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What is Depilation? Depilatory Hair Removal Methods

If you're here, it's because you have hair where hair shouldn't be, or you have hair where you don't want it to be.

And this is where depilation comes into play. What is Depilation? 

Starpil is at your service! We have the skinny on depilation and those hair removal methods you are looking for because, let's face it, unwanted body hair is not just visually unappealing, but it can lead to itchy and bothersome moments we want to steer clear from.

Fortunately for us, there is an assortment of ways to get rid of the pesky unwanted hair! Whether it's epilation or depilation - we've got all your bases covered! So, take a look below and find out the difference and which hair removal methods go along with each.

Depilation and Epilation

So, when it comes to depilation, you have probably heard of epilation as well, and this is for a good reason. Depilation and epilation both go hand in hand as a method of hair removal.

So what's the difference?

What Is The Difference Between Depilation And Epilation?

Depilation is often a generic term used for hair removal, but it specifically includes hair removal methods that remove hair only from the skin's surface, where epilation removes hair from further down, from under the skin's surface directly from the root.

So which category would waxing fall into?

You might be surprised to find a few different answers on this, but our esthies at Starpil go by the true definition of the words depilation and epilation.

Because waxing removes hair from the root, waxing would be considered epilation. However, because the wax itself removes hair in general, we often refer to them as depilatories. You may often hear estheticians refers to waxing associated items like the warmers, pre and post waxing products as depilatories as well because they are associated with the entire hair removal process.

We can't remove hair with cold wax! Hence, a wax warmer (a Starpil wax warmer -the best of its kind!) is a key component in the entire hair removal process and why we also refer to them as depilatories.

ALSO READ: The Complete Guide to Starpil Wax Warmers

Now, what exactly is a depilatory?

What Does A Depilatory Do?

Simply put, a depilatory is something used to get rid of unwanted hair on the body chemically or mechanically.

What Is An Example Of Depilation?

Examples of depilation include shaving, tweezing, threading, and chemical methods, which encapsulate two main types of depilation methods: Chemical and Mechanical.

Chemical depilatories- also known as creams, lotions, or gels, consist of chemicals such as calcium thioglycolate or sodium hydroxide that break keratin bonds, which is what hair is composed of. Once the hair is dissolved, it can be wiped away. 

Hello, hairless skin!

Mechanical depilatories- which include methods like shaving - use materials (razors) that remove hair from the skin surface.

Examples of Depilation

What Are Examples Of Epilation?

Epilation includes methods like waxing, electrolysis, laser hair removal, and using a handheld machine called an epilator. This small device may appear like an electric shaver at a glance, but instead, it plucks multiple hairs from the root simultaneously.

These methods are definitely different from shaving and depilatory creams we are familiar with and show why depilation and epilation have a stark contrast.

Let's explore the different hair removal methods that are available today.

Hair Removal Methods


A study in 2017 showed that 59% of males aged 18-29 years reported regularly shaving or trimming body hair.

Imagine how high that percentage would be for women!

With that being said, shaving is a top depilatory hair removal method, often used because of its ease of use and convenience for doing it yourself at home. 

However, since it is a method of depilation, hair is only removed superficially and grows back fairly quickly, and can tend to lead to razor burn, bumps, or ingrown hairs.


This method of hair removal, originating in Asia and the Middle East, uses cotton thread to trap hairs that are then snapped away from the root. Threading is widely used in removing facial hair, particularly for eyebrows where multiple stray hairs can be removed at once.

Threading is rarely done at home and, for best results, requires a professional who has been trained in the technique to ensure accuracy.

Depilatory Creams, Gels, Lotions-

These are one of the most inexpensive depilation methods and are used to avoid nicks and cuts caused by shaving with razors. Depilatory creams remove most, if not all, of the hair on your skin (superficially), but they can also cause irritation, allergy, and discomfort for some people who have sensitive skin.


Tweezing is one of the oldest hair removal methods practiced since the 5th century BC. It involves using tweezers to pull out individual hairs, one at a time. The good news is this method can be done at home!

Plucking brows with tweezers is definitely an art form, so it's still best to consult an expert rather than doing this yourself.

Not only does tweezing aim at removing hair at the root, but it is also an excellent way to remove ingrown hairs that are beginning to protrude from the surface. 

However, if the technique is not done correctly, tweezing can break the hair at an odd angle rather than taking the entire hair from the root.


This method of epilation is a process that involves applying warm wax onto an area with unwanted hair and then quickly removing it from the opposite direction as the hair growth, taking away not just hairs but also tiny skin cells, which can result in smoother skin after repeatedly waxing over time.

Waxing may cause a little more pain initially, but the more one does waxing, the less painful it gets.

Plus, waxing results last longer than the average depilation methods, anywhere between 4-6 weeks.

Waxing for Hair Removal


This hair removal method is different from electrolysis- an FDA-cleared medical device, but it's also not quite laser hair removal either!

An electrolysis machine works by sending electricity into the skin at specific tissue depths that are just below the surface of the skin.

One of the most important benefits of electrolysis is that it can reduce hair growth in an area permanently.

However, with any method, there are pros and cons that come into play. Some disadvantages of electrolysis are that it is time-consuming, expensive, painful at times, and not everyone can be treated successfully.

Laser Hair Removal-

This epilation method is one of the fastest-growing forms of hair removal.

A laser emits pulses of light energy that are absorbed by the pigments in the hair follicle, which damages the follicle and eventually disables it to produce further growth.

Because lasers target these pigments, several treatments may be necessary to remove unwanted hair.

While this treatment is widely available in salons, it can be pretty expensive and takes several treatments over time to see results. 

ALSO READ: Permanent Hair Removal Guide 

Our Top Pick

So what's our favorite method of hair removal?

Our esthies at Starpil absolutely love to wax, and for a good reason. Sure, it may cause a little more discomfort at the onset, but nothing beats the smooth finish you get afterward!

Hairless and silky smooth skin? You can't go wrong!

Not only is it affordable, but the results last so much longer than shaving or using other methods to remove hair. For an all-around easy, affordable, and painless method of epilation, waxing is the way to go.

ALSO READ: Waxing vs Shaving: What is the Best Method for Hair Removal?

Standard Hard Wax Kit - Starpil Wax

For anyone who loves waxing and wants to take it to the next step of even more convenience by doing it at home, our standard hard wax kit is the perfect kit to get you started!

With everything from your depilatory wax and accessories like the wax warmer, pre and post-care wax bundle, and wooden application sticks, you will be set to begin your at-home waxing journey!

In Summary

Whether you are a man or woman, you are not exempt from the ever-growing hair removal craze. Depilatories are everywhere and provide a multitude of options to meet everyone's needs and wants. 

Depilation is a term used to describe hair removal methods in general, but specifically at the skin's surface. Depilatory gels, creams, and lotions are a chemical means of removing hair, while shaving is a method of mechanical depilation.

Epilation is a very similar method of hair removal but involves removing hair completely at the root. Epilation methods include waxing, using an epilator tool, and laser hair removal.

Each depilatory method has its pros and cons, but our top pick is waxing, hands down. It's affordable, effective, and leaves skin silky smooth for weeks!

So, if you're used to depilatory methods like creams or shaving, why not give waxing a try with your own at-home kit! Starpil's waxes are perfect for professionals and amateurs with a vast collection of different waxes to meet all of your depilatory needs!

Check out our hard wax to begin your journey! You won't regret it!


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