Before we dig into the topic of electric shaver vs epilator, let’s discuss the many perspectives regarding the topic of hair removal. Some practice it for a variety of reasons including but not limited to hygiene and aesthetics. Regardless of the reason people have for the removal of body hairs in various parts of the body, the practice is widespread and undergone by many.
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Electric Shaver vs Epilator: Why Shave?
Outlined below are the reasons people would opt to have hair removed:
Depending on where you live, hair removal is likely practiced because it has always been practiced. Hair removal is usually driven by normative or culture-dependent standards of hygiene and appearance.
According to an article by M. Tiggermann and S. Kenyon, the notion that people must remove hair from certain parts of the body is hugely grounded in norms such that the reasons underlying the practice are seldom examined but followed nonetheless.
People also practice hair removal due to the preferences of their partners. According to a paper published by T. Gaiter, et al. both men’s and women’s grooming habits are similarly influenced by what their partners like and do not like.
Hair removal can help reduce body odor and give people an increased feeling of cleanliness. Body hair especially in the underarm and pubic area serves as a breeding ground for bacteria. This bacteria breaks down sweat and creates that unpleasant body odor. Hair removal in these areas can significantly reduce body odor.
Basically, it all boils down to people’s preferences. Some cite reasons for personal hygiene, others because they have always been doing it. Others still, practice hair removal due to aesthetics. Removing your body hair is your personal choice.
Types of Hair Removal Procedures
There are a lot of methods used in the process of body hair removal. Procedures include:
In classic shaving, the part of the hair shaft that is exposed is cut as close to the skin as possible.
The hairs are removed root and stem using a strip coated with adhesive, usually wax. The strip of wax is applied to the skin and is pulled out along with the body hair in one quick motion.
Tweezers are used to pull out the hairs usually one by one. This is done usually for grooming eyebrows.
The way epilators for men work is similar to waxing such that the hairs are removed from the root. Epilators are essentially multiple motorized tweezers that remove multiple hairs in a single pass.
Depilatory creams use chemicals to dissolve the hairs and make it easy to break off and remove. These penetrate deeper into the skin a shaver could
Specialized lasers are used to eliminate the hair follicle without harming the surrounding skin. This reduces the amount of hair growing in a specific area.
Some of these procedures can be done only by specialists. Two, however; namely shaving and epilating can be easily done at home using the right tools.
Electric Shaver vs Epilator: How Do They Work?
Generally, the two most common electronic devices used for hair removal are electric shavers vs epilators. Both are capable of removing large amounts of body hair very quickly but the methods used by both are very different.
You are probably familiar with shaving. When you shave, you trim the exposed part of the hair from the skin using a sharp razor. In traditional shaving, a straight razor or safety razor is used in conjunction with shaving cream. The shaving cream is used to soften the hairs being cut and to lubricate the skin to prevent the blade from causing irritation.
Check out our reviews on barbers shaving creams, back shavers, electric shavers for ingrown hair, ball trimmers, and straight razors if you would like to know more about traditional shaving equipment.
Electric shavers automate this process. Electric shavers are powered by a motor that powers a razor mechanism to trim hairs. The mechanisms used by electric shavers to trim hair are usually divided into two types; Foil and Rotary. Foil shavers work by running an oscillating blade underneath a thin layer of metal that is covered in holes.
As you run the shaver across your skin, the holes in the foil capture the hairs which are then trimmed by the blades under the foil. Rotary shavers on the other hand are usually distinguished by three rotating blades covered by outer guards. The outer guards catch the hair and the blades underneath it do the trimming.
How do Epilators work?
Epilators work very differently from electric shavers. Instead of trimming, epilators pull out the hairs. Epilators work by running a spinning wheel powered by a motor across the surface of the skin. The wheel is covered in grooves that catch the hairs and pluck them out as it spins.
Electric epilators are usually divided into two types; wet epilators and dry epilators. The main difference between these two is that wet epilators are waterproof and can be used on wet skin or while in the shower. Dry epilators on the other hand cannot be used near water and obviously in the shower.
Although the devices look similar, the process of using an epilator is closer to waxing or tweezing than to shaving. An epilator is essentially multiple automatic tweezers that pluck out the hairs as you run them across your skin.
Given how epilators work, using these would involve quite a bit of pain similar to waxing.
Shaver vs Epilator: Who Uses Them?
Both men and women can use shavers and epilators. The real deciding factor here is if you want to just trim hair by cutting it, or if you want to remove it entirely.
Shaver vs Epilator: Battery Life/Functions
In terms of battery life, both shavers and epilators are roughly the same. Instead of looking at the device, check the brand of the shaver or epilator you’re getting, and see if their products are reliable.
In terms of functions, shavers tend to have more of them. This is because shavers are used when you just want to trim your hair, and therefore have accessories like detail trimmers or length combs. Epilators are purely for hair removal.
Shaver vs Epilator: Ease of Use
Both shavers and epilators are easy to use. In general, you just need to plug them in or charge them, then power them up.
