The downside of hair removal is that you often have to wait for the hair to grow to a certain length before you can get rid of it. That’s not the case with epilation. How long does hair have to be to epilate? Not very long at all.
In the world of hair removal, people often think of epilation as the ugly stepsister of shaving or waxing. But it shouldn’t be. Compared to a few of the more popular hair-removal options out there, epilation offers plenty of benefits, including the ability to remove short hair.
What Is Epilating?
Epilating is a relatively new form of hair removal. It was first developed in Israel in the 1980s, according to the New York Times. At the time, epilation was called a “revolution.” It was thought that the method would permanently change the way people remove unwanted hair.
Strangely enough, it didn’t, despite the numerous of advantages of epilation compared to other hair removal options. When you epilate, you remove hair from the follicle or root.
In contrast, when you shave, you cut the hair off right at the surface of the skin. Shaved hair grows back quickly. It also often feels rough or coarse, because shaving leaves a blunt top on the hair shaft.
Epilating has more in common with tweezing or waxing hairs but still has some fundamental differences. When you use tweezers to remove hair, you pull each one out one-by-one. It’s a time consuming, arduous process.
When you wax, you remove a bunch of hairs at once. But many times, you also remove a layer or two of skin cells. If you have sensitive skin, you’re likely to end up with some irritation in the waxed areas.
You do need a unique tool — known as an epilator — to epilate. The tool is usually electrical or battery powered and features a head that has lots of little tweezer-like devices. When you switch on the epilator, the head spins and the little tweezers go to work, pulling out each strand of hair.
What Type of Hair Can You Epilate?
Hair comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Some hair removal methods only work on certain types of hair, but that’s not the case with epilation. If you have thick, coarse hair, you can epilate. If you have fine, delicate hair, you can epilate.
The same is true whether your hair is dark or light.
Can You Epilate Short Hair?
For plenty of people, the most significant benefit of epilation is that you don’t have to wait forever between treatments for hair to grow back.
Shaving is the “too hot” of hair removal. You shave one day, only to notice visible stubble the next.
Meanwhile, waxing is the “too cold” of hair removal. You have to wait for the hair to grow to about 2 millimeters in length before you can yank it out. It takes a while for the hair to grow back, but then you have to put up with hairy armpits, legs or where ever while you wait for it to reach the appropriate length for waxing again.
Epilation is the “just right” of hair removal. How long does hair have to be to epilate? Just 0.5 millimeter. In case you need a visual, that’s about the size of a grain of sand.
There’s more good news about hair length and epilation. Your hair grows in cycles. That means when some strands are growing, others are in the resting phase.
When other strands are growing, the remaining are in a resting phase. That’s in part why you need to shave so much and why you might see some regrowth so soon after waxing.
But since the answer to how long does hair have to be to epilate is not very long at all, you can do it more frequently.
You can epilate one day, removing the actively growing, but still short, hairs. Then you can wait a few days and epilate again, removing any additional hairs that have popped up. You don’t have to wait for there to be a critical mass of hair growth.
Are There Any Areas Where You Shouldn’t Epilate?
Along with knowing how long does hair have to be to epilate, it helps to know what areas are appropriate to epilate.
Generally speaking, you can use an epilator all over the body. It can remove hair from your face, legs, and underarms.
However, if you’re thinking of using it in the bikini area or are considering giving yourself a Brazilian using the device, you might want to reconsider. Epilation can be a bit difficult, not to mention uncomfortable, on particularly soft areas, as Refinery29 points out.
How Do You Use an Epilator?
You’re ready to jump into epilation, and your hair is at least 0.5 mm long. What’s the next step?
It all depends. Epilators are pretty flexible tools. You can use them in the bath or shower (as long as the device is marked “wet/dry”). You can use them dry.
You can look at epilation as a two-step process. There’s a “prep” phase and a hair removal phase.
Prep for Epilation
A bit of preparation before you epilate can make the process of getting rid of hairs more efficient. Grazia recommends exfoliating the skin beforehand. Exfoliation scrubs away any dead skin cells, making it easier to reach the hairs.
You might also want to have a bath or shower before you remove the hair. A warm soak will help to soften your hair follicles, which can make it even easier for the device to pluck out your hairs. If you’re using an epilator that works in wet conditions, you can even use it while in the bath or shower.
After you’ve soaked the area you’re treating for at least 10 minutes, get out of the bath or shower and dry the skin. You can skip this step if you’re epilating in the bath.
How to Epilate
Now you’re ready to get down to business. Sit down somewhere (don’t epilate while standing your first time).
Choose your starting point, such as the calf of your leg or your thigh. Choose an area with hair on it, then pull the skin taut. Pulling the skin taut can help to improve comfort.
Run the epilator over the area. Work against the direction hair grows or move the epilator in circles if you’re removing hair from your armpits.
You should see the hair pulled out and removed instantly. You might want to start small at first, removing hair from one section at a time. You can repeat the process the next day.
How Long Do the Results Last?
The other goods news about epilation is that the results last for a pretty long time — in some cases, up to four weeks.
Plus, the more you epilate, the less your hair grows, or the finer hair becomes. That can mean that you need to epilate less and less as time goes on.
So, how long does hair have to be to epilate? Shorter than you think. If you want a more convenient and affordable hair removal option, give epilation a try today.