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.”

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 2022-07-29 / 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 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sale
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 Wax Warmer. We’ve heard many stories of low-grade home waxes...
  • ✅ 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...

Last update on 2022-07-28 / 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.”

Sale
Braun Silk-épil 7 Epilator, Hair Removal, With 8 Extras Including Bikini Trimmer, Cordless With...
  • 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 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Braun Silk-épil 9 Flex Epilator, Flexible Head for Easier Hair Removal with Ladies Electric Shaver...
  • 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 2022-07-29 / 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 2022-07-29 / 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.”

SmoothSkin Bare Plus IPL Hair Removal for Body and Face - Black/Rose Gold
  • Ultrafast - With 100 flashes per minute, you can treat your whole body in as little as 10 minutes
  • Safe and Simple - Checks your skin tone and will only activate if it’s safe
  • Extra Power - 30% extra energy than its previous version

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sale
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 2022-07-29 / 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 2022-07-29 / 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
Braun Silk·expert Pro 5 PL5137 Latest Generation IPL (Intense Pulse Light), Permanent Visible Hair...
  • Safest & fastest: Braun's most efficient IPL¹. Permanent visible hair reduction up to 6 months²
  • The safe IPL technology. Clinically tested and dermatologically accredited as skin safe by an international skin health organization (Skin Health Alliance)
  • Smart IPL with SensoAdaptTM skin sensor (with UV protection): the only IPL technology that automatically and continuously adapts to your skin tone
Bestseller No. 2
Beizelte IPL Hair Removal Device,999,000 Flashes Laser Hair Removal for Women and Men,Painless and...
  • ♛ 【Permanent painless and effective hair removal】 IPL laser hair removal device can interrupt the hair regeneration cycle, achieve permanent hair removal and smooth skin. It is gentle, safe and...
  • ♛ 【Economical and Easy to use】 Our IPL hair removal devices are simple and convenient to use. You can remove hair at home, saving you money and time. You can treat the hair anytime, get the...
  • ♛ 【5 energy levels and 2 flash modes】 The hair removal has 5 different energy levels, 1-5 levels. The higher the level, the stronger the effect that different skin sensitivities can achieve. Two...
Bestseller No. 3
VORSPRUNG® Luminous, Proven as The Most Effective (18 Joule) Painless Salon-Grade IPL Permanent...
  • ✅ MOST EFFECTIVE HAIR REMOVAL - Consumers choose VORSPRUNG because of our 18 JOULE Output Technology, which is the highest on the market, boasting a 95% hair reduction after just three uses! Cheaper...
  • ✅ THE FULL HAIR REMOVAL SET – Our newest Advanced Hair Removal Device comes with 3 attachments to help remove the root hairs of all parts of the body! Included with your purchase you will also...
  • ✅ UPGRADED TO 999,999 FLASHES - Unlike others, the Level 2 Intense Pulsed Light Hair Removal Device offers 999,999 flashes of high-intensity light that quickly takes away unwanted hair. It is...
Bestseller No. 4
SHIWOJIA IPL Hair Removal Device for Women Men, Mini Hair Epilator Permanent and Painless Hair...
  • 【 Professional at home hair removal】 : SHIWOJIA uses a revolutionary light based technology called Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) to break the cycle of hair regrowth. Gentle pulses of light are...
  • 【Multiple levels】: SHIWOJIA IPL hair removal device has 5 adjustable light energy settings to ensure a gentle but effective treatment. The device is even gentle enough to use on your face. You can...
  • 【Irritation and pain free】: SHIWOJIA hair removal device has a Built-in cooling mechanism to help maintain the skin surface temperature between 32 ~ 40°F. This prevents your skin from damage,...
SaleBestseller No. 5
no!no! Compact IPL Pain Free Visible Body Hair Removal System for Women Ladies Legs Bikini Line...
  • PAINLESS HAIR REMOVAL: Unlike excruciating epilating, waxing or plucking sessions, the no!no! Compact IPL uses revolutionary Intense Pulsed Light technology
  • REDUCE LONG-TERM HAIR REGROWTH: Frequent usage of the no!no! Compact IPL leads to finer hair and slower regrowth over time.
  • 7 INTENSITY LEVELS: While other IPL machines only have 4 or 5 levels that can't handle thick hair, the no!no! Compact IPL helps remove even the toughest hairs.

Last update on 2022-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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