Tired of using a razor to shave your body hair? There’s another way. Several, in fact, and none of which involve excruciating – and expensive – trips to the salon. We explore the pros and cons of epilators vs waxing vs IPL so you can work out which one is best for you.

From simple wax strips to high-tech gadgets, DIY hair removal has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, meaning there’s a method for every budget (and pain threshold).

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Epilator vs waxing vs IPL

We asked the experts for their advice to help you find your ideal at-home hair-removal solution…

epilator vs waxing
Smooth operators (ThinkStock/PA)

Waxing

Can anyone do it?

“In general, everyone can do at-home waxing,” says beauty expert Nichola Joss.

“However, if you are prone to being very sensitive or have an existing skin condition, it’s best to seek out professional advice for the best type of waxing or hair removal.”

Which is better for beginners – wax strips or hot wax?

“I think it’s more personal preference, but I find both are appropriate for beginners. Both are easy to use, effective and results driven, compared to shaving, epilating or laser – all of which can be aggressive and damaging to skin.”

How long does it last?

“With waxing, you can have smooth hair-free skin for up to 6 weeks, depending on the coarseness and density of your hair.”

Does it hurt?

“It can be slightly uncomfortable, depending on the area of the body you are treating. The best way to minimise pain would be to completely prep the skin by cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising beforehand.”

Is it expensive?

“Waxing is far more cost-effective and time-efficient to do at home than in the salon, and you are also far more in control of your treatment.”

Any other tips for beginners?

“Make sure you have all your tools and products to hand. Read through the instructions completely and allocate enough time. And always remember to carry out a patch-test 24 hours before.”

Sale
Mylee Professional Waxing Kit with Wax Heater, Hard Wax Beads 500g, Spatulas - Stripless Depilatory...
  • Professional wax heater for salon and home use - Suitable for professional salons and home users. Amazing salon-quality hair removal treatments from strip waxing to bikini and Brazilian waxing...
  • Built-in thermos heat sensor for your safety - The Mylee Thermostatic Control Wax Heater melts the wax beads and keeps the hot wax at the same temperature during hair removal. Simply switch on the wax...
  • Less pain with stripless waxing - New generation wax formula provides gentle hair removal which is ideal for sensitive body areas such as bikini line or facial hair removal. No waxing strips are...

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Nair Nourish Japanese Cherry Blossom - Ultra Body 7 in 1 Hair Removal Wax Strips - Caring,...
  • Effective, easy to use cold wax strips: Removes unwanted body hair without any rubbing or heating required. Removes even short hairs quickly & easily
  • Formulated with Natural Japanese Cherry Blossom and Rice Bran Oil: Leaving you with beautifully smooth skin for up to 4 weeks
  • Dermatologically tested: Reveal skin that is beautifully moisturised and hair-free. Perfect for legs, bikini line & under arms

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Tress Wellness Waxing Kit - Easy to use - Hard Wax Beads Hair Removal Wax Beans for Wax Pot - Wax...
  • ✅ No more expensive salon visits! Many home waxing kits aren’t thorough, leaving hair behind so you’re forced to go to pricey Pro Stripless Wax Warmer. We’ve heard many stories of low-grade...
  • ✅ No more irritation - no more mess - no more inflammations! Our specially formulated wax has a smoother application to minimize irritation with natural ingredients and is safe for all skin types....
  • ✅ Newest model with reliable digital display - no more burn skin! Our digital wax heater displays its exact temp, with a range of 30°C-125°C (86°f–257°f) & wax ready color indicators. Our wax...

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Epilation

What is it?

Epilation devices feature a rotating head that catches and plucks hairs out one by one.

Can anyone do it?

“Women with all skin types can use epilation as their method of hair removal,” says GP and skin expert, Dr Anita Sturnham.

“But people with more sensitive skin may prefer to epilate as there are a number of ways to ease the initial pain some may experience, which cannot be replicated when waxing.”

Does it hurt?

“Epilating allows you to reach all areas of the skin easily with the stretch of one arm, so the other hand can be used to hold skin taught to ease the pain some experience as they first start to epilate.

“Some epilators can also be used in the bath or shower, which softens the hairs and desensitises the skin for a gentler epilation experience.”

Why is it better than waxing?

“Waxing requires approximately 2mm of hair regrowth, which is inconvenient and can lead to women wanting to cover up during this awkward in-between stage.

