out by the root. Using an epilator is similar to tweezing or waxing in that it removes the entire hair, as opposed to shaving, which cuts hair along the surface of your skin. Because using an epilator removes the whole strand of hair, regrowth takes longer than shaving.

How does an epilator work?

Epilators are powered by batteries or electricity and use a rotating spring coil or tiny tweezer-like mechanisms to grab hold of hair and pull it out by the root. Some epilators have interchangeable cartridges you can use for other types of hair removal, such as shaving or trimming.

The iluminage Touch 4Ever is a permanent hair reduction system that uses a combination of intense pulsed light (IPL) and radio frequency. One of the interchangeable cartridges is the Iluminage Touch Epilator Cartridge, which can be used on its own for hair removal or to prep your skin for an iluminage treatment.

How to use an epilator

Because there are different kinds of epilators, you’ll want to follow the specific instructions for your device, but in general, you use an epilator by slowly gliding the device across your skin against the direction of hair growth. Similar to waxing and tweezing, using an epilator isn’t painless. After all, you are pulling each hair out by the root. Your epilator may also have a minimum or maximum hair length as a guideline for use as well.

How to prep your skin to remove hair with an epilator

Exfoliating is a great way to prepare for your epilating session. Eminence Organics Stone Crop Revitalizing Body Scrub gently exfoliates skin with sugar cane crystals, moisturizing stone crops, and vitamin C-rich lemon peel.

Another option is Avene Gentle Body Scrub, which features biodegradable exfoliating beads made from cellulose and jojoba wax to gently remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, making way for a smoother epilating experience.

How to care for your skin after removing hair with an epilator

Just as with waxing, you’ll want to keep an eye out for ingrown hairs after epilating. Board-certified dermatologist and LovelySkin CEO Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends PFB Vanish Ultra to help prevent ingrown hairs. “This skin treatment is easy to use with a roll-on applicator, and the combination of alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid and glycolic acid help dissolve dead skin cells on the surface of your skin,” Dr. Schlessinger says. “Using it after shaving, waxing or epilating can help prevent ingrown hairs from forming.”

Moisturizing your skin is also an important post-epilating step to keep your newly hair-free skin looking and feeling soft and smooth. Furthermore, it helps calm any skin irritation that might occur after using an epilator.

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Lotion Daily Repair Moisturizing Lotion is a daily body lotion that contains shea butter and glycerin to attract moisture to your skin naturally.

EltaMD Skin Restore Body Cream is another fantastic option, featuring hyaluronic acid to hydrate and mango seed butter and ceramides to help nourish dry, flaky skin.

For both moisturizing and exfoliating benefits, consider NeoStrata Bionic Restore Body Lotion. This formula contains a polyhydroxy acid blend to exfoliate skin and help prevent ingrown hairs, along with meadowfoam seed oil to calm any traces of irritation.

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