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Should I Wax, Epilate, or Shave? Pros and Cons of Each Method

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Nia is a cardiac sonographer, growing artist, and writer who enjoys traveling and gaining experiences through living life to the fullest.

Torn as to whether to shave, wax, or epilate? This article will point out the pros and cons of each.

Torn as to whether to shave, wax, or epilate? This article will point out the pros and cons of each.

How Far Will You Go to Tame That Mane?

Unless you’re into the S&M thing, most of us would like to lead a pain-free existence. But when it comes to hair removal, pain-free might not be the route some of us take. And for those of us that do take the more painful route, why do we do it? Why would we put ourselves through such tortuously painful ways of ridding ourselves of our hairy limbs, amongst other places? One word. Vanity. A topic saved for another day.

Today, I want to get into the nitty-gritty about the techniques that one endures for hair removal. I bring up this topic because soon I will be going on vacation and I am left with the decision yet again of going through this mind-boggling madness for the sake of a bikini-ready appearance.

Though I speak of this topic somewhat ill-manneredly, the technique that I have chosen to go with for the past 2 years has worked for me best. Here I’ll give some specifics of 3 different ways to get rid of that hair.

1. Pros and Cons of Shaving


This method of hair removal is no doubt the most common and less expensive option depending on the type of razor you choose to purchase. It is also a quick process and easy to handle. A couple of strokes here and there and you’re done!


You blink and your hair is already growing back. The stubble that comes with it is annoying and can make any significant other drawback in shock from the abrasiveness. You also run the risk of getting razor bumps. For those of you who have not had those, they are a pain in the butt and can sometimes leave behind terrible scarring. This will leave you hairless and hideous.


For best results, it is best to team shaving up with shaving cream. Some razors also come with replacement blades.

2. Pros and Cons of Waxing


This is still an affordable option. Hair removal can last up to 6 weeks. Hair growth varies from person to person.


OMG! Why would anyone do this to themselves! I’ll tell you why because when you wax, the hair can be removed and stay gone anywhere from 2–6 weeks! To some, that makes it well worth the pain. BUT, with such sweet victory comes such horrifying ways to get there.

When you choose to wax, you are choosing to inflict bodily harm to yourself. Whether you are getting it from a professional or doing it yourself, the pain still remains. And personally, I’d rather inflict pain on myself rather than have someone else do it. I can’t be held responsible for my fight-or-flight reflexes if someone else were to cause me pain.

Also, with waxing, redness and swelling last for a while. If you do this before going out somewhere make sure you do it early the day before to allow for the redness and possible swelling to fade.


A waxing kit contains waxing strips, wax and wooden applicators. Some also come with an oil such as azulene oil to help with moisturizing and soothing the skin. Waxing is just like it sounds. Here are the steps to waxing:

  1. Take the wax and heat it up. Before applying the wax, let it somewhat cool but remain hot enough in order to apply a thin layer on the section of interest.
  2. Apply the slightly cooled wax with the included wooden applicator. The strips that come with the kit are made of cloth or a non-woven paper-like material.
  3. After applying the wax, the strip is placed over the waxed area and smoothed over (with the applicator previously used) in the direction that the hair lays. This insures proper adhesion of the strip to the wax.
  4. The victim then pulls the skin tight nearest the area to be waxed. And with one swift yank in the opposite direction that the hair lays, RIP! (Makes you tighten your butt cheeks don’t it?)

No, not Rest In Peace, but close. It’s painful but you’ll live through it. The victim is then left standing there facing themselves in the mirror wondering why on God’s green earth they have decided to cause harm to themselves in such a manner.

And guess what, there are about 10 more times of that to go if a large area or multiple spots are being waxed. Not to mention, the top layer of skin has been taken off along with the hair. Not really, but if you do not allow for proper cooling you could potentially burn yourself. Which feels exactly like you’ve taken a layer of skin off along with the strip. Did a man design this unthinkable creation? If you can get through the pain of it you will be satisfied with the hairless results.

3. Pros and Cons of Epilating


It’s handheld and convenient for travel. There’s no fuss with microwaving and dealing with messy waxes, no keeping up with strips or buying refills of them, and you don’t have to worry about torching a layer of your skin in the process.

The turnaround on the reduction in redness and swelling is better than with waxing. This is due to the fact that you are not irritating your skin that comes with pulling off the strip and wax. The epilator only aims for the hair, it does not pinch the skin.


Still getting that painful YOW! effect here, which is no more painful than waxing. As far as I'm concerned, this is the better option. If you consider the cord annoying, there are epilators that are rechargeable and cordless.


Epilator (this model is my personal favorite), cap for topping off the tweezers, removable cord if applicable and brush for cleaning tweezers

An epilator is an electric device that is about the size of the palm of a person’s hand. It is plugged in and when turned on the rotating tweezers pinch the hair and pulls it out when they rotate. At first sight, you are ready to run for the hills and not look back. The tweezers look like shredding blades and have your thoughts running wild. How this device is operated is simple.

