Here’s a little known fact: epilators are not just for women! Although not really marketed to the opposite sex, epilators for men work just the same as those for women. There’s probably only one or two that are specifically designed for men. They’re a fantastic alternative for men tired of the eternal struggle with shaving.
Men have been shaving for centuries, and the braver among them have begun to embrace waxing. But in the era of male self-care and manscaping, there’s no reason you can’t take it a step further into a different kind of hair removal. Epilation is much longer lasting than shaving, and can easily be done at home.
Can an epilator be used by a man?
Yes! You might consider trying an epilator if you’re tired of shaving every day, prone to razor rash, or sick of stubble. It’s much more commonplace now for men to want to rid areas of hair from the chest, back, shoulders or arms, and if you’re a swimmer or a cyclist, you’ll be more than familiar with the need for speed, which is believed to be assisted by a sleek, hair-free body.
Can a man epilate his face?
Men can epilate their facial hair as long as they bear two things in mind: the hair needs to be at least at least 3 to 4 millimeters long in order for the epilating device to pick them up; and it might be a little uncomfortable at first, compared to other areas of the body.
We have a lot of nerve endings in our faces, and the skin there is thinner. As such, they are one of the most sensitive zones for hair removal of any kind. But daily shaving comes with problems of its own – causing inflammation, bumps, cuts, and perhaps the most frustrating – reappearing before the day is even over. Epilating can give you weeks of hair-free skin.
Is it painful to use an epilator?
A better word to use than ‘pain’ is probably ‘discomfort’. Think of using a pair of tweezers to pluck out a hair. An epilator is loaded with several tweezers – sometimes as many as 60 – so you might feel the pinch, but on several hairs at once.
It might sound daunting, but the beauty is in the speed, and the control. You have a second of pain, and then it’s gone. Epilators often come with different caps and different speeds, so you can approach it in line with your comfort level.
Read the product reviews on any epilator online, and you’ll find some claiming “too painful for me!”, and some saying “painless”, “pain free” and “doesn’t pinch”. This is a testament to how much the epilation experience comes down to personal pain tolerance! It is commonly said that repeated use considerably lessens the pain each time, so even if it does pinch to begin with, it’s worth sticking with it.
Any woman who has been plucking her eyebrows for years will tell you it hurt at first, but she barely feels a thing now. Take it from us, guys – you’ll get used to it!
Is epilating better than waxing?
When it comes to epilation versus waxing, there are pros and cons to either side. Both are effectively pulling the hair from the root. The main differences are how each method grips the hair, and how many hairs they remove at a time.
A wax strip can is perfectly designed to remove hair from broad areas of the skin, like your legs. An epilator is more nimble, and more agile, allowing freer movement around knees, face, and bikini line. This is a plus point for men especially, who often have more defined muscle to work around, and hair covering more of the body, including fiddly bits like ankles.
Due to the entire hair being removed from the follicle rather than cut off at skin level (as with shaving), both epilating and waxing share two key benefits: results are much longer lasting, with a whole new growth cycle needing to occur within the follicle before new hair returns. Secondly, both encourage the hair to grow back finer and softer with each session.
Epilating gives you the luxury of time and control. With waxing, you’ve got to be brave and rip off the waxing strip before the wax starts to stick to the skin. With an epilator, you can go as slow as you like, working your way up to more sensitive areas in your own time. You can vary the speed and pressure to ease discomfort, and even opt for a waterproof epilator, which can be used in a warm bath or shower to relax the pores.
What really seals the deal for epilating is the shortness of hair you’re able to work with. Waxing requires at least a quarter inch of growth. If you try to wax before this point, the wax just won’t stick. This means you have to endure a month or so of growth between waxes – not ideal for those who prefer to be hair-free all day, every day.
Some people like to combine waxing and epilating. Regular waxing appointments can be spaced out over several weeks, using an epilator to tidy up in between. Both methods together work to slow and diminish hair growth over time.
Can an epilator be used on male pubic hair?
An epilator can be used for both male and female pubic hair (usually known as the bikini zone or a ‘Brazilian’ for women). If you’re wanting to explore epilation for this area specifically, when shopping around for your first epilation device (see our guide below for a deeper dive into this), look for epilators that either have narrow heads, or come with different attachment caps. Caps can be used to cover over a portion of the exposed tweezers, meaning fewer tweezers are coming into contact with the skin, so you can hone in on much smaller areas.
