Best Picks / Reviewed
Best-in-class: Braun Silk-épil 9 9-579 Wet & Dry Cordless Epilator Review
The Braun Silk-épil 9 9-579 is an attractively designed epilator that offers fast and accurate epilation with a range of useful accessories that turn the device into a one-stop shop for beauty needs. It has an extra-wide epilation head for faster hair removal, tweezers capable of removing hair as tiny as grains of sand, and just about every accessory on the market to make the epilation experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. It works both in and out of the water (and, as a bonus, can be cleaned with water instead of a brush).
The Braun also lets users do away with separate tools for face-washing, shaving, and trimming: it comes with a range of seven accessories that make it easier to maintain every area of the body.
This value-packed epilator manages to cater to just about every hair-removal need (and then some), and its combination of must-have comfort and safety features and great-to-have high-end add-ons makes this product a shoo-in for our high-end choice.
- Multiple speed settings make epilating more comfortable, safe, and efficient.
- The Braun offers multiple heads for safe and effective shaving of everything from your face to your legs.
- It has both a shaving and trimming add-on for those days when your hair needs a little extra upkeep.
- This epilator can be used both in and out of the water.
- A 40 percent wider epilation head allows for quicker epilation.
- A pivoting head, built-in light, and pulsation feature prioritize your comfort and ease-of-use.
Best value: Braun Silk-épil 7 7-929 Wet & Dry Cordless Epilator Review
The Braun Silk-épil combines 40 tweezers, comfort and precision features, and a wide range of bonus accessories with an affordable price tag to earn our best-value pick. This epilator can remove hairs as small as a grain of sand and, best of all, can be used both in and out of the water. Those will lower pain tolerances will love the ability to use this epilator while totally submersed in water for ultimate comfort.
The simple but feminine design is packed with customizable speed settings, an efficient battery, and a set of cleaning and storage supplies. The Braun also comes with a built-in massage system and a variety of brush attachments to help care for your skin after you epilate. Its combination of must-have features, efficiency, and a wide range of bonus accessories makes the Braun a great-value buy at an affordable price point.
- The Silk-épil uses a pivoting head to help you reach around every curve.
- It includes a built-in massage system to sooth your skin while you epilate.
- Two brush attachments are included in the kit: one exfoliates the skin and the other, a high-density brush, helps remove dead skin cells.
- The built-in light is excellent for spotting stubborn hairs.
- A cleaning brush and carry pouch are included with the epilator.
Also great: Emjoi Soft Caress Rechargeable Epilator Review
The Emjoi Soft Caress Epilator is a solid choice for shoppers who prefer dry epilation or are looking for a less-painful dry epilation experience. This epilator offers stylish and feminine design elements, a soft and comfortable grip, and 36 tweezers for better-than-average hair removal.
It operates as both a corded and rechargeable epilator and comes with a variety of useful accessories ranging from massage attachments to loofas. Its attachments are more limited than our first-choice epilator and it does forego a built-in light, but its extra attention to pain-management and hygiene features have secured it a close second-place at a similar price point.
- The epilator includes two speeds to manage pain and speed of hair removal.
- The gold-plated hypoallergenic tweezers are ideal for those with sensitive skin.
- It’s capable of removing hairs as small as .5mm in length.
- Emjoi includes antimicrobial features and pain-reducing technology.
- This epilator also comes with a massaging finger attachment, a travel pouch, and a cleaning pouch.
- It’s not waterproof, and thus, must be used on dry skin (which some people find uncomfortable).
Budget choice: Philips HP6401 Satinelle Epilator Review
The incredibly affordable Phillips HP6401 is a high-quality choice for the budget-conscious consumer. It’s capable of removing hairs as small as our first-choice and runner-up pick, and offers a simple but functional design with all the must-have features. Some of its best selling points are its ergonomic grip (great for reaching those curvy and contoured areas), multiple speeds for personalized pain control, and hypoallergenic disks that are ideal for users with sensitive skin.
While it’s limited on bells and whistles like built-in lights and brush attachments, it has everything most users will need to get a satisfying, smooth skin with minimal discomfort.
- The Philips has a removable and washable head to keep epilation sessions clean and sanitary.
- It comes with an efficiency cap to use on more sensitive skin (like underarms).
- This model is capable of removing hair as short as .5mm.
- Two speed settings let you adjust epilation speed (and pain levels) to match your needs.
- The Philips HP6401 uses discs instead of tweezers, so it may be less effective than tweezer-based epilators for the removal of very short hair.
2. Why use an epilator?
Epilation is a hair removal technique that, typically, offers a labor-light and efficient alternative to shaving. Epilation can also reduce or eliminate the razor burn, painful cuts, ingrown hairs, and constant maintenance that turns women off from shaving in the first place.
Hair removal creams can be effective, but can also be uncomfortable and messy. Waxing keeps you hair free for weeks, but it tends to be a pricey (and painful) option. If the above options sound expensive, time-consuming, or generally annoying, epilators can help by:
- Saving you money—you’ll have a higher up-front cost for the device, but this method won’t require you to shell out money on wax appointments and razors every month.
- Reducing rashes and irritation—many skin types don’t take well to constant razor maintenance, chemical treatments like creams, or irritation-inducing wax treatments.
- Saving you time—a thorough treatment with a decent epilator can last weeks.
