Our experts in beauty care have tested epilators that remove hair with the roots from legs and body. An epilator is the best alternative to waxing for both women and men. It’s also cheaper than treatments for permanent hair removal at clinics with lasers, IPL or electrolysis or diathermy. Today's modern epilators produce less discomfort and can cope with shorter hairs than was possible just a few years ago. The first time you use one it can hurt. Then most people are able to remove the hairs without too much discomfort – and the hairs also become thinner with time.
Ideally use the epilator in the evening. Then any skin irritation will have settled down before you wake up. Wash and dry the skin and first trim longer hairs with the shaver head. If you buy a cheaper model you’ll have to use scissors. The epilator should be held at a 90° angle to the skin. This achieves the best contact with the hairs. Stretch the skin with the other hand and run the epilator in short strokes against the direction of hair growth. Try on a small area of skin first. The skin is sensitive around the armpits and intimate areas such as the bikini line, so be extra careful here. After the treatment you can use a mild lotion to soothe the skin. Now you’ll have nice, smooth skin for several weeks.
Many people find that it’s unpleasant to use an epilator the first time. But after a few times you get used to it and the hairs become thinner and less sensitive. Then you’ll be grateful that you bought an epilator instead of going to a clinic and paying for expensive laser or IPL treatments with varying results. You also make back the cost of waxing after just a few months, even if you buy the more expensive model that was our best in test – the Silk-épil 9561 Wet & Dry. Remember not to use the epilator for hair removal equating to a Brazilian wax, as you can end up pinching parts you’d rather not!
The Silk-épil 9 series is a development of the Silk-épil 7 series, which has been our favourite epilator for several years. Apart from the luxurious design, the Silk-épil 9561 has several improvements that have made it a new favourite. The clearest is that the head is 40% wider than before, which means that you can get smooth legs quicker than ever. The tweezers are also better, as they grasp shorter and thinner hairs. But the most important improvement is that it's less painful as the wide rollers stretch out the skin effectively before pulling out the hairs. The little lamp makes it easy to see the tiniest hair in sensitive areas and the epilator works in the shower – a really big plus as the warm water reduces any discomfort. The various accessory caps work well for their different purposes. The fact that there's also a shaver head with a trimmer cap means that you're equipped for all situations.
The Silk-épil 7 series has long been one of our absolutely favourite epilators, and with this latest update it still retains its position. It’s wireless and watertight, which means that you can use it in the shower or bath. The handle is comfortable in your hand and the controls are easy to use without being in the way. A little lamp illuminates the area to be epilated; this may sound unnecessary, but it's actually really useful to be able to see all of the small hairs. The tweezers are extremely effective and remove even short, thin hairs. A number of different caps are included and work well for their various intended functions. For example a shaver head with a trimmer cap, a facial cap and a cap for sensitive skin. The combination of highly-efficient epilation and excellent accessories makes the 7 series a competent and complete epilator. We think that it gives a large number of functions for the money and we therefore put it at the very top of all the epilators we have tested.
The Philips Satinelle is a small and almost weightless epilator. It has no batteries, but runs on mains power via a cable. However, this isn't annoying or awkward as the cable is both long and easy to manage. The Satinelle has a strong motor that does a good job, and the cap has a wider working area than, for example, the Braun 5541, which makes it relatively quick. Some of our testers who had larger hands felt that the handle was almost too small and didn’t give good support for the hand. The controls are good, however, and you can’t access them by mistake. The Satinelle is above all intended to be used on the legs, and is therefore somewhat narrower in its area of use than the more expensive epilators in the test, but if its the legs you're focusing on there’s no point paying more than this. The Philips Satinelle is a really good budget epilator, without refinements, but which does exactly what it's intended to do.
The Silk-épil 5541 has one of the test’s narrowest heads and although it does the job it takes a longer time to do so. There is also a relatively long distance between the tweezers, which further reduces its efficiency. Two different epilation caps are included; a massage cap and one for skin contact. The accessories also include a shaver head with a trimmer cap, which is useful if you have hair that’s too long when it's time to epilate. It’s very easy to change between the different heads. Unfortunately, the controls are represented by a push button that you can easily press by mistake, which can be irritating. A green charging lamp shows when the epilator is on, but we’d rather have seen a usable lamp that illuminates the skin like Braun's more expensive models. As the Silk-épil 5541 tolerates water, it's easy to clean. This is a relatively cheap epilator, but we don’t think that the lower price justifies the mediocre functionality. Instead, we recommend Braun’s 7 or 9 series.
This is the little sister of the Braun Silk-épil 7 Xpressive. It has the same basic effective functions but for a significantly lower price. This means we have named it as the test’s best budget choice. Of course it doesn’t have as many refinements and accessories. It's still a very competent epilator, but if you have the budget it's better to go for big sister instead. It includes two accessories; a cap for the armpits and a shaver head for trimming longer unwanted hairs. The head has massage rollers on both sides, which help stretch the skin.