Tough on hair but soft on skin – putting epilators to the test
Are you fed up of having to shave your legs every few days? We’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt and now got an epilator instead. You might have to clench your teeth while you’re using it, but you’ll only need to do it once a month to keep regrowth at bay. Still, if you have to deal with even a little pain, we think it should be worth it. ETM Testmagazin ran product tests to see which one came out on top.
Epilators give you silky smooth legs for up to four weeks – ideal for the summer. Bang on topic, ETM Testmagazin put five epilators to the test and rated them based on a set of criteria. Read on to find out which products were tested and how, the results and what you need to know about epilating.
Test process and criteria
Results (60% weighting):
Test subjects with different hair and skin types were selected to ensure meaningful results. These results were then evaluated, including how gentle the products were on skin. This assessment included whether any rashes developed, whether the epilation was gentle on skin and whether any aftercare was required.
Use (25% weighting):
This criterion rated how easy the product is to handle. It was important for the testers that the epilators were comfortable and safe to hold and the controls were easy to find. They also tested whether hard-to-reach body parts, like the front and back of the knee, were accessible. As the batteries make it easy to epilate without a power supply, the battery life and charging time were also tested.
Features (15% weighting):
The completeness of the instructions was also evaluated, along with the product materials. As different products have different features, these were also included in the rating, as were the sometimes extremely extensive package contents.
1st: Braun Silk-épil 9 SkinSpa
The Braun stood out from its competitors. It has a range of accessories, is extremely easy to handle and boasts a number of different functions. The built-in light makes even the shortest hairs easy to see, and short and long hairs alike are removed completely. The various attachments provided leave skin perfectly prepared for epilation and aftercare.
Overall rating: very good (96.4%)
Result: 96.4%, Use: 96.7%, Features: 97.5%
Pros: waterproof, removes even shorter hairs, easy to clean
Silk-épil 9 9-961 CH-Edition
2nd: Panasonic ES-ED96
Coming in at number two, just behind the best-rated product, is the Panasonic. As with the Braun, this product includes a lot of extras. Aside from the epilation function, it also has foot and face attachments. In contrast to the other products, the Panasonic has two rollers, and its pivoting head makes it flexible to use. The LED light makes stray hairs easier to see and quick to remove.
Overall rating: very good (96.0%)
Result: 96.0%, Use: 95.5%, Features: 97.1%
Pros: package contents, use on wet skin, easy to clean
3rd: Philips Satinelle Prestige Wet & Dry
Close behind the Panasonic and Braun, the Philips takes third place. As before, the package contents allow perfect skin preparation and aftercare. The LED light on this product can be activated and deactivated. Hair removal is very good, regardless of hair length. The only negative point is cleaning, as the roller can’t be released.
Overall rating: very good (93.0%)
Result: 92.8%, Use: 93.4%, Features: 93.1%
Pros: package contents, use when wet
Cons: hard to clean
Satinelle Prestige Wet&Dry BRE650/00
4th: Remington 7-in-1
Fourth place goes to the Remington. This product is provided with significantly fewer accessories. As a result, the test found that hair removal was relatively time-consuming. The test subjects also reported that the attachments scratched slightly, which made epilating unpleasant.
Overall rating: good (89.3%)
Result: 89.2%, Use: 88.1%, Features: 91.5%
Pros: longest running time, package contents, use on wet skin
Cons: epilator attachment scratches slightly
What you need to know about epilating
Design and operation
Epilators look very similar to electric shavers. They are mostly ergonomic in design so that they fit well in your hand. There is an on/off button and the products tested all have two operating levels. Low speed is recommended for sensitive areas such as the bikini line. The higher speed is more efficient and better suited to experienced users, as the hairs become finer after multiple uses and you will become less sensitive to them being pulled out.
When you switch on the epilator, the roller begins to run. This rotation opens and closes small tweezers, which capture the hairs. When hairs come into contact with the tweezers, they are pulled out. So, unlike shaving, hairs are removed along with their roots. As it takes a while for the roots to rebuild, hair takes longer to grow back.
Attachments and accessories
Selected attachments for the Braun Silk-épil 9 SkinSpa (shaver head, cleaning brush, massage cap and exfoliation brush).
A standard epilator head generally has around 30 tweezers. This is efficient, but causes more discomfort in sensitive areas. This is why many manufacturers also provide a narrower head for gentler epilation of the armpits and bikini line. Alternatively, epilators are provided with an attachment which covers a section of the tweezers and only leaves a narrow strip free. This makes it easier to accurately epilate the area concerned.
A separate shaver attachment is also useful. Ideally, epilation is best suited to hairs around 5 mm long. The shaver head makes it easy to trim longer hairs, and it can also be used to remove unwanted hair when you don’t have enough time to epilate.
For best results, exfoliating skin before epilating is recommended to remove dead skin. Some manufacturers provide an exfoliation brush with their epilator.
Massage attachments should be used to relax the skin before epilation. Some products are supplied with accessories which can be attached to the epilator roller itself. This should reduce discomfort when hair is removed and make the process more pleasant. If you are more sensitive, you can reduce any unpleasant sensation by holding the skin taut in the area concerned. Epilation is gentler on wet skin, so it makes sense to use your epilator in the shower or bath.
The foot attachment is another useful accessory, which you can use to easily buff away hard skin.
See the ETM Testmagazin test report (in German)
See all epilators
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