Electric epilators are the much higher-tech version of at-home waxing or sugaring kits. Epilators involve a one-time purchase and can be used to remove hair from most of the same body parts as waxing products. Although both waxing and epilator use result in smooth, hair-free skin, one method may be better suited to your needs.
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Epilation and Depilation
With the exception of at-home laser hair removal devices, most forms of at-home hair removal yield only temporary results. Traditional methods of removing hair fall into two categories: depilation, which removes hair at the skin's surface and includes shaving, cream depilatory use, sanding and buffing; and epilation, which takes out the entire hair by the root and includes tweezing, threading, sugaring, waxing and epilator use. Depilation gives results that can last a few days but sometimes only a few hours. Epilating hair results in skin that stays follicle-free for much longer -- between three and six weeks.
Waxing isn't a novel aesthetic process, having been used for thousands of years. During waxing, warm beeswax is applied to the skin in a uniform film to capture the hairs. A cloth or paper strip is placed on top of the wax and then quickly yanked away, taking hair with it. Although kits are available for purchase at most drugstores, pharmacies and beauty supply shops and can be done at home, cosmetics reviewer Paula Begoun advises that you seek the services of an experienced aesthetician before attempting to do it yourself. At-home waxing kits may run between $25 and $75, as of time of publication. You can expect to pay between $20 and $200 for professional salon services, depending on the body part to be treated.
Using an Epilator
Electric epilators look and handle a lot like electric razors, but rather than a series of rotating blades, rows of tiny, rotating tweezers are on the head of the device. This allows multiple hairs to be grasped and tugged out as the epilator passes over the skin's surface. Like electric razors, epilators are charged using a conventional power cord. Rotary epilating is strictly an at-home procedure, the success of which depends on choosing a state-of-the-art device. Slimmer epilators that remove hair in difficult-to-treat areas like the bikini line are also available for purchase. The cost of a rotary epilator generally ranges from $40 to $120.
Both waxing and epilating come with their share of discomfort; your success in using these techniques depends on your tolerance for pain. Both techniques can result in undesirable results when used improperly. Waxing and rotary epilating can break the hair off at the surface of the skin rather than removing the entire hair. Inflammation may occur due to repeating tugging on the hair. Novices often find that it takes more than one try before hair is sufficiently removed -- epilators must be passed over the same area of skin to remove hair in its entirety. Similarly, newbies to home waxing may find that despite their best efforts, they're unable to remove all hair simply because they haven't mastered the correct technique. Waxing is not only messy, it may be difficult to get the consistency of the wax right -- and you may even burn your skin.
Epilating body hair either through waxing, sugaring or use of a rotary epilator may be the best bet for those with more troublesome body hair. Shaving and cream depilatories may not be completely effective from an aesethetic standpoint for those with dark, coarse hair; depilation leaves behind a dark shadow of hair follicles that can be just as obvious as emerging stubble.