Epilator and depilator are two terms that people often interchange, but there is actually a big difference between epilator and depilator regarding hair removal. While epilation removes hair from its roots completely, depilation only removes hair at the surface of the skin.
When researching hair removal options, you’ll probably hear these two terms often, but not know how they’re different or when each process might be more beneficial. Choosing between a depilator vs epilator mostly boils down to personal preference, so you’ll want to be informed of all your options before trying something new.
What Happens During Depilation?
Epilation and depilation sound a lot like each other, but there’s an essential difference between epilator and depilator.
Both terms refer to tools that remove unwanted body hair. An epilator removes the hair from beneath the surface, usually down to the follicle, while a depilator removes the hair at the root.
When you shave your legs to remove hair, the razor acts as a depilator. Similarly, a tweezer, which pulls hair from the root, is also a depilator.
You may have heard of depilatories, which are chemically-based creams that break down the protein structure of hair to remove it. These are also considered depilators because they remove hair down to the root, but don’t touch or damage the hair follicle.
Types of Depilation
There are two types of depilation: non-chemical and chemical.
You can remove unwanted hair through depilation without introducing potentially harmful chemicals to your skin. Non-chemical depilation involves using a depilatory tool, like a razor or tweezers, to remove hair.
Non-chemical depilation is much less invasive than chemical depilation because it just works to remove hair with a tool and your own force, rather than to rely on chemicals to dissolve the hair.
Chemical depilatories are usually in a cream or lotion form. These creams contain chemicals that break down proteins in the hair to dissolve them at their roots.
Chemical depilatory creams have been controversial for years. Some experts claim that chemical-based creams can cause severe irritation to your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies.
Chemical depilatories tend to keep unwanted hair away longer than non-chemical depilatory tools can, but there are also more possible side effects from using them.
What Happens During Epilation?
Now that you know that there’s a difference between depilator vs epilator processes, let’s dig deeper into epilation. This form of hair removal focuses on removing hair for a longer period of time than depilation.
That’s because epilation involves removing hair from below the surface, usually down to the hair follicle.
However, it’s important to note that no epilation method will remove hair permanently. In some cases, your hair will grow back thinner and finer than it once was, but it will still come back eventually.
The main difference between epilator and depilator processes, though, is the length of time it will take hair to grow back. You can think of depilation as a more temporary process, while epilation is more of a long-term solution for hair removal.
Types of Epilation
There are several types of epilation that you can choose from, depending on how long-term of a solution you’d like. Some methods are more painful than others, though, and may not be suitable options for people with sensitive skin or aversion to the pain associated with them.
Waxing is the process of allowing the wax to sit on the skin where you want hair removed and pulling it off, removing hair with it from the follicle. The wax can be either:
- Hot; You can place melted wax on your body and then wait for it to harden before gently pulling it off to remove hair, or
- Cold; Cold wax remains soft at room temperature or becomes soft when you rub it between your warm hands so that you can spread it where you need it to go. Then, you can pull it away as you would hard wax.
Waxing can be a good way to keep hair away for about two weeks, but it’s also one of the more painful epilation methods.
Sugaring is a technique that’s similar to waxing, but tends to be less damaging to skin and, therefore, less painful.
To make the sugar treatment, you combine water, lemon, and sugar to form a gel that you spread on the areas where you want to remove hair. Once the gel hardens, which takes just a couple of minutes, you can remove it in the opposite direction of hair growth like you would with wax.
The sugaring gel clings to the hair rather than the skin, removing it gently from the follicle without pulling at your skin too.
Threading is an epilation method used mostly on eyebrows to shape them. An artist uses strategically-placed threads to remove hair from the follicle.
The process is relatively painless compared to other methods and can be incredibly accurate in removing the hairs you don’t want.
Laser treatments involve removing hair using high-heat laser beams to damage the hair follicles. Although most people believe laser treatments are permanent because they damage follicles, they just create a longer solution to hair removal than some other treatments.
However, you’ll likely see hair return – maybe thinner than before – within several weeks to months.
Laser treatments will also take some time to complete. You may have to return to the dermatologist’s office for between two to six visits to finish the process.
Should I Choose Epilation or Depilation?
You now know the difference between epilator and depilator methods, you likely have one question left: depilator vs epilator? What one is right for you?
The answer will depend mostly on your lifestyle and where you’d like to remove hair.
Epilation: Pros and Cons
Epilation is the route you’ll want to take if you want a longer solution to hair removal than you’d get from shaving or other depilatory methods.
However, epilation can be costlier than depilation, especially if you opt for laser treatments. You’ll be removing hair less often, though, so you’ll pay more up front to have longer results.
Depilation: Pros and Cons
Depilation can be less expensive than epilation, but your results won’t last as long.
Shaving only removes hair from the surface of the skin, so most people find that they have to shave every day or every other day to maintain hair removal. Tweezing pulls hair from the root, so it lasts a bit longer than shaving, but the process can be tedious.
Depilation tends to be a good solution for people who don’t have time to visit a professional for waxing, lasering, or other epilation methods.
Conclusion: Difference Between Epilator and Depilator
Hair removal doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s a matter of finding the best options for you to remove unwanted hair in a way that works best with your body and lifestyle.
Epilation and depilation are two methods for removing body hair, but epilation can typically keep hair away for longer. However, some depilatory techniques, like shaving and tweezing, can be much less intrusive than epilation processes, like waxing and lasering.
In short, the difference between epilator and depilator is that an epilation process is better for long-term hair removal, while depilation methods are quicker, but result in faster hair return.