“The Braun range captures hairs as short as a grain of sand (0.5mm).”

Is it expensive?

“While the purchase of an epilator is an initial expense, this should be seen as an investment purchase to last for countless hair-removal treatments.

“A recent survey by Braun found that by conducting hair-removal treatments at home, women in the UK can save up on average £567 per year.”

Any other tips for beginners?

“Exfoliate first, to lift hairs that may be hiding under dry skin, avoiding the risk of ingrown hairs and ensuring every hair is captured.

“Don’t apply products straight after – avoid the feel of irritation by allowing the pores to close for a time after hair removal.”

Braun Silk-pil 7 Epilator, Hair Removal, With 8 Extras Including Bikini Trimmer, Cordless With Smart...
  • Braun's most efficient epilator, the most gentle on skin, external study at IPI Institute, Stuttgart, March 2013
  • Epilation removes hair 4 x shorter than wax
  • Cordless wet and dry epilator, virtually painless hair removal with regular use

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sale
Braun Silk-épil 9 Flex Epilator for Women, Flexible Head for Easier Hair Removal with Ladies...
  • EFFORTLESS: World’s 1st epilator for women with a fully flexible head, for easier hair removal
  • SMOOTH SKIN: Micro-Grip tweezer technology (40 tweezers) provides smooth skin for weeks, not days
  • CONVENIENT: Ergonomic handle with anti-slip grip, perfect for epilating in the shower

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Panasonic ES-WS14 Compact Epilator for Women
  • 2-in-1 Epilator: Speedy epilation with 24 tweezers efficiently captures even short and thin hairs from the root.
  • Gentle Skin Guard: The gentle skin guard holds skin in place, so that the epilator only pulls on the hair and not the skin.
  • Two speed settings: Two-speed function allows easy start for beginners and protects sensitive skin.

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

IPL

What is IPL

IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. In terms of hair removal, a flash of light is absorbed by the pigment in a hair, which then ‘zaps’ the growing cells beneath it.

Can anyone do it?

“We don’t recommend it for very dark skin, or very light body hair,” says Leah Richards, director of clinical affairs at SmoothSkin.

“This is because very dark skin has a considerable amount of pigment and will absorb more light than the skin can handle, therefore it can potentially burn, discolour or scar your skin. Very light body hair is the opposite, as in this instance, there isn’t enough pigment in the hair shaft, which IPL heavily relies on.

“We don’t recommend that you use IPL over your tattoos, as it can burn and blister the skin due to the colour of the ink.”

How long does it last?

“As with all home-use IPL treatments, one treatment won’t last forever. You will need to keep treating the hairs every once in a while to avoid hair growth starting up again. 

“We recommend to treat the area once a week until you start seeing the desired results, and then top up treatments when and if you need them.”

Does it hurt?

“IPL doesn’t hurt. Granted, you’ll feel a slight sensation, perhaps a tingling feeling, but it won’t be painful. However, the sensation varies from person to person.

“The feeling might be a little more intense for those who have coarse, dark hair, but it’ll feel like a gentle flick of an elastic band.”

Is it expensive?

“At first thought, IPL might seem like an expensive way to de-fuzz, but we’ve done the maths, and over time you can make a huge saving compared to other more conventional (and more painful!) hair-removal methods.

“The average razor blade lasts just a month – if you include shaves, blades and foam, you could soon be spending around £8 per month. For a one-off payment of just £199, SmoothSkin Bare offers unlimited flashes so it will last a lifetime.”

Any other tips for beginners?

“Always do a quick patch-test before getting started on your treatment. This will help you get used to the sensation of IPL, as well as finding out if you have the right skin tone ahead of using.”

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Panasonic ES-WH90 Cordless IPL Hair Removal Device for Women
  • IPL removal system can effectively inhibit the growth of unwanted hair without damaging your skin; it provides safe and effective treatment suitable for arms, underarms, bikini line and facial
  • Treating your face - a build-up of dead skin cells can roughen your facial skin and make it look dull
  • The easy-to-grip ergonomic design and lightweight 346 g body enable easy treatment. Hair colors for which product is suitable: Black, Dark brown, Brown, Dark blond

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Hair Removal - iluminage Touch ELOS Quartz Permanent Hair Reduction System with 300,000 Flashes -...
  • POWERED BY DUAL-WAVE TECHNOLOGY: The iluminage Touch Permanent Hair Reduction System contains the only FDA-cleared technology for permanent results on all skin tones
  • USED BY DERMATOLOGISTS AROUND THE WORLD: The iluminage Touch it is clinically proven to be effective on the widest range of hair colours, even on blond, dark blond and red hair
  • CLINICAL RESULTS: Up to 94% hair reduction after 7 weeks. 46% of all hair removed after just two treatments

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Epilator vs waxing vs IPL – which is best?

