Want to stop nicking yourself when you shave and having to shave often? An epilator might be the best thing for you.
Now wait. I know what you’re going to say because I had the same thought. “Isn’t it a form of torture?” Not even! At first, it does take getting used to, but there are so many rumors about epilating that I want to debunk. It might be your best bet if you can’t afford laser and IPL treatments or an at-home device for those.
I’ve written about those too (see here), but epilation still remains a very effective way to get smooth, hairless skin anytime and anywhere you want it.
First, let me start by saying that hair removal is no fun. Some of you will say that shaving is perhaps the easiest, and when you do it correctly, less painful method. But one wrong move and you’ll have a stinging cut that just sucks until it heals. Waxing, well, we know this one hurts until you get used to it. I. JUST. HATE. IT! It’s even worse for those of us who live in a hot climate. But unless you do it yourself, you have to go to the salon and have it done, and there’s all that added expense, so you’d be better off investing your hard earned money in a good quality epilator that will provide you the same results if not better and with less pain.
While it affords you a longer time of smoother skin than shaving, you have to keep up with the routine of waxing.
That’s why you might want to think about getting an epilator. Yes, it basically plucks out your unwanted hairs, but unlike using a tweezer, it grabs a few at a time, pulling it from the root. As you might already know, when you pull hair out of the follicle enough, it sends a signal that eventually leads to that follicle not producing hair. Over time, you’ll notice less frequent hair growth in those places and eventually none at all.
I’ve always been an epilator girl, my mum bought me one when I turned 16, because she always knew how much I hated conventional hair removal methods like waxing or shaving, by now, I’ve gotten used to epilating and it doesn’t even hurt anymore.
So as your self-proclaimed epilation expert, follow me as I get into why you should consider an epilator, everything you need to know about them, and the best ones to buy!
Why using an epilator is more convenient than other hair removal methods
If you’re tired of making time to shave before that hot date or having to make appointments to get waxing done, an epilator gives you a better shot at staying smooth. Here’s why you might want to consider one:
- You stay silkier and smoother for longer, like WEEKS longer
- More affordable (one-time cost of purchase vs. continued upkeep via waxing)
- Can remove even short hairs at 0.5mm
- Any hair that grows back grows in finer and less dense
- Can be used on all hair types
- Most epilators have extra features like exfoliators and shaving heads
So how do epilators compare? Let me dig a little deeper for you!
– Using an epilator versus waxing
Waxing and epilating both remove the offending hairs from the root, which leads to a silkier and smoother experience. But with waxing, your hairs must be longer so the wax can adhere. So you need to wait until it gets to 6mm or a quarter of an inch before you can wax.
Epilators can remove hairs that are shorter than that. And while there is a chance with epilating as well as waxing to get ingrown hairs, waxing is so much messier. If you’re waxing yourself, you might not get the results you’d get from a pro. For those with delicate skin or on medications like Accutane, waxing is also not recommended as it can cause irritation. In this case, epilators might really be worth exploring!
– Using an epilator versus shaving
Shaving definitely doesn’t give the kind of lasting results that epilating does. So with shaving, you’ll be doing it much more often. It isn’t painful to shave unless you accidentally cut yourself. It’s also easier to pack on trips to take away stubble, but at the end of the day, your epilator can leave you smoother for longer.
– Using an epilator versus tweezing
Naturally, you’re not going to tweeze your legs, your bikini area, or even under your arms. I’m wincing at the thought of that. Still, epilators work much in the same way to nab up hair from the follicles in those larger areas. Your tweezers might be ideal for those few errant hairs by your eyebrows, but let an epilator take over for those big spots.
– Using an epilator versus electrolysis
Some women choose to invest in electrolysis. It provides permanent hair removal though it needs to be done more than once to get rid of all the hairs in a given area in their various stages of growth. Also, you should know it requires needles to be inserted into your pores and can be a little painful. Just something to think about!
So, now that you think an epilator might be a good idea, keep reading because I’ll tell you what you should be looking for when you buy one.
