Tweezers, razors, waxing, laser treatments: these are the solutions that come to mind when thinking about facial hair removal. But there’s another contender that is faster than tweezing, cheaper than laser hair removal, less irritating than waxing and lasts way longer than shaving: using a facial epilator.
Epilators look like electric trimmers, but they actually have a series of small tweezers that rotate and pluck hairs right from the root as you glide the device over your skin. The process is similar to tweezing, but instead of plucking hairs one by one, a bunch are removed simultaneously.
Using an epilator is simple and fast and keeps hair from growing back for about four weeks or more, much like waxing. Best of all, the tiny tweezers don’t tug or pinch your skin, leaving skin smooth and less irritated.
As perfect as using an epilator sounds, you should know that the method is not completely pain-free — plucking multiple hairs simultaneously won’t ever be. However, epilator fans swear that the pain decreases over time the more frequently you epilate, and that it's not any worse than waxing.
Facial Epilator Buying Guide
Most epilators have a wide head with tons of tweezers, ideal for removing hair on large areas like legs or arms in 10 minutes or less. These models are not suitable for the face, however, because their size makes it difficult to target areas like the upper lip or eyebrows. They may feel too rough on more sensitive facial skin, as well.
Facial epilators, on the other hand, are lightweight and compact and designed to be as gentle as possible. They can be used on other sensitive areas (like armpits and bikini lines), and unlike body epilators aimed at hairs 0.5 mm or longer, they can grab hairs as short as 0.2 mm.
Facial models are also typically cheaper, averaging between $20 and $50 — although there are pricier models for over $100. Body epilators generally start at $40 and reach upwards of $100, often including several attachments like trimmers and exfoliators.
While the epilator’s size and design are important when it comes to dealing with tight spots and tiny hairs, these are some other factors to take into account when shopping:
• Tweezers. The more tweezers an epilator has, the more hairs it can grab at once and the faster you’ll finish. Most body epilators have 40 or more tweezers. That can feel a bit rough on sensitive areas, so facial epilators usually have 10 to 20 tweezers. To avoid irritation and inflammation, it's important to use the epilator in the direction of hair growth.
• Speed settings. Most facial epilators operate at a single speed, though some high-end models have two or more speed settings. An epilator with multiple settings will allow you to customize the experience for a gentle, slower session or a quick one. Faster speeds may feel more painful for some, but are more effective with coarse hair. Avoid using the epilator on long hair to obtain the best result and have a less painful process.
• Wet/dry epilators. Epilators designed for both wet and dry conditions are waterproof and can be used in or out of the shower. Some people prefer epilating while they shower as warm water can soften hairs, open up hair follicles and reduce pain.
• Power source. Battery-powered facial epilators are less expensive than rechargeable models, going for around $40 or less. However, many users complain that batteries can drain in as little as a single use — especially if they have more than 10 tweezers. Corded epilators cost around the same, without the benefit of portability.
For the best performance and quality, go for a rechargeable model. These can run anywhere between 40 minutes to up to around two hours before needing to be charged, and can sometimes also be used in the shower. Expect to pay $70 or more, though.
• Body epilators with face attachments. Some body epilators include an attachment specifically designed to target facial hair. The attachment is a cap covering most of the tweezers on the epilator’s head. Reducing the number of tweezers that come into contact with your skin makes the application more targeted, which can reduce pain. However, since the epilating head is meant to be used in wider areas, you may still struggle in tight spaces like the upper lips or between the eyebrows.
Reviewing the Finest Facial Epilators for 2023
1. Best overall: Braun Face Epilator Facespa Pro 911
List Price: $99.99
The Facespa Pro 911 is a three-in-one rechargeable skin care tool that epilates, cleanses, exfoliates and massages. It's part of the epilator line from Braun, a brand known to produce some of the most popular electric shavers and grooming products around.
The Pro 911’s epilator attachment is designed to be gentle and precise, targeting even the finest facial hair on areas like the chin, upper lip, forehead and eyebrows. The cleansing brush deep cleans skin, removing dirt, oils and other buildup. This brush also exfoliates pores, which can be particularly helpful since exfoliating before hair removal can improve the epilator's contact with hair strands and lessen the chance of ingrown hairs. A third attachment produces soft vibration — 25 per second, to be exact — that can help serums, creams or oils penetrate the skin more effectively.