Shaver vs Epilator: Results
For complete hair removal, you can’t beat an epilator. However, if you’re just looking to trim and perhaps style your hair, go with a shaver. In addition, shavers are a better choice for sensitive body parts, while epilators are better at removing hair from large parts of the body, like legs and arms.
Electric Shaver vs Epilator: Pros and Cons
These two devices are both readily accessible and are very easy to use. However, the methods used by both for getting rid of body hair are quite different. Given this, electric shavers vs epilators have unique sets of pros and cons. To decide which of these are better for you, we should go through the benefits and detriments of each.
Electric Shavers Pros and Cons
- Quick: Using an electric shaver is quick and easy. Turn it on, run it across your skin, and it will shave your hair. As long as you regularly maintain your electric shaver, and make sure the blades remain sharp for maximum trimming efficiency, using electric shavers is a quick way to trim down hairs.
- Painless: The main advantage of shavers in the electric shavers vs epilators debate is how painless shaving is compared to using epilators. Since there is no pulling involved, electric shavers are relatively painless as long as the shavers do not accidentally pull on the hairs you are shaving. Regular maintenance helps to avoid having your hair pulled by shavers.
- Can be used for all skin types: Shavers are much more forgiving on people with sensitive skin. Shavers are built in such a way that their use would cause the skin the least harm possible. Compared to epilators, which pluck out hair from the root, shavers trim the upper part of the hair shaft.
- Improper maintenance can cause irritation: Maintenance and replacement of the blades used by electric shavers must always be done in order to prevent skin irritation. Dull blades cannot trim hairs as well are new and sharp blades which could lead to skin irritation.
- Hairs grow back faster: Since all you are doing when using an electronic shavers is trimming the exposed hairs, these can grow back much faster than hairs that are removed via the use of epilators. Shaved hair will be visible again after just 3 to 7 days and sometimes much quicker depending on how fast your hair grows.
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Epilator Pros and Cons
- Hair grows back much longer: Epilators operate by pulling the hair including the root. Because hair is removed this way, the follicles will have to produce a new strand of hair which will take up to 3 to 4 weeks depending on how fast you grow hair.
- Thinner hair growth: The hair that grows back after using an epilator tends to be much thinner. This is because the individual hair strands that grow back are new.
- Smoother skin: Because hairs are plucked out entirely, the results you get when using an epilator tends to be much smoother than when you an electric shaver. Electric shavers leave quite a bit of hair under the outer layer of the skin which contribute to roughness.
- May result to less hair regrowth: In time, the hair that will grow back after using an epilator for a while will take much longer to grow. At any given time, you will have less visible hair growing outside the skin.
- Pain: This could potentially be the biggest challenge and con of using epilators. Especially for first-time users. This informative and entertaining video shows how unpleasant it could be. Depending on your pain tolerance, using epilators can be quite painful because epilators pluck your hair as you run it over your skin. You might also have to do several passes on the area you are using the epilator on because it might not remove all the hair after the first pass.
- Could take longer than shaving: If you can steel yourself and take the pain of using an epilator, it could still take a bit longer than using a shaver. Multiple passes are sometimes needed to remove all the hair in an area. Preparing yourself for another pass can also take quite a bit of time.
- Skin irritation right after using an epilator: Mild skin redness and/or bumps are to be expected after using an epilator. This is the skin’s natural reaction to having the hair pulled out and it will ease up after a while. This natural reaction will be obvious and noticeable so if you were to use an epilator on your legs, you might not be able to expose it right away.
What are the Best Epilators to Use?
If you are interested in getting an epilator, I’ve picked 2 of the best epilators for men and women.
Best Epilator for Men:
Emjoi Emagine Men’s Epilator
- Dual opposed heads for better epilation
- Glide technology for more efficient epilation
- 2-speed settings
Pros: Removes back hair
Cons: Doesn’t work well with coarse hairs, and plastic gears, hair easily gets stuck inside the mechanism
Emjoi Emagine Men’s Epilator Review
Epilating hurts. Whether or not the product you’re using claims that it may produce “a light stinging” sensation, let’s not mince words – it’s going to sting. And if it’s going to sting, you may as well get it over and done with, and the Emjoi Emagine Men’s Epilator is one of the best men’s epilators in this regard.
Dual opposed heads help the Emjoi Emagine Men’s Epilator tweeze your hair out faster and lessen the number of passes you’ll need to make. Glide technology ensures that you’ll be able to continuously pass the epilator over your skin. Two-speed settings help you control the epilation rate.
While the Emjoi Emagine Men’s Epilator is very effective, it’s important to note its plastic gears, which are a lot less durable than metal ones. You’ll also need to be very thorough with cleaning the device, as hair easily gets stuck inside this epilator.
Note that you should never use an epilator on your beard and mustache for any reason.
