Do Epilators Work on Fine Hair?

I have a nice variety of hair types on my body for some reason, from thick, coarse, dark hairs in some areas (including my head) to finer, blonde hairs on my thighs. This has given me the chance to see how different hair removal types work for different hair types. And I’ve had quite a bit of practice using epilators to pull out my fine hairs.

Do epilators work on fine hair? Epilators work for fine hair. In fact, most epilators work better on fine hairs than coarse hairs. Fine hair is also less painful to remove for most people.

There are some caveats to this, though. I’ve used epilators to remove fine hair with little problems and I know of lots of other people who report the same. But there are still some people who say they’ve had no luck removing fine hairs with an epilator.

Is this because they are using a low-quality epilator? Or are they using the epilator incorrectly? I don’t know. But there are specific things to do that will increase your chances of success when using an epilator for fine hair.

Do You Even Have Fine Hair?

Before you need to know how epilators work with fine hair, it’s good to know for sure that you actually have fine hair. So how do you do that?

Well, the easiest way is to get a strand of hair and hold in between your fingers. What do you feel?

If you can’t even feel a hair, you have fine hair.

If you feel a hair and it feels strong and thick, your hair is probably coarse.

And if you feel the hair, but it doesn’t feel particularly thick, you can consider the hair about medium.

Whatever your hair type, there should be an epilator that works for it. You just need to know what to look for when buying one.

Features of the Best Epilators for Fine Hair

When choosing an epilator, you should look for a few specific features if you want to get good results with fine hair:


Many epilator models have LED lights that shine on your skin as you epilate. This is really essential if you have fine or light-colored hairs. You will be able to see the hairs well as you epilate, even in the shower or bath or a room with poor lighting.

Multiple Speeds

It’s pretty easy to find epilators with at least two speeds these days. I highly recommend getting an epilator with two speeds if you have fine hair. This allows you to try different speeds to see which works best for your hair.

Generally, a lower speed is best for fine hair. The higher the speed, the more likely that you’ll break off hairs at the surface instead of pulling them out. And this is especially important with fine hair because it is weaker.

Hair Lifting or Gripping Technology

There are different terms for this, depending on the brand, but the general idea is that you want an epilator that has some extra feature that helps to lift or grip hairs better. This will make it more likely that your epilator will grab all your fine hairs without as much hassle.

Braun calls this “close-grip technology,” a feature on most of their epilators, that increases the gripping power of the tweezers. This is why these epilators can pull out hair as short as 0.05 millimeters.

Some Philips epilators come with a “hair lifting massage cap” that you can clip on the epilator head. It combs and lifts hairs from the skin so that the epilator can grab them better.

Using an Epilator on Fine Hair

Once you have a good epilator for fine hair, you can follow most of the general advice about epilating. However, the most likely hurdle you’ll have with fine hair is that it will break while epilating instead of being pulled out completely. If that happens, the hairs will be back in a few days which defeats the purpose of epilating!

So here are a few specific steps that people with fine hair should remember:

Don’t Be Smooth

You want your hairs non-slippery and easy to grab. Even if you have a wet epilator, it’s best to epilate fine hairs without water.

Instead, you should take a shower or bath before you calm skin and open pores, but then thoroughly dry your skin and hair before you start epilating.

You should also make sure that your skin is squeaky clean with no moisturizer or anything else. To increase the traction, you can also add some baby powder, corn starch, or other powder to your hairs before you begin epilating.

Pull Skin Extra Taut

You should do this no matter your hair type, but it’s especially important if you have fine hair. Pull your skin with one hand so that it is stretched and hairs will be easier to grab and pull out.

Go Slow

This is one of the most important steps for people with fine hair. You need to start with your epilator at the lowest speed and probably just stay at that speed. Basically, the epilator needs that extra time for grasping.

Hold the epilator at a 90-degree angle against your skin and move very slowly until you get the hang of it. Then you can try speeding up until you start noticing hairs snapping off instead of being pulled out. After a few tries, you’ll find the perfect speed to go.

Move Against the Direction of Growth

Move your epilator in an upward direction against hair growth. Moving in this direction will help lift hairs better so that they get pulled out.

Preventing Ingrown Hairs

Fine hair doesn’t seem to be that prone to ingrown hairs, but when epilating, people with fine hair are at risk for ingrown hairs, unfortunately.

Why is this? When fine hairs re-grow from the follicle, the tips are so fine that they don’t make it through the skin surface very well.

To prevent this, it’s important for people with fine hair to exfoliate and remove the upper skin layers regularly. I recommend exfoliating before you epilate, the day after, and then every other day, as long as it doesn’t irritate your skin.
There are tons of ways to exfoliate. Here are a few that tend to work well:

  • Washing with Massage Sponges
  • Exfoliation Peels
  • Sugar and Salt Scrubs
  • Mechanical Exfoliation Brushes
  • Using Pumice Stones

Final Takeaways

Epilators can work well for all hair types, including fine hair. The main concern you’ll have is that your hairs may break off while epilating instead of being pulled out by the root. However, you can address this by buying an epilator with the right features and then following a few guidelines for epilating with fine hair, including making sure the hairs are dry and then moving the epilator slowly along your skin.

Related Questions

What is the best epilator for fine hair?

My pick for best epilator for fine hair is the Braun Silk-épil 9 (click to check it out on Amazon). This epilator has two speeds and works great on fine hairs. The wide head covers lots of area quickly and it even pivots so you reach hairs better. It also comes with an LED light so you can see all those fine hairs and make sure you don’t miss any.

Do epilators work on coarse hair?

Epilators work on coarse hair, but not always as well. The main drawbacks to epilating with coarse hair are the pain and ingrown hairs. You can address these problems by trimming hairs before epilating and exfoliating like crazy.

Have more questions about epilation? Check out the Epilator FAQ and Beginner’s Guide!

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Heather McClure

I've been a freelance writer for over a decade, specializing in the spa, wellness, and beauty niches. I've also worked professionally for years in a brick and mortar business in the spa industry. I geek out on researching wellness and beauty topics and love sharing this knowledge with other women.

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