So, which is best?

IPL is your best bet if you’re willing to invest now to save in the long-run.

For the next spot, it’s down to epilator vs waxing. The two products do largely the same job by taking the hair from the follicle. An epilator is another investment (albeit a lot cheaper than an IPL machine!), but you don’t have the constant costs like you do with waxing.

For us, it’s IPL, then epilating, then waxing.

 

Best-selling IPL hair removal products

Stuck for inspiration? Check out our list of best-selling Amazon products!

SaleBestseller No. 1
Anagel Cosmetic IPL/Laser Gel (250ml)
  • Higher viscosity than standard ultrasound gel, especially suited to IPL / Laser treatments
  • 250ml bottle for ease of use
  • Hypoallergenic and non-irritating
Bestseller No. 2
IPL Hair Removal Laser Hair Remover (UK Company) Permanent Hair Removal Device for Sensitive Skin
  • TOP QUALITY LASER HAIR REMOVER - Our Laser hair removal device is the latest beauty product to hit the market in 2021. Built to last a life time our IPL hair removal device requires no replacement...
  • PERMANENT HAIR REMOVAL - The hair removal laser will get rid of all unwanted hair permanently. With no burning sensation everyone with all skin types can say hello to silky smooth skin.
  • FAST/SAFE HAIR REMOVAL - Our upgraded IPL hair removal device will get rid of unwanted hair 2x faster than your regular laser hair removal products. Our cutting edge system is currently being used by...
Bestseller No. 3
SafeLightPro F5 Special Eye Protection Against Light impulses (Flashes) emitted by HPL and IPL Hair...
  • The SafeLightPro F5 light protection goggles guarantee highly effective light protection for the eyes during the application of HPL/IPL hair removal devices and offers protection against eye injuries...
  • SafeLightPro F5 is three darkness levels darker than SafeLightPro F2. The darkness level best suited to you – whether F2 or F5 – depends on how sensitively your eyes react to very bright flashes...
  • In addition, these light protection goggles protect you from UV radiation. UV-C protection. In the ultraviolet range 250-380nm (UV-A, UV-B, UV-C), the glasses offer protection against low to medium...
Bestseller No. 4
AMINZER IPL Hair Removal Device, Laser Hair Removal Device for Women and Men, 999,000 Flashes, 5...
  • 【Advanced IPL Technology】The IPL hair removal device applies the latest IPL technology to remove unwanted hair easily. At least 90% reduction in hair growth can be observed after just 4 weeks of...
  • 【5 Energy Levels】The laser hair remover has 5 energy levels to match various skin tones and hair colors. The higher the energy level, the better the hair removal effect. It is recommended to use...
  • 【999900 Flashes & LCD Screen】The IPL hair removal system has a large LCD screen, you can know the energy level, operation mode, and remaining flash times at a glance. The 999,900 flashes are...
SaleBestseller No. 5
AMINZER 2024 IPL Hair Removal Device, 3-in-1 Laser Hair Removal Device with 9 Energy Levels, 600nm...
  • 🔥𝟯 𝗙𝘂𝗻𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗠𝗼𝗱𝗲𝘀: This laser hair remover for women has 3 functions - HR(Hair Removal), SC, RA. Save time and money on salon visits as you can...
  • 🔥𝗔𝗱𝗷𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝟵 𝗘𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗴𝘆 𝗟𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹𝘀: AMINZER IPL hair removal device allows you to adjust from 9 intensities for personalized treatment....
  • 🔥𝗔𝗱𝘃𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗱 𝟲𝟬𝟬-𝟭𝟮𝟬𝟬𝗻𝗺 𝗥𝗲𝗱 𝗟𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗧𝗲𝗰𝗵: Compared with other wavelengths, melanin will selectively absorb...

Last update on 2024-05-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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