How epilators work
Epilators are so effective at removing hair because, like wax and tweezers, they pull hair out from the roots. This means that users get a closer shave and a smoother feel, but it also means that they get to enjoy longer periods of time between hair removal sessions because the hair takes longer to grow back. Springs, discs, or tiny “tweezers” grasp hair at your skin level; then, the rotating parts that you press against your skin pull the hair out from the root.
3. Different types of epilators
There are a few different types of epilators. Each works using a different mechanism and has its own strengths and weaknesses. The right epilator for you depends entirely on which body parts you’re treating and whether you’ll be treating them in or out of the shower.
The very first epilators used rotating springs to grasp and pull out hairs. They still exist on the market today, but these types of epilators work best on facial hair and are ideal for that pesky above-lip shadow and errant cheek fuzz.
Rotating disk epilators
Rotating disk epilators are true to their name: instead of using springs, they use rotating disks to grasp and pull hair out at the roots. These are more effective for larger areas like arms and legs, but usually work better on longer hair that’s been growing for a week or so.
Tweezer-based epilators are the most popular (and usually the most effective) epilator on the market today. Many models can now remove hairs that are less than a millimeter in length, making them ideal for everything from underarms to bikini lines and legs.
If the tweezer-type epilator meets your needs, pay attention to the number of tweezers included in each device. The more tweezers there are:
- The faster your hair will be removed.
- The more pain you may feel.
- The more expensive the epilator will be.
Epilators typically come with anywhere from 20 to 80 tweezers.
Dry vs. wet epilators
Before you settle on a model, consider whether you prefer to epilate with wet or dry skin. Typically, epilators work best on dry skin, but the process is less painful and less likely to cause irritation when done in the shower. Keep in mind:
- If you want to epilate in the shower, you’ll need a cordless (battery powered) model that’s marketed as waterproof. This means, of course, that you’ll need to charge the epilator before you use it. Most models take about an hour to charge.
- If you want to epilate dry, both corded and cordless models will work. Corded models obviously need to be plugged in to work, and you’ll want to moisturize thoroughly after a dry epilation to minimize irritation.
4. Additional features to look for
Epilators come in many varieties ranging from the most basic on-off models to multi-speed and multi-purpose devices. The functions below can make an epilator easier and more comfortable to use.
- Multiple speeds allow users to customize the epilation speed to their comfort needs. The lower the speed, the less pain you’ll feel, which is ideal for those with low pain tolerances or who need to shave sensitive areas.
- A built-in light makes epilating hard-to-reach areas, like underarms and bikini lines, much less frustrating.
- A massage function helps calm and sooth your skin to lessen the pain of epilation.
- Hair lifters straighten out any flattened hairs so that the epilator can remove them more easily.
- Trimmers are meant to be used before epilation. They cut longer hair down to a length that lets the epilator remove the hair more effectively.
- Pivoting heads make it easier for the epilator to give you that clean-cut feeling in contoured areas like the back of your knees and your ankles.
Built-in features are often complimented by a range of add-ons and accessories. The more add-ons you have, the more versatile your epilator becomes.
- Efficiency caps are great for women with a variety of areas to shave, and help you safely shave more sensitive areas like the underarm region and your bikini line.
- Facial caps are designed for use on sensitive facial skin.
- Many epilators come with shaver heads that turn your epilator into a two-in-one shaver-epilator.
- Cooling gloves can be soothing after epilation and can help reduce redness—but can also make epilation more painful if you use them before epilating.
- Exfoliating gloves are designed to create a smoother finish and prevent ingrown hairs.
Add-on accessories can help you get the most for your money and the most versatility possible out of your epilator, but be sure to consider your realistic needs before making a decision based on accessories. A fully equipped epilator set will likely cost more money up front, but can save you money in the long-term if you can make use of the accessories.
6. Buying Tips
Epilators are a little more complex than razorblades, and there are quite a few different features and qualities to consider when you’re in the market for one. We’ve compiled a list of the must-have features in a good epilator, the good-to-have features that make your hair removal more convenient and effective, and the great-to-have features that give you the most pain-free and effortless experience possible.
Must have features:
- For maintenance of anything other than facial hair, you’ll need a rotating disk epilator (if not a tweezing one).
- For tweezing epilators, make sure the device contains at least 20 tweezers for acceptable efficiency.
- Make sure to choose a waterproof model if you plan to epilate in the shower.
Good to have features:
- You’ll get the most versatile use out of a tweezing epilator.
- A wet/dry epilator, or one that works both in and out of the shower, will give you the most versatility for your money.
- Multiple speeds allow you to epilate more comfortably on a variety of areas.
- Hair lifters and trimmers allow for maximum hair removal.
- Look for epilators with a pivoting head for maximum coverage and ease of use.
Great to have features:
- Epilators with built-in lights make it easier to see hard-to-reach areas.
- Massage functions can lessen the discomfort of epilating both during and after use.
- For women who shave many body parts, a variety of caps and heads allows for comfortable and effective treatment, and can even allow your epilator to operate as a shaver for multi-purpose use.
- Some epilators come with cooling and exfoliating gloves to soothe skin and provide a polished look.
Trying to tell the difference between one epilator and another can be confusing. But, by using the tips above, you’ll have no problem finding an epilator that fits your lifestyle, your needs, your desires, and your budget.