If you're looking this up, my guess is you currently wax and are considering switching over to epilating if you feel it's got enough pros that weigh it's benefits over that of waxing.
I grew up in a home where sugaring was the primary method of long-term hair removal. The only other experience I had growing up was shaving.
Then I grew up and tried IPL (didn't work too well, but it did work some), and laser hair removal (worked well, but it's very expensive in comparison to things like waxing and epilating and DIY at-home IPL devices).
My first exposure to epilating was when I was a teenager, and one of my aunts who used to wax switched over to an epilating device.
She told me it was fantastic and raved about it, but relayed that oh-so-common message of "It hurts a lot when you first start, but after a while you don't feel any pain at all."
Well, I don't handle pain all that well, so I couldn't imagine stomaching that first part of the process where you have to keep telling yourself, "Hang in there until it get's easier."
I moved countries twice and after all my experiments with the other hair removals, I ended up back in the epilating camp, deciding to just give it a proper go this time, and luckily I already had a device bought that I'd been slacking on really trying.
I started with my legs, and it was brutal. I'm not going to lie here - it hurts a lot more than waxing when you start epilating. But I figured out some techniques for reducing the pain so much that I decided to stick with it.
Using an epilator hurts much more than waxing at first. Then it drops to basically being painless in comparison to waxing. At least in my experience.
But I'll get into the rest of the advantages/disadvantages of epilating VS waxing in a more organized way so you can see things laid out better for yourself. And I think it'll be pretty clear why epilating is the winner for me by the end of it.
Epilating vs Waxing: Which Is the Better Hair Removal Method?
1. Convenience? Epilating Wins.
I have my epilator on my desk by my computer, and when I'm bored, watching YouTube videos, or caught in a loading page of a game (I play League of Legends), I pull out my epilator and start plucking away hairs on my legs and arms.
This level of convenience could never be matched if I waxed.
It's a sit down, finish the job type deal and you absolutely couldn't "top up" if you wanted to without it being an ordeal in comparison to an epilator.
I don't know how much of my bias toward epilating is down to convenience alone, but the epilator absolutely scores some pretty massive points for being so convenient with me.
2. Pain at first: Waxing wins.
Waxing is like pulling off a bandaid - quick, painful, but all in one go and then it's over.
Epilating takes a lot of time at first, since you have so much hair to go through and it's considerably thick initially.
Still, if you compare the two side by side the first few times you start epilating versus waxing, epilating pain will absolutely be the sore loser (pun intended!).
3. Pain long-term: Epilating wins.
Over time, epilating hurts a lot less than waxing. Like so much less.
And that's because, unlike with waxing, you don't have to wait until the hairs are pretty long to be able to remove them with an epilator (which is a win in itself), so you can constantly be epilating a small amount of hairs at a time because your hairs grow in at different times.
Epilating coarse hair that's spotty and hasn't grown in thick (in terms of quantity) isn't even a problem.
It's when there's a lot of coarse hair that epilation becomes painful, at least in my opinion.
So over time, epilating 100% wins in terms of pain.
Though, as I mentioned you can follow some of my tips that I've outlined here to make sure epilating doesn't hurt you very much from the beginning; I've found these techniques really helpful when starting out, because I can't handle all that much pain myself.
4. Cost: Epilating wins.
Getting a wax done professionally costs a fortune.
We don't even need to pretend to consider cost epilating versus the cost of a professional wax - you're saving thousands, end of story.
But even if you wax at home, and in my opinion, even if you make your own sugaring wax (like my family did), the cost of a single epilator over time is likely to be far less than even the ingredients for waxing over time.
I don't know how long epilators last, but if you take care to make sure they don't get clogged up (they come with a brush, and I always epilate after a shower, but when I'm dry, so that it's easy to get all the gunk out with the brush), I can't imagine they'd need to be replaced often at all.
Worth it cost-wise? I think epilating vs waxing, epilating wins, maybe with the cost being if you make your own wax at home, which people don't often do.
Even then, over time a very long time, I think epilating may still win this duel out anyway.
5. Aesthetics: Epilating wins.
Remember how I said that, unlike with waxing, you don't have to wait for your hairs to get too long before epilating, because the epilator is able to pick up relatively small hairs?
Well this makes it so that, for me, using an epilator is my aesthetic preference over waxing any day of the week.
I've used an epilator directly after shaving before and managed to catch some hairs. I'm sure not every epilator will work that well (I use the Braun Silk-épil 9), but I'm also sure that all epilators will perform better at catching short hairs than waxing will perform at catching short hairs.
It's just the nature of epilating versus waxing.
And that means you don't have to "grow out your hair" the same way you do if you're waiting to get a wax done.
Meaning less "downtime" where you look hairy wherever you're waiting for a wax.
Personally, I prefer this, a lot.
I'm actually constantly epilating when I have a chance, so that whatever hairs I do have are gone, and this is totally possible with an epilator. Not so with a wax.
All in all, I have to ask - is it really a competition if you're crushing your opponent so hard?
Epilating is the obvious winner here. On way too many fronts to count.
Short term, waxing may seem like a better option because it's less painful initially, but honestly, it can't win out in the long term at all against epilating, which is by far the superior method of hair removal based on my experience.