Cartridge razors vs epilators

Written by Advice Team on January 11, 2018

It’s entirely your choice what hair removal tool you use (if you use one at all). Some women use cartridge razors, epilators, electric shavers or opt for waxing. They all have their benefits and their disadvantages, and we’ve taken a look and compared the most common removal tools; cartridge razors and epilators.

Hair Growth and smoothness

For many women, using a cartridge razor was the first step into a hair removal routine and for many of us, we’ve continued to use what we know and learnt to perfect. A problem that most of us face (especially darker haired women) is the inevitable return of hair after just a short time. For some, the smoothness can last for days but for those less fortunate, we face the return of stubble just after a couple of hours.

That’s because shaving is simply cutting the hair at skin level and hair growth varies from person to person. That’s where you’ll find that you benefit using an epilator. Epilating removes hair from the root and offers a long term solution for hair removal, considering you’ll still feel smooth for 3-6 weeks after epilation.

It’s possible that redness, bumps and irritation will occur when first starting to use an epilator but as your skin adjusts to regular use this will lessen.

Time and effectiveness

We’re all guilty of running a cartridge blade over dry skin and hair when we’re in a rush; especially just for cropped jeans or gym bottoms. That only ever results in a bad shave and irritated skin. It can become a bit of a chore having to exfoliate, use pre-shave gel or foam, shave and then moisturise skin after. Not to mention remembering to change your cartridge each week and likely having to go through the process between 1-3 times a week (if not more!)

Cartridge razors are convenient and they can be used quickly in the shower but the results aren’t always worth the speed and hassle.

Epilating does take a little longer than running the blade against the hairs, however, as epilation lasts between 3-6 weeks, it seems like a no brainer setting some time aside to epilate each month.


Depending on your cartridge razor of choice, you’ll either be buying packs of 3, 6 or 8 new cartridges at a time. You wouldn’t be the first woman to have forgotten to buy replacement blades and turn to the one still attached either. On average, a pack of 6 new blades costs around £17 when comparing various brands on the market. Throughout the year that’s £147 and you’re likely to buy another razor body or two. If you add on your pre-shave gel or foam every couple of months, you’re pushing toward the £200 mark.

Epilators can be bought for dry or for wet and dry use. When using wet it, that simply means you can use it in the shower, so you don’t necessarily need a pre-shave product. An epilator can cost anywhere between £30 and £200+ depending on features and model, and most epilators will last up to 5 years or more.

Tolerance to pain

Shaving with a cartridge razor is the least painful method of hair removal. New blades can often cause knicks and skin irritation can be uncomfortable after the shave, but generally, there is little to no pain with razors.

The pain of epilating is usually what puts women off trying an epilator for the first time. There’s no way around it, epilating isn’t pain free and the first few uses can be a little jaw biting. Increased use does ease the whole experience and the results often outweigh the discomfort during the epilation. It’s best to epilate after a hot bath or shower. The skin will have softened and the hair follicles with have opened up for a more gentle epilation. It’s also worth exfoliating first to prevent hair sticking flat to the skin and ingrown hairs.

Hair type

Women with darker hair tend to prefer the use of an epilator because the results are more long-term. Dark hair is generally thicker and more coarse, so it is more obvious to the eye and can be felt just after a few hours of shaving. As epilators pull the hair from the root, the hair has to completely regrow and after continued use, it tends to grow back thinner and fewer.

Hygiene and maintenance

It’s advised that cartridges are changed once per week to keep the blade hygienic due to a build up of product, dead skin cells and other detritus. Cartridge razors blunt quickly with use and can easily start to rust when left in steamy environments like bathrooms. It’s important to always rinse your blades in between strokes and after use.

Epilators catch and pull the hair between rotating plates or tweezers and then discard the hair as the head rotates. The head can easily be removed from the body, cleaned with the supplied brush and rinsed under water. Rubbing alcohol can also be used to sanitise the head before leaving to dry. We’d recommend cleaning your epilator after every use to keep it performing at optimum performance.

When it comes to use, cartridge razors don’t require batteries or charge, whereas epilators do. You can buy epilators that are battery operated or use a cord to charge the unit for use. Most epilators will last well over an hour with continual use.

Quick Pros & Cons

Cartridge razors


  • Quick and convenient
  • Least painful method


  • Replacement blades need to be bought monthly and so cost adds up over time.
  • Stubble reappears quickly
  • Can cause skin irritation



  • Hair grows back between 3-6 weeks
  • Leaves skin smoother
  • Cost effective in the long run


  • Painful initially but eases over time
  • Can cause initial redness and skin irritation
  • Takes time


See our range of epilators and guide to choosing the perfect epilator for you.