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Epilator vs. IPL: Which Hair Removal Method Is Better For You?

At RoseSkinCo. our mission is to make beauty simple. Everyone deserves to love the skin they’re in, and it shouldn’t cost a fortune or take a crazy amount of time to get there. That’s why we create innovative beauty tools and skincare products that help you give your skin the love it deserves, all from the comfort of your own home. 

Getting dolphin-smooth skin while watching Ozark on Netflix? Yeah, we like the sound of that.

And we know we are not alone. These days, more and more companies are inventing cool new gadgets and taking advantage of new technologies to make removing hair at home simple. With so many methods to choose from, you may be wondering which one is right for you. 

Spoiler Alert: We are big, big fans of IPL. It is a great alternative to a laser hair removal treatment you would get with a professional at a salon. We have two great IPL devices of our own: the Lumi Hair Removal Handset ($189.95 USD) and the OG Hair Removal Handset ($129.95 USD) — and if you’re totally new to the concept of IPL, we explain it all below.

When you’re figuring out what type of at-home hair removal treatment is right for you, it is a good idea to compare what is out there. Today, we are comparing IPL with epilating. Keep reading to figure out which hair removal choice is best for you. 

What Is Epilation? 

An epilator is an electrical device that removes hair directly from the roots. The device essentially holds a series of small tweezer heads on a spinning wheel. When you turn the device on and roll it up and down your skin, the hairs are yanked out from the root. Um… ouch?

What Are the Benefits of Epilation?

There are many benefits of epilation. It’s no IPL, but at least it’s better than waxing and shaving, IMO. Here are some of our favorite epilation benefits:

  • Lasting results: One of the big benefits of using an epilator is that the results last quite a long time. This is especially true when compared to shaving and waxing. After one epilating session, you should expect to be hairless (wherever you epilate) for about two to four weeks. 

The regrowth period completely depends on your personal hair growth cycle, and some people’s hair grows faster than others. The reason that the results last longer than other methods though is because the hair is removed from the root, removing the entire hair follicle and essentially starting things from scratch. 

It works on short hair:  

  • Some hair removal methods require you to grow out your hair for the treatment to be effective. Epilation, on the other hand, works well on just about all hair lengths. These devices can remove hairs as short as 0.5mm. This means that you do not have to wait long between sessions to epilate.

  • Your hairs grow back finer: Your hairs will grow back over time since epilation is not a permanent hair removal solution. The good news though is that the more you epilate, the finer, softer, and sparser your hair will grow back. Over time, this will likely make the epilating process a bit easier. It also likely means that your hair will grow back more slowly over time. 

  • It is gentler on skin: Epilation is easier on your skin than some other hair removal methods. For example, waxing can leave skin raw and shaving can cause irritation. Epilating does not have these effects, making it a good choice for those with sensitive skin.

Negatives of Epilation

While there are many benefits, it is important to consider the negatives too. Let’s talk about them!

  • It can be painful: An epilator is essentially a bunch of little tweezers yanking at your skin at once, so it is no wonder that many people find the process painful. 
  • It can cause ingrown hairs: Ingrown hairs are one of the biggest cons of using an epilator. If a hair doesn’t get plucked out by the device, it can break and instead of growing out of the skin’s surface, it will curl back into the skin and grow there. The last thing we want when we’re aiming for dolphin-smooth skin is a tiny collection of annoying red dots (that are way harder to get rid of than the hair we ripped out in the first place).
  • It can make your skin red: This is really just an aesthetic issue, but a common side effect of using an epilator is that it causes redness. It eventually will calm down, but if you have big plans, you might want to avoid epilating right before them.

What Is IPL? 

Intense pulsed light (IPL) is a hair removal treatment similar to laser hair removal, except it’s a lot less painful, a whole lot cheaper, and easy to do yourself at home. 


Okay, but how does it work?

IPL devices apply gentle, scattered pulses of light to your skin. These lights stunt the hair's growth cycle, causing them to fall out. In the long term, this technology prevents the hair from growing back. 

How do the lights find your hair? Well, it’s not magic, but it’s not not magic. (We mean… science is basically just magic, right?) The broad spectrum lights used in IPL devices are attracted to melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives both our skin and our hair its unique color. IPL technology works best when there is good contrast between the pigmentation in the hair and the skin.

This contrast makes it easier for the device to essentially find and target the hair follicles. Because of this fact, the best candidate for using IPL are those with dark, coarse hair. If you don’t have dark, coarse hair you still can use an IPL device, it just may take a little bit longer to be effective on your hair.

Benefits of IPL

Here are some of the most notable benefits of this hair removal technique!

  • No pain, a lot of gain: While hair removal processes like epilation and waxing seriously hurt, IPL doesn’t. You might feel the tiniest bit of tingling or discomfort, but you won’t be saying “ouch.”

  • Say goodbye to ingrown hairs: Ingrown hairs are not only annoying, but they can be painful. What if you never had to deal with them again?! That is the promise of IPL, and one of the method’s biggest benefits. Because IPL stops and stunts hair growth at the root, ingrowns are not an issue. 

  • You’ll notice results quickly: Many people notice results from IPL almost instantly. Most of our customers notice a decrease in the growth of their hair after just four uses of our IPL devices, with full results after 12 uses.

  • L you can just remove your hair and be on your way just like that. 

  • The results can be permanent: Don’t we all want to spend less time on hair removal and more living our life? When you use IPL to remove unwanted hair, you should notice a significant reduction in hair growth. Over time, your hair will get sparser and sparser in between treatments to eventually no growth at all. 
  • Okay, nobody’s nerfect. The biggest downside to IPL is that it doesn’t work for everyone. Whomp Whomp. 

If you have very light body hair or very dark skin, an IPL treatment may not work super well for you. This is because the device will have a hard time trying to figure out where to target its pulses due to a lack of contrast between the hair and the skin. But most people are candidates! 

So, Which Method Is Right for Me?

We may be biased, but we think IPL wins over epilation. The long-lasting results and no fear of getting ingrown hairs make it worth it. Not to mention, it is a significantly less painful treatment. 

But, epilators are still an option. And there are many people who may benefit from an epilator after all. For example, if you have light body hair and aren’t a good candidate for IPL, an epilator eliminates that problem for you. 

In the end, though, the pros and cons of IPL outweigh epilators for us. That said, we’ll be keeping our IPL handsets front and center to keep our skin soft and hairless for summer. 

Sources:

What to Know About Hair Removal With an Epilator | WebMD

How to deal with an ingrown hair | Medical News Today

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL Treatment) | WebMD