- Two speed/intensity settings to choose from
- Distributed discomfort for less pain than waxing
- Included exfoliating and massaging heads
- Charging process is convenient and efficient
- Expensive at around $100
- Epilator head may overheat quickly
2. Best overall runner-up: Braun Face Epilator Facespa Pro 910
List Price: $89.99
If you’d love the Facespa Pro 911 but its price ($100) is a deal-breaker, take a look at the Facespa Pro 910. Often selling for $10 to $20 less than the Pro 911, the Pro 910 includes the same epilator and cleanser/exfoliator attachments as its more expensive cousin, meaning it can also prep skin, reduce ingrown hairs and pluck even the thinnest hairs.
The only difference between the two is that the Pro 910 doesn't feature the vibrating massager the Pro 911 has.
- Ideal for hairs as short as 0.02mm
- No prep needed
- Two speed settings for best results
- No batteries required
- Use on upper lip may be painful
- Long charging times (up to three hours)
3. Best for low prices: Emjoi Epi Slim e18 Epilator
List Price: $29.95
Retailing for about $30, the Emjoi Epi Slim e18 is affordable, compact and powerful. While most other facial epilators have 10 tweezers, the e18 has 18 that generate over 32,000 tweezing movements per minute (540 per second) — more than double the rate of the three previous picks.
More tweezers and plucking motion per minute shortens the overall time spent epilating — although it may hurt a bit more for some. The eight extra tweezers also make it suitable for use on armpits and the bikini line, according to some users.
- Suitable for face, armpits and bikini line
- Affordable compared to other models
- Eighteen tweezers for efficient, powerful operation
- Quickly removes hair for convenience
- May have trouble removing short, thin hairs
- Not resistant to water
4. Best non-electric facial epilator: R.E.M. Spring Facial Hair Remover
List Price: $19.95
Epilators are usually either battery-powered or rechargeable and have a spinning head with 10 or more tiny tweezers that pull out hairs. The R.E.M. Spring, on the other hand, is a simple stainless-steel coil that basically operates as a manual facial epilator.
The spring-like device can be used anywhere on the face, effectively plucking hairs at the root like any other epilator would. Just bend it to form an upside-down U and roll the ends between your fingers. This, paired with an up-and-down movement, traps hair between the coils and pulls them, tweezing multiple strands at once.
Since it’s not an electric epilator and it doesn't make any noise, the R.E.M is the perfect facial epilator for quick touch-ups on the go, pretty much anywhere.
- Stainless steel construction is easy to sanitize
- Portable design and included storage case
- Cost-effective solution to facial hair removal
- Hair regrows slower for long-lasting smoothness
- Not as efficient as electric epilators
- Difficult to get the hang of using it
5. Best multi-use epilator: Philips Beauty Epilator Series 8000
List Price: $109.95
The rechargeable Philips Beauty Epilator is not just ideal for your face. It comes with nine attachments (including a sensitive area one for your face, of course), all aimed at making your skin smoother and removing hair as painlessly as possible. There’s also an exfoliating brush, a shaver/trimmer combo and a rotating pedicure file.
This epilator provides over 70,000 tweezing movements per minute, which means you can cover large areas (like your legs) quickly. It holds a charge for up to 40 minutes, has a built-in light to help spot fine hairs, and can be used in the shower. That's nice because some users prefer epilating during hot showers as it can help open up pores and lessen pain.
- Built-in light helps spot fine hairs
- Very precise and accurate epilating
- Skin remains smooth for up to six weeks
- Lightweight and ergonomic handle for easy maneuvering
- Facial attachment may be uncomfortable in tight areas
- Motor can heat up after extended use
6. Best for facial and body hair: Emjoi EpiPower e24 Epilator
The Emjoi EpiPower e24 is another affordable epilator that packs plenty of power. It has a similar price as the Epi Slim e18 and a similar design. But the e24 has 24 tweezers, six more than the e18. More tweezers give the e24 an extra punch to deal with tough-to-pluck hairs not only on the face but also armpits, bikini line and legs. However, it might sting a bit more than the e18 when used in sensitive areas.
- Removes hair quickly and efficiently
- Leaves areas smooth with no stubble
- Relatively painless operation
- Easy to install and remove batteries
- Needs to be recharged often
- Doesn’t have a built-in light
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