Hair removal methods -- epilation vs shaving vs waxing

Hair removal methods -- epilation vs shaving vs waxing

Written by Editorial Team |Published : January 15, 2015 11:40 PM IST

Removing body hair is an age-old practice. Societal norms dictate that a woman with smooth, hair-free skin is beautiful and 'clean.' And so, women have aspired for silky-smooth skin over the centuries, much to the misery of our more hirsute sisters.

There are several methods by which body hair can be removed. Some are temporary, whereas others are permanent. But, which method is the best? The answer to this question is not so simple, since it depends on several factors such as one s tolerance to pain, skin sensitivity, and rate of hair growth.

Let us review the advantages and disadvantages of epilation, shaving, and waxing as methods of body hair removal.

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Electric epilators consist of a series of tiny, rotating tweezers that pluck hair from the follicles.

The advantages of using an epilator are:

1. Since the epilator pulls out hair from the roots, it takes around 3 to 6 weeks for hair to grow back.

2. You can use an epilator to remove body hair yourself, without the help of a professional.

3. There is no danger of getting cuts or nicks while epilating hair.

4. While the initial investment may be high, it gives benefits for quite long as a good-quality epilator is durable.

5. Slimmer epilators are useful for removing hair from the bikini line, an area which is difficult to treat.

However, main disadvantages of epilating are:

1. The process is painful.

2. You may be required to run the epilator over the same patch of skin repeatedly to successfully remove all the hair.

3. Epilating takes more time, especially if you have just begun using this method.

4. This method makes skin very dry.


With the right kind of razor, shaving is one of the most convenient and hassle-free hair removal methods. Shaving your legs and arms has some advantages:

1. It is painless and relatively quick.

2. It eliminates ingrown hair and dead skin cells.

3. It is an inexpensive method.

4. It leaves the skin looking shiny and smooth. (Read: Waxing or shaving which hair removal method is a better choice to get rid of unwanted hair?)

But, the disadvantages are:

1. There is a risk of suffering from nicks and cuts.

2. This is a temporary method; hair grows back within a week.

3. The skin might get irritated, leading to redness and bumps.

4. Initially, the stubble that grows back is rough and may irritate the skin.


This method has been used for centuries. Warm beeswax is applied to the skin to stick to the hair. Then, a strip of cloth or paper is pressed on the wax and quickly pulled away. The yanking action pulls out the hair along with the strip. While the thought of waxing may make you go ouch! this method has several advantages:

1. Hair is removed from the roots, hence the skin remains smooth for 4-6 weeks.

2. It is said to be hygienic and free of the dangers of cuts.

3. Regular waxing may retard the rate of hair growth.

4. Waxing makes skin remain smooth and soft for a long period of time. (Read: Normal wax VS Flavoured wax which is better for hair removal?)

Nevertheless, the drawbacks of this method are:

1. It is safer to get waxing done by an experienced professional rather than using a DIY kit because the skin can get irritated if it is repeatedly pulled in the wrong way.

2. If the consistency of the wax used is not right, the skin may get burnt.

3. The method is painful, especially in sensitive areas such as the underarms.

4. It leaves rashes and bumps for people with sensitive skin.

5. Since molten wax is used, the method is somewhat messy.

6. Depending on the salon you visit, waxing can be moderately expensive.

7. One needs to wait for the hair to grow back again before getting waxed in order to avoid ingrown hair.

With the benefits and drawbacks of all three methods in consideration, we leave the choice to you. Each woman is unique and has her own special skin needs, thus it would be incorrect to declare any one method better than others.

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1: Jacobi H. [Significance of the hair root status and its determination using a

mechanical epilator]. Dermatol Monatsschr. 1971 Nov;157(11):777-82. German.

PubMed PMID: 5141692.