A Brief Introduction to Epilators

Using an epilator is a a popular home hair removal method. The first model, ‘Epilady,’ was sold in Israel in the 1980’s. That first device used springs to pluck out hair at the root — painful right? But how much have they changed today?

Modern versions, using tweezers on a rotating wheel, have adapted to user comfort — somewhat. We know the concept of tweezing out large areas of hair sounds pretty intimidating, so read on for our top tips and the best epilators to use.

Perhaps the biggest pro of epilation is that the device grabs onto shorter hairs than even waxing allows. Constant use will see you save a lot of money on waxing appointments, a win-win right? They’re also very convenient as all can be used on dry skin, some on wet skin, and the size means they are great for travel.

The most obvious con of epilation is the pain, although we’ve found that an epilator’s bark is far worse than it’s bite. Traditionally when visiting a waxing salon, someone else takes charge, and you lay back and wince — in peace. Not the case with epilators. You are in charge and thus may find it harder to cause yourself so much pain in one go.

Be warned, research shows that epilation can also encourage ingrown hairs. But don’t worry, combat this with regular exfoliation for baby soft and smooth legs.

Many epilators come with different attachments for different areas of the body. These attachments are fairly typical of most epilator types. 


We’ve dug out this traditional epilator and decoded it for you. From top to bottom is the efficiency cap (for large areas of skin), precision cap (for face or bikini), shaver head (exactly what it sounds like), and the trimmer head (for just a little off the top). The sterility of the photos reinforces the idea that this is an effective model.

Makes and Features

If you’re a newcomer to epilators, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the range of products. Firstly, we recommend searching by budget. Whether you want a cheaper model to test out, or a more expensive version, there is something to suit everyone. We also suggest considering where and when you’ll use it. Wet/dry types can be used in or out of the shower or bath.

You might want a chargeable version if you plan on travelling with it, rather than one with a cord. If you’re short on time, choose one with the most tweezers, as this will get the job done faster. Here are some of the best options:

Philips Satinelle Essential Compact Epilator

Specifically designed for legs, it’s a great way to dip your toes in the water. Philips sell it for £45, but its official stockists include Amazon and Tesco.

Braun Silk Epilator 5780

A mid-range product which has excellent reviews. Coming with attachments making it suitable for face, legs, bikini, and underarms. The epilator goes for £99 on the Braun website.

Braun Silk Epilator 9 9-558 Bonus Edition

The  ‘bonus edition’ has a higher price-point, promises less pain, long-lasting battery life, and an attachment meant to make face-epilation easier. The retail price is £159.99 on Braun’s website.

How to Use

    • We suggest testing out your new epilator on your lower legs first, rather than diving straight for the crotch. Some people use epilators for their armpits, but unless your pain tolerance levels are through the roof, maybe don’t start with this.
    • For your first go select a low speed, and draw the epilator up and down your skin. Make sure there’s good light (some epilators include a light), so you don’t miss any fairer hairs. You may have to go fairly slow, to give the tweezers time to grab onto the hair.


  • It can sometimes help to pull the skin taught, particularly at the natural creases, like the bikini line.
  • Make sure you clean your epilator after every use. Most models come with a cleaning brush, but failing that, you can use a toothbrush to dislodge the hairs. Wash the head with antibacterial soap, and rinse clean. Allow for it to dry completely before packing away.
  • Continue to exfoliate regularly, to prevent ingrown hairs. Of course, your skin may be a little tender, so you don’t have to be harsh, and maybe don’t exfoliate immediately after epilating.
  • You may experience some redness or sensitivity, similar to when you wax. Give this time to calm down, and don’t panic. If you’ve epilated on your face, or any other visible body part, give your skin some time to calm down before any kind of event or outing.
  • Regrowth varies from person to person, but expect it to be from 2-6 weeks.

Top Tips

Shorter hair is less painful to remove, so consider shaving a few days before epilating. Most epilators say they remove hair as small as 0.5mm. If you’re really nervous, take a painkiller 20 minutes before epilating. Alternatively, down some wine and swear a lot.

There you have it! A semi-comprehensive guide to the joys of epilation!

Post Author: Kate Lipson

Kate Lipson
I'm a recent university graduate living in London, and always spent way too much of my student loan on skincare! I love researching and discovering new makeup, (although I'm usually too lazy to actually wear it), and I'll buy pretty much anything with the word 'hydrating' on it. I've never once managed to successfully apply false lashes, nor worked out the purpose of a fan brush.

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