Epilators: The Different Designs and Their Advantages and Disadvantages

    Epilators are fast overtaking waxing and depilatory creams as a way to remove hair without causing embarrassing and unsightly stubble growth to occur when the hair grows back. There are a few different designs out on the market, each coming with their own advantages and disadvantages to users.

    Spring Type

    Spring type epilator

    Spring type epilators are most commonly sold for removing facial hair. There is no motor in a spring type. Instead, you place the head of the epilator on the hairs you want to remove and twist or squeeze the handle. This is great for areas like the face or eyebrows where there are a few select hairs to be removed.

    Advantages:

    • Easy to use.
    • Inexpensive.
    • Great for small areas.
    • Hairs grow back in thinner, no stubble.
    • Environmentally friendly, no batteries or razor blades need to be thrown away.

    Disadvantages:

    • Hard to find.
    • The springs break eventually.
    • Not good for large areas like legs, underarms, and bikini line.

    Spinning Disc Type

    Spin Disc

    Spinning disc epilators have been around for a while now. Basically, a motor spins several small discs inside the head of the machine very quickly. The metal or plastic disks are textured similar to a fine sandpaper and grab the hairs while they spin, pulling them out by their roots. While designs vary, all have skin guards built in, and are very safe (yet painful) to use.

    Advantages:

    • Removes hair quickly.
    • Hair removal discs in the head last for several years.
    • Doesn’t remove skin like with shaving or waxing.
    • Hairs grow back in thinner, no stubble.
    • Additional attachments on some models include: pedicure for feet smoothing, rotary shaving attachments, and more.
    • Easy to find.

    Disadvantages:

    • Can be very painful; particularly with thicker hair.
    • A good machine can cost upwards of $100 for a trustworthy name brand.
    • Corded models aren’t 100% waterproof.
    • Good machines start at $50 and top out around $150.
    • Batteries on cordless models will shorten the usable life (look for units with replaceable batteries to avoid this.)

    Tweezer Type

    Tweezer epilator

    Tweezer type epilators are nothing more than a refinement of the spinning disc design. Instead of relying on a textured disc to grab the hair using friction, the discs in tweezer type epilators come together as they rotate toward the hair surface. This allows them to grip the hair and pull it out, before releasing the pulled hair and then repeating the process over. This action occurs in milliseconds.

    Advantages:

    • Removes hair quickly.
    • Won’t remove skin cells.
    • Hair regrowth is thinner, no stubble.
    • Easy to find.
    • Additional attachments on some models include: pedicure for feet smoothing, rotary shaving attachments, and more.
    • Replacement heads are available.

    Disadvantages:

    • Can be painful to use.
    • Cheap and/or inefficient designs will chop hair above root instead of pulling it out.
    • High friction design causes heads to eventually fail faster than spinning discs.
    • Can be expensive if you want a reliable model with the fancy attachments ($80 – $150).
    • Additional attachments on some models include: pedicure for feet smoothing, rotary shaving attachments, and more.

    How to Choose

    If you’re looking for a simple mechanical device to replace your old tweezers, a spring type epilator might be a good option, if you can find one. They’re simple, but only made for removing a few hairs here and there.

    If you’re looking for something to do large-scale grooming with, an electric epilator is the only way to go. Many men and women prefer a tweezer design to the more basic spinning disc type. Others prefer the efficiency of the spinning disc, as their design uses friction to pull the hair instead of the grabbing action of the tweezing designs.

    However, most often people have problems with tweezer style depilators because they don’t hold the skin guard tight to the skin, which is the main culprit when it comes to the hair being cut instead of pulled.

    Choose either a spinning disc or tweezing type with equal confidence.

    Research and read reviews on the product you’re considering carefully. If you want extra grooming attachments like a pedi wheel, built-in light, shaver, corded/cordless, choose a machine that includes them (but be prepared to pay extra.)

    Epilators have been used for close to 30 years now and are far less messy or time-consuming than waxing or depilatories. Once you experience the time savings and silky, stubble-free skin they offer you’ll never go back to waxing or creams ever again!

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