Beat the fuzz and enjoy silky-smooth skin with our pick of the 4 best epilators to buy
Epilators are the holy grail of hair removal. Unlike shaving, when you use the best epilator, you don’t have to do it every few days and, unlike waxing, you don’t have to wait for the hair to grow back to the perfect length before your next session. Combining the best – and eliminating the worst – of both methods, many women turn to epilators in search of a better option. Suffice to say, very few of them go back to wax and razors.
The only downside? It will probably be a little uncomfortable at first – for both your body and your bank balance. The best epilators can cost upwards of £50 and some of the top-flight models stretch well into three figures. That might seem like a lot to spend upfront, but it’s a small investment given the time and money you’ll save down the line. If you’re used to waxing, you’ll easily recoup the costs within a year, and it may work out cheaper than the cost of a quality razor and several years’ worth of refill blades.
If you need some advice on choosing the right epilator for you, have a read through our buying guide below. If you’re ready to take the plunge, scroll down and you’ll find our pick of the best epilators to buy at the bottom of the page.
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How to choose the best epilator for you
How does an epilator work?
An epilator works by plucking hairs from the follicle using rotating tweezers. That sounds pretty painful, but there are now plenty of epilators designed to be as pain-free as possible. As hair is plucked from the root, it usually takes around three to four weeks to grow back, meaning epilation is one of the most convenient hair-removal methods around. Epilation won’t lead to permanent hair removal, but the hairs could take longer to grow back and will be noticeably finer and sparser when they do.
Will using an epilator hurt?
Like any hair-removal method that removes the hair at the follicle level, there may be a level of discomfort, but this will vary from person to person and from epilator to epilator. The best epilators will minimise the pain and some may not even cause any discomfort at all, so it’s worth spending a little extra if you’re especially sensitive to pain.
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Which is better: a corded or cordless epilator?
You have two options when it comes to choosing an epilator: a mains-powered tool or a battery-operated model. As you’d expect, battery-operated epilators will need their batteries replaced after a certain amount of use, and the lower price reflects this slight inconvenience. They also tend to be less powerful than their mains-powered counterparts, but have the added advantage of being much more portable so you can use them almost anywhere. However, a charged-up, mains-powered model is also pretty portable.
What’s the difference between “wet and dry” and “dry” epilators?
Most epilators work best on dry skin, but wet and dry models can be used in the shower or bath, where the heat can open your pores and make the process a little less painful. Unless you have a particularly low pain threshold, though, a dry epilator is all you really need. Plus, although it may be easier and less irritating to the skin to epilate in the shower, doing so will make the process slower and less effective.
What other features should I look for?
You can pick up a basic epilator for less than £40, but spending a little more can get you some handy attachments and extras. The most common – and possibly the most useful – is an in-built light that will help you see the area of skin you’re working on without needing to twist your body towards a window or other light source. If you choose a corded epilator that can’t be used in water, a removable head is another useful feature to look out for as it will make it much easier to keep your epilator clean.
The best epilators you can buy in 2023
1. Braun Silk-Epil 9 Beauty Set 5-in-1 Epilator: The best epilator you can buy
Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at Amazon
The Silk-Epil 9 by Braun is the priciest epilator to make the list and you’d – rightly – expect a lot for your money. You won’t regret splashing out, though: the Silk-Epil 9 is a five-in-one tool that exfoliates and massages as well as epilating. It also comes with a shaver head that turns the device into a fully functioning electric shaver, meaning you’ll only ever need one tool to cover all your hair removal needs.
Although the 12 attachments and accessories that come with it may be verging on overkill, the Silk-Epil 9 has a number of winning in-built features that set it apart from other epilators on the market. The pivoting head is by far the most useful and is so effective at catching hairs on difficult areas such as knees that you’ll probably find it hard to live without it once you’ve used it. The Smartlight also makes it possible to epilate in badly lit rooms with little light, so you can see what you’re doing wherever you are.
Key specs – Number of tweezers: 40; Corded or cordless: Cordless; Wet or dry: Wet and dry; Speed options: 2
2. Philips Series 8000 Wet and Dry BRE740/11: The best all-in-one beauty tool
Price when reviewed: £139 | Check price at Amazon
This epilator has a lot to love. Its long handle and wide, curved head, with inbuilt light, make it easy to steer and remove many hairs simultaneously, particularly on curved areas. Meanwhile, the 48,200-bristle body exfoliation buffs away dead skin cells and helps prevent ingrown hairs, which can be an uncomfortable issue with epilation. A rotating-disc foot file is also included and can be used flat or edge-on to tackle hard skin.
Discomfort reduction has been addressed as well.The comb to trim longer hair before epilating works well; trimming hairs first makes removal less painful than ripping out long stragglers. Meanwhile, the clever contact cap gently stretches the skin, so you don’t have to press with the other hand.
In use, the epilator is noisier than some, but the ease of swapping attachments – no fewer than nine – make it swift and easy to achieve good results.
Key specs – Number of tweezers: 32; Corded or cordless: Cordless; Wet or dry: Wet and dry; Speed options: 2
3. Braun FaceSpa Pro 911 Facial Epilator: The best facial epilator
Price when reviewed: £95 | Check price at Amazon
To tackle facial fuzz, it’s wise to use a tool that’s specifically designed for the job. This FaceSpa Pro 911 model from Braun is much smaller than a regular epilator and is fitted with a slim head to use on delicate areas like the upper lip and chin.
It offers four different speed and intensity settings to personalise your pruning and a 20-second treatment timer to make sure you don’t get carried away. It comes with two attachment heads: one that transforms the device into a cleansing brush and one that changes it into a toning device (although the jury’s out as to whether this does anything other than provide a gentle vibrating massage).
The stand and travel pouch are handy extras, though, and the product comes with a reassuring 100-day money-back guarantee.
Key specs – Number of tweezers: 10; Corded or cordless: Cordless; Wet or dry: Dry; Speed options: 2
4. Braun Silk-Epil 5 Power 5825 Epilator: The best corded epilator
Price when reviewed: £65 | Check price at Amazon
The Braun Silk-Epil 5 is proof that dry epilation doesn’t have to be painful. The built-in high-frequency massage system stimulates the skin to minimise discomfort, making the Silk-Epil 5 much less painful than many wet and dry models. The pivoting head also makes it easy to catch hairs in difficult-to-reach places, so you won’t have to irritate the skin by going over areas again and again.
The Silk-Epil 5 comes with three attachments, including a shaver and trimmer attachment for shaving hairs in more sensitive areas. It also has a built-in smart light that helps you see the hairs better when epilating any nooks and crannies. All in all, the Silk-Epil 5 is a great epilator that doesn’t cost a fortune.
Key specs – Number of tweezers: 40; Corded or cordless: Corded; Wet or dry: Wet and dry; Speed options: 2