How to choose the best epilator for your needs
Just like any product out there, each one has different features. Some of those features are something you won’t want to be without, while others won’t make a difference. Here’s what I think is important when choosing the best epilator for you!
– Different power settings
Look at each epilator, and you’ll see two variances. There’s the number of tweezers it has and the speed settings. Those with more tweezers can get rid of more hair in one clean shot. The arrangement should be efficient so that it can accomplish that, though. Also, the speed setting options are ideal, so you can start out lower as a beginner until you get used to the feeling.
– Multiple removable heads
It’s not the most important thing, but I strongly urge you to consider epilators that have removable heads. This increases the versatility for your investment, something you’ll be using for years to come to keep your skin smooth and hairless where you want it.
– Different caps
It might be tempting to go budget with your epilator, and while I’m not saying the most expensive option is the best one, those that have a selection of different caps included might give you a better experience. These caps can be used to spread your skin in the right way for prime hair removal or narrow it down to a smaller area for more sensitive portions.
These caps also improve your investment, for they can make short and effective work of removing facial hair. A sensitive area cap is a must for anyone who has never done waxing before this or never epilated to make it less painful.
– Let there be light
Having a light on your epilator illuminates those hard-to-see hairs. This means you won’t miss a thing and can get up all those pesky hairs in one session.
– Go cordless
Trust me when I say you want an epilator that can be used wet or dry. Those ones are obviously cordless options, though do be sure it says “wet or dry” usage on there. While it’s nice to know you won’t ever run out of power with an epilator, you must plug in to use, cordless options can be used in the shower, which reduces your pain. Most batteries stay charged long enough to handle your needs before needing to be charged again too.
Best epilators out there
Are you ready to buy an epilator now? You’re almost there at the smoothest, and silkiest your skin can be. Now that you know what to look for, here are some brands and models that do what they do best of them all.
Braun has been a mainstay in the hair removal segment with shavers and razors. It’s little surprise that its Silk-Épil 9 epilator (Amazon link) is so beloved and I’m raving fan, over the years, I’ve tried quite a few brands but the Silk-épil 9 is by far my favorite, I use it once every two weeks and the head piece is a bit larger making it faster and more convenient for multiple uses other than the chin and bear area, say for example if you were to use it for your legs and bikini area.
It provides users with epilation, exfoliation, and massage in one, leading to the prevention of ingrown hairs and a smoother experience.
This model has been designed to remove hair on the face and body with special attachments that help you target any area you desire. It’s not just for epilating but allows for beautification in a cordless way. Wet or dry use allows you to condition skin before and after you use it for epilating. It also has a head that is 40% wider than Braun’s other models in this range. Braun says it has the most innovative of Microgrip tweezer technology, a sign that it has worked to upgrade and update for the best possible user experience.
It removes hair effectively and easily, and even lasts longer on a charge than it claims to. That’s a great bonus though do be aware it can get a little hotter than you’d like. This means you’ll need to let it rest to cool down and not ruin the performance or life of its lithium-ion battery.
So, in summary…
- Two levels of power and plenty of attachments to get any job done
- Wider head than previous models
- Grabs more hairs on the first pass
- Prevents ingrown hairs
- Smart light illuminates for better hair removal
- Unique Microgrip tweezer technology
- Cleans easily
- Cordless wet or dry usage
- Lasts over 40 minutes on a single charge
- Lithium-ion battery gets hot when epilating larger areas and requires rest
- Can’t use it while charging
- While it is for wet or dry use, you can’t use the shaver head while in the shower
Philips is no stranger to hair removal either. The Satinelle Prestige provides the fastest epilation of all Philips epilating devices and allows for easy grip even on super-short hairs. With the widest epilation head over other Philips models, it can cover more skin with each stroke, minimizing your pain and efforts.
It’s completely waterproof too, so use it wet or dry on any part of the body you want to see hair gone. Satinelle Prestige comes with 7 attachments and a VisaPure mini cleansing brush to help you get your smoothest skin of all. The smart light keeps things lit up so you can see exactly what you’re doing. In fact, this light is really white, so it makes hairs really stand out for more efficient usage.
