The 10 Best Epilators That'll Have You Tossing Your Razor
When it comes to hair removal methods, the options really are more varied than you might think (but don't think that you need to rid your body of hair — keep in mind this is purely personal preference). Sure, there's shaving and waxing, but there's also a lesser-known — and highly effective — method that flies somewhat under the radar: epilating.
"An epilator is an electronic machine that uses rotating tweezers on a spinning wheel to remove multiple hairs, even super tiny ones, all at once," explains Stacy Chimento, M.D., board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami. Unlike shaving, which only slices the hair off at the surface of the skin, epilators remove the roots of the hair, adds Dr. Chimento. This is similar to what happens with waxing, where the hair is also removed at the root. The key difference being that during epilating no skin cells are removed along with the hairs, minimizing the risk of irritation. Hair removal creams work by breaking down the hair's protein structure so the hair is removed slightly below the surface of the skin, but, like shaving, these do not get rid of the root. Not to mention, epilating is undoubtedly much simpler and less messy than waxing, hair removal creams, or even shaving, for that matter.
Getting to the root of the issue (pun intended) is what makes epilating such an effective hair removal process. "Epilators leave the newly grown hair thinner than before, and it takes much longer for hair to grow back in the first place compared to shaving and hair removal creams," points out Dr. Chimento. The other benefit? You can use an epilator pretty much anywhere on your body: arms, legs, face, bikini line, armpits, you name it. Here's the thing: Epilating doesn't feel great, and some might say it's downright painful, so just keep that in mind going in. It's also going to feel more uncomfortable on areas where the skin is more sensitive, such as the bikini line and face, she adds. A larger, less sensitive area, such as the legs, is a great place for newbies to first try an epilator. (Related: Your Complete Guide to Body Hair Removal and Grooming.)
So, how exactly do you use an epilator? There is some prep required. Epilators work best when the hair is shorter, since the tweezers can pull hairs as small as 0.5 mm in length and it will be less painful than grabbing long hairs, notes Dr. Chimento, who suggests shaving the area one to four days prior to using one. You'll also want to exfoliate the day before, a key step when it comes to preventing ingrown hairs. Then decide whether you're going to epilate on wet or dry skin. "Dry skin is usually more effective and takes less time than wet epilation, however, it's generally more painful," she explains. If you're going to work on dry skin, make sure skin is clean, free of any moisturizers or oils, and completely dry. If you're epilating wet, soak skin in warm water for five to 10 minutes (either in a bath or the shower), then place a little bit of shower gel on the head of the epilator, recommends Dr. Chimento. Regardless, make sure to move the epilator against the direction your hair is growing and move slowly; if you move too quickly across the skin, you're likely to miss hairs and you'll just have to go over the area again (which is also fine, FTR). Moisturize afterward, and you're good to go.
Ready to try an epilator? Here are 10 of the best, based on dermatologist picks and consumer reviews.
- Best Overall: Panasonic Cordless Shaver & Epilator ES-EL9A-S
- Best for Body: Braun Epilator Silk-épil 9 9-720
- Best for Facial Hair: Gillete Venus Hair Perfection
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Remington Smooth & Silky Deluxe Rechargeable Epilator
- Best Budget Buy: Konjintora Hair Epilator
- Best for Beginners: Braun Epilator Silk-épil 5 5-280
- Best for Advanced Epilators: Emjoi AP-18 Epilator
- Best for Small Areas: Kingwell Facial Hair Remover
- Best Cordless: ElectriBrite Electric Cordless Women Epilator
- Best Splurge: Braun Epilator Silk-épil 9 9-030
Best Overall: Panasonic Cordless Shaver and Epilator ES-EL9A-S
Dr. Chimento calls this device, "a must-have," thanks to the fact that it comes with three different epilator caps, including a basic epilator head, one for sensitive skin (great for spots like the face or bikini line), and a gentle one that's great for beginners. A built-in LED light helps you see even the tiniest of hairs in hard to reach spots, she adds. While it is pricey, keep in mind that this is more than just an epilator — it's really an all-encompassing beauty device. It also comes with a bikini trimmer head, sonic body scrub brush head, and even a callous-smoothing head to remove dead skin on your feet. (Related: Kerasal Intensive Foot Repair Will Put an End to Your Calluses Once and for All)
Best for Body: Braun Epilator Silk-épil 9 9-720