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Best Budget Epilator for Women
Braun Epilator Silk-epil 3 3-270
- Interchangeable heads
- 20 tweezer system
- 2 speed settings
Pros: Great for beginners, interchangeable heads, can be used in sensitive areas
Cons: Requires multiple passes to get all hairs
Braun Epilator Silk-Epil 3 3-270 Review
The Braun Epilator Silk-Epil 3 3-270 is a handy epilator that’s especially great at getting into small spots that other epilators can’t.
Interchangeable heads allow you to switch modes and are further augmented by a 20-tweezer system that’s guaranteed to give you results. And thanks to the Braun Epilator Silk-Epil 3 3-270’s small design, this 20-tweezer epilator can even be used on sensitive areas.
On the downside, customers have noted that it’s not the strongest epilator available. You’ll need to make multiple passes for this epilator to fully do its job. Still, it’s very reliable, and backed by the Braun brand of shaving products.
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What is an Epilator shaver?
If you can’t decide between an epilator or a shaver, why not both? Epilator shavers are devices with modular heads, meaning that you can switch between a shaver and an epilator, depending on your needs.
Best Epilator Shaver
Panasonic Cordless Shaver Epilator for Women
- Modular device with both shaver and epilator heads
- Additional guard for epilating in sensitive areas like underarms as well as a beginner’s guard cap
- Cordless design
Pros: Very convenient, modular design makes it great for traveling, very wide head for faster epilation, ergonomic grip for easy handling
Cons: Short battery life, takes long to charge, can be hard to clean
Panasonic Cordless Shaver Epilator for Women Review
The Panasonic Cordless Shaver Epilator for Women is an epilator shaver, brings you the best of both devices.
Not only does the Panasonic Cordless Shaver Epilator for Women have an epilator and shaver head, but it’s got multiple attachments too. A beginner’s guard cap helps reduce pain by easing the epilation process, a sensitive area cap makes the epilator safe to use on sensitive body parts, and a pop-up trimmer helps remove or shave stray hairs.
Because of its modular design, the Panasonic Cordless Shaver Epilator for Women is a great travel companion – in fact, it may be the only tool you need to bring. The downside here is that cleaning it is cumbersome, as indicated by customer reviews. Its battery isn’t the best either, with a short total runtime and a long charging time.
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Electric Shaver vs Epilator: FAQs
Epilator vs waxing: Are epilators better than waxing?
Waxing is better for long-term hair removal and is better than either epilators or shavers for removing hair from sensitive parts, like the underarms or pubic area. However, epilators work faster, and you can use them from the comfort of your home.
Do electric shavers leave stubble?
Yes, electric shavers leave stubble. If you want a completely hairless look, you’ll need to use a safety razor.
Epilator vs wax: Which is Better?
For long-term hair removal, waxing is better. Epilators are meant for removing large swathes of hair, such as from the legs, chest, or arms.
Epilator vs tweezing: Which is Better?
If you’re going to tweeze, you may as well use an epilator. An epilator is essentially a tweeze operating very quickly.
Hair removal vs epilator: Which is Better?
That depends. Epilators can be uncomfortable and even painful for some people, but they’re one of the cheapest methods of hair removal. Which one is better is a personal choice.
Lady shaver vs epilator: Which is Better?
Which is better will depend on how long do you want your hairless look to last. Epilators last much longer by removing hair follicles, while shavers work faster, but only trim the hair.
Does epilator hair grow back fast?
No, epilated hair doesn’t grow back faster. However, with continuous epilation, you’ll notice that hair actually grows back slower and finer than the last batch.
Are epilators better than razors?
If you can tolerate the pain of using an epilator, epilators are generally better to use than electric razors in terms of hair regrowth. Because you pluck out the hair when using an epilator, hair grows back much slower than when you shave. The hair follicles will have to grow a new strand of hair which will take up to 3 to 4 weeks.
Do epilators leave stubble?
No. Since epilators cleanly pluck out the strand of hair from the follicle, epilators won’t leave stubble, unlike shavers which trim the hair but leave the root intact.
Are epilators bad for you?
Epilators are relatively safe to use. Bumps are redness may form on your skin right after you use an epilator however, this is just the natural reaction of the skin to having hairs plucked out. This will go away on its own after a while. If have sensitive skin or are concerned about the possible adverse effects of using epilators, you can always ask your doctor about using epilators.
Can an epilator be used for pubic hair removal?
Yes, you definitely can! It will be quite painful though especially for first-time users because the genital has a lot of nerve endings and is a more sensitive area compared to your legs or armpits.
Shaver vs Epilator: Verdict
If you’re looking for long-term body hair removal, then an epilator is your best bet. However, if you’re trying to trim sensitive areas or are just looking for a short-term solution, then you should go for a shaver.
Whether you prefer shavers or epilators would depend on what you think works best for you. In any case, these are both great for easy and convenient hair removal that could be done by anyone at home.
Frank is a barber from San Francisco. He has 10 years of experience providing the best straight-razor shaves, haircuts, and barber facial services for men. With all of his training, he is the go-to for any advice on beard and men’s hairstyles. When Frank’s not working, he spends his free time fishing or spending quality time with his wife and son.