The Satinelle Prestige also has a curved surface, which makes epilating your legs a lot easier. Unfortunately, that means it can be a bit more difficult to navigate under your arms even with the included attachments. They will help, but if you’re choosing an epilator solely to handle underarm hair problems, this one might not be the best fit.
So, in summary…
- The curved extra-wide head is awesome for legs and forearms
- Can be used wet or dry
- Lots of attachments to tackle all your needs
- Bright smart light
- Shaver head
- Provides 40 minutes of use on a full charge
- Not ideal for tackling tough underarms
- Head isn’t designed to pivot
- Makes more noise than other models
Panasonic’s EL9A-S gives you 7 attachments you can add or remove with ease. Among them, you’ll get an epilator head, gentle cap, sensitive cap, shaver head, precision pop-up trimmer, sonic scrub brush, foot care buffer, and bikini comb. This allows you a versatile way to beautify for summer-sexy bare-all body parts.
The dual-disc epilation head is 1.25 inches wide and comes with 60 hypoallergenic tweezers that rotate and efficiently remove even the shortest hairs. The head pivots a full 90 degrees to snag hairs from tricky areas, and with wet and dry waterproof design, you can use it anywhere. You can even add bath gel with the epilator head to create a more soothing experience. By providing more targeted epilation, it makes removing hair from those sensitive areas much easier and keeps you from having to go over areas repeatedly.
Some big epilating fans say this one hurts more than other models, though, and that the extra attachments aren’t really worth it. One big flaw seems to be the attachments aren’t labeled, which might cause confusion.
So, in summary…
- Wide epilation head covers more area in fewer strokes
- Rotating double-discs
- 90-degree pivot head
- Adjusts to natural contours easily
- Wet and dry usage
- Tends to pinch and cause pain
- Extra attachments for beautifying aren’t anything to write home about
- Attachments aren’t labeled
Are facial hair problems your biggest problem? Braun created an epilator exclusively for the face. If you have hair growing all over that you want gone, that other Braun option I mentioned above might be a better choice. I have another one coming up below too, so keep reading.
This one uses micro-vibration to tone and enhance skin appearance. You get a bronze cap, stand, and pouch to use with it too. Unfortunately, it’s not waterproof, and it is only for use on the face. You could TRY to use it on other parts, but because it’s so targeted, you’ll kind of suffer, and no one wants that. Great for chin and upper lip, it’s not the best at eyebrows, though, so do keep that in mind.
So, in summary…
- Features a smart head with bi-directional rotation
- 3-in-1 with cap, stand and pouch
- Only 1.5 hours to a full charge
- Attractive design
- Great for those with facial hair woes
- It’s not waterproof
- You get no feedback from the controls to know what’s up
- The speed differences really have no discernible distinction
See? I promised you another Braun, didn’t I? Now this one is a 5-in-1 option that lets you epilate, shave, and trim plus cleanse and exfoliate. With wet and dry capabilities (though not fully waterproof), this cordless model keeps it simple. So think of the first one on my list as like the top tier while this one is a more basic model that costs less yet works well.
The smaller price tag makes it more approachable, especially for those getting into epilating. There are 40 tweezers plus a pivoting head and a bright smart light to help you light the way. You get 2 caps, one for micro-vibration to help massage your skin when you apply serums and a facial cleansing brush that helps you get a deep clean. These caps help boost skin contact with the tweezers.
Another neat option is that you can use the ice pack and put it on your skin before or after epilating. Speed settings are in gentle and extra gentle, and though it takes some fiddling to get the hang of it, they’re appreciated.
So, in summary…
- Effective at hair removal
- 2 modes
- Unique cooling pack option
- Pivots to contours of body
- Smart light
- Micro-vibration and facial cleansing options
- Smaller head
- Not fully waterproof so, it can’t be used when wet
- Controls can take some fiddling to get used to
With this Panasonic model, it combines the convenience of an electric razor for women with an epilator. It features 6 hair remover attachments that just snap on and a pedicure buffer to beautify right down to your feet.
