What is an Epilator?
You may have heard of an epilator but have no idea what one is. So, what is an epilator? An epilator is any electronic or manual device which is used to remove hair from the skin by means of grabbing and pulling many times, simultaneously and in quick succession. This form of hair removal is similar to the waxing form of hair removal, however with epilators, no cells are removed from the surface of the skin.
Types of Epilators
The Epilady – the original epilator
The first electronic epilator was the Epilady which was first released in the country of Israel in 1986 by the company Mepro. This first epilator featured a coil spring within the plastic housing of the device. The spring was bent into a bow making the coils squeeze together tightly on one side of the spring while they splayed away from each other on the other side of the spring. Within the device was a motor which rotated the spring while it was still bent in a bow. This created a numerous tweezing action. Running the spring over an area of unwanted hair would allow the spring to catch the hairs and pull them from the skin as it rotated.
The spring head of the Epilady
Though electronic epilation techniques and technology has progressed a great deal since 1986, The Epilady, the very first electronic epilator, is still available today. There are other spring based epilator brands and models available on the market today also.
While just about every epilator is electronic or battery operated, there is one form of epilator which is manually operated. The Bellabe facial epilator, the only manual epilator, is also a spring based epilator. It consists of one coil spring which a handle on each end and is used primarily from removing hair from the face. To use, the spring is held in both hands by the handles, one handle in each hand. While holding the spring horizontally the spring is bent into a bow. To remove hair, the spring, while bent in a bow shape, is brought to rest on the area of hair to be removed. Both handles are then twisted inward, one clockwise and the other anticlockwise, while the whole spring is moved gently upwards (see image).
With the success of the Epilady, there soon came a rival epilator on the hair removal scene. The Lady Remington Smooth and Silky by Remington was another product which was designed to operate in a very similar way to the Epilady, however it used rotating metal discs instead of a rotating spring. This new form of epilator lead the way for a new wave of epilators featuring metal discs.
Modern epilators no longer feature complete metal discs. Instead, the heads house a series of metal plates which are not completely round. As the motor rotates head inside the casing, the plates are rotated close to each other and then apart from each other very quickly which creates an effect similar to tweezing.
Some epilators are designed for dry use only while other epilators, which are called wet/dry epilators, are designed for wet and dry use. Wet/dry does not just imply wet or dry skin. Wet/dry epilators are cordless and completely waterproof meaning you can take it into the bath or shower and actually use it under the water. Pretty convenient!
Most epilators come with extra attachments which extend the functionality of the epilator. The following is a list of attachments which may come with an epilator and a description of their purpose of use.
A hair lifter attachment lifts the hairs including short hard to catch hairs in order for them to be easily reached by the epilator. Hair lifters also relax the skin making the epilation process gentler.
Active Hair Lifter
An active hair lifter attachment does the same job as a hair lifter except it uses vibration to help lift any hairs that may be lying flat against the skin so that they may be reached by the epilator for removal.
An efficiency cap attachment helps the epilator to make the perfect contact with the skin as well as helping you position the epilator at a perfect 90 degree angle to the skin. This allows the epilator to remove as many hairs as it can in one stroke.
Sensitive cap attachments are specifically designed for delicate skin and sensitive areas. They reduce the size of the area the epilator head reaches so as to create a more precise and gentle epilation.
A facial cap attachment allows a epilator which is primarily designed to be used on larger areas of the body (such as the legs and underarms) to be used on the smaller, more delicate areas of the face such as the chin and upper lip.
A massager attachment usually comprises of a ridged roller which is intended for rolling on the skin in order to stimulate it prior to epilation. This helps to reduce the amount of pain experienced when epilating.
An active massager attachment uses vibration to simulate the skin prior to epilation to reduce pain. When used post epilation the active massager helps to sooth the skin and reduce irritation.
A shaving head attachment turns an epilator into a shaver. This is a particularly useful attachment as it mean you can have a epilator and a shaver in one item and do not need to buy a separate shaver.
A trimming comb attachment can be used on an epilator to shorten longer hairs to make epilation easier. Trimming combs can also be used to trim and style the bikini area.
An exfoliation brush attachment is designed to remove dead skin cells from the skin and to stimulate the skin, encouraging skin cell renewal. Exfoliating brush attachments are comprised of numerous soft bristles which rotate when the epilator is switched on. This allows for simple and gentle exfoliation which is important as exfoliation prior to and post epilation helps to avoid in grown hairs.