Whether you want to remove a little peach fuzz from your face, smooth your legs, eliminate stubble in your armpits, or experiment with a full-on Brazilian, the best epilators can help. Most of these at-home hair removal devices can be used all over the face and body to get your desired results.
Trimmers and razors may be a reliable choice already, but these tools tackle only hair above the skin, so odds are anything you trim or shave will grow back in a flash. For hair removal methods that provide more longevity, waxing kits are a decent alternative. The problem here: Waxing can be painful—whether it’s sugaring or strips (and hair does eventually grow back). Which leaves you either with in-office treatments like laser hair removals or at-home epilators.
The difference between the latter two is simple: Lasers are more permanent since they actually work to kill the hair follicle, but what if you’re not sure you want the hair to be gone forever? Epilators provide a great happy medium between the more temporary options listed above and the permanence of a laser. “Epilators work by grabbing the hairs with rotating tweezer head blades to pull from the root,” says Diane Madfes, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “It’s similar to waxing but does a better job protecting the skin and is a great way to remove hair in the privacy of your home.”
Epilators vary in size depending on their use, and you can find specific devices for the face or body. Smaller ones are ideal for targeting tough-to-reach areas (hi, upper lip), while more sizable options are better suited for larger surfaces—think your thighs or lower legs. Select devices also come with several interchangeable attachments for flexibility and versatility, says Deba Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.
Just as you probably wouldn’t dry-shave your underarms or pubic area, it’s important to prep skin before using any kind of epilator to help minimize pain. To do so, Dr. Jaliman recommends taking “a warm shower to open up your hair follicles” as well as “exfoliate to prep skin and remove any dead skin cells that could hinder efficacy.”
Using an epilator is pretty straightforward too. As you would with a razor or a waxing strip, Dr. Madfes recommends moving the epilator in the direction of hair growth. Once you’re done—and after each use—make sure to rinse out your device to get rid of the tiniest hairs and prevent residue buildup.
Ready to find the best epilator out there for you? From a top-rated face gadget to a corded epilator with multiple speed settings and attachments, dermatologists recommend these nine tools for pain-free hair removal, below.
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