With bikini zone or male pubic hair epilation, it’s always best to take your time, and practice different speeds and pressures. The key is to pull the skin as tight as possible, in order to stretch the follicles, and minimize pain. Keep a pair of tweezers handy too, for any strays in hard to reach areas.
The best epilators to try for men
It can be difficult to know where to start with all the technology and gadgetry that’s now available in the hair-removal market. We’ve collected some of the top performers and male-friendly devices to give you a head start on your quest for the best epilator for men.
Forget all your preconceptions about epilators – the Emjoi Emagine is a seriously powerful product, designed for use on coarse hair (which many men contend with), and packing in 72 tweezer heads – the most in an epilating device we’ve seen. This means excellent coverage and thorough hair removal. But don’t be alarmed by the brawn – it’s caring too, with dual-opposed heads that hold the skin taut as you go, easing any discomfort.
Whilst it makes quick work of large areas such as the back, chest, shoulders and legs, bear in mind this might not be the best epilator for the facial area. The head is large, and the tweezers are heavy duty. It also needs hairs to grow to 0.4mm before it can be effective, so not ideal for those who prefer to stay beard-free.
The price point is one of the highest, but you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. It’s money well spent if it gets the job done well and with speed.
Although Emjoi does provide a hyper-masculine option, an epilator is one of those things that doesn’t have to be gender specific. What matters is the technology. Many men will already have experienced the quality of Braun products with razors and trimmers, and it doesn’t end there. They’re only slightly cheaper than the Emjoi, but Braun epilators are widely regarded as some of the best you can get – as long as you don’t mind the pink detailing!
The Silk-épil 9 isn’t quite as bulky as the Emjoi, but it’s still robust, and holds 40 tweezer heads for efficient hair removal. The head pivots, giving great flexibility around knees and ankles. It comes with a bonus shaver, which you can easily revert to if you decide the epilation part isn’t for you, and a separate trimmer which is excellent for shaping.
Similarly to the Emjoi, hair does need to be 0.5mm long before it can be removed, but this one is much more suitable for delicate areas like face and pubic region. It comes with an attachment cap, which narrows the width of the tweezers, meaning you can target much smaller areas.
Phillips is another household name for grooming technology, and their epilators are strong contenders for the number one spot that Braun products tend to occupy.
The Phillips Satinelle Essential is a great entry-level epilator for beginners. It fits into the palm of your hand for easy maneuvering, and it’s extremely budget-friendly. It has just 20 tweezers, so it might take a bit more time to cover broad areas, but this means it’s ideal for the face, or if you’re wanting to remove some or all of the hair from the pubic region.
It’s corded, so you won’t be able to use it with complete freedom or in a wet environment, but if you’re looking to test the waters of epilation, you won’t lose out on too much investment if you decide it’s not for you.
The reviews are excellent, however, and you might find that once you’ve got comfortable with the Satinelle Essential, you’ll feel ready to move up to heftier devices.
If you’ve got a lot of hair, a cordless epilator provides an added benefit – you can use it in the bath or shower to avoid messy hair clean up. Opting for a cordless, waterproof device also means you can use it in tandem with foam cleanser to protect the skin and help elevate hairs as you go.
The Panasonic ES-ED90 can work both wet and dry, and has a 60 degree rotating head that makes it easy to maneuver over various parts of your body. In terms of tweezer count, it’s middling, with 48 tweezer heads – more than enough for sparse hair, but those with very thick, short hairs may need to go over the same area a few times to get completely hair-free.
Uniquely, the Panasonic ES-ED90 comes with a foot care setting, for removing dead skin and calluses from your feet. A useful (if random) bonus!
The Silk-épil 7 is the whole package: it comes with 8 attachments, can be charged for wireless use, and the simple but stylish white and grey design makes it appealing for both genders.
Like the Silk-épil 5, it comes with a shaver attachment and a separate trimmer, so you can groom and shape to your heart’s content.
It provides not one but three epilation cap sizes – one for large areas, a narrower one for smaller areas, and a beginner cap with a small row of plastic teeth that feed short hairs up into the head for thorough hair removal. It even has a ‘Smartlight’ which illuminates fine, hard-to-detect hairs as you go. This means it’s more than suitable for use on tricky or more sensitive areas.
If it has to come down to one…
The Braun Silk-épil range is consistently voted in consumer polls as the highest performing epilator products, and the most comfortable to use. The size and range of caps for the Silk-épils 7 and 9 are pretty unbeatable, and they’re excellent all rounders for all genders, all hair types, and all body parts.