Another favorite from Dr. Chimento, this pick can be used for wet or dry epilation. (Plus, the whole device is waterproof so you can even use it in the shower.) "It features SensoSmart technology that ensures the correct amount of pressure is applied in order to remove the most amount of hair in one stroke," explains Dr. Chimento. It can be used anywhere on the body, and even has an additional shaver head, should you want to shave instead. This is a go-to for Amazon shoppers as well, who rave about how well it works. (Related: The Best Hair Removal Creams for Silky, Smooth Results)
Best for Facial Hair: Gillete Venus Hair Perfection
While this brand may be best known for its razors, it also has this epilator, which is the best option for your face. It's as easy to hold as a tube of mascara, and you can seamlessly use it on cheeks, chin, eyebrows, etc. The extra-slim head has 10 tweezers (making the process much less painful on these sensitive spots (compared to other devices with more tweezers, which equates to more discomfort) that can grab and remove hairs as fine as .02mm. (Related: These Hair Removal Creams and Tools Make De-Fuzzing Your Face At Home So Easy)
Best for Sensitive Skin: Remington Smooth & Silky Deluxe Rechargeable Epilator
This is great for those with sensitive skin, thanks to a massaging cap that both makes the experience less painful and contains aloe vera to prevent irritation and calm the skin, says Dr. Chimento. You can also easily use it on the body or on the face, thanks to an included precision cap that's perfect for smaller spots. (Related: The Best At-Home Wax Strips, According to Customer Reviews)
Best Budget Buy: Konjintora Hair Epilator
If you're not quite sure you're going to like using an epilator or just don't want to shell out the big bucks for one of these devices, consider this wallet-friendly pick. It's not only an epilator but also an all-in-one hair removal tool, touting interchangeable epilator, clipper, and shaver heads. It's a feature that happy Amazon shoppers love, repeatedly calling out the incredible value, as well as the fact that it's rechargeable and doesn't require batteries.
Best for Beginngers: Braun Epilator Silk-épil 5 5-280
"Safe to use wet or dry, this epilator is perfect for first-time users," says. Dr. Chimento. It boasts 40 tweezers, so it's on the lower end of the spectrum (most contain 20 to 70) which equates to a much more comfortable experience. Dr. Chimento points out that it also touts massage rollers and comes with an accompanying cooling glove that helps soothe the skin immediately after, all of which make using this epilator much less painful than others. (Related: Everything You Need to Know About Laser Hair Removal, According to the Professionals Who Do It)
Best for Advanced Epilators: Emjoi AP-18 Epilator
On the flip side, those who are epilating pros should consider this tool. It comes with a whopping 72 tweezers. Translation: It removes the most hairs with just one pass (though yes, the pain level will be higher). That said, it's great for someone who's experienced in epilating, or for those who want to cover larger areas (think: arms or legs), as quickly as possible. Amazon users (many who do point out that they've been epilating for years) repeatedly call out how fast it works and how long the results last. FYI, it does have a cord.
Best for Small Areas: Kingwell Facial Hair Remover
Tiny but mighty, this portable option is the size of a long tube of lipstick and ideal for using on small, precise areas: upper lip, eyebrows, cheek, and even around the bikini line. The head is easily washable (always a plus), and the compact size coupled with the fact that it only requires a single AA battery make it a great pick for travel. (Related: This $20 Tweezerman Product Is Hands-Down the Best Facial Hair Removal Tool)
Best Cordless: ElectriBrite Electric Cordless Women Epilator
Opting for cordless is the way to go if you want to keep things easy. It can be used wet or dry, and features 32 tweezer heads, making it effective yet not too painful. You'll also appreciate that it has two speed settings; start with the lower and gradually work your way up to the higher. Amazon shoppers point out how well it works, and how comfortable the experience is, especially after you do it a few times. (Related: I Was ~This Close~ to Lasering Off My Pubes for Life—Here's What Stopped Me)
Best Splurge: Braun Epilator Silk-épil 9 9-030
Consider this the Rolls Royce of epilators. It's distinguishing feature? A flexible and rotating epilator head, the only device on this list that has one. It makes moving around hard-to-reach contours — underarms, around the knees, near the ankles — easier than ever, so you can truly get at every last hair for a supremely silky result. The handle itself is super slim, ergonomically-designed, and touts an anti-slip grip, a nice feature if you're going to be using it in the shower (which you can do, since the whole thing is waterproof). And giving you more bang for your buck is the addition of other interchangeable attachments, including a body exfoliation brush — great to use to prep your skin — and a hybrid shaver-trimmer head.