Hair removal is a personal preference. The method in which you remove that hair is also a matter of preference. You’ve likely tried razors or wax strips at some point, but what about an epilator? If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a device that pulls the hair from the root using tiny tweezers that are attached to a “wheel” on an ergonomic handle, says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Stacy Chimento who has an expertise in laser services. And since an epilator essentially eliminates the hair follicle at the root as opposed to just cutting down the hair follicle when you shave, it slows down the hair regrowth process, says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick.
You can use an epilator on both your face and body, and it’s a great option for those with sensitive skin and people with persistent ingrown hair issues, experts told us. If you’re thinking about buying one, we consulted dermatologists about what to consider while shopping and how they compare to other hair removal methods.
Our top picks
How we picked the best epilators
All epilators remove and extract hair from the hair follicle. However, depending on the epilator, it can target specific areas and can be used on either wet or dry skin and in some cases can be used on both. To choose the best one for you, our experts recommend looking for the following features:
- Size: Depending on where you will be using your epilator whether it’s in the shower or outside of it, choose a size that is easy for you to hold in your hand.
- Function: Some epilators are designed for both the face and body or one or the other. There are even epilators for specific areas of the body like legs and the bikini area. Some epilators will be tailored to one area or will come with multiple attachments for different areas including places that are hard to reach and more sensitive areas.
- Usability: Depending on what you want to achieve with your epilator certain things like cordless vs. cord and wet vs. dry skin may be a make or break for you. Whether or not your epilator has a cord or is cordless will determine how long you can use it and where you can use it. Also, depending on the epilator you might only be able to use it on wet or dry skin which is a personal preference.
The best epilators in 2023
With our experts’ guidance in mind, we collected a handful of dermatologist-recommended epilators and some highly rated ones to consider.
You can conveniently use this epilator in and out of the shower and on both the face and body. The rechargeable device comes with a pivoting head that helps you angle it to better remove the hairs, according to the brand. After you’ve built confidence with the first speed, you can move to the second-speed setting for a faster hair removal process, says Garshick.
Water-resistant: Yes | Number of tweezers: 40 | Number of attachments: 2 | Number of speed settings: 2 | Target areas: Face and body | Cordless: Yes
This Philips epilator comes recommended by Chimento because it can reach the smallest hairs and you can use it in the shower. The device comes with 32 tweezers made from hypoallergenic material that makes it suitable for those with sensitive skin and you can use it on both wet and dry skin. This is a great option for those looking to remove hair from more delicate areas of the body, according to Chimento.
Water-resistant: Yes | Number of tweezers: 32 | Number of attachments: 2 | Number of speed settings: 2 | Target areas: Face and body | Cordless: Yes
One of the many epilators in Braun’s Silk-Épil line, this device comes with a flexible head, allowing it to contour around areas of your body and remove hair from more hard-to-reach places, according to Garshick. “It also comes with an exfoliating brush that can help prep the hairs,” says Garshick.
Water-resistant: Yes | Number of tweezers: 40 | Number of attachments: 8 | Number of speed settings: 2 | Target areas: Body | Cordless: Yes
With tweezers made from hypoallergenic material, this epilator is good if you have sensitive skin or if you’re trying to remove any chances of potential irritants. The flexible head, ergonomic handle and built-in LED light simplifies the hair removal process, according to Panasonic. The device has a 4.1-star average rating from over 1,100 reviews on Amazon and comes with seven attachments, including a gentle cap for beginners and a sensitive cap for more delicate spots on the body.
Water-resistant: Yes | Number of tweezers: 60 | Number of attachments: 7 | Number of speed settings: 3 | Target areas: Body | Cordless: Yes
This compact hair removal tool works only on dry skin and can remove hairs as short as 0.5 millimeters in length, according to the brand. “It also has an ergonomic handle that makes it easier to tackle hard-to-reach areas,” says Garshick. You can also detach the head for easy cleaning, according to Philips.
Water-resistant: No | Number of tweezers: 21 | Number of attachments: 1 | Number of speed settings: 2 | Target areas: Legs, underarm and bikini | Cordless: No
This is a great option for people who want to target their facial hair, says Chimento. The slim, ergonomic device allows you to remove small and fine hairs, according to the brand. The epilator has a 20-second timer to use when the cleansing attachment is on and it will pulse when it’s time to move on to the next section of the face.
Water-resistant: Yes | Number of tweezers: 10 | Number of attachments: 2 | Number of speed settings: 1 | Target areas: Face | Cordless: Yes
This device doesn’t use tweezers —instead, it has two hypoallergenic blades to remove the hair from the root without causing redness or irritation, according to the brand. The small device is portable and comes with an LED light to see all facial hair before removing it. Once you’re done, you can easily wash off excess hair thanks to its water-resistant design, according to the brand. It has 4.1-stars from over 5,956 ratings on Amazon.
