There are a few disadvantages as far as epilators go, but I really do think the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to epilating.
I've never been one for waxing. Getting it done professionally is expensive, and while me, my mum, and my aunt all used to do sugaring when I was younger, I legitimately hated the pain.
My aunt started epilating and told me about how wonderful it was, but because of my aversion to pain (and boy is it painful at first!) it was years before I actually gave epilating a worthy go.
Nowadays, it's the only form of hair removal I use (besides shaving), and that's after trying laser and IPL - both which work, but aren't the most cost effective, especially considering how much "ground" I have to cover.
It has too many advantages for me not to: it hurts very little over time, many think it can lead to permanent hair reduction over time, in terms of less hair and hair growing back finer, it's easy to do at home, and eventually once the pain goes away, very quick to do as well.
Epilators are cheap if you count how much use you get out of them, you don't need to stop shaving to use them, you can take your epilator to use pretty much anywhere (mine's rechargable and battery-operated).
I can't think of many disadvantages by comparison if I'm honest.
Okay, but enough of my backstory & what I think about the advantages of epilating, let's get into the disadvantages of using epilators + a bonus of how to minimize or completely remedy those disadvantages!
Disadvatages of Epilators & How to Minimize the Cons of Epilating
Disadvantage 1: Epilating Hurts!!!
Using an epilator isn't the easiest feat - especially if you're not used to waxing or any other method of hair removal that includes pain.
I've tried IPL and laser before, and while I do think they're painful in some areas, overall, they're pretty painless and then every so often you'll get a ouch or two from a certain area, in my experience.
That's nothing in comparison to the pain of an epilator the first time you use it.
That being said, I'm sure you've read before absolutely everywhere from everyone who uses an epilator for long enough that over time, the pain lessens to the point where it doesn't "really" hurt anymore.
What does this mean? Well I've gotten to this stage with my legs, so how I'd personally explain it (if it's the same for everyone else) is like this: it hurts, but kind of like when you scratch really hard when you've got an itch.
It's a bit of pain, but actually you get kind of a nice feeling when you epilate eventually, in a similar sense to scratching really hard to relieve an itch you've had bothering you all day.
I haven't gotten to this level on other places on my body, but I definitely already have significantly reduced pain everywhere I've epilated before, and I would say it only takes around 2-3 times to start feeling significantly less pain.
That being said, I discovered a number of tricks that help reduce pain while using an epilator, so I use those... keep reading if you're interested.
Remedy for Disadvantage 1: Use Epilator Pain Reducing Techniques
I'm not going to repeat myself since I've described my techniques for reducing pain while epilating before in detail.
Basically, check out this article where I describe if epilators hurt and how to reduce the pain for my tips.
They include things you probably wouldn't expect, like epilating regularly, and shaving right before you epilate (weird, I know, super uncommon advice, but you have to read the whole tip for it to make sense).
Disadvantage 2: Using an Epilator Often Leads to Ingrown Hairs
This is annoying, and the struggle is real.
Yes, you will get ingrown hairs. I get them all the time and yes, we're all saying "ingrown hairs" over and over because it's a lot more than you would get from shaving.
You shave and you get some - fine, no problem. You epilate? You're probably going to get loads more.
You could easily scratch away the skin at the top to "release" them and then epilate over them, but it's time consuming doing one at a time.
Does it hurt having ingrown hairs? Absolute not in my experience.
Though ingrown hairs can be hella itchy. Again, in my experience.
Remedy for Disadvantage 2: Exfoliate & Moisturize
While ingrown hairs are not the biggest deal, over time you either:
- Learn to live with the inconvenience of having ingrown hairs or
- Start to exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate, with a side of moisturising.
Because exfoliation works so well, I don't think anyone can really use ingrown hairs as a major complaint against epilating.
Moisturizing also helps considerably too.
I'm temporarily in the "living with it" side of things, especially since I shave, and shaving is somewhat exfoliating, so eventually the majority of hairs come out on their own and the rest I'll scratch away with my nail a little to release before epilating.
I would never let this stop me from epilating, personally.
Disadvantage 3: Epilators Can Lead to Skin Redness
Okay so after you epilate, you get these little bumps on your skin where the hairs were pulled out and they look a tiny bit like you got a rash where you epilated, so this skin redness is technically a disadvantage, but...
Remedy for Disadvantage 3: Don't Epilate Before Going Out
Honestly they go away within a few hours, so just don't epilate before you go out, it's that simple.
You can absolutely epilate the night before you have to be someplace in the morning.
You can probably even epilate in the morning and be ready to go out for a lunch date without the redness being an issue.
You can absolutely cover up the redness because it's not super textured or bumpy, so foundation or cover up will work in a pinch, but basically just plan ahead and don't do it right before you leave the house.
Disadvantage 4: Epilating Can Be Time Consuming
At first, epilating can take a while. It really can.
When you're not used to the pain, and you have to slow down, it's a whole thing.
You're going to want to take breaks, you may not even manage to get all the sections you want done in one go.
That's life - at first...
Remedy for Disadvantage 4: Leave Extra Time to Epilate Until You're Used to the Pain
Eventually you won't care and it'll go so super quick because you'll be able to use the fast setting (I have one on my epilator, the Braun Silk-épil 9, A++ for speed if I'm not slowing down 'cause of pain).
So initially, if you're just starting epilating, make sure you leave ample time to do it, and probably assume you're going to need way longer to do it than you expect, maybe over a few days instead of all at once so if you can't handle the pain you're okay, or have a back up plan, like shaving everything that you couldn't epilate.
Long-term, epilating is an excellent solution, so you just need to hang in there and put in the time at first, and then you won't even have to remedy this "problem" because it won't be an issue anymore.
That's about all I can think of!
Do I think the disadvantages outweigh the advantages? Absolutely not!
I love epilating and as far as disavantages for a hair removal technique goes, I actually think it has the fewest for me (besides laser hair removal, but that has one major disadvantage: cost!).
Give it a shot if you're curious. I doubt you'll regret it.