Hypo-allergenic blades and foil make hair removal safe and easy on sensitive skin. The pop-up trimmer helps get rid of any long and stray hairs, ideal for bikini area usage. For epilating, the head is wide and conforms to your body’s contours. You can get 30 minutes of run time from 1 hour of charging.
Wet or dry, use it in the shower for a more comfortable experience. The LED light makes it even easier to see what’s going on so you can get those short hairs too (even as short as 2mm). With the included travel pouch, you can safely stow all the attachments – large epilator head, gentle epilator head, epilator attachment, bikini comb, shaver head, and pedicure buffer.
The caps can be a bit annoying to swap out but once you get them on, they stay put. It’s a little flimsy but the tweezers really get close to your skin for efficient hair removal. While other models pivot with caps over the tweezers, this one’s whole head pivots 30 degrees backwards and forwards for prime positioning. Ultimately, this is a great choice for beginners who want to sit in the tub and bubble it up for a less painful experience.
So, in summary…
- It is 100% completely waterproof (can be submerged)
- Great attachments that work well
- Head pivots 30 degrees front and back
- Dual-disc screen
- 2 speeds for comfort
- Smart light brightens for more efficient hair removal
- Great for sensitive skin
- Takes just 30 minutes to get a full charge
- Changing the heads is a little annoying
- The caps tend to be flimsier than other models
How to use your epilator effectively
As you look through those options, you might be wondering if you can even do this whole epilating thing. Yes, you can! But it helps to have some general know-how before you begin. This will ensure it’s more effective.
– Exfoliate first
If you’ve ever had an ingrown hair, you know how painful they can be. That being said, your very first step, no matter which epilator you use, is to exfoliate your skin. A loofah works best though even if you have an exfoliating glove or simply a jar of scrub, that will work too.
– Don’t even try it on long hair
Initially, epilating will be a little painful the first few times you try it until you get used to it. However, using it on long hair is painful no matter how experienced you are. Plus, that can leave your skin irritated. Ideally, the day or 2 before you epilate, shave or trim down your hair first. For models that have a trimming option, use it so you’ll have a more comfortable epilation.
– Dry epilators need dry skin
If you have a dry epilator, your skin needs to be fully dry and fully clean first.
– You may prefer wet epilation
With wet epilation, you can soak in warm water. This makes it so much more comfortable. It’s why I tend to recommend an epilator that can be used in wet and dry scenarios to see what makes you most comfortable.
– Rub it the right way
Prior to epilating, rub your skin in the opposite direction of hair growth. It lifts the hairs upright so the tweezers of your epilator can nab them more easily.
– Start with the least painful place
Epilating is always easiest on the lower legs. Start there and move up to a more sensitive or delicate area as you get used to the sensation of epilation.
– Move upward, then down
It’s easiest to epilate moving upward first. If you need to feel smoother, run it back down to finish everything off.
– Go in straight lines
Move your epilator in vertical, straight motions. This way, you won’t miss any hairs. Nothing is more embarrassing than getting ready for a hot date and realizing you totally skipped a swatch of skin!
– Pull and stretch
While epilating, pull and stretch your skin in the area so that your epilator can more easily pluck out those unwanted hairs.
– Take your time
I know you want this to be over with as quickly as possible, but when you take your time and work slowly, you won’t miss anything. Patience pays and remember, you won’t have to do this as often as long as you get it done right.
– Soothe your skin afterward
Don’t just epilate and leave it at that. Make sure you smooth on a soothing cream or lotion that comforts your skin and prevents irritation.
– Clean it up
Not cleaning your epilator can ruin its efficiency in the future. It can also lead to an infection. Follow what the manufacturer recommends for care in the manual. I for one clean it after every use.
When going into epilating for the first time, you will need to get used to the experience. But once you do, you’ll be so glad you did. No more wasted time or money on those pricey wax sessions. No more constant shaving.
However, the best epilators all have a variety of features that you’ll want to check out. For those of you that have unwanted hair on your face, choosing an option that can tackle that too is ideal. For all of you though, you might want to think about something that can work wet too because it is a LOT more comfortable on the skin. At least having that option to go wet or dry means you have choices, and having choices is never a bad thing!