Water-resistant: Yes | Number of tweezers: 2 blades | Number of attachments: 1 | Number of speed settings: 1 | Target areas: Face | Cordless: Yes
How to shop for epilators
When shopping for an epilator, our experts recommend keeping factors like size and function in mind. Below we highlight their recommendations on what to consider:
- Size: Epilators designed specifically for removing facial hair are usually smaller in size compared to those designed for the body. A body epilator should be larger to cover more space, according to our experts. Regardless of the size, you should purchase an epilator that’s lightweight, easy to hold and won’t slip out of your hand, Garshick says.
- Function: All epilators remove hair from the root. However, depending on the epilator it might only target certain areas of the body. “If it’s the face that’s of concern, I would definitely make sure that you get an epilator that’s for the face itself because you can have some really fine hairs that sometimes these other devices cannot catch,” says Chimento. You should also pay attention to any attachments that can help remove hair from your specific target areas. You should also make sure these attachments are flexible and able to contour with your body, Garshick says.
- Cordless vs. corded: Whether your epilator comes with a cord or is cordless is based on personal preference. Corded may limit where you are able to use your epilator and will most likely require you to use it on dry skin. For a cordless epilator, you will have the flexibility to use it in various places but you may have to pay closer attention to its battery life and how long it lasts.
- Wet vs. dry: Some epilators are designed to be used on wet or dry skin and in some cases it can be used on both. There isn’t one that is better than the other so it comes down to personal preference, according to our experts. If you want to use your epilator in the shower, consider purchasing a water-resistant one. If you prefer to remove hair on dry skin, look for an epilator that works on that skin specifically. And if you don’t have a preference you can choose one that is suitable for both wet and dry skin for your convenience.
How do epilators compare to other hair removal methods?
There are many methods and ways to remove facial and body hair. When it comes to finding a suitable option it’s important to see just how an epilator compares to other methods.
- Epilators are removing the entire follicle. Since the epilator is removing the follicle, it is slowing down the hair regrowth process. If the hair was cut like it is when shaving, the follicle remains and can cause hair to grow back faster, according to Garshick.
- Epilators do not cause as much irritation especially for sensitive skin. Epilators are safe to use on sensitive skin and cause little to no irritation. For this skin type, it is a better option compared to waxing because while it pulls and removes the hair it is more likely to cause irritation, says Chimento.
- Epilators are suitable for everyone. Regardless of hair and skin type, you are eligible to use an epilator. Some other methods including laser hair removal require certain factors to be considered like your hair type and color. For instance, if you have lighter hair, you might not be eligible to get laser done.
Who should use an epilator
Whether or not you choose to use an epilator as your primary form of hair removal comes down to personal preference, according to our experts.
An epilator is suitable for all hair types, including thin and coarse hair, and all skin types, including dry and oily skin. Chimento even recommends using an epilator for sensitive skin including people with eczema and rosacea.
If you’re trying to decide if an epilator is the best tool for you, consider previous experiences with other hair removal methods and your openness to other options. If your skin tends to get irritated with depilatory creams and shaving or if you are not a candidate for laser hair removal, an epilator is a nice option, Garshick says.
How to best use an epilator
To help you get the most out of your epilator without irritating your skin, our experts recommend a few skin care tips.
- Sanitize your epilator prior to using it to avoid infections or skin conditions like folliculitis that happens when the hair follicle is inflamed.
- Use a gentle body wash to cleanse the skin. Using a gentle exfoliator like the CeraVe SA Body Wash can help remove dead skin cells and make the hair more accessible, according to .
- Dry or leave the skin wet. This step depends on the type of epilator you have since some are designed for one or the other in most cases.
- Apply a gentle, noncomedogenic facial moisturizer and body lotion like Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion to the skin so it won’t clog pores but will still moisturize the skin, according to Garshick.
Meet our experts
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
- Dr. Marisa Garshick is a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology: Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery. Her areas of expertise include pediatric and adult dermatology and cosmetic dermatology.
- Dr. Stacy Chimento is board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology. Her areas of expertise include pediatric and adult dermatology, hair restoration, chronic skin conditions, aesthetic treatments and more.
Why trust Select?
Bianca Alvarez has been covering beauty for a year and has written about various skin care topics. For this piece, Bianca interviewed two dermatologists and researched many epilators on the market. She recommended products the dermatologists shared with us and met their shopping guidance.