Can You Use An Epilator on Your Face?


When I first started using an epilator, face hair wasn’t even on my radar. However, after I started mastering my little epilator, I started to wonder if I could use it to remove my face hair as well, specifically since my peach fuzz was darkening as I aged. Before I took the plunge, I decided to do some research to see if using an epilator on my face was a good idea or not.

So can you use an epilator on your face? Epilators can be safely used on the face to remove hair from the chin, upper lip, cheeks, sideburns, and between eyebrows. However, it’s not recommended that you use an epilator too close to the eyes.

I’ve personally gotten great results from using an epilator for my facial hair. However, the quality and type of epilator you use can affect your results. There are also several side effects to prepare for and prevent when venturing into facial territory.

Advantages of Epilating Your Face

Why would you even want to use an epilator on your face instead of the other hair removal methods out there? One of the main reasons I love it so much is because I have incredibly sensitive skin. I can’t use creams or waxes because my skin will either break out in a rash or sometimes even tear. Since epilators don’t actually touch the skin, I can use them without causing skin irritation, which is especially important when it comes to the face.

The next best thing is how smooth it leaves my face. Unlike shaving, epilation pulls the hairs out by the root, so there is no stubble later. And the hairs typically come in a little finer or become finer over time if you keep epilating regularly. So even if I let my facial hair grow out a bit, it’s not that noticeable.

And after you get into a routine, it take almost no time at all to keep your face smooth and hairless. I spend less than an hour a month keeping my unibrow and mustache at bay.

Side Effects of Using an Epilator on Face

Now for the bad news. Epilation doesn’t work perfectly for everyone. If you are sensitive to pain, have coarse hair, or are prone to ingrown hairs, epilating your face may not work out as well for you.

Here are some possible side effects to be aware of:

  1. Pain! This is probably the thing that people complain about the most. But luckily for most women, facial hair is really fine and doesn’t hurt that much to pull out. The pain also decreases over time. Most of us have already been tweezing or waxing so it’s not much different than that.
  2. Ingrown hairs are also high on the list of horrible side effects. These are hairs that become trapped under the skin and cause pimples or cysts. The more coarse your hair is, the more likely that you’ll get ingrown hairs when epilating. However, if you take some precautions and exfoliate a lot, you can cut down on the risk of getting ingrown hairs.
  3. Inflammation is another possibility. Even though an epilator isn’t usually touching your skin, the irritation of the hair follicles can cause your skin to become inflamed which may result in redness, swelling, bumps, or some bleeding. Luckily, these side effects are temporary and will go away within a few hours.

How to Get the Best Results When Epilating the Face

These are some of the steps I take when I epilate my face to prevent side effects and get the best results.

  1. Buy an epilator intended for the face. There are specific models for facial hair that are much smaller, lighter, and easier to use on the face. If you don’t want an epilator just for your face, however, you can buy full size epilators that come with attachments that make the epilator heads smaller for using on the face.
  2. Make sure your hair is the right length. If you’ve already waxed or removed facial hair, wait until your hair is about two to three millimeters long before trying to epilate. If it is much longer than that, however, you should probably shave it and wait for it to grow back to about two millimeters. Otherwise, it will be more painful pulling out longer hairs.
  3. Read your owner’s manual. This should be a given, but let’s be honest here, most of us don’t do this. But your manual may have info that I don’t know that could save you some major headaches.
  4. Test a small area first. This step is especially if you’ve never used an epilator at all or have coarse facial hair. A small test patch will let you see if you will get a lot of side effects or have problems with ingrown hairs. Wait about a week or two and if everything seems okay, proceed with the rest of your face.
  5. Cleanse and exfoliate. Take a hot shower to cleanse and exfoliate your face. Or use a sink and then use some hot steam to open up pores. This helps reduce the pain and makes the process go more smoothly.
  6. Just do it. Pull your skin taut and move the epilator head against the direction of the hair growth until all your hair is gone. Stay clear of your eyes or the super delicate skin near your eyes.
  7. Soothe your skin. Use some ice or a skin soothing gel if your face is feeling inflamed to help reduce the swelling and pain.
  8. Finish up. Apply some witch hazel or your favorite toner to close your pores and disinfect.
  9. Exfoliate like mad. Carefully exfoliate the next day and every other day (if your skin can tolerate that much exfoliation) to prevent ingrown hairs.
  10. Check yourself out. Take a look at your results and then try not to obsessively touch your skin all day because it feels so soft and smooth.