  1. Shower first to open the pores.
  2. Place the tweezers towards the section of interest.
  3. Pull the skin tight near the area to be epilated.
  4. The epilator is gently pressed against the skin and is then moved in the opposite direction of which the hair lays and swept across the hair.
  5. The tweezers then pinch whatever hair is in its path and while they rotate the hair is pulled out.
  6. And you repeat that routine until all desired hair removal has been reached.
  7. Brush tweezers clean.

That’s it! No worries of skin burning like with waxing. No razor bumps like you would get with the razor. The only thing you feel is a slight, uncomfortable pain. Once you have reached a certain level on the scale of your threshold for pain, you become numb to the hair being plucked out of their follicles. Sounds rough, I know. But it’s the same pain that comes with waxing.

You may notice some inflammation and bumps, but those go away on their own. So why even bother waxing? Isn’t it obvious which option I lean towards?

Which Hair-Removal Method Is Best?

As you can see, epilating is my favorite way to remove unwanted hair. Three weeks after a session, I'm still hair free!

To summarize, using a razor can be irritating to the skin and hair growth has a quick turnaround causing you to constantly have to keep up with shaving. Waxing is messy and can occasionally burn you if not cooled properly. And epilating comes with pain, but it’s cleaner and faster.

But there are other ways of keeping unwanted hair at bay. It's just a matter of figuring out which method works best for you.

Other Hair-Removal Options

There are also other ways to remove the hair from your body, though I am not as familiar with them. Here are a few I have seen that may pique your interest:

Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser

This laser is supposed to remove hair within 6–8 mos. And the hair goes bye-bye. But my question is what do you do with the laser when it is over? Is there a recycling program for it? Do I pass it on to a family member? Re-wrap in a Christmas gift? If I have spend $395 on something, I’d like it to be useful for a while. But I guess the removal of hair is priceless.

Parissa Waxing Strips

These are strips that contain the wax. Separate the waxed strips into two, place in the area needing waxing. Smooth in the direction of the hair and pull in the opposite direction. This is a less messy way of waxing. Interesting.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 NiaG


Xyz on October 03, 2015:

Is epilating forehead better or waxing?

NiaG (author) from Louisville, KY on November 17, 2012:

For me, all the hair that grows back looks the same as before I started epilating. I just epilated my upper lip last weekend and before I did all the hair that was there was still the same thinness they have always been. Hope this helps.

anon on November 13, 2012:

hello, could you please let me know if by epilating the facial hair- upper lip and side of the face..does it grow back thicker like the after-effects of shaving tht we find on the brown skinned with dark hair , so paranoid about this:(

NiaG (author) from Louisville, KY on October 30, 2011:

FYI- Epilated last night and woke up with no skin irritation and no burning sensation. Yes! Winced like a kitten while doing it but had another successful outcome.

NiaG (author) from Louisville, KY on October 27, 2011:

Stylezink, they have smaller waxing strips for brows and lips but I still think doing the eyebrows would be tricky for waxing or epilating. I've never tried. I do epilate my upper lip because in the winter my 'stache starts to show and find it easy to do. And with the face pads, I'm not sure, but I would imagine there is still some amount of pain as you are pulling hair out of the follicle. Thanks for dropping a comment Stylezink!

Giselle, I vote up the epilator! :-) I was skeptical when I bought it because it is a little extra in cost but I have used it before I go on vacations and I love it. It gets the root out of the follicle same as waxing. I should have also mentioned the turnaround on redness. To me, when you wax you stay red for a long time. I have epilated my upper lip the day before work (not thinking about the redness that might come) and as I slept the redness faded and I looked the same minus the lip hair the next morning. Also the minimal swelling that often comes with it was gone too. Outside of lasers, which I haven't tried, I can't recommend it enough. I don't know if epilating varies from skin to skin but I know the negative reactions I received from waxing are not an issue with my epilator. Every now and then with tweezers I may have to pull a hair that may have been too short for the epilator to get but by then you're numbed up and can just pluck them with no problem. Thanks for dropping a comment Giselle!

Giselle Maine on October 27, 2011:

I like the idea of the epilator! I have no problems with waxing as far as pain is concerned but it's messy, as you said. I currently use ready-made pull-apart wax strips. They are great, very convenient, but I don't think they get all the hair off as easily in one go as the more traditional hot wax & cloth strips.

Nia, in your experience, does the epilator do as good of a job at pulling hair out by the roots as waxing does? I'm curious as your hub is getting me interested in epilating.

Stylezink, I hear you - those of us with dark hair have to work extra-hard to remove it from any unwanted areas! Seems unfair. Blondes definitely have things easier in that department!

stylezink from Atlanta, GA. on October 27, 2011:

Read this because my sister likes to make me feel self-conscious about my eye brows and my upper lip, lol! What can I say I'm a hairy filipino, lol! This was very interesting. I've heard of an eplilator but learned I had no clue what it was. OMG, that thing looks scurry!! But I can imagine once you've built up a tolerance it would probably be easy to do. [But not on the face, I would take an entire eyebrow off with that thing, lol] I may be investing in one of those. Shaving is useless, I swear my hair starts growing back within an hour.

Have you ever tried those face pad hair remover things? I always wondered if those really worked and if you felt any pain. They claim to be painless on the ads I see for them.

Thanks for sharing another great hub NiaG!