Quick Tips

  • If you’ve never epilated before, try out a patch on your lower leg before your face to see how painful it is. This is usually one of the least painful areas to epilate. If you can’t handle the pain here, you may want to skip your face altogether.
  • If you are worried about pain, take a non-steroid anti-inflammatory like acetaminophen about 30 minutes before you start epilating.
  • Remember to charge your epilator or replace the batteries before each epilation session.
  • Save epilation for right before bedtime so that you can sleep through any lingering pain. This will also leave plenty of time for redness and irritation to go away before you have to be at work, school, or out in the public.
  • Don’t forget to clean your epilator regularly to keep in working properly and sanitary so you don’t end up with breakouts or infections.

Is an Epilator the Best Way to Remove Your Facial Hair?

If buying an epilator scares you, remember that there are many options to control facial hair in women.

If hormones are the cause, a trip to the doctor may help. He or she can offer you advice and possibly a prescription that will help solve the underlying cause of your hair growth.

Besides this, there are multiple facial hair removal methods: waxing, shaving, electrolysis, laser, creams, shaving, threading, and epilating, each with their pros and cons.

For most women, laser or electrolysis are the ideal methods for facial hair. These two hair removal methods can have permanent results in many instances.

Unfortunately, these two methods cost a pretty penny. We’re talking potentially thousands of dollars. So for most of us, it’s out of reach. But don’t fret, my dear! There are still several more options.

Removing Hair at the Surface

Shaving removes hair at the surface. It is fast, easy, and inexpensive. But is it a good choice for women?

Shaving grows back quickly, and since it makes hair ends blunter, hair appears thicker when it grows back. It is also harsh on the skin.

According to Anita Bhagwandas, a beauty editor at the Guardian, “Shaving is not only inflammatory (causing sensitivity), but it also makes the skin look more papery and thin. Add a five-o’clock shadow to the mix and you’re undeniably causing your skin damage.”

Removing Hair from the Root

Waxing, some depilatory creams, and epilating are tactics that remove hairs at the root. This means that hair takes longer to grow back (up to two to six weeks), freeing up precious time.

Even more, hair tends to grow back thinner over time. This is a big advantage for women with facial hair. But these methods have some cons too.

Waxing is done at a salon or home. Either way, you’re dishing out money regularly. And waxing rips tons of skin cells out with all those hairs.

This can result in inflammation, red bumps, and rashes for some women. According to Evergreen Beauty College, “Your face may look slightly blotchy after your waxing session.”

With waxing, the hair will be gone for a while, but you’ll have to let some stubble grow out before you can wax again. There is also a risk for ingrown hairs.

And did I mention these methods can hurt like a mofo?!

A less painful way is using depilatory creams. These dissolve the hairs instead of pulling them out so that part doesn’t hurt. However, they are full of nasty chemicals that may or may not affect your skin with burning or rashes. They smell, well let’s just say….not pleasant.

And then we have epilation. This is done via threading or with a mechanical epilator. Of course, using an epilator is my favorite.

Sure, the other removal methods have their place and purpose, depending on your skin type, hair type, and preferences. But for me, an epilator is about as good as it gets in the hair removal realm, especially if you are specifically using a good quality epilator.

Related Questions

Can you use a normal epilator on your face?

You can use most normal epilators on your face, but it’s not always ideal. Some epilator heads are too large for the face, so it’s harder to navigate around the nose, eyes, and mouths. Usually epilators come with accessories like facial caps that you can put over the head to make it smaller for the face.

What’s the best facial epilator?

My pick for best overall facial epilator right now is the Braun Silk-épil 7 7/880 Sensosmart (click to check out photos and reviews on Amazon). This is a nice high end epilator that works on all hair types and is the perfect size for the chin and upper lips as well as the legs and body.

If you are wanting a small, budget-friendly facial epilator that works well, I highly recommend the Emjoi Epi-Slim.

Can men epilate the face?

Many men use epilators for facial hair, but coarser hair can be more painful to epilate and cause more side effects like ingrown hairs so men usually prefer other methods like shaving.

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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